Credit Where Credit is Due: The Transocean Execs And their Bonuses

When someone does something noble and selfless, it’s worth noting.  Especially when said person is a corporate executive.

Top executives of the company that owned the Deepwater Horizon oil rig announced Tuesday they will donate their safety bonuses to the families of the 11 workers killed in the April 2010 explosion in the Gulf of Mexico.

The announcement follows criticism of a Transocean Ltd. financial filing that claimed 2010 was its “best year” in safety.

“The executive team made this decision because we believe it is the right thing to do,” Chief Executive Officer Steven Newman said in a statement Tuesday. “Nothing is more important to Transocean than our people, and it was never our intent to diminish the effect the Macondo tragedy has had on those who lost loved ones,” Newman said. “We offer our most sincere apologies and we regret the impact this matter has had on the entire Transocean family.”

The five executives will donate more than $250,000 to the Deepwater Horizon Memorial Fund, which Transocean established. The fund has distributed more than $1.6 million to the 11 families.

So good for them.  Credit where credit is due.  They didn’t have to and even if it’s just for improved publicity, that’s ok too because the families of the tragedy will be helped.  Plus, I actually respect their actions.  Respect for corporations is hard to come by for me these days.

Morag Kersel: Relics and the Holy Land

Via Jack Sasson word of this public lecture

The Lure of the Relic: Collecting the Holy Land

Morag Kersel, Oriental Institute & DePaul University
Wednesday, May 4, 2011
7:00 pm – Breasted Hall
Oriental Institute, Chicago

The relationship between people and things is a crucial avenue of investigation in understanding past cultures. While the social aspects of material culture have come under closer scrutiny over the past few decades, what remains largely unexplored are the reasons why people collect archaeological artifacts. Employing case studies from Jordan, Israel, and Palestine, this lecture examines the collecting of archaeological materials from the Holy Land, the effects on the archaeological landscape, and the object biographies of those artifacts enmeshed in the trade in antiquities.

Lectures are free and open to the public due to the generous support of Oriental Institute Members.

Francesca Stavrakopoulou, Sheffield and Child Sacrifice (via Sheffield Biblical Studies)

Now there’s a lecture I’d like to attend.

Francesca Stavrakopoulou, presenter of the much discussed BBC2 series, “Bible’s Buried Secrets”, is coming to the world famous centre of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament minimalism to talk on child sacrifice and the Bible. Before her life as a TV celebrity, Stavrakopoulou wrote, among other things, King Manasseh and Child Sacrifice: Biblical Distortions of Historical Realities (de Gruyter, 2004) and Land of Our Fathers: The Roles of Ancestor Veneration … Read More

via Sheffield Biblical Studies

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An Interview with Church Historian Timothy George

George is the editor in chief of a new commentary series IVP Academic is doing.  The interview is here.

In October 2011, the first volume of the Reformation Commentary on Scripture will be published. The premiere volume will be Galatians, Ephesians, edited by Gerald Bray. As the series nears its official launch, we sat down with RCS General Editor, Timothy George, to discuss the new series and his own book, Reading Scripture with the Reformers, which will be released simultaneously with the first RCS volume.

Posted in Books, Church History | Comments Off on An Interview with Church Historian Timothy George

A Follow up by Robert Deutsch on the ‘Lead Codices’

On ANE-2 Robert writes (and I post here with his permission) concerning the supposed Christian codices much discussed of late-

I will give a short description of some highlights from the iconography depicted on several “codices” for the “scholars” which are not familiar with numismatics.

On a single leaf one can find: the head of Alexander the great copied, or impressed from a coin of his general Lysimachos, a palm tree from the coins of Bar Kokhba and Cartage, the eight pointed stars from the Jewish coins of Alexander Yannay and Hellenistic coins of the Seleucus, the bust of Domitianus from the administration coins minted in Judaea, The “inscriptions” are copied from the Hasmonean and Bar Kokhba coins, inscribed in straight and mirror shape, not to mention Gibberish in greek.

Some of the leafs are impressed by a mechanical device and some made by hand, All are sealed with nails, some made of iron.

No patina or corrosion is detected on them, but only an artificial brown color. An expert who is familiar with lead rust doesn’t need more than 10 seconds with a magnifying glass to find out the fraud.

Let me end with a comment I made a short time ago on Jim West’s Web site: “Scholars are contaminating their academic records with lead poison”.

What can I add – the name of Jesus was called in vain.

Robert Deutsch

Honestly, is there need for further discussion or can we just put this to bed along with the other recent and numerous frauds committed in the name of ‘biblical archaeology’? Please.

Stuart isn’t Bored; he’s Bummed

Stuart has some interesting observations on boredom but I don’t think he’s bored- or depressed.  I think he’s standing midway between the two.  I think he’s bummed.

As to his final point, that he finds himself more bored in church than anywhere else: that I find astonishing.  In worship, we encounter God.  How’s that even remotely boring?

Unless, that is, when we’re at church we aren’t at worship.  Then, naturally, hanging out for a couple of hours doing nothing is just like sitting in the doctor’s office waiting for the appointment that only comes hours after scheduled.

There are, I’m guessing, a lot of people who go to church but who never go to worship.  Those are the people you can hear saying ‘I didn’t get anything out of being here today’ or ‘I just don’t see the point’.  It’s worship which makes all the difference.  That’s why someone singing exactly the same songs and praying exactly the same prayers and hearing exactly the same sermon can have such a radically different experience than someone else.  The one who is present in and for worship never leaves disappointed.  How could they?  They’ve encountered the living God.

Only a person absent from worship (though present in body) can leave church feeling uninspired or disinterested.

Nearly Almost to Some Knowledge of Christ on the Road of Life Snares Another Unsuspecting Victim…

Let’s all covenant together to pray for one Dan Levy.

When 2011 began we had six bloggers here. We said good-bye to Ishta Kutesa and Robert Jimenez soon thereafter. Since then we have had four but we were approached by a younger blogger about joining us and we decided that we were ready to welcome another. Today, I would like to introduce you to Daniel James Levy. Daniel has been blogging over at Christ, My Redeemer for a while now. He is near finishing his undergraduate work at Southeastern Univers … Read More

via Near Emmaus

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Will Our Useless Politicians Include Themselves in Cuts?

For some reason I seriously doubt it.  They would rather cut important programs, line their own pockets by acceding to their lord lobbyist’s demands, and leave their own impressive pay and benefits alone.  Hypocrites.

Top House Republican leaders unveiled a 2012 budget proposal Tuesday that would cut $6.2 trillion in federal spending over the next decade while radically reforming Medicare and Medicaid — two hugely popular entitlement programs that have long been considered politically untouchable.  The proposal, drafted by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wisconsin, would also overhaul key portions of the tax code, dropping the top rate for individuals and businesses to 25% while eliminating a number of loopholes.

You voted for them.  You sent them to Washington to do your business, and now they’re nothing but the toadies of corporate America and foreign interests.

More ‘Karl Barth at 125’ Observances

For all the Barthians

Karl Barth – Kritische Zeitgenossenschaft
von Jochen Denker, Wuppertal-Ronsdorf

Am 10. Mai 2011 wäre Karl Barth 125 Jahre alt geworden. Jochen Denker erinnert an den “kritischen Zeitgenossen” und “freien Theologen”.
”Theologie und nur Theologie treiben” – Karl Barths unzeitgemässer Mut zur Dogmatik
Samstag, 7. Mai 2011, 19.30 Uhr: Vortrag von Dr. Nikolaus Peter, Zürich, in Siegen, Evangelische Kirchengemeinde Martini, St. Johann-Str. 7

Zum 125. Geburtstag Karl Barths lädt die Karl Barth-Gesellschaft Mitglieder, Freunde und Interessenten zu einer Veranstaltungsreihe ein.
125 Jahre Karl Barth – Auf der Suche nach dem rechten Wort zur rechten Zeit
6. April 2011, 19.30 Uhr: Vortrag von Prof. Dr. Michael Weinrich in Wuppertal-Ronsdorf
Barth , Karl

Ausgerechnet ein Reformierter prägte die protestantische Theologie des 20. Jahrhunderts entscheidend.
Karl Barth Symposion
Freitag, 6. Mai 2011 in Basel

Aus Anlass des 125. Geburtstags Karl Barths und der historisch-kritischen Neuedition des Römerbriefs (1922) veranlassen die Theologische Fakultät Basel, die Karl Barth-Stiftung und das Karl Barth-Archiv Basel ein Symposion.
Karl Barth Tagung 2011: Gerechtigkeit. Krisenorientierung mit Karl Barth
18. bis 21. Juli 2011, Barth Tagung auf dem Leuenberg, Anmeldung bis zum 11. Juli 2011
Posted in Church History | Comments Off on More ‘Karl Barth at 125’ Observances

Keep Your Dilettantish Public School Hands off the Bible

It’s not that I object to the bible being taught. It should be. But only by people who know what they’re doing and only in the context of the community of faith, where the bible belongs and to whom it belongs (which, by the way, answers the age old question- whose bible is it anyway? well if you aren’t a believer, it doesn’t belong to you!). But it should certainly NOT be taught by the PE coach or the English teacher or the reading teacher or some other dilettante who doesn’t know John from the Johannine Epistles.

Having failed to turn Muslims into felons, the holy warriors in the Tennessee legislature now are trying to turn science teachers into Sunday school teachers. A bill that would “allow” science teachers to teach the “strengths and weaknesses” of evolution, climate change and other “scientific controversies” sailed through requisite House committees and has been placed on a similar fast track in the Senate.

Great. Tennessee is turning into Texas. God help us.

Three Interesting Films from Tyndale House on the Trial and Resurrection of Jesus

From Tyndale House at Cambridge- word of three films available for viewing at no cost

Experts’ Evidence for Jesus’ Trial: Dr Dirk Jongkind, a Research Fellow at Tyndale House, pieces together the earliest manuscript evidence for the New Testament and shows how it tells the story of Jesus’ trial before Pilate.

Experts’ Evidence for Jesus’ Crucifixion: Dr Peter Williams and Dr David Instone Brewer look at the Munich Talmud, which contains traditional Jewish teaching, and discover how even the deleted text provides evidence for Jesus’ crucifixion!


Experts’ Evidence for Jesus’ Resurrection: Dr Peter Williams gives a summary of the biblical evidence for the heart of the Christian faith – Jesus’ bodily resurrection.

These films, together with an introduction to the work of Tyndale House, are now available to view on our website here.  They may be freely used on church websites, blogs, email newsletters, facebook and anywhere else you would like!  We hope that the films will give Christians renewed confidence in the events of the Easter story and that they will be a spur for others to investigate the evidence further.

Prices are Going up, Wages Aren’t: Welcome to Inflation

Oil is up, gas is up, food is up, transportation is up, everything is up. Except, that is, wages, which aren’t keeping pace with the rise in prices.

It’s not just that prices are rising — it’s that wages aren’t. Previous bouts of inflation have usually meant a wage-price spiral, as pay and prices chase each other ever upward. But now paychecks are falling further and further behind. In the past three months, consumer prices have been rising at a 5.7 percent annual rate while average weekly wages have barely budged, increasing at an annual rate of only 1.3 percent. And the particular prices that are rising are for products that people encounter most frequently in their daily lives and have the least flexibility to avoid. For the most part, it’s not computers and cars that are getting more expensive, it’s gasoline, which is up 19 percent in the past year, ground beef, up 10 percent, and butter, up 23 percent.

But what’s this have to do with theology? Everything. Because theology is about every aspect of life and every aspect of life has a theological dimension. While the rich are getting richer, the poor are falling further and further behind. While the ‘fat cows of Bashan’ fluff their pillows, the poor despair.  Who do you think, after all, benefits from these higher prices while wages remain lower?  It isn’t the poor.  Here’s a clue- it’s the people wealthy enough not to care how high prices go- they can afford to buy whatever and as much as anything they like.

Posted in Modern Culture | Comments Off on Prices are Going up, Wages Aren’t: Welcome to Inflation

Happy Birthday to the British Museum!

Did you know that

Today in 1753, the British Museum was established. The British Museum’s collection of over seven million objects represents the rich history of human cultures. The collections are amongst the largest and most comprehensive in the world and originate from all continents, illustrating and documenting the story of human culture from its beginnings to the present.

That according to (on FB). Happy birthday to one of the world’s most excellent museums (and my very favorite).

Quote of the Day: On the ‘Lead Codices’ and Lead Poisoning

Alright, I know it’s early and some other quote may catch my eye- but for now, this one’s just too good to pass up.  Concerning the frenzy over the so called ‘lead codices’ or ‘Jesus codices’ or whatever, Robert Deutsch remarks

What can I say ?  Scholars are contaminating their academic records with lead poison.  — Robert Deutsch


He Won’t Be Getting a ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ Shirt in June

A father who tattooed his 2-year-old son was sentenced to one year probation and ordered to pay a $300 fine on Monday.  Police arrested Eugene Ashley and charged him with tattooing someone under the age of 18 in May of 2009.   On Monday, he pleaded guilty to the misdemeanor charge.  The tattoo was discovered by workers from the Department of Family and Children Services after someone complained about conditions at the Ashley home.

Some people really shouldn’t be allowed to have children.  How long will it be before he blames alcohol?  That’s right, not long at all…

Ashley said he was drunk and didn’t remember tattooing the letters “DB,” for Daddy’s Boy, on his son’s shoulder blade.

Hopefully the child will be removed from his custody.  Next he’s likely to carve some racist symbol into his forehead.

Posted in Total Depravity | Comments Off on He Won’t Be Getting a ‘World’s Greatest Dad’ Shirt in June

More Political Dirtbaggery: Scott Walker Hires a Donor’s Drunken Son

Scott Walker doesn’t want public employees to make a decent living but he doesn’t at all mind hiring one of his major donor’s drunken non-college graduate kids for $81,000 a year…

Since taking office in January, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) has stripped public workers of their collective bargaining rights, proposed wage cuts to local government employees, and insisted that his “state is broke” and that its public workers are overpaid. But Walker applies a different standard to himself. Today, the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel reveals that Walker is using state funds to pay more than $81,500 a year to the 26-year-old son of a major campaign donor with no college degree and two drunken-driving convictions.

Typical self serving politician. How do you like your disgraceful Governor now, Wisconsin?