So Kind

A friend came by today and dropped off a nice Elgin because he ‘appreciates what you [I] do’.  Isn’t that nice?  It’s an awesome watch, so thanks Larry and Shirley!

Calling Out the ‘May 21st Is the End of the World’ Lunatics

I can offer my own ‘prediction’ concerning the putative end of the world on May 21st.  It won’t happen.  And since it won’t happen, I insist that the deceivers spewing the lie send me an email on the 22nd apologizing for the fact that they are false teachers and promising never to speak about either the Bible or the ‘end’ ever again.

This is the only acceptable course of action.

If you’re one of those unfortunate people bereft of any knowledge of the Bible and/or eschatology, let me assure you, there’s nothing to fret about.  Those claiming that the Bible reveals what they claim it reveals are just nothing more than the world’s worst dilettantes.  They don’t know what they’re talking about.  Let me say that again, they DON’T know what they’re talking about.

So stop worrying.

Dear Lord, If I Might Make a Humble Request Please…

If it’s at all possible, and you are so inclined, might I humbly request that you eliminate people like this from the world?  They serve no useful purpose that I can tell and only make the lives of their victims miserable and horrid.  They have no redeeming characteristics and – truly – I can understand the purpose of gnats and fleas and mosquitoes better than I can understand the existence of such demonic creatures as these.

Kathy Denise Johnson, 46, and Paul Anthony Johnson, 49, are charged with three counts each of especially aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.  The sheriff’s office says the couple’s arrests are part of an on-going investigation with the state Department of Children’s Services.  Court affidavits say the couple had videos depicting themselves involved in child sex exploitation on October 19, 2007.  The Johnsons were taken into custody at their home in Mascot. They’re being held at the Knox County Detention Facility on bonds of $120,000 each.  Officials are keeping the report in this case confidential because minors are involved.

I realize that I might sound a bit gruff just now, but surely if you could tolerate some of the things Job and Jeremiah said to you (and you know what I’m referring to), then I trust you can accept my petition (refractory though it may seem), in the spirit in which it is offered.

I realize, furthermore, that people unaided by your Son’s grace are completely incapable of doing good.  And I further suspect that only those moved and inspired by hell itself could do something so vile.  So, again, if it’s not too much trouble and you have a free moment, would you mind ridding the planet of these vermin?  (You know my feelings towards the vermin that abuse or molest children….)

However you decide is fine with me.  I remain, most certainly, your devoted


That’s Vicious

Antonio informs us that Muslims buying holy water in London are being poisoned by arsenic-

Holy drinking water contaminated with arsenic is being sold illegally to Muslims by UK shops, the BBC has found. Zam Zam water is taken from a well in Mecca and is considered sacred to Muslims, but samples from the source suggested it held dangerous chemicals. Tourists can bring back small amounts from Saudi Arabia, but it cannot be exported for commercial use. An undercover researcher found large quantities of bottles being sold in east and south London, and in Luton. The president of the Association of Public Analysts said he would “certainly would not recommend” drinking it.

Someone is a member of the ‘church’ of Terry ‘the evil and depraved’ Jones or Fred ‘the perverted and vile’ Phelps.

More on the ‘Lead Codices’ Morass (Sinkhole, cul-de-sac, Sackgasse)

The Christian Science Monitor asks ‘where’d they go and what happened to all the ‘big discovery’ hubbub?’

The question of ownership of the credit-card-sized books, which may bear the earliest likeness of Jesus Christ, and just how they ended up with an Israeli Bedouin truck driver have raised doubt over whether the messages allegedly sealed in lead some 2,000 years ago will ever be decoded.


Since the controversy erupted, Saeda has returned to Israel and has refused scholars further access to the codices, while the Jordanians and Elkington have joined efforts to repatriate the texts to Jordan. Since Jordan announced that it will pursue diplomatic channels to “retrieve” the texts, Israeli antiquities officials have expressed willingness to meet with the Jordanian side, although they deny any involvement with the texts. Their previous lack of response was a source of anxiety in Amman rooted in an ongoing legal contest over the Dead Sea Scrolls.


Saeda admits he has fielded offers, but claims a “higher calling” has prevented him from cashing in on what may be the greatest discovery in biblical archaeology. “I could sell these texts right now, but I believe these are the words of God.”

Oh come now- if you won’t let actual scholars actually examine them (and not just photos of them) then you can’t expect anyone to think them anything but rubbish.  Word of God?  Nonsense.

Jordan wants them (loads of touristy dollars if they can get someone to say they’re authentic and meaningful) but the owner has refused requests by scholars for further access (which makes the whole thing even more shady).  But the fellow at the center of the storm has a solution to the issue-

He has a solution to the international feud over the codices: Place them in a permanent worldwide exhibition. “These manuscripts don’t belong to just one country. They belong to all the countries in the world and all the faiths of the world.”

But that makes no sense at all given his earlier decision not to let scholars examine them (and for Pete’s sake don’t let the not naked not archaeologist not a scholar of anything but moneymaking Simcha Jacobovici have access to them- by the time he’s done distorting them like he does everything else they’ll be golden tablets from heaven dug up in a field in New York state by a deranged self styled ‘prophet’).

I stand by my earlier assessment of the things- give them to real scholars or put them in the dumpster where they belong.

[By the way, I think Sackgasse is the PERFECT name for Joel’s blog.  Let’s all ask him to change it from Unsettled something or other to that!}

In Which Joel Proves that Most of His Blog Readers Live in West Virginia and Texas

Joel’s got a poll going and the goal of the poll is to establish once and for all whether America or Canada is the ‘better’ country (and no, I have no idea what criteria he has in mind.  Is it the weather, politics, open prairies, gas prices, who knows….)  At any rate the only thing, I think, his poll proves is that 1) most of his blog readers live in West Virginia or Texas and 2) they haven’t traveled much or thought deeply about anything at all.

[But I wanted to give the little guy a bit of a boost.  Poor thing is now more than 10,000 websites away on the 3 month average from being me and beating me.  10,000 is a big hurdle to overcome and he needs a lift up the wall – no matter how futile that lift may be].

Posted in Humor, Total Depravity | Comments Off on In Which Joel Proves that Most of His Blog Readers Live in West Virginia and Texas

Reviewing ‘The Invention of the Jewish People’

Al-Ahram Weekly has a pretty good review of Shlomo Sands’ ”The Invention of the Jewish People’.

Complacency and political convenience have conspired to blur the vision of Israeli historians and biblical scholars to gross factual errors unearthed by contemporary archaeology since the inception of the Zionist state. Israel is today repeating that folly. The Zionist entity is continually reinventing the wheel. Its politicians and academicians, historians and archaeologists monotonously sound like a scratched gramophone when they insist that the Jews of the world are simultaneously a race, an ethnicity and a religious community.


The political implications of Sand’s nonconformist work are tremendous and groundbreaking. Contemporary Jewry have virtually nothing to do with the ancient Judeans. Sand declares the Old Testament to be “Mythistory”. The vast majority of modern-day Jewry are descendants of the proselytized peoples of the medieval empires of the Kagans and the Khazars who moved progressively westwards into the Slavic lands of Eastern Europe and Russia.

If so, then the predominant ethnic ancestry of Eastern European Jewry can be traced back in history not to the River Jordan, but to the River Volga. These contemporary Israelis who immigrated to Israel were not the descendants of the Judeans of Canaan, but rather of the Khazars of the Caucasus. The crux of the matter, the bombshell that Sand detonates, and this is a most contentious issue in Israel today, is that the Jews of contemporary Israel are not biologically the seed of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.

If so, how can they sincerely claim Palestine as the “Promised Land”? From the creation of the State of Israel in 1948, European Jewry posed as the hegemon. “Constructing a nation can also lead to the opposite outcome. Cultural-linguistic minorities, which had not been sharply defined before the era of nationalism, begin to acquire — owing to hasty engineering dictated from the centre, or to alienating discrimination — a new, distinguishing sense of identity,” the author perceptively points out.

There’s loads and loads more which will surely stir up discussion (even though Sands’ book has been out several years, it has received virtually no attention among biblical scholars who, apparently, are just not interested all that much in history.

If you don’t want to read the book, at least read the review.

The Reformed Church in China…

There’s a fascinating piece today in the Reformed News about the Reformed Church in China. Do give it a read. It commences

Ende Mai zeichnet die Redaktion «Sternstunden» des Schweizer Fernsehens einen protestantischen Gottesdienst in Nanjing auf. Es ist dies die alte chinesische Hauptstadt im Osten des Landes. Seit dem dritten christlichen Jahrhundert besitzt die zweitgrösste Stadt Chinas eine Universität.

China is much in Church news these days for good reason.  It is one of the places where Christianity is thriving even though persecution is common.  Perhaps the Chinese Church needs to send Missionaries to Europe and North America.

Posted in Church History | Comments Off on The Reformed Church in China…

There’s Actually Something Interesting in the New Number of the JBL!

Who knew…  Sometimes, finding useful essays in JBL is like finding an honest man.  So with delight I mention to you A New Discussion of the Meaning of the Phrase ‘am hā’āreṣ in the Hebrew Bible. The author

… seeks to examine the issue from the perspective of its literary function in each context and, accordingly, the plausible intent of the author who chose to employ it. It will do to begin by taking stock of the major developments and influential essays relevant to this interpretative problem. As some of the earlier positions are either outmoded or have already been discussed ad nauseam, I will limit critical remarks to a minimum. After the time line has been traced, however, I intend to engage the most recent research on the issue, especially that of Lisbeth Fried. Because her work is specific to the fourth chapter of Ezra, much of the present discussion will interact with that text. Finally, after amassing a critical understanding of all these works, I shall describe how a more nuanced understanding of the term’s function might better elucidate its proper interpretation.


Ben Myers on Jacob Taubes

At this year’s AAR panel on Jacob Taubes and Christian Theology, I’ll be giving a paper titled “Jacob Taubes: Apocalyptic Time and the Retreat from History”. I wrote a paper last year on Taubes’ interpretation of Paul; this one will focus more on his recently translated works, Occidental Eschatology and From Cult to Culture. Here’s my rather long and rambling abstract:

(actually you’ll have to go here to read it).  Ben’s paper sounds like a lot of fun.  It calls to mind the heady days when gnosticism was thought to be important.  Thankfully, now we know better and most see that gnosticism is as important to our understanding of early Christianity as telling the truth is to a politician running for office.

At Sheffield: A Public Lecture on Doubt

All the details are here.

Former Poet Laureate (1999-2009), and Professor of Creative Writing at Royal Holloway, University of London, Sir Andrew presents a programme of reflections and readings about faith, the King James Bible, the meaning of sound, and un-faith.

Posted in Bible | Comments Off on At Sheffield: A Public Lecture on Doubt

Violence is Never the Answer

Even if it’s Justin Bieber who has roused your ire!  Sure, he can’t sing worth squat and he’s just another one of the many ‘Disney’ corporate creations and he’s Canadian (!)  But that doesn’t mean he should be pelted with eggs.

Teenager charged after throwing eggs at Justin Bieber. Eggs missed teenage pop star but Sydney resident charged with causing malicious damage. An Australian teenager was charged today with breaking into the roof of a concert arena so he could throw eggs at Canadian pop sensation Justin Bieber. The 17-year-old heartthrob, touring Australia, has been mobbed by screaming girls at sold-out shows, but had eggs thrown at him when performing his first single One Time at a concert in Sydney on Friday. None hit him and he finished singing the song before taking a break so the stage could be cleaned up.

It’s not like Aussies are any better than Canadians, for pete’s sake… so there’s no cause for this Aussie kid to strike out.

What’s The One Certainty When There’s A Disaster in America?

The appearance soon afterwards of scammers and looters.

The arrest of a suspect for stealing tools from a home on Williamsburg Road brings to seven the number of arrests by Bradley County Sheriff’s deputies in areas sustaining heavy damage from last Wednesday’s storms.  The most recent arrest came just after midnight Wednesday when deputies were called to a reported burglary-in-progress at a home on Williamsburg Road. A concerned citizen called 9-1-1 after seeing someone in the residence with a flashlight. The home is one of many in this area that is uninhabitable.  When deputies got there they say they found Scott Charles Carey, age 37, kneeling behind some bushes. Carey, who lived nearby, had a plastic bag containing a number of tools that property owner Carl Schlageter identified as his.

How odd people are.  Now of course these Cretans are in the minority- most people are decent and want to help other folks suffering in distress.  But why is it that whenever there is some disaster there will be a scammer and a looter on the scene as fast as a fly on a pile of dung?  Because, as I may have pointed out a time or two, unaided by the grace of Christ, people are incapable of doing good and can, and will, only do evil.

Posted in Total Depravity | Tagged | Comments Off on What’s The One Certainty When There’s A Disaster in America?