Idolatry or a Coloring Book: You Decide

Look carefully at this volume, and especially at the subtitle.  And then ask yourself a series of questions:

A- Is it a coloring book?
B- Is the theology of NT Wright what the local church should base its behavior and praxis upon?
C- Why does the author think everyone needs NT Wright?

A’- If you answered yes to 1, you’re a saint.
B’- If you answered yes to 2, you’re a heretic.  The local church doesn’t base its behavior upon the theology of an ex-Bishop, it bases it upon the theology of the Bible.
C’ – If you answered ‘because he’s a heretic’ you’re a saint and if you answered ‘because they do’ you’re the heretic!

[Photo courtesy (!) Mark Stevens]

Boy That’s One Testy Judge

A deputy High Court judge assaulted his wife during a row after he became “irritated” that she was comforting their cleaner while he was left without supper, a court was told yesterday.

Well that’s grounds for assault for sure, isn’t it Mr Testy!

James Allen QC, 62, told the court that his wife’s bruises were self-inflicted after she punched herself in the face. He claimed that, as the row continued, his wife snatched his glasses and crushed them to stop him leaving, before trying to grab the car keys from the ignition.

Bradford magistrates were told that Melanie Allen was cooking the evening meal when their cleaner, Amanda Clark, arrived and wanted to speak to her. Mr Allen was unaware that Mrs Clark’s mother had just been diagnosed with cancer. He took a file from his study and went upstairs to read until he heard Mrs Clark leave the house in Wakefield 90 minutes later.

“To be honest, I was irritable,” he told the court. “When I entered the kitchen I told the wife I was not very happy with Mrs Clark having visited. I had had nothing to eat all day and could not be bothered now.” He said the argument became more heated and he intended to drive away while his wife, an assistant deputy coroner, “cooled off”.

There’s more and it’s equally bizarre.  Oh Britain.  I love you.  You’re my own little Sarah Palin… a constant source of useful comic material.

Ehud Netzer Memorial Lecture

Via Joseph Lauer

A seminar was held this week in memory of Prof. Ehud Netzer, one of Israel’s leading archaeologists, who died several months ago after being injured during an excavation at the Herodion site.

The seminar was held by the Herzog College in Gush Etzion, the Kfar Etzion Field School, and the Gush Etzion Tourism Authority. In addition to professionals who lectured on the recent findings in Herodion, the seminar also included members of Netzer’s family who spoke about him and his legacy.

As well, special tours were conducted by professional tour guides and lecturers around subjects such as Hevron and the Cave of the Patriarchs, the Hasmonean palaces in Jericho, new research at Herodion, and following new discoveries from the time of the Second Temple.

It’s hard to believe he’s not working any longer and quite saddening.  What a fantastic archaeologist.

Answering Your Letters

Dear Jim,

You seem to be unbending.  Why are you so harsh and strict?

Alan

Well Alan I think I can answer your question with the same brevity with which you ask it.  Because there’s too much bending by pastors and theologians today.  Too much accommodation.  Too much willingness to blink or draw back or hesitate or, if I may put it this way, cower.   Too little discipline (among Christians and churches) because too little discipleship.

Discipleship, in the sense of ‘taking up your cross’ and following Jesus, is virtually dead these days.  Instead, we’ve managed to raise a generation of Christians who live for self, lack any sense of community, and deny any notion of responsibility.  Consequently, Christianity in America is a pale imitation of what it once was and now should be.  Seeker sensitives and Emergents have so watered down the Gospel in the eyes of society that anyone who stands up for something and against perversions of all sorts is seen as harsh or strict.

In short, I’m not really harsh or strict.  I just look that way because so many have thrown their cross on the ground and taken up in its place a box of pizza and a new car giveaway

Ok, so I didn’t manage to be brief.

Yours,

Jim

Is He Mentally Incompetent or Just Plain Evil?

Jared Lee Loughner has been found mentally incompetent to stand trial in the Jan. 8 shooting rampage in Tucson, Ariz., that left six dead and 13 wounded, including congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords of Arizona.  Before being declared mentally incompetent today by federal judge Larry Burns, Loughner yelled: “Thank you for the freak show,” “She died in front of me” and “You’re treasonous.” He was removed from the courtroom.

Isn’t anyone who kills someone else more than disturbed?  How could anyone sane kill someone else?  Isn’t the ‘mentally incompetent’ defense an open invitation to commit whatsoever crime one wishes and thereby bypass human (never divine) justice?  Was this guy unbalanced or just a very clever actor cleverly coached by a defense attorney?

And isn’t it easier (and more palatable) for people today to believe that a person who would do what he (and other ‘insane’ people do) would have to be more than a bit unbalanced instead of believing that true evil exists and that there are truly evil people motivated to the vilest of deeds by nothing other than wickedness?

Maybe we modern / postmodern Americans like the idea of mental illness more than we like the idea of incarnate evil.  Maybe we like it better because it makes us feel better about ourselves or it helps us accept the bizarre notion that ‘people are basically good’ and that they only do terribly evil things when they are out of their minds.

Innocent by reason of insanity?  He’s hardly innocent, even if he is insane.  He’s guilty of brutality, murder, and wickedness.  He killed, don’t forget, a number of people including a small child.  Driven by mental imbalance?  Only God knows.  For my part, I’m not willing to close my eyes to the very real possibility that evil walks in human form more frequently than most of us would care to admit.

Congress to the Palestinians: Drop Dead

In a direct and simple essay MJ Rosenberg eviscerates the US Congress for it’s pandering to Israel in the matter of the Palestinians.  Rosenberg takes the gloves off in a way seldom seen (unfortunately) in the American press.

He’s right, Congress has acted disgracefully.  They deserve to be taken to the proverbial (and literal) woodshed and boy are they.

If anyone had any doubt about whether the Palestinians would declare a state in September, they can’t have them now.

On Tuesday, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu delivered a speech to Congress that essentially was a series of insults to Palestinians and every insult was met by applause and standing ovations.

In fact, Netanyahu’s appearance itself was an insult.

In the entire history of the United States, only four foreign leaders have addressed joint sessions of Congress more than once.

Prime Minister Winston Churchill, America’s great ally, addressed Congress three times during World War II. President Nelson Mandela was honored for destroying apartheid and freeing South Africa. Prime Minister Yitzhak Rabin was recognized for opening negotiations with the Palestinian people.

And now Netanyahu. For what?

In his entire term in office he has done nothing but reject every request by the United States that he take some action (like freezing settlements) to promote Israeli-Palestinian negotiations. In the history of Israel, there has been no prime minister as hardline on Palestinian rights and as indifferent to the wishes of the United States as Netanyahu.

Read the rest.  It’s not long and its’ most definitely worth your time.  Kudos to Mr Rosenberg.  I salute you sir.

More News on the Upcoming Announcement of the ‘Discovery’ of ‘Jonah’s Tomb’

For the first post in what looks like it will become a series, go here.  Since posting that I’ve received notification (today) that the National Geographic has actually bought Simcha’s film and that said film has actually been previewed by at least three scholars (who probably are not at liberty to say anything about it.  These things tend to be hidden behind a wall of non-disclosure forms).

What is interesting, however, is that in spite of the fact that there’s ample reason to call into question the ‘discovery’, NatGeo insists on going forward and will doubtless do so in order to reap a monetary harvest.

Stay tuned.  More will come in due course I’m certain, since when it comes to making a dollar it isn’t scholarship and accuracy which matter but bogus and unsubstantiated fantastic claims which grab the gullible public’s ignorant attention.

Protestants Have Bigger Brains than Catholics!

And that’s not me, it’s science!

For decades, mainline Protestants have been beset by bad news: declining numbers, aging membership, waning cultural influence.A new study from Duke University Medical Center, however, gives these Protestants one reason for cheer: they seem to have larger brains than born-again Christians, Roman Catholics and the religiously unaffiliated.

Sadly the silly people at USA Today don’t know that Protestant, Reformed, and the rest are ‘born again’.  More media theological ineptitude.  Fortunately, the media people didn’t perform the study.

Anyway, yeah for us!  Naturally this also explains why true Christians practice baptism by immersion, attend worship twice on Sunday and on Wednesday night, and have Vacation Bible School in the Summer.  They don’t worship images and they don’t call the Lord’s Supper the ‘Eucharist’.  They don’t drink wine but grape juice and they don’t eat wafers and call them ‘the body of Christ’.  And it’s all because we have bigger brains!

And that’s not just me, that’s science!

What do You Get When you Combine a Kiwi with an Air Hose?

A human balloon!

A New Zealand trucker was “blown up like a balloon” in a freak air hose accident—and lived to tell the tale. Steven McCormack slipped on the plate between his truck’s cab and trailer, ripping the hose away from the compressed air reservoir that powered his rig’s brakes. The exposed nozzle pierced his buttock and pumped air into his body, which expanded dramatically, reports the BBC.

“I felt the air rush into my body and I felt like it was going to explode from my foot,” McCormack says. “It felt like I had the bends, like in diving. I had no choice but just to lay there, blowing up like a balloon,” he says. The trucker’s colleagues heard his cries and came to the rescue, turning off the air and placing him on his side so he could breathe. Doctors say the air separated fat from muscle and they’re amazed his skin didn’t burst.

Only in New Zealand…

Stpehen Smuts Hates You and He Wants you to Die

Here’s the proof… he’s posted a note about Justin Bieber… bad enough.  But it mentions Bieber’s ‘Yeshua’ tattoo.  Worse.  but he also included a photo of Bieber- meaning, unquestionably, that Stephen wants you to hurl yourself off the nearest cliff like the swine possessed by the demons of Gerasene.  And that’s what I’m going to do right now.  Thanks, Stephen, for driving me off the edge.

Justin Bieber Gets a 'Yeshua' Tattoo The Jewish Daily Forward, is reporting: A month after his first visit to Israel, Justin Bieber has gotten a Hebrew tattoo. The 17-year-old pop star showed off the new ink during a visit to Hawaii with his girlfriend this week. (Because that’s what normal 17-year-olds do: get tattoos and go to Hawaii with their girlfriends.) The letters spell out “Yeshua,” or Jesus, in Hebrew. Israel’s Mako website speculates that the Christian singer may have bee … Read More

via Fr Stephen’s Blog

Quote of the Day

Oprah signs off today… where will adults go to hear the fairy tales about the magic they can do? How will evil dilettantes (*cough, cough* Deepak) spread their message of foolishness? — Scott Bailey

Brilliant. But there is an answer to Scott’s question- it’s called Beliefnet.

More ‘Drinking Makes You Do Stupid Things’ News

A Cumberland Gap, Tennessee man who has taught for years in southeastern Kentucky was charged with being intoxicated at school.  Math teacher Thomas A. Baker, 48, was arrested outside his classroom at Bell County High School on Tuesday morning.  Baker is charged with public intoxication by a controlled substance.  School Superintendent George Thompson says Baker has taught in the Bell County schools for more than 20 years, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.  School board policy requires Baker’s suspension while the charge is resolved.

Showing up drunk at school is bad form.  Though in his defense chances are pretty good some of the students showed up that way too- or stoned out of their minds.  And some of those kids left homes where mom or dad or both were brain rotted by some substance like alcohol or drugs.

Intoxication by various means is a huge problem and as long as it’s winked at, it will continue.  Plus, it makes you look aged well beyond your years…   This guy looks 60, not 48.

Flugschriften

A Flugschrift is, literally, a ‘flying writing’.  Flugschriften are flying writings or writings that fly off the press and into the public’s hands.  Flugschriften is the plural form of Flugschrift.

I mention this because these Flugschriften were to the Reformers what blog posts are to modern theologians and biblical scholars- quickly produced, aimed at the moment, addressing something immediate.  Luther and Zwingli in particular made great use of the (relatively fast) speed small volumes could be produced and distributed.

One such example of this sort of material is the witty and incisive and really scorchingly amusing Die göttliche Mühle which Zwingli commended to his friend Oswald Myconius on the 25th of May, 1521.  It was written by the virtually unknown Martin Seger of Marienfeld.

Emil Egli and Walther Köhler describe and discuss the booklet in Zwingliana 2/12 (1910).  The thing to take away from the production of such pieces is that 1) speed is of the essence when theological battles are being waged; and 2) wit and humor in brevity often make the point better than long and boring discourses.

I’ve Been in Tesco and I didn’t Think It Was All That Large

Certainly not large enough to require sat nav.

Tesco has launched an app which will allow people to locate items using an in-store sat nav system.   The Android-only app allows people to enter in their shopping list and then provides a map to each item, in a bid to save people time looking for goods in the supermarket.  The system is being trialled in one of Tesco’s Extra stores in Essex and also lets people send their shopping list to another person (with the same app on their phone), so they can go shopping on another person’s behalf.

I guess it’s just too hard to ask where something is.  Or, heaven forfend, to actually look for it!   Good grief.  Laziness hits a new low.  Soon someone will come up with something called the ‘personal shopper’ for those people so lazy they can’t even go to the store…

Ok, Ouch!

Hair loss is a common problem that can be caused by a variety of conditions.  Imagine, though, it happening to a young boy because he pulled out his hair.  That’s what Max Sherwood of Riverdale, Iowa, had to endure. Max, 11, has trichotillomania, a psychological disorder that causes people to pull out hair from their head and other parts of the body to the extent that it causes patches of baldness.  “He started to pull out his eyebrows when he was in second grade, then he quit,” mother Candace Sherwood said. “Then, when he started fourth grade, he started to pull out his hair.”

Poor little fella!  Who knew that there was actually a disorder that caused such behavior and that it had a name because it’s happened enough to get one!

Ouch.

The Muslim Brotherhood wants Shariah Law to Govern Egypt

It was inevitable and expected really.

Fears that the Muslim Brotherhood might bring an Islamic regime to Egypt are unfounded, one of the leaders of the recently legalized group said Monday, explaining that shariah is already in the Egyptian constitution.  “If you go to any court in Egypt, they implement shariah [Islamic law] first. This is more than enough for us,” Dr. Ashraf Abdel Ghaffar, one of the leaders of the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, told the Hürriyet Daily News in an interview.  If the Muslim Brotherhood came to power, however, it would only support tourism that does not come “at the cost of the beliefs of the Egyptian people,” he said.

Is there a difference, really, between an Islamic regime and the full implementation of Shariah?  It seems not.  This admission does not bode well for the Christians of Egypt, who are already under attack.

Just Exactly How Far to the Right do you have to be To Slam Bibi For his Liberalism?

Isn’t someone that far to the right either a fascist or having gone full circle, an anarchist?

Hawkish and nationalist Knesset members have criticized Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech to the U.S. Congress on Tuesday, which outlined his vision of a future peace deal with the Palestinians, with lawmakers from Netanyahu’s own Likud party slamming Netanyahu’s proposed concessions.

Good heavens.  They clearly want to kill every Palestinian and toss their bodies into the Dead Sea.  What insanity.

[And by the way Ha’aretz, I purely loathe your auto loading video adverts with their sound blasts.  Totally unnecessary].