Daily Archives: 28 May 2011

David Lamb’s Blog

David, previously mentioned as he’s the author of God Behaving Badly has a new blog (with 2 whole posts!).  Check it out.  The latest one is pretty funny (especially the part where he mentions promoting his book at his son’s birthday party!).

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Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Modern Culture


I Wasn’t Aware that Canada Was home of Christian Zionists Too

I thought Americans were the only one’s blind and foolish enough to worship at the altar of ‘Israel only-ism’ in terms of Mid East policy.  Unfortunately the Canadians go there too and worship at the Bibi grove.

At the request of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Canadian Prime Minister Stephen Harper thwarted an announcement Friday by the G-8 countries that would have supported U.S. President Barack Obama’s statement that talks between the Palestinians and Israel should be based on the 1967 borders with exchanges of territory.

Canadians, I’m disappointed.  Truly.

“Canada is a true friend of Israel and with a realistic and proper view of things, it understands that the 1967 borders do not conform to Israel’s security needs and with the current demographic reality.”

Indeed it is.  Just like the US.  The only two countries on the planet that, along with Israel, think the Palestinians are in need of a good old fashioned extermination.  Meanwhile, friendship with Israel is a one way street.  Israel serves its own interests only, always.  Other countries can do what their ‘friend’ there wants, but their ‘friend’ there will ignore any reciprocation.


Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Total Depravity


God Behaving Badly: Is the God of the Old Testament Angry, Sexist and Racist?

The present volume comes for review courtesy of the goodly folk at IVP Academic.  God Behaving Badly, by David Lamb addresses the somewhat common idea these days that God is a bad guy.

Lamb’s work is simultaneously witty and touching. The personal anecdotes which pepper the volume illustrate the point and bring a smile to the reader. And his familiarity with popular culture is made plain in references to The Office and Monty Python (along with numerous others).  But these references aren’t merely window dressing or pandering to a hip audience.  They illustrate points.  Many a biblical scholar would do well to learn the art of illustration.  Lamb has it down cold.

In eight chapters Lamb examines some of the more ‘difficult’ texts in the biblical writings.  Specifically, he looks at God’s ‘bad reputation’, asks if God is loving or angry, sexist or affirming, racist or hospitable, violent or peaceful, legalistic or gracious, rigid or flexible, and distant or near.  The volume also includes discussion questions, notes, a bibliography, and a scripture index.

The book is well suited to general readers and students.  Lamb’s look at the death of Uzzah is particularly interesting as is his glance at the question whether God is legalistic or gracious and in connection with it, the first and second commands of the Bible which Lamb rightly points out are ‘be fruitful and multiply’ and ‘eat of every tree except…’  Of these Lamb provocatively suggests that the Bible encourages God’s people to ‘have lots of sex and eat a lot of food’ (pp. 116ff).  He’s right to note that ‘sex and food were two great gifts God gave the humans’ (p. 117).  Naturally these gifts have an appropriate context and Lamb doesn’t at all suggest some sort of carte blanche of hedonism.  ‘The Old Testament begins by revealing a highly generous God’ (p. 118).  So very true.

Lamb’s book is what may well be called a ‘theodicy’, in the most literal sense of the word.  Here, Lamb ‘justifies God’.  God is shown to be no monster but something quite else.  A loving Father who corrects and disciplines those whom he loves and punishes those who would snatch defeat from the mouth of victory.  Lamb’s God is the biblically revealed God.

When it comes to the rigidity of God, Lamb insists that God is ‘unwaveringly committed to doing God’ (p. 138).  God is firm in his love for humanity and unwavering in his commitment to do good.  Yet Lamb is aware of the fact that the Bible does say that God ‘changes’ or ‘repents’.  So our author offers a little list of things God will and will not change (pp. 149-150).

Overall the book is excellent.  It doesn’t cover everything that could be covered (for instance, Psalm 137’s ‘dash their babies against a stone’ is left aside) but what single volume could?  It isn’t a thorough ‘theodicy’ but that isn’t its goal  Given the volume’s purpose, and its author’s aim- all is achieved admirably.

I recommend it both to Professors teaching Old Testament introduction and to Pastors teaching ‘the difficult questions of the Bible’.  Class and congregation could learn much from Lamb, because it’s quite plain to see that Lamb has learned much from a careful reading of the Bible.


Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Bible, Books, Theology


Chris Tilling Posts Again on Wright…

And in spite of the fact that he likes Wright (I shall always treasure the memory of watching Chris cross the street in San Diego and throwing himself on the ground in front of the Bishop so that his shoe wouldn’t touch a piece of gum), he does a fair job of pointing out just a few of Wright’s wrongs.

NT Wright (l) and Chris Tilling (r)

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Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Humor


Well That’s Certainly a Dissapointment…

Lionel Messi scored one goal and created another Saturday, leading Barcelona to a 3–1 victory over Manchester United and a third Champions League title in six years.  Barcelona dominated play at Wembley with trademark one-touch passing, but the Spanish champions needed the Argentine striker to conjure a 54th-minute solo strike from the edge of the penalty area to take the lead for the second time.



Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Modern Culture


Conference Announcement: The Zwingliverein

Zwingliverein Mitgliederversammlung und Vortrag

Einladung zur Mitgliederversammlung des Zwinglivereins mit anschliessendem Vortrag. Mitgliederversammlung: Donnerstag, 16. Juni 2011, 17.00 Uhr, Breitinger-Saal des Kulturhauses Helferei, Kirchgasse 13, 8001 Zürich

Anschliessend 17:30 Uhr: öffentlicher Vortrag von Dr. Jan-Andrea Bernhard, Pfarrer in Castrisch GR, zum Thema “Die Bedeutung der reformatorischen Helvetica für die Synodal- und Konfessionsgeschichte im Gebiet Jenseits-der-Theiss (Debrecen, Partium)“.

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Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Conferences, Zwingli


A Little Boy Killed By a Dog: The Story that Never Ends

In spite of these kinds of stories coming around every few months, parents continue to insist on owning dangerous animals. They may as well just put a loaded gun on the kitchen table and see how long it takes for the little ones to grab it and pull the trigger.

A 4-year-old boy left alone by his mother was killed when a family dog savagely mauled him as his two terrified brothers watched helplessly, cops and witnesses said. Neighbors rushed to the Pacific St. home in Brownsville about 9:15 p.m. Friday after hearing the mother’s desperate cries for help when the dog latched onto the boy’s throat, witnesses said. “Help! He ate my baby! He ate my baby!” the mother wailed, according to one witness. Police said the mom insisted that she only left the boys alone for five minutes, and returned to find the dog tearing at her son. “The baby was bit in the head and neck,” said neighbor Anthony Brown, 35. “The baby wasn’t moving.”

Why did she leave the little ones alone???? WHY?????? 5 minutes… sure.  People never learn.  Unfortunately, their actions usually have ill effects on others.


Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Total Depravity


Joel Was Ahead for One Day, But Now He’s Not, Again.

Joel sprang ahead for a day. One day. Now he’s back down to #2. When Jeremy posts the official rankings on the 31st it should be interesting (though of course someone will demand a recount!)



Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Humor


You Can Take it When You Rip it From My Cold, Dead Hand


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Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Humor


Minimum Wage Earners are Really Struggling

And though I realize neither the government nor the powerful care- some of us do.  Which is why mentioning this is worth the effort.

All night long, Jose Garcia performs his job while surrounded by food — a painful bit of irony, he says.

The 52-year-old Mexican immigrant works the overnight shift cleaning floors inside a Cub Foods store in Minneapolis, Minn., a job he’s mostly appreciated for the nine years he’s held it down. But lately, waxing aisle after aisle filled with groceries has simply reminded him of how little he has.

Despite his long tenure with the same cleaning company, Garcia says he earns a wage of $9 an hour — more or less the same rate he was making when he started cleaning floors back in 2002. Taking inflation into account, his salary has effectively gone down since he started working on the cleaning crew.

There are times when he can’t afford as much food as he’d like. He says it pains him to see workers at the store throw out unsold perishables like roasted chicken at the end of the night.

And there’s more. America is becoming ever more a society of haves and have nots.  And the haves (and their bought and paid for Congressmen) are getting more and more whilst the have nots have less and less.  Judgement can’t be that far around the corner.  Read Amos 8:4ff

Hear this, you who trample on the needy and bring the poor of the land to an end, saying, “When will the new moon be over, that we may sell grain? And the Sabbath, that we may offer wheat for sale, that we may make the ephah small and the shekel great and deal deceitfully with false balances, that we may buy the poor for silver and the needy for a pair of sandals and sell the chaff of the wheat?” The LORD has sworn by the pride of Jacob:”Surely I will never forget any of their deeds. Shall not the land tremble on this account, and everyone mourn who dwells in it, and all of it rise like the Nile, and be tossed about and sink again, like the Nile of Egypt?” “And on that day,” declares the Lord GOD, “I will make the sun go down at noon and darken the earth in broad daylight. I will turn your feasts into mourning and all your songs into lamentation; I will bring sackcloth on every waist and baldness on every head; I will make it like the mourning for an only son and the end of it like a bitter day.

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Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Bible, Modern Culture


Joplin is Still Worth Thinking Of

The death toll from the monster tornado last week in Missouri has risen by seven to at least 139, city spokeswoman Lynn Onstot said Saturday. That makes this the deadliest year for tornadoes since 1950, based on an assessment of figures from the National Weather Service.  The tornado death toll for 2011 is now 520. Until now, the highest recorded death toll in a single year was 519 in 1953. There were deadlier storms before 1950, but those counts were based on estimates and not on precise figures.

The people who survived the storm, as well as those in Tuscaloosa, still need help.

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Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Modern Culture


Conference Announcement: For Our South American Colleagues

Airton Jose da Silva announces

O Instituto Humanitas Unisinos – IHU está publicando o projeto e a convocação do Congresso Continental de Teologia, a ser realizado, neste Instituto da Unisinos, nos dias 8 a 11 de outubro de 2012.  Leia o texto elaborado pela Comissão Organizadora:  Congresso Continental de Teologia. Projeto e convocação – 50 anos do Vaticano II e 40 anos da Teologia Latino-americana.  Este texto foi publicado nas Notícias do Dia de 07/07/2010 e também na edição 337 da revista IHU On-Line, de 02/08/2010 e pode ser lido, por exemplo, na edição em pdf, nas p. 37-39. Gosto da versão em pdf da revista porque traz notas de rodapé, enriquecendo o texto.

If you’re in Brazil this may be something you want to attend.

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Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Conferences


‘Prayer Changes Things’?

No, it doesn’t.  God changes things.  Viewing prayer as the means by which things are changed is to view prayer as nothing more than a ‘magical talisman’.  Such a view has nothing whatsoever to do with the biblical notion of prayer.

The next time someone tells you ‘prayer changes things’ politely respond ‘such a view is paganism’.


Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Theology


Egypt Reclaims a Prize

The University of Leipzig is to lose an ancient Egyptian collection which it bought in 1936 from a Jewish professor, Georg Steindorff, a court ruled Thursday.  A court in Berlin decided that the collection must be handed to the Jewish Claims Conference (JCC), as Steindorff had sold it for a value far below its actual worth.  Leipzig university could produce no evidence to counter the charge that Steindorff had been forced to sell his collection under Nazi rule. It had taken the case to court in the hope of keeping the antique objects that the professor had collected on research trips.  Steindorff, who held Leipzig’s Egyptology chair, emigrated from Nazi Germany and died in the US in 1951.

No comment.


Posted by on 28 May 2011 in Politics


Sad News: D.R. ap-Thomas Has Died

From the SOTS Secretary-

D R ap-Thomas, a former President of SOTS (1974) and its oldest surviving member, died on May 19th; his funeral took place today (May 27) – the day before he would have celebrated his 99th birthday.

There’s an obituary here.

Dafydd Rhys ap-Thomas was born 27 May 1912, the son of the Revd and Mrs. W. Keinion Thomas. Aged 20, he was proposed by Seion Beaumaris and accepted by the Anglesey Association as a lay-preacher. This was in 1932, the year his father died. He graduated in Hebrew in Bangor in 1934 before going to Mansfield College, Oxford to study for a higher degree.

Studying in Berlin

As Semitic studies was his field of interest, he went to study at the University of Berlin in 1937. Germany was not an easy place at that time and he returned to lecture in Hebrew at the University College of North Wales in 1938. He remained at the College until retiring in 1976, being highly regarded by fellow staff members and students alike.

Dafydd ap-Thomas was Secretary of the Society for Old Testament Study (1961-72) and President in 1973-4. He published a plethora of scholarly writings and was responsible for significant volumes being translated into English, such as the Norwegian Sigmund Mowinckel’s The Psalms in Israel’s Worship 2 volumes 1962. He chaired the Old Testament Panel of the The New Welsh Bible 1988.

This is sad news indeed. He was a fantastic scholar.

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Posted by on 28 May 2011 in SOTS