Daily Archives: 9 Jul 2011

An Evening of Soccer

Spent the eve at the Knoxville Soccer game.  Sorry the photos of the team on the field aren’t clearer.  I used my phone camera.  But you get the gist I hope.

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Antonio Lombatti’s Report on the London SBL

Check it out.  Very envious.  Wish I could have gone.  Alas and alack, one can’t go to everything one wishes.

Well, I’ve Got More Invites to Send for Google Plus

For the time being anyway, ask and I’ll send till I have no more to share.  Especially if you’re the guy who asked for one and I had to email, with regret, and say I was out.

The 2012 Biblical Studies Carnivals

I organized the 2011 series and I won’t be doing it in 2012.  If you decide you want to (and frankly, because of all the recent backbiting I don’t care if you do or not) let me know and I’ll be happy to spread the word.

It’s a good bit of work.  Volunteers will drop out at the last minute or – and this happens very often – you’ll hear endless complaints from people who never volunteer to do anything.  They’re always the ones who screech most loudly.

I mention it now because, first of all, it takes a while to get people enlisted, and second, and mostly, because of the recent onslaught of complaints leveled at Brady and the McGrathian ‘I don’t like the way they’re named and I think they should be named something else’.  So, let’s see if the carpers decide to organize it for 2012 or if they just sit there with their hands up their noses.  Either way, in the words of Kierkegaard, they will regret it.  They will regret it if they do because they will be the recipients of complaints and they will regret it if they don’t because they’ll imagine all year that, naturally, they ‘could have done it better’.

Let’s see if McGrath or Gayle take the reins or let fly a host of reasons why they can’t.  If they let the Carnival die, I won’t care.  I’ll just do my own.

Penn State’s Cozy Relationship With the Oil and Gas Industry

Tower for drilling horizontally into the Marce...

A truly fascinating segment today on This American Life on the cozy relationship the gas industry has with Penn State and the consequences of straying from the industry line.  It is must listening, showing, as it does, the connection between ‘neutral’ academics and industrial interests.

Host Ira Glass tells the stories of two professors, each making a calculation that no one had made before. One gets acclaim. One ends up out of a job. The first, Terry Engelder, a geologist at Penn State, was estimating the amount of natural gas that’s recoverable from the Marcellus shale, a giant rock formation that’s under Pennsylvania and several other Eastern states. The second, Conrad “Dan” Volz, at the University of Pittsburg, estimated how much toxic crap—chemicals and pollution from gas exploration—might be getting into water supplies.

Guess which of those two lost his job…

Rejoicing When Others Suffer

I have a bit of a problem with calling things a ‘back door blessing‘.  I think it would be far better if churches were growing because the Gospel was being preached and God was being served and members were learning and growing and living lives of discipleship.

When churches grow because some disaster has occurred you can be assured of one thing for certain: those who come to find help during the aftermath will leave as soon as the trouble has faded from memory.  They’re users of God, seeking help in times of distress rather than servants of God, adhering to Him in worship and Fellowship in spite of and regardless of events or situations.

God-users, like all similar persons, have a mercenary attitude towards life.  ‘What can I get’ is their central question, not ‘what can I give’.  And when the pot goes empty and the lamp runs dry they’ll depart to greener pastures.

But of course Jesus knew of such persons long ago when he told a remarkable little parable describing just their sort:

“Behold, a sower went out to sow. And as he sowed, some seed fell by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. He who has ears to hear, let him hear.”

3/4ths of the persons who claim faith are simply part-time and short-term. 1/4th will become more than they were before, die to themselves, and yield fruit (in the same way that seeds die but give life to multiples of themselves).

Churches which rejoice when others suffer betray their true motive: numbers. They see disaster as a chance to swell for a time, increase public visibility, inflate pastoral prestige, and be viewed as ‘up and coming’. But what they miss is that the secret to real Kingdom Growth is death to self. That’s the only way the Church can really grow and that’s the only kind of growth that matters to the Lord of the Church. Growth through misery may be popular, but it isn’t substantive. When misery fades away, as it always does with the passing of time, so to do those who mercenarily ‘follow’ Christ (always at a distance and never with a willingness to die to self).

Are All Juries as Inept as the Anthony Jury?

Scott Simon thinks not.  And sure, not all jurors are that incompetent or unthinking or un-observant.  Most are upstanding folk doing their best at a hard job.  But if even a majority of  jurors were that inept, the justice system would be in a mess…  And we all know that that’s not the case at all…

Simon asserts

The jury system was created so that ordinary citizens can judge people accused of a crime: not officials, politicians, academic experts or pundits. There is something noble about putting such absolute power in the hands of normal people.  Juries can reach wrong verdicts. But justice will succeed when juries know that if they take their responsibilities seriously—and most juries I have seen close-up have—they are free to reach decisions they know may be unpopular.

‘Most juries’ get it right.  Can’t we do better than 51% when it comes to meting out justice?  Or are we just happy with 51%?

So, Kara Cooney, I’m Impressed

During my usual Saturday morning cleaning-fest I happened to tune in to the ‘Planet Green‘ channel to watch a documentary on the devil. It was hosted by Kara Cooney (about whom I had never before heard- sorry) and have to say that she’s quite impressive.

First, she knows her stuff.  Really.  Second, she’s very articulate.  Third, she’s a great communicator. Fourth, she puts the not naked not archaeologist to shame with her far superior abilities and spectacular training.

She teaches Egyptology at UCLA and is probably as excellent in class as she is on the screen.

So, all that said, if you happen to see her name on a tv documentary, check it out.  It won’t be likely to disappoint.

Google Plus: An Observation

Playing around with Google+ I can see it has one clear advantage over Facebook: it isn’t as cluttered. Being much more streamlined, it’s friendlier to the eyes.

Dead Sea Discoveries, Vol 18.1 is Available

A bit late but containing a number of interesting looking essays.

Rest in Peace, Betty Ford

News overnight that Betty Ford, wife of former President Gerald Ford, has died at the age of 93.  May she rest in peace and may God strengthen her family at her loss.