Daily Archives: 20 Sep 2011

Jesus at NYU

This Friday, the earliest known images of Christ, from the year 240, go on view in New York for the first time, and they aren’t where you might expect them to be. They are part of a remarkable exhibition at the relatively obscure N.Y.U. Institute for the Study of the Ancient World, a jewel-box of a museum on East 84th Street whose mission, according to exhibitions director Dr. Jennifer Chi, is “to break down preconceived notions of antiquity.”

And furthermore-

“Edge of Empires: Pagans, Jews, and Christians at Roman Dura-Europos” does so with a vengeance, in presenting 77 objects from an excavation in Syria that fundamentally altered the understanding of art, culture and religion in the ancient world.

With thanks to Chuck Jones on FB for the tip.

I’m Bummed Out

The logo of the blogging software WordPress.

I’ve just discovered, with my own eyes, that WordPress posts ads on my content and such ads are viewable on individual posts (rather than the home page).

That bums me out.  There’s no such thing as a free blog…  I apologize to one and all.  It isn’t my fault.

I have no qualms with WordPress making money.  I just wish I could approve ad types so that nothing improper is posted.

So, I’m bummed out.

Where in the World is Chris Tilling Now?

Sadly he’s about to be evicted

An exasperated Italian couple has resorted to legal help to kick their 41-year-old son out of the house, in the latest case to highlight the phenomenon of Italy’s stay-at-home “bamboccioni” or mummy’s boys.

Yes, Chris is Italian. He just lists Britain as his home so people don’t know that he’s a bamboccioni.

The elderly couple’s patience with their grown-up offspring has finally run out after what they say is years of cooking him meals and washing and ironing his clothes. They say the man has a perfectly good job and a steady income but has resisted all attempts to persuade him to fly the nest.

Oh Chris, you don’t even do your own clothes? That’s just not fair…

Quote of the Day

μετὰ ψαλλούσης μὴ ἐνδελέχιζε, μήποτε ἁλῷς ἐν τοῖς ἐπιχειρήμασιν αὐτῆς. – Sirach 9:4

Rendered, for the non Greek-sters

Do not associate with a woman singer, lest you be ensnared by her schemings.

[With thanks to Michael Barber for reminding me of the gem].

Afghanistan: Slopping at the American Taxpayer’s Trough

It’s no surprise that the Afghan government is dependent on foreign aid to function. But it’s striking to contemplate just how dependent it has become.

According to a new analysis by the Government Accountability Office, the United States and other donors funded 90 percent of Afghanistan’s total public expenditures from 2006 to 2010. In fiscal 2010, the Kabul government’s entire domestic revenues came out to about $1.6 billion.

For comparison’s sake, since 2002, the United States has allocated over $72 billion to the mission in Afghanistan.

Read the rest and then ask yourself, who is it that profits from supporting a government of beggary?  Which of our politicians are getting kickbacks?  I don’t know about you but I can think of ways to spend that money here.

Did You Know that In Some Parts of the World you Can Be Fined for Hosting a Bible Study?

Where?  Which anti-Christian third world country would restrict the free expression of Christian faith?

If you guessed the United States, you’re right…

A California couple has been fined by the city of San Juan Capistrano for holding Bible studies and religious gatherings in their home, which has some wondering about the future of religious freedom in America. Chuck and Stephanie Fromm, residents of San Juan Capistrano, home to the oldest church in California, were fined $300 for the religious activities, which the city said violated a municipal code that prohibits “religious, fraternal or non-profit” organizations in residential neighborhoods without a conditional-use permit,” the Capistrano Dispatch reported.

Welcome to the land of the free…

That Muffin Costs $16???

At a Justice Department conference, auditors said Monday in a report that doesn’t come close to topping the Pentagon’s legendary $400 hammer and $600 toilet seat but does, the auditors said, expose “wasteful or extravagant spending.’’

Cynthia Schnedar, the Justice Department’s acting inspector general, said in the report that some conferences featured “costly meals, refreshments and themed breaks” and that Justice failed to “minimize” costs as required by federal and internal guidelines.

Among the examples: Beef Wellington hors d’oeuvres at $7.32 per serving; a Cracker Jacks, popcorn and candy snack for $32 per person and coffee costing more than $1 per ounce, making a single cup $8.24.

And the $16 muffins? They were served at a 2009 legal training conference in Washington by Justice’s Executive Office for Immigration Review. The report describes the $4,200 spent on 250 muffins and $2,880 on 300 cookies and brownies (nearly $10 each) as “very costly.’’

So instead of cutting this garbage the feds would prefer to cut welfare and education?  Senseless prats.

Acts 14:8-18 – Paul and Pagans (via Reading Acts)

Hmmm…. interesting.

Acts 14:8-18 - Paul and Pagans When Paul and Barnabas arrive in Lystra, Paul heals a man who was crippled in the feet.  This miracle in intentionally parallel to Peter’s healing in Acts 3, although the results are much different!  In both cases, the man is crippled from birth (3:2, 14:8), in both cases the man responds to his healing by “leaping” (3:6, 14:9), and in both cases the verb “look intently” is used (13:4, 14:9).  While these seem like common enough vocabulary for su … Read More

via Reading Acts

Dear Unhinged ‘Commenter’ Bonnie…

No, I didn’t ‘deilete’ your attempted remarks because I ‘hate the truth’.  I deleted them because you’re clearly insane, ignorant, and unworthy of the space your comments would consume.

I recommend that you go perform your trollish duties for Joel.  He likes trolls.  Indeed, he doesn’t even filter inane remarks so you’ll be right at home.

That is all.

What To Do When You Just Absolutely Hate a Book You’re Reviewing

It doesn’t happen very often.  I usually try to find at least some good point in any book I’ve been asked to review.  After all, every book has at least one good point, right?

Sure, some books are just unreadable and quite frankly I’ve only ever been asked to review a couple of them.  But honesty forbids me any false-ness when it comes to books and what I like and don’t like.  And this book, sorry as I can be IVP Academic (and especially Adrianna), is just purely annoying and nearly unreadable.

Not only have I found it unpleasant, I’ve found it downright appalling.  It made my head hurt and it nearly caused me to have an aneurysm.  The neo-pagan mysticism which its author seems to represent was to my spirit the equivalent of scrapping fingernails on the blackboard.

It’s not that I’m opposed to deep spirituality.  I’m not.  What I am opposed to though, because of my Reformed background, my love of Zwingli and Brunner, and my general personal disposition, is any drawing from or upon even remotely eastern-sounding practices married to Christianity.

When the author of the book in question (on whom see the link above for the title and author) described the sayings of Jesus as the equivalent of Zen Buddhist ‘sayings’ he lost me.  He lost me and he never regained me.

To be sure, he tells good stories.  But the stench of eastern philosophy so filled the air that my nostrils were stung and I just read along with a disposition best called unsympathetic.

I’m as sorry as I can be but I can’t recommend this volume.  Of late I’ve been a huge fan of IVP Academic as they’ve been putting out some quality stuff.  This volume, however, is better suited to HarperOne or Polebridge Press.

So what does one do when one cannot – in good conscience – commend a volume?  One doesn’t recommend it.  And this one, I don’t, and can’t.  My reaction to it, to be charitable, is the same reaction Emil Brunner had to the work of Friedrich Daniel Ernst Schleiermacher; with one difference- I’m not going to take this out and burn it.

Google + is Out of Beta, and is Now Open to All

Image representing Google as depicted in Crunc...

Now even the common people can G+

So – so much for being part of that exclusive club of beta-testers.  Now even the common people can use it.  Alas…  Anyway, here are the details:

Google+ is now open to anyone who wants to get in.  In a Tuesday post on the Official Google Blog, Google announced that it will launch nine new features in the next few days, including open signups.

“For the past 12 weeks we’ve been in field trial, and during that time we’ve listened and learned a great deal. We’re nowhere near done, but with the improvements we’ve made so far we’re ready to move from field trial to beta, and introduce our 100th feature: open signups. This way anyone can visit google.com/+, join the project and connect with the people they care about,” Senior Vice President of Engineering Vic Gundotra wrote for the blog post.

Google also launched Search for Google+, as well as an expansion of its Hangouts video chat feature and more.

The Aussie Government Has Blocked the Construction of a Super-Brothel…

Not because such places are immoral, but because they fear smaller brothels will be hurt by it

A plan to build Australia’s biggest brothel in Sydney has been blocked after the city council likened the proposal to a super shopping mall threatening smaller competitors.

I guess their motto down under is ‘show me the money’. Hey, that means they’re just like Americans! It’s just hit me, Aussies are Americans who live far, far south!

The owners of the Stiletto brothel in the inner city neighbourhood of Camperdown had applied to the City of Sydney Council to expand, doubling the number of working rooms to 40 and creating a wing for “group bookings”.  The development would have added three floors to the building and cost £7.7 million. But in the end, the sheer size of the planned expansion contributed to its downfall, with all 10 councillors deciding the development was too ambitious and could put other brothels in the area out of business.

Yes, you read that right…

“We’re not prudes, we’re not opposed to brothels, but we have a policy of anti-clustering, spreading them out.”

Yes, those Aussies believe strongly and firmly in spreading them out. A brothel in every neighborhood and porn on every school-kid’s computer. Viva Australia…

One Racist Rabbi

According to [Rabbi Dov] Lior, every time Israel tries to “please the villain,” its status in the world suffers.  He went on to slam the Israeli Left. “There are circles of villains seeking to give away parts of this land to our enemies. Luckily, God Almighty causes the camel riders to refuse to meet with the government…  “There are leftists fighting the people of Israel’s return to their land… They have put the public to sleep with opium of peace… The Hollywood culture and singing in discotheques will not do good, but bad.”  The rabbi referred to the Arabs as “wolves”, adding: “What we have with those villains and savages is not peace, and it won’t be peace. It’s against their nature. They hate peace.”   He [said that] Israel should be cleared of Arabs, who should be given a right of return to places like Saudi Arabia. “The Land of Israel belongs to the people of Israel only,” he ruled.

How is this Israeli one whit different from the radical muslims and the fred phelps-ian pseudo christians?  Does this guy have more than a handful of supporters?  If so, that speaks poorly of many.

Praying for the ‘Bible-less’ World

Idea reports

Eine Gebetsaktion für die „bibellose Welt“ hat die internationale Organisation Wycliff (Orlando/US-Bundesstaat Florida) am 19. September gestartet. Bis zum 11. November sollen Christen bei Gott dafür eintreten, dass alle Menschen möglichst bald die Heilige Schrift in ihrer Muttersprache lesen können.

Now there’s a worthwhile project in which to participate.

Total Depravity: The ‘Mom’ Who Molested Her Son’s Hockey Team

The California mother of a teenage hockey player has been accused of having sex with at least two of her son’s teammates at booze-fueled sleepovers she allegedly threw for the team, according to the Orange County Sheriff’s Department.

Katia Marie Davis, 44, is suspected of having sex and engaging in lewd acts with boys who were younger than 16 years when the alleged relationships began, police said. The boys were her son’s teammates on the Beach City Lightning hockey team in upper-middle-class Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Davis threw sleepover parties for her son’s team and allgedly provided alcohol to the boys, making a move on them when they went off to bed, Orange County Sheriff’s spokesman Jim Amormino said.

Dis-Gus-Ting.  Do you know the word the Bible would use of her?  I do.  She’s a whore.  I realize that word won’t be widely appreciated but the facts are the facts.  She isn’t a ‘cougar’ or some other idiotic euphemism for a depraved harlot.  She is a whore.  And she’s as evil as any male child molester out there preying on young girls for his own satisfaction.  And she deserves a very, very long prison sentence.

Selling Out the Gospel

Or rather, pimping it out…

New Jersey Church to Hand out Cash to Every Congregant in Attendance! Hey if you haven’t reached New Jersey you should leave what you are doing and head there now! It doesnt matter if you are a Muslim, Atheist, Christian, Agnostic or Sikh in a very humble and anonymous  very very public show of charity apparently…. Calling it a “spiritual stimulus,” leaders of a New Jersey church say they will be giving away $30,000 in cash during church services on Sept. 25 to everyone in attendance. In a press release widely ci … Read More

via Twisted Crown of Thorns ®

The First Letter to the Corinthians

This fine looking volume arrived for review from the nice folk at Eerdmans:  The First Letter to the Corinthians: The Pillar New Testament Commentary, by Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner.

The editorial blurb maintains

This thorough commentary presents a coherent reading of 1 Corinthians, taking full account of its Old Testament and Jewish roots and demonstrating Paul’s primary concern for the unity and purity of the church and the glory of God. Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner’s well-informed, careful exegesis touches on an astonishingly wide swath of important yet sensitive issues, reinforcing the letter’s ongoing theological and pastoral significance.

My review of the volume is in 7 parts, below.

I. Letter Opening, 1:1-9
II. True and False Wisdom and Corinthian Factionalism, 1:10–4:17
III. “Flee Sexual Immorality” and “Glorify God with Your Bodies,” 4:18–7:40
IV. “Flee Idolatry” and “Glorify God” in Your Worship, 8:1–14:40
V. The Resurrection and Consummation, 15:1-58
VI. Letter Closing, 16:1-24

A Real Wolf in Sheep’s Clothing: The ‘Pastor’ Who Calls Himself an Atheist

You’ve doubtless heard about the Dutch ‘pastor’ who preaches, in his church, the anti-gospel of atheism.  There’s a profile of this wolf in sheep’s clothing here.

He does have an evil look, doesn’t he…  And he’s gone to Bern to spew his idiocy.

Wenn Klaas Hendrikse nicht an Gott glaube und darüber ein Buch schreibe, so sei das seine Sache. Wenn aber das Podium, zu dem der holländische Pfarrer eingeladen wurde, in der Berner Heiliggeistkirche stattfinde, «ist das eine Unverschämtheit an die Adresse der Gläubigen. Die Kirche, zu Ehren Gottes gebaut, wird für dieses Spektakel missbraucht»: Das hat eine Leserin ins Internetforum der Zeitung «reformiert» notiert. Nicht alle Reaktionen sind ablehnend. Ein Leser schrieb sogar, «seine volle Kirche ist die deutliche, wahre Antwort». Eines steht fest: Der Artikel über Hendrikse, der in der September-Nummer erschien, hat zahlreiche Leserinnen und Leser in die Tasten greifen lassen.

I Call it the Gehazi Syndrome

It’s where clerics pursue personal gain as the goal of their lives: (Be sure to read 1 Kings 5:1-18 as background) –

He said to him, “Go in peace.”

But when Naaman had gone from him a short distance, Gehazi, the servant of Elisha the man of God, thought, “My master has let that Aramean Naaman off too lightly by not accepting from him what he offered. As the LORD lives, I will run after him and get something out of him.” So Gehazi went after Naaman. When Naaman saw someone running after him, he jumped down from the chariot to meet him and said, “Is everything all right?” He replied, “Yes, but my master has sent me to say, ‘Two members of a company of prophets have just come to me from the hill country of Ephraim; please give them a talent of silver and two changes of clothing.’” Naaman said, “Please accept two talents.” He urged him, and tied up two talents of silver in two bags, with two changes of clothing, and gave them to two of his servants, who carried them in front of Gehazi. When he came to the citadel, he took the bags from them, and stored them inside; he dismissed the men, and they left.

He went in and stood before his master; and Elisha said to him, “Where have you been, Gehazi?” He answered, “Your servant has not gone anywhere at all.” But he said to him, “Did I not go with you in spirit when someone left his chariot to meet you? Is this a time to accept money and to accept clothing, olive orchards and vineyards, sheep and oxen, and male and female slaves? Therefore the leprosy of Naaman shall cling to you, and to your descendants forever.” So he left his presence leprous, as white as snow. (2 Kings 5:19ff).

If this sort of questing for filthy lucre sounds familiar, it’s because it’s the modus operandi of all the greasy clerics alive today who are mirror images of their forbear Gehazi.  You find them chiefly in pentebabbleist circles and among emergents and mega-churches.

Conference Announcement: Ephesus as a Religious Center Under the Principate

Friday, May 18, 2012 at 9:00am – Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 11:30pm


Harding School of Theology

1000 Cherry Rd.
Memphis, TN


Scheduled Presenters:
Steve Friesen— University of Texas at Austin
Ulrike Muss— University of Vienna
Elisabeth Rathmayr—Austrian Academy of Science
Peter Scherrer— University of Graz
Dan Schowalter— Carthage College
Greg Stevenson— Rochester College
Jerry Sumney— Lexington Theological Seminary
Christine M. Thomas— University of California Santa Barbara
James W. Thompson— Abilene Christian University
Trevor Thompson— Abilene Christian University
Hilke Thuer— Austrian Academy of Science
Paul Trebilco— University of Otago, New Zealand
James Walters— Boston University School of Theology

More details here with, I’m sure, more to come later.