Daily Archives: 21 Sep 2011

Joshua Busman on Calvinism and Psalmody

Here’s a paper you may find delightful- For God and His Angels or Men at Their Tables?: The Context and Usage of Psalm-Singing in Francophone Calvinism, 1539-1565.

The Genevan Psalter, completed under John Calvin’s supervision during the middle decades of the sixteenth century, is arguably one of the greatest achievements in the history of Christian hymnody. From its first Strasbourg publication in 1539 to the complete Genevan psalter of 1562, these simple, vernacular settings of Biblical psalms represent an important and influential body of musical materials, both in the history of Protestantism and in the history of French music writ large. Unfortunately, much of the discussion surrounding the Calvinist tradition of music-making assumes an austere, antimusical stance that is often (mis)associated with John Calvin’s theology. By exploring the intellectual context of Calvin’s work as well as comparing a variety of musical settings of one of the most popular metrical psalms (Psalm 9), I hope to present a more complex picture of Calvin and Calvinist musical practice in France in the sixteenth century.

The Folly of Arrogance

The kindness of God should allure us to ponder and love his goodness; but since such is our malignity, that we are invariably corrupted by his indulgence, it is more than necessary for us to be restrained by discipline from breaking forth into such petulance. Thus, lest we become emboldened by an over-abundance of wealth; lest elated with honour, we grow proud; lest inflated with other advantages of body, or mind, or fortune, we grow insolent, the Lord himself interferes as he sees to be expedient by means of the cross, subduing and curbing the arrogance of our flesh, and that in various ways, as the advantage of each requires.  — John Calvin

The Folly of Arrogance

“It’s remarkable that men should be so arrogant and secure when there are so many, indeed countless, evidences around us to suggest that we ought to be humble. The hour of our death is uncertain. The grain on which we live is not in our hands. Neither the sun nor the air, on which our life depends, lies in our power, and we have no control over our sleeping and waking. I shall say nothing of spiritual things, such as the private and public sins which press upon us. Yet our hearts are hard as steel and pay no attention to such evidence.” — Martin Luther

If You’re a Southern Baptist and you Want to Change the Name of the SBC…

It can only mean one thing: you’re ashamed of who you are and what you stand for.  You simply wish to be more ‘pleasing’ to society and people who live to please the world aren’t exactly the sort that should be elected representatives of the SBC.

The announcement from Southern Baptist Convention President Bryant Wright of a presidential task force to study the prospect of changing the convention’s name sparked a lively debate during the SBC Executive Committee meeting Sept. 19 in Nashville, Tenn.

If you don’t want to be known as a Southern Baptist, get out.  Become an Independent Baptist or Northern Baptist or American Baptist or Seventh Day Baptist or whatever.  Bryan should resign if he doesn’t feel honored to be called a Southern Baptist.

Evil Always Excuses Itself

So it’s no surprise that the family that let a boy die in the squalor of grossness are attempting to excuse itself-

The family of a Berwyn, Illinois teenager who was found dead in a squalid home filled with over 200 animals defended their animal hoarding in an interview with a Chicago television station this week.

Though Lydia Price, the 47-year-old mother who was charged with criminal abuse and neglect of a disabled person and endangerment of a child, has yet to respond to the accusations, her 77-year-old mother, Barbara told CBS 2 the days since the death of 14-year-old Matthew Degner have been “horrid.”

“We’ve had not time for grief for Matthew with all the assaults and falsifications,” Barbara said.

A sheriff’s spokesman said the west suburban home where Degner was found was one of the most “horrific and disgusting environments” their animal control officers had ever been in. The house contained 212 animals including birds flying freely throughout the house, dozens of cats, dogs, rabbits, squirrels, a raccoon, two monkeys and two kinkajous — many of the animals surrounded by feces.

According to the coroner the boy died because of the conditions in which he was forced to live.  They murdered him because they cared more for their pets.  That’s evil.

Charlie’s ‘Angles’

I love the twitter.  But I had NO idea that Joel worked for Good Morning America!  Don’t believe it?  See for yourself:

Yes I have a question: are all the angles 90 degrees?

Tel Aviv University Excavations at Tel Socho and Tel Azeqa Scheduled to Commence in 2012

Barnea writes

Scholars of Socho – Excavators and Geographers

Up to 2007 the Valley of Elah was dead – people drove through, guides knew to say here David fought Goliath, and really good guides knew to stop the bus or van at the creek bed and pick up “slingshot” stones. That is now changed forever. The finds at Elah Fortress- Khirbet Qeiyafa stood the academic world on its head, made world headlines and brought eternal fame to its excavator (thanks to Foundation Stone) and is now mentioned at every conference.

But neighboring Tel Socho and Tel Azeqa have never been excavated properly, and in fact have been untouched for a century – except for surveys. Until now.  Tel Aviv University together with an international academic consortium will begin long term excavations at both sites, six weeks at Azeqa and three weeks at Socho, in Summer 2012.

LandMinds interviewed Profs. Oded Lipschits, Yuval Gadot, and survey-team leader Yoav Tzur on site at ancient Socho, and then in their offices, as they concluded a preliminary survey that has now determined their initial excavation target.

In the studio, Socho’s history and geography is reviewed including a consult with historical geographer Dr. Yigal Levin of Bar Ilan University.

These exciting digs will highlight one of the most crucial and famous aras of the Bible and Second Temple period Jewish (and Philistine) life. Together with neighboring Bet Shemesh and Gat, Socho and Azeqa will further ensure that the attention of the world and of visitors to Israel will be fixated on this anceint and contemporay transition zone.

There are scoops and explanations in this episode of LandMinds you will not hear anywhere else….  LandMinds with Dovid Willner & Barnea Selavan, is brought to you courtesy of Foundation Stone, and airs every Wednesday from 5pm to 7pm on Israel National Radio, and is then rebroadcast as part of Israel National Radio’s weekly line-up. You can join the LandMinds facebook page to catch the latest information “on the ground”, give suggestions for future shows, or just join our social network. The Foundation Stone page carries all kinds of news and special items.

A special series of tours for before and during the upcoming Sukkot holiday, including the Western Wall tunnels, will enhance your visit and holiday in Israel. For tour information and bookings, you can contact Barnea at barnea@foundationstone.org or call 972-50 637-7906.

Tel Socho Road Trip
1- http://www.foundationstone.org/LandMinds10/LM2011B/files/LM-210911a.mp3
2- http://www.foundationstone.org/LandMinds10/LM2011B/

Studio and Interview
3- http://www.foundationstone.org/LandMinds10/LM2011B/files/LM-210911c.mp3
4 – http://www.foundationstone.org/LandMinds10/LM2011B/files/LM-210911d.mp3

Open Wide, Hell, There’s Another Pedophile on the Way…

I have to be honest here- in a Simon Cowell sort of way: people like this guy are so horrible that hell really is too good for them.  If you don’t believe that evil exists in human form you’re just a fool.

A Loudon County man was convicted Tuesday of raping his two-year-old son and videotaping of it.  Edward William Crandall, 24, took the witness stand in his own defense. However, the jury of five men and seven women found him guilty in less than 50 minutes. His trial lasted one day.  Crandall was convicted of felony charges of aggravated child rape, sexual exploitation and aggravated sexual exploitation of a minor.  He was arrested in July 2010 following an investigation by the sheriff’s office.  He faces prison time. Crandall will remain in custody until his sentencing in Morgan County on October 31.

Prison?  That’s the least of his worries.  Look at him- he’s satanic.  Open wide, hell, here comes one of your own in due course.

Misprision at Mari: Niels Peter Lemche Sets the Record Straight

In a new essay in Bible and Interpretation, Lemche notes

A few days ago Sean McLachlan, who seems to make a living out of making announcements, wrote about certain Syrian historical monuments in danger, e.g., the Crac de Chevalier and especially the ancient Mari.

See here http://www.gadling.com/2011/09/15/ancient-city-of-mari-in-syria-under-threat/

Mr. McLachlan says that he visited Mari in the 1990s. He bases his report on a similar report written by Emma Cunliffe, published in Popular Archaeology September 4th 2011; this article mentions up to twelve sites in danger.

Referencing this article in Popular Archaeology, he includes Palmyra, Ebla, and Carchemishin as danger zones.

It is quite easy to tell such stories about Syria, especially at this moment when the country is in deep problems. I have no intention of commenting on the ongoing revolution in Syria. That is not my concern in this place, but I have visited Syria a number of times: the last one was in 2010.

Things aren’t as bad as reported.  As NPL shows in what follows the excerpt above.

Are You Unhappy With Facebook? Well Just Wait…

They’ve got even more changes coming…  Happy facebooking!

Facebook v. Google+

The UN and the Palestinians: The History of a Double Standard

Al Jazeera writes

Failure to resolve the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and Israel’s 40-year occupation, in the words of UN former Secretary General Kofi Annan, would “continue to hurt the reputation of the United Nations and raise questions about its impartiality”.  No cause has consumed as much UN paper work as the plight of the displaced and occupied Palestinians. But hundreds of its resolutions on Palestine have not been respected let alone applied for over half a century.

Nowhere has the UN ideals and mechanisms been more mired in power politics than in Palestine. The efforts to neutralise UN intervention have been championed mainly by the United States. This week’s efforts by the Obama administration working on behalf of Israel took advocacy into a whole new level.   Washington has vetoed more than 40 UN Security Council resolutions critical of its policies some of which were drafted by its European allies. A quick look at today’s Middle East makes it clear that such obstructions worked for the interest of neither party, nor for peace and security in the region.

Cold-War rivalries have also contributed to UN paralysis in the Israeli Palestinian-Arab conflict, which explains why more than half of the 690 resolutions adopted by the General Assembly from 1947-1990 have been ignored.  But what justifies sidelining the UN ever since, while keeping it at an arm’s length from a two decades of Peace Process?

The rest of the essay is the correct answer to that question.  Read it.

What is Worship?

Heinrich Bullinger says it so succinctly:

Wir sagen also, dass der Gottesdienst (cultus) eine Dienstbarkeit (servitus) ist, durch sie die Menschen Gott ehrfurchtsvoll unterwerfen, ihm gehorchen und ihn nach seinem Willen verehren.


Free at Last

The AP is reporting: Iran state news agency says 2 Americans freed from prison have been flown out of the country.  And CNN

The government of Oman says American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer have been turned over to the custody of Omani officials and are on their way to the Arabian sultanate.  “You can state officially now that the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has handled Shane and Josh to the custody of Dr. Salem Al Ismaily, the envoy of  His Majesty Sultan Qaboos bin Said, the Sultan of Oman, a country that enjoys excellent relationships with both the IRI and the USA. Dr. Al Ismaily with the hikers are now on their way to Muscat where they will spend a couple of days before heading home,” a statement from Oman’s envoy in Iran said.

Good for them, and their families.

What Shall We Say? Evil, Suffering, and the Crisis of Faith

Oh this looks BRILLIANT!  I’m a big fan of Thomas Long and when Eerdmans mentioned the availability of this excerpt I had to take a look.  For instance

This book is about what preachers can and should say regarding the theodicy problem. Engaging theodicy in the older sense of the word is not my goal, and providing a justification for the actions of God is not what I imagine myself to be doing in these pages. Indeed, to think that one could somehow defend God is theologically an act of extreme hubris. If God needs to be defended, God will need a better attorney than I.

More recently, though, theodicy has come to have a somewhat different meaning, one that is less about putting God on trial and more about putting our faith to the test. In this newer sense, which is the concern of this book, theodicy is about how believers can hold together important faith claims that seem, on the surface anyway, to be incompatible: that there is a God, that God is loving and just, that God is powerful, and that there is undeserved suffering in the world. Understood this way, theodicy is not about coming up with excuses for God’s behavior in a world of evil but about how faith in a loving God is plausible, given what we know and experience about suffering.

Brilliant.  I can’t wait to see the whole volume.

Oh My Heavens!!!!!

They’ve uncovered a statue from ancient times which is the SPITTING IMAGE of Chris Tilling!!!!  I think it fair to say we’ve now found Tilling’s Doppelganger!  See for yourself!

Trust me when I say, I’ve roomed with Chris at SBL and that’s EXACTLY what he looks like with his shirt off!!!!!!  The resemblance is so striking!

70% of Israelis Are Willing to Accept a UN / Palestinian State Declaration

Israel should accept the decision if the UN recognizes a Palestinian state, about 70 percent of Israelis answered in a recent Hebrew University poll.  The poll, which was conducted jointly by the Harry S. Truman Research Institute for the Advancement of Peace at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and the Palestinian Center for Policy and Survey Research in Ramallah, also found that over 80% of the Palestinians support turning to the UN to obtain recognition of a Palestinian state. The survey was supported by the Ford Foundation Cairo office and the Konrad Adenauer Stiftung in Ramallah and Jerusalem.

That puts those Israelis against a Palestinian state in a clear minority. And it also makes the American Christian Zionists who decry such a state even more absurd (if that’s possible) than they already are.

Book Recommendation

That’s True, Very True

“We need to teach our daughters to distinguish between a man who flatters her and a man who compliments her, a man who spends money on her and a man who invests in her, a man who views her as property and a man who views her properly, a man who lusts after her and a man who loves her, a man who believes he is God’s gift to women and a man who remembers that a woman was God’s gift to man.” – Anon.

Want Your Own ‘Athena’ Based ‘Lead Codex’?

Just pop over to any bazaar in Jordan and pick one up.  Robert Deutsch sends along these photos of the very thing you can have for your own, cheap!

The codices being presently hawked by fraudsters are of the same sort: copies of things commonly found in museums around the Levant.  If you want to waste your money go ahead.  But really, you can haggle for a cheap one anywhere in Jordan.  All you have to do is go.