Monthly Archives: November 2011

This Is Very Upsetting and Unsettling…

And I won’t be able to sleep tonight knowing that this is how Doug Iverson abuses his books.

I’m distraught.  I need to call Book Protective Services.  Barbarism. Look at that!  Look at the disheveled-ness…  I can’t take this… I. Must.  Avert. My… Gaze…

People Need to Get a Grip: Jeremy Clarkson Wasn’t Serious!

The world really has lost its mind.  Anyone who has watched two or more episodes of the fantastic series Top Gear knows that Jeremy Clarkson is Mr Sarcastic.  He’s funny and witty and clever and he smarts off all the time.  All the time!

The idea that he was serious when he quipped that those on strike ought to be shot in front of their families is just absolutely- well I’ll say it – stupid.

It says far more about our ridiculously hyper-sensitive world today that people actually ‘took offense’ than it does about Clarkson’s personal views.

Why are people so sensitive?  Because we live in a time when people love to find something to get riled up about (since they don’t get riled up about real issues that really matter).

So, for instance, rather than being riled up about greed among the middle class and the lower class (where most people live), the Occupy people are riled up about the greed of the upper class (where fewer live).  And rather than be riled up about REAL instances of murder (it’s called abortion in polite company) people would rather be offended at the off the cuff remarks of a sarcastic British tv program presenter.

Come on people, get a grip.  If you want to be upset, be upset about human depravity and the wickedness of pedophiles and the perversity of porn peddlers.  That should keep you busy in upset-ed-ness for years to come.

The Hebrew Bible’s ‘Hebrew-ness’

Alan Levenson has an essay in Bible and Interpretation folk might like to read titled The Modern Doctrine of the Hebrew Bible’s Hebrew-ness.

Intrigued, aren’t you?  I can tell. As well you should be. It includes

An Oxford Don from an earlier century asking a student, “Do you have Latin?” strikes me as the closest analogy. Great Britain’s Chief Rabbi Hertz, an alumnus of the first graduating class of Schechter’s Jewish Theological Seminary (NYC) agreed, “[g]eneral Bible versions whether new or old, are as a rule marred by ignorance of the Hebrew language and the Jewish tradition…” Isaac Leeser’s introduction to the first distinguished Bible translation of an American Jew sounded a similar note to Schechter’s, “But even if no coloring had been given to the English words not warranted by the Hebrew, it would be a species of mental slavery to rely for ever upon the arbitrary decree of a deceased King of England who was surely no prophet, for the correct understanding of the Scriptures, upon which our life in this world and the next depends. To take one final example, and they are innumerable, Nehama Leibowitz (1903-1997) dismissed a fellow-Israeli, fellow-Orthodox Bible commentator’s adoption of source critical methods with a contemptuous verdict, “… these people simply don’t know Hebrew.”

Oh there’s more fun than that too!

Ok Now I’m Really Terrified… The November Biblical Studies Carnival (LXIX) is Up…

Because it’s already December in New Zealand and that’s where the Remnants of Giants are stationed.

[I’ve not read the Carnival yet but I will, as soon as I can get the nerve to…]   

OK I’ve read it now and it’s comprehensive and engaging and well organized and brilliant and I applaud Deane for his great work!

Do remember, by the by, that 2012’s Carnivals will all organized by our own Dr Jim Linville (who really is one of the NICEST people I’ve ever met.  He’s really personable and I love hanging out with him at SBL).  So go there and bookmark his site and watch for his announcements.

What? I Could Win a Free Trip on Delta???

From Delta’s Facebook page-

We are itching to give away a trip so if we hit 20k fans by 11/30 we are going to giveaway a trip anywhere in the US or Canada, if we hit 23k fans someone will be going to Mexico or the Caribbean and if we hit 25k fans someone will be going to Europe! Tell your friends and we will do our part in getting more fans as well! Thanks for being the best fans on Facebook!!!!

Ok so I never win anything and ok it’s probably just a scam to get your email address or something but hop-skippity if I can win a trip to somewhere just for clicking a like button then I’ll do it!

Now to pick where I want to go, since I’m sure I’ll win…


Via Steve Bremner on the G+

Indeed- the ones I keep to myself could peel paint off walls and put Satan to wetting himself.

Even Gingrich Thinks Fox News is Uninformed

Via Newser

While at a town hall event in South Carolina last night, the GOP contender was asked about whether, as president, he would support funding for certain HIV/AIDS treatments. “What you said is information that’s new to me, I don’t know enough about it to give you a direct answer,” Gingrich responded.

Wow.  A politician who says he doesn’t know!

But he didn’t stop there, notes Raw Story. “One of the real changes that comes when you start running for president—as opposed to being an analyst on Fox—is I have to actually know what I’m talking about,” he quipped. “It’s a severe limitation.”

HA!  Fox News analysts are full of hot ignorant air and even Gingrich knows it.

I Love You Too, New Zealand! (Now Ask Your Tourism Department to Fly Me Down!)

If you do, I’ll blog the entire trip.  Think of it- more publicity than you could ever get running a commercial for a LOT less money!  It’s a win – win!


From Alexa

A Manual For Ministry to the Sick and Dying

Or more accurately and thoroughly-

Bericht der Krancken : Wie man by den krancken und sterbenden Menschen handlen, ouch wie sich ein yeder in siner Kranckheit schicken und zum Sterben rüsten sölle / kurtzer und einfaltiger Bericht Heinrychen Bullingers, so ist von nüwem hinzuo gethon zuo Underrichtung und Trost der Glöubigen ein eigentlicher und gruntlicher uss der Gschrifft Bericht von der Uferstentnuss unnd Himmelfart Christi, ouch von unser Uferstentnuss, von ewigem Läben unnd ewiger Verdamnuss.

By Heinrich Bullinger.  They sure could give good titles to books in the 16th century couldn’t they!

It was published in 1564 and you can view the table of contents here.  Here’s the heart of the treatment- Von dem Trost dess heiligen Evangelij und dass in Christo Jesu alles Heil, die Begnädigung unnd Verzyhung der Sünden sye. Cap. VI.

There are tons of other Bullinger texts at the Post Reformation Digital Library along with Calvin’s and Zwingli’s and even that crabby Luther’s!  The value of this resource can’t be overstated.  You have, in it, literally at your fingertips, the most important theological texts in the history of the church: materials that could only be read before by means of extensive travel to far flung libraries.

It’s a lifetime of reading and then some.

Snow on the Hills…

I’m glad it only snowed above us on the hills last night.  A few hundred feet lower and we’d be in the bowels of Satan.

The 2012 Wheaton Theology Conference

All the details of the Bonhoeffer, Christ and Culture Conference are here.  If you’re a Bonhoeffer-ian you might want to go.  Personally I never really cared for his theology.  Too whiny.  Plus plotting to murder someone, even a horrible someone… well, it’s just worse than anything Pat Robertson or Fred Phelps ever said.

Allan Bevere on the ‘Cancel Church on Christmas Day’ Question

And Allan, being way nicer than me, actually poses it in the form of a question- asking readers to offer their views about whether churches ought to cancel worship services on Christmas Day when Christmas falls on Sunday (as it does this year). (Personally, I don’t give a tinker’s toy for the half-witted musings of those dilettantes who only possess an internet assembled theology and their opinions are as meaningful as a flea on a dog).

A couple of things about Allen’s post.  First, he’s right in pointing out that the whole question is a totally Protestant thing.  The Orthodox and the Catholics would never even consider such a move.  Why do Protestants?  Are Protestants less committed to communal worship than Catholics and Orthodox?

And second, the photo he uses says it all- pointing out the abject hypocrisy of those churches which do in fact cancel services and yet who would maintain that society ought to ‘keep Christ in Christmas’.

Same Sex Couples Have No Right to Marry

Before you get all up in my face for that headline (even though I agree), your issue is with the Jewish theologian David Novak who writes, among other things,

Two questions are central to this debate. First, why is there an institution called “marriage” in a secular society at all? That is, why should a secular state recognize and structure, even encourage, human associations that have traditionally been called “marriages”?

Second, if a secular state does institute marriage, how can that state deny equal access to that institution to any physically and mentally normal couple who wants access to it – who wants to be married?

Read his essay.  It’s fantastic.

(Thanks to Mark Stevens for mentioning this.  Unlike some, I cite sources.  Oh don’t look all surprised- you lot who don’t know who you are).

Tweet of the Day from Britain

MetPoliceCO11 Metropolitan Police — We’re on strike today. Please feel free to give yourself a cool name, dress up in spandex and solve your own crimes.

Nicely played!

Suing the Victim


A convicted kidnapper who is serving an 11-year sentence claimed in a lawsuit that the couple he took hostage breached an oral agreement in which they had agreed to hide him from police for an unspecified amount of money.

Jesse Dimmick invaded the Topeka, Kans., home of Jared and Lindsay Rowley in September 2009 after he crashed a stolen van in their yard while being chased by police, who were seeking to question him in a Colorado motel beating death.

“I, the defendant, asked the Rowleys to hide me because I feared for my life. I offered the Rowleys an unspecified amount of money which they agreed upon, therefore forging a legally binding oral contract,” Dimmick said in court documents, which he wrote by hand, according to ABC’s Denver affiliate.

Demmick is seeking $235,000 for the alleged breach of oral contract– $160,000 for his hospital bills after he was shot in the back and an additional $75,000 for emotional stress.

Astonishing.  Just gob-smacking.  He should be put in the stocks in the public square and mocked and pelted with rotten fruits and vegetables.  I sure hope no witless judge dignifies him with a trial.

Why Are So Many Texas Politicians Ignorant?

At a town hall meeting at the Institute of Politics at New Hampshire’s Saint Anselm’s College Tuesday, Rick Perry asked that all of the college students in the crowd who will be 21 by Nov. 12 support his bid for the presidency. Say what? The voting age in the United States is, of course, 18. And the 2012 election will be held on Nov. 6, 2012. (The New Hampshire Republican primary, which brought Perry to the state, will take place on Jan. 10).

Honestly, is it a requirement in Texas that politicians be dumber than a 5th grader?

“Those who are going to be over 21 on November 12th, I ask for your support,” Perry said, eliciting a few chuckles from the crowd.” Those who won’t be, just work hard. Because you’re… counting on us.”  The gaffe can be easily chalked up to a slip of the tongue. In fact after the event Perry spokesman Mark Miner said simply “the governor misspoke.”  But whiffing on electoral basics will hardly help Perry as he struggles to recover from a series of gaffe-filled and lackluster debate performances (the most memorable of which was the “oops” moment during a Republican debate when Perry failed to recall the third government department he would eliminate as president).

Oh sure everything’s an accident isn’t it.  For being big talkers about people taking personal responsibility for their lives, these Texans sure like to evade responsibility for their own.

The Best Football Flop Ever

37% of Churches Will Have No Services Christmas Morning and Evening

Via Out of Ur

The folks at Lifeway have just released numbers from a survey they did among 1,000 Protestant pastors. They were asked, “Christmas and New Year’s Day both fall on Sunday this year. As a result, does your church plan to have services on the following days: Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, New Year’s Eve, and New Year’s Day?”

The results:
6% – Christmas Eve but NOT Christmas Day
27% – Christmas Day but NOT Christmas Eve
63% – BOTH Christmas Eve and Christmas Day

Do note what this means- 6% of churches won’t bother to have any service of any kind on Sunday, Christmas Day.   And 37% of Churches will abandon one service or the other on Christmas Day.  Family-olatry trumps commitment in 43% of Churches… (combining the 37% which will cut a service with the 6% that won’t bother having any).

Go to Out of Ur for more.  With thanks to James Spinti for the hint.

Iceland Leads the Way

Iceland’s parliament voted on Tuesday in favor of recognizing the Palestinian Territories as an independent state, the first Western European country to do so according Iceland’s foreign minister. The measure passed symbolically on the United Nation’s annual day of solidarity with the Palestinian people. The vote paves the way for formal recognition by the small north Atlantic island, which led the way in recognizing the independence of the three Baltic states after the collapse of the former Soviet Union in 1991.

It’s time for America, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and the rest of the civilized world to do the same. Past time. And thank God for Iceland and its courage and foresight.

Santa, That’s So Disappointing…

Santa needs rappelling lessons!