Daily Archives: 12 Dec 2011

A Zwinglian Letter of Recommendation

English: Huldrych Zwingli Deutsch: Ulrich Zwingli

Sent on the 12th of December, 1529- written by Zwingli at the behest of the Zurich city council on behalf of Rudolf Collin.

Illustrissimi, princeps ac primarii, benevolentiam nostram in vos et vestram erga mediocritatem nostram non est cur testemur; nunquam enim nobis exciderunt, quę retro annis vestra celsitudo amicicię exempla in nos edidit. Hinc fit, ut, cum res humanę hoc nostro sęculo mire habeant ac varie iactentur, vestrę reipub [licę] ac boni status perinde ac nostrarum rerum cura nos tangat. Experti enim sumus, quam invisa sit regibus ac tyrannis populorum ac urbium libertas. Cum autem istorum astutia et perfidia, quas liberi homines libenter et negligunt et damnant, sępenumero magnę clades datę sint incautis, e diverso autem vestra prudentia ac fide non nunquam factum sit, ut non modo vestra sed nostra quoque libertas melius ac tutius steterit, committere non debemus, ut tempore tam adflicto nihil consiliorum conferamus. Mittimus igitur non tantum nostro, sed omnium, quę in Christianam civitatem coierunt, urbium nomine pręsentium ostensorem virum iuvenem quendam, sed eruditum, fidelem ac sollicitum, qui vestrę celsitudini mentem nostram exponet ac vicissim consilia, quę illi a vobis credentur, ad nos referet. Ei ergo fidem per omnia habeatis, obsecramus; nam ambitiosam legationem nunc mittere vetuerunt hęc tempora, non ęstimatio amplitudinis vestrę. Boni et ęqui consulat vestra celsitudo, quicquid id est, quod agimus. Tiguri duodecima die decembris anno a nato salvatore vicesimo nono supra millesimum ac quingentesimum.

Vestrę celsitudini
addicti consul et probuleutę
senatus populique Tigurini.

If you ever need a letter of recommendation, it’s a good one (though of course if you steal it and pass it off as your own you’re a bad person and a dreadful plagiarist).

Only the Morally Corrupt Pull the Trigger When a Clear Target Isn’t In Sight

The IDF has launched an investigation into the circumstances which led to the death of Mustafa Tamimi,28, of Nabi Saleh during a demonstration against the takeover of his village’s lands by the nearby settlement of Halamish, in the West Bank.  Haaretz reports:

Figures in the army’s Central Command said the soldier claimed he “didn’t see” Tamimi.

But even if that is true, the IDF’s rules of engagement prohibit the firing of tear gas grenades from a rifle pointed directly at demonstrators or from a distance of less than 40 meters away. They also stipulate that the shooter must use the rifle sight and verify that no one is in the line of fire.  The army also claimed that Tamimi was throwing stones at the soldiers. From the pictures taken at the scene [at the link](above) it’s clear that the protesters posed no danger to those seating in the bullet-proof Jeep.

This has to stop one day.  How about today?

Did You Know That Atheists Have their Own Country?

It’s called North Korea.  I think committed angry atheists ought to go there.  They would be happier and so would we all.  Let’s all pitch in and buy the angry atheists we loathe a one way ticket to the land of little food but lots of propaganda!

South Korea will allow Christians to light two more Christmas tree-shaped towers near the tense border with North Korea despite strong opposition from Pyongyang, an official said Sunday.  The South Korean government allowed a Christian group to light a massive steel Christmas tree near the border last year for the first time in seven years as tensions flared in the wake of two deadly attacks blamed on the North.

Here’s the best part-

Earlier on Sunday, North Korea’s state-run Uriminzokkiri website said that lighting the first tree was a form of psychological warfare and would trigger an “unexpected consequence.”

Sounds like the angry atheists in the West.  I think they would be very happy in North Korea.  Let’s see if they’re really willing to ‘practice what they preach’ and trundle off to the one country where they’re most welcome.  Otherwise they’re just big fat hypocrites who talk the talk but who won’t walk the angry atheist walk.

The Common English Bible with the Apocrypha

I’ve been using the Common English Bible since the New Testament paperback edition first appeared in my post office box some months ago.  I joined their ‘blog tour’ to help spread the word.  And I’m, I have to say, more than happy to help.

They haven’t required that I endorse it (though I do) and they’ve not asked me to say anything about it in a positive light (though I have).  And when I’ve opined that in my studied opinion the grandest of all the English translation to have appeared so far is the Revised English Bible they’ve not sent along an angry email (as once happened when I reviewed a book several years back and which publisher essentially ‘cut me off’ for speaking the truth as I saw it).

Today in the mail I received a copy of the CEB with Apocrypha and – once again – I’m happy to recommend it.  Even as a non-Roman Catholic believer (though I refuse to give up being a catholic Christian) I find much to commend the Apocrypha to Protestant and Reformed Christians.

Indeed, there is much that is fine in it.  Ben Sira is peerless for his wisdom, surpassing much in other wisdom texts.  The Wisdom of Solomon is essential for a basic understanding of early Christian thought.  And the Maccabees, Susannah, Tobit, and Bel and the Dragon are just fantastically fun reads.  The Apocryphal literature isn’t ‘scripture’ but it sure is excellent theology (by and large).

Hence, even Reformed and Protestant Christians ought to read it.  And in the CEB those readers have an exceptionally accessible rendering. Take this bit from Ben Sira, for instance-

5:1 Don’t be preoccupied with your money,
and don’t say, “ I’m self-sufficient. ”
2 Don’t follow your inclination
or your strength,
in order to walk in the desires
of your heart.
3 And don’t say,
“ Who’ll have power over me? ”
When the Lord punishes,
he will punish.
4 Don’t say, “ Sure I sinned,
but what happened to me? ”
The Lord is patient indeed.
5 Don’t be too confident
of being forgiven,
adding sin upon sin.
6 Don’t say, “ His compassion is great;
he will forgive the whole heap
of my sins. ”
Mercy and wrath are with him,
and his anger will rest on sinners.

The Apocrypha isn’t just for Catholics anymore.

Quote of the Day

Next up–Tim Tebow changes water to Gatorade and completes a Hail-Me. The hysteria is getting a little crazy at this point. –  Gary Yates

Antiquities Thieves Caught Red Handed

They were caught pilfering a Bar Kochba site among others-

A five-person gang of would-be thieves allegedly raided an ancient historical site in Israel over the weekend, apparently attempting to loot valuable relics and causing irreparable damage along the way.

The alleged thieves, all Palestinians from the West Bank town of Beit Ula, are suspected of sneaking into Israel from Judea and Samaria and vandalizing the site. The historical area can be traced back to the time of the Bar Kokhba revolt and is located in the Sha’ar HaGai (Bab El-Wad) area, along the Tel Aviv-Jerusalem highway

A police investigation revealed that the gang was allegedly smuggled into Israel by an Israeli driver, which allowed them to bypass barriers and IDF roadblocks. The perpetrators are suspected of climbing up to the “convoy range,” a small-scale ancient settlement site dating back to the 2nd century C.E. The site is located roughly 30 meters (98 feet) above the country’s main highway.

The thieves allegedly came armed with a sophisticated metal detector and an array of digging tools and equipment, and attempted to execute an amateur excavation in the hopes of unearthing historic coins and ancient underground hideouts. In the process, the perpetrators broke down ancient walls and destroyed buildings that are thousands of years old.

The Antiquities Robbery Prevention Unit was able to apprehend part of the group and take them into custody.

The would-be thieves were taken to the local police station in Beit Shemesh for questioning. One of the suspects is expected to remain in custody and an indictment will likely be issued against him in the near future.

“We are talking about a most severe case. The bandits caused devastating and irreversible damage to the ancient site. The devastation caused was unrestricted and unprecedented, even for the relatively small size of the site,” said Amir Ganor, director of the Antiquities Robbery Prevention Unit on Sunday. “Unfortunately the site has been almost completely destroyed, Ganor added. “In one fell swoop, these bandits, with a blatant disregard and following a greedy quest for financial gain, managed to erase layers from our history.”

Horrible desecration of historical heritage.  Via Joseph Lauer, who also attached these photos courtesy of Israel Hayom:

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I Hope He’s Fired

Authorities say a U.S. man published a fake obituary for his living mother in a ploy to get paid bereavement time off from work.  Relatives called The Jeffersonian Democrat newspaper in Pennsylvania after the obit  appeared to say the woman was actually alive and well.  The woman herself then visited the paper.  Police charged 45-year-old Scott Bennett on Tuesday with disorderly conduct.

If he’s that lazy fire him and give his job to someone who isn’t.  I’m sure there are plenty of people who would be happy to work and who aren’t depraved liars besotted by laziness and uselessness.

Life in God: John Calvin, Practical Formation, and the Future of Protestant Theology

Matthew Myer Boulton’s new volume arrived thanks to the kindness of Eerdmans for review.  Here’s how they describe it

Readers of John Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion often regard this masterwork of doctrine as a cold, sterile, and merely intellectual project. But Matthew Myer Boulton reads it very differently, arguing that for Calvin, Christian doctrine is properly conceived and articulated primarily for the sake of practical Christian formation — the immersive, restorative training for wholeness and holiness embodied in the church’s disciplinary treasury.

Although Calvin famously opposed the cloister, Boulton shows that his purpose was not the eradication but the democratization of monastic spiritual disciplines. Just as Calvin endorsed the “priesthood of all believers,” so too did he envision that ordinary disciples could live with God daily, consecrate themselves to the art of knowing God, and embrace spiritually formative practices including scriptural and theological study, daily prayer and worship, regular Psalm singing, frequent reception of the Lord’s Supper, renunciation of “the world,” rigorous moral accountability, and the like.

Sounds excellent doesn’t it?  Here’s what none less than Herman Selderhuis thinks of it:

“A stimulating and fresh approach to Calvin’s Institutes. Boulton succeeds in demonstrating that for Calvin doctrine is in itself practical – and that Protestant theology today can gain much from reading Calvin.”

It consists of 11 chapters in 3 parts:

Part One- Storming the Sanctuary
Part Two- Rereading the Institutio
Part Three- On the Future of Protestant Theology

Those links take you to my review.  I commend the volume to your attention.

Human Rights Day

United Nations Human Rights Council logo.

From Routledge Press’s Facebook page-

To celebrate Human Rights Day, Routledge would like to offer you free access until 16th Dec to a selection of key Human Rights related articles from our Politics and Development journals.

Visit our website at: http://bit.ly/HRDrout to view free content and further reading from The International Journal of Human Rights, Journal of Human Rights and many more top titles.

HRD was Saturday in case you were wondering.  I had to look it up…  I guess I’m not as politically correct as I imagined.