Daily Archives: 17 Dec 2011

Over 430 Dead

If you’re the praying sort, pray for the Philippines.

More than 400 people were killed and an unknown number were missing after a typhoon struck the southern Philippines, causing flash floods and landslides and driving tens of thousands from their homes.  In a text message to Reuters, Gwendolyn Pang, secretary-general of the Philippine National Red Cross (PNRC), said the death toll of 436 was expected to rise.

“Our death toll was based on the actual number of bodies that were brought to funeral homes in the two cities that were the hardest hit by the typhoon,” Pang said, adding it was difficult to estimate how many were still unaccounted for.  Typhoon Washi, with winds gusting up to 90 kmh (56 mph), barreled into the resource-rich island of Mindanao late on Friday, bringing heavy rain that also grounded some domestic flights and left wide areas without power.

It’s a massive tragedy.  Those folks need help.

Facebook, Why Must We Always Change Privacy Settings When You Decide You Want to ‘Update’???

It’s beyond annoying.  Especially since FB updates itself every month or so it seems.

Get ready for your Facebook past to come back with a vengeance; the social network is now rolling out its new profile layout, Timeline, to all users worldwide. Timeline is basically an online scrapbook that displays your Facebook activity in reverse chronological order going back to when you first joined the social network.

This means you and your Facebook friends will be able to peruse your social networking history with just a few clicks. Previously, there was no practical way to view your older activity on Facebook.

If Timeline’s debut has you wondering whether you can hide the embarrassing bits of your Facebook life before your new profile goes live, the good news is you can. But you’ll only have seven days to make any changes to your Timeline before it becomes your default profile.

See the rest.

Today With Zwingli

On the 17th of December in 1518 Huldrych Zwingli wrote this letter to his friend and soon to be colleague in Zurich, Leo Jud.

Leoni Iudę Huldericus Zinlius S.

Quam arcta mihi fuerit olim tecum amicicia, Leuncule doctissime, haud pręsentibus explicandum duxi, qum huius rei memoriam sciam te pro tua humanitate non minorem habere, quam nos. Quo fit, ut, qum tui perpetuam mentionem habeam, perpetuo quoque bene velim, atque adeo bene velim, ut cum tibi quędam accidisse non ex animi tui sententia audirem, ilico cęperim, quo nam modo rebus tuis consuleretur, cogitare. Quoniam vero ingenio naturave (licet extra natum) in Helvetios propensiorem novimus, eruditione interim haud vulgari, fide vero prope Catoniana: hinc est, ut, que nos e re tua futura existimavimus, speremus tibi quoque probari.

Nuper itaque Tygurini pastorem nos sibi legerunt, Eremi (ubi ędicula deiparae sacerrima, Germanis item omnibus celeberrima conspicitur) tunc caularum Christi curam habentem. Dominus autem Theobaldus Geroldseggius, monasterii eius administrator, quo in nos est animo, iussit, ut ad te accersendum has scriberemus. Est itaque, est oblata tibi ansa, qua te inter Helvetios trahere, immo inter medios Suitzeros sistere possis conditione plus quam honesta.

Nam domini expensis ubi adveneris, nihil non exigi credas pro voto tuo. In manu nostra non nihil situm est; agemus partes tuas, sicut et hactenus hac in re egimus. Nam te a literis commendavimus, quod arcanas istas et vere sacras digne colas, et sis ille simplex, prudens Leunculus, quem nos omni perspexerimus parte. Qua re d. administratorem ita accendimus, ut te prę cunctis mortalibus sibi vendicare cupiat.

Proinde occasionem istam crinita corripito parte: etenim parte nequit calva posteriore capi. Populus, cui pręfuturus eris, simplex est quique Christum vel nobis pręitore libenter audiat annunciari, victus affluens, dominus mediocriter eruditus, literarum vero avidissimus et eruditorum ita amans, ut nullius rei magis.

Ego preterea non longius sex horarum itinere a te abero, ne fors praesentiam nostram desideres. Movere (ut tandem finiam), mi amatissime Leo, his nostris temporariis quidem, verum ex animo scriptis, atque, ut diximus, domini expensis ad nos transcendito Nulla te (scio) capiet rei pęnitudo et ubi optimi omnia consulueris, bene vale.

The two would remain friends and co-workers for the rest of Zwingli’s life. And, I’ll add, Jud’s contributions to the Reformation in Zurich shouldn’t be overlooked nor his importance ignored. Zwingli literally could not have managed without him.

Did Hitchens Hate Jesus?

via 'Coffee With Jesus'

Left Behind, ‘Christian Music Industry’, and the other items listed as atrocities would make anyone dislike Christianity. But those things, like the Crusades and other atrocities, aren’t Christian. So it isn’t Christianity that’s hated, it’s a mischaracterization, a bastardization, of authentic Christian faith. And that misrepresentation, every misprision, of Christian faith deserves denunciation. Especially by Christians.

Conference Announcement: History of the Councils

Via Refo500

February 9, 2012, there will be an expert meeting in Leuven about ‘History of the Councils in Leuven Research’, organized by Refo500-partners Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Fondazione per le scienze religiose Giovanni XXIII and the Evangelische Theologische Faculteit Leuven.  Read here the text of the invitation.  More information and registration: Wim François and Violet Soen.

By ‘expert’ I think English speakers should understand ‘Academic’ or even ‘Scholarly’.  It looks like an interesting event.  Join in if you can.

When Adam and Steve Walk Into the Chaplain’s Office And Ask to Be Married…

Chaplain presiding over religious service with...

Image by Center for Jewish History, NYC via Flickr

The Chaplain should have the right to say no.

A proposal by Mississippi Sen. Roger Wicker that would let military chaplains refuse to perform same-sex weddings is expected to come up for a vote this week in the House and Senate.  “Chaplains should not be forced to violate their beliefs in order to serve their country,” said Wicker, a Republican on the Armed Services Committee.  Wicker’s proposal would allow military chaplains to refuse to perform same-sex weddings a marriage “as a matter of conscience or moral principle.”

All for their right to say no- to anyone at all they don’t feel morally inclined to marry.  I’ve said no more times than I’ve said yes to people who wanted to be married.  Pastors and Chaplains aren’t some cheap and cheesy Las Vegas Wedding Chapel hack- they have an ethical obligation to take marriage seriously even if, and especially if, the drunken or immature sots in front of them don’t.

Military chaplains have no business performing most of the weddings they do (since most of them turn out to be a farcical sham).  And they certainly have no business wedding gay partners.  So, Chaplain, just say no.  What can they do to you for standing by your principles?  Kill you? As Matthew (10:28) has it-

καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ.

Who Understands Spiritual Things?

The Common English Bible renders portions of 1 Cor 2 thusly-

12 We haven’t received the world’s spirit but God’s Spirit so that we can know the things given to us by God. 13 These are the things we are talking about—not with words taught by human wisdom but with words taught by the Spirit—we are interpreting spiritual things to spiritual people. 14 But people who are unspiritual don’t accept the things from God’s Spirit. They are foolishness to them and can’t be understood, because they can only be comprehended in a spiritual way. 15 Spiritual people comprehend everything, but they themselves aren’t understood by anyone. 16 Who has known the mind of the Lord, who will advise him? But we have the mind of Christ.

Paul asserts here

1- The spirit of the world is different than the Spirit of God.
2- Spiritual things are only comprehensible to spiritual people.
3- Unspiritual people count spiritual things to be foolish and stupid.
4- Unspiritual people can’t understand spiritual people.
5- Authentic Christians understand the will of Christ.

If you’ve ever wondered why the angry atheist and the scoffing skeptic (or sceptic if you’re a Brit and can’t spell words without shoving a u in or replacing a k with a c) just ‘don’t get it’ it’s because they can’t get it. Try as they might, they can’t wrap their minds around it because spiritual things are only spiritually accessible.

Furthermore, it is the responsibility of spiritual people (and Paul has Christians in mind, not some vaguely ‘spiritual’ person who ‘feels spiritual’) to know, and thus apply to their lives, the will of Christ.

Who understands spiritual things? Christ’s disciples.