Daily Archives: 24 Jan 2012

And the Verdict? Mark Driscoll Leads a Cult

Robert’s right.  Just a sampling- you need to read the entire post.

You simply will not believe what is going on behind the scenes at Mars Hill. We’ve already seen Mark Driscoll discuss (watch about the 3 minute mark) how he builds his church by intentionally targeting young men and their businesses. But now, Mars Hill’s disciplinary practices have been exposed for the cult tactics they are.

Now, according to Turner, a copy of a Mars Hill ‘church discipline’ contract is posted online, where the ‘sinner’ who has been ‘brought under church discipline’ has his sins spelled out, and in turn is asked to write out his further sins in full detail, meet with a prescribed ‘community group’ regularly, ‘write out in detail his sexual and emotional attachment history with women and share it with’ the pastor, and ‘write out a list of all people he has sinned against during this time frame, either by sexual/emotional sin, lying or deceiving, share it with’ the pastor.

Also available is the letter of ‘church discipline’ sent to the rest of the church after the member decided to leave the Mars Hill church. The document spells out the terms of the excommunication, citing the sexual nature of the individuals sins, and detailing what members of the Mars Hill community can and cannot do with the excommunicated former member on their own time.

It will turn your stomach.

Heretics have a way of doing that.  If there are any authentic Christians left at Mars Hill they need to leave.

Dentists…. There’s Something Amiss

Too creepy for words really-

Paper clips and stainless steel posts: Basically the same thing, right? A former Massachusetts dentist has pleaded guilty to a host of charges, including the accusation that he used parts of paper clips rather than stainless steel posts to support root canals in an attempt to save money. Michael Clair’s main charge, however, is Medicaid fraud to the tune of $130,000; he was suspended by Medicaid in 2002, but prosecutors say he continued performing work on Medicaid patients and submitted the claims in the names of other dentists in the practice.  Clair, 53, apparently ran a very scary dental practice: He is also charged with assault and battery, larceny, tampering with evidence, and witness intimidation.

That’s just wrong for so many, many reasons.

Jewish Cursing

There’s another good one at Bible & Interpretation

I suggest that we need to address this evidence with immense caution, admitting that while it is abundantly clear that the birkat haminim eventually was, in its medieval forms, a curse of Christians, we simply cannot document this in the period of its putative origins in the late first or early second century CE. It therefore cannot be identified with any certainty as a player in the “partings of the ways,” although it certainly served later to reinforce the boundary between the two communities.

So writes Ruth Langer.  Take a look.

Are Vegetarians Heretics?

What a great question.  What a great essay!

Modern vegetarians often refer to theological terminology such as “reverence for life” or “respecting creation” when defending their position. Ironically, in the Early Church the situation is exactly the other way around. Abstaining from meat is considered a sign of heresy.

Wow!  Read the eye-opening rest!  Sebastian Moll.  A name to watch for.

Yes, Yes, I’m Afraid I, in Fact, Did

The folk over at the Logos Blog insist that there are 5 things about Calvin I didn’t know

1. Calvin suffered. Nope- knew it. As everyone who has read Peter Opitz’s utterly brilliant biography does.
2. John Calvin and Ignatius of Loyola were classmates at the University of Paris. That too.
3. Calvin had a religious conversion. I’ve read his letters so that one’s pretty well known too.
4. Calvin was deeply influenced by Augustine. Come on. Seriously? Is there anyone on the planet who DOESN’T know that?
5. Nobody knows where Calvin is buried. Afraid that one was no secret either.

I was so excited when I saw the title- wow, I’m going to learn five awesome new facts about Calvin that I didn’t know. I’m so disappointed. It’s like being promised a chocolate fountain and only getting to see a picture of one…


[I am, though, now very worried at the sort of folk who read the Logos blog.  If they don’t know those simple things then I have to wonder, what do they know?  And can they manage to get out of bed in the morning or do they need step by step directions?]


Revenge: The Bitter Side of Life

Via Alastair Roberts on the twitter-

Behold- the bitterness of revenge.

‘We Condemn…’ : Words Not Heard Often Enough These Days

The 7th chapter of the Second Helvetic Confession states:

We condemn all who ridicule or by subtle arguments cast doubt upon the immortality of the soul, or who say that the soul sleeps or is a part of God. In short, we condemn all opinions of all men, however many, that depart from what has been delivered unto us by the Holy Scriptures in the Apostolic Church of Christ concerning creation, angels, and demons, and man.

Well there you have it.  No compromise, no acquiescence.  No wonder the Swiss Reformation was so powerfully influential, reaching clear across Europe, clear across the Pacific, and clear into the modern era.

Compare its forthrightness with the mamby-pamby hand holding weak-kneed compromising Christianity of today and you get a sense of what we’ve lost.  Or rather, of what we’ve thrown away.  There just aren’t any people the caliber of Heinrich Bullinger (the author of the Confession)  anymore.

Dimwittery in a No Dimwittery Zone

From the NY Daily Post

If you don’t see the problem, you may be homeschooled!  [Just kidding- although, the homeschoolers I know do tend to lack a sense of humor and even knowing that the statement is a jest, will doubtless be all kinds of offended and fire off the hate mail like they always do].

The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us

Amy-Jill Levine and Douglas Knight’s new book ‘The Meaning of the Bible‘ has been sent along (with thanks!).

I’ve reviewed by chapter :

1. The History of Ancient Israel
2. The Literary Heritage of Ancient Israel
3. Land and Settlement
4. Law and Justice
5. The Divine
6. The Cultus
7. Chaos and Creation
8. Continuation and Completion
9. Self and Others
10. Sexuality
11. Politics and the Economy
12. Diaspora
13. Critique and Reform
14. Wisdom and Theodicy

UPDATE: On the 2nd of April, 2012 Doug Knight did me the kindness of pointing out that I had read ‘several’ erroneously as ‘seven’ in my review of Chapter 4- Law and Justice. Do note in that segment of the review that my consternation concerning their ‘seven’ (read wrongly) points which later become ‘ten’ was unnecessary. They can count. I just can’t see (sometimes). I’m very appreciative of both Doug’s and A-J’s interaction (privately) with my review.

Post Doctoral Appointments at Tel Aviv University

Via Oded Lipschits, to whom all inquiries should be directed.

Two Post-Doc Positions at the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, in fields of Archaeology, Ancient Israel Studies, and Ancient Near Eastern Cultures  The Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology, Tel Aviv University, will appoint two post-doctoral scholars for 2012-2013 in the fields of Archaeology, Ancient Israel Studies, or Ancient Near Eastern Cultures.

The highly competitive fellowships are offered to researchers across many disciplines, and will be awarded on the basis of academic excellence.  Applicants should have received their Ph.D. in a relevant field within the last five years from an institution other than Tel Aviv University. While appropriate training in archaeology, biblical studies, ancient Near Eastern cultures and/or biblical history is required, the nature of an applicant’s specific research interests and areas of expertise is open.

Successful candidates are expected to make substantive contributions to the ongoing development of the Sonia and Marco Nadler Institute of Archaeology by organizing a colloquium on a subject to be decided at the beginning of the academic year that will stimulate an intellectual environment in which research and new interdisciplinary connections are pursued and developed.

In addition to engaging in their own research, the successful candidates will be expected to teach one four-hour graduate level seminar during one of the two semesters (interdisciplinary offerings are desirable).  The fellowship period will begin October 1, 2012, and is for a period of one year. The appointment carries an NIS 80,000 (= approximately $21,000) stipend for each candidate.

Applicants are requested to submit a cover letter, a CV, a detailed statement of current research interests (up to 2000 words), and two letters of reference (to be submitted directly by the recommenders). In addition, post-doctoral fellows must state if they are applying for other sources of funding for the fellowship period.

The scientific committee includes Prof. Oded Lipschits, Prof. Israel Finkelstein and Prof. Oren Tal.  Application materials should be sent to: Professor Oded Lipschits (lipschit@post.tau.ac.il). Subject heading should read: Post-Doctoral Application.  Last date for acceptance of material: April 1, 2012.  Results will be published on April 15, 2012.


The World’s Most Awesome Babysitter!

Watch the YouTube here.  Brilliant!  I’d most certainly have let her watch ours and I’m sure you’d let her watch yours too!

Religion and the Media: A New Project

The always on the cusp folk at Sheffield have launched a new project titled Religion and the Media.

This blog is part of the Centre for Freedom of the Media (University of Sheffield) which reflects a developing research collaboration between Jackie Harrison and James Crossley. The blog will be dedicated to updates, news and analysis of a wide range of issues relating to religion and the media.

As a person long interested in the way the media usually distorts things related to religion and biblical studies, I’m looking forward to what they can offer as a corrective.  I’m adding a link to the nav panel under ‘useful sites’.

How Much Are You Willing To Pay to Read Secularists Vaunt Secularism?

Me?  Nothing.  But you may be different.  You may be happy to fork over $36 to read one article in the Journal of Contemporary Religion titled Interdisciplinary Studies of Non-religion and Secularity: The State of the Union.

If you do, do share your thoughts… Or maybe Organised Atheism in India: An Overview by Johannes Quack is more up your alley. Have at.

Or maybe you’re just one of those unfortunate, persecuted irreligious folk who just wonders ‘why’ (but lacking any God you’ve no one to ask the question anyway so why do you bother?). You may like On the Receiving End: Discrimination toward the Non-Religious in the United States. Here’s a tissue and a piece of advice: toughen up, Princess.

Frankly I Don’t Care What Mitt Paid, or Newt

I do, though, have a tax plan that’s fair.  Here it is:

Every American wage earner, dividend recipient, etc. who receives money from pay or investments of any and all kinds ought to be taxed a flat 9%.

The tax form we all would fill out would just be a few lines.  Mainly

Name  ____________________   SSN _________________________
Address____________________   Phone ______________________
Income (in all kinds) _______________________
x .09 =

The Taxes you Owe ________________________

If the government can’t operate on what it takes in via that method it needs to cut programs- beginning with defense.  Just like you and I have to cut expenses when we don’t make enough.

Simple, fair, sensible.  Which is exactly why such a method will never be adopted in our corruption loving, greed driven land.

You’d Have to be Insane to Pay to be Published In a ‘Peer-Reviewed’ Publication

I’m sure many of you have gotten the same email from SAGE-

Get published! Submit your manuscript to SAGE Open—an open-access publication.

Open access huh? Then why does it cost folk $395?

Publish in SAGE Open, SAGE’s groundbreaking, open-access publication of peer-reviewed, original research and review articles, spanning the full spectrum of the social and behavioral sciences and the humanities. More than 975 manuscripts have been submitted in the last year. Submit your manuscript through SAGE Track, SAGE’s web-based peer review and submission system, powered by ScholarOne Manuscripts™. Submitting your manuscript is free. If you are accepted, then pay the author acceptance fee of $395 (discounted from the regular price of $695)! For more information, view the SAGE Open manuscript submission guidelines.

Insanity. But I suppose there are some people who value ‘peer review’ so much they’re willing to pay big money to say they have it. I prefer to have editorial oversight exercised by sensible people who don’t ask me to pay them up front beforehand for the ‘privilege’.