Daily Archives: 31 Jan 2012

Serious Archaeology

It is no longer possible to do serious archaeology as an amateur.  Today archaeologists must be full time professionals.  Stated somewhat simply, the time that one could do archaeology in the Middle East with the Bible in one hand and the trowel in the other definitely belongs to the past.  — Hans M. Barstad

Readers of BAR should take that to heart, and so should some of the archaeologists working at the ‘City of David’ site.

First Santorum Jumps the Shark, and Now, Newt Does

Santorum’s idiotic stunt which spelled doom to his quest for office was noted last week.  Today, Newt’s managed an idiotic stunt of his own- accusing Romney of taking kosher food from Holocaust survivors…  No kidding.

Just when you thought it couldn’t get any nastier, some Florida voters today have been greeted with pre-recorded telephone calls saying Mitt Romney took kosher meals away from Holocaust survivors.  “Holocaust survivors who for the first time were forced to eat non-kosher because Romney thought $5 was too much to pay for your grandparents to eat kosher,” the robo-call said. “Where is Mitt Romney’s compassion for our seniors?” The call ends with these words: “Paid for by Newt 2012.”  When I asked Gingrich about the call, he told me, “I don’t know anything about it” and suggested we “check if the allegation [about denying kosher meals to Holocaust survivors] is true.”

He didn’t know… right.  Sure he didn’t.  How despicable is that?  How desperate is Newt?  And how stupid does he think the people of Florida are that they would fall for such a blatantly moronic attempt at smear?

Newt.  Slime.  He will say ANYTHING just to be elected.  That shows what kind of person he is.

Say, You Aren’t Black Enough…

You must need to be stabbed….

When one student stabbed 12-year-old Ryan Rodriguez in the back with a pencil and walked away, Ryan didn’t have to ask for a reason why. He already knew: his race, the Connecticut Postreports. The boy’s mother, Gail Rodriguez, told the paper that her son, who is half white and half Puerto Rican, was often bullied for not being “black enough,” and that other students teased him, calling him things like “stupid white cracker.”

Thugs.  Totally depraved hate filled violent monstrous thugs.  It gets worse:

The bullying at the Engineering and Science University Magnet School in New Haven, Conn., was more than physical assault. The Post reports that students would also steal Ryan’s belongings and break his binders. When his mother complained, however, teachers allegedly said they would have to catch the students in the act in order to take punitive action.  “I called the school. I called the bus company,” Rodriguez told the paper. “I called the Board of Education. I even called the police. Everyone seemed to want to pass the buck.”

Apparently bullying is only worth acting on if the victim is gay.  That, at any rate, is the only time there’s public outcry and instantaneous reaction by Hollywood celebrities and record company label singers.  Ellen and Lady Gaga can’t be troubled with a Puerto Rican child’s ongoing torture.  They have a far narrower focus to attend to and only one tiny segment of society to help.

Unfortunately, Ryan’s case is not an isolated incident. A report by Agence France-Presse showsthat 54 percent of Asian American teenagers say they were bullied at school, compared to 31.3 percent of white students, 38.4 percent of black students, and 34.3 percent of Hispanic students.

Outrageous.  Truly.

Tim Tebow Has Taken a (Theological) Turn for the Worse

Michael writes

Mega church Pastor and televangelist Rod Parsley is teaming up with another Prosperity and Word of Faith teacher and multi millionaire Kenneth Copeland and (wait for it) yup, NFL Quarter back, Tim Tebow! In a conference said to let you “experience the power of the Holy Spirit, and learn how the anointing of God to can resonate in your life”.

Either they’re using Tebow to draw a crowd (in a sense ‘pimping him out’) and he just doesn’t know it- or he’s fallen for the worst sort of self serving pseudo-theology operative today- the ‘prosperity’ false-gospel.  Either way this bodes ill.  And just as I was starting to like the kid for his philanthropic efforts and orthodox beliefs.

UPDATE:  Rod’s going to have to change his poster.  Tim Tebow has canceled.  According to his spokesman, the conference doesn’t reflect his beliefs.  *Applause*

Jesus Can Stay in the Forest After All

So take that you feckless whining angry atheists.

The U.S. Forest Service says it will re-authorize a permit for a 57-year-old statue of Jesus that had been facing eviction from a northwestern Montana ski resort.  The agency faced a firestorm of criticism from religious groups, the state’s congressman and residents after it decided last fall to boot the Jesus statue from its hillside perch in the trees.  The Forest Service said Tuesday will renew a 10-year special-use permit for the Knights of Columbus Council statue. Service supervisor Chip Weber says the decision took into account that the statue “is important to the community for its historical heritage.”

If you don’t like religion, move to North Korea.  You’d love it there.  We’d love you there.

Afghani Barbarism

An Afghan militiaman strangled his wife for giving birth to a third daughter instead of a son, according to law enforcement authorities. The 28-year-old victim was killed in her home in the northern province of Kunduz by her husband and his mother just three months after the woman had the baby, reports the Guardian. The victim’s mother-in-law has been arrested, but the husband has fled. It’s uncertain who will care for the couple’s daughters. Two months ago, attackers in the same province poured acid over parents and three children after the parents refused to hand over their young daughter in marriage. The rejected suitor has been arrested.

Nothing the US and its allies have accomplished will make Afghanistan anything that it already isn’t.  Barbarism isn’t cured by war.  And a barbaric mindset isn’t erased by ‘Democracy’.

The Bern Mandate

Published by 31 January of 1528, the Anweisung für das Berner Reformationsmandat issued directives as to how to carry out the Reform which was shown to be necessary at the Bern Disputation. Bern overturned the Catholic ‘victory’ at Baden and resulted in the complete overthrowing of the Baden Disputation’s directives. Schaff relates that

The disputation at Berne lasted nineteen days (from Jan. 6 to 26). It was the Protestant counterpart of the disputation at Baden in composition, arrangements and result. It had the same effect for Berne as the disputations of 1523 had for Zurich. The invitations were general; but the Roman Catholic cantons and the four bishops who were invited refused, with the exception of the bishop of Lausanne, to send delegates, deeming the disputation of Baden final. Dr. Eck, afraid to lose his fresh laurels, was unwilling, as he said, “to follow the heretics into their nooks and corners”; but he severely attacked the proceedings.

The Reformed party was strongly represented by delegates from Zurich, Basel, and St. Gall, and several cities of South Germany. Zurich sent about one hundred ministers and laymen, with a strong protection. The chief speakers on the Reformed side were Zwingli, Haller, Kolb, Oecolampadius, Capito, and Bucer from Strassburg; on the Roman side, Grab, Huter, Treger, Christen, and Burgauer. Joachim von Watt of St. Gall presided. Popular sermons were preached during the disputation by Blaurer of Constance, Zwingli, Bucer, Oecolampadius, Megander, and others.

The Reformers carried an easy and complete victory, and reversed the decision of Baden. The ten Theses or Conclusions, drawn up by Haller and revised by Zwingli, were fully discussed, and adopted as a sort of confession of faith for the Reformed Church of Berne. They are as follows: —

1. The holy Christian Church, whose only Head is Christ, is born of the Word of God, and abides in the same, and listens not to the voice of a stranger.
2. The Church of Christ makes no laws and commandments without the Word of God. Hence human traditions are no more binding on us than as far as they are founded in the Word of God.
3. Christ is the only wisdom, righteousness, redemption, and satisfaction for the sins of the whole world. Hence it is a denial of Christ when we confess another ground of salvation and satisfaction.
4. The essential and corporal presence of the body and blood of Christ cannot be demonstrated from the Holy Scripture.
5. The mass as now in use, in which Christ is offered to God the Father for the sins of the living and the dead, is contrary to the Scripture, a blasphemy against the most holy sacrifice, passion, and death of Christ, and on account of its abuses an abomination before God.
6. As Christ alone died for us, so he is also to be adored as the only Mediator and Advocate between God the Father and the believers. Therefore it is contrary to the Word of God to propose and invoke other mediators.
7. Scripture knows nothing of a purgatory after this life. Hence all masses and other offices for the dead are useless.
8. The worship of images is contrary to Scripture. Therefore images should be abolished when they are set up as objects of adoration.
9. Matrimony is not forbidden in the Scripture to any class of men; but fornication and unchastity are forbidden to all.
10. Since, according to the Scripture, an open fornicator must be excommunicated, it follows that unchastity and impure celibacy are more pernicious to the clergy than to any other class.

All to the glory of God and his holy Word.

Think of the 10 theses of Bern as a miniature ‘Reformed Dogmatic’ and you’ll get the gist of the text.

The Truth About Dog Lovers…

Priceless- but be sure to watch it to the end!

Via Rachel West on the twitter.

Registration for the SBL Southeastern Meeting is Open

You can register online, in just a couple of minutes, here.  The SBL Southeastern region webpage is here and it includes hotel registration information as well.  Hope to see you there!

[And if you have colleagues in the region, please let them know].

‘Lest the Child Snatchers Come…’

A fine essay in the Telegraph [or, if you’re the sort comfortable with just fobbing off things you find online as your own, you can delete, to the eternal damnation of your soul, reference to said source] includes the delightful phrase presently serving as a post title.

The essay is a scathing rebuke of the insanity of the child-monster-being-allowed-to-do-as-it-wills stream of consciousness plaguing parts of the world today.

It includes such intelligent observations as

So thank you, David Lammy, for trying to deliver us from this crazy scenario. The bold (some might say kamikaze) Labour MP for Tottenham claims that last year’s riots could have been avoided if young people had known the firm smack of discipline. He has a point: parents, in particular working-class parents, feel that they have no authority over their children. They are scared of laying a hand on, or even shouting at, the little wretches, lest the child‑snatchers come.

Middle-class parents can get the doctor to prescribe pills — Ritalin and Adderall – for their undisciplined youngsters; or even pay for therapy. In this way, they feel some control over their offspring. But most working-class parents don’t have pet GPs ready to dope their children, or the money to spend on costly shrinks. What they do have are gangs and drug dealers threatening their children; yet they are made to question their own judgment when it comes to discipline, and feel powerless as a result.

A good spanking may not work miracles; but it is less harmful than pills and cheaper than jail.

Spanking isn’t the unforgivable sin- raising undisciplined monster-children is a far worse thing.

Phil Long – On Hebrews 6:4-12

Phil does a nice job on this crux.    He so correctly concludes

He [the author of Hebrews] does not address church discipline or post-reformation theology.  In fact, he is neither Calvinist nor Arminian, he is not a holiness preacher or a post-Enlightenment liberal.  The writer of Hebrews is a Jewish Christian addressing other Jewish Christians who are about to endure a time of terrible persecution.  Is it possible for them to deny Christ publicly, declare that they are faithful Jews, and still consider themselves Christians in secret?

The answer- no.  Read his post (though he declines to answer as I have).

Quote of the Day

The GOP race is between a man who wants a colony on the moon and one who thinks God will give him his own planet.  – Andy Borowitz

Small Wonder the Church in Britain is on the Rocks…

Vicars there  are weird…

Pop vicar Richard Coles preaches the virtues of cycling. Former Communards star turned vicar on how he has had a number of epiphanies by simply getting on his bike.

They’ll let anyone be a Vicar won’t they.

Today he often combines cycling with trips in his camper van. He and his partner take a pair of Bromptons – “the finest achievement in British engineering since the Holborn viaduct” – to cycle wherever they park up. They have explored Britain thoroughly. “I love it round here in Northamptonshire – good cycling country – but I think we’d like to end up in Norfolk eventually. Scotland we love too, and try to take the van and the bikes up to the west coast once a year.”

His ‘partner’?  Would that be his male partner, his live in girlfriend, or his wife?

Britain, we’re all weeping for you.

Aren Maeir in the News

If his parents hadn’t moved from New York to Israel in 1969, noted Israeli archeologist Aren Maeir would more likely be holding a stethoscope than a shovel.  “In Jewish suburbia, 90-odd percent of people are doctors, lawyers or accountants,” muses the Bar-Ilan University professor of biblical and ancient Near Eastern archaeology. “The range of out-of-the-box professions is rather small, so the chances of my becoming an archeologist would have been smaller.”  Instead, arriving in Jerusalem at the age of 11, Maeir developed a robust Israeli zest for the great outdoors. His family visited archeological sites, including exciting new excavations then taking place in the vicinity of Jerusalem’s Western Wall, whetting his appetite for exploring history hidden among the rocks.

Go read the rest.  It’s really nicely done.

Noah’s Ark Has Been Found!!!!!

Oddly, though, it’s no where you would expect.  In fact, it’s a bit further north than anticipated.  It’s in Köln!

Intellectual ‘Freedom’

Via Antonio Russo on the FB-

So much for ‘freedom’…

If You’re In Minnesota, There’s a Conference You Should Attend

Manifold Greatness Colloquium

Date: 02/03/2012

Time: 4:00 PM – 7:30 PM

Location: 4th floor gallery Wilson Library

Cost: Free


Join us for this colloquium, which will include a special viewing of the exhibits followed by a reception. Music will be provided by guitar students in the studio of Maja Radovanlija, Guitar Instructor and Lecturer in Creative Studies and Media.

Program of Events
4:00 p.m. Welcome and exhibit viewing

4:30 p.m. Presentations by

  • Bernard M. Levinson, Berman Family Chair of Jewish Studies and Hebrew Bible, Professor of Classical & Near Eastern Studies and of Law, University of Minnesota
  • David Haley, Professor of English Language and Literature, University of Minnesota
  • Michael Hancher, Professor of English, University of Minnesota
  • Timothy Johnson, Curator of Special Collections and Rare Books, University of Minnesota

6:00 p.m. Reception and exhibit viewing

6:30 p.m. Presentations by:

  • Chris R. Armstrong, Professor of Church History, Bethel Seminary
  • Mark A. Granquist, Associate Professor of Church History, Luther Seminary

Prof. Levinson remarks ‘The colloquium is part of a series celebrating the 400th Anniversary of the King James Bible with a special exhibits and events. The title of my presentation: “The King James Bible: Scripture, Statecraft, and the American Founding.”

So if you’re up there in the great frozen north, go.

In Israel They Have Reason to Be Worried

The far right has been given the authority to indoctrinate Israel’s children.  That should worry everyone.

Education Minister Gideon Sa’ar has made a mockery of Breaking the Silence. For a year the organization has been pestering him to allow its members to lead junior high school pupils on a tour of Hebron, just like the right-wing non-profit organizations do – and finally he agreed. But before the first student had boarded the first bus the police arrived and cancelled the tour. How surprising.

Sa’ar is a consistent politician with a consolidated worldview, and he was well aware of what he was doing. On the one hand, he really and truly believes that the trips to Jerusalem’s City of David, the Cave of the Patriarchs and the museum at Beit Hadassah in Hebron are important milestones in forging the national and Jewish identity of Israeli students. On the other hand, he is aware of and sensitive to the criticism expressed by many parents in his social milieu. They are not at all pleased with the route of the tour. Nor are they pleased about the fact that a private, extreme rightwing non-profit organization, funded by a Jewish millionaire, is in charge of the ideological education of their children – especially in the sensitive and controversial area of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

Parents in Israel should be displeased.  What’s happening there, this incredible ‘Talibanization’ of Israel, should cause the entire world to be very, very troubled.  It’s the equivalent of giving the Christian Zionists of America exclusive rights to determine educational standards and programs.  And yes, that’s a disturbing and frightening thought, isn’t it.

Israel is in serious trouble.

More Proof That Mark Driscoll Leads a Cult

Only a cult leader can ‘fire’ someone in a position of leadership in the cult.  I.e., only a cult has a mere mortal as absolute authority.  Said fired leader writes, in part,

The downside is Mark’s pathology shows up in ways that are impulsive, aggressive, irascible, shut off from effective relational influence, and most apparent not respectful and submissive to anyone, though he claims otherwise.  I have hoped and still hope for something short of him destroying himself that would bring about substantial change for this ever increasing population of worshiper. Some have fretted there will be a great loss of Christians with the demise of Mark and/or the Church. I don’t think so. The church that comprises all of us will survive. The chaff will be blown away, but the church will remain.

If there are any Christians at Mars Hill they’ll be ok.  Those following the cultist, however, won’t.  In fact, Matthew 13 has it right-

24 He put before them another parable, saying, “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a man who sowed good seed in his field. 25 But while his people were sleeping, his enemy came and sowed darnel in the midst of the wheat and went away. 26 So when the wheat sprouted and yielded grain, then the darnel appeared also. 27 So the slaves of the master of the house came and said to him, ‘Master, did you not sow good seed in your field? How then does it have darnel?’ 28 And he said to them, ‘An enemy has done this!’ So the slaves said to him, ‘Then do you want us to go and gather them?’ 29 But he said, “No, lest when you gather the darnel you uproot the wheat together with it. 30 Let both grow together until the harvest, and at the season of the harvest I will tell the reapers, “First gather the darnel and tie it into bundles to burn them, but gather the wheat into my storehouse.”’”

If there is any good seed at Mars Hill, time will tell. The fact that Driscoll is Darnel, though, will also – eventually – be known even by the most devout of his cultish followers and defenders.