Daily Archives: 9 May 2012

Open Wide, Hell, Another Molester Will Be On the Way

A New Jersey woman admitted Wednesday to sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl she was allegedly babysitting and putting a video of the assault on the Internet.  Jennifer Mahoney, 33, of Manalapan pleaded guilty in U.S. District Court to sexual exploitation of a child.  She faces between 15 and 30 years in prison when she is sentenced Aug. 22, and will have to pay restitution to the victim. She had been charged with two counts of sexual exploitation of a child.

Open wide, hell, another molester will be visiting soon enough.

James Crossley: Handbag and Luggage Designer

If you thought James was busy with academic endeavors, you’re mistaken.  He’s actually quite busy with his new line of designer handbags and luggage.

Indeed, one of my trusty and trusted contacts was in San Francisco yesterday and took this photo of the display where James, and his work, are featured.

James Crossley and his Bags

I certainly hope that when he’s very wealthy he does me the kindness of buying me an apartment in Zurich where I can live out my days in quiet solitude and research.

How to Know When the Church You Attend Has Died

As soon as falsehood has forced its way into the citadel of religion, as soon as the sum of necessary doctrine is inverted, and the use of the sacraments is destroyed, the death of the Church undoubtedly ensues, just as the life of man is destroyed when his throat is pierced, or his vitals mortally wounded.

This is clearly evinced by the words of Paul when he says, that the Church is “built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner-stone” (Eph. 2:20). If the Church is founded on the doctrine of the apostles and prophets, by which believers are enjoined to place their salvation in Christ alone, then if that doctrine is destroyed, how can the Church continue to stand?

The Church must necessarily fall whenever that sum of religion which alone can sustain it has given way. Again, if the true Church is “the pillar and ground of the truth” (1 Tim. 3:15), it is certain that there is no Church where lying and falsehood have usurped the ascendancy. (Calvin’s Institutes IV,2,1).

Let him who has ears to hear, hear.  Those churches (and the Christians who inhabit them) who disavow authentic doctrine and embrace falsehood (no matter how noble they think their cause) have changed from being the Church to being a distortion of the church; a caricature.  When that happens at the Church you attend, it’s time to get out.  It has died and if you remain within, you remain within a corpse.

President Obama Just Lost the South and the Mountain States

I suppose it was inevitable given his refusal to enforce DOMA, but now that he’s come out in support of gay marriage, he can – essentially – kiss the South and the Mountain States goodbye.  He’s just handed them to Romney.

President Obama Officially Affirms His Support for Same-Sex Marriage.

Perhaps there will be sufficient votes in the rest of the country to shove him back into office. But given the fact that 30 States have constitutional amendments against gay marriage and given the fact the the voters of even California oppose it, Obama’s just made his road a bit tougher.

Not that I was going to vote for him.  I haven’t voted for a major party politician for a very long time.  But a lot of people who were going to vote for him won’t now.

It’s called Democracy.  Unless, that is, activists who support gay marriage want to tell people how they should vote (not that they aren’t already.  And that’s called tyranny via name-calling or more precisely, bullying those who don’t share your views in an attempt to force them to think as you think).

Media Exaggeration: This Is Why No One Should Trust the Press

The Atlantic Wire’s headline shows why the general public shouldn’t trust the media.  Instead, it should ask actual experts directly.

Archaeologists Claim They’re One Step Closer to Proving the Bible True

I don’t recall that sentiment being expressed even by Garfinkel.   Even his boldest claims don’t go so far as to say that ‘the bible is closer to being proven’.

Sadly the Atlantic Wire turned to the likes of Shanks and a dim angry atheist for the ‘other side of the story’.  So, all in all, not only do they not get Garfinkel right- they don’t even bother making inquiry of actual academics.  They must be the National Enquirer of the mainstream media.  Or maybe they’re just par for the course.

In any event, if you want to know something, ask someone who knows, not the media nor people interested only in selling magazine subscriptions or copies of their whiny ‘I can’t be a Christian anymore because I think I know everything’ book.

$135 is High, But It’s less Than $180

So I’ve ordered the Davies Festschrift from our friends at Eisenbrauns (or to be more exact, they’ve emailed and asked if I still wanted the volume [with the new title] that I placed on order 5 years ago).   Gosh I’m patient…

There goes food for a week.  Ah, I can stand to lose 30 pounds so really this is a good thing.

James McGrath’s Great Roundup of Qeiyafa Posts and a Sage Observation by J.S.

I think he’s collected everything worth collecting and made some sensible comments along the way.  Give it a read.  We’ve also been discussing the discovery on the biblical studies list and Jonathan Stökl sagely observed that:

I agree that [that] this find poses the end of minimalist approaches to any text is ridiculous. It also does not challenge the Low Chronology (two topics that should, in my view, be kept separate). What it does show is that the people who lived on Tel Qeiyafa lived in a religious landscape (surprise!).

I would, however, want to be careful with using similar objects from the antiquities’ market when saying that they’re nothing special. We should not lower our standards of good evidence and suddenly rely on object that are not properly provenanced (unless these private collectors have proper evidence of where the objects were excavated). I would, therefore, agree with Aren Maeir that Garfinkel’s temple models are rather nice, and that they are important finds for Qeiyafa.

So let’s relax a little, and see what can be done with these for the interpretation of the site and *maybe* for a slightly wider area (in the moment I would think of Finkelstein’s and Fantalkin’s suggestion that a Norther Judean/Southern Israelite entity may be active here).

Jonathan Stökl
University College London

I couldn’t have said it better or more concisely.

Cantons, Politics, and The Fusion of Church and State

One of the clearest proofs of the complete fusion of Church and State in 16th century Switzerland is found in a tiny document wherein Zwingli intersperses his own notes with political debate.

The Zusätze Zwinglis zu Heinrich Utingers “Bericht wegen heimlicher Korrespondenz der V Orte mit den Kaiserischen”” etc. was written sometime between April 27 and May 9, 1531 and in it readers are treated to the pleasure of seeing Zwingli react at first hand, in his own hand, to political discussions.

In 16th century Zurich, theologians had influence over the decisions of the State just as the State had influence over the practices of the Church (by means of legislation). And it’s amazing for one key reason: neither dominated. The State and the Church were in an equal partnership. Both aimed for the physical and spiritual well-being of the Canton, and they, to a great extent, achieved it. Especially during Bullinger’s years.

To be sure, there were disagreements and the State sometimes used the Church to further its own ends; but so did the Church use the State when it had to. It remains, nonetheless, an amazing period of history.

For those interested, by the way, in Utinger, there’s a brief piece in Zwingliana worth reading.

Oh That’s Rich: She’s Being Sued Because She Sent a Text, And The Recipient Was Driving and Wrecked When he Answered It

A New Jersey judge will rule this month whether a woman who sent a text message to the driver of a pick-up truck is partially liable for his subsequent crash into a couple riding a motorcycle.

The case stems from a 2009 accident when a then 19-year-old Kyle Best got into an accident while texting. Best was driving his pick-up truck and replying to a text he had just received from Shannon Colonna when his vehicle drifted into opposing traffic and slammed into David and Linda Kubert’s motorcycle.  The couple’s injuries were horrific with David Kubert losing his left leg above the knee during the accident and Linda Kubert having her leg later amputated below the knee as a result of her injuries.

After initially bringing a suit against Best for his role in the accident, the Kuberts’ lawyer, Stephen Weinstein, expanded the  complaint to include Colonna as well.  “They were texting back and forth like a verbal conversation,” Weinstein told ABCNews.com. “She may not have been physically present, but she was electronically present.”

Come on people.  Take responsibility for your own behavior.  No one made the kid pick up his phone and answer the text.  I hope the judge is smart enough to realize that.  But these days, who can tell.

Seth Sanders et al on the Qeiyafa Discovery

Seth (and some others) have some thoughts on possible unintended consequences of the Qeiyafa find.  It begins

Notes from a conversation between Seth Sanders, Matthew Suriano and Jacqueline Vayntrub.

“The difference between the new model shrines and others is that these come with a press kit.”

It is tempting to dismiss claims about the new discoveries as exaggerated, self-contradictory, or even fundamentalist. The newly discovered model shrine is somehow supposed to testify to both the biblical ban on graven images and the biblical Ark of the Lord–despite being festooned with birds and lions and bearing no striking resemblance to the account in Exodus. Footprints of King David, a glossy book about the finds available the day of the press conference, did not help to soften the impression of hasty sensationalism.

I sure hope he didn’t mean to imply that my posting of the Hebrew University press release was a tacit agreement with the claims of Garfinkel or even crypto-fundamentalism on my part.  Neither would be true.

[Ok, I asked and he didn’t mean to make any such implication.  Whew].

Sometimes You Have to Toss the Albatross

And that’s what Germany wants to do with Greece, Europe’s albatross.

“We should make Greece the offer to leave the eurozone in an orderly fashion, without leaving the European Union,” said Klaus-Peter Willsch, budgetary expert for Chancellor Angela Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union.

He told Wednesday’s business daily Handelsblatt it was not up to the Germans to tell the Greeks how to live, but the election results indicated that the Greeks were not willing to make the effort required to make their country competitive.

“The dogma that no country can leave the eurozone has already caused too much political damage in Europe,” he said.

It would be the best thing for Europe- and the best thing for the world.  Let Greece sink on its own without taking down the other economies tied (unfortunately) to it.  Those in Germany calling for the Eurozone to toss the Albatross are correct.

Signs of the Times

via Ref.ch on FB

North Carolina Says No to ‘Gay Marriage’

By an overwhelming majority.  Do you know what that’s called?  Democracy.

Voters in North Carolina Tuesday approved a state constitutional amendment forbidding gay marriages, civil unions and domestic partnerships, still divisive social issues in the United States.  The measure was passed by 61 percent against 39 percent as of 0230 GMT, according to preliminary results from the North Carolina State Board of Elections.

This reflects the view of the majority of States and the majority of Americans.

Similar state constitutional amendments have been approved in some 30 US states.

Naturally this isn’t the end of the matter.  The minority of voters who wish to legitimize gay marriage will continue to attempt to usurp the democratic process by means of the courts.  And while voters have consistently rejected gay marriage, courts have consistently ignored voters and decided according to their own wishes.

America isn’t the only country which calls itself democratic but which is actually governed by autocrats.  Afghanistan is like that too.

In a democracy if you wish your view to prevail, you do so by persuasive argument.  Convince the majority that your view has merit, and it will be adopted.  The advocates of gay marriage have been unable to do so.  So, rather than conjuring a cogent argument they have done an end run around the majority.  That’s how American ‘democracy’ works these days.  And that’s why American democracy is dying.