Daily Archives: 11 Jul 2012

South Carolina’s Episcopalians Aren’t Putting Up With the Nonsense Anymore

The  Bishop and Deputation of the Episcopal Diocese of South Carolina have withdrawn from the 77th General Convention.  On 11 July 2012 the lay and clergy deputies released a statement confirming their withdrawal. 

“Due to the actions of General Convention, the South Carolina Deputation has concluded that we cannot continue with business as usual. We all agree that we cannot and will not remain on the floor of the House and act as if all is normal. John Burwell and Lonnie Hamilton have agreed to remain at Convention to monitor further developments and by their presence demonstrate that our action is not to be construed as a departure from the Episcopal Church. Please pray for those of us who will be traveling early and for those who remain.”

The Rt. Rev. Mark Lawrence, Bishop of South Carolina, was not present at today’s meeting of the House of Bishops.  One bishop told Anglican Ink that he could not disclose what was discussed in the bishops’ private afternoon session, but confirmed Bishop Lawrence was not present.

Hoorah for bravery!  Hoorah for people willing to take a stand against the continuing encroachment of immorality into the Body of Christ.

Translators Beware

Whoever translates a biblical verse literally is a fool, while one who adds to it is a reviler and a blasphemer. — Rabbi Yehuda

[The same could be said of the New Testament too]

Chris Tilling’s Lecture on Rudolf Karl Bultmann

“On Rudolf Bultmann – encountering Jesus today” by Chris Tilling from Chris on Vimeo.

The Next Time You Decide You’re Going to Skip Sunday School…

Think of the Christians in China, who would LOVE to have the opportunities that we Americans toss aside with reckless abandon-

Police in China’s far western region of Xinjiang raided a house church Sunday school, rounded up 70 children and their teachers for questioning, and locked up seven women teachers in a local detention center, ChinaAid has learned.

The children were attending special summer classes arranged by the house church in the regional capital city of Urumqi when the police action occurred on the morning of July 2.  Police from the Qiangfanggou police station and agents from the Sha district Domestic Security Protection Department rounded up all the children and Sunday School teachers and took them to a school where they were questioned. Some of the children’s parents and school principals and teachers were also summoned and questioned.

It’s always amazing to me that we American Christians can’t be bothered with so much of what our brothers and sisters around the world pine for and die for.

Zionism Is Becoming Israel’s Biggest Problem

The Zionist settlers have long provided more than a lot of headaches for both the Israeli government and of course the Palestinians. But now they’re beginning to cause serious, serious problems for the Israeli military.

In large study halls, ranks of young Jewish men are bent over religious books or debating in pairs the meaning of their texts. Many wear the large knitted kippa associated with the settler movement; a few have guns by their side.  This scene is typical in settlements all over the West Bank, where the hesder yeshiva movement has gained strength in recent decades. The programme, backed by the Israeli Defence Forces (IDF), allows religious Jews to combine intensive theological study with a shortened period of military service over five years.  For these young religious Zionists, serving in the army to defend the state of Israel and the Jewish presence in the occupied West Bank is a crucial element of a theology that has the redemption of the biblical land of the Jews at its centre.  But some critics fear the influence and advancement of these highly motivated soldiers could turn the traditionally secular IDF into an ideological instrument and create conflicts over whether the men’s duty is to obey their rabbi or their commanding officer.

The ‘talibanization’ of the Israeli military is at hand.  This is neither good for Israel nor good for the region; nor, for that matter, good for the world.

Really Princeton, A Week’s Notice?

This flyer arrived in the email this afternoon advertising a conference that I definitely would love to attend.  Unfortunately a week’s notice isn’t sufficient.  Really Princeton?  Couldn’t you get word out before today?

Another ‘Bible Museum’- This One Planned for D.C.

According to the Washington Post

A large-scale Bible museum will open in Washington, D.C., within four years, say planners who have been touring the world with portions of their collection. Cary Summers, chief operating officer of The Museum of the Bible, a nonprofit umbrella group for the collection of the billionaire Green family of Oklahoma, said they considered Washington, Dallas and New York but decided the nation’s capital was the best location. The final name of the museum and its exact location have not been disclosed but planners hope to confirm a location later this summer.

Sounds great, right?

Summers, who has been a consultant on the Creation Museum’s planned life-size Noah’s Ark in Kentucky, said the Bible museum will charge admission. Although the museums of the Smithsonian Institution are free, he noted that the Newseum and the Spy Museum both charge admission and have been successful.

Oh no. Well I hope they consult some actual biblical scholars this go round. Otherwise it will just be a display of stuff such as you might find at a yard sale or flea market- sans authentication and sans provenance.

Life’s One Essential Necessity

The first and chief need of our Christian life is, Fellowship with God. The Divine life within us comes from God, and is entirely dependent upon Him. As I need every moment afresh the air to breathe, as the sun every moment afresh sends down its light, so it is only in direct living communication with God that my soul can be strong. The manna of one day was corrupt when the next day came. I must every day have fresh grace from heaven, and I obtain it only in direct waiting upon God Himself. Begin each day by tarrying before God, and letting Him touch you. Take time to meet God. To this end, let your first act in your devotion be a setting yourself still before God. — Andrew Murray

[I couldn’t have said it better or more clearly myself].

The Folly of Dilettantism and the Unfortunate People Who Believe the Ignorant and Deceptive

via Oded Lipschits on FB

It occurs to me that just as this piece occurred in some ridiculous pseudo-news rag like the National Enquirer or the Star so too should lots of the stuff bandied around these days.  The Talpiot Tomb, the ‘James Ossuary’ and the ‘Jehoash Inscription’ all would find fitting homes on the pages of the Enquirer.  Which is, in some sense, exactly where they did in fact end up.

I used to feel sorry for the unfortunate people who believed the ignorant and the deceptive, but no longer.  It’s just too easy to check these things out and it’s just to easy to look up, locate, and inquire of an actual scholar concerning these matters.

The ignorant are without excuse.  They could discover the truth if they wanted to but their preference is ignorance and falsehood, so they continue to wear their aluminum foil hats and believe that all the world is out to cover up some secret truth which will prove false what sensible and informed people know to be the truth.

The Safi Kids at Qeiyafa

With Aren Yosi either lecturing on the site with illustrations or reading a book to the assembled youngsters [and Aren, who is leaning on the wall… hmm… leaning on the wall, that sounds biblical, and dangerous!] …  via Louise Hitchcock on the FB.

Dating the Life of Jesus: It’s Tougher Than You Think

It is difficult to overlook the ever-widening gap between this quasi-naturalistic quest for the “real” star of Bethlehem and the approaches taken by modern New Testament scholarship where the infancy stories of Matthew and Luke are treated to often devastating historical criticism.

So opines C. Philipp E. Nothaft of the Department of Hebrew & Jewish Studies, University College, London in a new essay appearing on Bible and Interpretation.

Enjoy reading it.

Faith Isn’t Just the Most Important Thing, It’s Everything

Where faith is, even though you are always a sinner you yet never cease to deplore the unfortunate propensity to sin and are always trying to fashion yourself anew. On the other hand, where faith is not, there no account is taken of sin or of the fear of God. Let one meantime make whatever pretense one will, murmur prayers, fast, feed the hungry; if one has not faith in God, all these things are shams and the price of vainglory. It is, therefore, the utmost blasphemy against God not to trust in Him. — Huldrych Zwingli

Pastors Are In Poorer Health Than You… So Thanks…

Here’s another one of those ‘who needed a research study to tell you that, huh?’

Most members of the clergy are taught to put the physical and spiritual needs of others first, but that self-denial may be harmful to their own health, according to a new Duke University study.

Studies of United Methodist pastors in North Carolina found high rates of chronic disease and depression, and researchers worry it can be difficult to convince clergy to seek help.

To address these unique problems, Duke Divinity School’s Clergy Health Initiative developed a program to provide preventative care in a spiritual context.

“Clergy recognize the importance of caring for themselves, but doing so takes a back seat to fulfilling their vocational responsibilities, which are tantamount to caring for an entire community,” said Rae Jean Proeschold-Bell, the initiative’s research director and assistant research professor at the Duke Global Health Institute.

The institute’s research found the 40 percent obesity rate among North Carolina United Methodist clergy eclipsed the state average of 29 percent. Pastors also suffered high rates of chronic diseases such as diabetes, asthma, arthritis and hypertension. More than 10 percent showed symptoms of depression, about double the national rate.

We all knew that we would be subject to a daily dying when we took up the mantle.  Not that knowing such a fact makes it any easier….