Daily Archives: 21 Nov 2012

On Thankfulness and Joyfulness

The purest, highest, truest joy is to fill the Christian life like sunshine. Paul wrote this as a prisoner, as one who had been conformed to the death of Christ. Nothing is ever to dim our spiritual joy. Paul is not dwelling on the source of this joy, on all the streams of grace and blessings that produce this rejoicing.

He is rather picturing the life that is animated by the joy with which it shines. In 3:1 he calls on us “to rejoice in the Lord” even while we beware of errorists, knowing that we have the true righteousness and the hope of the blessed resurrection (3:9–11, 20, 21). Here he adds “alway,” no matter what the circumstances of our life may be. Our sun of grace is “always” shining.*

*R. C. H.  Lenski, (on Philippians 3) in The interpretation of St. Paul’s Epistles to the Galatians, to the Ephesians and to the Philippians (874–875).

Students Prefer Good Lectures to Tech in Class

University students prefer the “old school” approach of an engaging lecture over the use of the latest technological bells and whistles in the classroom. That was a finding in a recent study of the perceptions of students and professors in Quebec on the use of information and communications technologies, or ICTs, in higher learning.

“Students are old school – they want lectures. They want to listen to a professor who’s engaging, who’s intellectually stimulating and who delivers the content to them,” says Vivek Venkatesh, associate dean of academic programs and development in the school of graduate studies at Concordia University. Dr. Venkatesh says this goes against much of what he hears at professional development workshops that stress interactive learning strategies, often using technology.

Some of you need to put down your iPad’s and your powerpoints and learn how to speak. It’s what the kids want. And considering the boring styles of many presenters at various conferences, some of you need a LOT of work on public speaking.  Stop listening to the ‘experts’ at tech driven workshops and develop the art of communication.  A good communicator is a good teacher and all the technology in the world can’t turn a bore into a blast.

Tom Hanks Mocks Toddlers and Tiaras

So there’s that-

You Can Get Karl Barth’s ‘Church Dogmatics’ for $90

And that, my friends, is amazing.  If you don’t have it, get it.  If you have a Pastor who needs a bit of theological education, buy it for her.  If you just know someone who needs to learn a good bit of Reformed theology, plunge on in.  The price is unbeatable.

The CW Network’s War On Christmas

The CW is either comprised of

A- Pagans striving to remove Christ from Christmas.
B- People exceedingly bad at spelling. Exceedingly bad.
C- Cheesy and sad folk, using silly and pathetic advertising ploys.
D- All of the above.

Faux Fox News: Andrea Tantaros is as Indecent as Ever

Fox News host Andrea Tantaros on Wednesday seemed to be mocking the millions of hungry Americans who are forced to used food stamps when she suggested that the program would make for a great diet plan.  During a Thanksgiving-eve segment on Fox Business, host Stuart Varney noted that Newark Mayor Cory Booker had accepted a challenge to live on food stamps for a week.  “Could you like [sic!] on 133 bucks a month for food?” Varney asked Tantaros, who co-hosts Fox News’ The Five.  “I should try it because, do you know how fabulous I’d look?” she replied. “I mean, the camera adds ten pounds. It really does. I would be looking great.”

In other news, Ms Tantaros also touted the benefits of concentration camp diets and expressed her wish to be transported back in time to Auschwitz…

Every time, decent soul, that you buy something from a Fox sponsor, an angel rips off it’s own wings and stabs himself in the eyes with them.  Stop injuring the angels: stop patronizing any business that supports Fox News.

Jesus Was Born Before Jesus Was Born, Says Ratzinger

The entire Christian calendar is based on a miscalculation, the Pope has declared, as he claims in a new book that Jesus was born several years earlier than commonly believed.

Jesus was born between 6 and 4 BC. So what’s the Pope think? He thinks the same thing… He doesn’t (and honestly, who DOES) believe that Jesus was born in year 0 or year 1.

“The calculation of the beginning of our calendar – based on the birth of Jesus – was made by Dionysius Exiguus, who made a mistake in his calculations by several years,” the Pope writes in the book, which went on sale around the world with an initial print run of a million copies. “The actual date of Jesus’s birth was several years before.” The assertion that the Christian calendar is based on a false premise is not new – many historians believe that Christ was born sometime between 7BC and 2BC. But the fact that doubts over one of the keystones of Christian tradition have been raised by the leader of the world’s one billion Catholics is striking.

Many? How about all. I’m not sure who Mr Squires of the Telegraph has been reading all these years, but it isn’t any New Testament exegete known to me. Seriously, this isn’t even news to anyone even REMOTELY familiar with the subject. The Telegraph must be having a slow news day.

Via Milton A.

Today’s Neologism: Gurse

I’ve got a neologism for you- it’s the word “gurse”. As a noun it describes a person who is both a gift and a curse. It can, naturally, also be used as a verb, “to gurse”, the act of being gift and curse simultaneously. “Did you see Joel gursing last Sunday as he spoke on Revelation 3:12???”, etc.

Use it freely (with attribution).

Friends and Readers One and All…

Blog friends- many of you will be traveling today and home with family tomorrow so let me say- have a happy and blessed Thanksgiving!!!!!

The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction

Donald A. Hagner’s very new book appeared in the not too distant past courtesy the good graces of Baker Academic.

This substantial introduction explores the origin and character of the New Testament writings. Donald Hagner deals with the New Testament both historically and theologically, employing the framework of salvation history. He treats the New Testament as a coherent body of texts and stresses the unity of the New Testament without neglecting its variety. Although the volume covers typical questions of introduction–such as author, date, background, and sources–it focuses primarily on understanding the theological content and meaning of the texts.

Throughout this capstone work, Hagner delivers balanced conclusions in conversation with classic and current scholarship, making this an essential resource for seminarians, graduate students, and upper-divisional undergraduates for study and lifelong reference. The book includes summary tables, diagrams, maps, and extensive bibliographies. 

It’s massive, weighing in at over 800 pages of text plus end-matter.  My (now revised) review is here.

More on Logos 5: Reading Plans

Earlier versions of Logos also allowed users to construct their own ‘reading plans’ but it’s a feature certainly worth highlighting once again.  Simply put, the ‘reading plan’ utility is one of my absolute favorite.  I’ve already constructed one to use to read the Hebrew Bible through in 2013 and one for the Greek New Testament as well.  But, given my absolute adoration of organization, I’ve also made one for TLOT and one for Gesenius’ Hebrew Grammar (because it’s been my custom to read a Greek or Hebrew Grammar every few years just to keep things ‘in mind’ since grad school).

Anyway, constructing a plan is easy as pie, and so is correcting one, as will shortly be demonstrated.

First, one need simply go to the ‘reading plan’ section of the software (and all of the screenshots below should be clicked on to be enlarged) :

Second, pick the book from your library you want to read through:

Next, select your reading schedule:

Then just click ‘Generate’ and voila, there it is!

You’ll now see your plan in the left panel of your software:

But, oops.. I made a mistake, setting the plan for Gesenius to run for a year and I want, instead, to read it through in 12 weeks.  But that’s easy enough to correct, just open your reading plan and click edit and change whatever you like-

And now, having corrected my blunder, if I close the window and return to the main page, here’s what I’ve got-

Users can create as many different reading plans as they wish with as many different schedules as one can imagine.  Plans can be exported and printed as can any other segment of text one wishes and by means of the same method.  The possibilities are almost limitless and – again – this aspect of the software is just simply spectacular.

The Latest Tyndale Bulletin

From Tyndale House, these new essays:

Could God Have Commanded the Slaughter of the Canaanites?, Stephen N. Williams (Union Theological College, Belfast)

But Ruth Clung to Her: Textual Constraints on Ambiguity in Ruth 1:14, Scott N. Callaham (Houston, Texas)

‘And How Much Do You Owe …? Take Your Bill, Sit Down Quickly, and Write …’ (Luke 16:5-6), Marulli (Adventist University of France, Collonges-sous-Salève)

Grace Tasted Death for All: Thomas Aquinas on Hebrews 2:9, Lee Gatiss (Peterhouse, Cambridge)

And many more- all including abstracts.  Do take a look.

Die Bereitung zum Sterben: Studien zu den frühen reformatorischen Sterbebüchern.

Luise Schottroff summarizes the history of theological writings on the preparation for dying in the 16th Century.  This edition is a volume in the Refo500 Academic Studies, a series of Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht. Read here more on the series.


Terrorism is Cowardice, and Terrorists are the Lowest form of Cowards

An explosion has rocked a bus in Tel Aviv on Wednesday, a day after efforts to end hostilities between Israel and Hamas faltered in the Egyptian capital Cairo. Israeli ambulance services reported the “apparent explosion” in Tel Aviv. An Al Arabiya correspondent said at least 17 casualties were reported in the explosion, which police stated was “a terrorist attack,” and three were in a critical state. “A bomb exploded on a bus in central Tel Aviv. This was a terrorist attack. Most of the injured suffered only mild injuries,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s spokesman Ofir Gendelman said on his official Twitter account.

This is the act of a coward. Cowards attack the innocent secretively and scurry away as vermin. Cowards hide behind a cause but they only damage the cause they pretend to adore. Violence as a tool is NEVER legitimate.  NEVER.  May the tribe of the violent perish from the earth.