Monthly Archives: January 2013

And That’s Why This Particular Women Shouldn’t Be a Pastor…

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned- even if she’s been scorned by a miffed server.  Because the furious female, concerned only for her own feelings, got the poor server fired!

After a copy of her Applebee’s receipt began circulating online yesterday, Pastor Alois Bell of the St. Louis-based Truth in the World Deliverance Ministries phoned up the restaurant and asked to have everyone involved fired.  And in typical ‘pastoral’ fashion, it’s all about her-  “My heart is really broken,” the 37-year-old told The Smoking Gun. “I’ve brought embarrassment to my church and ministry.”  Last Friday, after evening services, Bell and her congregation headed to Applebee’s for dinner as they did on many nights.  But a disagreement over the establishment’s auto-gratuity of 18% for parties of 8 or more would soon propel the pastor to the heights of Internet infamy.  “I give God 10% why do you get 18,” Bell wrote on her credit card receipt after crossing out the tip amount she was obliged to pay.  A server working at the restaurant uploaded a scan of the receipt to Reddit, and the rest is viral history.  Though Bell was denied her request to have a brand new staff awaiting her the next time she dined at her neighborhood Applebee’s, she did succeed in getting at least one person fired: The waitress who posted the receipt online.

‘Pastor Bell’ is a disgrace and she shouldn’t be a Pastor.  Indeed, let me say it again, this particular woman shouldn’t be a Pastor.  Not because she wrote on a receipt, but because she put her own feelings above the feelings of a young woman earning less than minimum wage at a very difficult job.  For. Shame.  Selfishness is improper in the person of the Parson.

Fantastic News for Students of the History of Christianity

selderhuis10This book – edited by Herman Selderhuis – is being translated into English and will be published in due course by the great folk at Vandenhoeck and Ruprecht.  The tentative title (at present) is Handbook of Dutch Church History.  When V&R have it listed on their website I’ll pass along word.

In Dutch it’s a massive volume, at nearly 1000 pages.  Doubtless the English edition will be similarly sized.  Consequently, it’s very thorough.

Dr. theol. Herman J. Selderhuis is Professor of Church History at the Theological University Apeldoorn, Director of Refo500, scientific Curator of the Johannes a Lasco Library, and President of the International Calvin congress. And an all around great guy.

Keep your eye out for this when it does come out.

‘Rhythms of Time’: An Update

timeAccording to the book’s author-

Rhythms of Time: Reconnecting Palestine’s Past has been delivered to the Kindle store. Available in 2-4 working days!

America’s Sickness

gun-violenceAn Atlanta fire official says a 14-year-old has been shot in the head at a middle school and has been taken to a hospital.  Atlanta Fire Cpt. Marian McDaniel also says a teacher suffered minor cuts and bruises but was treated on the scene at Price Middle School. Earlier, a police spokesman said he was headed to the school about 2 miles south of downtown following reports of a shooting.

Appalling and horrid and perfectly predictable.  One needn’t be a Prophet to see these things happening over and over and over again.  And why?  Because America is sick.

Sad News: Paul Achtemeier has Died

Chris Skinner writes

achtReviewI heard yesterday, but didn’t get to blog about, the passing of Prof. Paul Achtemeier. Prof. Achtemeier was the Herbert Worth and Annie H. Jackson Emeritus Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Union Theological Seminary in Richmond, Virginia (now Union Presbyterian Seminary). Though he taught at several institutions, his most productive scholarly years were spent at Union.

Very sad.  He was a fine scholar.  And a good writer.  And the two don’t always go together.  But they were perfectly conjoined in him.  May he rest in peace.

God- In the Letters of Paul

317875_257616217607101_299954463_nA new facebook page for you to ‘like’ is this one, which aims, it seems, to discuss God.  In Paul’s letters.  Did Paul talk about God?  I guess from time to time, when he wasn’t talking about the collection he wanted to take ‘to Jerusalem’ (sure Paul, sure…).


Join in.

More Than a Quarter of Americans Are Wretched Theologians, Just Purely Wretched

Indeed, the percentage is much higher than a paltry 25%, but 25% at LEAST are really awful when it comes to theological astuteness and acuity.  Why?  Because at least 25% of Americans actually think God influences the outcome of sporting events!

kippyAs millions look forward to watching the Super Bowl on Sunday, a new poll finds more than a quarter of Americans believe God “plays a role in determining which team wins” at sporting events, CNN reports. Asked if they believe God plays a role in who wins, 27 percent of Americans said yes. The survey by the Public Religion Research Institute also found that more than half of Americans believe “God rewards athletes who have faith with good health and success.”

Let me assist those misguided ignorant souls with a brief lesson in theology:

1- Sports don’t matter.  God concerns himself with things that do matter.
2- God may well care about the health and welfare of athletes, but that has absolutely NOTHING to do with the final score.
3- There is not one single rightly exegeted biblical text which supports the false teaching that God influences sports scores.
4- The supposition that God influences the outcome of games turns God into little more than a petty tyrant who picks winners and losers.
5- Your God is too small if you believe he does such things.

And finally, as my esteemed Systematic Theology professor put it back in College- “God Don’t Care Who Wins No Ball Game!” – Prof. Dr. Paul Brewer.

My fellow Americans, before you presume to speak for God- first, don’t.  And second, if you must, then at least have the good manners to try to learn something first.  But really, do just shut up about God unless you have the wherewithal to do it without lying.

Was there a Lutheran Metaphysics? The interpretation of communicatio idiomatum in Early Modern Lutheranism

This arrived for review some weeks back:

978-3-525-55037-3Joar Haga traces the Lutheran doctrine of communicatio idiomatum, the exchange of properties between the natures of Christ, as it developed in the 16th and the early 17th Century. Regarding it as the nerve of his soteriology, Luther stressed the intimacy of the two natures in Christ to such a degree that it threatened to end the peaceful relationship between theology and philosophy. Earlier research identified two traditions of Lutheran Christology: One train of thought follows Luther in emphasising the difference between philosophy and theology, the other in the conservative pupils of Melanchthon.

My review is uploaded here.  My thanks to ISD and to Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht for the volume.

Israel Must Exit the West Bank

Ha’aretz reports this morning

United Nations human rights investigators on Thursday called on Israel to halt settlement expansion and withdraw all settlers from the West Bank, saying that its practices violated international law.  “Israel must, in compliance with article 49 of the Fourth Geneva Convention, cease all settlement activities without preconditions. It must immediately initiate a process of withdrawal of all settlers from the OPT [occupied Palestinian territories],” said a report by the inquiry led by French judge Christine Chanet.  The settlements contravene the 1949 Geneva Conventions forbidding the transfer of civilian populations into occupied territory, which could amount to war crimes that fall under the jurisdiction of the International Criminal Court [ICC], it said.

Israel is not in compliance with an agreement which it itself signed.  Its government is violating international law and its West Bank settlers are behaving in criminal fashion.  It is ever more encroaching on land lived on by others for many many years and the most basic of all human rights- the right to live on ones own land in peace- is being violated by its expansionist policies:


Without Comment

Via Ref. ch on FB


Quote of the Day


Twitter Theology that Makes me Sigh


This is an example of the modern penchant for reducing theology to a slogan.  But slogans never work and you can’t summarize Christian dogma on a bumper sticker.  First, we have to ‘get on our donkeys’ to get to where the people are.  Second, as a pilgrim people, we must always be on the move, mobile, and so in need of our donkeys.  And, most importantly, it is Jesus himself who tells us to move along when the Gospel of the Kingdom is rejected by a place or a people.  ‘Shake the dust off your feet and the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah will befall that place’, etc.

But most importantly of all, we don’t keep the covenant of what it means to be the people of God by helping others.  We keep the covenant of what it means to be the people of God by being OURSELVES in relationship to God, through Christ, who is our savior.  We aren’t saved by works (philanthropic though they may be) we are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God.

Jingoistic theology never works.  But it makes me sigh.

Bibi Netanyahu: Warmonger

Israeli forces attacked a target on the Syrian-Lebanese border overnight, Western diplomats and regional security sources said on Wednesday, at a time of growing concern over the fate of Syrian chemical and conventional weapons.  The Israel Defense Forces refused to confirm or deny the report. “We do not comment on reports of this kind,” an IDF spokeswoman said.  The reported attack came soon after the Lebanese media said that Israel Air Force jets had flown over Lebanon’s airspace in three separate missions late Tuesday and early Wednesday. There was no confirmation of that report from Israel, either.

Bibi’s happy to bomb Syria.  He’s happy to be warlike.  He’s just not willing to wage real peace.  And as always the excuse is ‘we have to keep our enemies from getting weapons’.  Evidently he is incapable of noticing the irony of his warmongering- for what he fears his enemies ‘may’ do, he does!  He’s afraid of being attacked, so he kills.  His actions are never defensive (in spite of his claims to the contrary), they are always offensive (in the name of preserving his people) whilst he offensively slaughters.


Twitter Theology That Makes me Sigh…

sevenI wondered, like you, what those seven things must be

Here is the list of my “Seven Summits.” I look forward to exploring them further, Lord willing, in this space in the days ahead.

1. Augustine
2. Martin Luther
3. John Calvin
4. Balthasar Hubmaier
5. Jonathan Edwards
6. William Carey
7. Carl F. H. Henry

Sigh.  How is it possible to mention Luther and then Calvin without mentioning Zwingli?  How?  Zwingli was Luther’s superior theologically and Calvin’s predecessor.  Furthermore, in comparison to his contributions to Christian theology, Hubmaier, Edwards, Carey, and Henry are inconsequential.  Sigh.  Sighhhhhh……..

The Blackest Day in Modern European History

Niels Peter reminded me that today marks the anniversary of Hitler’s ascendancy to the Chancellor-ship.  It’s what I call the blackest day in modern European history.

Angela Merkel has some sage things to say about it here.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Wednesday that Adolf Hitler’s rise to power 80 years ago should go on reminding Germans that democracy and freedom cannot be taken for granted.  Merkel was speaking at the inauguration of an exhibition in Berlin to commemorate eight decades since Hitler became chancellor on January 30, 1933 — an anniversary which has aroused much interest in Germany.  “Human rights don’t assert themselves. Freedom doesn’t preserve itself all alone and democracy doesn’t succeed by itself,” Merkel said.

“That must be a constant warning for us, Germans,” she added referring to Hitler’s arrival at the chancellery.  The exhibition, “Berlin 1933. On the Path to Dictatorship”, is on a site charged with history as the former headquarters of the Gestapo, the secret police of the Nazi regime.  It now houses The Topography of Terror, an open-air documentation centre whose exhibition traces Hitler’s first months in power through photos, newspapers and posters.  Merkel noted that it only took six months for the dictator to “wipe out all the diversity” of German society.  But she also underscored that a large part of society had supported “or at least acquiesced” to Hitler’s regime.

Hitler came to power because the Germans were willing to sacrifice freedom for ‘security’ and economic stability.  Sound familiar?  Shouldn’t we learn the lessons history has to teach, or must we stupidly repeat the errors perpetrated by our ancestors?  Make no mistake- there is always a Hitler in the wings just waiting for his chance.  Always.

Missouri Wants to Mandate NRA Gun Courses… For… First Graders…

Good grief.

baby20gun-1Students in Missouri have no sexual education requirement, so there’s a good chance they don’t know how to properly protect themselves from STIs or unintended pregnancy. Soon, though, they may be able to protect themselves from guns.  Missouri state Senate is considering a bill that would require all first graders in the state to take a gun safety training course. Using a grant provided by the National Rifle Association, it would put a “National Rifle Association’s Eddie Eagle Gunsafe Program” instructor in every first grade classroom.  The irony that there’s no requirement for students to learn about their bodies — but that there is one for deadly weapons — seems lost on the legislators proposing the measure, one of whom lamented, “I hate mandates as much as anyone, but some concerns and conditions rise to the level of needing a mandate”.

There’s something seriously wrong with people in this country.  Something seriously, seriously wrong.

Finally, A Good Use for Cats


[NB- No cats were harmed in the posting of this tweet]

Sometimes YouTube is Actually Useful

For more than watching silly videos.  For instance, my car headlights were getting that dingy yellow glaze on them and looking pretty faded and nasty.  So I looked around at the local auto zone for a fix and was told to get a certain kit (for $24) and use it to clean the lens.  The problem, though, was twofold.  First, I own no drill (which was needed to run the circular cleaning attachment) and second, I’m far too cheap to spend $24 on anything but a book.

So I looked around on YouTube for a video on how to clean a headlamp lens.  And I found one- recommending toothpaste and a towel.  So I figured, what have I got to lose but a little toothpaste, right?  And boy, did it work.  I didn’t snap a before photo but here’s the after-


I expect now I’ll actually be able to see victims of nighttime drive by baptisms!  Thanks YouTube, for having something on besides cats.

Time’s About Up…

For you to get your carnival suggestions in.  This will serve as your final warning / encouragement.

America’s Culture of Promiscuity is Inexorably Connected to its Culture of Death

In a quite intelligent essay titled ‘Why my support for abortion was based on love… and lies’, Jennifer Fulwiler writes-

I came to see that our culture’s widespread use and acceptance of contraception had led to this mentality toward sex being the default position. As a society, we’d come to take it for granted that we’re entitled to the pleasurable and bonding aspects of sex — even when we’re in a state of being vehemently opposed to any new life it might produce. The option of abstaining from the act that creates babies when we feel like we’d be unable to care for a baby had been removed from the cultural lexicon. Even if it would be a huge crisis to get pregnant, you have a right to have sex anyway, the cultural wisdom whispered.

Indeed.  The fact is, America’s culture of promiscuity is inexorably connected to its culture of death; for when one has no respect for the consequences of one’s actions, one feels free to remove any encumbrance to that imagined freedom- even if that encumbrance is a nascent human being.

Thanks to James Spinti for pointing the essay out on FB.