Daily Archives: 15 Sep 2016

Calvin Studies Society Meeting Call For Papers

CALL FOR PROPOSALS

Papers on Calvin and Calvin Studies for the RefoRC Conference | May 10-12, 2017

The Calvin Studies Society solicits proposals for paper presentations for a thematic panel for the Seventh Annual RefoRC conference, to be held in Wittenberg, Germany, from May 10-12, 2017. We welcome proposals for original papers (not previously published or read at a conference) in any area of Calvin or Calvin studies for 20-minute oral presentation at the conference. Proposals that address the conference theme, “More than Luther: The Reformation and the Rise of Pluralism in Europe” are particularly encouraged. The language of the conference is English, but papers may also be delivered in French or German.

Information on the conference can be accessed at http://www.refo500.nl/rc/pages/699/seventh-annual-reforc-conference-2017-wittenberg.html. Please note that those selected for the panel will need to pay their own conference and travel expenses. We ask that you not register for the conference until you have been notified whether your proposal has been placed on the CSS-sponsored panel.

Abstracts should be no longer than 300 words and should state the main research question to be addressed in the paper. Please submit your paper title and abstract along with your name, e-mail address, telephone number, and brief CV to Dr. Barbara Pitkin, President of the Board of the Society, at pitkin@stanford.edu.
Deadline for submitting proposals for the Calvin Studies-sponsored session is November 1, 2016.

A Fascinating Bit of Political Forecasting…

Here.  Hillary will be elected with over 60% of the vote.  Trump will carry red states.  Including Tennessee (though I sure hope that’s the wrong percentage here.  I sure hope so)…

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The Bee Doesn’t Just Sting, It Napalms Jerry Falwell Jr

Jerry Falwell, Jr., President of Liberty University, announced at a Thursday press conference plans for the upcoming Trump Liberty Casino, to be located on campus to serve students and faculty.

Located adjacent to the school’s beloved multi-purpose building, The Vines Center, the impressive Trump Liberty Casino will boast over 1000 gaming machines and 35 table games, while offering a convenient, direct connection to Liberty’s Business Office. “Students will have the opportunity to hit it big playing craps and then pay off their tuition, all in one place—all while supporting President Donald J. Trump and Liberty University, and experiencing our state-of-the-art gaming floor, dozens of generous table games, and fine membership benefits,” announced Falwell, Jr., who noted that the mogul and the Christian university will be splitting gaming income “right down the middle.”

The school’s alcohol policy will even be relaxed from “zero tolerance” to “don’t ask, don’t tell” within the walls of the casino, opening up another line of revenue, according to sources.

Asked about restrictive Virginia gambling laws which currently prohibit casinos in the state, Falwell stressed that the planned opening date is early next year, after the November elections. “Trump will be in office by then, and he promised me he will totally take care of all that stuff.”

Brilliantly scathing.

A Conference I Wish I had Attended

And when the Carnival rolls around, you’ll see more of it- but for now:

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With a bit of editorializing… because of, you know, recent events…

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When the Newness of the Gospel Wears Off…

zwingliThe same thing happens to it that happened to Zwingli:

So marked was the favor shown Zwingli by the people, that his enemies had not the boldness to assert themselves. But as the new doctrines began to lose their novelty, and the first general outburst of enthusiasm began to subside, they gathered courage once more and began stealthily to attack him. The monks were especially bitter, and the ears of the canons were soon filled with complaints. Rhenanus says that of his enemies some laughed and joked, while others gave voice to violent threats.  To all this Zwingli submitted with Christian patience. His devotion to music, which was as strong as ever, continued to furnish grounds for vilification. His foes dubbed him “the evangelical lute player and fifer.”*

Isn’t it interesting that people become contemptuous of the very good God grants them the privilege of experiencing.

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*Samuel Simpson, Life of Ulrich Zwingli: The Swiss Patriot and Reformer (New York: Baker & Taylor Co., 1902), 79–80.

I Remember When WJK Used To Be A Super Publisher

It hasn’t been for a few years and it’s getting in the business of publishing more and more bizarre stuff (apparently the more bizarre the better they like it).  If Tyndale and Zondervan publish the rubbish of the far right, WJK has taken on the task of publishing the rubbish of the far left.

I used to love thumbing through the WJK catalog, but anymore I just can’t stomach their questing for obscurity and irrelevance.

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The Bee Stings The Heretical Unitarians and Universalists

uua-696x394The Unitarian Universalist Association revealed its new logo to much buzz and fanfare Thursday morning. Replacing its previous logo consisting of a flaming chalice, the new logo is a shrugging emoji man, said to represent the religious group’s lack of certain belief in any doctrine or creed at all.

“We wanted our logo to send a strong message about what we believe,” UUA President Reverend Peter Morales told reporters gathered in front of a large banner with the new logo, unfurled just moment before. “And we have no idea what we believe, really. So the shrugging man is the perfect, strong symbol for our confused congregations to rally behind.”

“I mean, I think anyway. I’m not super sure if it is, or not. I guess it’s a toss-up,” he added pensively, extending his arms outward in a shrug.

When asked if Association churches would be forced to use the new logo, Morales paused for a moment to gather his thoughts before responding, “Um, no. I don’t think so—or maybe I do? That doesn’t sound like something we would do, anyway.”

Several different-colored iterations of the new logo were reportedly unveiled, as well as a completely blank logo for those congregations unwilling to make such a bold statement about their beliefs.

LOL.  Interestingly, it’s also the symbol of the Karl Barth Society!

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The Bee Stings Creflo ‘I’d Sell My Soul and I Have For A’ Dollar

”It’s the little things in life,” televangelist Creflo Dollar reportedly told his wife Wednesday while walking by a massive pile of money in the foyer of their Georgia mansion where they heap the church offering every Sunday so they can “just look at it for a few days,” pausing briefly to enjoy the distinct smell of the hundreds of thousands of dollars donated by deceived and gullible people last Lord’s Day.

“God doesn’t want us to just be going a mile a minute all the time, you know?” a reflective Dollar said as he lovingly put his arm around his wife and just enjoyed the moment without all the distractions and pressures of the world. “I’ve got all I need right here. Just me, you, and the ridiculous amount of cash people throw at us in hopes of getting healed from terrible diseases or becoming fantastically wealthy themselves.”

“Man, that was some special kind of harvest last Sunday, huh? Just look at it—wow. Thank you, Jesus,” he added.

Picking a crisp hundred dollar bill out of a freshly bundled stack, Dollar held the delicate bank note up to his nose and slowly inhaled. A smile grew across his face as he experienced the delightful, understated smell of other people’s hard-earned cash he had conned out of them.

“Sometimes, you just have to simplify,” he said, letting the bill fall to the exquisite marble flooring and admiring the way it fluttered to the ground before instructing one of his personal assistants to write down his pithy quote for sharing on social media later on.

“Sometimes, you just have to pause and remember why it is you do what you do,” he added thoughtfully, holding his wife’s hand as the couple walked out the front door toward their fleet of Rolls-Royces.

It’s funny because it’s true to life.

Donald Trump Proves Yet Again How Reprehensible and Disingenuous He Is: By Maligning a Pastor

Trump visited Bethel United Methodist Church on Wednesday afternoon after briefly touring Flint’s water treatment plant. (Flint has become a must-visit campaign stop this year, because of its high-profile water quality crisis.)

Pastor Faith Green-Timmons introduced Trump to the predominantly African-American crowd of about 50 people, and she didn’t appear nervous at all.

Trump began his brief speech with a joke. “It used to be cars were made in Flint, and you couldn’t drink the water in Mexico. Now the cars are made in Mexico, and you can’t drink the water in Flint.”

After that, Trump shifted into a version of his now-standard stump speech, blasting free-trade deals like NAFTA, and pointing out that then-President Clinton completed the international trade deal.

As Trump began to criticize his opponent, Hillary Clinton, Green-Timmons slowly walked back onto the stage.

“Mr. Trump, I invited you here to thank us for what we’ve done for Flint, not to give a political speech,” she said.

“Oh, oh, OK, OK, OK. That’s good,” Trump said. “Then I’m going to go back onto Flint, OK.”

“The audience was saying let him speak, let him speak,” Trump told Fox and Friends.

That isn’t true. In fact, several audience members began to heckle Trump, asking pointed questions about whether he racially discriminated against black tenants as a landlord.

And that’s when Green-Timmons — who Trump said Thursday had planned to ambush him — stepped in to defend Trump, saying the Republican nominee was “a guest of my church, and you will respect him.”

“Thank you. Thank you, pastor,” Trump responded.

The pointed questions for Trump continued as Trump wrapped up his remarks, though — and that’s the moment when the press traveling with Trump was hastily escorted out of the room.

So Trump lied to Fox (and they lapped it up like lap dogs) and maligned a Pastor who simply wanted him to stay on topic and who defended him from hecklers…  This is the kind of disingenuous Cretin Trump is.

It Just Isn’t True, is It…

People will often say things like ‘I’m no better than anyone else’ and ‘no one is any better than anyone else’ and I always want to say ‘Really?  So what you’re telling me is that you are as moral as a molester or murderer?  You’re as morally bankrupt as a Hitler or a serial killer?’

Surely if we are to be real and really honest we can all admit that there are in fact people who are both better than us and worse than us.  This is the truth.  The ‘no one is any better than anyone else’ line of thought is either an excuse to do wrong or false pride parading as humility.  Both are sin.

If you tell people that you are no better than a molester or a murderer (which is precisely what you’re saying when you say no one is any better than anyone else), then we have to feel sorry for your family and friends.  If you really believe that, how sad for you and them.  If you don’t really believe it, why do you say it?  It just isn’t true, is it…

This Came in an Email…

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You Know How People Will off the Cuff Say ‘I’m Praying For You’? Here’s Why That Should Horrify You…

People of all theological sorts like to say ‘I’m praying for you’ when something happens.  Indeed, the entire country ‘is thinking of you’ if something terrible happens in your town or to your community.  But I’m not so sure we should welcome all those prayers offered up on our behalf.  Why?  Because what assurance do we have that the person doing the praying is in right relationship to God and that their prayers are going to be heard in the first place.

James writes ‘… the heartfelt prayer of someone upright works very powerfully.’ (Jas. 5:16).  You read that right, if a person is upright, their prayer is powerfully effective.  The contrary is also true.  If a person is not upright (righteous) then their prayer is completely ineffective.

When a godly sort promises to pray for you, that should please you beyond words because you have the assurance that God will pay attention to their pleadings.  But when the ungodly offer up a prayer on your behalf, it goes nowhere.  Indeed, when the godly pray for your it’s like a skilled a well practiced surgeon operating on your brain.  You can have confidence in their skill, experience, and training.  You know they aren’t going to hurt you- they’re going to help you.  On the other hand having some godless wretch offer up a prayer for you is like having your drunk neighbor who’s also high on meth cutting your head open.  You just don’t want that.

So the next time someone tells you they want to pray for you- you might want to ask them to hold off on it until you learn whether or not they’re really qualified to do it.  For my part, I’d rather have one godly sort remember me than all the wretches in the world.

Thomas Römer on the composition of the Hebrew Bible and Mamma Mia!

Thomas is a superstar.

Remnant of Giants

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In “Autopsie de la Bible” (31 August 2016), French journal Témoignage chrétien interviews Professor Thomas Römer, chair of The Hebrew Bible and its Contexts at the Collège de France. It’s a good read.

And at the end, there is a section in which Thomas Römer explains the composition of the Hebrew Bible by comparing it to the use of Abba songs in the film Mamma Mia!

Thomas Römer earlier made the comparison with Mamma Mia! in his Inaugural Lecture at the Collège de France (5 February 2009). Although the movie is getting a bit old, his use of it was obviously memorable – and, dare I say it, more memorable than the movie itself. Have a look at my earlier Remnant of Giants post, where I transcribed and translated that part of his Inaugural Lecture.

Here’s the relevant part of his more recent Témoignage chrétien interview:

THE PENTATEUCH AND MAMMA MIA!

Interviewer: In your “Inaugural Lecture,” you…

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