A Psalm, For Donald Trump

Was rühmst du dich der Bosheit, du Tyrann,
da doch Gottes Güte noch täglich währt?
Deine Zunge trachtet nach Schaden
wie ein scharfes Schermesser, du Betrüger!
Du liebst das Böse mehr als das Gute
und redest lieber Falsches als Rechtes. Sela.
Du redest gern alles, was zum Verderben dient,
mit falscher Zunge.
Darum wird dich auch Gott für immer zerstören, / dich zerschlagen und aus deinem Zelte reißen
und aus dem Lande der Lebendigen ausrotten. Sela.
Und die Gerechten werden es sehen und sich fürchten
und werden seiner lachen:
»Siehe, das ist der Mann,
der nicht Gott für seinen Trost hielt, sondern verließ sich auf seinen großen Reichtum und nahm Zuflucht bei seinem verderblichen Tun.«

Mozart Outsells Wretched Pop Musicians in 2016

mozart3Finally, a reason to have hope for humanity.  For a few seconds.

The top-selling music artists [sic!] of 2016 is [sic!] not who you’d expect. If you looked at the most popular songs today, it’s not Drake. He’s runner-up.  DRAKE: (Singing) You used to call me on my cell phone late night when you need my love – call me on my cell phone…  CORNISH: And it’s not Adele. She’s won 10 Grammys.  ADELE: (Singing) Hello from the other side.  ROBERT SIEGEL, HOST: It is Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart.

Some people have sense.  More than you would think, apparently.

Why Was it Inadvertent?

According to sources, local family the Fullers mistakenly selected a violent imprecatory Psalm as their chosen verse for this year’s Christmas card, which was mailed to all of their friends, family and coworkers.

The verse in question is Psalm 58:6, which reads, “O God, shatter the teeth in their mouths,” according to witnesses who have received a copy of the card.

Sounds reasonable.  What’s the problem?

The trouble started when the Fullers reportedly chose to save time this year by uploading a family photo and Bible verse to an online service which automatically creates and mails a custom-designed Christmas card to the addresses provided.

“We decided on Psalm 86:8—but I must have fat-fingered it when I typed in which verse number I wanted them to print out on the cards,” the horrified patriarch Jim Fuller told reporters.

“Psalm 86:8 would’ve been great—‘Among the gods there is none like you, Lord; no deeds can compare with yours,’ but instead I’ve got Aunt Shirley calling to ask what kind of sick weirdos we are.”

The Fullers plan to use a New Testament verse next year, to avoid a similar problem. “We’ll pick something Jesus said—he always spoke kind words of gentleness,” Jim noted.

Except when he was talking to the Pharisees….

Another Church That Has Lost the Plot, And Cancelled Services on Christmas

Appalling.  Reading through the excuses offered for their church cancelling services on Christmas Sunday is like reading the dreadful excuses of some teen who didn’t do the assignment and who wants to convince the teacher that she’s sharp anyway.

Churches are in a quandary this year, as Christmas falls on a Sunday. Because of the high amount of travel and family nature of this special day, churches are asking themselves: do we still have Sunday services on Christmas Day? The few blog posts I’ve read so far unequivocally say ‘yes,’ and either subliminally or outrightly dare anyone else to cross this imaginary line of heresy. I guess it makes some feel better to puff their chests and look down at the lesser than’s that caved to society and compromised the gospel by canceling services.

Well, here’s the counter argument. Here’s the other perspective. Here’s why our church is canceling services this Christmas day. It’s not because our theology is liberal (we’re more conservative than most). It’s not because our church is dying (we’ve baptized close to 50 people this year and we’re baptizing two more next Sunday). And it’s not just because it’s the rebellious thing to do. We are different, but we’re different on purpose. Here’s why we’re canceling services on Christmas day:

There is no ‘quandary’ and it isn’t a matter of feeling superior.  The fact is, your pathetic reasons for abandoning worship all indicate that God doesn’t matter to you as much as you would wish us to believe.  Each excuse is worse than the one before it and none of them display even a semblance of familiarity with Christian theology.

Churches deserve Pastors who are theologians, not cultural panderers or idol worshipers. If your church is saddled with one of the sort who actually ignores Scripture (‘Do not forsake the assembling of yourselves together’) and replaces it with ‘we want to be as pro family as possible’, fire them and get a theologian.

A Psalm For Donald Trump

Why do you boast in evil, O mighty man? The goodness of God endures continually.
Your tongue devises destruction, Like a sharp razor, working deceitfully.
You love evil more than good, Lying rather than speaking righteousness. Selah
You love all devouring words, You deceitful tongue.

God shall likewise destroy you forever; He shall take you away, and pluck you out of your dwelling place, And uproot you from the land of the living. Selah
The righteous also shall see and fear, And shall laugh at him, saying,
“Here is the man who did not make God his strength, But trusted in the abundance of his riches, And strengthened himself in his wickedness.”  (Ps. 52:1-7)

Let the reader understand.

Russia Has Accomplished its Goal: America Has Been Diminished

The U.S. is finally waking up to the fact that it has been turned into a subordinate ally to Russia, thanks to Putin and Trump.

Well, some Americans are.  The Trumpettes will never get it.

For the last two years we have been living through one of those less obvious historic transformations. It didn’t happen all at once, it’s still not over, and even now we can’t say how deep or far it will go. But it happened, moment by moment, until we woke up in a cold day in December and realized that Moscow had effectively installed the next president of the United States.

That sounds hyperbolic, doesn’t it? Even writing it I have to pause and stare at that sentence. But these are the facts: The CIA and over a dozen other U.S. intelligence agencies have concluded Russia hacked into both the Republican and Democratic party computers. Senior Russian officials have admitted that they leaked the Democratic data to WikiLeaks. Those emails were then strategically published over the course of the presidential campaign. Why? A member of the House Intelligence Committee states there is “overwhelming evidence” Russia’s goal was to elect Donald Trump.

The United States has now been relegated to a pawn in Russian policy.  Thanks, Trumpettes.  You believed the lie Trump told you because you wanted to.  You put your own personal advantage above country.  And now your country is lessened.

History, Politics and the Bible from the Iron Age to the Media Age

9780567670601The volume of essays Crossley and I edited is now available for your reading pleasure.

As biblical studies becomes increasingly fragmented, this collection of essays brings together a number of leading scholars in order to show how historical reconstruction, philology, metacriticism, and reception history can be part of a collective vision for the future of the field.

This collection of essays focuses more specifically on critical questions surrounding the construction of ancient Israel(s), ‘minimalism’, the ongoing significance of lexicography, the development of early Judaism, orientalism, and the use of the Bible in contemporary political discourses. Contributors include John van Seters, Niels Peter Lemche, Ingrid Hjelm, and Philip R. Davies.

You’ll really enjoy it, I promise.