Academics, Take Note

“What we have witnessed in our own time is the death of universities as centres of critique. Since Margaret Thatcher, the role of academia has been to service the status quo, not challenge it in the name of justice, tradition, imagination, human welfare, the free play of the mind or alternative visions of the future. 

We will not change this simply by increasing state funding of the humanities as opposed to slashing it to nothing. We will change it by insisting that a critical reflection on human values and principles should be central to everything that goes on in universities, not just to the study of Rembrandt or Rimbaud.  

In the end, the humanities can only be defended by stressing how indispensable they are; and this means insisting on their vital role in the whole business of academic learning, rather than protesting that, like some poor relation, they don’t cost much to be housed.”  — Terry Eagleton in The Guardian

The Bee Stings the Worshipers of Filthy Lucre at Lakewood Church

osteenA rich, young ruler looking for salvation was proud to announce Thursday that he finally found a place to call home at Lakewood Church.

Calling the revelation “powerful” and “moving,” the wealthy, powerful lover of money said he knew Lakewood Church was the place for him after his lifestyle was affirmed and praised by lead pastor and famous author Joel Osteen.

“This place just makes me feel so comfortable,” the man told reporters. “I came in and told Pastor Joel I was a good person and had kept all the commandments from my youth, and asked him what I still lacked—and do you know what he said? He told me I didn’t lack anything, that I was great just the way I am.”

The young man further stated that other churches had tried to confront his love of money and challenged him to make Jesus his first priority, and that he had just gone away sad.

“That’s not what Jesus would have done,” he said confidently.

Spot on.

A New Essay on Ehud

In the following- I. Finkelstein, C. Robin and T. Romer (eds.), Alphabets, Texts and Artifacts in the Ancient Near East, Studies Presented to Benjamin Sass, Paris 2016.

As Prof. Finkelstein notes

This is one in a series of articles; two have already been published (Jephthah in Biblica and Abimelech in Ugarit-Froschungen), two more are in press and then a broader perspective which puts these northern traditions into a geographical and historical context.

The first two were great, so this one and its future brothers will surely be as well.  So let’s read it.

The 2017 SOTS Winter Meeting Agenda

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Though things continue on through lunch on the 5th I’ll actually depart around 10 so that I can arrive in Birmingham in plenty of time for the Lecture at Newman University.  I’ll, of course, be posting travel photos all along the way to and from so stay tuned.  There’s wifi on the Nottingham Campus and at the hotels before and after.  It’ll be almost like being there for you.

I’ll also tweet it- #SOTS17.

Poor Child: She’s A Weapon in the Hands of Ideologues

From the moment he joined, 8-year-old Joe Maldonado eagerly looked forward to camping trips and science projects as a member of the Cub Scouts. But his expectations were dashed after his mother said she received a phone call from a Scouting official who told her that Joe would no longer be allowed to participate because he was born a girl.

Kristie Maldonado said she was stunned because her son had been a member of Cub Scout Pack 87 in Secaucus for about a month and his transgender status had not been a secret. But some parents complained, an official from the Northern New Jersey Council of Boy Scouts told her — even though her son had been living as a boy for more than a year and was accepted as a boy at school, she said. …

Joe’s case could be the first time someone has been barred from participating in Scouting because of transgender identity, said members of the LGBT community. And it comes as the Boy Scouts of America appeared to be emerging from a period of turmoil involving sexual-orientation issues, reversing long-standing bans against gay Scouts and gay Scouting leaders over the past few years. Those policy changes were made amid an internal debate that saw at least one local council defy national Scouting decrees by hiring a gay camp counselor and pressure brought from corporations that withheld donations from the organization.

Poor kid.  She’s just a weapon in the clutches of ideologues.

Jan Hus

04165_hus_deutschAm 6. Juli 1415 wurde Johannes Hus in Konstanz auf dem Scheiterhaufen als Ketzer verbrannt. 600 Jahre nach diesem Ereignis soll an den Prager Magister mit einer Ausgabe seiner Schriften, Predigten und Briefe erinnert werden. Hussens Ideen wurden zunächst in Böhmen von seinen Anhängern weitergetragen. Die Wittenberger Reformatoren nahmen Hus ein Jahrhundert später als ihren Vorläufer wahr und brachten ihm eine Wertschätzung entgegen, wie es sie bis dahin außerhalb Böhmens nicht gegeben hatte. Für ein deutsches Publikum sind die lateinischen und alttschechischen Werke des Johannes Hus schwer zugänglich, deutsche Übersetzungen sind seit Jahren nicht mehr auf dem Markt. Die vorliegende Ausgabe bietet deshalb eine Auswahl wichtiger Hus-Texte aus den Jahren 1403 bis 1415 in neuer deutscher Übersetzung. Hussens Hauptschrift »Von der Kirche« wird erstmals in vollständiger deutscher Übersetzung dargeboten. Einleitungen und Texte sollen es dem Leser ermöglichen, die Biographie, das theologische Denken und den Hus-Prozess vor und während des Konstanzer Konzils anhand wichtiger, überwiegend von Hus selbst stammender Zeugnisse nachzuvollziehen.

More here.

If Your Church Canceled Services Christmas Sunday…

It should most definitely cancel services on 1 Janaury- New Years Day.  Why?  So that your hungover families can gather around the porcelein and share the time expelling the evening before’s extravagencies.

You don’t want to inconvenience those families.  You want them to come back, sometime, don’t you?  You don’t want to alienate them, do you?

Cancel your services.  You’ve done it for lesser reasons….

The Church is Not a Business

locherGottfried Locher ist höchster Reformierter der Schweiz. Reformiert sein habe sein Denken geprägt. Auf die Kirchenaustritte angesprochen, meint er: «Die Kirche ist keine Firma, die von möglichst vielen Kunden lebt.»

And he’s interviewed here. He’s very bright.  And he’s certainly correct that the church is not a business and shouldn’t be expected to treat people like customers.