An Open Letter to Rev. Franklin Graham from a “Small Church” Pastor

Bravo.

Trinity's Portico

Dear Frank

Can I call you Frank? This is just pastor to pastor. Feel free to call me Peter. Anyway, I have to say I was flattered when I learned that your Decision America Tour took a detour off the beaten path to call upon us “small community churches.” We are nothing if not small. We seat 30-40 on a good Sunday. And we are a century old fixture of our small community. Most often we are overlooked and overshadowed by mega-churches and politically influential religious voices like your own. We don’t hold a candle to an auditorium filled with the music of a one hundred voice choir led by professional musicians. We probably will never be recognized in any nationally syndicated media. After all, we don’t do anything really “newsworthy.” We just preach the good news of Jesus Christ; love one another the best we can (which sometimes isn’t…

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Reading Revelation as Pastiche

This new book’s author says it’s good.

Scholars have often read the book of Revelation in way that attempts to ascertain which other Old Testament book it most resembles. Instead, we should read it as a combined and imitative text which actively engages the audience through signalling to multiple texts and multiple textual experiences: in short, it is an act of pastiche.

Fletcher analyses the methods used to approach Revelation’s relationship with Old Testament texts and shows that, although there is literature on Revelation’s imitative and multi-vocal nature, these aspects of the text have not yet been explored in sufficient depth. Fletcher’s analysis also incorporates an examination of Greco-Roman imitation and combination before providing a better way to understand the nature of the book of Revelation, as pastiche. Fletcher builds her case on four comparative case studies and uses a test case to ascertain how completely they fit with this assessment. These insights are then used to clarify how reading Revelation as imitative and combined pastiche can challenge previous scholarly assumptions, transforming the way we approach the text.

TOC

Acknowledgements
List of Abbreviations
List of Illustrations
Introduction
Ch. 1: Reviewing the Past: Previous Studies and Approaches
Ch. 2: Re-Visualising the Past: Ancient Imitation and Combination
Ch. 3: Pastiche: Imitation and Combination
Ch. 4: Listening to All the Voices: Reading Plurality in Revelation 1
Ch. 5: Once Upon a Time in Babylon: Reading Revelation 17 Affectively
Ch. 6: Revelation 18: Far From the Past?
Ch. 7: Apocalypse Noir: Re-Reading Genre Through Pastiche
Ch. 8: Conclusions
Appendix
Bibliography
Filmography
Index

The Bee Mocks the Egalitarians

First United Methodist in Covington is an egalitarian church which prides itself on treating men and women the same. You go, church!

But the congregation ran into a major snafu at a recent potluck: no one brought any sandwiches to the event, since neither the men or the women wanted to submit themselves to the task of making some tasty PB&Js or perhaps some BLTs.

Whoops!

Some people at the potluck said it was still a successful event, as attendees just sat in circles talking about stuff like equality, peace, and love the whole time while sipping on some orange juice—but man, not a sandwich in sight! They must’ve gotten hungry, right?

Sad 🙁

Welp, better luck next time, church! Here’s to hoping you figure out how to make future potlucks a little more filling!

Silly Methodists.

If You Don’t Believe in Total Depravity, You’re Just Blind

A couple were arrested after their 15-day-old baby was found in a blood-soaked crib covered in injuries.

Erica Shyrock, 19, and boyfriend, Charles Elliott, 19, were detained on charges of child endangerment and taken into police custody in Magnolia on Sunday.

Bloody rat footprints were visible in the crib and the infant had almost 100 bites and injuries, which a doctor claims would have taken hours to occur.

An emergency room nurse said the baby girl weighed just 5lbs and a medical examination revealed she had suffered between 75 and 100 bites.

Shyrocka and Elliot have been together since 2015. The mum-of-two claims she put her newborn to bed at around 5.30am.

She claims they were awoken by screams two hours later. She does admit she found her baby girl covered in blood and Elliot, who was interviewed by police separately, told officers he saw bloody rat prints in the crib.

She and her boyfriend simply didn’t care.  Or were so high they didn’t know.  Either way they are supreme examples of total depravity.

A Lexicon That Could be Quite Useful. IF it Isn’t Tied to Strong’s Concordance

Logos is producing a new lexicon:

Most of the time you look up a Hebrew word you probably don’t want the extreme depth and complication afforded by the top lexicons. Neither do you want to wade through a tight paragraph of tiny print full of abbreviations you don’t use often enough to remember. Paper lexicons were not designed for easy reading but for saving ink and paper.

Because it was built especially for Logos Bible Software, the new Lexham Analytical Lexicon of the Hebrew Bible (available via Pre-Pub) avoids these pitfalls. It could become your go-to tool.

I asked Isaiah Hoogendyk of our Content Innovation department to tell us what the LALHB is and how it can help Bible study.

It could be a useful tool.  Unless it’s dependent on Strong’s Concordance…

Even Bullinger is Getting Some Love in Zurich This Year

Go on this tour!

Alle Augen richten sich bei den Reformationsfeiern auf Luther und Zwingli. In dieser Führung steht hingegen Heinrich Bullinger, der „Vater des reformierten Protestantismus”, im Scheinwerferlicht. Wir folgen den Spuren dieser faszinierenden Persönlichkeit in der Zürcher Innenstadt. Dabei begegnen wir dem Theologen, Kirchenpolitiker, Schriftsteller und Netzwerker, aber auch dem Ehemann und Familienvater Heinrich Bullinger in seiner Zeit des 16. Jahrhunderts.

The Importance of Latin

«Man hat gemeint, man wird attraktiv, wenn man das Latein abschafft, aber man hat keine neue sakrale Sprache gefunden, sondern ein totes Deutsch. Wen störte das früher, dass man Latein nicht verstand? Das war eine heilige Sprache, ein sakraler Vorgang, an dem man partizipierte. Als Ministrant sagte ich treu Messtexte auf wie «ad Deum, qui laetificat juventutem meam». Was das bedeutete, wusste ich nicht. Wenn mir jemand «zu Gott, der meine Jugend erfreut hat» übersetzt hat, sagte mir das als Kind nichts. Aber das Ritual fand ich spannend, seine archaische Wirkung, dieser verdichtete Sinn, der Geborgenheit vermittelte. Natürlich kann man nicht mehr zum Latein zurück. Aber dass Spiritualität auch ein Problem der Sprache ist, sollte man begreifen.»

Via.

‘I Don’t Go To Church Because There are Too Many Hypocrites There’: How to Debunk A Common Myth

Whenever someone (some poor soul who doesn’t know what they have gotten themselves into) tells me that they don’t attend church, or that they’ve dropped out of church because, in their words, ‘there are too many hypocrites in the church’ I point out, in my gentle way, that the real hypocrites are those who have nothing to do with the Church because they have nothing to do with God.  The REAL hypocrites are those who pretend that they can get through life without God and who ACT like they can manage their own lives and destinies without so much as a glance towards the Divine.

If non-attenders and non-worshipers really want to find a hypocrite, they need simply find a mirror and look in it.  Because it isn’t people who know they need God and who do their best to live for him, even if they fail to do so: it’s the people who delusionally believe God is irrelevant who are the true hypocrites.

It’s Not What You Know, It’s How ‘Different’ You Are

America is a land fascinated with the ‘different’.  The bizarre.  The odd.  The unusual.  That’s why people in America are well known or ‘famous’.

It wasn’t always that way.  It used to matter what one knew but those days have passed.  Today if you wish to be ‘famous’ or ‘high profile’ you have to be ‘different’.

Doubt it?  Look around.

  • Neil de Grasse Tyson is not famous because he’s smarter, or more articulate, or wiser than other physicists, he’s famous because he’s different.  In a field of white males, he’s black.
  • Nadia Bolz-Weber isn’t a better (or even a good) theologian than a lot of very good Lutheran theologians, but she’s famous because she’s festooned with tattoos and holds unorthodox ideas.  She’s different.
  • Rob Bell isn’t a better writer than a drunk college frat boy.  He’s not particularly smart and listening to him speak is an exercise in annoyance.  But he’s famous because he’s a universalist in a sea of evangelicals who aren’t.  He’s different.
  • Donald Trump isn’t President because he’s smart, or wise, or humane, or even decent.  He’s different.  His skin is orange and his hair is weird and his voice is weird and the way he says China is weird.  He’s different.  He’s President because he’s different.
  • British scholars aren’t brighter than Germans or Italians or Canadians or any other nationality but Americans love the British accent more than any other so if a Brit speaks at any affair, Americans will swoon.  Because they’re different.

The stranger you are, the more Americans will flock to you.  Because Americans love the freak show.  They always have.  They always will.

So give up the notion that success in America, in any field of endeavor at all, will allow you to be noteworthy, unless you’re odd.  Oddity is fame and importance.  And if you’re famous because you’re odd (and you are famous because you are different), then pride should be the last thing in your heart.  It isn’t your accomplishments which mark you out, it’s your weirdness, your difference.  That’s it.  That’s all.

Remembering Adolf Schlatter on the Day He Died

Adolf Schlatter died on the 19th of May in the Year of Our Lord, 1938.  I love Schlatter.  His work is impeccable (yes, literally without sin) and his influence abiding.

I am unashamed to say that I think him one of the smartest exegetes of the 19th or 20th centuries.  He knew the text and it shows on every page of every commentary he wrote.  And he wrote one on every book of the New Testament.  Indeed, several New Testament books were treated more than once!  Sadly, very few of his works have been translated into English, which means he is essentially unknown in the non-German speaking world.

But he also wrote an introduction to the Bible (as a whole), dogmatic, and philosophical works.  He was well read and very learned, as even a cursory glance at his biography will show.

He has been accused of antisemitism by his detractors, and he may well have suffered a bit of it in his last years.  His little piece titled Wird der Jude über uns siegen?  Ein Wort für die Weinachtszeit, which he published in 1935, is more an encouragement to Christian fidelity to the standards of the faith and the uniqueness of Christianity than an attack on Judaism.   Yet, it is more than a little discomfiting.  Especially when Schlatter writes Der Jude haßt- Jesus nimmt dagegen jedem, den sein Wort erfaßt, den Haß aus der Seele.  I sure wish he hadn’t.  But I also wish Luther hadn’t written what he did about the Jews.

Yet the memory of neither Luther nor Schlatter should be controlled by one ill conceived idea when the vast majority of their work was positive and beneficial.  People shouldn’t be remembered only for their mistakes (though of course this is often what happens- in some cases deservedly admittedly).

So, today, read this very well written dissertation on Schlatter.