Daily Archives: 4 Oct 2018

I Can’t Think of Anyone in American Politics Who Falls Into That Category…

What category?  The category ‘of whom the world was not worthy’.

You see, the author of Hebrews spends a lot of time talking about amazing people who did amazing things because of their amazing faith.  At the end of his amazing narrative amazingly, he writes

And what more can I say? Time is too short for me to tell about Gideon, Barak, Samson, Jephthah, David, Samuel, and the prophets, who by faith conquered kingdoms, administered justice, obtained promises, shut the mouths of lions, quenched the raging of fire, escaped the edge of the sword, gained strength in weakness, became mighty in battle, and put foreign armies to flight. Women received their dead, raised to life again. Other people were tortured, not accepting release, so that they might gain a better resurrection. Others experienced mockings and scourgings, as well as bonds and imprisonment.  They were stoned, they were sawed in two, they died by the sword, they wandered about in sheepskins, in goatskins, destitute, afflicted, and mistreated.  The world was not worthy of them. (Heb. 11:32-38)

No one in politics is a hero.  And to be frank, no one occupying the pulpit of any large Church is either.

We throw the word ‘hero’ around so much today that a kid who manages to get a C in phys ed is called a hero.  But they aren’t.  Heroes are the sorts of people described above in Hebrews.  Go find someone like that and be like them.  Don’t emulate politicians or Hollywood stars or social media giants or jocks or anyone else.  The world is more that deserving of them.

The CBA Annual Meeting

Stop What You’re Doing RIGHT NOW and Go Get The Calvin Handbook e-book for $3.99

Offer appears to be good through the end of October.  And get Julie’s book while you’re at it.

What Happens When I Come to Lecture At Your Institution? There Are Long-Lasting Effects!

Richard Goode relates this story-

This is a perfect illustration of how our influence on people’s lives can be far wider and more profound than we can ever imagine.   Last year, Jim West came to the UK to give a lecture. Over a year later, on a small Warwickshire village many miles from the university, I was walking past an after-school nursery play group, when a small boy, wearing a plastic bucket on his head, in a booming deep voice, bellowed fiercely at a cowering ‘friend’, “You are going to HELL!”
Just a coincidence?
I think not.

Amen and amen.  So if you want your entire vicinity to feel the ripples of your conference, you should invite me to speak.  Amen.

Preliminary Details of the 2019 Zwingli Congress in Zurich, February 6-8

The Congress kicks off at noon on Wednesday, February 6 with light refreshments, followed by papers by the likes of Emidio Campi, Martin Sallmann, Matthias Freudenberg, Amy Burnett and others.  Thursday begins in the morning with papers by Peter Opitz and Christoph Strohm along with Herman Selderhuis and others.  After lunch we pick up again with W.P. Stephens and Pierrick Hildebrand and Daniel Timmermann and several more.  After dinner we meet up at the theater for a private showing of the Zwingli film coming out in 2019.  This may be the highlight of the Congress.

Papers pick back up on Friday morning with Christian Hild and others presenting and after a brief break Bruce Gordon and Volker Leppin deliver the goods.  Sessions after lunch include those led by Christian Moser, Joe Mock, Luca Baschera, Urs Leu, and some guy named Jim West.

Things come to an end with a Plenum by the organizers and then we’re treated Friday evening to an Organ Concert at the Fraumünster given by Niklaus Peter.

In due course flyers will be circulated and interested folk can check out all the paper details and Congress details.

It’s going to be brilliant.  It’s such an honor to be included.  More anon.

The Hebrew Bible and History: Critical Readings

These critical readings explore the history of ancient Israel, from the Late Bronze Age to the Persian period, as it relates to the Bible. Selected by one of the world’s leading scholars of biblical history, the texts are drawn from a range of highly respected international scholars, and from a variety of historical and religious perspectives, presenting the key voices of the debate in one convenient volume.

Divided into five sections – each featuring an introduction by Lester Grabbe – the volume first covers general methodological principles, before following the chronology of Israel’s earliest history; including two sections on specific cases studies (the reforms of Josiah and the wall of Nehemiah). A final chapter summarizes many of the historical principles that emerge in the course of studying Israelite history, and an annotated bibliography points researchers towards further readings and engagements with these key themes.

Demons, Demons, Demons

Via the SOTS Facebook page-

Fun Facts From Church History: Bullinger and Denmark

783000Heinrich Bullinger was very interested in persuading the Danes that the Swiss Reformation was worth considering (rather than the Lutheran) and he wrote De gratia Dei justificante nos propter Christum per solam fidem absque operibus bonis, fide interim exuberante in opera bona, libri IV. ad sereniss. Daniæ regem Christianum to prove it.

It is such a well written book that none less than Philip Melanchthon thought very highly of it!

Nevertheless, the Danish Reformation, led by Hans Tausen, was and remained essentially Lutheran (which explains why Danes are not as Reformed as they should be…)

Time Together With ‘Zwingli’s Wife’

Oh man…  I need to be rich so I can jet off to these things!

Im Januar kommt – 500 Jahre nach seinem Amtsantritt in Zürich – Ulrich Zwingli in die Kinos. Es ist eine der grössten Schweizer Filmproduktionen und wir freuen uns darauf, den Event mit verschiedenen Anlässen inhaltlich begleiten zu dürfen. Der Film heisst schlicht «Zwingli». Aber ganz klar: Es geht nicht nur um seine Person und seine Ideen, sondern auch um die Menschen, die um ihn waren und die Bewegung mitgetragen, mitbefördert, die mitgedacht, mitgelitten und mitgestritten haben. Wer, wenn nicht seine Ehefrau, die er geliebt und als Priester geheiratet hat, könnte da nicht ein Lied davon singen: Anna Reinhart.

Wir haben schon einige Veranstaltungen und Projekte rund um das Thema Frauen im Rahmen des Reformationsjubiläums gestalten und damit eine Bewusstseinsschärfung fördern dürfen. In der vierten Ausgabe der Veranstaltungsreihe «Update Reformationsjubiläum» sprechen wir für einmal anders über die Frage von Rollen: Reformationsbotschafterin und Pfarrerin Catherine McMillan unterhält sich mit der Schauspielerin Sarah Sophia Meyer, die im Film Anna Reinhart verkörpert und am Schauspielhaus Graz tätig ist. Was sind ihre ganz persönlichen Gedanken, Erfahrungen, was hat der Film und die Auseinandersetzung mit der Geschichte, den Personen, der Frau und Rolle Anna sowie dem Gedankengut der Umwälzungen von vor 500 Jahren mit ihr gemacht und welche Botschaft möchte sie vermitteln? Freuen Sie sich mit uns auf einen anregenden Abend mit anschliessender Diskussion und Apéro.

A New, Better Approach to the ‘Peer Review’ Process

With thanks to Michael Krause-

Cruelty is the Point

This is an exceptionally insightful essay.

The cruelty of the Trump administration’s policies, and the ritual rhetorical flaying of his targets before his supporters, are intimately connected. As Lili Loofbourow wrote of the Kavanaugh incident in Slate, adolescent male cruelty towards women is a bonding mechanism, a vehicle for intimacy through contempt. The white men in the lynching photos are not merely smiling because of what they have done, but because they did it together.  …

We can hear the spectacle of cruel laughter throughout the Trump era. There were the border patrol agents cracking up at the crying immigrant children separated from their families, and the Trump adviser who delighted white supremacists when he mocked a child with down syndrome who was separated from her mother. There were the police who laughed uproariously when the president encouraged them to abuse suspects, and the Fox News hosts mocking a survivor of the Pulse Nightclub massacre (and in the process inundating him with threats), the survivors of sexual assault protesting Senator Jeff Flake, the women who said the president sexually assaulted them, and the teen survivors of the Parkland school shooting. There was the president mocking Puerto Rican accents shortly after thousands were killed and tens of thousands displaced by Hurricane Maria, the black athletes protesting unjustified killings by police, the women of the #MeToo movement who have come forward with stories of sexual abuse, and the disabled reporter whose crime was reporting on Trump truthfully. It is not just that they enjoy this cruelty, it is that they enjoy it with each other. Their shared laughter at the suffering of others is an adhesive that binds them to each other, and to Trump.

Taking joy in that suffering is more human than most would like to admit. Somewhere on the wide spectrum between adolescent teasing and the smiling white men in the lynching photographs are the Trump supporters whose community is built by rejoicing in the anguish of those they see as unlike them, who have found in their shared cruelty an answer to the loneliness and atomization of modern life.

Take a few moments to read the whole.  It rightly explains those cheering crowds of Trump supporters who enjoyed his mocking of a disabled man and an abused woman, and many, many others.

Another Example of the ‘Peer Review’ Process Being Exposed as a Farce

This is a good oneCultural Studies Is the Target of Another Hoax — And This One Stings

And in the middle of it

To get a better sense of what the authors accomplished, you need to click the link and read the whole thing. It will take you about an hour, I’m afraid. But it’s the only way to see just how absurd their papers were and how blindly receptive some of the reviewers were to even the dumbest ideas. Like the authors, my main complaint with the cultural studies field has always been simple: this is important stuff, and it deserves rigorous scholarship. But it’s not getting it. It’s not just that lots of papers in the field are forgettable—that’s common everywhere—but that so many of them are simply drivel.

Even the craziest-sounding subject can be worth investigating, but only if it’s done with real scholarship and real creativity. Instead, we’re getting lots of lazy nonsense designed to get hosannas from fellows in the field.

Just because you ‘sound’ innovative doesn’t mean your work is good.  It may be published in a journal after a ‘rigorous’ process and still be utter crap.  Peer review should assure the presence of good, intelligible, useful, solid work and not promote babble simply because the babble sounds postmodern enough.

Quote of the Day

“The doctrine of predestination, once a precious heirloom, today only turns up from time to time at theological flea markets.” – Heiko Oberman