The Bonhoeffer Effect

What is the Bonhoeffer effect?  It is the notion that violence is sometimes justified.  Shockingly, Bonhoeffer has Christians among his supporters and the belief that violence can sometimes be perpetrated with justification is the centerpiece of much modern behavior.

Bonhoeffer has given tacit approval to violence in all its forms.

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I Wish This Open Letter Were ‘Signable’, For I Would Add My Name To It…

It’s an open letter on the rancid silencing of free and open intellectual debate so prevalent in the West today.

Our cultural institutions are facing a moment of trial. Powerful protests for racial and social justice are leading to overdue demands for police reform, along with wider calls for greater equality and inclusion across our society, not least in higher education, journalism, philanthropy, and the arts. But this needed reckoning has also intensified a new set of moral attitudes and political commitments that tend to weaken our norms of open debate and toleration of differences in favor of ideological conformity. As we applaud the first development, we also raise our voices against the second. The forces of illiberalism are gaining strength throughout the world and have a powerful ally in Donald Trump, who represents a real threat to democracy. But resistance must not be allowed to harden into its own brand of dogma or coercion—which right-wing demagogues are already exploiting. The democratic inclusion we want can be achieved only if we speak out against the intolerant climate that has set in on all sides.

The free exchange of information and ideas, the lifeblood of a liberal society, is daily becoming more constricted. While we have come to expect this on the radical right, censoriousness is also spreading more widely in our culture: an intolerance of opposing views, a vogue for public shaming and ostracism, and the tendency to dissolve complex policy issues in a blinding moral certainty. We uphold the value of robust and even caustic counter-speech from all quarters. But it is now all too common to hear calls for swift and severe retribution in response to perceived transgressions of speech and thought. More troubling still, institutional leaders, in a spirit of panicked damage control, are delivering hasty and disproportionate punishments instead of considered reforms. Editors are fired for running controversial pieces; books are withdrawn for alleged inauthenticity; journalists are barred from writing on certain topics; professors are investigated for quoting works of literature in class; a researcher is fired for circulating a peer-reviewed academic study; and the heads of organizations are ousted for what are sometimes just clumsy mistakes. Whatever the arguments around each particular incident, the result has been to steadily narrow the boundaries of what can be said without the threat of reprisal. We are already paying the price in greater risk aversion among writers, artists, and journalists who fear for their livelihoods if they depart from the consensus, or even lack sufficient zeal in agreement.

This stifling atmosphere will ultimately harm the most vital causes of our time. The restriction of debate, whether by a repressive government or an intolerant society, invariably hurts those who lack power and makes everyone less capable of democratic participation. The way to defeat bad ideas is by exposure, argument, and persuasion, not by trying to silence or wish them away. We refuse any false choice between justice and freedom, which cannot exist without each other. As writers we need a culture that leaves us room for experimentation, risk taking, and even mistakes. We need to preserve the possibility of good-faith disagreement without dire professional consequences. If we won’t defend the very thing on which our work depends, we shouldn’t expect the public or the state to defend it for us.

Amazingly (but unsurprisingly) the letter is getting pushback from the leftists.  And that fact alone is evidence of its truthfulness and relevance. Who, after all, in academia, thinks ideas need to be constrained? Only persons who wish to constrain others.

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On Seeking Advice

Any adviser will offer advice, but some are governed by self-interest. Beware of someone who offers advice; first find out what he wants himself- since his advice coincides with his own interest — in case he has designs on you and tells you, ‘You are on the right road,’ but stands well clear to see what will happen to you.

Do not consult anyone who looks at you askance, conceal your plans from people jealous of you. Do not consult a woman about her rival, or a coward about war, a merchant about prices, or a buyer about selling, anyone mean about gratitude, or anyone selfish about kindness, a lazy fellow about any sort of work, or a casual worker about finishing a job, an idle servant about a major undertaking — do not rely on these for any advice. 

But have constant recourse to some devout person, whom you know to be a keeper of the commandments, whose soul matches your own, and who, if you go wrong, will be sympathetic. Finally, stick to the advice your own heart gives you, no one can be truer to you than that; since a person’s soul often gives a clearer warning than seven watchmen perched on a watchtower. And besides all this beg the Most High to guide your steps into the truth. (Sir. 37:7-15)

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Signs of the Times

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Pastoral Ministry: A Parable in a Video

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Jeremiah For Today

“As for you, do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer for them, and do not intercede with me, for I will not hear you.” – Jer 7:16

“Therefore do not pray for this people, or lift up a cry or prayer on their behalf, for I will not listen when they call to me in the time of their trouble.” – Jer 11:14

“Then the LORD said to me, “Do not pray for these people anymore.” – Jer 14:11

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First Baptist Dallas Is a Cult

Not a Church.  Churches don’t accept money from the Government.  Yes, that’s what I said.  Churches do NOT accept money from the government.  Because money is control.  And no Church worth the name would be willing to accept governmental control.

A Dallas megachurch whose pastor has been a vocal supporter of President Donald Trump was approved for a forgivable loan worth $2 million to $5 million, according to long-awaited government data released on Monday.

Vice President Mike Pence spoke at a rally last month at the First Baptist Church of Dallas, whose pastor, Robert Jeffress, has been on Trump’s evangelical advisory board.

It was among the tens of thousands of religious organizations that received a total of $7.3 billion in pandemic aid from the Small Business Administration.

The list of religious organizations approved for about 88,400 small business loans also included Joyce Meyer Ministries Inc, a Missouri church which in 2007-2011 was investigated by the Senate over its finances. That church was approved for $5 million to $10 million – the largest sum an individual entity could apply for.

Neither organization immediately responded to requests for comment on the loans. Joyce Meyer fully cooperated with the Senate investigation and agreed to join the Evangelical Council for Financial Accountability.  …

The data showed religious organizations accounting for more than 1 million of the 51.1 million jobs protected by the high profile program. The list of named religious organizations was heavily skewed toward Christian denominations, according to a Reuters analysis.

Among the other 19 religious organizations to be approved for between $5 million and $10 million was Oklahoma-based Life.Church Operations LLC. Its pastor Bobby Gruenewald said in response to Reuters questions that he was grateful that churches were able to qualify for the loans, but did not say how much his church got or whether it will seek loan forgiveness.

Also in the $5 million-$10 million bracket were the Roman Catholic Diocese of San Bernardino, California, which has publicly acknowledged its role in a decades-old sexual abuse scandal, and Willow Creek Community Church Inc. in Illinois. In 2018, the Chicago Tribune, citing court records, reported that Willow Creek paid $3.25 million to settle lawsuits alleging a church volunteer sexually abused children. Willow Creek did not respond immediately to request for comment.

This is an outrage.  No Church, again, worth the name, would or could accept government money.  Greed driven grifters take money they don’t need and if they need it and their members don’t provide it, they should simply do with less.  Full stop.

If your church is not self-sustaining, it’s time to close the doors for good.

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A Fantastic Endorsement of the Commentary!

Koop zijn commentaarserie op de hele Bijbel. Anders maak je Jim verdrietig en je wil Jim niet verdrietig maken– Evert te Winkel

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When Priests Fail

Ein Sohn ehrt den Vater und ein Diener seinen Herrn. Und wenn ich Vater bin, wo ist meine Ehre? Und wenn ich Herr bin, wo ist die Furcht vor mir?, spricht der HERR der Heerscharen zu euch, ihr Priester, die ihr meinen Namen gering schätzt. Ihr aber werdet sagen: Wie haben wir deinen Namen gering geschätzt?

Auf meinem Altar bringt ihr besudelte Speise dar, und dann sagt ihr: Womit haben wir dich besudelt? Dadurch, dass ihr sagt: Der Tisch des HERRN ist nicht wichtig! Und wenn ihr blinde Tiere bringt, um sie als Opfer zu schlachten – ist das nichts Schlechtes? Und wenn ihr Lahmes und Krankes bringt – ist das nichts Schlechtes? Bring es doch deinem Statthalter dar! Wird er Gefallen an dir haben oder dein Angesicht erheben?, spricht der HERR der Heerscharen.

Und nun besänftigt doch das Angesicht Gottes, damit er uns gnädig sei. Dieses kam aus eurer Hand – wird er euretwegen das Angesicht erheben?, spricht der HERR der Heerscharen. Gibt es bei euch auch nur einen, der die Türen verschlösse, damit ihr meinen Altar nicht vergeblich erstrahlen lasst? Ich habe kein Gefallen an euch, spricht der HERR der Heerscharen, und Gaben aus eurer Hand gefallen mir nicht!

Denn vom Aufgang der Sonne bis hin zu ihrem Untergang ist mein Name gross bei den Nationen, und an jedem Ort werden meinem Namen Rauchopfer dargebracht und reine Gaben, denn mein Name ist gross bei den Nationen!, spricht der HERR der Heerscharen. (Mal. 1:6-11)

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Open Access: From Scrolls to Scrolling: Sacred Texts, Materiality, and Dynamic Media Cultures

Throughout history, the study of sacred texts has focused almost exclusively on the content and meaning of these writings. Such a focus obscures the fact that sacred texts are always embodied in particular material forms—from ancient scrolls to contemporary electronic devices. Using the digital turn as a starting point, this volume highlights material dimensions of the sacred texts of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam.

The essays in this collection investigate how material aspects have shaped the production and use of these texts within and between the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, from antiquity to the present day. Contributors also reflect on the implications of transitions between varied material forms and media cultures.

Taken together, the essays suggests that materiality is significant for the academic study of sacred texts, as well as for reflection on developments within and between these religious traditions. This volume offers insightful analysis on key issues related to the materiality of sacred texts in the traditions of Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, while also highlighting the significance of transitions between various material forms, including the current shift to digital culture.

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New From Mohr

The Medieval Luther
Ed. by Christine Helmer

This revisionist study demonstrates Luther’s deep familiarity with medieval philosophy and theology. It connects his doctrines of Christ, salvation, and the priesthood to broader late medieval historical, religious, and political concerns, and shows how indispensable the study of the Middle Ages is for understanding Luther’s theology.

Der erste Brief des Petrus
Gerald Wagner / François Vouga

Gerald Wagner and François Vouga portray the strategy of non-violence and the revelation theology of history of 1 Peter, which lay the foundation for the Christian commitment to have a transforming influence on neighbours and society in everyday life.

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Quote of the Day

a bit closer

Zwingli’s House

Take from man the knowledge and care of divine things, and his skill and care in human things will not take him out of the ranks of the brutes. For the brutes all have a care for themselves and their kind, and, as Cicero says, protect themselves, their bodies and lives.  If, therefore, man sees, cares and hopes for nothing more, the care of human things is not a whit different from that of the brutes. In order to be man, then, and not a brute, man must have a care for and knowledge of things nobler and better, and only when that is given him from above does he become man.  —  Huldrych Zwingli

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Zwingli’s ‘Petition for Priests to Marry’ and a Little Help from a Friend

xylotectusOn 7 July 1522, while Zwingli was preparing his little booklet on the freedom of priests to marry, his friend in Lucerne, one Johannes Xylotectus, sent him a note with a tiny story to help Zwimgli make his point. Xylotectus writes

Ioannes Xylotectus Huldricho Zuinlio S. D. P.

Sacrificus quidam nostras scorti sui maritum confecit. Scortum sacrificus aliquandiu invito marito aluit. Maritus eum de restituenda preda Lucernae convenit. Hinc cum scorto redeuntem in itinere deprehendit, adgreditur loethiferoque vulnere cadit et tandem moritur. Hoc ideo te scire volui, ut, si commode inserere libello, quem parturis, posses, exemplum haberes recens, quanta noster coelibatus non modo scandala, verumetiam pericula pariat, quibus legittimo coniugio foelicissime mederi possent nostri Helvetii. Noster item Bodenler dominica pręterita multa in sacerdotum coniugia pro contione dixit, cui velim vel per Erasmum nostrum responderetur (ut scilicet vel taceret vel scripturam scriptura refelleret, ne tandem suis coloribus depictus toti orbi fabula redderetur), nugas suas diutius non ferendas, et cetera in hunc modum, ut visum fuerit, litterasque illas cum libello negotii nostri accipiat. Iacobus Naef te ad templi sui consecrationis festum venturum dixit. Fac sciam, an ita sit et quando.


Ex Lucerna Nonis Iuliis 1522.
Et doctissimo et amicissimo domino Huldricho Zuinlio,
Tigurinorum euangelistae. –
Meister Uolrich Zwingli zuo Zurich lutpriester.

Zwingli’s friends across the Cantons were happy to help him Reform the Church.  And reforming the Church meant reforming the clergy.

Of Xylotectus (who isn’t exactly widely known), the Swiss Historical Lexicon notes

Geboren 1490 (Johannes Ludwig Zimmermann) Luzern, gestorben 19.8.1526 Basel, von Luzern, aus patriz. Geschlecht stammend. um 1524 Margarethe Feer, Tochter des Jost, Bauern. Stud. in Basel, 1508 Bakkalaureus, 1510 Magister Artium. 1499 Chorherrwartner des Stifts Beromünster, 1504 Chorherr zu St. Leodegar im Hof in Luzern, 1513 Priesterweihe.

Ab 1510 wirkte X. als Lateinlehrer in Luzern und knüpfte enge Bande zum Humanistenkreis um Joachim Vadian, Huldrych Zwingli, Glarean und Oswald Myconius. Als seine Stellung in Luzern aufgrund seiner reformator. Gesinnung unhaltbar wurde, siedelte X. Ende 1524 nach Basel um. Dort erlag er der Pest. 1520 wurde X. von Hans Hohlbein (dem Jüngeren) porträtiert.

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Quote of the Week

My child, if you aspire to serve the Lord, prepare yourself for an ordeal.  Be sincere of heart, be steadfast, and do not be alarmed when disaster comes. Cling to him and do not leave him, so that you may be honoured at the end of your days. Whatever happens to you, accept it, and in the uncertainties of your humble state, be patient, since gold is tested in the fire, and the chosen in the furnace of humiliation. Trust him and he will uphold you, follow a straight path and hope in him.  (Sir. 2:1-6)

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Calvin: On Ridding the Church of Wicked Pastors

This is becoming more and more important.  Churches should pay attention and act accordingly:

We recognize no other pastors in the Church than faithful pastors of the Word of God, feeding the sheep of Jesus Christ on the one hand with instruction, admonition, consolation, exhortation, deprecation; and on the other resisting all false doctrines and deceptions of the devil, without mixing with the pure doctrine of the Scriptures their dreams or their foolish imaginings.

To these we accord no other power or authority but to conduct, rule, and govern the people of God committed to them by the same Word, in which they have power to command, defend, promise, and warn, and without which they neither can nor ought to attempt anything.

As we receive the true ministers of the Word of God as messengers and ambassadors of God, it is necessary to listen to them as to him himself, and we hold their ministry to be a commission from God necessary in the Church.

On the other hand we hold that all seductive and false prophets, who abandon the purity of the Gospel and deviate to their own inventions, ought not at all to be suffered or maintained, who are not the pastors they pretend, but rather, like ravening wolves, ought to be hunted and ejected from the people of God.*

*Calvin: Theological Treatises (p. 32).

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Why Did Kanye Need a PPP Loan? He’s a Billionaire

What a farce.

On the heels of his announcement that he is running for president, documents reveal that billionaire Kanye West’s fashion company Yeezy received more than $2 million through the Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) — he owns 100% of the company which Forbes estimates brought in close to $1.3 billion in 2019.

What a grifter.

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A Failure of Leadership Lost us the War on COVID-19

So Paul Krugman in a piece you ought to read.

When did America start losing its war against the coronavirus? How did we find ourselves international pariahs, not even allowed to travel to Europe?

I’d suggest that the turning point was way back on April 17, the day that Donald Trump tweeted “LIBERATE MINNESOTA,” followed by “LIBERATE MICHIGAN” and “LIBERATE VIRGINIA.” In so doing, he effectively declared White House support for protesters demanding an end to the lockdowns governors had instituted to bring Covid-19 under control.

That same failure of leadership is obvious in Tenneessee, where the Governor, instead of mandating masks, took the coward’s way out and passed the buck to the Counties.

What a sad day.

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An Immunocompromised Teen Was Forced By Her Mother to Attend a Church Sponsored COVID Party… In Florida of Course

There’s a special place in hell for people like this mom.

A Florida mother allegedly took her high-risk teenage daughter to a “COVID party” at their church, tried treating the girl at home with unproven drugs when she got sick — and then hailed her as a patriot after she died.

Carsyn Davis died June 23, two days after her 17th birthday, after she contracted the coronavirus, reported the News-Press, but former Florida data scientist Rebekah Jones detailed shocking claims in a medical examiner’s report about her illness.

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Are the Jews Cast Out of the Covenant in the Gospel of John? Adele Reinhartz vs. Chris Keith and James Crossley

FYI- Another Crossley Smackdown

Biblical Studies Online

On July 6, 2020, Professors Chris Keith and James Crossley had a Zoom discussion with Professor Adele Reinhartz (University of Ottawa). The subject of discussion is the Gospel of John and the Johannine community, also the subject of her most recent book, Cast Out of the Covenant: Jews and Anti-Judaism in the Gospel of John (2018).

The discussion is the ninth in the Centre for the Social-Scientific Study of the Bible’s 2020 Online Discussion Series.

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Find Out How Your County is Doing

As of Friday (the last day the site took measurements), Morgan County (the County where I live) is ranked 7th for infection rates.  That is, only 6 Counties have lower infection rates than we do.

You can poke around the site for yourself.  Just go here and click on Tennessee (or wherever) and then hover over the county that interests you.

Stay safe by washing your hands and maintaining social distancing.  And if people are too close, put on a mask.

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