Blog Archives

Flotsam and jetsam (evening edition)


As I mentioned a few days ago, I had to put flotsam and jetsam on hiatus for a while so I could focus on some other projects. But, after several appreciative comments and emails, I’ve decided to try a few evening editions. I still won’t be putting these out on a daily basis, but hopefully this is better than pausing the posts altogether.

Ordinarily when we speak of “the Bible as literature” we mean the literary nature of the Bible itself.  My venture in this essay provides another angle on the concept of “the Bible as literature.”  I have explored what the biblical teaching on justification looks like when it is transmuted into works of imaginative literature–the Bible as literature, that is, as imaginative literature composed by extrabiblical authors.

  • Inside Higher Ed has an interesting article on Baylor University’s decision to open up more of its board to non-Baptists. (See also Al Mohler’s comments on the secularization of religious schools).

While a number of Baptist colleges and universities in recent years have loosened or ended ties to state Baptist conventions, the move by Baylor is notable because it is widely considered the flagship university of Southern Baptists. The move came despite opposition from the Baptist General Convention of Texas, which last year voted down a similar proposal by Houston Baptist University to permit the election of a minority of non-Baptist trustees there, with church leaders arguing at the time that allowing non-Baptist trustees would dilute the university’s religious identity.

Thousands of defiant protesters in Iran‘s capital have clashed with security officials as they marched in a banned rally. One person was reported killed, with dozens injured and many more arrested.

Push-up bras, pedicures, hip-hop dance classes: These are now the social currency of the under-10 set. What happened? And how can we help our girls stay girls for longer?

Flotsam and jetsam (12/3)

A Klingon Christmas Carol

A lot of good links over the last couple of days. Here are some of the more interesting.

  • PZ Myers points out that Answers in Genesis has been guilty of using history jacking (hijacking your browser history to discern what sites you’ve been visiting) and using that information to categorize visitors. Interestingly, although they have a distinct category for “Christian” users, if you’ve visited creationmuseum.org, joelosteen.com, or beliefnet.com, you get categoriezed as “other.” HT James McGrath and Stuart.

Let me suggest, in fact, that whenever we communicate to non-Christians that we have found it and that they have not, that we have been chosen and that they have not, that we are the apple of God’s eye and that they are not—whenever we assume that stance, consciously or not, we are communicating something other than the gospel, the Good News.

Sometimes with good apologetic and evangelistic motives we will point to all the OT prophecies about Christ and then run down a list of all the NT fulfillments. There is truth here, but if we set things up as “here’s the prediction; here’s the prediction come true” we are bound to confuse people. We may even cause people to doubt the prophetic witness rather than trust it.

These Pentecostals are widely read in biblical and theological studies, immersed in the latest trends in missiology, even leading the way in some areas of theological reflection such as the Holy Spirit and world religions.

Our attempts to read Paul, in other words, will come up short to the extent that we either (a) neglect the narrative flow within which the cited verse occurs in its original OT context, or (b) allow that OT context to be entirely determinative for what the verse means in Paul.

Today, the monastery is a vibrant stronghold of traditional Ethiopian Orthodox monasticism. And at first glance, it even seems impervious to modern Ethiopia’s fast-changing society. But it, as do all facets of Ethiopia’s monastic culture, confronts new realities and an uncertain future.

The creation debate continues, and continues, and…

It never stops, does  it? The most recent hurrah developed around Al Mohler’s speech at this year’s Ligonier conference, “Why Does the Universe Look So Old?“, in which he unsurprisingly argues for a young earth, 24-hour day view of creation. Apparently he sees this as the only view that takes scripture seriously – i.e. it doesn’t try to “bend” scripture to fit science or cultural preconceptions.

The folks over at BioLogos responded by initiating a discussion on the subject, one that has generated quite a bit of comment so far.

  • Karl Giberson offered three questions that he would like to see Mohler respond to in more depth. Actually, this felt like one of those posts where the “questions” are really a platform for pointing out where you think the other person is wrong. But, it was still interesting.
  • Today, Peter Enns weighed in arguing that both the new atheists and the traditional creationists make the mistake of viewing Scripture as claiming to be scientifically accurate. Instead, he contends that we need to see them as ancient “fictional” narratives about who created everything, rather than “scientific” accounts of how they were created.

No wanting to be left out of the discussion, Scot McKnight offers some thoughts of his own. He’s particularly concerned about the tenor of Mohler’s speech, criticizing him for making this a battle rather than a conversation.

And, on a related note, Huffpo’s new Religion and Science discussion continues with Clay Naff’s rather unhelpful post arguing that we need to reject both the traditional view of an all-powerful God creating the universe (in any way), or the growingly popular secular notion that ours is just one of many possible universes. Instead, he argues that he most intellectually viable position is that a limited being created everything through an evolutionary process.

Flotsam and jetsam (6/12)

  • Stephen Moshier takes John McArthur to task for his recent critique of the geological principle of uniformitarianism (i.e. geologic processes are the same today as they’ve always been). Moshier points out that McArthur’s definitions and arguments are a little outdated (i.e. he’s criticizing 19th century geology). The post serves as another example that we should be very careful offering authoritative critiques of work done in areas in which we are not specialists (see Giberson on that topic here).
  • Philip Sumpter has finally concluded his extended (to say the least) series on theological interpretation. The posts in the series and the various discussions they sparked are worth perusing if you want to get a feel for the issues.
  • T&T Clark’s “companions” series has been launched with its Companion to Methodism. I’ll be interested to see if they are as helpful as they look like they might be.
  • In a rather shocking development, Pope Benedict has rejected demands for the Catholic Church to reverse its position on clerical celibacy. Did anyone really think this was going to go any differently?
  • Apparently there are lots of sites where you can get your daily news in comic form…in Japanese. Why do they get all the cool comics?
  • And, Matt Mikalatos discusses why Denver International Airport is watched over by the Egyptian god of death and other unusual stories about the airport (including its very own smoke monster). I connect through Denver quite a bit, so I paid attention to this one. I think I’m going to start flying through Minneapolis more instead.