Last week’s forced choice pit J. R. R. Tolkien against C. S. Lewis. And, although Tolkien led big at the beginning, Lewis slowly caught up, before pulling ahead for good late in the week. So, after one week, the tally stands at Lewis 55% and Tolkien 45%.
Since we’ve been talking about Matthew a lot this week, I thought it would be appropriate for today’s Forced Choice to focus on the Gospels. So, make your choice. Which Gospel do you like better? Feel free to make a comment explaining your choice, but you don’t have to.
You should watch this if (1) you want to understand the difference between E.P. Sanders and John Crossan on various gospel issues; (2) you want to get a better handle on historical Jesus debates in general; (3) you like sock puppets; or (4) you’re bored.
- It seems like everyone’s doing a study these days to determine the keys to church health. Now the United Methodists have released their study of 32,000 Methodist congregations in North America, identifying four key areas: “small groups and programs; worship services that mix traditional and contemporary styles with an emphasis on relevant sermons; pastors who work hard on mentorship and cultivation of the laity; and an emphasis on effective lay leadership.”
- Matt Dabbs has a brief reflection on whether Jesus broke the Sabbath, with a link to a longer article on the subject.
- Near Emmaus has been discussing Which of Jesus’ Sayings is Hardest to Accept.
- Larry Hurtado links to another article, “Remembrance and Revelation: The Historic and Glorified Jesus in the Gospel of John“
- The Reformed Reader posts some excerpts from Bavinck arguing that the seven days of creation should be understood as historical but “extraordinary” days. That is, each day refers to a period of creative activity rather than our modern, clock-driven understanding of days as 24 hour periods. (HT Heidelblog)
- And apparently it’s illegal in Russia to force a donkey to parasail over the ocean. Who knew?
- James McGrath will be reviewing The Historical Jesus: Five Views over at Exploring Our Matrix. He’ll be starting with Robert Price, who holds to a Christ-Myth position – i.e. there was no Jesus of Nazareth. That should be an interesting discussion.
- Nijay Gupta has published an 8-page review of Douglas Campbell’s Deliverance of God. The short version is that he enjoyed the book, but in the end did not find Campbell’s reconstruction of justification convincing.
- The SBL conversation continues. John Hobbins and James Crossley have both posted their thoughts on Ron Hendel’s criticism of SBL for allowing “faith” to trump “reason” in biblical scholarship. And, Hendel has now responded to Crossley with a post of his own.
- A recent Gallup poll suggests that church attendance is on the rise on America. I think this would be a good example of why we need to be careful with statistics. As I heard at a recent conference, although it is true that we’ve seen a slight increase in the percentage of people attending church weekly, the percentage of people who never attend church has increased much more quickly. So, although we’re seeing a few more people attend regularly, we’re seeing far more people choose to stay away altogether.
- And, here’s a You Tube clip of Elena Kagan responding to a question about whether the commerce clause gives congress the authority to require all Americans to eat vegetables three times a day.
Tonight here in Portland there will be a discussion/presentation featuring Marcus Borg and Paul Anderson. Borg is a popular historical Jesus scholar. Anderson, a professor at George Fox, is at the forefront of a movement of scholars who are revisiting the historicity of the Fourth Gospel. The subject will be the origin of the Synoptics and the Gospel of John. Both JohnDave Medina and I (who blog at Near Emmaus)will be attending so you can expect some discussion on that blog later in the week.
If anyone else in the Portland area is interested this event will take place at the Reedwood Friends Church located at 2901 SE Steele St. It is scheduled to take place from 6:30-8pm. For more information call 503.234.5017.