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.
- Leland Ryken has a very interesting piece on Justification and the Literary Imagination, looking at portrayals of justification from the Bible, the Merchant of Venice, Paradise Lost, and the Scarlet Letter.
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.
- The Guardian reports on the reinvigorated protest movement in Iran (In similar news, a reported 1 million women take to streets to protest against Silvio Berlusconi, Italy’s prime minister).
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.
- Here’s a must-read article on the sexualization of young girls.
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?
- Justin Taylor links to an article on how the church interpreted the 6 days of creation before Darwin.
- Brian LePort comments on how Michael Horton defines the Gospel.
- Daniel Kirk comments on the importance of understanding Greek accents, at least if you intend to write accurate papers.
- And, apparently, J.R.R. Tolkien was the first to coin the pluralization “dwarves.” Who knew?
Much of what medical researchers conclude in their studies is misleading, exaggerated, or flat-out wrong. So why are doctors—to a striking extent—still drawing upon misinformation in their everyday practice?
- Thomas Kidd asks Is Evangelicalism Standing the Test of Time? The “Fundamentals” at 100.
How much has the evangelical movement changed in the past 100 years? A quick review of The Fundamentals suggests that evangelicals 1) have shed some unfortunate biases of those bygone days, 2) continue to struggle with similar intellectual issues, most notably evolution, and 3) retain a common message of grace through Christ.
- In a Wired editorial, “Wake Up Geek Culture. Time to Die,” Patton Oswalt argues that the internet makes it to easy to be a geek and that is detrimental for creativity and culture.
I’m not a nerd. I used to be one, back 30 years ago when nerd meant something.
- In a NYT piece, Charles Griswold discusses the nature of forgiveness.
forgiveness is neither just a therapeutic technique nor simply self-regarding in its motivation; it is fundamentally a moral relation between self and other.
- Denny Burk offers a few plans for reading through the Greek NT in one year.
- And, if you’re looking for help with your resume, apparently RezScore is a webapp that will grade your resume and offer free advice for improving it. It sounds like it’s worth checking out.
- Mark Stevens comments on Barth as a pastor-theologian.
As ironic as it might seem to anyone who would dare read his 14 volume Church Dogmatics, Karl Barth’s entire theology stood as a testament to his time as a parson. Barth was first and foremost a preacher and felt all theology should be done from the viewpoint of the preacher.
- Richard Beck shows how he led his class through an interesting discussion of economic complicity and original sin.
For my part, I tend to think of Original Sin socially and systemically. Basically, you can’t ever get clean. Systemically clean. The human condition is to be complicit, to have blood on your hands
- David Fitch argues that the New Calvinism is really the New Fundamentalism: insular, culturally suspicious, and exclusive.
To me, these are symptoms of a beginning fundamentalist posture towards culture: We have the answers, we distrust everything about everything that is not us.
- There’s an interesting discussion on how to translate pistis Christou going on over at BibleGateway’s Perspectives on Translation forum. Tom Schreiner and Mike Bird have both weighed in with helpful comments (along with a very brief one from Darrell Bock). I particularly liked this comment from Bird:
The problem is that I am familiar enough with Greek grammar and syntax to know that a genitive modifier restricts the head term but does not fill it with radically sophisticated theological content.
- And, there is now a new, giant Jesus statue in Poland.
- iMonk has an excellent post on why we need to develop better traditions for grieving in community.
What churches often do less well is grieve. We lack a ritual for the long and tiring process that is sorrow and loss. A friend of mine whose husband recently died put it like this: “For about two weeks the church was really the church—really awesomely, wonderfully the church. Everyone came to the house, baked casseroles, carried Kleenex. But then the two weeks ended, and so did the consolation calls.” While you the mourner are still bawling your eyes out and slamming fists into the wall, everyone else, understandably, forgets and goes back to their normal lives and you find, after all those crowds of people, that you are left alone. You are without the church, and without a church vocab-ulary for what happens to the living after the dead are dead.
- Dave Block offers some good thoughts on how to master Greek. None of the advice is terribly new, but it is a good reminder that learning Greek (or any language) is a continuous process.
So you’re studying New Testament Greek and finding it a bit of a challenge. A lot of people don’t stick with it. “I tried learning Greek and it didn’t work for me.” The problem with these people may just be that they never learned persistence. Do you want to master the Greek language and be able to use it in your walk with God and in your service for Him? If you do, you will have to put forth some effort. How can we “stick with it” in a practical sense?
- Some of the seminars from the Desiring God conference are now available online.
- Michael Hyatt has an interesting post on how publishers are using trailers to promote new books.
- Ever wonder how much money your pets really cost you? Heres a post on how much our pets costs in a lifetime.
Cockatoo: If you’ve ever seen the cockatoos at a pet store and thought about keeping these large and magnificent birds- don’t. Yes, they are beautiful, and yes, they are relatively smart. But, they will cost you $1,035 a year after spending $1,535 the first year. And these guys are no guinea pigs. Expect your cockatoo to live for 50 years, costing you a total of $52,250.
- And, on a similar note, here are instructions for how to pet a kitty. I’m not sure why you would want to pet a kitty. But, if you’re going to do it, you should learn to do so safely. HT
- Church Relevance has puts out its list of the top 100 Church Blogs (actually 140). It looks like they use a matrix involving Alexa rankings, unique visitors, Google page rank, Good reader subscriptions, and Yahoo inlinks. Brian’s annoyed that he wasn’t included in the list (few biblioblogs or theoblogs were), but I’m pretty sure it’s because blogs that espouse Arianism aren’t allowed. And, while we’re on the subject, the September Biblioblog Rankings are out.
- Diglot asks which schools are best for doing a PhD in Biblical Studies. He’s gotten some good feedback in the comments, along with links to a couple of other good posts on the subject.
- Jim West is giving away a copy of Maurice Casey’s Jesus of Nazareth. Winning a copy will take some work since, but if you’re interested, go check it out.
- October’s Biblioblogger Carnival is out. Stephen’s post on justified belief gets noticed, as does Brian’s review of Diogenes Allen’s Philosophy for Understanding Theology.
- Dave Black lists 13 Things Your Greek Teacher Won’t Tell You. This isn’t a traditional blog, so you’ll have to scroll down or search to find the list. But it’s worth checking out.
- The 2010 Ig Noble prizes were awarded last night. Apparently these prizes are given every year for serious research that just sounds really funny. This year’s winners included research into whale snot, treating asthma with roller-coasters, relieving pain through swearing, and bat sex, among other things.
- And, Google street view now includes Antarctica. That seems odd to me. Shouldn’t you have streets if you’re going to have a street view?
- Carl Trueman posts his second blog in praise of the generalist, this time arguing that being a generalist is in fact possible.
- Bob Cargill has an excellent reflection on the relationship of faith and doubt. “While the interplay between faith and doubt is daunting enough in the abstract, its lived manifestation fundamentally alters the foundational worldview of anyone who dares to wield the powerful sword of doubt. And that is precisely what I did.” (HT)
- James Smith continues to talk about going to grad school, this time looking at the importance of friends, family, and church in the grad school experience.
- Laura Miller has an interesting post at Salon.com on some significant problems with Google Books.
- Mere Orthodoxy has an interview with Brett McCracken, the author of Hipster Christianity.
- Nijay Gupta offers some reviews of a couple of books on the historical Jesus.
- Justin Taylor offers a list from Ken Myer of the 10 best books for developing a better understanding of culture.
- And, Daniel Kirk explains one reason why understanding Greek accents is more important than you may have realized.
- A couple of good articles at Inside Higher Ed today. One details the problems facing for-profit schools and criticisms raised by a recent GAO report. Given that many are looking to these schools as the “wave of the future,” these developments are worth keeping an eye on. In a second article, Adam Kotsko responds to an earlier essay arguing that Christians face discrimination in higher ed. Kotsko contends that the problem really comes from the fact that evangelicals have historically resisted assimilating to secular culture. So, for Kotsko the problem is less one of discrimination than one of assimilation.
- Out of Ur discusses Brandon O’Brien’s new book The Strategically Small Church. It’s nice to see small churches getting some attention for a change.
- Michael Halcomb has compiled a very helpful set of language resources at his new site Getting Theological Languages. If you’re looking for resources on learning Aramaic, Greek, Hebrew, theological German, or theological French, this is worth checking out.
- Mark Stevens is giving away a copy of N.T. Wright’s The Resurrection and the Son of God.
- Roger Olson discusses his problem with Calvinism, resonating many of the same themes that came up during our own discussion of the topic. He also has a post on church music that is well worth reading. I think the focus of his discussion is misplaced (hymns vs. choruses), but the emphasis on the importance of having solid biblical/theological content is our worship music is spot on.
Back from vacation and ready to go. Here are some links from the last couple of days you’ll want to check out if you haven’t already.
- Rod Decker posts an excerpt from his paper on “The Use of Biblical Languages in Systematic Theology.” He also posts a number of classic essays on the use of Greek in ministry.
- The Church Times has an interesting article on worries that academic theology departments in the UK are in for tough times.
- To follow up on an earlier story, Kenneth Howell, the Catholic instructor fired for comments he made about about the Catholic view of homosexuality while teaching a class on Catholic doctrine, has been reinstated.
- Here’s an interesting interview with Michael Lawrence, soon to be pastor of Hinson Baptist here in Portland, on his book Biblical Theology in the Life of the Church: A Guide for Ministry.
- Apparently they have now calculated that there are 129,864,880 different books in the world. That’s the kind of statistic that can seriously de-motivate a person from writing any more books.
- Here are a number of links for self-publishing anything online.
- And, Cracked offers 5 annoying reasons that today’s movies all look the same. HT
- Marilynne Robinson on religion and science again, this time on Huffpo.
- Jim points out an article on whether biblical archeology is being hyped by politics. I’m sure he’s only pointing it out because it’s well written. Not because he’s quoted in it.
- iMonk discusses the militarization of the rhetoric surrounding the creation/evolution debate.
- R. Scott Clark argues that the Vatican’s new policies on how to handle clergy misconduct could use a good dose of two-kingdoms theology.
- I love that Yahoo news headlined the story about the 19th century ship discovered in New York with “Ancient Ship Unearthed at World Trade Center Site.” Really? 200 years old qualifies as “ancient”?
- Diglotting has a review of Daniel Wallace’s Granville Sharp’s Canon and Its Kin: Semantics and Signfiicance. It’s tough to sell a book like this as compelling, but he claims: “have never read another book entirely devoted to a Greek linguistic issue that has been as captivating as this one.” Of course, that may not be setting the bar very high.
- And, apparently Snoop Dog tried to rent an entire country for his next video shoot. And I have a hard time renting a cabin for our next family vacation.