procrastination, heresy, and navel-gazing.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

not making the obvious turkey joke...

Turkey is a country with a long and turbulent history, what with Acts, the Pauline epistles, the Petrine epistles, John's Revelation, the seat of the whole church until the split, and then of the eastern church, they had a song written about them by they might be giants – I think even my sister may have been there quite recently (non stop action for Turkey)!
It is therefore so sad to hear about this ostensibly liberal muslim nation, continuing to seek entry into the EU, giving in to extremists:
Some may have heard of the massacre of three christians there last year or the year before, now it seems any Christian witness in that country is limited to the two bookshops that are permitted to sell bibles in that country – any gratis distribution is strengstens verboten (most strongly forbidden).
  • Please pray for Turkey.
  • Pray that God would strengthen the Christians there.
  • Pray that the government there would pull their heads in – that they would allow their country to determine its own fate, not be pushed around by religious extremists.
  • Pray for people’s hearts to be opened to the message that brings freedom – true freedom – not the false dream of freedom that entry into the EU might bring – but the freedom of knowing Christ.

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  • Sunday, October 19, 2008

    Joe the Plumber by Isaac Asimov

    watching the latest episode of the daily show (which SBS for some reason no longer shows) and their discussion of Joe the Plumber, i couldn't but help thinking of the 1955 Asimov short story, Franchise, a short story set in 2008(!), where one man is chosen by a computer to be the voter - whatever his vote is, that stands for the entire country.

    it would certainly save a lot of money.

    maybe we would be ok with it if we trusted the designers of the computer enough? or the computer itself - would it be apple or IBM? laptop or desktop?
    so many decisions.

    why don't they (the eligible voters in the USA) just let Joe decide? they might not like his vote, but surely he is as much a product of his society as the rest of them are?

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    Thursday, October 16, 2008

    indian sayings

    i don't want to be needlessly rude or offensive. neither do i want to be unnecessarily bound to social conventions, but i don't need for that to be at the expense of others when the only reason is to alienate them.

    so i'm questioning the use of terms with 'indian' in them - indian summer, indian giver, indian file etc. not being from north america, nor having studied american history, i have no real understanding of where these terms have come from - but cannot but assume they are offensive.

  • maybe indian file is ok - it just means to walk in a straight line (what my parents told us to do as kids walking where there was no footpath)
  • but indian summer - like what happened in sydney a couple of weeks ago, where it was unseasonably hot - and then it was back to autumn again - am i offending anyone by calling it an indian summer?
  • as for indian giver, it's not a nice thing to call anyone, true or not (that is, a gift given and then taken back), but it's probably even worse considering its possible origin - but i don't know so maybe it's fine!

    i just worry, like jerry seinfeld, that there is so much that i say, that is offending people for no reason, other than my thoughtlessness - it would be good if that weren't the case!

    as for jerry, however, what do you say instead of reservation? i made us a... booking? i think he ended up saying 'i asked them to set aside a table where we could sit and know noone else will be sitting there' or something similarly awkward!


  • Tuesday, October 14, 2008

    Psalm 67 Chiasm

    No apologies here.
    well maybe a little one, but not really - i've been trying to memorise some scripture and finding patterns makes it so much easier (especially considering the person i'm memorising them with is so much better than me at it - any hook is a good hook!)

    to the choirmaster: with stringed instruments. a psalm. a song.

    A   May God be gracious to us and bless us
        and make his face to shine upon us,   Selah
      B   that your way may be known on earth,
          your saving power among all nations.

        C   Let the peoples praise you, O God;
            let all the peoples praise you!

          D   Let the nations be glad and sing for joy,
              E   for you judge the peoples with equity
          D'   and guide the nations upon earth.   Selah

        C'   Let the peoples praise you, O God;
            let all the peoples praise you!

      B'   The earth has yielded its increase;
          God, our God, shall bless us.
    A'   God shall bless us;
        let all the ends of the earth fear him!

    my brief reflections from the structure (mind you, i think 3rd year is when we get into Hebrew poetry!) are:

  • there seems to be something going on with peoples and nations, with the nations and the earth being linked, but whether a contrast is being drawn between the nations and the peoples, i'm not sure. it could be an in-out-in-out thing, us, everyone, us, everyone...

  • i wonder whether A' and B' should be swapped, in that A is about general blessings, as is B'; whereas B and A' is about the knowing God's character in fearing the one with power of salvation

  • the above point then brings us to the centre, for you judge the peoples with equity, that is, salvation, judgment and fear are linked.

  • eschatalogically speaking, the linking of a prosperous earth and a just, theocratic society is interesting. we distance ourselves from the prosperity gospel, yet want to be following in Wilberforce's (and uncountable others') footsteps in bringing about justice in this world, before Christ's return. is this psalm saying that we should long for justice in the same way as we long for a prosperous earth - that is, brought in by God, in his timing, in his messiah? why are we happy for the disconnect (ie pursuing one but not the other), why do we rail against those who seek both (ie those prosperity types)?

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  • Wednesday, October 08, 2008

    Jonah and the story that got away

    have you ever heard a sermon on Jonah and had someone say, 'put away your scepticism - it could really happen, in fact it did happen to a guy called James Bartley toward the end of the 19th century!'

    well, even if you hadn't, i have, and i was thus very thankful for a link to this article by Edward B. Davis. it's a story of his endeavours to get the bottom of the true story so often quoted, but always referring back to an unknown source from the days before providing a bibliography was in vogue!

    despite many lectures where i find it hard to concentrate, and feel like i'm just learning things for the sake of being able to regurgitate them come exam time, i've really been enjoying the Jonah lectures: even the power-point show is thoughtful, with some great artwork from the centuries (and yes, Jonah does lend itself to such representations, in contrast to the relative lack of artwork on the themes of Ephesians, for example, but that doesn't take away from the thoughtfulness of the lectures). there has been a constant integration of historical theology, pastoral theology, textual criticism (compare for example 2:5b between the MT and LXX for example - 2:4b in the English), literary style and genre. it's been really refreshing!

    but do scroll through the article, it's a fascinating tale, and good to put to rest some shoddy work from many people in quoting with recklessness! i'm pretty sure, however, that people will continue quoting the story of Bartley and the whale for generations to come - why let the truth get in the way of a good story!


    Saturday, October 04, 2008

    1 Timothy Chiasm

    This is something i worked up a little while ago, but could never work out how to indent with html. But here it is!

    A 1:1-7 Grace be with you - stick with the truth
      B 1:8-11 The good law is for the wicked
        C 1:12-20 We are sinners made holy because of Jesus
          D 2:1-7 Pray for all
            E 2:8-15 Pray in godliness
              F 3:1-14 Church leaders model godliness
                G 3:14-4:5 Keep going in holiness
                  H 4:6-10a Teach the right stuff
                    I 4:10b because we have our hope set on the living God,
                      who is the Saviour of all people,
                      especially of those who believe.

                  H’ 4:11-14 Teach the right stuff
                G’ 4:15-16 Keep going in holiness
              F’ 5:1-6:2 All relationships model godliness
            E’ 6:2c-5 Learn in godliness
          D’ 6:6-10 Be content
        C’ 6:11-16 Pursue a holy life because of Jesus
      B’ 6:17-19 Good works are for the holy to do
    A’ 6:20-21 Grace be with you - stick with the truth

    I really like looking for structures in passages - this is the first time i've seen one in the whole book. the problem is of course that whenever you think you see something, it's really easy to read things into it. but one or two parallels and you start looking for them everywhere!
    the other question of course is to what extent the writers are conscious of this sort of thing - do they sit down with A and A' at opposite ends of the paper, write them, then their B and B', with the central passage right in the middle of the page, and keep working at it that way? it hardly seems likely. but why not? or is it indeed something people like me must try and read into everything, so regardless of the original intent, we'll see parallels everywhere?

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