The Lottery Trick Illusion

I am no fan of lotteries, which rob from the poor and those who can least afford to buy lottery tickets and give a ridiculous amount of money to one or too few people. If you have to have lotteries I'm in favor of: 1) one third of the winning proceeds going to charities of various sorts (e.g. cancer research); 2) one third in taxes to pay off various state debts and provide essential state services, and 3) one third to winners.Playing the lottery is a form of gambling of course, and as … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Three

One of the things about being a global thinker is that you realize the merits of a spectrum of viewpoints, and even realize that it is not often wise to pick sides in the history vs. theology debate, not least because the Gospel involves both. Christianity is after all an historical religion, and as I am prone to stress nothing can be theologically true that is historically false, if we are talking about the places where theology and history intersect. Fortunately, Tom Wright is insistent that … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God– Part Two

One of the things I most appreciate about Tom Wright's work, including these new volumes is that Tom, like Paul himself, is a global thinker. And when I say a global thinker, I'm not just referring to the whole field of theology, but rather to the fact that Tom is interested in get right the whole mindset of Paul not just in regard to his theological ideas, but in regard to his praxis, and his symbols, and his stories. He is equally critical of the reductionism of the left (say e.g. the … [Read more...]

Wright’s Paul and the Faithfulness of God— Part One

As has once been said in jest, there is an appalling amount of Paul in the NT (13 of 27 books are attributed to Paul), and when it comes to Evangelical treatments of Paul, there is also a plethora of those available as well. Indeed one cannot read all the treatments are out there, as they number like the sands on the seashore. But if you are going to read some thorough treatments of St. Paul, then one of those treatments (at 1700 pages in two volumes) is Tom Wright's magnum opus entitled Paul … [Read more...]

Netiquette– a Fresh Start in 2014

(The cartoon above is by one of my favorites cartoonists political and otherwise, the good Mr. Marlette who I enjoyed reading for years in the Charlotte Observer and then he moved on to Atlanta).(I'm not certain where this came from as it was floated my way, but its too good not to re-post. I can claim no credit for its creation).Recently Larry Hurtado republished his rules for commenting on his blog. Amongst the more useful ones are the following (and I quote):"Names: In … [Read more...]

More from the Methodist Museum

No that's not Mr. Depp's father, that's Capt. Thomas Webb, a fire-brand Methodist preacher, known for his apocalyptic flourish. He is one of the many colorful characters whose memorabilia is to be found in the Methodist museum in Baltimore in Lovely Lane Chapel.Here we have Robert Strawbridge's portable pulpit. He was one of the more famous, and independent minded Methodist preachers in Asbury's day, who kept serving communion without Asbury's permission or ordination. That didn't go … [Read more...]

The Women’s Christian Temperance Union

After the Civil War it would be hard to describe the devastation in the South. For one thing, a whole generation of young men were killed. For another, when Lincoln was assassinated Reconstruction took ugly turns under the hands of U.S. Grant, a drunkard. Alcoholism and despair were two major outcomes of that whole period of American history, and in response to it, women like Mrs. Smucker from Orrville Ohio, and Frances Willard. Here is a bust of her found in the Methodist museum at Lovely … [Read more...]

Francis Asbury in Maryland

Maryland, without question, was a hotbed of Methodism in the 18th and 19th centuries. It was in Baltimore where the first Christmas conference was held, and it was in Abingdon Md. where the first Methodist college--- Cokesbury College, was started, which sadly burned to the ground during Asbury's lifetime.In the museum in the current version of Lovely Lane Chapel in Baltimore (it is the sixth edition of this chapel, see the next post) there are several items of Asbury memorabilia. For … [Read more...]

Quoth the Raven—- a Boston Man in Baltimore

Here is the house where Edgar Allan Poe lived for a period in Baltimore with his wife (yes, it's true, he married his 13 year old cousin). And below you will see the marker on the house itself, which today stands in the 'projects', which in various ways is appropriate since Poe was for much of his life a poor man who died under suspicious circumstances.As the Wiki summary will tell you, Poe was actually born and raised in Boston, and then went to the University of Virginia, briefly. He … [Read more...]