Matthew Kalmann has recently written an interesting article for the Guardian on the Church of the Nativity. Below you will find a small excerpt, and immediately below you will find a link to the article. It turns out, graffiti may have been a sanctioned practice in medieval churches and even earlier ones…. “Much of the graffiti is more suited to a park bench than the birthplace of Jesus. Mazen and Mustafa simply wrote their names. Hassan signed each of… Read more

Here’s a nice post from the folks at….. which I, as a former coffee shop owner where we have theologically named sandwiches (e.g. the Wesley Club, the Fo’ Sure Not Kosher, etc.). —- Your local coffeehouse may be a hotbed of heresy. Check the following list and see how yours measures up. Decaf is Docetic because it only appears to be coffee. Instant is Apollinarian because it’s had its soul removed and replaced. Frappuccinos are essentially a form of… Read more

Rehearsing a fair bit of the data Tom covered at length and well in Resurrection and the Son of God, Tom reminds us that the future hope of early Jews was basically not of an other-worldly nature. Very few texts (perhaps Wis. Sol. 3.1ff.) in fact take a non-material view of the afterlife. Thus Tom stresses that what answer you get from texts to a real extent depends on what questions you ask of a text— If you ask What… Read more

Qualifications of an important thesis are always crucial. At the end of his robust defense of his exile thesis we get some of these and they are worth noting. First it should be noted that Tom is arguing that Deut. 27-30 combined with Dan. 7-9 (especially 9), set up a narrative pattern which affected many early Jews in the way they thought about their past, present and future. Many, but not all, by any means. On p. 158, in a… Read more

The Stones, the Beatles, the Who, the Kinks, the Animals, Led Zepplin, Eric Clapton, Jeff Beck, the Yardbirds, and on and on and on. The British Invasion changed American culture beginning about 1963-64. The American response was huge, and there was a period of music from about 1964-84 where there were an astounding number of good bands and solo artists cranking out great tunes, and playing lots of good concerts. I was fortunate enough to go to many of these… Read more

What happens to a person who is involved in rock n’ roll but doesn’t do the drugs and sex thing, is that you end up being the designated driver, or errand runner (a gopher), or equipment watcher. Normally most of that would be left to the roadies, except most of the roadies are equally dissolute. I realized at an early point that: 1) I was not a good enough musician to be in some elite rock or folk-rock band (I… Read more

I’ve been reading the biography of David Crosby, legendary member of the Byrds, Crosby, Stills and Nash, and various configurations thereof. It is indeed a sad commentary on sex, drugs, and yes also rock n’ roll, a tale of enormously talented musicians who sing like angels and live like the devil. In many ways it is a depressing tale of drug addictions. In some ways it is an interesting tale of musical excellence and courage. It is, in short a… Read more

There is a better way of conceptualizing what Tom Wright means when he says that Jews in the Holy Land saw themselves as still in exile. Following the schema of Steck and Koch, he means that many, perhaps most of them saw themselves as still under some sort of judgment of God for their sins. In the threefold pattern of sin leading to judgment, and after judgment comes restoration, ‘exile’ is seen as one paradigmatic form of judgment on Israel…. Read more

Oscar time is coming around the bend, and definitely up for some awards is David O. Russell’s Scorcese like crime film, ‘American Hustle’, once more exposing the seamy underbelly of big business, big criminals, and bad politicians. The cast is spectacular (De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Amy Adams, Jennifer Lawrence, Christian Bale and more) and the story is loosely based on the Abscam sting of the late 70s. Our story is set in 1978, complete with a 70s soundtrack to make… Read more

One of the major important contentions of Tom Wright is that Israel lived out of, or better said, lived as actors in, the grand story of God and his people, involving both their judgment and their restoration. Tom’s understanding of this fundamental narrative that he believes early Jews not merely resonated with but lived out of has not changed much from twenty years ago until now, to judge from the retelling of the story in Chapter Two, pp. 108ff. Tom… Read more

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