Weekly Meanderings

The next Olympic sport?

The Pope made it possible for Episcopal churches to convert to becoming Catholic churches, and a church in Maryland is the first one to do just that. “LEWIS (St. Luke’s Parish): We left the Episcopal Church not because we were running away from the issues of the Episcopal Church. We left the Episcopal Church because we were running to the Catholic Church. We came to the point where we realized the theology of the Episcopal Church is what was lacking. The theology of Rome, the authority of Rome, the unity in the Holy See and in the bishops: that was appealing to us.” [Frankly, "running away from the issues" and "theology of the Episcopal Church is what was lacking" are not that far apart, but I've been waiting to hear about how this process would occur.]

The Republic of Ireland is abandoning religion faster than almost every other country worldwide, a massive global survey on faith reveals. Only Vietnam has seen a bigger drop in people declaring themselves to be religious over the past seven years, a period when the Catholic Church in Ireland has been rocked by sex-abuse scandals and a crisis of leadership.Ireland’s churches struggling more than previously thought. This is why I’m so glad about the work of Patrick Mitchel and Irish Bible Institute in Dublin.

John Frye, who will be contributing a regular column here at Jesus Creed, reflects on bad-pastor-models — worth your careful read.

The record for fossils in Kenya… ongoing research.

now

Meanderings in the News

A recent discovery a seal with a lion has led some to see a connection with Samson: “The recent discovery of a small 11th-century B.C.E. seal at Beth Shemesh featuring a crude representation of a person next to a lion has sparked associations between the discovery and Samson’s lion fight in Judges 14. In the late Iron Age, the site lay in the frequently changing border territory between the Canaanites, Israelites and Philistines. It lies opposite Zorah, Samson’s birthplace, and nearby Timnah (Tel Batash), where Samson was smitten with a Philistine girl whom he insisted on marrying despite his parents’ objections (Judges 14:1–3). There Samson propounded his famous riddle: “Out of the eater came something to eat, / Out of the strong came something sweet” (Judges 14:14). The depiction on the seal itself appears too crude to identify with a specific individual. While the animal does bear resemblance to contemporary depictions of lions, the lack of a weapon in the figure’s hand challenges the notion that this is a violent scene. In an article in Ha’aretz, the excavation directors suggest that “a story was being told at the time of a hero who fought a lion, and that the story eventually found its way into the Biblical text and onto the seal.”* ATelegraph article titled “Israeli Scholars Claim Possible Evidence of Samson” draws a closer tie between the seal and the Biblical figure. Both associations between the Samson narrative and the Beth Shemesh seal rely on an implicit understanding that this is, in fact, a man fighting a lion. If this can be proven, then the seal, discovered near Samson’s hometown during the time of Judges, may very well be linked to Samson or a related hero figure.”

How to write a Malcolm Gladwell book — some truth here. (Add “or Seth Godin”.)

Scientific smackdown on method in reptile evolution: “Over at fantastic blog Tetrapod Zoology, paleontologist Darren Naish tells one of the most bizarre, fascinating stories about the debate over evolution you’re likely to read. It’s the tale of David Peters, a web designer and amateur paleontologist who made a name for himself in the 1980s and 90s by illustrating a set of books about dinosaurs. Since that time, he has become a bane of the paleontology community by insisting that he’s invented a new kind of technological analysis for fossils. And using this analysis — which he calls Digital Graphic Segregation — he believes he’s proven that pterosaurs are far more distant from dinosaurs in the reptile family tree than previously believed.”

When 350 degrees is not really 350 degrees. I gotta tell you, I never thought otherwise … it’s got to be an approximation.

Dear Mary Elizabeth Williams, we played this game with Tim Tebow. “Gabby Douglas is now officially a star. When she won the individual gold medal in women’s gymnastics in London Thursday, the breakout darling of the 2012 games, she immediately found herself a celebrity worthy of a cereal box. If her performance in the women’s individual all-around didn’t blow your mind, you cannot possibly have been paying attention. Yet after her victory, one of the first responses that truly resonated for me was from a colleague who noted, “I would like her more if she were not so, so, so into Jesus.” Which raises the question – what is Jesus going to do now for Gabby Douglas’ career?”

Tiya Myles on Gabby’s hair: “A significant number of people, if the list my Google search returned is any indication. Why were some African-Americans fixated on hair at a moment that should have been set aside to savor a grand achievement? For African-Americans and black women in particular, hair has long been troubled terrain. The natural kinkiness or curliness of most black people’s hair places it outside the bounds of mainstream American beauty standards, which emphasizes straightness, length and the bounce and flow of tresses in motion….Over the years, black women (and men) have turned to numerous products and processes in an attempt to tame their locks into looks more fitting for American society – from twists and ties to pomades and gels to straightening combs and chemical relaxers….For African-Americans, smooth, straight hair has been a symbol not only of beauty but of acceptance in broader American culture. And while black women wear their hair in myriad creative ways, one underlying orientation from this cultural history of hair oppression remains: the view that a black woman’s hairstyle is important and even symbolic, so she had better get it right. This is in part why Angela Davis’ Afro became iconic, why Beyoncé’s blond tresses are a signature of her look and why Nicki Minaj made a splash with a twirling carrousel of cotton-candy colored wigs….The public reaction to Douglas’ appearance shows that this preoccupation with hair in the black community has gone too far.”

The brain and free will.

Many feared this may happen: “Egypt’s new government fails to fairly represent Christians, the acting head of the Coptic church said on Saturday, saying one cabinet seat was not enough to reflect a community that accounts for a tenth of the Muslim country’s population. Islamist President Mohamed Morsy appointed his first cabinet on Thursday that drew heavily on career bureaucrats and included three Islamist politicians, one of whom was given the politically sensitive post of education minister.”

The DSM, hoarders, and a new diagnosis with brain research support.

Meanderings in Sports

Allyson Felix, a good report.

Curtis Martin, NFL Hall of Fame induction: Martin “described growing up in a rough neighborhood in Pittsburgh, the son of an alcoholic father who would beat and torture his mother by setting her hair on fire or pressing burning cigarettes to her legs. His mother, Rochella, wiped tears from her eyes as he shared his story, occasionally pausing to collect himself.

“My greatest achievement in my life was healing my mother and nurturing my mother,” Martin said.

She urged him to play football to stay out of trouble. Even when New England coach Bill Parcells decided to draft him out of Pitt, Martin wasn’t sure he wanted to play. His pastor told him he could use football as a platform to do greater things.

“I played for a purpose bigger than the game because I knew that the love for the game just wasn’t in my heart,” Martin said.

He followed Parcells to the Jets and finished his career and the fourth-leading rusher in NFL history. Parcells became one of his biggest influences, and Martin chose him for the introduction on Saturday.

“He has tremendous compassion for his fellow man,” Parcells said. “He is, I think, the poster child for what the NFL is supposed to be. You come into the league, maximize your abilities, you save your money, you make a smooth transition into society and then you pass all those things on to other people. That’s what this guy has done.”

About Scot McKnight

Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. McKnight, author of more than forty books, is the Professor of New Testament at Northern Seminary in Lombard, IL.

  • http://communityofjesus.wordpress.com/ Ted M. Gossard

    Good to see that John Frye is going to be in the mix regularly here at *Jesus Creed.* I was noting how you said, Scot, that Paul wrote out of a pastoral perspective and context. And this is all in line with why you are now going to serve at Northern Seminary (hopefully the right name, I’ll have it down well sooner or later).

    This is a good influence and directive for us, for me. I have appreciated John’s insights and gifted way of expressing them. And I have resonated with his recent posts on pastoring, while at the same time receiving some needed broadening on the subject. John is a good one to do this with all his years of pastoring, and with the breadth of theological understanding he has.

  • RJS

    I too am glad John will contribute a regular column. I’ve missed his voice in the mix of late, he’s only appeared very occasionally over the last year or so. There is needed wisdom and experience here.

  • Pat Pope

    Tiya Myles nailed it–not only on how people should view Gabby Douglas’ achievement over her hair, but also with the brief sketch on the history of black hair and the angst that it has caused within–and I daresay–outside of our community.


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