Weekly Meanderings, April 20, 2013

It’s Spring and Kris and I are looking forward to the growth in our garden and backyard, including hope that our wisteria will flourish this summer. Speaking of wisteria, here’s an image of a monster wisteria!

Pope Francis goes universal on appointments: “VATICAN CITY — Pope Francis named eight cardinals from around the globe Saturday to advise him on running the Catholic Church and reforming the Vatican bureaucracy, marking his first month as pope with a major initiative to reflect the universal nature of the church in key governing decisions. The advisory panel includes only one current Vatican official. The rest are cardinals from North, Central and South America, Africa, Asia, Europe and Australia. Many have been outspoken in calling for a shake-up of the Vatican bureaucracy, which was last reformed 25 years ago, while others have tried to clean up the church from sexually abusive priests.”

Jodi Fondell’s important question for the Senators: “So here are some my struggle as it relates to this issue.  The favorite line of the gun advocate is “Guns don’t kill people.  People kill people.”  OK.  So, if that is the truth, (which in my mind is logic that defies reason), then why aren’t gun advocates willing to encourage background checks on PEOPLE.”

The first English Bible — or authoritative texts in the early English faith, by Philip Jenkins. “If we look then at one thriving Christian nation around 1000 AD – roughly, the halfway point of the Christian story to date – then “Holy Scripture” was still a flexible concept. It definitely included, say, the Gospel of John, but alongside other books now largely forgotten that also carried authority. Regardless of what ancient councils had declared, the de facto canon of scripture was much wider than we think of today. Indeed, the English canon at that time had much in common with that of the present-day Ethiopian church, which also grants full recognition to Enoch and Jubilees. The medieval English church then – regarded at the time as a paragon of Catholic orthodoxy and papal loyalty – was reading a package of scriptures very different from any modern Western concept of the Bible. This mattered so much because, far from being isolated at a distant corner of Christendom, the English church in its day was one of the world’s great missionary bodies, sending offshoots and church plants across Western Europe, into France, the Netherlands, Germany, Switzerland and beyond. And where those missionaries went, they took the Bibles they knew.”

Richard Land’s new appointment: “(RNS) Richard Land, the evangelical culture warrior who was set to leave his job with the Southern Baptists after a series of controversies, will step down early to take over as head of a seminary in North Carolina that focuses on defending the faith in the modern world. Over the years, it has become increasingly clear to me that the way you spell evangelism, discipleship, missions, and Christian education in the 21st century is ‘apologetics,’” Land, 66, said in a statement on Thursday (April 11) confirming reports that he would become head of Southern Evangelical Seminary in Charlotte, N.C., in July.”

Twelve ways to save food waste.

Messianic Judaism and Jewish traditions: “Kinbar goes on to examine way Messianic Judaism has a range of reactions to, acceptances and rejections of Jewish tradition in specific areas. All Messianic Jews keep some tradition, Kinbar says, and at the same time regard the Scriptures as the center of authority. No Messianic Jewish groups today could be said to be tradition-free (meaning not only free of Jewish tradition, but also free of the often more invisible Christian tradition). The wide differences in groups using the label Messianic Judaism include a very limited use of tradition (things like saying Shema or lighting candles on Friday night) on a spectrum to heavy reliance on tradition (thorough use of the Siddur, traditional Seders, study of the Sages of early Judaism, etc.).”

Fun stop signs.

Chicago blasted by rain…. drainage systems overwhelmed…

A brief introduction to liberal religion: “The first of the theological assertions is that every individual has value. This intuition is grounded in the seventh assertion in the principals that everything is bound up together in a vast web of intimacy. Taken together numerous ethical and social and spiritual concerns arise. How do we live if we feel each of us has significance, value, and that we are all of us related? And, more, what if we see that we are completely a part of this world? Over the years people have taken up one or another of the consequences that follow these intuitions. The other point is enshrined, at least until there’s another vote, as the fourth principle, which is a call to a “free and responsible” search for meaning. Here we opened ourselves to the full range of spiritual disciplines from prayer to meditation to critical analysis, but always with the call to test whatever we find in conversation within a spiritual community predicated upon a covenant of presence to our own minds and hearts and to each other. While the radical freedom of this tradition means people can join and do pretty much nothing, to genuinely honor the tradition means taking our lives seriously, to engage that free and responsible quest, to understand deeply what the preciousness of the individual might mean within the context of radical intimacy. I’ve noticed people tend to do this in two ways.”

Why do pastors quit? – a good sketch.

I remember John and Bonnie as students way back at TEDS and I’m so glad to read his about them: “Massive tsunami waves triggered by a magnitude-7.0 earthquake wiped out thousands of villages, claimed hundreds of lives and forever changed the way Bible translations previously had been done in Papua New Guinea. The two Wycliffe Bible translators credited with pioneering the movement, and who lost many of their friends in the storm, recently shared with The Christian Post how they believe God created a miracle out of tragedy. John and Bonnie Nystrom, linguists for Wycliffe Bible Translators, recount in their recently published book, Sleeping Coconuts, how the devastating July 17, 1998, earthquake that shook the northern coast of Papua New Guinea, commonly referred to as PNG, claimed 800 lives from the Arop village where they had moved just 10 years prior to assist local pastors in translating the Bible into their own language. Some reports indicate 2,400 people living in the town of Aitape lost their lives in the earthquake and resulting tsunami, with the villages of Arop, Warapu and Nimas feeling the brunt of the waves. Another 9,500 people reportedly were left homeless.”

Josh Graves on writing.

How do you measure a really influential teacher? Numbers don’t do it. Educrats are running the game.

Meanderings in the News

Let us not forget: “Imam Benjamin Abdul-Haqq of Washington’s Masjid Muhammad mosque, said identifying as a Muslim is different from acting like one. “Just because they say they’re Muslim doesn’t make them Muslim,” Abdul-Haqq said at the press conference convened by CAIR and other leading Muslim groups. “These are criminal acts, not religious acts.” American Muslim leaders have gone to great lengths to stress that their religion does not condone violence and that terrorist acts committed in the name of Islam contradict the faith. Muslim groups appealed to Americans not to rush to judgment and not to lash out at innocent people. “Every faith has within it heretical elements, and unfortunately some young people will listen to those elements,” said CAIR spokesman Corey Saylor. “What you’re looking at now is a force that is pushing back against that loudly and clearly.”

Men and Women: “It’s a cliché that men just don’t understand women. Now, new research suggests men really do struggle to read women’s emotions — at least from their eyes. The research, published Wednesday (April 10) in the journal PLOS ONE, showed that men had twice as much trouble deciphering women’s emotions from images of their eyes compared with those of men. Parts of the male brain tied to emotion also didn’t activate as strongly when the men looked at women’s eyes.  To see whether men really did have trouble reading women’s emotions, Boris Schiffer, a researcher at the LWL-University Hospital in Bochum, Germany and his colleagues put 22 men between the ages of 21 and 52, with an average age of 36, in a functional magnetic resonance imaging scanner, which uses blood flow as a measure of  to measure their brain activity. They then asked the men to look at images of 36 pairs of eyes, half from men and half from women, and guess the emotion the people felt. The men then chose which of two words, such as distrustful or terrified, best described the eyes’ emotion. The eye photographs depicted positive, neutral, and negative emotions. Men took longer and had more trouble correctly guessing emotion from women’s eyes….”

Mesmerizing photos, from the turn of the 20th Century, of American Indians.

Politics, Chris Good on the GOP: “With support for gay marriage at a record high among Americans, Republican party leaders from around the country doubled down to oppose it at the Republican National Committee’s spring meeting in Los Angeles Friday. Members of the committee voted unanimously to reaffirm the language in the GOP platform defining marriage “as the union of one man and one woman.” The resolution went further, asking the U.S. Supreme Court to “uphold the sanctity of marriage in its rulings on Proposition 8 and the Federal Defense of Marriage Act.” And Conor Friedersdorf on the drone deception: “The Obama Administration is deliberately misleading Americans about the drone war it is waging in Pakistan. Can anyone read the McClatchy Newspapers summary of top-secret intelligence reports and continue to deny it? Set aside the morality and effectiveness of the CIA’s targeted-killing program. Isn’t it important for Congress and the people to know the truth about the War on Terrorism? Many Americans remain furious that the Bush Administration gave Iraq War speeches that elided inconvenient truths and implied facts that turned out to be fictions. Is the objection merely that the Iraq War turned out badly? Or is misleading Congress and the public itself problematic, especially when the subject is as serious as killing people in foreign countries?”

All in one place: Stalin, Hitler, Trotsky, Tito and (why include him?) Freud.

Coding boot camps: “SAN FRANCISCO (AP) – Looking for a career change, Ken Shimizu decided he wanted to be a software developer, but he didn’t want to go back to college to study computer science. Instead, he quit his job and spent his savings to enroll at Dev Bootcamp, a new San Francisco school that teaches students how to write software in nine weeks. The $11,000 gamble paid off: A week after he finished the program last summer, he landed an engineering job that paid more than twice his previous salary.”

Did the Medievals take baths? “It is often thought that medieval men and women did not care too much about personal hygiene or keeping clean. One nineteenth-century historian writing about daily life in the Middle Ages commented that there were no baths for a thousand years. However, a closer look shows that baths and bathing were actually quite common in the Middle Ages, but in a different way than one might expect.”

Rise in community college students means colleges are working at transfers more.

Meanderings in Sports:

Adam Himmelsbach: “So as Ware lay there in the first half of the Cardinals’ NCAA tournament victory over Duke on Sunday, scared and alone and stunned, Hancock ran to him. He held Ware’s hand and told him they would get through this together. He told Ware he would say a prayer for him. Ware didn’t respond at first, because he was in shock. Hancock took a deep breath, closed his eyes, clenched Ware’s hand and started the prayer. “Lord, watch over us and let Kevin be OK during this tough time,” he began. “The Lord does everything for a reason, and He will get us through this.” Hancock said he did all he could to keep from breaking down, to keep tears from falling onto his fallen teammate. He found out later that Ware also was trying not to cry, trying to stay strong for him.”

 

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.

  • EricW

    The Philip Jenkins articles (the one you link to and the associated ones he links to) are fascinating re: the fuzziness/fluidity of the NT canon for much of the church’s history and much of the church. Thanks!


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