Weekly Meanderings, 22 February 2014

A tragic, but well-told story, by my friend Karen.

Jed Zillmer was a kid.

Jed Zillmer fought for his country.

Jed Zillmer returned to a nation ill-equipped to deal with the injuries he suffered as a result of his service. And I’m not talking about his foot.

Twenty-two veterans a day commit suicide in the land of the free and the brave.

Imagine a gunman walking into an elementary school and killing dead an entire First Grade classroom every single day.

That’s what 22 veterans a day looks like. It looks like the slaughter of young boys and young girls.

As young Zillmer tragically learned, the real battlefield isn’t in Afghanistan, or even Iraq.

The highest incident of soldier bloodshed is right here on U.S. soil.

The Church of England’s traditionalist statement on same-sex marriage.

As members of the Body of Christ we are aware that there will be a range of responses across the Church of England to the introduction of same sex marriage.  As bishops we have reflected and prayed together about these developments.  As our statement of 27th January indicated, we are not all in agreement about every aspect of the Church’s response.  However we are all in agreement that the Christian understanding and doctrine of marriage as a lifelong union between one man and one woman remains unchanged.

The Church of England’s teaching on marriage

1. The Church of England’s long standing teaching and rule are set out in Canon B30: ‘The Church of England affirms, according to our Lord’s teaching, that marriage is in its nature a union permanent and lifelong, for better for worse, till death them do part, of one man with one woman, to the exclusion of all others on either side, for the procreation and nurture of children, for the hallowing and right direction of the natural instincts and affections, and for the mutual society, help and comfort which the one ought to have of the other, both in prosperity and adversity.”…

4. The Lambeth Conference of 1998 said ‘in view of the teaching of Scripture, upholds faithfulness in marriage between a man and a woman in lifelong union, and believes that abstinence is right for those who are not called to marriage’ (resolution1.10) This remains the declared position of the Anglican Communion….

12.           When the Act comes into force in March it will continue not to be legally possible for two persons of the same sex to marry according to the rites of the Church of England. In addition the Act makes clear that any rights and duties which currently exist in relation to being married in Church of England churches do not extend to same sex couples….

27.           The House is not, therefore, willing for those who are in a same sex marriage to be ordained to any of the three orders of ministry. In addition it considers that it would not be appropriate conduct for someone in holy orders to enter into a same sex marriage, given the need for clergy to model the Church’s teaching in their lives.

Ten odd facts about Martin Luther (Luder), including that he was a craft beer brewer.

Don’t just sit there.

From our high school, Matt Heldman:

From 1995-1998 Illinois had a player named Matt Heldman. Heldman lettered all 4 years and was one of those players who played hard every minute. He was always tipping passes or diving out-of-bounds. He made big shots and defended every play.

He was the guy that wasn’t the most talented but he would out-work anyone. A year after Matt left the University of Illinois he was involved in car accident and with his father was killed. This devastated Illinois fans everywhere because this was a kid that you just wanted to root for.

When Bruce Weber took over at Illinois he came up with the ‘Matto’ play hard chart that is kept by the team manager during each game. Here is the point breakdown for the chart:

  • Passes deflected +1
  • Blocked Shots +1
  • Steals +1
  • Dives +1 (offense or defense)
  • Loose Balls +1 (someone else might deflect a pass, and if you come up with the ball this is a loose ball)
  • Charges Taken + 2
  • 5 Second Count +2 (This is only for the man guarding the ball. Not the players denying the passes)

Vienna wins.

Future of toilets.

Theological split among the atheist churches:

The Sunday Assembly denies any backsliding or apostasy, and argues that, by not focusing on ‘the atheist community’, it is merely trying to be as inclusive as possible. Moore calls this ‘milquetoast atheism’, but it’s not: the two denominations have different definitions of atheism. For the Sunday Assembly, an atheist church is one that has no belief in God; the schismatics think it should be one with a belief in no God. This confessional difference is not insignificant — it’s as immense as the difference between the phrases ‘He was unmarried’ and ‘He was a confirmed bachelor’ in a Telegraph obituary — but it goes unspoken: the new new atheists are no fonder of nice philosophical distinctions, especially not that one, than the new atheists. So now the Sunday Assembly has the institutions and structure of a religion, and the Godless Revival the proselytising faith.

SAT scores and college success — correlation?

“My hope is that this study will be a first step in examining what happens when you admit tens of thousands of students without looking at their SAT scores,” Hiss says. “And the answer is, if they have good high school grades, they’re almost certainly going to be fine.”

Hiss’ study, “Defining Promise: Optional Standardized Testing Policies in American College and University Admissions,” examined data from nearly three-dozen “test-optional” U.S. schools, ranging from small liberal arts schools to large public universities, over several years.

Hiss found that there was virtually no difference in grades and graduation rates between test “submitters” and “nonsubmitters.” Just 0.05 percent of a GPA point separated the students who submitted their scores to admissions offices and those who did not. And college graduation rates for “nonsubmitters” were just 0.6 percent lower than those students who submitted their test scores.

Why Putin fears what is happening in Kiev:

If it can happen in Kiev, in other words, it can happen in Moscow.

When the pro-democracy protests broke out in Moscow in the winter of 2011-2012, I sometimes wondered why the police would so violently clear winter sit-ins in subzero temperatures when it seemed obvious that, give them a few hours, and the prosters would get sick of standing knee-deep in the snow and go home. Or why, for example, the police bothered to arrest two former members of Pussy Riot today. Why sweat the small things?

But Putin and the system he built do sweat the small things because Putin sees dissent as a slippery slope. He knows the cold has never stopped a single Russian revolutionary. One day people are camping out in a snowy fountain in Moscow, the next they’ve set up camp and put up barricades in the center of town, bringing traffic to a halt, sowing chaos, and toppling the government. It is the authoritarian take on the broken windows theory, turned upside-down.

Ten insane achievements of the ancient world science (cannot/has not yet) explained.

Sodom and archaeology:

Sodom, the infamous Old Testament city destroyed in a hail of fire and brimstone, has been found.

At least, that’s what archaeologist Steven Collins believes about Tall el-Hammam, a site he has been excavating in Jordan for eight years. His most recent dig began January 31 and ends February 28.

If he’s right, then the Old Testament chronologies taught in Bible courses will have to be revised. But is he?

Want to write like Hemingway? Toss some prose into this app.

Leslie Leyland Fields on the mad crunch of writing — and the need.to.just.slow.down.now.thanks.

I confess: I have been Allie a time or three, but I’m mostly the other. Which is a problem. This week, for instance, I have four articles due in the next two days (Yes, this is one of them.) Not to mention a sermon to write, and three other presentations. It was the same last week. I’m not alone in this kettle of fish. A Facebook friend messaged me saying she couldn’t talk—she had three articles due that day. Others tell me the same.

So here we all are hunched over in emergency mode every day, madly chopping and grinding, tossing posts and articles and reviews out into the void. We’re generating twice as much content as we used to, in half the time.

What’s happening? We all have Facebook pages we’re trying to fill. Many have daily blogs they’re trying to fill. Surrendering that impossible task, now they’re filling them with other writers’ work. So now we’re all writing for our own blogs, plus our friends’ blogs, plus all those other publications we want to be in. And the book we’re writing? Oh yes, we’ll get to that, as soon as we finish this last little post. Behind all this is fear . . . a lot of fear. That we’ll disappear if we’re not on stage all the time. That we’ll be forgotten. That we’ll be invisible. That our platform won’t be big enough. That we won’t land another book contract.

Enough. I’m about to revolt.

Here’s what I’m preaching to you and me today. And I’m sorry I’m not saying it beautifully or lyrically with a grand metaphor that lights it all on fire. That’s what happens when you write too fast. Here’s the message: Slow down.  M a r i n a t e.    Wait.     Sometimes even—-stop. Sometimes even—-say No.

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.


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