Weekly Meanderings, 21 November 2015

Screen Shot 2015-11-18 at 6.03.29 PMI’m at AAR-SBL this weekend, and will be giving a presentation on Bonhoeffer’s kind of pacifism.

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Andover Newton seeking a new location to offer at least some of it’s offerings.

Wesley Hill’s ETS paper summary, called “Washed and Still Waiting”:

A few years after the book came out, the journalist Jeff Chu—who, I’m happy to say, has since then become a friend of mine—wrote a book called Does Jesus Really Love Me?: A Gay Christian’s Pilgrimage in Search of God in America. Towards the middle of his survey of American Christian gay life, Jeff reflects on my Washed and Waiting:

When I finished Hill’s slim volume, I realized… that I would rather have read Washed and Still Waiting, the book that he might be ready to write three decades from now. It’s one thing for someone in his twenties to declare publicly his choice of celibacy—admittedly, a difficult, unorthodox, and bold thing. It’s entirely another to stand by that decision thirty years on. What are the effects of this kind of long-term chastity? What would life look like for the homosexual who, in his relative youth, chose this?

Taking my cues from Jeff’s questions, I decided I would use my ETS plenary lecture to reflect on how it might be possible for people like me to persevere in chastity over the long haul. Although I still can’t offer three decades’ hindsight, I do have some ideas about where to find hope.

In the lecture I explored three areas of pastoral theology that seem to me especially relevant for celibate Christian believers who are gay or lesbian. First—and I decided to take the tried-and-trusted Baptist preacher route of have three points with alliteration!—I discussed our need to rediscover the dignity of the celibate vocation in specifically evangelical Protestant settings. Second, I discussed our need for discipline in stewarding our sexuality. And third, I talked about how we need a theology of celibacy’s direction or destination….

Finally, it may be worth mentioning that when I showed a draft of my paper to a sharp friend of mine, he emailed me about the double meaning of the title: Yes, gay Christians are eagerly waiting for the resurrection of the dead and the new creation, in which all pain and struggle will be gone forever, but we’re alsowaiting, here and now, to see whether our brothers and sisters in Christ will stand alongside us and help us in the calling of long-term chastity in our singleness. We’re waiting both in an ultimate, theological sense and also in a present-day, pragmatic sense. It’s probably easier for those of you who are straight to beat that particular drum in the church—to call on yourselves, so to speak, to be hospitable to those of us who are gay—but I thought it was a great way of picking up on a nice ambiguity in my title.

Roger Scruton on pop music’s negative impact:

I don’t think we should underestimate the tyranny exerted over the human brain by pop. The constant repetition of musical platitudes, at every moment of the day and night, leads to addiction. It also has a dampening effect on conversation. I suspect that the increasing inarticulateness of the young, their inability to complete their sentences, to find telling phrases or images, or to say anything at all without calling upon the word “like” to help them out, has something to do with the fact that their ears are constantly stuffed with cotton wool. Round and round in their heads go the chord progressions, the empty lyrics and the impoverished fragments of tune, and boom goes the brain box at the start of every bar. [HT: CHG]

Speaking of which, Carly Simon finally tells us — it was Warren Beatty:

 (AP) — Carly Simon says the second verse of her infamous song “You’re So Vain” is about Warren Beatty.

The 70-year-old singer tells People magazine that she’s “confirmed that the second verse is Warren.” She adds that Beatty “thinks the whole thing is about him!”

Simon will release the memoir, “Boys in the Trees,” on Nov. 24. The subjects behind “You’re So Vain,” released in 1972, have been a matter of speculation for years.

The singer said the No. 1 hit is about three men, including Beatty, though she isn’t naming the others.

Simon was married to James Taylor, and People says she has been linked to Mick Jagger, Kris Kristofferson, Jack Nicholson and Cat Stevens.

Why was the French terrorism attack so covered? Brian J. Phillips — because news is about money and surprises:

[News companies, in other words, aren’t making moral judgments about what is most important.]

The Paris attack shocked the world for many reasons. It’s true that terrorism in less-developed countries is worth our attention as well. Crises, such as the Syrian civil war, deserve much more media coverage and policy focus.

But the Paris attack continues to draw interest because of the relative rarity of terrorism in France, the fact that the country receives visitors from around the globe, the shocking nature of the attack, and the potential implications for the Islamic State’s future plans.

Enya’s back!

 (AP) — The Irish singer Eithne Ni Bhraonain — known to the world as Enya — has essentially created her own style of music and sold some 80 million CDs in three decades. Yet when she leaves a hotel after talking about her first new work in seven years, chances are she will walk Manhattan streets unnoticed.

It’s an enviable place to be in a celebrity-soaked world.

“As a musician, I love the fact that the success was on the music,” she said. “I always say that fame and success are two very different things. … I had a choice — and not a lot of people have this choice — of whether to seek fame with this music or whether to stay back behind the music and let the music speak for itself. And, really, that’s what I did.”

Enya’s music re-enters the spotlight on Friday, with the release of “Dark Sky Island.” It debuts the same day another one-named powerhouse comes out with her new album — Adele with her “25.”

The music industry will be watching to see in this era of streaming and sharing if Enya can replicate past success. Nielsen Music says she’s sold 23.8 million albums in the United States alone.

However, there is reason for added excitement: Enya fans are being teased with the possibility that the 54-year-old singer, who rarely sings in public, may actually be ready to take the stage.

“Performing is something I enjoy,” she said. “The way we put an album together is very much a performance feel. We’re trying to capture that live performance and that’s why I would know it would work on stage, and I would love to perform it.”

So why hasn’t she done so in the past?

“Time,” she said.

About Scot McKnight

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