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Weekly Meanderings, 8 November 2014

Weekly Meanderings, 8 November 2014 November 8, 2014

NorthernLogoTestI’ve enjoyed five weeks in a row of teaching at Northern and also, in the middle of each week, on the road about Kingdom Conspiracy so I’m just plain grateful I, with Kris’ help of course, we got these meanderings up each week. So here goes…

And, by the way, next Saturday we have a special Kingdom Conspiracy event at Northern Seminary sponsored by Missio Alliance. I’m so grateful to JR Rozko for his behind-the-call-of-duty while-doing-his-doctorate and being-a-dad-and-husband to organize this event at Northern.

Nice essay by our Northern student, Derwin Gray, on “stuff first century Christians fought about”:

Was it over Calvinism, Arminianism, or Molinism?

Was it over speaking in tongues, prophecy, or healing?

Maybe it was over worship music styles? Those Jews just couldn’t stand those Greek worship leaders wearing tight, skinny-leg jeans.

The first major church dispute actually was over how fast multiethnic churches were growing outside of Jerusalem. These ethnically diverse congregations were blowing up the mental and cultural circuits of the Jewish believers in the holy city.

Archbishop Cranmer” on feminism and feminist theology, and enough here for all to agree and disagree:

The cause of feminism is deeper than all this pressure-group piffle. If there is no longer any male-female distinction in God’s plan of salvation (and there isn’t [Gal 3:28]), there is spiritual parity and eternal equality. Christians don’t need to wear a T-shirt to proclaim the righteousness of feminism: Christ has clothed the female Gentile slave in the redemptive robes of the freeborn male Jew. We are all one in Jesus.

Out of this revolutionary declaration springs a feminist theology, or, if you prefer, a feminist theo-sociology or feminist socio-theology. And, to be honest, the Church hasn’t been very good at expressing it or living it. While Christianity has traditionally taught the eschatological equality of souls for Christ and in the world to come, it has manifestly perpetuated an inequality of the sexes in the Church and the present world. Throughout most of its history, the Church has been a dogmatically patriarchal institution based on an anthropology in which man is the “head” and woman subordinate. Augustine of Hippo asserted: “Woman does not possess the image of God herself, but only when taken together with the male who is her head.” That sort of attitude doesn’t go down very well today.

The Church has for centuries legitimised laws and structures in society which secured male dominion. Feminist theology has sought to challenge this and has, in a sense, existed as long as there have been women who have reflected upon their faith in a way that differed from the patriarchal tradition of interpretation. Barth observes: “Different ages, peoples and cultures have had very different ideas of what is concretely appropriate, salutary and necessary in man and woman.” So, before you dismiss the whole notion of a ‘feminist theology’, it is important to consider a bit of history and agree terminological definitions.

LZ Granderson on Mia Love:

(CNN) — I hope President Obama called to congratulate Mia Love.

The way he called college student Sandra Fluke after Rush Limbaugh called her a “prostitute.” The way he called the NBA’s first openly gay player, Jason Collins. The way he called the San Francisco Giants after they won the World Series.

I hope he called Mia Love because her story is every bit as unlikely, courageous and yes, inspirational, as his own. Love — the first black Republican woman elected to Congress — will not be his political ally and that’s OK. I spoke with membership services and blacks are no longer revoked for voting Republican….

For if the sexist/racist/anti-immigration narrative that has long dogged the GOP can, at the very least, be challenged by her presence at a campaign, what will Democrats use to fire up low-information liberals? 

Creepy, but cool — how big is that spider web?

How many spiders does it take to creep you out? 10? 100? How many spiders make an “extreme spider situation”? The Baltimore Wastewater Treatment Plant put out a call for “extreme spider” help in 2009, when a giant spiderweb covered almost 4 acres of their facility. Scientists eventually estimated over 107 million spiders were living in the structure, withdensities of 35,176 spiders per m³ in spots.

Nina and Bentley.

Splendid piece by Randy Balmer about turning 60:

Six decades into my tenancy on this planet, I find there are things I still don’t understand. Mild salsa, for example. Why would anyone eat mild salsa? Isn’t that another term for ketchup? Or light beer. Especially in a region frothing with craft breweries, why would anyone order a PBR or that dreadful liquid something-or-other from St. Louis?

NASCAR is something else I don’t understand. Seems like one long left turn to me. And how about the NASCAR analysts on television? “If Bo Dieter and Team Waffle House are going to win at Talladega next week, they’re going to have to be faster than the other cars.” Well, yes, I suppose that’s true. I do like the proposal, however, that members of Congress should wear NASCAR-style suits on the opening day of each session emblazoned with the logos of the corporate sponsors — Aetna, Exxon/Mobil, Bank of America, Koch Industries — that put them in office.

I confess that I don’t understand the allure of Florida or the durability of the Reagan mystique. I find Twitter and tattoos utterly confounding, but I’m sure I’m simply showing my age.

Other things remain puzzles to me. Why is the number of departing flights posted in airports always more than double that of arriving flights? I’d like to figure that out one of these days. Why do baseball players spit, thereby defiling what is otherwise an ethereal game? I used to wonder why, in that clever semantic turn of phrase, people park on a driveway and drive on a parkway.

I’m aware that people tend to view those of us on the far side of 60 as irascible, and I suspect that I may have crossed the threshold of crankiness a couple of paragraphs back, somewhere between light beer and Florida. I must be more careful about that.

Sixty is the age when most people start thinking seriously about retirement. I confess it crosses my mind now and again, especially during faculty meetings or when I stare at a fresh pile of student papers or when grade grovelers stop by to argue about the B- they so richly deserve.

Still, I’m not sure what I would do with myself. How would I pass my days? My father retired an apparently healthy man at 67; he died months later. My father-in-law, by contrast, retired nearly 20 years ago and is still going strong. “Teach us to number our days,” the Psalmist writes. He doesn’t offer a whole lot of direction about what we should do with them.

If I had grandchildren, perhaps I’d take another look at this retirement thing. For now, though, I’d better get back to tomorrow’s lecture.

Keith Gessen’s full study of Amazon and the publishers.

A longer story about Vicky Beeching.

Finding love has been surprisingly easier than finding a church that feels like a place she can belong. “The churches that feel like home, with music and drums and singing, their theology is not my theology. It actually tends to be the most traditional, high church, places which have a more liberal outlook. I have yet to find a guitar and drums church which aligns with my theology.

“There are places that will say, you can worship here if you are gay and be welcome but you can’t preach, you can’t get up and sing, you can’t lead. That feels patronising, I need to be fully accepted or not at all.”

Allan Bevere on learning to preach to the audience in front of you, not the audience not listening to you!

My suggestion is that we mainliners let non-mainline preachers critique their fellow non-mainliners, and let’s look to the log in our own mainline “eyes.” There are plenty of strange and weird things happening in our own UMC to keep us Methodist preachers in sermons for the rest of our careers.

Moreover, I would request that those pastors outside our tradition, allow us to deal with our own house as you deal with yours. Fundy churches have issues too, and we will trust you to deal with them; trust us to handle our situation as well.

Good story about Peter Boling:

Boling’s experiences, though, convinced him that there is still a role for medicine in the home, particularly for the frailest of the elderly. These patients need more attention than a 15-minute clinic appointment affords them. For many, just getting to a clinic is a struggle. So a slight complaint is allowed to fester into a crisis, an ambulance and an expensive emergency room visit.

“The idea is to deliver health care where it’s best for the patient,” Boling says. “If the clinic is the right place for them, then come to the clinic. If it’s hard for them to come to the clinic, short-term or long-term, we’ll go to them.”

Diamond engagement rings a thing of the past?

More brides to be are choosing non-traditional engagement rings over the standard white diamond solitaire that has adorned women’s left hands for so long.

ewelers across the country are reporting an increase in couples looking for alternatives like colored diamonds, gemstones and bands to symbolize their commitment.

New York-based jewelry designer Anna Sheffield said the shift has been a main driver to her business’s success. “People want something that is unique and specific to them,” she said.

Unlike most trends that are fueled by young shoppers, Amanda Gizzi from Jewelers of America, said older women are leading the charge. “They know more of who they are and want something that doesn’t fit the norm and what all their girlfriends have.” Rings without an elevated diamond are also more comfortable and fit in better with an active lifestyle, she added.


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