September 6, 2003

In Luke 5, the friends of the paralytic cannot get him to Jesus, and so they lower him through the roof. As many commentators have pointed out, this situation is a sign of the paralytic’s exclusion from community. By the end of the story, though, others join with him in “glorifying God” (vv. 25-26) for the healing. The excluded paralytic is united to a liturgical community, a eucharistic assembly. Read more

September 6, 2003

Sermon outline for September 7 (though I’m reconsidering my take on Jesus’ “parable” about the wineskins). Jesus and the Pharisees, Luke 5:1-6:11 INTRODUCTION Anointed and baptized, Jesus has begun His mission of proclaiming and enacting the year of release, the great Jubilee, only to meet murderous rage from the people of Nazareth. He calls others to share His mission (5:1-11), and with them begins to spread the message and practice of “release” (cf. Luke 5:20-24). The Pharisees object to Jesus’… Read more

September 5, 2003

For several years, I have been assigning W. H. Auden’s poem “The Shield of Achilles” to my literature students, and they all have to write a paper on it. The poem is very rich, and I continue to learn new things. One student this year, for example, pointed out that the reader is supposed to share Thetis’s grief at the end of the poem, when she realizes what Haephestos has made for her son, Achilles. This made me wonder if… Read more

September 5, 2003

Years ago, I enjoyed Michael Lewis’s Liar’s Poker , a superbly written account of Lewis’s years on Wall Street. His latest, Moneyball , is even better. Lewis tells the story of the Oakland A’s, and particularly of their GM Billy Beane, and how he revolutionized the way baseball players are evaluated and scouted. Beane’s own baseball history of unrealized promise is fascinating, but the other stories that Lewis tells are equally so. My favorite character in the book so far… Read more

September 4, 2003

A truly amazing article by Khaled Anatolios of the Weston Jesuit School of Theology (Cambridge, Mass) in the most recent issue of Pro Ecclesia . Anatolios is exploring the perennial question of the Spirit, and defends the traditional characterizations of the Spirit as “mutual love” and “gift” by using the concept of ” disponibilite ” developed by the French Catholic philosopher Gabriel Marcel. At the beginning, He points out the functional identity of the Spirit and Son in the post-Pentecost… Read more

September 4, 2003

Some time ago, John Robbins put my name in a list of theologians influenced by Daniel Fuller and John Piper. (I was in the good company of John Frame, Dick Gaffin, and others, so I was actually honored.) The funny thing was, that I had read almost nothing of either Fuller or Piper. So I could live up to Robbins’s charge, though, I decided to read Fuller’s work on gospel and law. Having now read a chunk of Fuller’s book,… Read more

September 4, 2003

It’s intriguing that some of our best historians these days are evangelicals. George Marsden’s biography of Jonathan Edwards is just one more in a string of widely-reviewed and well-reviewed works from Marsden. Mark Noll has made the big time. And Alan Guelzo’s biography of Abraham Lincoln was commended in The Atlantic a few months ago, with the reviewer expressing his dismay that Guelzo’s book was not considered for the George Bancroft award, suggesting that it was solely because the book… Read more

September 4, 2003

Eugene Genovese has a typically pungent and pugnacious review of Mark Noll’s America’s God in the current issue of The New Republic . He commends Noll’s scholarship, research, erudition, and calls him one of the best of contemporary American historians. He spends most of the review, however, taking Noll to task for his dismissive and occasionally distorted treatment of Southern theologians who defended the biblical permissibility of slavery. And he claims that Noll is far too easy on antiCalvinists and… Read more

September 3, 2003

I’ve long thought that open theology, the notion that God does not and cannot know future contingent events, is simply consistent Arminian theology. Richard Muller’s description of Arminius’s view of “middle knowledge” (in God, Creation, and Providence in the Thought of Jacob Arminius ) shows that, while Arminius himself did not deny God’s omniscience, he certainly left an unresolved question: Arminius does not develop his definition of scientia media at any great length, but his very definition of the concept… Read more

September 3, 2003

Drudge has a link to an article concerning an all-girl gang in San Francisco that is going about and beating up other women and girls with apparent randomness. Police are astonished at the violence and cruelty of the attacks, some of which have included attacks on small children. Can this be unrelated to the kick-butt image of women that increasingly dominates pop culture? People pick up their self-image from images and models around them, and a culture permeated with images… Read more

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