June 12, 2024

While the Southern Baptist Convention is always a convention, it also holds conventions for pastors and an annual meeting at which business is conducted. For those who don’t know the history of Baptists, it may not be apparent just how much the SBC is prone to veer from the historic characteristics of Baptists. On one subject, however, they proved more Baptist than many of us expected when push came to shove at this year’s business meeting. They took a vote... Read more

June 11, 2024

Today is the day that Christmaker: A Life of John the Baptist is officially released meaning that it will do things like appearing on the shelf in local bookstores. Some readers of my blog placed advance orders and got their books before today. If that’s you, please don’t ignore this post! This post includes some things that all of my blog readers can do to make this special day a huge success. If you haven’t bought the book yet, please... Read more

June 9, 2024

“Rogue” is quite an episode of Doctor Who. We’ve gone from absolute silliness at the beginning of the season through the mysterious, spooky and frightening to now be offered a tale of romance set in the 19th century. As Ruby describes it, “This is so Bridgerton.” In the midst of this glimpse of the bygone Regency Era as it has become a familiar part of storytelling through period dramas, “Rogue” also offers viewers a romantic storyline, highlights but doesn’t address... Read more

June 4, 2024

There’s always a Twist at the end and this episode of Doctor Who, “Dot and Bubble,” is no exception. (And, as many fans and now the characters on the show have been noticing, there is also Susan Twist in each episode). But in the narrative sense, this is an episode that explores a fascinating premise that addresses one societal trend in our time and potential future, and then suddenly at the end turns its attention to another societal issue. Spoilers... Read more

May 28, 2024

I decided to try my hand at creating a custom GPT. Since I have been working on an article relevant to this topic, I decided to see what kind of sermon-generating GPT I could make. Given my penchant for puns I of course called it ChatGPreachT. (I have made it publicly available so you can try it out.) I asked it to draw on biblical scholarship while emulating the style of the best sermons from ancient times down to the... Read more

May 26, 2024

The Doctor Who episode “73 Yards” takes things further in the direction that Russell T. Davies has indicated he planned to. Spoilers is a theme of the episode and this post has them galore, so if you haven’t watched the episode turn back now. This is one to be experienced and not merely read about. It all starts with the Doctor stepping onto and breaking a fairy circle. There doesn’t seem to be a real world equivalent of the custom... Read more

May 23, 2024

I continue interacting with ChatGPT in an effort to understand it as well as I can and react appropriately to its capacities in how I teach and in particular the assignments that I incorporate into my classes. I thought that a good test question given my interests as well as my ability to evaluate the AI’s output might be “What are some of the most innovative scholarly proposals about John the Baptist?” Here’s how ScholarGPT Scholar responded: Here are some... Read more

May 22, 2024

There are a lot of misconceptions about John the Baptist. You only need to look for images of him on Google to see it. My new book Christmaker: A Life of John the Baptist shatters many of these while in the process managing to flesh out the story of John’s life and tell it as never before. Sure, there have been fictional lives of John and academic books about John, but never a genuine biography of John the Baptist of the... Read more

May 19, 2024

“Boom,” the latest episode of Doctor Who, stands in a long tradition that stretches back to the era of the classic series of Doctor Who. Episodes like “The Sun Makers” and “Paradise Towers” are just a couple of examples. I have mixed feelings about this latest episode of Doctor Who. I like very much when Doctor Who offers social commentary in its satirical way. In many respects I like what this one does. I think my qualms are about the... Read more

May 13, 2024

The second of the new Doctor Who episodes is called “The Devil’s Chord.” The title and the opening sequence make reference to the notion that the church banned tritones because they were demonic. Although Doctor Who started out aiming to teach young people about history, it has regularly repeated pseudohistorical notions, and this most recent episode is an example of that. The fact that someone called the dissonance created by two notes a half step apart or by a diminished... Read more

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