7 things @ 9 o’clock (12.6)

7 things @ 9 o’clock (12.6) December 6, 2013

1. Did someone say “trajectory?” Excellent. This time it was Rob Bell (via AZspot):

I don’t read the Bible like a flat line. I don’t see all of the passages in the Bible sitting equally side by side so that you can pick one and then counter it with another and go back and forth endlessly, always leading you to the randomness of God. I read it as an unfolding story, with an arc, a trajectory, a movement and momentum like all great stories have.

Yes. I’ll keep harping on this until we’re all finally paying attention to what Jesus is pointing at, rather than arguing about the shape of his finger.

When you’re arguing about the finger, you’re missing Jesus’ point.

Related: “10 Things Traditional Christians Got Terribly Wrong.” (And all for the same reason.)

2. “We need an across-the-board increase in Social Security retirement benefits of 20 percent or more. We need it to happen right now.” The Pacific Standard examines “How a Frustrated Blogger Made Expanding Social Security a Respectable Idea.”

3. No “Cannonballs” in the baptistry.

4. Mallory Ortberg: “The Invisible Signs of Aging.” And also, “The Early Signs of Pregnancy.”

5. Cuts to food stamps are the equivalent of erasing every penny private charities provide for the hungry:

“Virtually every church, synagogue and mosque in the country is now gathering up food and distributing, and all of that work that food banks do comes to 5 percent of the food that needy people get,” said the Bread for the World president, Reverend David Beckmann. “95 percent comes from school breakfasts, lunches, food stamps and WIC, so Congress can say ‘We can cut this program 5 percent per cent – no big deal.’ But if you cut the national nutrition programs 5 percent, you cancel out everything that the charitable system is doing.”

6. N.T. Wright doesn’t use the word “trajectory.” He uses, instead, the word “eschatology,” by which he means the same thing:

The word eschatology, which literally means “the study of the last things,” doesn’t just refer to death, judgment, heaven, and hell, as used to be thought (and as many dictionaries still define the word). It also refers to the strongly held belief of most first-century Jews, and virtually all early Christians, that history was going somewhere under the guidance of God and that where it was going was toward God’s new world of justice, healing, and hope. The transition from the present world to the new one would be a matter not of the destruction of the present space-time universe but of its radical healing. As we saw in the last chapter, the New Testament writers, particularly Paul, looked forward to this time and saw Jesus’s resurrection as the beginning, the firstfruits of it. So when I (and many others) use the word eschatology, we don’t simply mean the second coming, still less a particular theory about it; we mean, rather, the entire sense of God’s future for the world and the belief that that future has already begun to come forward to meet us in the present. This is what we find in Jesus himself and in the teaching of the early church.

7. Juan Cole tells us that “Tamikrest is a Tuareg rock band from Mali who sing for peace and reconciliation in that troubled country.” I don’t know if this particular song is about peace and reconciliation, or if it’s a love song, or what, but it’s pretty terrific. Handclaps, a killer riff, and even a little ululation — what’s not to love? This is “Imanin bis Zihoun“:

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