Feeling unknown and you’re all alone

Feeling unknown and you’re all alone September 24, 2021

• “This was not an active shooter event, but rather an isolated family incident during a baby shower.” Sometimes Pennsylvania Man gives Florida Man a run for his money:

A preliminary investigation showed the incident began as a family argument about gifts at the baby shower. It escalated into a physical fight and then gunfire when the “suspect introduced a nine-millimeter semiautomatic handgun” and fired three shots into the crowd of about 25 friends and family, the chief said.

Ain’t that America.

• When I first saw this on Twitter, I assumed it was a Photoshop hoax, but apparently it’s not: “Base booster or blasphemy? Bible-quoting pro-Trump billboard raises eyebrows in Georgia.”

A large billboard bearing former President Donald Trump’s image next to a Bible quote appeared on a northwest Georgia road late last week. The ad, comparing Trump to Jesus, disappeared a few days later, leaving behind a flurry of confusion and outrage.

“Unto us a son is given, and the government shall be upon his shoulders,” the sign read, ending with “Joint Heirs, Romans 8:17.”

After a photograph of the sign found its way to social media, critics quickly pointed out that the verse is from the book of Isaiah 9:6, not Romans. Its words are often interpreted to be a prophecy of the return of Jesus Christ.

The billboard is confusing, so it’s not surprising that this RNS report should be a bit confused by it. But let’s break this down.

The large print is, indeed, from Isaiah 9:6, a passage Christians cite as a messianic prophecy foretelling the birth (not the return) of Jesus. That’s why this verse is included, for example, in Handel’s “Messiah,” and how it’s understood there. That also seems to be what the billboard’s designer intends this verse to mean, so I think it’s accurate to say they are intending to “compare Trump to Jesus” or even to equate Trump with Jesus.

We should note that this retroactive Christian understanding of Isaiah 9 is a pretty radical reinterpretation of the original text, which was not intended as a messianic prophecy by its 8th-century BCE author and would not have been understood as such by any of its original readers. Pete Enns has a good discussion of this in his “Pete Ruins Christmas” series.

Radically reinterpreting and redefining the Hebrew scriptures is how we Christians do. But if we’re gonna do that with Isaiah 9, christening it as a messianic prophecy then we have to allow for what Isaiah 9 actually says this “messiah” will do — liberate us from the beastly rule of empire and establish the reign of “justice.” An Isaiah 9 messiah is an SJW.

I assume the smaller print reading “Joint Heirs” is a kind of signature — the name of the Christian ministry that sponsored this sign. That’s a reference from Romans 8:17, which describes Christians as “children of God, and if children, then heirs, heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ.” I suspect these folks have that same signature — “Joint Heirs, Romans 8:17” — painted on the side of their church van, or at least on a bumper sticker. I couldn’t find anything on the internet about a ministry with that name in Georgia, but I’d guess these folks are not internet-savvy social media whizzes, which is why they’re putting up billboards instead of posting memes.

My guess is that “Joint Heirs Global Ministry International” once had a geocities site back in the day but gave up on it to focus on their AM radio program where you can probably hear them, late at night, railing against Hezekiah for stealing the election from our rightful president, Sennacherib.

Mark Silk does some Jonah blogging, and I will always link to Jonah blogging. Silk rightly describes Jonah as a “wrathful, self-exculpatory narcissist” and someone with “a severe anger management problem and an incapacity to admit error so great that he blames his misbehavior on God’s mercy.”

I disagree, though, with Silk’s argument that the book of “Jonah is about how good things come about through bad people.” I’d say, rather, that it is about how good things come about despite bad people.

Either way, it still amazes me that people think “Jonah” is an appropriate name to give their kids. “We named him ‘Jonah’ — you know, after that raging asshole in the Bible.”

• Want a cookie recipe from St. Hildegard of Bingen (d. 1179)?

• It seems like every third movie trailer recently is set to a slowed-down, minor-key cover version of some older pop song. That trend may have played itself out already, turning into a movie-trailer cliché that nearly rivals “In a world …,” but it became a trend because — before repetition made it stale — it could be effectively chilling, familiar but unsettling.

Anyway, I want to see the movie that uses Lisa Hannigan’s rendition of “Personal Jesus” in its trailer. I’m not sure what kind of movie that would be, or what it’s about, but I still want to see it.



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