Len Hjalmarson discusses biblical literacy, questioning whether the level attained even by pastors and leaders is typically adequate to interpret the theological significance of the text. He questions this not to disparage the pastors and leaders in our churches or to bemoan some belief that the biblical text is just too difficult for any but the experts to properly handle, but simply to highlight a particular issue before the biblical interpreter. Understanding the issue at hand, one may be better able to address it — or to at least avoid the worst effects of its impact. I haven’t asked Len if this is precisely his approach, but perhaps he’ll step in and clarify if necessary. ;^) He writes,
A number of people have already pointed out the blog series on ‘The Good News’ being run by JR Woodward with daily contributions from almost 50 bloggers to carry us through the Easter season, until May 31st. And according to the schedule, I’m up tomorrow… which, really, is just scant hours away now. But I’m not worried.
I was fortunate to draw the duty of attending to these three crucifixions. It’s an assignment that every centurion wants to receive. There’s no real difficulty to it, no heavy marching — just standing by and joining the jeering and cheering of the crowd. Friends and neighbours often come by, allowing for a bit of a visit while on duty. You’re there as a guard, but what’s going to happen? Is one of them about to fight his way off his cross? Ha! There’s a certain stature that comes with being seen in this role. People fear you, associating you with the power to put these criminals and insurgents to death. The sight of the crosses from past crucifixions further along the road, with the bones still hanging off them after the birds had taken away the flesh always inform the sight of the men currently being nailed to their crosses with an immediate horror. Not for us centurions of course, but for the condemned men and for the onlookers. Not the kind of horror that makes them turn away, but the kind that makes them call out their support of the death sentence, that makes them go to extra lengths to make it known that they fall in step behind our Roman rule. Everything as it should be. There’s no better deterrent than the specter of a public crucifixion.
Here’s an image for the uncertain future of evangelicalism. But we always start with humour first.
- A man goes to see his doctor. “Doc,” he says, “my arm hurts real bad. Can you check it out please?” The doctor rolls up the man’s sleeve and suddenly hears the arm talk. “Hello, Doctor,” says the arm. “Could you lend me twenty bucks? I’m desperate!” “Aha!” says the doctor, sitting back in his chair. ”I see the problem. Your arm is broke!”
Now and again there comes an issue in this old E/MC blogosphere that begs for comment from those of us with egos ample enough to imagine that everyone else cares what we think about it. Sorry I’ve been a bit remiss on the point, but I’m finally getting around to comment on Michael (iMonk) Spencer’s prognosis for Evangelicalism. Of course I’m not alone in offering a response, but naturally I imagine you want to know what I think. First, I must offer some explanation for the sake of my readers who read no other blog but mine so that I can fill in the back story.
Webb Mealy contacted me a little while back to ask if I’d be interested in taking a look at a project he has underway — a new translation (SENT) of the entire New Testament. As the title indicates, the translation is undertaken to present the New Testament “in a spoken, not a written or literary style.”
I’m not always the best at responding to comments here on the blog, but I read everything. Sometimes I compose responses in my head, which only helps on those occasions when I get it out through the keyboard and into the comment space. Then something comes along like, oh, Christmas, and I get sidetracked without ever having properly replied. So a week or more ago, my critical review of the Dunn/Crowder CD prompted a more serious discussion. First, Barb asked me a direct question in her comment on the post, and I wanted to be sure I responded… and it’s a good question. She wrote,
I’ve been using The Voice translation a little bit lately, and am enjoying it. I received a review copy, and want to offer one — but I begin with an excursus on Bible translation generally and dynamic equivalence specifically, since this will frame helpfully what I want to say about The Voice.
Getting the kids a Wii for Christmas seemed innocuous enough. This observation, of course, is filled with foreboding. Some friends recently purchased a 47″ flat-panel television and graciously gave us their old 32″ conventional television. It’s a nice RCA which required only the purchase of a remote. Naturally, this goes well with the Wii that the kids don’t yet know about… but they’ve already been using the big TV with the $20 unit we got them a few years ago to play Ms. Pac-Man, Rally-X, Galaga, and a few other classic arcade games. The plan was to finish up the basement rec room so the kids could play on the Wii or watch movies down there, leaving the main floor free and quiet for us in the evenings now that the kids are too old to bundle off to bed at 7:00PM.
I sort of missed out on the blog tour for Ed Cyzewski’s Coffeehouse Theology: Reflecting on God in Everyday Life due to a shipping delay that saw the book land in my lap a little late and at a busy time. I considered doing an interview with Ed instead, but that’s harder when you haven’t read the book. Both are too bad, because the book is quite good, and I want to ask him how to pronounce his name. Nevertheless, it’s still appropriate for a mention or two to appear here on my interwebs haunt. In that vein, I thought I’d offer an excerpt that helps give a sense of the book’s direction. This occurs early on, pages 19-20:
This weekend, on November 30th, I will mark four years of blogging. And just today, I’ve discovered that I’ve been nominated for “Best Religion/Philosophy Blog” in Canada. Wow. And voting closes tomorrow, so what can I say? Vote now? I’m kinda late getting my “campaign” started, but I only just found out I was even in the race at all. Shows how oblivious I can be — but thanks, whoever nominated me. I even get a fancy badge of honour to display. Now, in the unlikely event that I actually make the cut into the final round of voting, I’ll need y’all to go and vote again next week, okay?
Last fall in considering a missional order, I did some writing on the topic of shalom. This is a significant theme in the Bible — its basic meaning is “well-being,” but it has a wide semantic range that can stress particular nuances, including totality or completeness, fulfillment, maturity, soundness, wholeness, community, harmony, tranquility, security, friendship, agreement, and prosperity. Theologically, it is one of the most significant terms in Scripture — in translating it as “peace,” we refer not merely to time between wars nor happy thoughts of contentment. In thinking of “peace” as we often consider it, we short-change this word of much of its meaning.