Wednesday, September 30, 2009
Joshua kicked ass and took names
Friend: "Never been an OT fan. But you got me curious. Is Joshua really 'breathless'?"
ER: "Joshua 1-11 is breathless ... if: You put away any squeamishness about an angry God commiting genocide against the people of Jericho and Ai, and others, and realize that, in the story, the point of the carnage is not vengence but purity, as in, the people of Israel, being a holy (set apart by God) people, could not allow themselves to be defiled by unholy (not set apart) peoples; You put away any notion that this story is 'history,' because it's not, it's a story; You, seeing it as a story, sort of keep in mind the usual elements of a story such as tension, irony, climax, heroes, villains, foilers, tricksters and so on; You ignore the overlaps, repeats and disconnects and bring your own continuity control to it; You keep in mind the big picture: Moses has got 'em all the way to the Jordan, and they're fixin' to cross over to the Promised Land; and most of all, after thinking about all of the above for a bit, you plunge in and hold on for the ride. I'm tellin' ya: Bruckheimer.
"Oh, and it helps to have a good translation; I recommend the NRSV, HarperCollins Study Bible, Student Edition. :-)"
Friend: "And how do you KNOW it's just "a story"? Why can't it be real history??"
ER: "How do you know gravity is why when a book falls from your hand it hits the floor? :-) I study the study of experts, including Jewish and Christian experts. There is history in it, but mostly in the fact that it has been told, not in the doing in the story being told.
"And, I didn't say 'just' a story. I would never denigrate it that way. WE -- well, not 'we' but most people -- are the ones who regard these kinds of stories as 'just' stories. They are important, dare I say, critical stories to understanding history. But that don't make them 'history,' as people now, in the West, understand 'history.'
"Besides that, if God is a God that commits freaking genocide, as depicted in this story, then I don't want anything to do with God, and I don't know why anyone else would either."
Monday, September 28, 2009
Lewis Black on the Old Testament
"Put Your Hand in the Hand of the Man"
Sunday, September 27, 2009
Peter and Paul at Antioch
"Peter and Paul: Face-off in Antioch. ... When Peter visited the church in Antioch, Paul accused him of hypocrisy to his face at a congregational meeting. What was this confrontation about? What was at stake? Did Paul win or lose this argument?"
Somebody asked, how was it? Off the top of my head, I wrote:
I need to go back and read Galatians again. I didn't realize the disagreement between them was so deep, and that Barnabas even left Paul to take Peter's side. You know, as much as we venerate these peeps, they were still just peeps.
Peter is depicted in Acts as getting more inclusive in his thinking. But I take Acts more and more for what it is: historical fiction for a purpose (not that there's anything wrong with that, ha). But at least when Paul and Peter were duking it out, Peter was holding his Jesus card real close to his Jewish chest.
Paul gets slammed a lot, unfairly, I think, because his inclusiveness doesn't seem to go far enough to suit some people in 2009, which is "presentitis," of course, and relies too much on pseudo-Paul.
I have a renewed appreciation for Paul at the moment. If Peter had had his way, the Jesus movement probably would have been stillborn.
Oh, and it looks like Peter and Paul went their separate ways, Peter an apostle to the Jews, Paul an apostle to gentiles. No reconciliation.
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Mary Magdalene: hero; Thomas: butt of the joke
Now. He asked me if I learned anything at the Jesus Seminar on the Road, which is where we were. My brain full at the time, I couldn't come up with anything off the top of my head.
Later, at home, it sunk in what the perfesser lady said about John 20 and how, owing to early church fathers' fear of Gnosticism, it has been spun for centuries to downplay Mary's encounter and promote Thomas's.
The perfesser man even pointed out that the institutional church to this day, in the form of the Lectionary, disses Mary by ignoring her encounter -- and more important, her apostolic annunciation: "I have seen the Lord" -- apostolic in that that declaration is reserved for those considered apostles.
So, that's something I learned: a hint of the depth to which the church's robbery of Mary Magdalene's rightful place at the heart of the Jesus stories rather than the periphery.
Nothing as sexy as the myth that Mary and Jesus had a thang goin'. But more important.
The exact nature of Jesus and Mary's relationship then pales in comparison to the historic, deliberate misinterpretation of her clear role in the Gospels to continue to marginalize women in the church now.
Let the women be HEARD in the churches!
Friday, September 25, 2009
Neil says: If you're in OKC this weekend ...
You'll be a better Christian for it.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Neil shows me some luv!
As GKS said, Neil did do me a service. I do stand by everything I said over there, and I do assert that Neil is so full of himself I fail to see how there is much room for Christ, which is why I don't there's much, but just enough.
You know, by-the-skin-of-the-teeth type stuff.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Glaciers! From! Space!
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
Psychology of "Conversion"
Although I find (A.D.) Nock ("Conversion") difficult to read in general, I appreciate the way he weaves psychology into the conversion experience. His discussion of different kinds of conversion hits me personally: from my "deliberate turning from indifference" as a child, and later conversion from "an earlier form of piety to another," in my case my association with the generally liberal United Church of Christ from the conservative Southern Baptist Convention. I can attest to Nock's observation, "the man who returns with enthusiasm will commonly feel that he has never before fully grasped the import of the faith of his childhood. The bottles are old but the wine is new." (all quotations from page 7).
I also appreciated Nock's mention of "emotions ... often accompanied by hallucinatory or quasi-hallucinatory phenomena." (8). Some of my UCC friends would cringe to hear me say this, but even now I can sometimes get so emotional over what I consider the depths of God's love and expansiveness of God's grace that I experience "quasi-hallucinatory phenomena" -- but I also have an appreciation for what the human mind and its emotions are capable of during times of stress or as Nock puts it, paraphrasing William James, the removal of "the feeling of anxiety, a sense of receiving truths not known before, a sense of clean and beautiful newness within and without and an ecstacy of happiness ..." (7-8).
Monday, September 21, 2009
Sunday, September 20, 2009
Crazy liberal preacher!
Aye, the Word of God comes in many venues.
The sermon text:
"Last Night as I Was Sleeping."
And it was just about the Jesusiest sermon he's preached in quite awhile.
I LOVE THIS CHURCH.
Saturday, September 19, 2009
Not that I'd ever Nock Shelly ...
I think Feodor might be pleased, but I suspect there might be a Yale-Harvard divinity school issue there ... :-)
Friday, September 18, 2009
Awesome smackdown of the faux science of Creationism -- in Oklahoma!
I am POSITIVE the Repub legislature will have something to say about it.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
(Neil and friends are pontificating on economics, government regulation, fiscal policy, biblical texts and other things they don't know jack about)
Fascinating. Seriously. There is only the hint of a voice of reason and unhatred in there. It's like lookin' through a two-way mirror.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
Dang it, Dr Bill Loney has gone missin'!
He said he caught that dang swine flu. Hope he lived. :-(
Here's how thick U.S. Rep Joe Wilson is
It's that he has no respect for the People's House itself, the House of Representatives.
*That's* why his ass showing has become such a Big Deal. Blurting out "You lie!" during the president's speech is one thing, and whether or not he has been sufficiently apologetic to the president is up to the president. And there, all is cool.
But Wilson, a particularly shallow kind of Republican -- typical, actually, for our era -- clearly thinks himself bigger than the body he serves -- and *that*s why the House, rising in constitutional indignation, rhetorically and institutionally caned him today.
He needed to be taken down a notch. The House, for the record and for all posterity, defended itself -- and all of us in a way -- and took him down a bit today.
It was the least We, through our elected representatives, could do.
Monday, September 14, 2009
High on the Hogg on Calvin's 500th
It's great religious thriller, depicting predestination theology run amok.
Predestinationism has to be at root of the claims to certainty espoused by some people, which they then demand of others. This ol' book'll show you the roots.
Saturday, September 12, 2009
Now, this is my kind of homework
And, since the gladiators from Houston are fixin' to take the field against the gladiators from Stillwater, may I add: GO POKES! Oklahoma State Cowboys! Beat Houston! ORANGE POWER!!!
Friday, September 11, 2009
It took 8 years for 9/11 to sneak up on me
Willie Nelson's Gay Cowboy Song
Thursday, September 10, 2009
Focus on the Patriarchy to Obama: You lie!
Focus on the Family: "Obama accuses Right of 'bogus claims'."
Damn straight he does.
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
Seminary reflections, week 3
2. My history M.A. has greatly prepared me for this; my career dealing with words and the ideas behind them has also greatly prepared me.
3. Everyone who aspires to seriously study the Bible should read this book or one very like it: JOHN H. HAYES and CARL R. HOLLADAY, "Biblical Exegesis: A Beginner's Handbook," 3d ed. (Westminster John Knox Press, 2007).
4. I could be a seminary snob before I know it. :-)
Oh, say, can UCC? 100,000 for Health Care
100,000 for Health Care!
Tuesday, September 08, 2009
Bubba speaks; does Obama have ears to hear?
Monday, September 07, 2009
Scandalous Obama speech to schoolkids!
Now, S.T.F.U, you morons.
What liberal president???
I exaggerate. But come on! He's no freaking lib if he lets this go without a damned showdown.
Shove it down the GOP and Blue Dogs' throats! And if it fails, it fails. Then let the country teeter. Desperate enough, we'll get Medicare for ALL.
WE NEED JED BARTLETT and his balls!
Saturday, September 05, 2009
Cowboys corral Bulldogs!
Friday, September 04, 2009
Bible to be revised
Shoot, considering the current climate, I expect the result to be even more exclusive, more male and more patriarchical. Twenty-five years ago, conservatives were rational at least. Now, they're ... well, they're Neil.
But when I was comin' up, the "Bible of choice" was the Scofied Reference Bible, King James Version, and later some of us branched off to the Ryrie Study Bible, I forget which version -- both premillenial dispensationalist.
I'll stick with the New Revised Standard Version, thanks, and thanks be to God for it.
Thursday, September 03, 2009
Y'all come to Jesus Seminar on the Road in OKC
Gay Scientists Isolate Christian Gene
KTOK-AM, OKC, employs an unAmerican asshole
KTOK sucks. Talk about propaganda!
Wednesday, September 02, 2009
Dude, whatever U do, at least stay awake
But I tell you what: Reading something that's been assigned is just naturally deeper readin' than when you're just readin' to be readin'/
It's been like walking through rooms that have been dark for a long time, and seein' 'em lit up for the the first time.
Tuesday, September 01, 2009
Time for a metareality check
Syro-Phoenician woman as trickster
Consider the story as a trickster folktale -- Mark 7: 24-37 -- meant, among other things, to show or suggest that God responds to those on the margins, like the woman, who have to resort to "tricks" to have a voice or a share of power, or of healing, and that God's mind, or in this case Jesus's mind, can be changed.
Think Brer Rabbit.
Cool -- and that was just from the homily during the midday chapel service here today.