Wednesday, April 30, 2008

"Have I now come up without the LORD'S approval against this land to destroy it? The LORD said to me, 'Go up against this land and destroy it.'"'"

The English punctuation of the address in Isaiah 36 is some of the most interesting ... and intricate ... in the Bible. Sennacherib's Rabshakeh speaks a message from him to Hezekiah through the latter's officials.

And it struck one reader as unusual that a blasphemer could know the divine name. But then, how else to blaspheme?

Still, when she remarked on it, I wondered whether she had a background with the Jehovah Witnesses. Ya can take the girl out of the church but ya can't take the church out of the ...

Can anything good come from Brooklyn?

This cartoon has it wrong.

The issue that they gave me1 had this piece as the lead article. Americans weary of the Iraq War might be more than ready to embrace their pacifism. This isn't a new posture for them but might now have a new audience.

The only other article I read appeared towards the back, called "The Eucharist: the Facts Behind the Ritual." Here's the MP3?

There's the frank admission that "in some form this ritual has remained of fundamental importance throughout Christendom." However, Jesus' command at the Last Supper to drink of the cup of his blood (Matthew 26:27-28) is interpreted in light of the apostolic teaching to "abstain from blood" (Acts 15:20, 29). Offhand, I think that's where the "fish on Friday" came from.

Today, the doctrine in Acts 15:20, 29 to avoid sexual immorality has endured, because it can be linked to the decalogue, but the dietary guidelines have been largely discarded. Even so, would a prohibition to abstain from animal blood extend to human blood among non-Darwinians?

Human blood is so beyond the pale of Acts 15:20, 29.

1 The Watchtower (Public) - April 2008.

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Tuesday, April 29, 2008

This seems dubious ...

Link Between Black Market Cigarettes, Terrorism - WNBC, 4/28/08:
cigarettes that begin at Indian reservations [outside Buffalo] in New York end up generating millions of dollars for Hamas and Hezbollah unbeknown to smokers [downstate] just looking for a bargain.

“I would urge Gov. Paterson to do what he can to get the full state resources to collect taxes on these Indian reservations,” King said.

A spokesman for Gov. David Paterson, citing the state’s economic forecast, said, “The governor believes we have to examine every possible way to get revenue. That includes exploring collecting the cigarette tax from Indian reservations.”
Call a spade a spade. This is about tax revenue, so don't dress it up as homeland security because that lumps native Americans in with the bad guys.

My brother in Albion probably still buys his cigs and gas at the Tonawanda Res. But buying on the res isn't the problem.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

It was announced this morning that the Halka family is making available to St. Joseph's Church some land directly across Stillhouse Road.

Fr. Mike said the space will be used for a parish center, to accommodate the ever-expanding religious education program. It's a major undertaking, especially coming just ten years after the construction of the larger sanctuary - already too small - and the rectory.

Let's hope that the right people in the church and the community step forward to participate in this expansion.

Some background on the Halka family, their extensive land holdings and civic service to the town: "Nursery owner looks at land use" - Examiner, 7/7/05.
Former Baptist on The Journey Home:
But growing up, you might pick it up in sermons, that, well, there are these other people that believe that you're saved by earning your salvation or that have set up idols and, well, who are those people? Well, those people were rarely named, at least in the congregations I attended.

Now, in college, they named names.

A month before I was to marry their daughter, they had the audacity to join the Catholic Church. And I remember sitting there with my arms crossed, shaking my head, and thinking, "Oh, they've gone and done it now. This is the wrong place for them to go."

I dedicated my life from that point on to getting them out of the Catholic Church.

The first thing I did was get a copy of the Catechism and I was going to start reading it and find all the unbiblical things, and just start bringing them out.

"Trail of Blood" Wiki
I was going to just tack this article on the end of my previous one about Fr. Dulles ... but it needs a post of its own ...

"Pope makes time to pay homage to U.S. theologian Cardinal Dulles" - Catholic News Service, 4/21/08:
The wheelchair-bound Jesuit scholar traveled from his residence at Jesuit-run Fordham University's Rose Hill campus in the Bronx to St. Joseph's Seminary in Yonkers, N.Y., April 19, for a prearranged, 15-minute private meeting with the pope, just after the pontiff met with disabled youths.

The grandson of a Presbyterian minister and son of John Foster Dulles -- secretary of state under President Dwight D. Eisenhower -- Cardinal Dulles entered the Catholic Church in 1941 while studying at Harvard Law School. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he joined the Jesuits in 1946 and was ordained in 1956. He has written 22 books, hundreds of articles and has more than 30 honorary doctorates.

Often considered Cardinal Dulles' most influential work, "Models of the Church" in 1974 provided tens of thousands of bishops, priests, seminarians and lay leaders with a deeper understanding of the different but complementary theologies of the church underlying the work of the Second Vatican Council.

Before the meeting's conclusion, the pope blessed Cardinal Dulles, "assuring him of his prayers for the cardinal, and encouraged him in his sufferings," Sister Anne-Marie said.
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Best Religious Commercial Ever! ... according to the Crunchy Con:


Resistance is futile.

Honorable mention:

In the news: "'Catholics Come Home': Bringing them Home to the Faith".

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Saturday, April 26, 2008

Eh, I try not to ...

You scored as Kanga!
You scored 9 Ego, 16 Anxiety, and 14 Agency!

ABOUT KANGA: Kanga is Roo's mother and Tigger's foster mother. While she is a kind and motherly sort of person, the other inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood suspect that underneath, she is a Fierce Animal. Her hobbies involve talking about Roo's health and development, watching Roo while he practices jumping, and making Roo and Tigger take their strengthening medicine.

WHAT THIS SAYS ABOUT YOU: You are the kind of person who takes on other people's worries. You are efficient and a person of action - the type of person who Gets Things Done. Your friends tend to rely on you to get them moving and keep things running.

The problem is that you tend to forget about yourself in all of this. You need to remember that you are an important and worthwhile person, and sometimes it is okay to say "no" to people's constant requests and demands. Give yourself some time off.

How you compared to other people your age and gender:

You scored higher than 0% on Ego

You scored higher than 88% on Anxiety

You scored higher than 37% on Agency

Link: The Deep and Meaningful Winnie-The-Pooh Character Test

via Happy Catholic

First "Boat Ride." With her brothers.

Jenkinson's Boardwalk, Point Pleasant.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A few seconds more and we would have been out of sight, already downstairs, but we tarried in the garage, identifying potential items in the basement that could go curbside for the yearly spring cleanup.

In those crucial, unguarded seconds, a nice car pulled into the driveway and two Jehovah Witnesses got out and walked up, literature in hand. I'd had my arms crossed as they approached, out of fatigue from all the heavy lifting we had done. Jeff stayed back, but I ventured forward as they asked permission to come in and speak to us. To refuse them permission never entered my mind and I assumed a more open posture.

He said that he had just been talking with our neighbors and asked whether I had ever given Armageddon any thought. I flashed a smile back at Jeff because he knows me and answered the man frankly that I think quite often about it. Have I not been studying the Book of Revelation off and on for the past ten years?

He opened his literature and described the first page before becoming inexplicably agitated. Jeff and I later agreed that he seemed spooked somehow and, handing me the literature, made a quick departure. The woman lingered only a second to ask how long we'd lived in the neighborhood and welcomed us. She seemed very friendly but he may have sensed, perhaps accurately, that he was interrupting something.

Jeff could only quip, "He hasn't spoken to our neighbors!"

My wife and I went to the movies the other night, we saw Rocky. While I'm watching it, I'm thinking 'This guy is taking a pretty good beating' you know.

Which Rocky was it? 1 or 2, or 3?

I don't know. Three I guess. But...

Hey, did the guy have a mo-hawk like Mr. T?

OK forget Rocky. The point is... when you're down, you're not exactly out... I mean, I mean you gotta hang tough... I don't know.

Well, hang tough, baby! Do what Rocky would do!

He didn't see Rocky
Mr. Mom quotes.
It's convertible weather ...

On Friday, Tim and I went out for milkshakes at the Cree-Mee Freeze (as seen on an episode of Sex and the City) where townies show off their new cars, like the convertible BMW that pulled in immediately behind us.

The kids and dad piled out while the mom remained in the car.

I couldn't place the kids until one called the other by name. They've changed with the years, but I knew them. Tim still had on his school uniform and, noticing it, the dad mentioned it to the kids: Hey, he goes to the same school that you used to. They didn't seem to remember.

Rather than head straight home with our ice cream, Timmy wanted to enjoy it outside a bit. He walked right past the convertible to the outdoor seating area, but I took a less direct route. She held her hand to her forehead as if she was recovering from a serious illness but shot us quick glances through the web of her fingers as we sat there. I couldn't resist staring directly at her, my jaw dropped unconsciously low, at the possibility that she was trying to hide from being seen!

Honey, there's no hiding in a convertible. Isn't that why you drove it out tonight? To show it off and "be seen?"

Within a few minutes, she gave up the charade, removed her sunglasses - they hadn't protected her - and made a faint wave at us. I waved limply back and on the way out, didn't bother to speak a word to her. Now I wonder if she remained in the car to avoid us in the queue ... or if she really wasn't well.
If you remember only a couple of key German words, you can readily determine from which part of der Bibel the above passage is taken.

Click on the image to make it easier to see.

My guess appears in the comments.


Tuesday, April 22, 2008

"This past weekend was huge for Roman Catholics of all faiths."

Video of Fr. Martin on The Colbert Report on the pope's visit at Commonweal.

Very good to watch ... watch it!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Bringing her commentary's take on Genesis 24:19-20 to bear, the study leader suggested that 100 trips would be needed to draw enough water for all the camels, implying that God worked a miracle, to prove that Rachel was "the one."

But, this recent Westminster graduate hastened to add that God doesn't work extraordinary miracles today because we have his written word, the Bible. As if watering camels with agility and grace is something extraordinary.

I kept my objections to myself, even when an underling, who's learned to parrot some Reformed convictions, chimed in, with a tone of mocking incredulity, "Some groups these days demand signs, look for them: a spinning sun or whatever!"

It wasn't too hard to figure out what ... or who ... they were talking about. But I ignored them, especially the parrot, without giving the slightest indication that I agreed with them.

So, then, the gospel reading this Sunday from John's Gospel:
The Father who dwells in me is doing his works.
Believe me that I am in the Father and the Father is in me,
or else, believe because of the works themselves.
Amen, amen, I say to you,
whoever believes in me will do the works that I do,
and will do greater ones than these,
because I am going to the Father.”
The trouble is determining what Jesus means by "works" (ἔργον). Are these distinct from Jesus' "signs" (σημεῖον)?

Barrett says no. "Throughout this gospel the ἔργα or σημεῖα are presented as events which ought to and sometimes do elicit faith (e.g. 2.11)." [page 460].

Barrett takes a moderate position on verse 12: "The power to work miracles was universally credited to the apostles and their contemporaries, and seems to have continued, especially as the power of exorcism, till a late date. [...] The greater works therefore are the gathering of many converts into the church through the activity of the disciples, which however is effective only through the continuing power of Jesus' word and the work of the Holy Spirit."

A further note completes his thought, "Their works are greater not because they themselves are greater but because Jesus' work is now complete [i.e., Ascension and Pentecost - tks]."

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

"A Life in Theology" - Avery Dulles, S.J., America, 4/21/08:
Why, then, a farewell? Why not 30 or 40 years on this blissful seat? In this life, unfortunately, all good things must come to an end.

Divine providence, which has graciously guided my career throughout these many years, is giving clear signs that it is time to move on and make way for a younger and healthier successor.

As I glance over the titles of my McGinley lectures, I have the impression that they form a solid collection dealing with major theological and social issues inherited from the Second Vatican Council and still under discussion today. I dare to hope that the opinions I have proposed and defended are true and persuasive.

The church teaches, and I firmly believe, that the Son of God became man some 2,000 years ago, died to redeem us and rose for the sake of our salvation. Christ the Redeemer, who has given the fullness of revelation, has also made provision for the revelation to be kept alive in the church without corruption or dilution.

These lectures, I hope, make it clear that tradition is a developing thing because the church lives in history.

As I approach the termination of my active life, I gratefully acknowledge that a benign providence has governed my days.

Well into my 90th year I have been able to work productively. As I become increasingly paralyzed and unable to speak, I can identify with the many paralytics and mute persons in the Gospels, grateful for the loving and skillful care I receive and for the hope of everlasting life in Christ. If the Lord now calls me to a period of weakness, I know well that his power can be made perfect in infirmity. “Blessed be the name of the Lord!”
Providence looms large in the cardinal's worldview. He is my favorite theologian. A Testimonial to Grace is recommended.

via Commonweal

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Blessed are the meek for they shall inherit.
Blessed is the lamb whose blood flows.
Blessed are the sat upon, Spat upon, Ratted on,
O Lord, Why have you forsaken me?
Blessed, Simon & Garfunkel

Monday, April 14, 2008

Last week, Kenny recited to me this scene verbatim from Little Rascals:

I countered his display with, "How's your 'Act of Contrition?'"

"Not so good," he confessed. Maybe if I turn it into a TV program, he'd learn it.

No matter. It ran more like a seasonal penance service, with a communal recitation of the prayer.

The Gospel was an edited Prodigal Son. I tried to follow along in my New Testament but Fr. Mike wasn't actually reading from a printed text. He just spoke from his selective memory.

During the homily, he brought up two volunteers and asked students to name common sins. As each sin was named, Fr. Mike loaded up the volunteers with bundles so labeled until they were uncomfortable. Then he described asking Jesus for forgiveness and the parcels coming off.

I had to close my eyes for a few moments in hopeful gratitude at the prospect of that sin burden being lifted. But the articulated motivation struck me as more consistent with Christian hedonism than love.

Kenny sat next to his friend from school who, turns out, was nervous and scared. Kenny got Fr. Mike rather than one of the visiting priests. Nice for him, I guess.

Kenny was so completely excited to receive this sacrament for the first time. I couldn't help but think that his expectations were wrong. I mean, his emotional level didn't jive with how an experienced Catholic approaches the sacrament, with quiet hope and joy.

There are a good many stats in this article ...

"Survey assesses Catholics' beliefs, practices on Mass, sacraments" - Catholic News Service, 4/11/08:
The study divided respondents into four generations in relation to the Second Vatican Council: pre-Vatican II, comprised of those born before 1943; Vatican II, born between 1943 and 1960; post-Vatican II, born 1961 to 1981; and millennial Catholics, born after 1981.

While those of the first three generations chose the Eucharist as their most meaningful sacrament, 43 percent of the millennial Catholics said marriage was the sacrament most meaningful to them.1

Only 2 percent of Catholics across all generations said they participated in the sacrament of reconciliation once a month or more, 12 percent said they did several times a year, 12 percent said they did once a year, 30 percent said less than once a year and 45 percent said they never made a sacramental confession.

Knowledge about the Catholic faith generally was higher among the older generations than the younger ones, but the survey found that knowledge of the Bible was higher among younger Catholics2 than their older counterparts.

Slightly less than one quarter (23 percent) usually carried a rosary, while 20 percent said they typically had prayer cards or religious coins with them and 9 percent said they carried a scapular.
What are "religious coins?" Aren't they Protestant?4

I've been following these trends since Bernadin's undertaking.3

1 Surprisingly different, wouldn't you say?
2Some knowledge is always higher than no knowledge.
3 and reading Davidson's book.
4 A previous post on communion tokens.
Greg asked me whether I can spot him ... and I can!
Can you?!

Columbus Half Marathon, results.
Greg ran a 1:33. A little over seven-minute mile?

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Only for this last bit because I've seen the tiara:
And pontiffs used to be crowned with a tall, three-ringed tiara of precious metals known as the triregnum.

But Paul VI was the last pope to be crowned, in 1963, and he donated his tiara to the National Shrine of the Immaculate Conception in Washington, where Benedict will preside at two events next week.

Despite the fond wishes of some liturgy buffs, Father Selvester doesn't expect the pope to duck downstairs and try on the tiara.

"That's not going to happen," he said with a laugh.
Vestments are more than just clothes for the pope", Star Ledger, 4/13/08

via Commonweal

... from the comments ... and this might deserve a post in its own right:

"Confessions of an American Catholic - The Pope vs. Parish Priests" - New York Times, Dan Barry, 4/13/08:
Let me say at the outset that I am your classic stumbling, grumbling, trying-to-sort-it-all-out American Catholic. I consider myself a practicing Catholic because I dearly need the practice.

I was 7 when Paul VI became the first pope to visit the United States, in 1965. I remember the nuns and teachers at SS. Cyril and Methodius School being in the kind of tizzy reserved then for the Beatles, and my mother hunched before our black-and-white television set, just as she was after the first Kennedy assassination, only this time she wasn’t crying.

I must have lost track of the second papal visit, that of John Paul II in 1979; back then I was a student at St. Bonaventure University in upstate New York, more concerned with the Bonnies basketball team’s visit to Niagara than with the pope’s visit to Manhattan.

For stumbling, grumbling worshipers like me, though, obedience to the pope has morphed into a respectful taking of his pronouncements under advisement — a cafeteria-like approach that drives more rigid Catholics to the brink of saying the Lord’s name in vain.

And peace be with you.

I would add to that list disgust, more than mere disagreement, with the way the church has handled the priest scandals of the last decade.

But what does all this mean?

It means that I got my Catholic Irish up when I read recently that the Rev. John Hagee, a Texas televangelist, uses code language for the Catholic Church when he speaks of a “false cult system” and — what was it again? Oh, yes: “the great whore.” The good reverend says his words have been misconstrued, and I don’t want mine to be: It would be my humble honor to share a dinner of solidarity with the pope — a dinner, even, of mackerel.

But all this also means that I read the parish bulletin and the gospels, not papal encyclicals or L’Osservatore Romano. That I mutter more about the priest’s aimless homily or some action by the local bishop than about anything the pope has said or done. That on Sundays, though hardly every one, I try to concentrate on the Gospel and on the celebration of the Eucharist as best I can with a distracted 10-year-old and a squirming 4-year-old.

That I never once ask myself: What would the pope do?
"... there is nothing esoteric or extraordinary about the methods which we must follow in order to be deified. If someone asks "How can I become god?' the answer is very simple: go to church, receive the sacraments regularly, pray to God 'in spirit and in truth,' read the Gospels, follow the commandments."
The Orthodox Church, Ware, page 236. Excerpts.

I just added another one of Ware's books to my Amazon wish list. Maybe I'll get it birthday/Mother's Day. I bought my own wrapping paper today at the grocery store.

Bishop Ware's quotation appears in this document:

"Eastern Orthodox Teaching in Comparison with The Doctrinal Position of Biola University"

Love their Unbound Bible!

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"Borrowers used houses to get cash", Asbury Park Press, 4/13/08:
Monmouth and Ocean counties led the nation last year in the percentage of borrowers extracting cash from their houses.

A staggering seven out of 10 high-risk borrowers in both counties — those with low credit scores — refinanced loans to obtain extra cash.

New Jersey had five counties in the top 25.

The nearly 79,973 subprime borrowers in New Jersey owe an average of $250,614 on their loans, the fifth highest balance in the United States.

Cf. "President salutes effort of credit-counseling agencies" - Examiner, 4/3/08.

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If I can accept Kerry and Blair and, even McGreevey 'til he left, why am I saying, "Dear God, not him!" ...
John DiIulio, Bush's first director of faith-based initiatives, has called the president a "closet Catholic."
"A Catholic Wind in the White House," Washington Post, 4/13/08.

At the time, I figured Bush surrounded himself with Catholic intellectuals because (1) Washington is dripping with politically-minded Catholics naturally and (2) Catholics don't threaten him - you know, don't make him feel inferior, intellectually or morally.

Jeb's faith notwithstanding, the elder Bush uses religion to his advantage. And, it just seems that, with the Pope coming for a visit, we need some religious intrigue. Besides, there'll be "the talk." About the war.

See, that's where this speculative piece breaks down. Six years ago, the journalist had a somewhat compelling story but since, we've seen a downward spiral. It's one side of the full picture, as this comment makes clear:
It seems unfair to evangelical Protestants to assume that whenever the president’s policies exhibit compassion, he’s acting like a Catholic. If any actual evidence is needed that President Bush draws primarily on evangelical Protestantism rather than Catholic social teaching, consider his approach to Israel and the Palestinians. It it much more consistent with evangelical thought than with anything coming from the Vatican.

via Commonweal. Read all the other comments, especially the one that offers the president a subscription. Oh, and this one:
"I tolerate a lot from institutional Catholicism, but if Bush is accepted into the church, I will happily make room for him by leaving."
See, I'm not alone.

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When the Lord comes, may she go out to meet Him ...

Just a few weeks ago, Kenny expressed an interest in witnessing a baptism during church and, lo, this morning he got it!

The readings lent themselves to baptism:
Then Peter stood up with the Eleven,
raised his voice, and proclaimed:
“Let the whole house of Israel know for certain
that God has made both Lord and Christ,
this Jesus whom you crucified.”

Now when they heard this, they were cut to the heart,
and they asked Peter and the other apostles,
“What are we to do, my brothers?”
Peter said to them,
“Repent and be baptized, every one of you,
in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins;
and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
For the promise is made to you and to your children
and to all those far off,
whomever the Lord our God will call.”
He testified with many other arguments, and was exhorting them,
“Save yourselves from this corrupt generation.”
Those who accepted his message were baptized,
and about three thousand persons were added that day.
Rite of Baptism

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Another way of stating this would be that the church certainly has something to say about what the Bible says because the Bible is the church's book. Any examination of the history of the formation of the New Testament canon cannot miss the vital role played by the church and its leaders. This does not deprecate the role of the Holy Spirit in this formation, but rather acknowledges the fact that the Spirit was at work throughout the entire process of sifting, including, excluding, and interpreting these documents. The early fathers understood the Spirit to be active not only through the writings that eventually came to be included in the canon, but also in the broader context of all the ecclesial canons. Yes, all were measured by these writings, but the Spirit was seen as living and active in the entire community.


But it could not and did not function in the early church as the only standard for texts. For roughly the first four hundred years of its existence, the church had no closed canon, so the Bible could not have functioned as the sole criterion.


The closing of the canon does not obviate the fact that proper interpretation is key for the Bible to inform the church's faith and life. Simply closing the canon would have done little to counter the Gnostics, for example, because in many cases they were offering differing interpretations of the same material.


One may ask, however, if I am denying the principle of the perspicuity of Scripture by saying that the proper interpretation of Scripture is not always apparent. But the clarity of Scripture cannot be uprooted from its context.


The fathers also recognized that the Scriptures could be interpreted in different ways. This was likely one of the reasons that a closed New Testament canon was not explicitly deliberated until well into the fourth century. And even though we live today with a closed canon, that canon does not, on its own, solve the problem of differing interpretations.

[...] the Bible is not self-explanatory. And the very canonical construction of the New Testament as Scripture was a patristic accomplishment. The history of Christian doctrine is not just the story of repeating scriptural statements. Throughout doctrinal history we see the authors of heresies invariably taking their stand on Scripture, often claiming to recognize this as the sole court of appeal. These authors were not subsequently accused of being unscriptural, but rather they were accused of misusing Scripture. Thus, the point was not contended simply by appealing to the authority of Scripture, but the real battle was on the interpretation of the Bible.

Appeal to the Bible as authority is essential, but not without a similar appeal to the proper lens of interpretation. That proper lens of interpretation has been the ecclesial canons of the church in which the Bible grew. In the early church a high view of Scripture was not one that necessitated a text that functioned authoritatively outside of the church. This would have been unthinkable to the fathers. In evangelical circles today, however, we are still being encouraged to think that this was how the church fathers viewed Scripture, and how we in turn should view it. But if we are to do justice to and cherish God's word to us, we must be aware of the means God used to deliver it to us, and in that, the church has been central. Failure to account for this does not appreciate the importance of the Bible in the life of the church and its members, no matter how high people claim their doctrine of Scripture to be.
Most of the Postscript from Dr. Craig Allert's book, A High View of Scripture?

If you haven't read Bruce or Metzger, get this one, read it and start to believe that there's hope for the Evangelical Doctrine of Scripture!

Friday, April 11, 2008

Tonight's IM:
Jake the Snark says: (4:34:00 PM)
continental had a $106 roundtrip special for a weekend in quebec

Jake the Snark says: (4:34:14 PM)
fly up saturday morning and back on monday afternoon

Teresa S. says: (4:34:19 PM)
i'm sure i'd be going alone

Jake the Snark says: (4:34:26 PM)
it's really $160 because of surcharges

Teresa S. says: (4:34:26 PM)
why don't you just take me out to dinner?

Jake the Snark says: (4:34:50 PM)
i'll do more than that!

Teresa S. says: (4:35:07 PM)
oh, yeah, a movie?

Jake the Snark says: (4:35:11 PM)
i'll throw in ice cream

Teresa S. says: (4:35:15 PM)

Jake the Snark says: (4:35:34 PM)
a movie? do we see movies?

Teresa S. says: (4:35:52 PM)
wouldn't you think it was agin my religion or something?!

Teresa S. says: (4:36:13 PM)
how old is kenny?

Teresa S. says: (4:36:22 PM)
and i didn't just come out of a theater when i had him

Jake the Snark says: (4:37:30 PM)
i almost think the last thing i saw in a theatre before kids (of course, i saw cars and polar express in the theatre with k&t and k)

Jake the Snark says: (4:37:55 PM)
was saving private ryan and maybe a rerelease of star wars movies

Teresa S. says: (4:38:15 PM)
all I remember is those rereleases of star wars

Jake the Snark says: (4:38:30 PM)
did we - you and i - ever see anything in freehold since moving west

Teresa S. says: (4:38:51 PM)
i think we tried but it was sold out or closed 

Teresa S. says: (4:39:01 PM)
you know freehold, it's one or the other, hot or cold

Teresa S. says: (4:39:55 PM)
anyway, no, i haven't seen a movie since moving out here

Teresa S. says: (4:40:06 PM)
not even with "the girls" - as promised a couple of times

Jake the Snark says: (4:45:53 PM)
ok, so there are 15 movies there now

Teresa S. says: (4:54:15 PM)
chris just threw up
One of the great achievements of modern scholarship [...] has been the realization that it cannot simply be assumed that the texts of the past are immediately accessible to modern minds and that a certain effort is necessary to retrieve authentic meanings. Obviously it is this crucial scholarly insight that the Council endorsed.

[I]t extends merely to the possibility of modern misunderstanding -- the misconstrual of certain words, insensitivity to the nuances of certain figures of speech, failure to recognize allusions to other biblical passages -- not to the supposed errors of the evangelists who wrote the texts.

Dei Verbum (19) reminds the faithful that:

"Holy Mother Church has firmly and with absolute constancy held, and continues to hold, that the four Gospels just named, whose historical character the Church unhesitatingly asserts, faithfully hand on what Jesus Christ, while living among men, really did and taught for their eternal salvation .... The sacred authors ... told us the honest truth about Jesus."

How can a text said to embody God’s own revelation to His people, claimed as essential to one’s salvation, acknowledged to be infinitely beyond the ability of the human mind to comprehend, be treated simply as another literary genre?

In “proving” the divine authority of Scripture, the Second Vatican Council (DV, I, l) cited the text of Scripture itself, a method of exegesis that would be outrageous if applied to any other document.
Dei Verbum: The Divine Authority of Scripture vs. the 'Hermeneutic of Suspicion', Adoremus, Dr. James Hitchcock
I've promised quotes ... long overdue:
I had grown up with the idea that God wanted me to be strange, perpetually weird, perpetually different. For the first time in my life, I encountered people like Mr. Parke who seemed to share my parents' evangelical faith but didn't set themselves apart from the world. The thought that you could be a normal person and still believe was new to me.

At GW, it was good enough to just show up in chapel, be polite, and let God do the worrying about how sincere other people were. There were several teachers besides Bubble who were unbelievers, and they were all in good standing.

When Bubble took chapel, he once had us sing some odd ditty he'd written, set to Wagner as the "hymn" and smirked while he read the scripture passage of the day. Mr. Parke bore this with a good humor that only served to make his faith seem unassailable. Mr. Parke believed what he believed, and Bubble believed what he believed, and there was room for all of us.
Crazy for God, Frank Schaeffer, page 181.

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Mark Mossa, SJ at "... And I Let Myself Be Duped" is shutting down ...
It has become—and perhaps always has been—a poisonous atmosphere which I no longer desire to be a part of.
May he focus his talents on his vocation, his community and writing books!

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Sunday's Gospel was a familiar one.

Protestants like the first part because "beginning with Moses and all the prophets, he interpreted to them what referred to him in all the Scriptures."

Catholics like to think the disciples didn't get it, even after Christ's expository sermon. We know from personal experience how opaque Scripture can be.

Yet, Scripture says only they urged him to stay. Intrigued, at least.

Catholics like the second half of the narrative because "he was made known to them in the breaking of bread." We ignore the disciples' recognition of their "hearts burning within" them while he spoke and opened the Scriptures.

To be faithful to Scripture, it's both: word and sacrament. And it's the Mass, the Liturgy of the Word together with Liturgy of the Eucharist.

Is it both for you?

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Jim emailed me the only negative review on Enns's book at Amazon:
Peter Enns book Inspiration & Incarnation is as heretical as it is superficial.

The view of inspiration espoused by Enns in this book is not much different from the old neo-orthodoxy of Karl Barth.1 Both of them speak much about Christ's human nature, myth, legend, midrash, contextualization, etc...but at the same time deny the sinless perfection of Christ's human nature, the factual events of redemptive history and also the perfection of Holy Scripture.

Jesus said "Scripture cannot be broken." "Thy Word is truth." All Scripture is, like Christ, perfectly holy, spotless, undefiled, without sin and error, and separate from sinners. All Scripture is in Christ, for Christ, and to the glory of Christ. Christ is the Credenda and Agenda of Old Testament Scripture as well as New Testament Scripture. But for this very reason it cannot be broken. It is without error being God breathed.

Peter Enn's views of the Bible are Liberal and heretical and destructive to the Christian church. I could think of at least ten instances (just by a casual overview without buying the accursed thing) in which he directly contradicts the explicit teaching of Scripture, as well as Jesus own words in the Gospels.

He [Enns, not Christ, ed.] plainly does not believe in the Westminster Confession of Faith, nor for that matter in any of the Protestant Creeds and Confessions. He should have been fired long ago along with the feminists and Liberals of the Seminary. But then again, what can you expect from modern denominations these days - that are so full of spiritual ignorance, idolatry, sexual immorality and religious hypocrisy. They ought to read John Owen's book on Apostacy.

Sadly denominations do not believe in Scripture or in their Confessions anymore. They have almost completely rejected the infallible word of God for the pagan idolatry of modern scholarship.

Pastor Brett Woody
Pastor Woody appears to lead an "Independent Puritan and Reformed" church outside Sacramento2 with his brother? His dad? His son? Stepson, maybe? No, not a "modern denomination" he so despises, probably at least 400 years old. Good for him.

But I should wonder, if Scripture lacks completely a human side, how shall we hope to understand it?

If I speak in human and angelic tongues but do not have love, I am a resounding gong or a clashing cymbal.3

An old CT book review. I haven't read it all. Stories like this, it's hard not to be happy about not being an Evangelical (yes, I remember the sex abuse scandal! I've done my penance!)

1 Say no more!

2 "Sac-ra-men-to" - Californians have no idea!

3 Speaking of source criticism!

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Related to the tendency, I think, to pigeonhole people; it's an abstraction ...

Fr. Massingale on Rev. Wright - Commonweal blog:
I am seen through the prism of the only black men that they “know.”

This is one of the deepest tragedies of racism or any social prejudice: It robs one of the freedom to be an individual, to be “me” rather than a “category.”
Read the whole thing.
"Wireless facility siting discussed in Millstone" - Examiner, 3/27/08:
The township is trying to regulate how it gets out of the dead zone.

"Somewhere along the line, antennas are going up," [the mayor] said. "This was a dead zone."

The next three priority locations for the antennas are [...]

in the steeple at the United Presbyterian Church on Millstone Road and [...]

the steeple of St. Joseph's Roman Catholic Church ...
Take the bells out and put the cell phone tower in.

Dead zone? I prefer to call it "rural."

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Wednesday, April 09, 2008

I read from this book on Sunday night and I just so appreciate his translation of Scripture.

Wills captures the blunt vibrancy of the language, rendering it so directly that it is "penetrating even between soul and spirit, joints and marrow." (Heb. 4:12)

Think we can get him to publish a Catholic New Testament?!
But for us the most important thing was the institution of the Eucharist, one of the two seminal sacraments. The other one, baptism, occurs only once in anyone's life. But the early Christian agape (love meal) was the source of Christian strength and unity, to be renewed constantly, the mystical body of Christ eating its proper food as our physical bodies do ...

The cup of blessing, once blessed, is it not a participation in the blood of Christ? The bread we break, is it not a participation in the body of Christ? We many are one bread, one body, because we all partake of a single bread. (1 Cor. 10:16-17)
Wills really calls for communion, that is, unity, with the urgency found in his own translation of St. Augustine's Sermon 272:
When you say "Amen" to what you are, your saying it affirms it. You hear "The Body of Christ," and you answer "Amen," and you must be the body of Christ to make that "Amen" take effect.
I dare not quote any more from the book. Tolle Lege!

Busted Halo Interview with Garry Wills

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Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Last month's news ...

Science Fair projects.

Belated Easter photos at flickr.
Just because I never read this excerpt before doesn't mean it's obscure.

I came across it quoted in a book I'm reading:
Now, in regard to the canonical Scriptures, he must follow the judgment of the greater number of catholic churches; and among these, of course, a high place must be given to such as have been thought worthy to be the seat of an apostle and to receive epistles.1

Accordingly, among the canonical Scriptures he will judge according to the following standard: to prefer those that are received by all the catholic churches to those which some do not receive.

Among those, again, which are not received by all, he will prefer such as have the sanction of the greater number and those of greater authority, to such as are held by the smaller number and those of less authority.

If, however, he shall find that some books are held by the greater number of churches, and others by the churches of greater authority (though this is not a very likely thing to happen), I think that in such a case the authority on the two sides is to be looked upon as equal.
Let me say that I don't know who Augustine is talking to.

Augustine goes on to list a set of books. It's interesting how comfortable he is with applying these "use" principles to books in Hebrew as well as in Greek. These matters are open ones to him.

I don't care about the lists because the fact is that, today, among East & West (and North & South), Christians now have different lists.

Is this a big deal? We try to make it a big deal. They charge, "You added!" We counter, "You subtracted!"

If one takes a cue from "the Early Church," - don't we all want to? - the deal doesn't seem so big. Probably because, on the one hand, "it's all good!" and, on the other, there was already a guiding "rule of faith,"2 that these scriptures were interpreted in light of.

1 These centers would include, I suppose, the five apostolic sees, in no particular order - ha! - of Rome, Constantinople, Antioch, Jerusalem and Alexandria. Plus Rome - oh, I said 'Rome' already! - Corinth, Ephesus, Colossae, Philippi, Thessaloniki, Galatia. I would doubt that the churches mentioned in chapters 2 & 3 of Revelation qualify.

2 "If prophecy, use it according to the standard of faith;" - Romans 12:6b (HCSB)

Sunday, April 06, 2008

OK, I'm a HUGE fan ...

I don't know how I'm going to get there to hear him.

I might not get there, especially because I have an appointment that day with a lady who is supposed to help me with window treatments.

I'll have to call tomorrow morning and find out whether there are even any tickets available. My understanding is that this annual event is generally pretty packed no matter who's speaking. Lots of Catholics in North Jersey with nothing to do.

Spirituality Convocation, College of St. Elizabeth, Morristown.
Déjà vu on a couple of texts that were first seen in yesterday's conversation ...

and seen again today, in (1) the second reading:
If you invoke as Father him who judges impartially
according to each one’s works,
conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning,
realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct,
handed on by your ancestors,
not with perishable things like silver or gold
but with the precious blood of Christ
as of a spotless unblemished lamb.

He was known before the foundation of the world
but revealed in the final time for you,
who through him believe in God
who raised him from the dead and gave him glory,
so that your faith and hope are in God.
Quite powerful. Note the contrast between perishable - and yet precious? - silver and gold and the presumably imperishable and certainly precious blood of Christ.

and in (2) Precepts homework:
Now go, write it on a tablet before them
And inscribe it on a scroll,
That it may serve in the time to come
As a witness forever.
Not exactly a compelling verse in support of the "infallibility" (that is, indefectibility) of Scripture when one considers the specific context of prophecy against Israel for their disobedience.

I mean, there are more generally applicable verses, like the verse that prefaces most English bibles: The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word of our God will stand forever.
(Is. 40:8)

The Jewish Study Bible comments this way on Isaiah 30:8, "Isaiah is commanded to write his prophecy down, so that when it proves correct, God will be on record as having warned the nation against the Egyptian alliance."

God is vindicating himself, justifying himself, absolving himself of Israel's fate. As if he had to.
This just might give you chills, make you cry and give you hope ...

The amazing Mennonites. Again.

via Crunchy Con @ Beliefnet

Thursday, April 03, 2008

She stopped bringing her chunky, clunky Life Application Bible because we've been out of the New Testament for weeks, on Tertullian now, and there just isn't much need for a Bible.

For this reason, the two slim black leather bibles at her place caught my eye tonight and, quickly noting the versions, I asked her as playfully as I could, "New bibles?"

She said Jim gave them to her. Someone had left them in the AV room following, presumably, one of the deacon's lectures.

"Are you interested in having them, Teresa?" Ho-boy: You who detest idols, do you rob temples?

I brought myself to my senses: "Thank you, but no, I have several copies of those versions already." 'Though not the thinline, I muttered to myself. She at least let me peruse one while she speculated on giving them to her daughter.

The print was very readable but no margins for note-taking. And, of course, no footnotes; neither were study bibles.

I thanked her, telling her they were very nice bibles and assuring her that someone in her son-in-law's congregation would be happy to have one.

She ended the conversation the only way she knows how, "They're Protestant Bibles, Teresa. Do you know that?" Yes, I told her, I was aware of that; the newer one published in 2001.

She can't possibly know that Crossway, like Zondervan before it, has separated this fool from her money in many different ways since then.

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The director of the child care had told me that the caretakers would be on vacation last week, so even though the study met, I had to skip. Hard to believe that I'm the only woman in the group who needs child care.

And, when they met, the leader distributed a changed schedule. Because she found out that Part II, which we were to begin in less than a month, will not be available until July. Considering the production problems with Part I - missing pages, missing chapters! - I told her it was worth waiting for. It's nice when study materials are revised and updated, but everything new has bugs, doesn't it?

The leader did a nice work with the new schedule. After Part I, we'll do Amos and Hosea. It's been a while since I've studied those minor prophets. Most people take the summer off from study, so this way, they won't miss any of Isaiah. When the leader announced that after Part II this fall, we'll have finished the Old Testament and can move into the New Testament, there was some rejoicing among the ladies.

I asked the woman next to me why everyone was so happy about studying the New Testament, and she said that it's because the New Testament is easier to understand. Apparently this lady and the rest of them have already forgotten our struggle through Parts I-IV of the Book of Revelation, 2-4 years ago!

Not only has the printed material been updated, but the accompanying video has as well. And the speaker has injected references to Islam into her opening remarks. At 73, she usually begins by complaining about something, and I habitually give her some room to vent and recall the good old days. But today's prologue droned on. I asked aloud, "She is going to talk about the Bible?"

Then I took my Goldsworthy book and left the room. I don't think that the spectacle of Obama's Rev. Wright was on my mind but maybe. I have my own bigotry to work through; I'm not interested in taking on hers, too. So, I gave her a few minutes more, out of earshot and then, making my return, noticed that a woman from the class was coming out of bring me back.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

I've been following the story of the suspension and pending termination of biblical scholar Peter Enns from Westminster Theology Seminary in Philadelphia primarily because of a friend who is completing her Masters of Religion (M.A.R.) there. She's one of many people blogging the developments.

As I understand it,
in applying an analogy of the Incarnation to sacred Scripture and in drawing from Ancient Near East literature, Enns's book Incarnation and Inspiration runs afoul of Chapter 1 of the Westminster Confession of Faith, Of the Holy Scripture.

This CT article goes into detail.

I listened to yesterday's chapel service that concluded with a question and answer session between students and the board. The sound quality is a little rough - those responsible for the recording will likely serve Baptist churches in some A&V capacity upon graduation. But I took away from the conversation that the Confession does not refer to the human side of Scripture, implying that where the Confession is silent, the Church is silent. And that Professor Enns needs some time to formulate his theology (i.e., his methodology).

I have to agree with Mike Horton (it pains me to agree with him on anything), as quoted in the CT article above (page 2), that the school is a seminary and ought to train men (and women) for ministry, for shepherding souls. The influence of the Epic of Gilgamesh and Enuma Elish upon the sacred Christian Scriptures hardly factors into that vital mission. Delving into those other texts becomes a curiosity, a mental exercise.

I'm not above this, by any means. In Jim's study, we've looked at all sorts of extra-biblical stuff. He has his favorites, like Enoch, Acts of Paul and Thecla1, and gnostic Gospels. But I'm not in any position of pastoral authority, so worst case, I'm merely wasting my time with these non-biblical texts.

Anyway, my point is to compare the experience at Westminster with the Catholic equivalent, if I can. The example of Fr. Brown comes to mind, a serious biblical scholar who managed to keep to the right of the magisterium for nearly 40 years. Oh, yes he did! That doesn't mean that I don't get frustrated at him for refusing to take that next step. Sometimes I'm comforted that he didn't. At times, Brown's position makes me think, "Yeah, I can stay here too; it's respectable, it's good enough." Brown wasn't at a Catholic institution, either, but a liberal Protestant one.

Even though they too require the mandatum, it seems that Catholic biblical scholars slip under the magisterial radar, by and large. It's the theologians who get called on the carpet. So far as your biblical interpretation doesn't affect your christology, you're alright? And since reading Scripture is unlikely to affect a Catholic's theology, there's little concern.

PS: Now, he did this work at Harvard, presumably, but I was intrigued to see a book on Wisdom. My friend said on her blog that Enns taught a class called "Poetry & Wisdom" which I naturally took as a reference to genre, not to the deuterocanonical Book of Wisdom. I know Protestants get familiar with deuterocanonical books during formal education but I would expect it lumped together in one class. You know, a survey so as not to waste too much time on it. Like with the Fathers.

1 for its feminist themes, no doubt.

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I caught six ladybugs in the laundry room yesterday and let them out the backdoor.

I don't know how they're getting in. I would suppose the dryer vent but it looks pretty well sealed.

I can imagine worse infestations than ladybugs. At least they don't bite and they don't even really fly around much.

We used to have ants. Well, we still might, it's too early to tell. And it's early for ladybugs. I'm gonna have to keep my eye on this.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Here's an interview with Annabel on her conversion to the Catholic Church conducted on American Catholic radio.

The brief and delightful interview begins after the "Who Am I?" segment on St. Peter Canisius - oh, I gave away the riddle!

Have a listen.

UPDATED: Chris at Catholic Converts also has the story. Hey, Chris, my Catholic Converts Widget isn't working anymore!

via Story of My Life

I'm listening now to Michael Barber & Brant Pitre's talk about Jesus' descent into hell on Catholic Answers LIVE radio, aired Easter Monday, 3/24.

Coincidentally, after Annabel's interview, the first podcast continues with an attempt to explain the meaning of the Creed's "descent into hell" also.

via Singing in the Reign