Thursday, October 30, 2008

It's not that I'm trying to redeem October, Lord knows, but while I waited for my new tires, I read the only book I could find in my car, Wills's The Rosary.

Of The Visitation, he writes,
"Just as Elizabeth wonders that Mary 'should come to me,' John will wonder that Jesus 'should come to me' for baptism. The humility of Mary's approach to Elizabeth will be repeated in Jesus' humble approach to John at the river Jordan.

Mary is greeted as a victorious Jewish heroine by Elizabeth, who repeats the biblical greetings to Jael and Judith, women who slew enemies of Israel. Deborah proclaims at Judges 5.24: 'Blessed among women be Jael.' And Judith's father says: 'Blessed are you among all women on earth' (Judith 13.18). This is also like Moses' blessing on an observant Israel: 'Blessed is the fruit of your body' (Deuteronomy 28.4). Mary is an embodiment of the Christian people, of its triumph over death, so she sings a victory song based on the Hebrew canticles.

Augustine admonishes us that we cannot 'magnify' God, make him any greater than he is. All we can do is open our hearts to an increased awe and love, to take in more of that greatness, to 'hold him in awe' as Mary says.

Some scholars think the Magnificat was originally a Hebrew poem given a Christian use. But Fathers Brown and Fitzmyer think it is a Christian poem that Luke puts in Mary's mouth to show that the church speaks through her, its symbol and embodiment. Mary takes her place in the long line of Jewish women who heroically stood up for their people. We pray to her and with her, as and in the church that we and she are.
tags technorati :
Traditionally, right after a son has entered school, we buy him a new bed.

Chris started school later than his older brothers by about a year. Besides, there was the issue of the house remodel and spending on new furniture for the kitchen, family room and our bedroom. Now that's all over, except Jeff still needs office furniture.

So, on Monday, I browsed the furniture store that we've always used for the kids' bedroom stuff. The older boys who share a room have matching twin beds but I wasn't keen on getting another one of those. Even though they all three insist on me letting them share a bedroom together, I don't think that's ever going to happen again ... as it did during construction.

Just as well because that style of bed ("Roma") is no longer available.

They've improved design and these come with box springs. I'm not a fan of box springs for children's beds but they are low-profile so he ought to be able to get in and out alright. This one is called "Jonah" and I ordered it in the Coffee finish as seen here:

It is also available in white so if he and his sister still share a room in a year or two when she's ready for a bed, I can get the same style. Then, the idea is that the eldest will one day have his own bedroom, so he can use the Jonah and the other boys will share together the twin set.

Now on Monday the salesperson estimated delivery in 3 to 4 months. That seems about twice as long as usual but I said ok. Today when we actually ordered the thing, she said, "How does the end of December sound for delivery?" Terrible, I said, as we will probably be out of town. I really was counting on a Jan/Feb. delivery, you see. Well, whatever.

The other thing is that they were having a sale, 20% off all furniture. Great, right? But not on mattresses and box springs and, even though I haven't priced those things out recently, I'd say the store made up any furniture discount on what they charged for them! I probably should have agreed to go those items somewhere else for less.

And Chris understood when I told him the bed was too big to fit in my car, that a delivery truck would have to bring it.
The cost of four new tires was insane, roughly twice the price quoted me last week. Even $100 more than the price quoted this morning, at which time I approved the work. The service staffer said of today's quote, "That won't be the price," in a tone suggesting the price would be lower.

I broke the news to Jeff and felt bad about trusting the original estimate. I'm not sure why the shop can't price out tires accurately. Are values that fluid? I actually think that the service department staff lied to me, even in presenting that second quote. That's an incredible thing for me to say. It's incredible that a shop I've done business with for eight years would be less than meticulous in their quotes.

Then again, this is the same dealership that doctored a carfax report.

I almost said to the guy as he rung up the charge, "What am I going to tell my husband?" Might he himself be the sort of guy who'd chew out his wife for something like this, not demanding an accurate quote?

The guy showed me that two years ago I pay just $300 less for four new tires. Just two years ago?! Jeff thought these were the original tires. The guy said I got about 42,000 miles on these tires. 42,000 miles in two years?! 400 miles a week?! I drive that much? Where am I going?! I know this: I get 250 miles on a tank of gas and I fill up twice a week, one day earlier each time. 16 miles per gallon. But I hardly ever leave the county.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Jeff said he was a Phillies fan in 1980, my "year of watching television" - MTV, the Royal Wedding and the KC Royals.

(I got to be a "Royal" when I grew up.)

But I sure didn't know how to pick 'em then.1 And I picked TB this time. Mea culpa.

1 To this day, I remember George Brett and his hemorrhoids.
Editorial Cartoonists Review Election '08 - NPR Morning Edition, 10/28/08:
And both are worried that a victory for Obama could mean hard times for cartoonists.

"He's just going to be very difficult to mock," Luckovich said.

"It's going to be the end of cartooning as we know it," Peters said.

"But maybe Biden will take up the slack," Luckovich said.
I remember Mike Peters from when I used to read the Dayton Daily News.
Kenny is just getting into Harry Potter, so Dawkins might be too late to save him ...

Harry Potter fails to cast spell over Professor Richard Dawkins - Telegraph, 10/25/08:
"I think looking back to my own childhood, the fact that so many of the stories I read allowed the possibility of frogs turning into princes, whether that has a sort of insidious affect on rationality, I'm not sure. Perhaps it's something for research."
A sort of insidious affect on rationality?

In the case of Professor Dawkins, such stories clearly did.
via Kim at Hiraeth:

I'm somewhat ashamed to say that I have this one in leather and hardcover, both bought from WTS Bookstore during the summers of '05 and '07, respectively. I also have Sproul's RSB in the NKJV, put out by Nelson, bought sometime before that.

I don't know how the notes compare with those of Crossway's ESV Study Bible but it would seem that Sproul isn't interested in competing.

This might be a good opportunity for a church to switch their pew Bible to the ESV, 'though churches don't tend to stock full-blown study editions in their pews. Such a decision may not be entirely expense-dependent either.

Many times I've lamented that I'm not in a study at the moment based on the ESV. And clearly, I need another one of these like a hole in my head. But isn't it hard to pass up a good deal? One can always use his notes for insight into how the other side thinks. That is, exploring contrasts fosters more complete understanding. Protestant catechisms deal in rhetoric juxtaposition all the time: Here's the Catholic view ... and here's the biblical view ... You get the idea.

Link to offer.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Finishing a soup, Daddy-style:

Yet, somehow, teaching her to wipe her mouth on her shirt is uncouth.

Oh, and waiter, there's a hair in my soup!

tags technorati :
Can you see the snow flurries in this picture?!

Not enough to cover the brown grass. Or much of anything else.

I'm scheduled to get all new tires on my car tomorrow. Good thing because weather likes this has me really worried about traction.
This week's Catholic Carnival is up.
Tied for fifth.

An alum of the school he founded, I know who Millard Fillmore is.

UPDATED: ah, I'm not the only one. I knew there was a Western New Yorker at "the Tavern."

Sunday, October 26, 2008

And everybody's a'right with this?!

Boards OK ads at 6 schools - Asbury Park Press, 10/26/08:
During the summer, the Holmdel, Red Bank Regional, Old Bridge, Monroe and Middletown districts inked deals with the Belford-based company, which acts as a liaison between the districts and companies interested in placing ads on high school property.

CMA has already been able to secure several sponsors, such as High Point Insurance, Brookdale Community College and AAA.

The project is well under way — ads have already gone up in Red Bank Regional and Holmdel high schools, and signs for the two Middletown high schools are expected to be up Nov. 5. Most of the ads go in common areas of schools and are targeted at students.
Kevin Smith's "Porno" a dream come true for actor Seth Rogen - Asbury Park Press, 10/26/08:
While in high school, Rogen became a fan of Smith's work after friends recommended he see the Monmouth County native's first film, 1994's "Clerks," which was shot in Middletown.

What excited Rogen immediately when he first saw "Clerks" was that "the guys really talked how we talked to one another. This guy just actually did it. He made a movie about guys like us."

"It was like crazy synergy, and everything crystallized in that moment where I was like, "I want to work with this guy,' " Smith explained via phone. "So I started writing for him, thinking of writing this dude a lead — he's a co-star right now, but I'm going to write him a lead. He'll become very well-known and famous, and then he'll owe me forever."

"I was like, "Clearly I missed my window. Now, this dude is super-famous,' " Smith said, suggesting he thought the actor would never consider starring in the movie after such breakout success.

Luckily for Smith, Rogen had been dreaming about working with him since seeing "Clerks" as a teenager, and after reading the script, the flattered actor immediately agreed to star.

"It just proves "Clerks' is the gift that just keeps on giving," Smith acknowledged.
Ugh, I heard about this at Millstone Day in late September from a friend and fellow Millstoner ...

Millstone arts center opener gets rave reviews - Examiner, 10/02/08:
Fabulous! Wonderful! Fantastic! Those were some of the adjectives community members used to describe the Sept. 20 production of "One Night on Broadway" at the Millstone Performing Arts Center (MPAC).

Donahue said she did not yet know the revenue that the event generated.

Foley said many people at Millstone Day told him that the event was good for bringing the arts into the community.

"One Night on Broadway" was the school district's first professional production at the MPAC, which is located in the township's new middle school and has professional-quality staging, lighting and sound.

The program for the event noted that the Millstone Township School District wants the MPAC to act as a conservatory of the performing and visual arts for the Millstone Township community.
Your tax dollars at work play.

Meanwhile ...

Some NJASK scores down in Millstone - Examiner, 10/02/08:
Millstone third-graders, of which 169 students took the test this year, scored equal to or slightly above other students in the "I" District Factor Group (DFG) in the language arts, math and science sections of the test.

The state Department of Education's DFGs, which range from "A" to "J," reflect a community's socioeconomic status. Other "I" districts include Colts Neck, Holmdel, Marlboro, and Fair Haven.
Let's hope the economy killed this news ...

Millstone may get more mini golf - Examiner, 10/02/08:
Visitors to Great Adventure and the Route 537 corridor may soon be able to play a round of miniature golf.

The proposed golf course would be a putting course and would not have windmills, clown faces, or loop-de-loops, he said. The course would have waterfalls and be handicapped-accessible, he said.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Former Luchento's owner honored - Examiner, 10/23/08:
In 1989, Luchento stopped driving and concentrated on training horses and opened Luchento's Country Italian Restaurant on Route 33 in Millstone, which is within walking distance to the training centers at Gaitway and Showplace farms. Luchento's Restaurant thrived under the management of the Luchento family for 17 years and was sold in September 2008.
I had lunch there a few weeks ago with friends, not knowing it had been sold until just before. Now, it's your typical Italian restaurant - the cajun and creole menu is gone. There's one on every corner in New Jersey, like churches in Florida.

I got a sense that the new owners were working on bringing back some of the more popular dishes. Jeff always got Steak Arturo and I got the Farfalle Dasaro.

Restaurant review.
"Rain in Philly threatens Game 3 of World Series."
I bought her fall wardrobe a week ago at the Outlet ... usually last year's fashion ...

Feds warn Carter's baby clothes may cause rash -, 10/24/08.

But in this photo, she's wearing her big brother's (clean!) underwear on her head. Not Carter's, Lands End.

Ella was "helping" me fold clothes.

Is that a face for a veil or what?
This chapter of Isaiah blew me away this morning; it's great, especially verses 6 & 7:
"Is this not the fast which I choose,
To loosen the bonds of wickedness,
To undo the bands of the yoke,
And to let the oppressed go free
And break every yoke?
"Is it not to divide your bread with the hungry
And bring the homeless poor into the house;
When you see the naked, to cover him;
And not to hide yourself from your own flesh?
And, oh, why can't the church be more like this, verses 8 & 9a:
Then your light will break out like the dawn,
And your recovery will speedily spring forth;
And your righteousness will go before you;
The glory of the LORD will be your rear guard.
"Then you will call, and the LORD will answer;
You will cry, and He will say, 'Here I am '

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Alright, another review; BHT is a wealth, aren't they ...

The ESV Study Bible: A Confessional Lutheran Response - Cyberbrethren: A Lutheran Blog, 10/15/08:
While the ESV Study Bible will, no doubt, serve well as a reference resource, it certainly can not, due to its very serious theological flaws, serve as the study Bible of choice for Lutheran Christians interested in a study Bible that is genuinely faithful to the whole counsel of God and to those truths as properly set forth in the Lutheran Confessions.

The ESV Study Bible does not properly distinguish between Law and Gospel.

However, there is a Reformed emphasis on covenant theology. The article stalls when it states, “The OT is thus the story of the one true Creator God, who called the family of Abraham to be his remedy for the defilement that came into the world through the sin of Adam and Eve” (p. 30). Israel rather than Christ remains the focus of the article. So, salvation is described as sanitation rather than justification.

Many of the notes on Messianic prophecies are hesitant to affirm that Jesus is the undisputed fulfillment of OT expectations and that the NT interpretation of the passages is normative.

They would also affirm that the NT is the normative interpretation of the OT. But by leaving readers in the realm of opinion, the notes leave as an open question whether or not the NT writers were correct, and whether the OT was in fact fulfilled by Christ.

Rm 11:26. A dispensational view is asserted.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

I picked up Borg's Reading the Bible Again for the First Time again last week after not reading it (Borg, not the Bible) for a while. And then I stumbled across this recent interview ... or conversation. Silly me, I keep thinking Borg's already dead.

I'm glad to see him get some recognition.

It would be nice to see that whole Jesus Seminar gets its due as well. What a pity, 'though that the interviewer talks too much. Just cover your ears when he talks and you'll get through it.

But the sound quality of the interview is really very good. Easy to listen to.

via BHT.
Timmy - "Teacher's Pet"

original doc
This Chinese fortune came to me with such a visual ...
Early bird gets the worm, but the second mouse gets the cheese.
This one doesn't seem as weak as her usual stuff but it still seems weak in places to me:

Intrinsic Evil and Political Responsibility - America, 10/27/08:
Like the use of the clearly prophetic word “infamies” in the “Pastoral Constitution on the Church in the Modern World,” the prophetic use of the term “intrinsic evil” is meant to start an urgent discussion among people of good will about grave injustices in the world. It does not provide a detailed blueprint for action. Identifying infamies is one thing. Deciding upon a strategy to deal with them is something else again. For many pro-life Catholics, the issue of voting and abortion comes down to this: what does one do if one thinks that the candidate more likely to reduce the actual incidence of abortion is also the one more committed to keeping it legal? The language of intrinsic evil does not help us here. Only the virtue of practical wisdom, enlightened by charity, can take us further.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Foreclosure crisis hits Monmouth - Examiner, 10/16/08:
The towns with the highest number of foreclosures thus far this year are Howell, Manalapan, Freehold, Long Branch, Asbury Park, Keyport and Union Beach.

Locally, Millstone has six 2008 foreclosures, according to the sheriff's office.

Realty Trac ... lists 31 properties in Millstone as being in pre-foreclosure.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The reviews are pouring in ...
I’ve spent a total of two minutes looking at the ESVSB and already I see evidence of an anti-NPP attitude :-)
Say it ain't so!

I checked a bookstore but didn't see any on the shelves.

However, I noticed the third edition of an old favorite for the first time, already several years old! I used the second edition in grad school. The names associated with the third edition are all very compelling to me. Plus, an endorsement from Fr. Greeley, my favorite sociologist!
"I know of no other annotated Bible that is as rich as The New Oxford in both the precision of its textual notes and the clarity and helpfulness of its introductions. It will be an extraordinarily useful edition to have on one's library shelf."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Does it count if I've never, ever seen the show?!

Find out what heroes character are you at!

via "Annabel"
In a video series on Isaiah recorded last year, Bible teacher Kay Arthur insinuated that, in light of Isaiah 3:12, the candidacy of Hillary Clinton clearly indicates America's moral decline and God's judgment.

For most evangelicals, it's idolatry to equate America with the People of God, but the theological chameleon Arthur carves a niche for herself with this unique position.

I wonder what Arthur makes of Sarah Palin's selection. Did she never expect the Republicans to choose a woman? Or would Arthur now be forced to consistency?
David Gibson asks, "Can you deny a bishop communion?"

The answer, of course, is YES! However, since this African bishop won't actually be voting this November and is simply speaking hypothetically, Gibson's question is clearly rhetorical.

Anyway, read the piece as it's refreshing to get the perspective of someone who isn't rooted (mired?) in the American Christian milieu.

I have to say, I had lunch with a South African friend today who recently moved to TN and, despite our many differences - especially theologically- I always felt like she accepted me. In the years I'd known her, she never seemed susceptible to all that emotional baggage American Christians typically carry around.
Cross-posted to Facebook ...

When I get to the point of cross-posting everything,
I'm gonna have to pick a venue ...

True, 'though, right?

And I bet Jeff is that "hot sauce personality" ... rhown.

You Are Mayonnaise

You tend to be a very quiet, introverted person.

You're happy to sit back and let stronger personalities shine.

You value loyalty and harmony. You try to bring people together.

Your taste in food leans toward simple comfort foods.

You love holiday meals as well as old school favorites like mac and cheese.

You get along with mustard and ketchup personalities. You have an unlikely alliance with hot sauce personalities.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Unusual story ...

Life after the decision to die - Examiner, 10/9/08:
Erving didn't know where the organs came from until he turned on the evening news.

Jason Ray, 21, of Concord, N.C., was struck by a vehicle on Route 4 in Fort Lee March 23, 2007, while returning to the Fort Lee Hilton from a gas station

The donations went to 140 people and saved four New Jersey men's lives,

As a result of Ray's generosity, Erving lives.

"This really changed my life," he said. "I'm not tied down to dialysis. I can do what I want. I can go on vacation."

Erving now regularly helps a friend with his business and attends NASCAR and New Egypt Speedway events. He also built the shed he lives in behind his family's house in Millstone.

In helping more people realize the benefits of organ donations, Erving partnered with Vesuvio Pizza in Millstone to create bumper stickers.
Pumpkin picking ...

More pictures at Flickr.
"Greed is Good" ... Stocks surge, CNN, 10/13/08:
Stocks rallied Monday afternoon, with the Dow up over 600 points during the session, as investors bet that the worst of the credit crisis is over, following a series of global initiatives announced over the last few days.
Sancta Maria, Mater Dei, ora pro nobis.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Oh, nothing - except that nothing's worth anything any more! Vera, Auntie Mame
Truth be told, even though my degree's in business, most of my knowledge about economics and finance comes straight from It's a Wonderful Life:
But he did help a few people get out of your slums, Mr. Potter. And what's wrong with that?

Why . . . Here, you're all businessmen here. Doesn't it make them better citizens? Doesn't it make them better customers?

You . . . you said . . . What'd you say just a minute ago? . . . They had to wait and save their money before they even ought to think of a decent home. Wait! Wait for what? Until their children grow up and leave them? Until they're so old and broken-down that they . . . Do you know how long it takes a working man to save five thousand dollars?

Just remember this, Mr. Potter, that this rabble you're talking about . . . they do most of the working and paying and living and dying in this community. Well, is it too much to have them work and pay and live and die in a couple of decent rooms and a bath?

Anyway, my father didn't think so. People were human beings to him, but to you, a warped, frustrated old man, they're cattle. Well, in my book he died a much richer man than you'll ever be!
But, I gotta say that this AP story that I found in an online issue of Newsweek and that appeared in my Sunday paper (Asbury Park Press) ... uh, I hope to God there aren't investors to whom this stuff is news!

All that Money You've Lost -- Where Did it Go?:
The notion that you lose a pile of money whenever the stock market tanks is a "fallacy."
But something is different this time around:
"If you had it all in financial stocks and they've all gone down by 80 percent—sorry! That is a permanent loss because those folks aren't coming back."
Debt clock draws confused looks, anger or nothing - Asbury Park Press, 10/12/08:
it recently ran out of digits to display the ballooning figure: $10,150,603,734,720, or roughly $10.2 trillion, as of Saturday afternoon.

The current clock had enough digits to measure the amount of money owed by the U.S. government until debt recently hit $10 trillion.

"It's a shame," the 60-year-old Manasquan, N.J., restaurant manager said, anger and disbelief in her face. "It's an absolute outrage. It may be the end of the United States as we know it today. We haven't seen the worst of it. Everybody should stop and look at this clock. It affects all of us. I'm worried."
Thousands attend Barnegat Lighthouse sesquicentennial - Asbury Park Press, 10/12/08:
To commemorate the lighthouse's sesquicentennial anniversary, it will be relighted on Jan. 1 for the first time since it was decommissioned in 1927. A new $15,000 light is en route from New Zealand and was paid for by donations.
My pictures of Ol' Barney on New Year's Eve, 2003 at Flickr.
If you're in the neighborhood Wednesday ...

I'll probably attend. Even though I don't think he can effectively speculate what St. Paul might write to St. Greg's congregation. I don't think he knows the parish well enough. It's changed a lot in the years since Fr. Rich left, but even now, it bears the closest resemblance to the Philippi Paul knew.
Central Jersey Pop Warner cheerleaders bring it on! - Asbury Park Press, 10/12/08:
Millstone Eagles Junior Pee Wee Small/Novice, Pee Wee Small/Novice, Midget Small/Novice; and Allentown Central Redbirds Midget Large/Intermediate, all walked away with first place.

State winners have the opportunity to compete at the Pop Warner National Cheer and Dance Championships, to be held in Florida during the first week of December.

Three Millstone divisions placed and went on to compete in the Florida national competition last December: Junior Midget Small/Novice, Pee Wee Small/Novice and Junior Pee Wee Large/Novice.
Tim noticed a girl at church last Sunday wearing her uniform. They left during communion and he asked why they were leaving. I said that, since she had a uniform on, they probably had to go someplace related to that. I tried to be matter-of-fact without allowing a judgmental tone in my voice even though, of course, my priorities are different.

My neighbor's daughter was interested in cheerleading but the commitment is a couple of hours every day. Obviously, it's for girls who really want to be successful at it. So, it's good for the girls who can make the commitment to achieve such profound success. However it must be acknowledged that girls who aren't as committed are effectively excluded altogether.
Trying to look scary ...

This is the one who has been charming us with his rendition of The Carpenters' Sing (a Song), performed in his soft Jersey accent:
Don't worry that it's not good enough for anyone else but me, just sing, sing a song!
We melt. I gotta get it on video.

I bought him a Little Tyke digital camera for his birthday, so he leaves mine alone. I still owe him a birthday cake from last weekend. We're combining his party with Dad's today.

Jeff put a free Flickr picture uploaded into my iPhoto program and it works great. Really. So, I've got my repaired camera, a photo uploader ... I'm all set to make this Macbook work for me. I've been on it exclusively for a week now.

If Jeff'd just install Office ...
So, Jim Morrison was right? ...

Like a second opinion? "The clear thrust of all Jesus’ teaching in the Gospels is that prayer can and does change things. "

I should have pre-ordered because now I'm too poor to even think about buying one.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

O-A stuns Pembroke in final seconds - The Batavian, 10/10/08:
The coaching staff initially wanted to kick the extra point and go into overtime, especially with Smith getting banged up on the touchdown run. But the O-A players made the call to go for two, and coach John Dowd let his players decide if they were going to win the Genesee Region League championship outright on a two-point conversion.

The win means Oakfield-Alabama is now 6-0 and is league champions. Pembroke falls to 5-1.

With Le Roy's victory over Caledonia-Mumford tonight, O-A is still the No. 2 seed in Class C and Pembroke is at No. 3.
via OACS Alumni forums
Sales of Home Safes Climb Amid Financial Turmoil - NPR, 10/11/08:
Since its birth during the Great Depression, the Rochester, N.Y., company has seen sales increase during times of trouble.

Brush says he can't prove it, but he thinks it's fairly obvious the recent spike in sales is due to people's losing faith in banks.

Sandra McFarlane, who heads up marketing for Sentry, says a safe is a more secure place for cash than a mattress or a cookie jar. But she's hoping all these new safe buyers aren't putting their life savings inside.

"We see ourselves as offering protection for valuables to give peace of mind in uncertain times," McFarlane says.

Sentry markets its safes as protection from a short list of what it calls perils. Banks are not among them.
Last night on O'Reilly, Frank Luntz recommended without rationale having a year's worth of expenses on hand. That's an increase from three months' worth and six months' worth to a solid year.

It's probably good advice but, even bare bones, that could be a ton of money for a family of six, right?
"Can I just ask, with reference to your second point, when you say souls don't develop because people become distracted ... has anyone noticed that building there before?!" Meaning of Life
Issue percolating at synod: How free is Bible from error? - National Catholic Reporter, 10/08/08:
Some exegetes saw in the phrase “for the sake of our salvation” a warrant for restricted inerrancy, though that interpretation was rejected by German Cardinal Augustin Bea, who was involved in the drafting of Dei Verbum.

In his 1967 book The Word of God and Mankind, Bea wrote that the language of Dei Verbum “explains God’s purpose in causing the scriptures to be written, and not the nature of the truth enshrined therein.”
So, last Friday, the painter who faux'd our family room added her touch to the range hood's wood surface:

The goal was to make the hood look metallic, like a burnished copper.

There is a little plaster layered in, so the finish has some texture. It's darker than the cabinets but nearly the same color as the curtains. Tones down the amount of yellow in the kitchen.

I like it and I'm glad she could do it for us last week.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Mea culpa in advance ... but this is such a cute story:

DNA test proves it -- baby shark has no father -, 10/10/08:
Scientists have confirmed the second case of a "virgin birth" in a shark.

The first documented case of asexual reproduction, or parthenogenesis,1 among sharks involved a pup born to a hammerhead at an Omaha, Nebraska, zoo.

"This first case was no fluke," Demian Chapman, a shark scientist and lead author of the second study, said in a statement. "It is quite possible that this is something female sharks of many species can do on occasion."
Jeff is fond of calling those fish symbols on cars "sharks" due to their aggressive maneuvering in traffic. Last night he joked that, somehow by year's end, we have to come up with another child tax credit to avoid the worst of Obama's tax plan.

Sure, I'd love to but couldn't we simply make a sufficient donation to charity instead? There are only a handful of Catholics who think Jesus was conceived on 12/8 and born on 12/25 ... making babies takes longer than we have.

1 Which, I guess if you know some biblical Gk, is literally "virgin birth."

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

I wasn't really paying attention but at the end of April, Fidelity moved all my 401(k) money from my chosen funds to AT&T US Stock Fund.

I can't remember why.

Maybe it had something to do with SBC's acquisition of AT&T. Jeff would know because the same thing was done with his account. I just haven't asked him.

However, I do need to set down after things calm down ... in a year or two ... and transfer what little is left, if anything, to some more aggressive funds. Not that this fund is a particularly bad fund ... it's way down now but it's had a decent return since inception in '94. I'll probably leave some money in it.

But I don't like having all my money, or what's left of it, in one fund.

tags technorati :

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

I handed her one whose ribbon marked the chapter but ... it didnt.

She flipped open to Haggai ... and the end of Zephaniah. Oops, hangover from the weekend!

I quickly thumbed back to Daniel for her, muttering the still mystifying fact that it's sandwiched after the major prophets and before the Twelve.

She volunteered to begin reading aloud and I spied her finger poised just above 2:1 in the footnotes! I corrected her.

OK, a Bible page can be puzzling, what with the footnotes and the cross references. But, come on! This isn't a page from the Talmud or anything! How little experience has she that she can't distinguish the inspired text from a scholar's footnote!

She said something valiant like, "Oh, don't help me, I need to find these things myself."

So, yeah, anyway, she was on her own for all the New Testament verses we referenced. Though when we were about to look up a big set of 'em, she conveniently went to the john.
Helping street people - "Question Corner," Fr. John Dietzen:
Q. When walking around our city we can’t help running into street people asking for money. I want to help them, but I believe that Catholic Charities and the Salvation Army know who is deserving and what’s best for them. I pray for the homeless and hungry here in the U.S. and around the world. I strongly want to help them, but are we doing these folks a disservice by not steering them to groups that can help them a lifetime, instead of our helping them a day?

A. A basic principle of Christian spirituality is that any graces God gives us are to be used, acted upon, not saved up for a more ideal situation that better fits our perspective and criteria. The opportunity to assist others in need, to welcome them and open ourselves to them, is such a grace.

When grace-filled invitations present themselves, therefore, it’s not wise to tell God this isn’t exactly what we had in mind. Our responsibility is to do the best we can, and not wait for something better or more worthy of our attention. If there is a next time, and there may not be, the grace and calling to do what God wishes us to do will be there when the time comes.

If we’re determined to be “safe” in what we give, probably not many chances will come our way. It’s usually hard, often impossible, to know for sure where our help “will do the most good.” Even charitable and missionary organizations cannot guarantee everything will be perfect, that only “deserving” people (whatever that means) will benefit from our gifts.

Jesus does not ask or allow us to sit in judgment of the lives of those who ask for our help. Maybe some of the desperate and destitute people who come to us need a bit of wine more than they need other things.

Monday, October 06, 2008

While I was away, Jeff migrated my email from the desktop to the laptop that I received this past Mother's Day. So, it seems that I am finally off the desktop ... I don't think I can jump back and forth.

The desktop is powered down presently and I don't know whether he'll reload it or upgrade it to Leopard or what. I do want the kids to all have a computer they could use and we have enough old ones laying around that he could set up for them.

My digital camera broke at our last beach visit but Jeff had an extended warranty on it. So, Best Buy sent it out for repair; I was a couple of weeks without a camera. But it came back repaired and now I need to get the laptop's iPhoto fitted with that flickr uploader.

So, I don't feel as if I'm limping along but there are things that I'd like to do ... and don't know how or simply can't yet.

tags technorati :

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Exiting the PA Turnpike, it wasn't lost on me that my choices were Doylestown and Willow Grove.

I'm in EWTN Radio land, I realized.

But my GPS, preprogrammed for my weekend destination, directed me left.

I arrived at 3 on Friday ... that wasn't lost on me either. And I saw this bumper sticker as I made my way from the parking lot to the sanctuary.

So that's how it is 'round here, eh?

What would MADD say?

Pennsylvanians honk their horns more than we do in Western Monmouth County, New Jersey. That fact unsettled me, even if I was the target only the one time.

Jeff said New Jerseyans know the honk does nothing, so they don't bother.

Chris on his birthday, feast of St. Francis Assisi.

Not a bad tune to have swirling around my head right now ... Nettleton, Wyeth's Repository of Sacred Music, Part II.

We sang it this morning with different lyrics1, but I'm scanning iTunes for a version I can stand listen to.

Accepting recommendations ... as I'm leaning towards the Mormon Tabernacle Choir or the Maranatha! Singers.

1 God, We Praise You based on Te Deum Laudamus.
cf. Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing - Wiki
Here's my presentation on Zephaniah 2 from Saturday morning ... I'm sure you've all been waiting with bated breath ...

My audience is Christian men and women, familiar with the Bible but not necessarily with the minor prophets.

The central idea of this chapter is the LORD's expectation that not only will his chosen people live according to his commands, as we saw in chapter 1, but that surrounding nations will also live morally. And be likewise judged when they don't.

Let's go through the text and see how this idea is supported.

The beginning part of the chapter seems an unfortunate division with the previous chapter; it is a continuation of Zephaniah's message to Judah. The people were often encouraged by prophets to assemble to hear the word of the LORD but in this case, their gathering in verse 1 is for the sake of their destruction. They will burn and burn quickly in the heat of the LORD's anger. They are the shameful nation.

However, the humble - meaning the poor, not the elite of chapter 1, have the possibility though not the guarantee of being spared. Beginning in verse 4, the focus shifts to the coastland, Philistia. Four of the five cities of Philistia are listed. The fifth, Gath, was presumably already destroyed in the 8th century BCE or otherwise does not fit into the small chiasm in the Hebrew text.

I asked myself, "Who has abandoned these cities?" and the answer seemed to be that the LORD had abandoned them. My commentary concurred. The cities are described as women suffering various humiliations: a bride jilted at the altar, a barren woman deserted, a divorced woman driven away. The wife metaphor is very familar in the prophets for Israel and Judah but it's novel to employ it for Philistia. It suggests God's desire to have a covenant relationship with Gentiles that we see fulfilled in the coming of Christ.

Skipping down to verse 8, the words that are spoken by Gentiles to God's people make their way to God - God hears them as if they were spoken directly to Him. The intimacy expressed here between God and His people reminded me of Matthew 25 where Jesus says what you did to the least of my people, you did to me and what you didn't do for them, you didn't do for me.

Saving the best for last is the oracle against Assyria. When Nineveh fell in 612 BCE, it was a city with a dry moat and packed dirt walls. The Babylonians blocked up the river, I think it was the Tigris. Building up a wall of water that they released. It flowed down the dry river bed, up over the banks of the dry moat and crumbled and dissolved Nineveh's dirt walls.

So, in verse 13, if you know this history, Nineveh goes from a wet destruction to a dry desolation.

Think how blessed we are that through God's grace, he addresses his people in prophecy before judgment. I used to think, "This isn't a mercy the Gentiles receive." But this text shows they do, and as the first few chapters of St. Paul's letter to the Romans makes clear: they are without excuse.

In summary, the implication of this text for us is that we can't allow a double-standard of ethical behavior for believers and non-believers. God is savior and judge of all peoples.

The feedback from the listeners was largely positive but the fact that the presentation lacked application is accurate ... and typical for me even in personal Bible study. I just have this mystical notion that merely reading the words of God prayerfully will change my heart. I guess it isn't that simple.

The study group leader questioned the wife metaphor language in verses 4 and 5. I told her that I got the idea from Adele Berlin's Anchor Bible commentary. She had heard of her and admitted that she is a first-rate Jewish scholar ... which is true ... but that she'd have to look again at the Hebrew to verify. I knew that I should have brought my Tanakh but, as it was, my suitcase was practically lined with Bibles.

Then she asked where I got the historical background for the destruction of Nineveh and I told her that I had heard the description of the destruction from Lawrence Boadt on a couple of occasions - it is a favorite story of his to tell. And certainly vivid and memorable. Everyone agreed about that.

Before my presentation, I read the chapter aloud to the group from the New American Bible ... because it's the translation that I used first and most of my ideas came while reading in that translation. But I also read the NIV as I prepared. And the Anchor Bible commentary includes the author's translation. We were supposed to read the passage in a number of translations.

The study group leader had a concern about how the NAB translates verse 5. She thinks Cretans is all wrong, preferring Cherethites. Though I didn't say so, my first thought was, "Yeah but Cretans is much easier to pronounce!" I at least did manage to tell her that a revised OT is due out in February that may correct such things. Truthfully, it really can't be assumed that the NAB uses the MT exclusively. Considering this study group leader's background, I was surprised that she was familiar with neither the NAB nor Lawrence Boadt, not even by name. I find that disgraceful, actually.

The presentation was supposed to be five minutes but I gave this in about three and a half. For 9 o'clock on a Saturday morning with a full day of learning ahead of us, my brevity was almost certainly appreciated. The real point is to give enough substance to be evaluated. And what's the point of preparing too much to present in the alloted time? That happened to several other presenters: they barely got started when their time expired. Then they defended themselves against the critiques saying, "I had that in my presentation but just didn't get to it!"

A gal from Texas also presented on Zephaniah 2 after me. The study group leader said that we both omitted any discussion of the verses that say the LORD will give the nations' lands to the remnant. I saw those verses as I prepared and couldn't make sense of them ... or didn't want to make sense of them. It seemed like wishful thinking on the part of Zephaniah. I don't see that promise fulfilled in history (yet). It just really seemed like a redaction to me - something alien to the main point - and I couldn't make it fit into my presentation. mea culpa.

I said above that I brought a number of Bibles with me (but still not enough) and the reason is that I couldn't be sure which would be appropriate. I brought my NIV with the Standards in the appendix, and Sproul's ESV. The NIV was useful for the plenary sessions and reference was even made during one talk to the WLC, question 90. So I was able to follow along. And at least one woman read from the ESV during her presentation. The "mystery passage" also came from the ESV. More on that in another post. The group study leader said that ESV were distributed at Westminster when she was there but she doesn't really care for it as much as the NASB. I didn't have an NASB with me. Neither did I have a CEV which another lady read from. I have that only in NT anyway. She printed it out from Bible Gateway but nobody else had ever heard of it! It used to be used in children's liturgy ... I think it still is. I used to give a CEV NT to my fourth graders when I was teaching and we would do some work in it. That's why I have CEV NTs laying around, leftovers.

I hope to have more posts about this experience up in the coming days ... as positive posts as I can manage ...
Pope kicks off 7-day marathon Bible reading - Yahoo! news, 10/5/08:
In the next seven days and six nights, more than 1,200 people will read from the Bible until all 73 books of the Catholic edition is finished.

Rome's chief rabbi, Riccardo di Segni, had originally agreed to read immediately after the pope but pulled out of the event last month, saying it had become "too Catholic."
Ya think?
Justices attend Red Mass before new term - AP News, 10/5/08:
Four of the five Roman Catholics on the high court — Chief Justice John Roberts and Justices Antonin Scalia, Anthony Kennedy and Clarence Thomas — came to worship at the Cathedral of St. Matthew the Apostle; the fifth, Justice Samuel Alito, did not attend. They were joined by Justice Stephen Breyer, who is Jewish.

Friday, October 03, 2008

During the Isaiah study Thursday morning, reading chapters 44 and 45 and dating them to about 740 BCE, one participant uttered in a squeaky voice,
"Isaiah mentions Cyrus by name 150 years before he's born!"
Shocked, I thought to myself, "Wow, people believe this."

How about, let's talk about Isaiah calling Cyrus "the Messiah ..."

Dating of prophetic writings is a factor in the Daniel study as well: a participant who just completed the Kerygma program at her PCUSA church, brought and referenced her study materials, letting us all know that Daniel was written in the second century BCE.

Shocked again, I thought, "Wow, someone here believes this!"

But, the PCA leader immediately pointed out all the implications a late date brings to any divinely-inspired text purporting to predict future events.

I've learned how to suspend disbelieve for the sake of the study ... and for those in the study. But, at the same time, I don't want anyone who thinks differently from the majority to feel uncomfortable ... or, God forbid, wrong.

So, I tried to let her know that I also date the book late - and that there is still stuff to be learned regardless. Amen?
Jim mentioned the rewording of the adult catechism this evening as we discussed Romans. Since Matt and I had just discussed this a little, I had a head-start on it.

Dominus Iesus says:
With respect to the way in which the salvific grace of God — which is always given by means of Christ in the Spirit and has a mysterious relationship to the Church — comes to individual non-Christians, the Second Vatican Council limited itself to the statement that God bestows it “in ways known to himself”. [paragraph 21]
The footnote references paragraph 7 of AG and calls such people "inculpably ignorant."

Then, there's paragraph 16 of LG.

And some cherry-picked verses from Romans 11 [KJV]:
I say then, Have they stumbled that they should fall? God forbid: but rather through their fall salvation is come unto the Gentiles, for to provoke them to jealousy.

For if the casting away of them be the reconciling of the world, what shall the receiving of them be, but life from the dead?

For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in.

And so all Israel shall be saved ...

For this is my covenant unto them, when I shall take away their sins.

As concerning the gospel, they are enemies for your sakes: but as touching the election, they are beloved for the father's sakes.

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

For as ye in times past have not believed God, yet have now obtained mercy through their unbelief:

Even so have these also now not believed, that through your mercy they also may obtain mercy.

For God hath concluded them all in unbelief, that he might have mercy upon all.
In the Isaiah study today, I read 45:17 - "But Israel is saved by the LORD with everlasting salvation;"

Bill was rather put off by the description of God "handing them over" or "delivering them" to depravity. Jim read from Fitzmyer's comment on 1:24 which I have here and can cite, page 284:
"Although God's wrath will manifest itself definitively at the eschatological judgment, it is already revealing itself in human history. God does not allow the impious pagan to prosper; he gives human beings up to their sin, withdrawing his blessing and allowing moral degradation to pursue its course in sin that disgraces humanity ...

The rhetorical triple use of paredoken (see also vv 26, 28) ... shifts the discussion from the question of guilt to that of punishment or fate. Each example intensified the punishment. He seeks thereby to establish an intrinsic connection between sin and punishment; impiety brings its own retribution (see Wisdom 11:15-16).
Then Fr. Fitzmyer quotes Kasemann, "Paul paradoxically reverses the cause and the consequence: Moral perversion is the result of God's wrath, not the reason for it."

We aren't done with Romans. We'll do chapters 1-8 next time.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Here's an association I just don't get, this:Taken from this.

But they give credit:

And, yeah, it's the birthday boy!

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Vatican newspaper says crisis shows failure of "new economy" - Catholic News Service, 9/24/08:
The U.S. financial meltdown has been blamed on "the greed of managers and lack of regulations. But curiously, no one ever refers to the indirect responsibility of the government's economic policy" which, he wrote, tried to cover the lack of any real economic development with a booming Wall Street.

"In order to maintain this sham GNP, the banks financed things that were not guaranteed" and that should not have been financed, like the subprime loans, it said. Financial institutions created an "economic growth out of debt and, therefore, (created something) very risky," it added.
And this makes me sick:
David Rothkopf, who headed the International Trade Administration under President Clinton, says all three Latin American presidents can now cite U.S. government intervention in the economy to justify their policies.

"And you know, in the past, the United States has been able to say, well you know, 'Don't do that, look at how prosperous we are, and we would never do that.' But in the wake of the effective nationalization of Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, AIG, we have now intervened more in our financial markets than a lot of those countries have," he says.