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Showing posts from May, 2012

The Future of Israel in the Bible

Laidlaw college has recently hosted a dialogue/debate on the the subject and kindly provided the videos,

This is Richard Neville, who argues the Bible teaches that the nation of Israel will be restored, he focuses on Ezekiel and a little on the NT understanding.

And this is Stephen Sizer, who argues against Christian Zionism and for a more inclusive understanding of the who "god's people" are. He starts off by focusing on the Left Behind video game, but does get to the Bible soon enough.

Let me know what you think. :-)

brick-a-brack 240512

Yes this really is NT Wright doing a version of Yesterday that he co-wrote with Francis Collins called Genesis. You cannot make this stuff up.


And while we are feeling musical, you should note Dale Campbell has released his third EP of good old church songs.

Jonathan Martin has some thoughts about the size of his johnson/church (but annoyingly his blog doesn't allow comments! how silly.
You would think by now that in a world as stupid as our own, we would have learned long ago that whatever is bigger or more popular is by no means best. If you don’t believe this, then please explain to me the phenomena of the Kardahsians, Jersey Shore, and Nickelback. And yet it would be equally faulty to assume that something is somehow more pure, holy or “deeper” because it is smaller.
Paul Windsor shares his 27 year journey to his doctorate, "The Role of Intrigue in the Communication with Sceptics"

And Hoffman, Casey and Fischer put Mythicists (those who don't believe Jesus of…

Queer Suicide in NZ

Fools rush in where angels fear to tread, but here goes. A new video has been released to promote LGBT equality in New Zealand. It carries the charming title WTF, which according to project director Sam Shore, "it can mean anything you want." But of course viewing this brief video leaves you in no doubt that the F-bomb is what is intended, which is interesting because in my experience that word suggests and promotes sexual violence and disrespect like few others. But I'm sure that is just me being a prude.


So here is my problem, if this is an anti-bullying campaign then I have no problem with it, but the video's argument is constructed in a rather disconcerting way. Firstly we are told NZ has one of the highest rates of suicide in the world, this is kind of true, we come in at 29th on the WHO list, behind countries like Japan, Switzerland, North Korea and South Africa. Then we are told that in NZ there were 558 suicides last year. I can't verify this the govt web…

Baptists and Voting

Two good posts on the issue from

Steve Holmes

In England, at that time, voting in parliamentary elections was restricted to about 5% of the male population – all landowners, of course. For a church to take this symbol of cultural privilege and, in prophetic parody, put it in the hands of every member, of every social class, women as well as men, was a piece of genius. A poor woman voting on the call of a pastor was a profoundly powerful visible sign of the Kingdom.
and Tim Bulkely

I am (still) a Baptist precisely because of the congregational and Christ-centeredness of Baptist life. The picture of “voting on everything” simply misunderstands. In an ideal church meeting (which does not exist, see Genesis 3) we would vote on nothing. The Church (the local gathered community of Jesus followers) would pray, discuss, argue, debate, and finally recognise, which way the Spirit is blowing and follow.
I am a recent addition to the baptist denomination and this issue, problematic tho…

Gay Sex and Marriage

Well since Obama "came out" in support of Gay marriage blogs have been abuzz with the urge to let everyone else know what their opinion is on the matter. I thought the world would be a better place if I too shared my opinion on this important but controversial topic. firstly I agree that whatever your personal beliefs everyone just needs to get a grip and realise that with the US and western society in general this is just the way it is going to go, the laws are just staring to catch up with public opinion the "battle" was lost or won a long time ago. I also agree that this discussion has never really been had mainly because anyone who has ever approached the issue allready had their minds made up and has felt free to arrange the evidence to fit their case. I agree the Old Testament law doesn't clear things up for Christians either way and that people will say just about anything to make their case. I don't agree this is comparable to the issue of slavery b…

God the Gardener

I'm currently enjoying preparing a sermon on Gen 2:4-17, although I have no idea how I am going to cut it down to size, there is just so much theological meat in there. I've been enjoying the company of Bruggemann, Walton, and Hamilton as I go. Hamilton has a very useful section at the end of each chapter where he deals with the chapter's appropriation in the New Testament but with Gen 2 he focuses solely on the issues of female subordination. But to my mind God's depiction as the archetypal gardener in Gen 2:8 (complete with hand crafted garden gnome!) resonates with and informs texts like Luke 13:8-9, 19-19 and John 15:1-8, and what about John 20:15? (!)

Idolatry of Church Growth

I know the western church has many idols, but I am frequently confronted by one which seems to be too easily and uncritically erected where Jesus belongs. That is the idol of church growth. When the bottom line of your church is growth, when your church exists primarily to grow (whether that is through church planting, multiple congregations, multi campuses or multiple services or just a really big auditorium) then it is inevitable that eventually you will find yourself doing what works to promote growth rather than what God is really asking you to do, and by that stage you wont even realise it.

The bottom line of any Christian church should be faithfulness to Jesus. Pastors and the people they lead need to get over the idea that they are here to do something or acheive something for God's benefit. God doesn't need you. The bottom line of church, the sine qua non of Christianity, is not to do something but to be what Christ has made us; is not to acheive something but to rec…

Paul Makes me Groan: A Sermon

Thanks to Ben Myers for pointing out this brilliant sermon from Luke Powery which is the most confusing and yet wonderful pot-pourri of african american preaching, theological jargon, wise cracks and pop cultural references all of which somehows form a marvelously compelling meditation on Romans 8. It is the sort of sermon you'll want to listen to again, even if you are as cynical and hard bitten as me!

The lighter side

Marc Cortez shared how to survive a robot apocalypse, which is strange cos I am pretty sure he is an evil robot himself (it is the glowing red eyes that do it).



Help for theology students on avoiding the Patristic Fathers and phrases to avoid putting in your essays.

But best of the lot was Ben Myer's first hand reflections on the unique mindset of those funny Ozzies.

Israel/Palestine in the blogs

Tearfund recently hosted Stephen Sizer for a tour of New Zealand and have been rather surprised by the amount of hostility generated, even to the point that some people have ceased their sponsorship of children because of their disgust.

Mark Keown heard him speak and shares his own reflections on the subject. Tearfund NZ's education manager, Frank Richie, is interviewed by Stephen Sizer on the controversy. While from another land entirely, Vinoth Ramachandra asks why the West has forsaken Middle Eastern Christians? On the other hand James McGrath is just offering and requesting travel tips for visitors to the Holy Land.

Rush is right, Traditional Marriage is under Threat

This man is onto something,

here's the proof,



Let me know what you think, if you can contain your righteous indignation.

Love God with all your mind?

pic from ASBO Jesus There has been a bit of theme about thinking faith around the houses recently and it resonates with some things I am experiencing at the moment. There is a always a danger that faith (which if it is to be Christian faith needs to involve the whole person) becomes overly cerebral and all in the head but not the heart (I know it is a cliche, but it is often true), but that risk does not excuse us from needing to love God with all our mind (e.g. Matt 22:37). It is a basic biblical command that means we cannot leave our brains at the door of the church when we go to worship. If your church doesn't allow you to ask awkward questions, doubt, or think about things then you are not at a biblical church, it doesn't matter what else they preach.

Marc Cortez has been reflecting on his encounters of the philosphical kind,

You don’t truly realize how “fuzzy” your understanding of something is until you’ve had dinner with a few analytic philosophers. They’re relentles…

Why we need more dreadlocks in church

Who is that guy? Well if you are Kiwi you'd already know (probably) that he is Justin Duckworth, bishop elect of Wellington. The Anglicans are very pleased, all my social activist friends are pleased as punch, and Kiwi's on the whole like that fact that finally here is a real Christian example, someone who loves the poor and doesn't live to line his pockets or win pompous intra-mural debates, and because he has dreads he really is interesting and hip. The problems will come of course when 1) all these people with dreadlocks start coming into Anglican churches and no one knows what to do with them, and 2) when Justin starts suggesting that other people might like to love the poor and needy too instead of just watching him do it. But problems are just ministry opportunities and the more dreadlocks we have in church the better, maybe the Anglican church can remember and then remind the rest of us that Christianity is supposed to be a countercultural force. Off you go Justin,

Intelligent Puddles, Early Religion and Fine Tuning

James McGrath's blog really is a mighty blog. He is single handedly responsible for sending over 80 readers to this weeks carnival. If you can keep up with the volume of posts (which now I work full time I struggle to do) and can filter out the obsessive Dr Who references you will always find somethiing interesting. He shares this image with a quote from Douglas Adams of Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Fame,


Which elicited a great deal of discussion. Despite the protests of one commenter, Adams did intend this analogy to critique the biblical idea that this world was made for humanity to live in. A fuller extract of the speech the quote is from is very interesting and worth reading, before he gets to the puddle analogy Adams argues that early tool making man would look at the world and see a world made for his existence. He continues,


The Problem of Paul's Thorn Solved

Sometimes no annotation is necessary, from this guy.

Carnival still alive and well

Well the good news is that even though the biblioblogger top 50 and the carnival have gone their seperate ways that as far as I can tell the carnival is still very healthy. There was a notable increase on submissions to the carnival compared to the other occassion I did it and on the day of its launch it garnered a mean 500 hits (mean for my little blog anyway). What is interesting to me is how few of the biblioblog top 50 blogs had anything to contribute to the carnival. While Jim Linville has taken a decidedly minimalist approach to the carnival, it seems to have enough momentum of its own to be managing quite nicely. Having enjoyed this most recent experience I have decided to play my part and put a page up linking to the carnival wherever it appears and over time linking to any previous carnivals I can find. They are a lot of work but they are a good way for your blog to get some exposure and also to help other blogs find new readers, plus there is always some fun to be had.

April Fool's Biblical Studies Carnival

Answer a fool according to his folly . . .
Don't answer a fool according to his folly . . .
See if I care, just come along to the fool's carnival and join the fun.



This carnival is sponsored by Simon Cowell'sBishop's Got Talent. (allegedly)


First up is Archaeology which has continued to be dominated by the hoo-haa over the talpiot tombs, exactly what is coming out of that fishes head? or what words do those lines spell out?


Of course Mark Goodacre has been at the forefront and has worn out several keyboards blogging through the controversy commenting on ABC's Nightline, writing top ten lists, discussing Robert Cargil's objections, documentaing the mutating fish man, documenting the mutating fish vase, reading between the lines, talking about names, getting accused of slander, and shooting a barn door in frustration.

But don't worry, because rising to the accused's defense like noble litigous ducks from the water is a brace of Jims, one West, one Davill…