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Digital Potpourri: 5-25-12

Kirk Rule Alpha

I’m instituting a new rule prompted by Daniel Kirk recently publishing his second book. I’ve decided that when friends or colleagues publish more than one book, I am thereby obligated to read the book published before their most recent one. Or, to put it another way, I will not get more than 1 book behind when it comes to reading the works of friends and colleagues. On account of this new rule, I’ve decided to blog through Unlocking Romans so that I can keep myself accountable and so that I’ll have a place to point out everything that Daniel gets wrong (since, you know, everyone thinks they have the right way to read Romans). You may also have noticed the rule is marked by an alpha, which perhaps might indicate a beta. Such a beta does not at this time exist, but I feel certain that given Daniel’s vast experience and qualifications in the field that I will one day learn something about homebrewing from him. All that to say: Be on the lookout for rambling, quasi-reflective, and semi-critical blog posts on Unlocking Romans. I’m thinking I’ll post them on Mondays, but who knows if I’ll stick to that.

Welcome to the New Site

Published on May 17, 2012, by in Blog Stuff.

We hope you like the new design, and we look forward to utilizing some of the new features.

Extreme Right Politics + Christianity = Loony

I had a Facebook interaction that I found so amusing I decided to share with all of you. First, a little background. I went to a semi-conservative undergrad, the sort of place where professors are tolerant of views both more liberal and more conservative than their own but the official positions of the school say all the “right” things. I’m Facebook friends with a former classmate of mine who even then displayed a certain level of mental instability. I recall the stunned and awkward silence as he gave his sermon in our preaching class and used it to suggest that Christians should support the summary execution of any person who engages in homosexual activity. He was one of those people who espouses extreme views, but simultaneously is generally very nice and otherwise pleasant to be around. Even though I know it is futile, from time to time I attempt to comment on his more extreme postings and nudge them back towards some sense of sanity. It was his response to my gentle prodding which is prompting me to write this post. His comment is many things: loony, bizarre, uncharitable, and sad, but above all it is sort of hilarious. This man made a post about how he will enjoy murdering U.N. troops when they come to take over the U.S. for their “One World Tyranny.” I suggested that such an attitude does not correspond to the advice given by Jesus in the Gospels. I reproduce his response in its entirety:

Right, like Jesus Christ Himself [sic] wasn’t a Radical [sic]. Like He didn’t say to “put away you [sic] sword” for later use. Not Get[si..oh nevermind] Rid Of It! Like We Aren’t Supposed To Fight Tyranny And Evil… Dude, Your Social Justice Christianity has your head screwed on wrong. I am Scripturally Sound and your wanna help Pussify The Nation God Gave Us And Turn It Over To The Evil Of EDOM HE HATES. Go Ahead, But Not This Republic. Move To Canada Where Pussification Has Already Taken Hold But Don’t Dare Try To Un-Do The Christian Nation God Has Blessed Me With. Your Liberal B.S. Is Exactly Why Our Troops Get Spat Upon In Airports By Those Claiming To Love Our Country Then Turn Around And Fist Those Of Us With Balls Enough To Defend Her. Perhaps You Don’t Dig My Kind Christianity But At Least My Balls Have Dropped Enough To Be A Good American Hard Core. Time To Grow Up And See It’s Not All About Love And Flowers J.B.[that’s me] … Perhaps It Is That You Just Never Knew Who I Am? I Use Scripture As A Sword… You Must Be An Awfully Protected Guy Not To Have Your Eyes Open To Reality Yet. Grow Up.

Is it wrong that I cracked up reading that?

Ack! Nero is after my blog!

The Long Awaited SBLGNT Giveaway

Well, the moment you have all been waiting for has now arrived. Ashleigh and I are giving away our extra copy of the all-new SBL Greek New Testament. See what all the fuss is about and check out that interesting apparatus! The giveaway rules are quite simple: 1. Share this post on either Facebook or Twitter 2. Post a comment indicating that you want the book (one comment only please) 3. In one week’s time, we will use a random number generator to decide who the winner is based on their comment number. If someone comments twice, only the first entry will count. If the number of a duplicate entry or pingback comes up, we will simple find a new random number. 4. We will announce the winner here on the blog and the winner should send a message via email or twitter. 5. We’ll ship it via USPS or UPS to you within the week. 6. The giveaway is limited to residents of the US and Canada. That’s it. Ask any questions you might have via Twitter.

It turns out…

…that I don’t know anything about Luke-Acts. This blog began with the ambition of forcing me to go deeper into the literature of Luke-Acts and ended up being another neglected stop in the digital wasteland of the internet. With that in mind, I’d like to change what this blog is about. I always ended up trying too hard or rushing some pointless piece out the door. I’m going to go back to what I’m best at: cracking wise and slinging incomplete thoughts. I guess this is still a biblioblog because that is what I want to talk about here, but its not a biblioblog on Luke-Acts anymore (not that it ever really was). This is not because I suddenly find the masterful narrative less mesmerizing, but rather is indicative of my desire to talk about whatever happens to interest me that day. I think I’ll be bringing on others soon, and encouraging my wife Ashleigh to blog here more. I make no promises, but it couldn’t hurt to click that RSS button.

I bring good tidings of great joy to all people!

Indeed I do.  Why, you might ask?  And who am I anyway?

This is Jeremiah’s fiancée, Ashleigh, brought on board Walking Toward Jerusalem with the purpose of adding yet another female voice to the biblioblogging world.  I told you there was good news!

Unfortunately I don’t know much about Luke-Acts.  But I am, like my almost-husband, a master’s student at Fuller, with at least a few occasional thoughts on the Bible.  Hopefully, with our powers combined, we will post more than once a month, as seems to be his habit…  ;o)

A little more about me:

*I wanted to take Hebrew first, so my thus-far areas of knowledge are a little different from Jer’s.  This problem will be remedied, in part, as we language-swap this fall–I’ll be starting Greek, and he’ll be starting Hebrew.
*I’m interested in doing a ThM, then studying sociology of religion at the PhD level.  Disclaimer: the plans of 23-year-olds change often.
*As Jeremiah has mentioned, I self-identify as a feminist (though I wouldn’t put myself in the same camp as most “feminist theologians”).  Actually, I first became interested in the academic side of Christianity at age 16 when I decided I needed to learn more about the Bible’s teaching on gender.
*I was a political science major and Afro-American studies minor at the University of North Carolina (Chapel Hill).
*My two religion classes in undergrad were exceptional experiences that will continue to influence me for years to come.  First, I took Early Judaism with Jodi Magness, known for her work on Qumran, the Dead Sea Scrolls, etc.  From this experience I retain an interest in the Second Temple period and a passion for understanding Jesus through Jewish eyes.  Second, I took New Testament with Bart Ehrman, who is the reason I got to seminary in the first place.  I loved the material and couldn’t live without digging deeper into the questions that rose from his class.  Due to my own struggles with these questions and the negative reaction to Ehrman I’ve seen on the part of the larger evangelical community, my own commitment to fighting evangelical anti-intellectualism has been strengthened.

On that note, we shall part for now–but I look forward to getting to know you all in the days to come!

Help, Help I’m being Repressed. See the violence inherent in the system!

As someone who is largely a bystander in the biblioblogging community, I have found the recent slew of posts in my RSS reader (Brief for FireFox is excellent by the way) to be rather tedious. I wield no influence over anyone else and I’m lucky to get hits in the double digits. As such, I have nothing at all to gain from the sort of good old boy’s environment that certain female bibliobloggers seem to think pervade the community, and yet I link to no women bibliobloggers and the only female bloggers in my RSS feed are my fiance and 1/2 of the blogging team that makes up Hebrew and Greek Reader. Now, you can draw two conclusions from this: 1) despite being engaged to an evangelical feminist I subconsciously despise any thoughts arising from the female mind and seek to ignore them if possible or 2) most of the blogs that are most interesting to me and the majority of other people happen to be written by men and gender is not a concern.

I don’t mean to create a false dichotomy since someone could argue that there are underlying reasons for the second possibility, but lets be honest here: people read blogs for knowledge or entertainment. If you don’t provide either, no one is going to read you. Let’s not pretend that WordPress is the new frontier of Academia. The fact is that anyone who wants to blog can, and the measure of their success is determined by their content. Jim West for example meets both basic criteria for a successful blog: he provides useful information, often about archeology or the Old Testament, and he entertains with his roundup of depraved news and humorous posts endearingly showcasing him as a delightful curmudgeon. The question that really needs to be asked in this debate is whether any of the top bibliobloggers have anything to gain by suppressing women blogging, which of course they do not.

Absent of motive, opportunity, and witnesses DeConick is a detective with no actual crime. Her slight is imagined at best, and if anything her accusation of sexism can only make things worse. Already we have seen many react negatively to her charge, perhaps for good reason, and I cannot help but wonder if her exercise is productive at all. I would encourage her to take a different course of action: encourage her promising female students to share what they are learning with the world. Right or wrong, her blog is hers to do with as she wishes, a testament in fact to the freedom of blogging. She has the freedom to post whatever she wants even if it is to claim she is shackled. Isn’t that the beauty of blogging after all?

If at First You Don’t Succeed

Try Try again. The hardest part of my summer quarter is coming to a close, so I’m going to try this starting a blog thing anew. Here’s a random tidbit I read about in the news.

HASLETT, Mich. (AP) – Divine intervention? Or just plain luck? No matter what the circumstances, a Michigan church is $70,000 richer courtesy of the Michigan Lottery. The Covenant Life Worship Center and its 25 members in Haslett, Mich. had one of the second-prize tickets in the Lucky 7s raffle held May 4.The $10 ticket was purchased at a convenience store in Haslett, five miles northeast of downtown Lansing. The lottery Web site says the odds of a single ticket winning $70,000 in Lucky 7s are one in 55,556. Michigan Lottery officials say the church will receive the full amount of the prize because it is a tax-exempt group.

Pastor Marilyn Parmelee tells the Lansing State Journal that the prize money will go toward the church building fund, setting up a missionary fund and supporting local community service projects.

Even if the absurd plan worked, what church in their right mind would think such a thing is alright? I am not vociferously anti-gambling or anything, but for a church to squander its resources on lottery tickets is a level of perverse absurdity that reaches critical mass. Here is a handy chart to demonstrate.church funds

If Jim West were here, he might say it is downright depraved!

© Jeremiah and Ashleigh Bailey 2012