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March 03, 2008

The Hermeneutics Quiz

Nope, this isn't a copy of an exam I had in seminary. This is a "quiz" that Scott McKnight has developed and posted at Building Church Leaders. And I figured that I'd take it.

My results:

I scored a 41 on a scale of 20 to 100, placing me squarely in the conservative range.

First, the conservative hermeneutic group scores 52 or lower. The strength of this view is its emphasis on the authority, ongoing and normative authority, of all of Scripture. It tends to operate with the line many of us learned in Sunday school: "If the Bible says it, that settles it." Such persons let the Bible challenge them with full force. Literal readings lead to rather literal applications. Most of the time.

The problem, of course, is that very few people are completely consistent here. At times one suspects something other than strict interpretation is going on when the conservative is willing to appeal to history to suspend the commandment to observe a Saturday Sabbath, but does not to appeal to history on other issues (e.g., capital punishment or homosexuality).

from Christianity Today.
I'd say that most people have a hard time being totally consistent -- especially when others are setting the standards of what that consistency is. Many folks also thing that to understand the Bible literally means to understand it as literally as it needs to be understood, and understood in context.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 07:05 PM | Comments (4) | TrackBack

March 09, 2008

Crossover Votes and Primaries

Last week, I voted in the Ohio primary. And even though the Republican nominee had been pretty much decided (and was, by the end of the day), I voted for Mike Huckabee (surprise, surprise).

My wife works at our local polling place, and she told me that she thought there were a number of Republican voters who crossed over and voted in the Democratic primary with the intention to support a candidate that they felt would be easy to beat in November.

I've always wondered about that possibility in primaries, especially in states that hold open primaries. Even in Ohio, all you have to do is sign a pledge to support your new party, and you're in. I could have voted in the Democratic primary last week -- though my wife would certainly have questioned it, and I'd have gotten in trouble. I've always thought that the primary process in this country was broken (if not the whole electoral college process, but that's another post).

Now come reports that there were folks in Ohio who changed party allegiance and were somewhat less than truthful -- even going so far as to amend the oath that they signed. And I have a problem with that, from a Christian standpoint.

Yes, elections are a secular construct, with little religious significance. But our lives are to be lived in ways that are pleasing to God -- and He's the one who said "Let your 'Yes' mean 'Yes' and your 'No' mean 'No' after all. I agree with the idea that "our nominating process is messed up." I disagree with the notion that just because the other side is doing it, we can do it, too.

the Democrats try to influence our primaries (I was really ticked off when McCain made an appeal to Democrats and Independents to vote for him in the SC primary in 2000) and now we are returning the favor.
No. We're told to return good for evil, and not to repay in kind. While I disagree witht he idea of holding the electoral system in some kind of reverence, I do agree with Lars Walker, who said
The fact that there are cynical people out there who game the system doesn't justify us, the people who say we believe in moral absolutes, in pretending to belong to a different party so we can sabotage its nomination process.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 12:44 PM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 11, 2008

Tuneful Tuesday Part 1

(Tuneful Tuesday happens when my Music Monday post is a day late. As they have been a lot lately.)

Kat from The Secret Life of Kat has a meme each Monday that I think I'm going to start taking part in, if only to get me actually doing the music blogging thing again. This week, the topic is cover songs.

I love cover songs -- it's always fun to see what new interpretation a different band can bring to an old song. I used to have several tapes full of cover songs; one of the first podcasts I subscribed to was Coverville. But a recent post at PCCBoard got me thinking about covers again.

Here's the cover -- my take on it is below the fold:

Nena's original song was more than just a catchy tune and interesting lyrics. It was social commentary about WWIII written by the people who had the most to lose -- Germans. When the song came out, it was a given that NATO and the Warsaw Pact would meet on the border between East and West Germany and duke it out for Total Global Domination(tm). A song in German about a simple mistake that turns into WWIII had an impact -- especially the lyric "This is what we've waited for/This is it, boys, this is war." The attitude that war was coming no matter what, and the folks in power were just looking for an excuse, was powerful back then, just because of the devastation that such a war would produce on a global level.

Fast forward 20 years or so. We're IN a war that many people believe was declared on evidence that was as flimsy as 99 red balloons. People believe that the war in Iraq was inevitable -- President Bush was just waiting for an excuse, and he got it. But now we have the song covered by an American band, in a much more aggressive style. Probably fitting, but the song has a far different impact today than the original did. This isn't the song of a people caught in the middle of someone else's fight. This is the aggressor -- the people who are involved in the war, the stronger nation, the super power. Singing about a mistake made that ignited the conflict. Totally different feel to me.

Based just on the music, I like Goldfinger's version better. I like that style of music. But seen as a whole, I'm still partial to Nena's original, especially the ending. The sad, somber ending doesn't seem to fit Goldfinger's cover at all.

One of my favorite covers, though, is Ghoti Hook's cover of "I Love Rock and Roll." This video was filmed at their last Cornerstone appearance in 2002.

And then, of course, there's Pillar covering U2's Sunday Bloody Sunday" (NOT the official video, BTW):

Posted by Warren Kelly at 01:18 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

Hulu.com Launches Today

I just wanted to mention this one because I've been Beta testing it for a while now. Hulu has officially launched. And it is pretty good.

Hulu allows you to watch TV on the Internet. Time shifted, so that you watch what you want when you want. Picture quality is good, audio is good. Watch what you want, wherever you are (that's why it's better than Tivo -- all you need is a laptop and an internet connection).

Right now, the only drawback is the programming available. Limited shows from current programming are available, and the lineup seems to change every so often. For example: when I started testing, every episode of The Sarah Connor Chronicles were available. Now, only episodes 6-9 are available. Only the first five episodes of Heroes Season 2 are available. It looks like they are only going to offer 5 actual episodes for each title (though I haven't looked at every single title available, every one I checked had only 5 full episodes available), with a variety of short clips also available.

Older shows are also available (I was especially happy to see The A-Team and Airwolf on the list). The list is far from comprehensive, but there are plenty of great shows there that you can watch any time, anywhere you have a computer with high-speed Internet access. I don't think Hulu will be replacing cable any time soon, and I doubt it will provide any serious competition to Apple TV. But if you're looking for a service that allows you to watch current TV shows when you want, or see the shows you grew up with whenever you want, Hulu may be for you. At $0.00 a month (yes, it's free. There are commercials that run in each program), the price certainly is right.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 02:01 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 13, 2008

Foregin Policy Experience? Really??

I read something the other day in a blog that disturbed me. I'd have commented, but the comments were closed. It said [blockquote]I am getting tired of reading about governors who don’t have foreign policy experience. They have got to have some overseas seasoning before they are qualfied to sit in the big chair.[/blockquote]

The post irritated me at first because it was an obvious dig at Mike Huckabee -- after he was out of the race. But the more I thought about it, the stupider it sounded.

How much foreign policy experience did Ronald Reagan have? What about George Washington? Jefferson had quite a bit, but I'm not sure about Monroe. Or Adams. How about Lincoln? I'd say that many of our Presidents learned their foreign policy on the job, or by talking to their advisers. Our problem today is that we want our President to show up fully trained and ready, but there's no training program for Presidents. We've had lawyers, generals, actors, and more ascend to the White House. Few had any real foreign policy experience.

Maybe rather than wonder about the experience a candidate has, we should see what kind of people they surround themselves with. Who is going to be giving them the advice they seek to make the decisions that they have to make? That seems to be the more important question.

Of course, maybe I also got irritated because two days before I read the post, Condi Rice was asked if she was interested in a VP position, and she laughed and said no. So it's not even in the cards -- even though I agree that it would be a good choice.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:23 PM | Comments (125) | TrackBack

March 16, 2008

Something's Missing ....

The folks at the Two Institutions blog noticed something missing from their children's' Sunday School lesson for Easter -- the Resurrection.

According to the folks at First Look, the Gospel is "simply too violent for preschoolers."

This is what they said in a letter (from the Two Institutions site above):

“because of the graphic nature of the Easter story and the crucifixion specifically, we need to be careful as we choose what we tell our preschoolers about Easter.” Further they say, “We have made this choice because the crucifixion is simply too violent for preschoolers.” They go on to justify their reason for this by suggesting that theories of cognitive development show that preschoolers are concrete thinkers and therefore “are simply unable to truly grasp what it means to die and then be raised again through the power of God.”
The full letter is available here.
What a shame that we're not willing to tell our kids the good news of Easter! Jesus said to let the little children come to Him, didn't he? I guess the folks at First Look think he must have meant to let the older kids come to Him. I know my daughter understood the basics of Easter quite well when she was in preschool -- because we taught her. One thing I've learned in teaching - kids will always live down to our expectations. We need to keep them higher than this.

{edited in response to correction mentioned in comments}

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:30 PM | Comments (158) | TrackBack

March 17, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

This has become a tradition here on the blog. Happy St. Patrick's Day -- remember it's much more than just green beer.

And yes, I know that this was probably not written by Patrick himself: most sources date it to the 8th century or so, which puts it long after Patrick's death in the mid to late 5th century. But it's an excellent example of Celtic Christian spirituality, and I think it's valuable for us to pay attention to their example - an example that has largely been ignored by the modern church.

About the Breastplate
The Breastplate, or Lorica, of St. Patrick was probably written in the mid to late 8th century. It is a prayer that was actually written in the style of an old Druid incantation for protection on a journey, but was clearly written by a Christian. It's sometimes called "The Deer's Cry" because of an early legend surrounding Patrick:

In the year 433, Patrick was aware that there was an ambush to try to kill him and his group en route to the King's court. The group began chanting the Lorica as they traveled. As the druids lay in hiding, ready to kill, they saw not Patrick and his men, but a deer (Patrick) and 20 fawns. St. Patrick and his men were saved.

The Breastplate of St. Patrick

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the
Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession
of the Oneness of the Creator of creation.

I arise today through the strength of Christ with His Baptism,
through the strength of His Crucifixion with His Burial
through the strength of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
through the strength of His descent for the Judgment of Doom.

I arise today through the strength of the love of Cherubim
in obedience of Angels, in the service of the Archangels,
in hope of resurrection to meet with reward,
in prayers of Patriarchs, in predictions of Prophets,
in preachings of Apostles, in faiths of Confessors,
in innocence of Holy Virgins, in deeds of righteous men.

I arise today, through the strength of Heaven:
light of Sun, brilliance of Moon, splendour of Fire,
speed of Lightning, swiftness of Wind, depth of Sea,
stability of Earth, firmness of Rock.

I arise today, through God's strength to pilot me:
God's might to uphold me, God's wisdom to guide me,
God's eye to look before me, God's ear to hear me,
God's word to speak for me, God's hand to guard me,
God's way to lie before me, God's shield to protect me,
God's host to secure me:
against snares of devils, against temptations of vices,
against inclinations of nature, against everyone who
shall wish me ill, afar and anear, alone and in a crowd.

I summon today all these powers between me (and these evils):
against every cruel and merciless power that may oppose
my body and my soul,
against incantations of false prophets,
against black laws of heathenry,
against false laws of heretics, against craft of idolatry,
against spells of women [any witch] and smiths and wizards,
against every knowledge that endangers man's body and soul.
Christ to protect me today
against poison, against burning, against drowning,
against wounding, so that there may come abundance of reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me, Christ behind me, Christ in me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me, Christ on my right,
Christ on my left, Christ in breadth, Christ in length,
Christ in height, Christ in the heart of every man who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of every man who speaks of me,
Christ in every eye that sees me, Christ in every ear that hears me.

I arise today through a mighty strength, the invocation of the
Trinity, through belief in the Threeness, through confession of the
Oneness of the Creator of creation.
Salvation is of the Lord. Salvation is of the Lord.
Salvation is of Christ. May Thy Salvation, O Lord, be ever with us.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 09:55 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

March 21, 2008

Good Friday Musings

We've forgotten, as a society, exactly what this day means. Just another day off. Just another day home from school. Just another day.

That's painful to admit, because it's our fault. Christians have left Good Friday out, focusing on Resurrection Sunday. But Good Friday (and Maundy Thursday too, for that matter) is still there, and we ignore them.

I found a great tool yesterday, for those who have Google Earth. The folks at Crossway have developed placemarks that show the entire last week of Christ geographically, and you can view them in Google Maps or Google Earth.

Luke 23

26 And as they led him away, they seized one Simon of Cyrene, who was coming in from the country, and laid on him the cross, to carry it behind Jesus. 27 And there followed him a great multitude of the people and of women who were mourning and lamenting for him. 28 But turning to them Jesus said, “Daughters of Jerusalem, do not weep for me, but weep for yourselves and for your children. 29 For behold, the days are coming when they will say, ‘Blessed are the barren and the wombs that never bore and the breasts that never nursed!’ 30 Then they will begin to say to the mountains, ‘Fall on us,’ and to the hills, ‘Cover us.’ 31 For if they do these things when the wood is green, what will happen when it is dry?”

32 Two others, who were criminals, were led away to be put to death with him. 33 And when they came to the place that is called The Skull, there they crucified him, and the criminals, one on his right and one on his left. 34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. 35 And the people stood by, watching, but the rulers scoffed at him, saying, “He saved others; let him save himself, if he is the Christ of God, his Chosen One!” 36 The soldiers also mocked him, coming up and offering him sour wine 37 and saying, “If you are the King of the Jews, save yourself!” 38 There was also an inscription over him, “This is the King of the Jews.”

39 One of the criminals who were hanged railed at him, saying, “Are you not the Christ? Save yourself and us!” 40 But the other rebuked him, saying, “Do you not fear God, since you are under the same sentence of condemnation? 41 And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.” 42 And he said, “Jesus, remember me when you come into your kingdom.” 43 And he said to him, “Truly, I say to you, today you will be with me in Paradise.”
The Death of Jesus

44 It was now about the sixth hour, and there was darkness over the whole land until the ninth hour, 45 while the sun's light failed. And the curtain of the temple was torn in two. 46 Then Jesus, calling out with a loud voice, said, “Father, into your hands I commit my spirit!” And having said this he breathed his last. 47 Now when the centurion saw what had taken place, he praised God, saying, “Certainly this man was innocent!” 48 And all the crowds that had assembled for this spectacle, when they saw what had taken place, returned home beating their breasts. 49 And all his acquaintances and the women who had followed him from Galilee stood at a distance watching these things.

(from the ESV, provided by Crossway Bible Publisher)

Posted by Warren Kelly at 08:23 AM | Comments (0) | TrackBack

Convicting Stuff ...

... from the Boars Head Tavern. I know, I know -- now Phil and the rest of the Pyros will never read my blog again. Like they ever did to begin with.

We often want a Jesus that supports our pet views, our political party, our ideas of judgement and justice. We want to use Jesus to get things done, to scold our opponents and laud our accomplishments, to be on our side.

And if that won’t work, well, we’ll happily kill that Jesus and come up with another one.

Today is Good Friday, or Great Friday, and today is the day I remember how I stood among the crowds, blind with rage and fear, and shouted for the death of God. Today is the day I followed as He was taken outside the city to be brutally murdered because He wouldn’t conform to the image I had for Him. Today they laid His body in a tomb, dead and gone, any hopes we once had for Him crushed.

We're still looking for the same Messiah that Judas was looking for. The one that is going to solve our problems right now, beat our enemies right now, and set up the perfect kingdom right now. Jesus the Republican. Jesus the Radical. Jesus the Liberal. Jesus the Reformer.

And we forget all about Jesus the Savior. We forget that His ways aren't our ways, our agenda is not His agenda. If we could just get back to that idea, the Church would be a better people for it, and a lot of our division would end.

Posted by Warren Kelly at 04:47 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

March 22, 2008

Tech Support

A hidden camera that's traveled through time to us today shows what tech support was like at the introduction of a brand new product:

(hat tip to City of God)

Posted by Warren Kelly at 03:51 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

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