Announcement = Lections, Hebrew and Greek notes, now being posted at another website

Parma Psalter Psalm 1

Psalm 1, Parma Psalter (13th century)

This is important. For the past several months I have been posting Lections, Hebrew notes, Greek notes, and even sermons at another website. I can tell from the Stats (how many people visit this website, where they live, which posts) that (1) this website does not see a lot of traffic and (2) some of the traffic is for my Lections and Hebrew notes posts. To those people I say welcome and thank you.

However I created a second website which is devoted more to Bible and theology. Which includes Lections, Hebrew notes, Greek notes (which I have started preparing and posting), Sermons, and occasionally some cool quote or not so cool thought about Scripture and Christian doctrine. The idea was…

To start a separate blog that focuses on theological and biblical topics and stays away from politics and culture. So if church members peruse this blog hopefully they will not come across anything too controversial. Although good theology must sometimes risk controversy by challenging false teachings and the spirit of the age.

I was inspired partly by a an Anglican priest in Massachusetts (apparently from my home town) who maintains at least two separate blog sites. One is more strongly focused on Scripture, theology, and so on. The other is more “personal” about his hobbies and interests. I was increasingly concerned that Mangy Dog – which regularly delves into culture and politics – was mixing the personal and sometimes more controversial with more “neutral” topics like Scripture, theology, Christian ministry, and so on. What if people are interested in what I post on these topics and are put off by what I post on other topics?

The point of this specific post is to say thank you for visiting! you are very welcome! if you are here to check out posts on Scripture and theology – including Lections, Hebrew and Greek notes – I encourage you to visit my other blog site Plenum Creaturis. I will start the process of deleting and/or moving to the other site those posts that deal with Scripture, theology, and ministry. I greatly appreciate your interest in those topics and those posts.

Posted in Announcement, Aramaic, Bible, Greek, Hebrew, Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Notes, Language, Lectionary, New Testament | Tagged | 1 Comment

RANT = What we lose with the death of movie theaters

I’ve watched a few videos on this subject and decided this one is safe to share. Not everyone likes this channel and on this occasion he doesn’t use strong language. In any case we see how much movie theaters have been struggling. There was the Trolls incident earlier this year and Paramount worked out a deal where they would wait 30 days before showing films via video on demand. Then came Mulan which bypassed theaters completely. Theaters are hanging on by their fingernails and the admittedly creative rent-a-theater-with-your-friends approach has helped. And now this.

I do not see how movie theaters can survive this. Doomcock tries to find a silver lining and predicts lower budgets, more independent films, better writing. Maybe. And that might be enough.

I am *not* convinced the transition from going to theaters to watching movies at home will be as smooth or consistent as Hollywood seems to think.

(1) Not everyone wants to subscribe to every streaming service under the sun. We have Netflix and Hulu. I’m not going to subscribe to HBO Max. And why should we subscribe to these services *all year* for the chance to see a few films we might like? Remember Mulan which lost a ton of money.

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Chaos in Job 40-41 and/versus the Fall

Reposted after the winners of the Nobel Prize for Physics were announced. One of whom is Andrea Ghez for her work on supermassive black holes. Chaos and creation.

Filled with Creatures

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“Look at Behemoth,
    which I made just as I made you;
    it eats grass like an ox.
16 Its strength is in its loins,
    and its power in the muscles of its belly.
17 It makes its tail stiff like a cedar;
    the sinews of its thighs are knit together.
18 Its bones are tubes of bronze,
    its limbs like bars of iron.
19 It is the first of the great acts of God
    only its Maker can approach it with the sword. (NRSV)

The book of Job received some attention last month in the Revised Common Lectionary. Last week I preached from Job 38 (which was one of the lections for the previous Sunday). Why preach from Job? One reason was that Job does not receive much attention in the liturgical life of the Christian church. Another reason was that…

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SERMON – The vision of (re)creation (Genesis 1:1-2:4)

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Ed = Received some good feedback on this. I don’t normally delve quite so much into biblical theology (here drawing on the work of Jon Levenson and Samuel Balentine).

Sermon = Vision of (re)creation
Scripture = Genesis 1:1-2:4
Sunday = Trinity Sunday (A)

Presentation_Genesis 1_TrinityA_20200607 (PDF)
Presentation_Genesis 1_TrinityA_20200607 (DOCX)

  • The world is in chaos
  • *** At first the chaos seems far away
  • On the other side of the world
  • Our nation does not keep millions in re-education camps
  • Or override democratic process in a semi-autonomous city state
  • Or send armed forces to its border with a neighboring country
  • Our cities – our community is not engulfed by protests or fires or violence or looting
  • Although there have been protests in Baton Rouge not far from our home
  • The issues giving rise to these protests do not seem to be a problem in Livingston
  • The pandemic is a form of chaos
  • Not so much chaos of noisy protests or even violence
  • But the strangely quiet chaos that disrupts normal life
  • Businesses closed
  • Places of worship closed
  • People not able to work
  • Children home from school
  • Chaos of precautions and concern
  • Wearing masks
  • Keeping distance
  • Cannot touch
  • The chaos is also here although in different ways
  • What does this have to do with Trinity Sunday
  • With Scripture reading from Genesis 1
  • With people called Methodist in Livingston
  • *** In the beginning God when created the heavens and the earth
  • The earth was a formless void and darkness covered the face of the deep
  • While a wind from – or the Spirit of God swept over the face of the waters
  • Then God said let there be light
  • And there was light
  • In the beginning the world is in chaos
  • Indeed the world is chaos
  • Christians usually do not recognize this
  • We usually say God calls into being things that are not
  • There is nothing and then something
  • We call this creation ex nihilo
  • *** Creation out of nothing
  • Yes God creates everything
  • And at some point God created out of nothing
  • However in Genesis 1
  • When God begins to create the earth is tohu wa-bohu
  • A formless void
  • A ball of water with no shape no life and no light
  • The world is chaos
  • And God creates partly by speaking into being
  • *** Mostly by organizing the chaos into light and darkness

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The lathe of Babel and the forge of Pentecost

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Preface = I write this while there is tremendous turmoil and unrest – even riots and violence – throughout the United States following the death of Floyd George while he was being restrained by police in Minneapolis. Many clergy have spoken up and addressed what is going on and the larger issues of racism and systemic injustice.  

Some years ago I read The Lathe of Heaven by Ursula LeGuin. If the handful of dear readers will let me quote a summary from Wikipedia =

The book is set in Portland, Oregon, in the year 2002. Portland has three million inhabitants and continuous rain. It is deprived enough for the poorer inhabitants to have kwashiorkor, or protein deprivation. The culture is much the same as the 1970s in the United States, though impoverished. There is also a massive war in the Middle East, with Egypt and Israel allied against Iran. Global warming has wrought havoc upon the quality of life everywhere.

George Orr, a draftsman, has long been abusing drugs to prevent himself from having “effective” dreams, which change reality. After having one of these dreams, the new reality is the only reality for everyone else, but George retains memory of the previous reality. Under threat of being placed in an asylum, Orr is forced to undergo “voluntary” psychiatric care for his drug abuse.

George begins attending therapy sessions with an ambitious psychiatrist and sleep researcher named William Haber. Orr claims that he has the power to dream “effectively” and Haber, gradually coming to believe it, seeks to use George’s power to change the world.

Basically what George dreams becomes reality. And his psychiatrist Haber decides to use George’s strange oneiric power to fix the world. I have never forgotten what happens when Haber tells George to dream of a world without racism. Warning = spoiler alert!

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