Friday Frivolity – Working

August 15s Friday Frivolity post was about something that’s not working. Todays post is about something that is definitely working – kind of.

This lock works. Though the poor person’s bike is totalled.

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humbledonkey original image – feel free to use

Top 10 Movies

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For image source – click it

  1. The Shawshank Redemption – only watched it once – the one brutal scene has scarred me but it is an amazing story told beautifully in movie form.
  2. Aliens – The ultimate western – good guys versus bad guys in space. Have watch 20+ times. Watched it one afternoon with the curtains closed in my small home with my TV hooked up to a 5.1 speaker sound system, a gift from a bud. Had to turn it off – the surround sound at high volume was like encountering a new meance in a film that I was very familiar with – very scary.
  3. The Bourne Identity – (all the 3 Bournes are amazing – yes I know there was a fourth). I have got them on DVD. I could watch them anytime but don’t. But when they are on TV I find myself sitting down for a scene or two which usually becomes the whole movie.
  4. Twelve Angry Men – Henry Fonda gives an acting masterclass in restraint and subtlety.
  5. The Matrix – went to see this as an innocent. Had heard nothing about it. Chose it to kill some time. Scene one blew me away and never stopped for the next two hours.
  6. The Empire Strikes Back – the second sequel in my list. The whole Boba Fett thing just passes me by.
  7. Ferris Bueller’s day Off – anyone? anyone? vodoo? vodoo? economics.
  8. Batman – The Dark Knight Rises – Great dark fun.
  9. Pharlap – before there was Seabiscuit there was this Australian wonder horse.
  10. Sunset Boulevard – I am ready for my close up Mr. HumbleDonkey

Some of these are a bit fluid and could have been replaced by Manhattan Murder Mystery, Broadway Danny Rose, Hello Dolly (guilty pleasure is the term you are looking for), Gladiator, and Terminator 1 & 2.

Movies that could never have made this list or even my Top 100 – those awful continuous falling down a hill Lord of the Rings movies – in fact anything by Peter Jackson. He manages to take bloatmovies to the extreme – King Kong anyone?

Disappointing Jesus

Disappointing: a verb or an adjective

The word ‘disappointing’ can either be a verb or an adjective. If you were to use the phrase ‘Disappointing Jesus’ in a sentence about you and Jesus – would it be a verb or an adjective. (It may simply not apply). Using it as a descriptor, an adjective in regard to the subject, would mean Jesus is one whom you are disappointed with – he is one who disappoints – Jesus is a disappointment. Using it as a verb, an action word would mean that the subject, the person, is disappointing Jesus –  you are (I am) disappointing Jesus – Jesus is the one whom I am disappointing.

Is jesus disappointing you or are you disappointing him?

Matthew 11:6  Blessed is anyone who does not stumble on account of me.

All around I find that ‘Jesus’ is disappointing people – wanting too much, asking too much, expecting too much, healing too little, bailing out too little, not showing up often enough, not having people’s back when they step out, allowing them to be mocked, scorned, rejected.

Either he is disappointing or we have the wrong end of several sticks.

Expectation of money stick.

Expectation of job stick.

Expectation of health stick.

Expectation of miracle stick.

Expectation of relationships stick.

Expectation of self actualisation stick.

Expectation of death avoidance stick.

I think we need to check our expectations in at the door and get our head in the game – which is actually a war.

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Hebrews 12:4 

In your struggle against sin you have not yet resisted to the point of shedding your blood.

It must be said, in this age of IS or ISIS nutters, please notice for the Christian it is always and only one’s own blood that one must be willing to shed; never the blood of another. When a christian does spill the blood of another they have no basis, no license, no warrant from their book (New Testament) or from their model (Jesus of Nazareth – crucified and risen from the dead).

Text Tuesday – those pesky scribes

Very interesting talk from Dr. Daniel B. Wallace – How badly did the scribes change the New Testament?

One of my pieces of learning over this last year is in regard to what must be believed, can be believed and how some things are to be believed – by Christians. The corollary of this is knowing what is not being believed. I want to post some simple thoughts soon on how we as Christians can impose on ourselves somethings in regard to belief that we don’t have to – but we seem to do it enthusiastically and with ill effect. It is important to note that a great many interested parties have vested interest in ensuring we fall prey to these impositions. I will hopefully get to this soon – apples and oranges will be the theme.

Letter from America

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                                 Actually it arrived one night in July 2014

This is a reblog of a sad timely post by Tim Keesee over at Desiring God.

Background: The latest headline-making iteration of Islamic terror is the Islamic State in Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS), which split with Al-Qaeda in 2010 because (believe it or not) Al-Qaeda was too timid in their use of violence and too slow in implementing a trans-national Islamic state known as a Caliphate (from the Arabic for “succession”). Considered the successor to the Prophet Mohammed, the Caliph is the political and spiritual leader of the world’s one billion Sunni Muslims (at least in theory). The ISIS commander, who goes by the nom de guerre Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi, has declared himself to be the Caliph. Al-Baghdadi and his jihadists have startled the world with the swiftness of their conquests in Iraq and their brutal effort to obliterate the Christian communities from the region. Their stronghold is now Mosul, ancient Nineveh, the 2nd largest city in Iraq. Despite his rapid rise, there are realities that Mr. al-Baghdadi and his followers need to know. Christians should remember these, too.

Mr. Abu-Bakr al-Baghdadi
Caliph
Mosul, Iraq

Dear Mr. al-Baghdadi,

Recently, you publicly presented yourself as the Caliph, the leader of a new order for the Islamic world. In your inaugural sermon at the mosque in Mosul near the ruins of Nineveh, you said, “If you see me on the right path, help me. If you see me on the wrong path, advise me and halt me.” I’ve given that offer some thought and wanted to follow up with you.

Your reputation for unbridled terror has contributed to battlefield success and dramatic territorial gains in Syria and Iraq. As a result, tens of thousands of Christians have suffered at your hands. Those who could not flee your fury have been forced into dhimmitude. Others have been beheaded, some even crucified — making a mockery of their agony and making a mockery of Jesus the Messiah.

I think it’s best that you know that you will not succeed. You and your Caliphate are destined for failure. Of course, all empires, caliphates, and reigns of terror eventually come to an end, but something else is happening — another kind of failure in your command over the Islamic world. It’s that Jesus Christ is building his Church, and he said that “even the gates of hell” (which sounds a lot like Mosul right now) cannot stop its advance.

Christ is building the Church by gathering worshipers to himself from every tribe and language and people and nation — and that includes many, many among your subjects. From North Africa to Indonesia — and at many points in between — I’ve spoken with a number of formerly committed Muslims who are now joyful Christians. Several of your erstwhile subjects told me that Islamic terror in the name of Allah was what broke their faith in the only religion they had ever known. Having rejected Islam in their heart, when they heard the gospel, they believed! They told me that the September 11th attack — what your mentor (the late Osama bin Laden) did — first opened their hearts to the love and grace that is in Jesus alone. And so, Osama bin Laden and his kind have been unwitting agents in the gospel’s advance.

That’s why I said you can’t win. The gospel will continue to be heard in more and more places in your realm because our King will continue to send his servants there. These are men and women who are willing to die, but not like the suicide bombers that you use so often. The King’s servants are not bringing death; they are bringing life. As they go, they will risk everything, driven not by hate, as your servants are, but by the love Jesus demonstrated by dying for us.

Some days ago, your sledgehammer-swinging and explosive-detonating disciples destroyed the tomb of the prophet Jonah. The God of Jonah, whose name was first proclaimed there in Nineveh by Jonah, is nothing like the god you claim to kill for. Jonah’s God, the only God, showed grace to his enemies in Nineveh. God’s mercy would later reach its greatest, deepest, widest expression in his Son Jesus Christ, whose death and resurrection forever secured life for all who come to him — even you, if you would come.

May the life-giving Christ, the God of Jonah, have mercy on your people once again. May they turn to him and live. May their ransomed voices shout with Jonah, “Salvation belongs to the Lord!”

Sincerely,

Tim

Tears of a clown

I am somehow very sad today at the loss of a man, a father, a husband and an artist.

williamsThis loss touches me in a number of ways

  1. enjoyed much of his art – Mork & Mindy and Awakenings were highlights
  2. there is a quirky family resemblance and a funny story to go with that
  3. a family friend took their life through this most agressive and defiant way of ending it all
  4. I experienced seasons of functional depression during my teen years
  5. I experienced a long season of deep reactive depression in my early twenties
  6. I wish Robin could have experienced the life, love and liberty of Jesus of Nazareth without which I would not be here – but gone – in my early twenties
  7. I’ll never forget Nano Nano

Text Tuesday: Textual Criticism, the New Testament, and the Qur’an

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Dr. Small’s book as pictured is an abridgement of the larger version reviewed by Dr. Hurtado.

For Christians thinking about the New Testament in terms of its textual landscape, it is worth clicking through to Larry Hurtado’s blog below to read his post in full. Dr. Hurtado is a scholar of the New Testament and Christian Origins.

If you have the priviledge of discussing texts – biblical and quaranic with good Muslim folk – it is an especially interesting read. The two key points for me (briefly mentioned) are about the role of the presence or absence of ‘state sponsorship’ for want of a better phrase and also the desire and need for correctives that arose in both traditions. In Islam – this was toward the text (I am thinking about Uthman) and in Christianity, this was toward belief and doctrine – (I am thinking about the great church councils – Nicea for example). The relationship between power and orthodoxy are interlinked for both communities. But both communities were exercised about potential threats to orthodoxy in different ways.

The early(ish) Islamic community embarked on its quest for textual orthodoxy in the full bloom of its power and has been consequently very successful. Whereas Christianity needed or at least saw fit to embark on its quest for doctrinal (not textual) orthodoxy relatively late and with relatively liitle power in place. These adventures in securing orthodoxy seem poorly understood by many, misrepresented by some and challenging to all – for different reasons. A key staple of Islamic rhetoric appears to be one of Islamic textual stability. A key polemic against Christianity is one of instability of doctrine and belief. But what if in spite of all the offensive and defensive bluster Christianity was somewhat more stable that its critics wish to allow and Islam was a little less stable than its adherents can allow? It certainly would make for more interesting conversations – with more learning and listening, wondering and journeying.

Over to you Dr. Hurtado.

 Textual Criticism, the New Testament, and the Qur’an

Larry Hurtado's Blog

I’ve recently reviewed a fascinating book:  Keith E. Small, Textual Criticism and Qur’an Manuscripts (Lanham/Boulder/New York/Toronto/Plymouth:  Lexington Books, 2012), the review appearing in Scottish Journal of Theology in due course.  The book arises from Small’s 2008 PhD thesis, and is an impressive and stimulating work.  To engage in depth his data requires, of course, a good competence in Arabic, one of my many deficits.  But Small’s analysis and judgements seem measured, always based on evidence he proffers, and also respectful of the scholarship (both “Western” and traditional Islamic) that he so profusely engages.  My reason for mentioning the book on this blog site is that Small’s study prompts some interesting comparisons with the textual history of the New Testament.  Indeed, comparing the two textual histories (of the Qur’an and the New Testament writings) might enhance our appreciation of each one.

As an immediate comparison/contrast, note Small’s opening statement (p. 3): …

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Friday Frivolity – laugh but we need to weep

In spite of it being a terrible day for Christians as well as other tiny religions and sects in Iraq, I am posting a Frivolous Friday post.

But much like the picture – the warnings are in place but we still teeter towards complete destruction – ignoring the signs. May the God of all the world have mercy on us all.

This is the scariest sign on the beautiful south west coast of Wales (UK).

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Family & friends in Wales August 2014

The news says that ISIS or the Caliphate are sweeping through the villages with a special offer – Convert or Die! Where does this come from? This has never happened in history before in the middle east – has it? The killing, the beheading, the ruling over, the special offer – where does all this come from? This has never happened in history before in the middle east – has it?

 

9 Things to Know about Hamas by Joe carter

In light of my post yesterday, I thought it worth re-blogging some thoughts on Hamas from Joe Carter at The Gospel Coalition blog from his ‘9 things you should know about ….’ series. Check them all out. Interesting and informative. Good starting points for understanding many complex things.

My prayer: May the God of all the world have mercy on us all.

The following is his post – with operative links as per original.

Since July 8, 2014, there has been an escalation of violence around the Gaza Strip. To fully understand the conflict, it is helpful to know the political and military organization that sparked the hostilities and remains the primary obstacle to peace in the area. Here are nine things you should know about Hamas.

1. Hamas is a militant nationalist-Islamist movement founded in 1987 as a spinoff of Egypt’s Muslim Brotherhood. Along with Fatah, it is one of the two major political parties in the occupied territories. Hamas candidates won Palestinian elections in 2006, but their government was dismissed in 2007, resulting in the political bifurcation of the West Bank and Gaza. While Fatah reasserted its authority in the West Bank, Hamas has continued to rule over the Gaza Strip, a coastal enclave of 1.7 million Palestinians.

2. Hamas has been officially designated as a terrorist organization by the United States, Israel, the United Kingdom, Canada, the European Union, Jordan, Egypt, and Japan. However, several other countries — including Iran, Russia, China, and many Arab nations — have refused to designate the group as terrorists.

3. The slogan of Hamas is “Allah is its goal, the Prophet its model, the Qur’an its Constitution, Jihad its path and death for the case of Allah its most sublime belief.”

4. The Hamas Charter (or Hamas Covenant) “reveals its identity, outlines its stand, explains its aims, speaks about its hopes.” Hamas considers nationalism part of its religious belief and the most noble goal is “waging Jihad against the enemy and confronting him when he sets foot on the land of the Muslims.” The charter claims that “so-called peaceful solutions” are contrary to the movement’s beliefs. For Hamas, “There is no solution to the Palestinian problem except by Jihad. The initiatives, proposals and International Conferences are but a waste of time, an exercise in futility.”

5. According to the Hamas Charter, the “wealth” of the Jews allowed them to “take over control of the world media such as news agencies, the press, publication houses, broadcasting and the like.” Additionally, the document claims Jews were behind the French Revolution, the Communist Revolution, “most of the revolutions we hear about here and there”, all wars throughout history, and the establishment of the United Nations. The Jews are also credited with founding “destructive spying organizations” such as the Freemasons, Rotary Clubs, and Lions Clubs.

6. Hamas has been open about their denial of the Holocaust. They claim that teaching the Holocaust in UN schools in Gaza is a “war crime.” The Hamas charter also refers to the “Nazism of the Jews.”

7. A 2007 study of Palestinian suicide bombings found that 39.9 percent of the suicide attacks were carried out by Hamas. Currently, 46 percent of people in Gaza support the use of suicide bombing, a drop from 70 percent in 2007.

8. Since Israel withdrew from the Gaza Strip in 2005, Hamas and other Palestinian terrorist organizations has fired more than 11,000 rockets into Israel. To curb retaliation, Israel claims that Hamas uses civilians as “human shields” since Israeli policy is to limit civilian casualties whenever possible. As the New York Times notes, Hamas has “encouraged residents not to flee their homes when alerted by Israel to a pending strike and, having prepared extensively for war, did not build civilian bomb shelters.”

9. The ultimate military goal of Hamas is genocide of the Jewish people. As stated in their charter: “Hamas has been looking forward to implement Allah’s promise whatever time it might take. The prophet, prayer and peace be upon him, said: The time will not come until Muslims will fight the Jews (and kill them); until the Jews hide behind rocks and trees, which will cry: O Muslim! there is a Jew hiding behind me, come on and kill him!”

18 things to say about Israel & Gaza

I am at a loss to know what to say, think, trust and pray about Israel & Gaza. The issues are complex and I certainly could write an excoriating piece on Israel but that’s being done hourly somewhere, everywhere. In times of crisis and complexity I tend to also use my zoom lense to zoom out while others are only zooming in.  Disproportionality is a word we hear each day. And that is a driver for this post. Because disproportionality of a particular kind I will say 18 things and then ask you for your thoughts about this video. Is it the real thing? Does it matter at all?

  1. all loss of human life is deeply tragic
  2. in the middle east there appears to be very few good guys
  3. the line between civilian and fighter seems blurred
  4. Israel & Hamas are both agressing – at war with each other
  5. Israel is winning militarily – in some kind of way
  6. Hamas is winning the media war – in every kind of way
  7. the streets now hate Israel unreservedly
  8. the streets now think about Hamas uncritically
  9. everyone is asking questions about Israel’s disproprotionate response to Hamas
  10. no one seems to be asking if the Israelis have a basic point at all
  11. does Hamas dig tunnels to transport weaponry? (or maybe it’s food)
  12. does Hamas fire rockets? into Israel? from residential areas? with schools and hospitals?
  13. that would render Hamas with some culpability for the death of innocents – wouldn’t it?
  14. it seems Israel’s sins are front and centre for all to see – they should be.
  15. it seems Hamas’ sins get a passing glance, a nod and maybe even a wink.
  16. what hope can there be when both sides are long gamers and the ‘other side’ doesn’t figure much in their version of the road ahead?
  17. this isn’t based on equal disdain; as one side has gone on record as preferring the complete annihilation of the other – not because they agress but because they exist.
  18.  I don’t know the answers to those Hamas’ questions. I just notice that not many people are asking them and when asked, they are not addressed seriously. That’s worrying. The residential area question in particular seems very important. And if there is anything to it – it should paint Hamas in a very poor light indeed. It would mean that Hamas are mercilessly in it for the long game. Their people – the ordinary Gazans – are mere fodder – collateral damage in their long game of ideology, identity and idiocy. May the God of all the world have mercy.

Text Tuesday – Hidden Gospels?

By clicking below you can get access to several talks by Dr. Michael J. Kruger (Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity) on Sermon Audio – a great resource in itself. The first one Hidden Gospels should be a priority if you are a Christian or just someone who notices the amazing claims and ‘revelations’ about the New Testament, Jesus and the world of Gospels every Christmas and Easter (what a coincidence?). Perhaps you just tend to absorb it. Perhaps you should have a listen. It may give you more facility to engage with Time and Newsweek next Christmas.

sermon audio

Click this image to access Dr. Kruger’s talks.

Over at reformation21 Dr. Kruger, in his review of the book Jesus Interrupted by Bart Ehrman, covers similar ground but fleshes out a few of the thoughts more fully.

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Click the pic to go to the review

 

Monday Music – Classic Choir

This weeks offering from me to you is from the album Circle Slide by the Indie band The Choir from 1990 – say what!?!

Bought this for pennys from Dual Edge Records in Londons West End in the early 90’s. Wonder what that dear man is up to these days. I bought lots of excellent music there – discovered Vigilantes of Love and Mark Heard in that shop. Thank you brother. Hope you and the wife are well.