Archive for October, 2007

For a man who occasionally becomes quite difficult to comprehend, Paul and his tradition have only the most modest tolerance for people who complicate straight-forward things. (more…)


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Jeremiah comes down to us not only as the weeping prophet. He is also a most realistic seer.

The text allows us to intuit the presence of many prophetic good-timers, making their rounds in the streets of besieged Jerusalem and claiming against the evidence of the Babylonian troops just over the wall that YHWH would never allow his prime-time city to be destroyed. They proclaimed an imminent miracle, an inviolable city, and an unconditional divine choice. (more…)

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For ears like the one attached to both sides of this writer’s head, ‘sound doctrine’ has an unpleasant ring.

The baggage is heavy. It seems the pious moniker of a narrow orthodoxy’s obsession with reigning in any inquisitive soul who might dare to follow the evidence where it leads. To a biblical scholar it hints at the wished-for sovereignty that is credited to more ‘systematic’ theologians over the messiness of the biblical text and its stubborn resistance to being reduced to, well, ‘doctrine’. Let alone sound doctrine, which suggests an even finer sieve. (more…)

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Twila Paris did not develop one of the most loyal fan bases in Christian music by blowing their ears off. If smoke is found on any stage on which Paris performs, it’s evidence of a short circuit rather than choreographed dry ice.

Ms. Paris is not spectacular. She is merely very, very good, song after song, one well-considered, hope-mongering tune after another. (more…)

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‘Where is YHWH?’

It seems an obvious question to be heard on the lips of a people whose recent past YHWH has permeated with redemptive actions on their behalf. When it is not heard, the prophet suggests, the silence is not only deafening but accusing as well. (more…)

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On balance, it’s probably a good thing that the Historical Guy who decided we should be clean shaven was handed that decision. Otherwise, he might have got himself up to some even more lethal project.

As things stand now, a man’s face is one of life’s great hostile environments, what with the scraping we do every morning and the stressing throughout the day. The surface of Mars beats us out only by a few toxic gases and we’re occasionally capable of giving even that one a run for its money. (more…)

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In the mid-90s, London’s Sunday Times produced a cheap CD series that managed to be both eclectic and excellent. In the ‘Classical’ branch of that series, High Romantics appeared, presenting tuneful offerings from Glinka, Arensky, Liszt, Saint-Saëns, Brahms, Grieg, Delibes, and Tchaikovsky.

It all adds up to 43 minutes of fine listening, by about minute 22 of which one begins to wonder why we ever moved on from the Romantic period.

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