Thursday, November 20, 2008

I Am a Thinker

The Typealyzer is an fun little site which analyzes your personality based on your blog. I am a Thinker based on this site :-)

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Word of the Day: Καίνος

As I read and research for my paper, the topic is slightly morphing. It seems that I am focusing a lot on the word καίνος "new." As John writes in Revelation: And the one sitting on the throne said Ιδου καινα ποιω παντα 'Behold! I make all things new'" God is working toward making all things new. When Christ returns, there will be a new heavens and new earth (Rev 21-22, 1 Pet 3) (Just so you know, I would argue that God will transform the heavens and the earth, rather than destroy and remake, but either way God is making things new).

Even though God will make all things new upon Christ's return, he is in the process of making things, particularly us humans, new now. This is through our salvation in the Cross. When God shines his light in us (2 Cor 4:6; an echo of Gen 1), we partake in the new creation (2 Cor 5:17). We are to take off the old man and put on the new man (Eph 4:24; Col 3:10). This new man is renewed according to the image of God (Col 3:10; reference to Gen 1:26-27) (Note the constant reference back to Genesis. I think that is going to be the main point of my paper).

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Word of the Day: Γένενις

Γένεσις (Genesis - birth, history, lineage) is the first part of my Biblical Theology paper I need to start working on soon, particularly the genesis of man. What I am basically planning on discussing in this section are man's creation, man's place in the rest of Creation, dominion mandate, and image of God. The overall purpose of the paper is to trace the idea of man's creation-new creation throughout the Bible. It is going to take a lot of work.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Talking Robot

Language Log is a great site for all your linguistic urges. They linked to a site about a talking robot. At the bottom of the page, there are several videos of this thing in action. What makes it cool is that it is using (imitation) human speech instruments to accomplish its sounds. Check it out.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Word of the Day To Return (I Hope)

I am going to try to start up Word of the Day again (not that it really started last time...). I figure since this site is named for this feature, the feature ought to be there...And in honor of this hopeful return:

Word of the Day: ἐλπίς (elpis - hope, expectation)

BDAG gives it the definition "the looking forward to something with some reason for confidence respecting fulfillment." It seems to me as a casual English user that hope and expectation have different meanings in English. Hope (μὲν) is more of a wish or desire that has no reasonable chance or at least a very small one of actually being fulfilled. Expectation (δὲ) has a decent chance of being fulfilled.

Thus, if you really wanted a nice new Lego set for Christmas but your parents have made no mention of it and have in fact hinted at socks and underwear, you might hope for Legos but expect socks. Now, if you wandered into their room while they were gone and find a way to look on the top shelf (obviously for pure reasons) and just so happen to see a Lego set, you would no longer hope for Legos, you would expect Legos. There is now a basis for your desire.

The Greek word, at least when used by Christian authors, has the same connotations as the English 'expectation.' Our hopes in Christ are not unfounded, but have a basis in his death and resurrection, and the faithfulness with which God has interacted with his covenant people throughout history. Particularly, we have a basis that Christ will certainly return, judge the living and the dead, and consummate the marriage with the Church even though it has been 2000 years since he left.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Review: Billy

Billy by William Paul McKay & Ken Abraham
Billy is a (somewhat fictionalized?) biography of Billy Graham’s start as a evangelist, his interactions with Charles Templeton, who was at one time an evangelist and eventually renounced his faith, and the struggle of faith to which these interactions led. The biographical information is framed by a story of an interview with the aged Templeton.
I see there being two parts to a book review: the writing and the message. Concerning the writing, this book was not outstanding, but it was not awful. The writing at the beginning was slow and weak. It seemed much like the way some of my papers start out, a writer’s block exercise. Once the authors, however, got into the book, any imperfections in the writing faded to the background, and the story took over. One concern I have is where the line between truth and fiction is. The back cover says this book is “based on the remarkable true story.” I am not an expert on the life of Billy Graham but from what I could find, the major events mentioned are all correct. I am assuming that the conversations for the most part have been fictionalized. Fictionalized does not mean bad though. The authors have crafted a wonderful story of love of God, romance, doubt, and a strengthened love of God. One minor problem was on pages 57 and 62, the authors mention the Greek word for sin. They, however, use the word metanoia which happens to not be the Greek word for sin but for repentence. The Greek word for sin is hamartia. It could be possible that they were trying to show the greenness of the young Billy Graham at his first preaching engagement, but since they don’t point out the correct word, I doubt it.
The message of the story was thought-provoking. The contrast between the questioning of Billy Graham which leads to faith and the questioning of Charles Templeton which leads to apostasy offers much to think about and is something that many people need to consider. I know I have doubts and how I deal with these doubts influences how my faith grows. Charles Templeton’s problem was his lack of theological basis. Without that, attacks on faith aren’t blocked by anything; they can just come in and take over. Billy Graham didn’t have much training but he had some, and that bit he had gave him something to stand upon. But more importantly, he clung to God through his doubts. His example in that is encouraging; God can guide us through doubts.
The strangest thing that the authors did was toward the end of the book when Billy Graham was wrestling in prayer about his view of the Bible. The authors add in the forces of Heaven and Hell battling over Billy Graham’s soul. It felt a bit contrived. Also, while they did portray Satan as being on a leash (something that it seems many Christians don’t realize anymore), they also put God on a leash saying that God could not do anything to influence Billy Graham except keep Satan at bay (well, I should say angelic forces, not God, because God does not partake in this struggle). I disagree with the theology of this section, but there are a lot of Christians whose view of theology I disagree with, but they still have something to offer that I can learn from. And, this book offers a portrayal of two faiths, one that dies and one that survives, and we can learn from that.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

What is Life?

One of my friends posted this letter by James Dobson as though he were a Christian writing from the 2012 where Obama gets elected (Note: unless you are an extreme conservative who confuses Christianity with the Republican party, this will really annoy you). I don't have any real desire to critique the letter here; I think its own absurdity accomplishes that. However, I found this rebuttal which mentioned something very interesting.

In our current political culture, the phrase "Pro-Life" only refers to abortion. There is something seriously flawed with that. Why is abortion the only Life issue? The author of the rebuttal says:

"You make a mistake when you assume that younger Christians don't care as much as you about the sanctity of life. They do care--very much--but they have a more consistent ethic of life. Both broader and deeper, it is inclusive of abortion, but also of the many other assaults on human life and dignity. For the new generation, poverty, hunger, and disease are also life issues; creation care is a life issue; genocide, torture, the death penalty, and human rights are life issues; war is a life issue. What happens to poor children after they are born is also a life issue."

That is a statement I can stand behind. Abortion is very important, but you can't chase after that, claiming you are "Pro-Life" when you let so many other die. The last line of that quote is especially true. What use is it to save a baby's life if we shove it out on the streets as soon as it is born, neglected by its drug-addicted parents, barely getting enough food. That isn't "Pro-Life."

I am not saying that abortion should be allowed, but we should make sure we actually care about Life as a whole, instead of just in the womb.