Friday, April 29, 2011

Be holy...

Today, Boda summarizes the first section of Leviticus based on the four previous observations:

What the priestly legislation provided then was an intricate theological-symbolic world designed to preserve God's presence in the midst of his people. The people were constantly reminded of his holy character through their failure to follow his commands but at the same time experienced his gracious character as they received atonement for both cleansing and forgiveness. Through these priestly encounters with God's holiness and grace, they were reminded of their need to “be holy as he is holy.”—A Severe Mercy, page 76

<idle musing>
What a great segue into the old covenant, it was failure and atonement; in the new covenant, it is sacrifice and cleansing, resulting in rest! Rest for the people of God as they walk by faith in Christ's accomplished work on the cross. Not just forgiveness, but deliverance. What more could anyone want?

Anything less than deliverance, and you are still walking in the old covenant...
</idle musing>

Thursday, April 28, 2011

The communal effect of sin

Today's fourth, and final, observation from the first section of Leviticus:

Fourth, the need for reparation and restitution in the priestly legislation showed that sin had an impact on others and demanded that a person change his or her behavior practically in light of the grace that was afforded through the sacrificial rite.—A Severe Mercy, page 76 (emphasis his)

<idle musing>
Sin always has a communal effect. I know it is hard for us in our individualistic society to fathom that, but it's true. What happens in the darkness of a corner room has a society-wide ramification. Of course, the answer isn't more legislation, but instead repentance and reformed behavior by the power of the Holy Spirit.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Preserving the presence

Today, we get the third observation from the first section of Leviticus in Boda's A Severe Mercy:

Third, the need for purification of the sanctuary and its altars shows that sin endangered the community's relationship with their God. The Creator of the universe, the covenant God who had spoken with such power from Sinai, was the same God who had descended in Exodus 40 into the tabernacle at the center of their camp. The people were shown on a regular basis that they should not take their sin lightly, lest this God abandon a defiled and unworthy tabernacle.—A Severe Mercy, page 76

<idle musing>
A good reminder to us all! Again, I'm struck by the continuity between the covenants...
</idle musing>

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

The second observation on Leviticus

We're still camping on page 76 of Boda's A Severe Mercy. Today is the second observation from the first section of Leviticus:

Second, knowledge, recognition, and confession of guilt are important to remedying sin. Recognition may come from the violator, but at times the community was to play a role in bringing violations to the attention of its members. The constant reference to 'recognition of guilt' suggests that the sacrificial system was designed to foster the formation of conscience within the community, but the constant references to 'knowing' suggest that it was designed also to foster accountability. Demanding verbal confession I cases of certain deliberate sins brought these two aspects together, forcing the worshiper to recognize guilt and expose sin before covenant God and community.—A Severe Mercy, page 76 (emphasis his)

<idle musing>
Isn't that a nice picture of what the church should be like with the various members of the body encouraging and holding each other accountable in love?
</idle musing>


I don't follow television at all, so I don't even know the individual replying in the video, but I'm sure most of you do. Anyway, apparently Mr. Limbaugh last night asked what Jesus would take. Today this gentleman replied:

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

<idle musing>
Ouch. I'm reminded of Bonhoeffer's Discipleship. We try to explain away what Jesus is saying, but we can't...why not just embrace it? The Holy Spirit is waiting and willing to take over!
</idle musing>

Monday, April 25, 2011

Mitigated Punishment-again

This week we are going to camp on one page in Boda's A Severe Mercy, page 76. Page 76 is a summary of the first section of Leviticus from which he draws four observations. Here' the first:

First, the rituals involving various animals and their blood suggest the costly character of sin. Not only does one's sin demand the loss of a life, but it means the economic loss of that animal from one's head. Forgiveness meant mitigated punishment: one avoided death, but it cost something.—A Severe Mercy, page 76 (emphasis his)

<idle musing>
There's that recurring theme of mitigated punishment. No cheap grace in the Hebrew Bible!
</idle musing>

Friday, April 22, 2011

I served my time

OK, a week ago Wednesday, they came for me:

And they hauled me away and put cuffs on me and a strange suit of clothes:

Because my cell phone was dead, they let me go, otherwise some of you would have heard from me. But, you can still help me out by going here: Kosciusko, IN Lock-Up 2011: James Spinti


Good Friday

It seems appropriate that on Good Friday, there should be a post on the cross. So, perusing the blog world today, I found a very good one, by Roger Olson. Here's a snippet, but read the whole thing; he's riding a favorite hobby horse of my own...

I will take the risk of putting forth a theory here. It seems likely to me that whenever and wherever and to the extent that the objective view of the atonement (viz., that the death of Christ reconciled God to the world as much as the world to God) diminishes, the cross will diminish in importance for worship and piety. A subjective theory of the atonement will not do; it cannot sustain long term, profound commitment to the gospel of the death of Jesus Christ as our salvation.

Some contemporary Christians, including some evangelicals, worry that the preaching of the cross in any traditional sense (viz., objective) risks sanctioning child abuse. That seems to me to be utter nonsense because it completely ignores the Trinity in the background of objective atonement. No theologian defending objective atonement has ever regarded the atonement as anything other than God the Son’s voluntary suffering and death. Even Anselm’s Satisfaction Theory and the Puritans’ Penal Substitution Theories pictured it that way and NOT as God simply taking out his anger on an innocent person against his will.

On this Good Friday I call on evangelicals especially to return to their roots and rediscover the good news of the cross as God’s way of reconciling himself to a sinful, rebellious world as well as God’s way of drawing us to himself.

<idle musing>
Amen! I've mentioned before my experience with the loss of the cross. It truly is central to Christianity; without it, there is no atonement. Of course, we can't stop there; we need the resurrection too! But, you can't get to the resurrection without going to the cross first. And on that cross, you and I died with Christ that we might live with him. No cross, no resurrection. No resurrection, no deliverance from the power of sin—let me emphasize here that I'm talking about deliverance; not just forgiveness!
</idle musing>

Thursday, April 21, 2011

God is...

"God is Love, but that same God self-describes with “I am holy.” Yes, I agree — the witness of the Bible is that God is love, but how can we simply avoid God’s self-identifying words about holiness? And what does holiness say about some of the topics in this book? Can we simply dismiss the robust view of holiness at work in the Bible when it comes to descriptions of God? For some holiness is the defining attribute of God, for others it’s love. I don’t know why we get into such battles – both are true. God is holy and God is love, and God is lovingly holy and holy in his love. Holiness does not mean wrath; holiness means purity and moral perfection and utter differentness — the ineffability and the infinity of God."—Scot McKnight

<idle musing>
Yes. Yes! YES! YES!
</idle musing>


“The nature of סלח [selach], however, is slightly different from the Western conception of forgiveness. Numbers 14 shows that סלח involves not necessarily the eradication of the penalty by the offended party (Yahweh) but rather 'the substitution of a mitigated penalty (non-entry into the land) for a much more severe penalty (immediate destruction by plague).' (Sklar 2005:84-85) This suggests that the sacrificial animal functioned in a similar way to modern-day fines. Instead of the harsher penalty of incarceration, a mitigated financial penalty is demanded.”—A Severe Mercy, page 71

<idle musing>
I'm not quite sure what to do with this. Any ideas? Maybe it will become clearer as I read further in the book.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Understatement of the decade award...

Goes to Mark Boda for this statement:

“Although most introductory Hebrew students are taught that this latter conjunction [ו, waw] should be translated as 'and,' is is unquestionably the most versatile particle in the Hebrew language.”—A Severe Mercy, page 65

<idle musing>
Not at all like Greek, with its plethora of particles, so much so that there is a 574 page book called Greek Particles—which should be in every Greek student's library, by the way—, Hebrew has a much more limited repertoire of particles to choose from. Of course, that leads to interpretive issues :( But, remember, context is always king and the number of times the meaning isn't clear is minimal.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

What a deal!

Now through April 30: $10 standard shipping on all international orders

That's right: standard shipping on any retail order, of any size, anywhere outside the U.S. is just $10 until the end of April! Prices for Air Mail and other shipping services will stay the same. This incredible deal won't appear during the checkout process, but we'll adjust it before we bill your card.

* This won't apply to existing backorders, is valid for retail customers only, and you have to place your order on the website. Picky, picky, picky. It's still a good deal.

And the response was...

After the golden calf incident:
“Although the mediator secures forgiveness from Yahweh for the people's rebellion, they do experience mitigated punishment. The people are not rejected and destroyed by their holy God but rather preserved because of God's gracious character and action...The remedy for sin is thus complex, involving the just punishment of a holy God, the passionate intercession of a mediator, and the merciful forgiveness of a gracious God. What is striking is the lack of emphasis on the response of the sinful community...—A Severe Mercy, page 48

<idle musing>
Ouch! The people are all about to die in the wilderness. But, before we throw stones, what will be our response to Christ's invitation?
</idle musing>

Monday, April 18, 2011


No, not the kind of collapse you were thinking. This is far more tragic.

“The tragic irony is that, at the heart of the tabernacle legislation, the legislation that was designed to make possible the unthinkable act of the holy Creator dwelling in the midst of his kingdom of priests and his holy nation, one finds the community falling into the most deplorable sinful behavior: idolatry (chaps. 32-34). Their awe before the appearance of God in chap. 19 and twofold commitment to obedience in chap. 24 has been revealed as hollow promises as they quickly break the first and second commandments. Interestingly, the answer to this dilemma is not the repentance of the people but rather the faithful intercession of a mediator...”—A Severe Mercy. page 48 (italics original)

<idle musing>
Seems to be laying down a pattern...and how appropriate following on the previous post
</idle musing>

Some good thoughts from around

the blogosphere that I read over the weekend.

A Place for the God-hungry addresses honesty in preaching

“3. Present the opposing view as if very intelligent, good people believe this. In other words, don’t make fun of the opposing view or talk as if those who hold such a view are obviously not intelligent, thoughtful, or spiritual. When presenting an opposing view, present the strongest argument for that view, not the weakest. In other words, you may not agree with the view but you can respect those who happen to hold that view.”

While Alan Knox talks about trying harder

“Throughout the book of Colossians, Paul first exhorts his readers to trust Christ (only), and then describes what a life in Christ would look like. If we take this out of order, we turn the gospel into a exhortation to try harder. However, Paul’s instructions were not 'try harder,' but 'trust Christ.'”

And, I couldn't have asked for a better segue, as Joel talks about rules, sorta

“Therefore, 'right living,' according to life in Christ, is never a matter of going back to law or rules or our own sense of morality. Laws and rules might sometimes cause temporary outward changes of behavior, but in the long run they cannot truly deal with the issues of the flesh. That’s why we had to die to the law in order to be joined together with the One and only source of real life and godliness. Right living, then, comes not from external rules and laws, but rather internally, from the very life of Christ who indwells us. Through Him, God gave us a new heart and a new spirit. He made us into a new creation. He caused us to become partakers of the divine nature (His very nature).

“...Note that living by the Spirit doesn’t involve 'steps' to godliness or morality, or 'steps' to overcoming sinful behavior. This isn't a 'how to' or a set of 'principles for godly living.' What this is about is the power of a resurrected life (we have been 'raised together' and 'made alive together with Christ'). This is about God, who is 'at work in us' (Phil 2:13) and who is faithful to complete the work that He began (Phil 1:6). This is about God's grace at work in us.

“...So how do we overcome the addictions and indulgences of the flesh? Again, it’s not a set of rules or principles and it’s really not a 'how to.' It’s a Who. It’s a Person. It’s the work of God in us. It’s giving up the old life of trying to overcome flesh with self-effort (fleshly effort) and walking in the miraculous life of the living God who richly indwells us. Which will we choose? Fleshly right vs. wrong – or supernatural and miraculous co-resurrected life with Christ!”


Friday, April 15, 2011

The fear of YHWH

“Israel's experience of the manifest presence of Yahweh in this covenant ceremony in Exodus 19-20 is designed to keep them from sinning by producing the fear of Yahweh within them.—A Severe Mercy, page 46 (italics original)

<idle musing>
Didn't work, did it? Still won't work; you can't scare the hell out of people. They have to want God.
</idle musing>

Some good thoughts

from around the Internet:

From Roger Olson on the ambiguity of theological categories:

...some people seem to be so allergic to ambiguity they simply cannot open their minds to flexible boundaries; they feel compelled to be able to know with absolute certainty who is “in” and who is “out” of a category. It’s simply not that simple in most cases.

I find that such people are what I call theological absolutists. There’s a category. What do I mean by it? By “theological absolutist” I mean someone who so identifies his or her theological concepts with revelation itself that they are unable even to consider the possibility they might be wrong. Such people also tend to hold theological categories as bounded sets when, in fact, they are centered sets without firm or definite boundaries.

How about a view of how publishing has changed over the last 25 years? And from an insider, no less:

...When Cuomo delivered the finest speech of his career at the San Francisco Democratic Convention, he flew back overnight and called Jason Epstein, Random House's legendary editorial director to complain that his wife Matilda could not find copies of his book in stores around the Cow Palace, where the convention was held. Jason listened to Cuomo's lament and quietly observed: "Governor, no author since Homer has ever found his own book in a bookstore."

Whatever else has changed in publishing over the years, that wry insight still resonates...

If you've been living in a cave, you might not know it, but Amazon has come out with an ad-based Kindle. Personally, I don't think the price difference is worth putting up with ads, but it was interesting to see that ad in books aren't new. I had forgotten it, but do remember seeing them in paperbacks way back when.

And, in what has got to be one of the craziest bills introduced into a state legislature, Hawaii introduced

H.B. 458 would have imposed civil liability on writers and publishers of travel guides – including books, websites, and advertisements – that depict or describe an attraction or activity if a reader suffers an injury or dies after trespassing to reach the site. The bill would also have imposed a duty to warn readers of any dangerous conditions “typical to the area” where the attraction or activity is located.

<idle musing>
OK, I believe in corporate responsibility, but this is craziness! Where is any sense of personal responsibility?! The bill died, but might/will probably be introduced again next year...
</idle musing>

Thursday, April 14, 2011


“The various laws define sin for Israel, with the core Decalogue in Exodus 20 revealing that sin is first and foremost linked to Israel's relationship with God, especially related to exclusive worship of Yahweh. But sin is also violations against Yahweh's will for human-human relationships as seen in the second part of the Decalogue. The Sabbath law at the center of the Decalogue reminds the reader that sin is not just against God and fellow humans but also against one's animals (creation). This broad definition of sin is confirmed in the larger Book of the Covenant that follows in Exodus 20-23. It must be remembered that, while the various laws define sin for Israel, the penalties attached to the laws in the Book of the Covenant are designed to remedy sin, no only by discouraging commitment of sinful acts through the threat of penalty, but also by enacting justice through the application of punishment for deliberate sin.”—A Severe Mercy, page 46

<idle musing>
Yes; sin isn't just against God and God also cares about cheap grace allowed!
</idle musing>

Various garden and related stuff

Well, we tried the sauerkraut last night. It had fermented for 7 days and we figured it was worth a taste test. I opened the jar (we made it in 3-one quart jars) and it made a popping sound as the air escaped—a good sign. It certainly smelled like sauerkraut!

I stirred it up a bit with a fork, then filled the fork with kraut. A bit hesitantly, I put it in my sure did taste good! Still a bit mild, but we have 2 other quarts still aging, so that's not a problem. I must admit, I was a bit nervous about it turning out after my experience in Kentucky way back when. But, the finished product is very good. We put the opened quart in the refrigerator after munching on a bit more. It will disappear very quickly, I suspect.

We started growing alfalfa and broccoli sprouts a few weeks ago. I started some in a quart jar and we enjoyed them, so we got a Bioset sprouter. Not sure if I like it as well as the jar; the sprouts from it taste watery. The principle is that the Bioset leaves a bit of water on the seeds. The quart jar, on the other hand, is drained each time you add water... We're going to run a test later next week with both ways; if I remember, I'll post our final preference.

I transplanted the Roma tomatoes into the hoop house on Monday evening. The next night it froze, but they came through fine in the hoop house. I'm getting ready to put out the potatoes this weekend (or maybe sooner...). We do straw potatoes, so I put down a layer of compost last night; I cut up the seed potatoes earlier the week. Once I put the seed potatoes out, I will place a 6 inch layer of straw over them and add row cover to keep everything in place.

I transplanted the cabbages into the basement under the grow lights; 16 plants for the early cabbage. I think I'll do another 16 for later harvest; that would give us about 32 quarts of kraut, which should be enough—I hope!

It's real!

Lots of things are real, but this one is special to me. I attended the University of Chicago back in the 1980s (remember those days?) as a Ph.D. student. One of the languages I took was Akkadian (some would say it took me...). And, the foremost tool that I had on my desk was the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary. It wasn't complete at the time, so the other lexicon was the Akkadisches Handwörterbuch (how's your German?). Now, 22 years after I finished my classroom work and 90 years after its inception in 1921, the final volume—Chicago Assyrian Dictionary U/W—is shipping from the printer next week. Long journey, lots of people, lots of file cards. Pretty cool stuff!

I never worked for the CAD, but I did work for the related Chicago Hittite Dictionary Project, so I know a bit of what the CAD involved. But, the corpus of Hittite texts is miniscule compared to the corpus of Akkadian texts! Our file cabinets only took up one wall of an office; theirs took up almost an entire floor!

So, congratulations to the Chicago Assyrian Dictionary Project and all its many employees over the years.

UPDATE: Chuck Jones, long-time archivist at the OI, has collected some interesting stuff here on the CAD.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Open Office Calc problem

Am I the only one who has had this happen? Google comes up blank...

I have a large spreadsheet—sales for the last 24 months, 34000+ lines—that I did a subtotal calculation on. I collapsed the data so that all I see is the subtotals, then I saved it. Now, I reopen the sheet and the subtotals are all there, complete with the formulas in the cells, but I can't expand it to see the detail anymore! I've tried selecting it all and redoing the subtotals, in case the data would reappear. Nope!

Anybody know what I can do? Sure, I can recreate it or restore a backup (I use Time Machine—a wonderful tool!), but I've done lots of stuff on the file since then that I would like to keep...Frustration!!!!!

The order matters

After the golden calf incident...
“It is interesting how the character creed found in Exod 34:6-7 revises and reverses the order of the attributes proclaimed by Yahweh in the Decalogue in Exod 20:5-6...One key revision is the loss of the phrase 'to those who love me and keep my commandments,' a change that takes the emphasis off of Israel's ability to respond to God's covenant demands (Moberly 1983:88). Even more significant is the reversal in the presentation of God's character. In this 'there is a radical shift from an emphasis on divine jealousy to an emphasis on divine mercy, grace, and loyalty without denying justice' (Widner 2004: 185). Yahweh's declaration in Exodus 34 emphasizes the first order of his character as mercy and grace: 'the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, abounding in covenant loyalty and faithfulness, maintaining love to thousands, and forgiving wickedness, rebellion and sin.”—A Severe Mercy, pages 43-44

<idle musing>
That is some good theology. I like mercy and grace coming first—but without the loss of justice. Justice cannot be forgotten, otherwise you end up with cheap grace—and grace in not cheap; it cost God far more than we can imagine.
</idle musing>

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The voice of YHWH

“So overwhelmed are the people by the experience of hearing God's voice from the mountain ([Exodus] 20:18) that they urge Moses to act as their mediator, relaying the words of God to them lest they die (20:19). Moses, however, reminds them that the experience of hearing God's voice directly was designed to create in them 'the fear of God' in order 'that you may not sin' (20:20). Here it is human experience of the awesome voice of Yahweh that is identified as a remedy for sin, but the people are reticent, and so Moses assumes the role of mediator, entering into God's presence (20:21).—A Severe Mercy, page 39

<idle musing>
"but the people are reticent..." yep; we are. The voice of YHWH, and within 40 days they fall into sin with the golden calf...and people claim that humanity didn't fall!
</idle musing>

Monday, April 11, 2011

True renewal

“After the plague of hail, Pharaoh summons Moses and admits, 'I have sinned,' that is, 'the LORD is the righteous one, and I and my people are the wicked ones' ([Exodus] 9:27). Pharaoh declares his willingness to let the people go (9:28), even though Moses denies that Pharaoh and his court fear Yahweh (9:30). Clearly, the genuineness of Pharaoh's confession is explicitly questioned in the narrative itself. Here, we see an admission of culpability by Pharaoh, suggesting a rhythm that is key to the restoration of relationship with an offended party, but discover that this is not equated with true renewal.”—A Severe Mercy, page 36

<idle musing>
Confession of sin is not the same thing as repentance, is it? Yet, we seem to equate the two in our culture. Confession of sin is admitting that you were wrong; repentance, at least in the Hebrew, is a turning away (שוב) (shub). No turning, no real repentance. And, that says something about the rote repetition of ritual, too, doesn't it?

I remember as a kid reciting the confession of sin before communion. It starts out by saying “the sins we have so grievously committed” and I always thought, “No way! I enjoyed committing them!” But, I still thought there was something magical about the communion wafer and grape juice (we were good tee-totaling Methodists)...
</idle musing>

How about that Job guy?

John Anderson preached at his college chapel last week (or so) about prayer. I finally got around to reading it this weekend and was struck by this:

Job, humbled by God’s response, seems a bit shaken—rightfully so! But it is God’s word that follows that stands out. Notice what God says; God is not angry at Job, but at Job’s friends who have attempted to convince him he was guilty. Here’s the kicker: God says explicitly it is not the three friends, OR EVEN GOD HIMSELF, who has spoken rightly; Job alone, God says, is the only one who has said what is right. He’s the only one whose language, whose speech has been accurate, correct, and true to reality. What’s more, notice what God instructs Job to do: pray for his friends, and God will accept Job’s prayer and forgive them. For nearly 40 chapters Job has been professing his innocence (and implicitly, then, God’s guilt); Job’s daring speech, daring prayer throughout the book is met with approval from God. God approves not of the three friends’ pious attempts to defend or apologize for God but rather of Job’s confident and daring affirmations of innocence and his prayers of questions. The book of Job gives us a unique perspective on daring prayer because we get not just the prayer but God’s assessment of it; and God’s assessment? Quite simple: God prefers, welcomes, and encourages the daring prayer of Job—even if he is speaking of things he does not truly understand—rather than those who mechanically rehash familiar credos without thinking.

<idle musing>
Amen! Good preaching! I have always challenged people to pray big; to lay aside the pious prayers and pour their heart out to God. He's big enough; he can take it if you yell at him! He already knows what you are thinking, so why not be honest with him and yourself? Habakkuk is my favorite example, by the way.

Oh, don't neglect to read the whole post, too. He has some good stuff there.
</idle musing>

Thought for the day

“Rule for writers: use the standard lexicons and if you differ from them you better have good evidence because you are disagreeing with some mighty good scholars who have for centuries pondered the evidence in the original languages.”— Scot McKnight

Friday, April 08, 2011

Andybody remember the 18.5 minute gap

in the Nixon tapes? Seems they found a new Rose Mary Woods willing to take a fall for the home team in Waukesha County Wisconsin.

Next thing you know, Walker will trot out a dog named Checkers!

Need I say that this is despicable? If you do a bit of research on the woman, you will find previous fraud...power corrupts—as does money!

And so it begins...

“Forgiveness is largely absent from Genesis 1-11. In some cases, one can discern mitigation of punishment, whether this is in delaying a sentence (Genesis 3, 6), protecting the guilty (Genesis 4), or preserving a remnant (Genesis 6-9). God treats the human couple mercifully by providing clothing to cover their shame, even though he does announce a curse against them.”—A Severe Mercy, page 32

<idle musing>
Interesting observation about lack of forgiveness. The theme of mitigation of punishment will come up again as we work our way through the book.

But, I am bothered by his phrase “even though he does announce a curse against them.” Where? Where in Genesis 3 does God announce a curse against humanity?

No! God announces a curse against the serpent and against the ground. He doesn't curse humanity! If people would begin to realize what the text says in Genesis 3, I suspect there would be a transformation in how they view themselves as well.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the infamous doctrine of penal substitution is linch-pinned on the misreading of Genesis 3. Not that penal substitution isn't a part of what the atonement is about; it is, but it is a small part. I would (and have—search the blog for it) argue that Christus Victor is a larger part of what the atonement is about...
</idle musing>

Thursday, April 07, 2011

Various things of no interest

I haven't talked about the garden for a while, so here we go...

We ate spinach all winter long from the hoop house, but lately it has been doing very well. I pulled the first green onion of the year on Tuesday; I planted them back in November and they overwintered. The radishes I planted on January 30 are starting to be ready to eat, and the carrots I planted back in October have been giving us a few every now and then.

On Tuesday, I made a salad out of fresh spinach, fresh green onions, fresh carrots, one radish, some home made pickle relish, some home made pickled beets, and home made yogurt for a dressing. Yum!

Last night Debbie and I made sauerkraut. We'll see how it turns out...the last time I tried it was 28 years ago in Kentucky. The salt in the mixture caused the canning rings to rust to the lids. I tried opening them by cutting the rings with a hacksaw; it didn't work. I got so discouraged about it that I've not tried it again. Debbie is actually the one who convinced me to try it again!

It's simple to make (if it turns out!). I used a recipe that calls for less salt and uses whey as a starter instead of all salt. We used the whey left over from the cottage cheese. The cats get the rest.

I don't remember if I mentioned it, but I transplanted 17 broccoli plants on March 20 and put row cover over them. The next week the temperature dropped to 20º. I decided not to transplant the Roma tomatoes into the hoop house after that. But, I have this afternoon off (I'm leaving as soon as I post this) and I will begin to harden them off. I'll probably transplant them Sunday.

This weekend I will be planting peas, onions, and probably some potatoes (under cold frames). Good eating is coming our way!

Wednesday, April 06, 2011

Thought for the day

From The M Blog

Most of us operate out of the factory default mode. We seem to be wired this way regardless of all the books we have read, or conferences and trainings we might have attended. We act marginally, at best, on the ideas generated from all the information shared with us. All this information, as interesting or helpful as it may be, usually has little bearing on what is actually put into practice and applied. It is indeed quite a task to teach old dogs new tricks. And yet a huge chunk of my time seems to be spent attempting to do just that!

<idle musing>
As a bookseller, I can vouch for the truth of that! I read lots—and lots—but implement precious little. Guy goes on to suggest a technique to help...

Of course, the Holy Spirit can put a bur under your saddle every now and then and get real heartfelt change. Would that it happened more often—or maybe, would that I were more sensitive to the promptings!
</idle musing>

Tuesday, April 05, 2011

Freedom of speech

From Out of Ur

Here's mine [take on free speech]: It's relatively easy to burn a Quran in rural Florida, Pastor Jones. Next time you feel the need to "stand up for the truth" consider traveling to the Middle East first. Then you can own the consequences rather than expect someone else to.

<idle musing>
</idle musing>

Heard while at the conference

Pam (our prepress manager) was reading a book and shared this with me:

“That's what statements can do: create debate (and sometimes, sadly, hate)...”—Brian McLaren

<idle musing>
Ain't it the truth? Sadly, the second half seems to be the preferred method of response in the U.S. right now...
</idle musing>


I was at a conference last Thursday-Sunday, with spotty Internet connectivity, so this is a bit dated, but nonetheless, some links:
Alan Knox, on the church order for the church to become community (as described in Scripture), Jesus must not only be the most important ingredient, he must be the only community ingredient.
Almost every church that has ever existed would agree with my previous post and the point that Jesus must be the most important aspect of that church’s community. They would agree that all of the believers who are part of that church must have Jesus in common.

However, this post could cause problems. Why? Because most churches are not willing to stop at Jesus being the center of their community. Instead, they will add something else, such that they require Jesus and something else. That “something else” might be a statement of faith (creed/confession), or a certain meeting location, or a leader or group of leaders, or local church membership, or anything else around which a group of people might gather.

Guy Muse at M Blog on the church:

Our focus is usually trying to get churches to reproduce themselves. The whole CPM [Church Planting Movement] thing of 'churches planting churches that plant churches' just hasn't happened in our context.

What we are learning from the Lord is that we need to get back to basics: 'making disciples that make disciples that make disciples.' Church plants will follow if new disciples are making disciples themselves.

Christ didn't charge us with going out and starting churches. Our assigned task is to 'make disciples.' Jesus stated, "I will build my church"--not, 'WE will build his church.'

Alan again

When I first began thinking about community, I did not think about it in this fashion. Instead, I started with things like “love one another”, “forgive one another”, “care for one another”, “serve one another”, “build up one another”, etc. etc. etc. These responses are very important, but I’ve since learned that they responses must follow in the correct order.
If we begin with the response (love, forgive, care, serve, etc), then we become responsible for the community, both building it and holding it together. The success or failure (or depth or superficiality) of the community depends upon our ability to properly respond to one another...

Please understand this, because it is very important. If we do not respond to one another in love, forgiveness, care, service, or edification, it is because we are not responding to Jesus Christ in a manner that is worthy of him and the gospel. Thus, if we are not living in community with one another, it is a reflection of our fellowship with Jesus Christ.

Now, the responses are extremely important, but they are secondary to the primary source and foundation of community, which as I’ve said before is Jesus Christ. If we understand that the responses are secondary, then it helps us keep Jesus Christ as our focus. “Successes” will cause use to praise Jesus, and “failures” will cause us to turn back to him and cling to him even more.

Ted Gossard on scholarly disagreement:

And let us remember, to do all things in love. Love for God in all our being and doing, and love for our neighbor as ourselves–as we carry on in God’s mission in Jesus for the world.

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If only we remembered to—and did—all things in love...
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