Monday, May 27, 2013

Support Gibson guitars

After you read this, perhaps you — and your praise band? — will be inspired to make your next guitar purchase a Gibson.


Monday, May 20, 2013

On the tax collectors OR Luke 19 can't get here soon enough!

I confess, the IRS scandal is only making it more and more amazing that Jesus was so gracious toward the IRS agents of his day. But we should remember that, in the instructive case of Zacchaeus (the "wee, little man"), Jesus said, "salvation has come to this house, for he too is a son of Abraham," in direct response to the tax man's repentant resolution: “Look, half of my possessions, Lord, I will give to the poor; and if I have defrauded anyone of anything, I will pay back four times as much.” (Luke 19:8-9)

Meanwhile, if you need to catch up on this story, tax professor Paul Caron is serving as primary aggregator.

Another law prof, William Jacobson has collected key links (fewer to sort through) at Legal Insurrection.

Among them, Kim Strassel's article demonstrates how open and public has been the process of authorizing the ideological targeting of conservative groups and taxpayers for intimidation, audits, delays in granting tax-exempt status, etc. No smoking gun needed. Nevertheless, ... 

Jeffrey Lord at The American Spectator appears to have detected the smoking gun itself. Read the whole thing, but here is the rub:
"... it will be a curious sight indeed to see the efforts the media will go to ignore/dismiss the tight, on-the-record connection between the President personally and a vociferously anti-Tea Party union. A union that has the literal run of the IRS — and whose union chief is recorded as having met with the President in the White House the day before the IRS launched “a Sensitive Case Report on the Tea Party cases.”
It not only looks bad, it is bad, coming or going, covert or overt, before and after the election, which ever way you slice it. Time for the tax collectors — and the chief executive who "sets the tone" — to take a page from Zacchaeus, the wee, little man.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Think Progress: Media need to take courses in theology

Here is a helpful article in which the author suggests members of the media should take a few courses in theology. I would only add that we who teach in seminaries normally recommend  — as we have done since before Schleiermacher — starting with survey courses on the Bible.

Meanwhile, the admissions page for Dubuque Seminary would be a good place to start.

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Kierkegaard's Bicentennial OR May the Fifth see you put down Lucas and pick up the great Dane

A friend asked me the other day how best to observe the 200th anniversary of Kierkegaard's birth on May 5, 2013, and my reply was to refer him to the "The Lily of the Field and the Bird of the Air: Three Devotional Discourses." These can be found in Vol. XVIII of Kierkegaard's Writings, entitled Without Authority.

The text (Matthew 6) was a source of endless inspiration for Kierkegaard. So the first series of Christian Discourses, KW, Vol. XVII, is also to be enthusiastically recommended: 

More generally, if you want to know: Will the real Kierkegaard please stand up?  ... the discourses of his second (post-1846) authorship (Upbuilding Discourses in Various Spirits, Works of Love, For Self-Examination, Judge For Yourself, etc.), along with his (also late) higher pseudonymous works (Practice in Christianity, and Sickness Unto Death) are by far his most important works. 


And if you don't believe me, read his autobiographical explanation of his authorial/publication strategy in Point of View, and the highly revealing, if not prophetic, footnote, in which he expresses his (necessarily postponed) desire to write on the distinction between Socrates and Jesus Christ, in The Concept of Irony.


The point is simply, as I argued in my dissertation, don't get bedazzled by the early pseudonymous (primarily Socratic) works that have become for so many readers and for most of Kierkegaard scholarship, a sort of philosophical cul-de-sac. Read instead what he wrote when he resolved to pick up his pen once again in order to try and "win men, if possible," (and women, too, of course — many of his most avid readers were women) to Christian faith.

Meanwhile, in the interest of avoiding a similar beguilement, see Chapter 2 in my Groans of the Spirit (not my dissertation, but consisting of some dissertation outtakes) in which I argue by way of a discussion of Kierkegaard and Gadamer for giving pneumatology the priority over hermeneutics in any discussion of biblical interpretation for preaching.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Year D mentioned in Sojourners

(Bumped) In case you missed it, Year D is mentioned in the May 2013 issue of Sojourners. See p. 54 in the print edition, or follow this link for the online version.