A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Sunday, January 13, 2019

Scriptures and Prayer for the First Sunday after the Epiphany-- Baptism of the Lord

See the source imageOld Testament: Isaiah 43:1-7

Psalter: Psalm 29

Epistle: Acts 8:14-17

Gospel: Luke 3:15-17, 21-22
Lord God, you revealed your Son in the waters of the Jordan and anointed him with the power of the Holy Spirit to proclaim good news to all people. Sanctify us by the same Spirit, that we may proclaim the healing power of the gospel by acts of love in your name. Amen.

Saturday, January 12, 2019

Saturday at the Cinema: Bad Bible Proof-Texts

Craig Keener in four parts.

Friday, January 11, 2019

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction: The Five-Second Rule Does Not Apply on the Highway

Not for pick-up: Spilled chicken cause traffic problems

Associated Press
January 7, 2019

CENTRE, Ala. (AP)-- These chicken tenders aren't for pick-up. An Alabama sheriff's office is warning people against eating chicken that tumbled on to a rural highway after a truck wreck.

An 18-wheeler crashed on Alabama 35 on Sunday, spilling boxes of chicken tenders in Cherokee County near the Georgia line. Motorists began stopping to pick up the food, which authorities say created a traffic hazard.

The Cherokee County Emergency Management Agency posted a notice on its Facebook page asking people to quit picking up the chicken. The notice says the food isn't safe to eat after hours on the ground.

The post also says the situation was creating a traffic hazard and it's a crime to block traffic. Violators could face charges.

The sheriff's office says a wrecker crew was on the scene Monday cleaning up the mess.

Thursday, January 10, 2019

Letting God Off the Hook: War, Violence, and the Biblical Narrative

My friend, Dr. Dan Hawk has just published a book entitled, The Violence of the Biblical God: Canonical Narrative and Christian Faith. Eerdmans has graciously provided me with a copy which I will review on this blog.

Dan is Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew. He has spent decades studying and reflecting upon war and violence in the Bible, especially the conquest narratives of the Old Testament Book of Joshua. No one has helped me think through these matters more than Dan-- theologically, historically, and pastorally.

In preparation for my review and in the hope that you will purchase a copy, as this is an important subject with which Christians must grapple, I am linking below to a three-part series Dan wrote for my blog four and half years ago. His posts are a response to posts from UM pastor Adam Hamilton, who has also offered reflections on this important issue. Hamilton's posts are linked within Dan's posts if you care to read them. Each post begins with some brief commentary by yours truly before Dan weighs in.

Enjoy!... and get his book. You won't regret it.
"Letting God off the Hook (part 1)"

"Letting God off the Hook (part 2)"

"Letting God off the Hook (part 3)"

Wednesday, January 09, 2019

Could a Spicy Tomato Be on the Culinary Horizon? I Hope So!

See the source imagefrom Kat Eschner, Popular Science:
Spicy food is popular the world over, but the active ingredient that makes food taste "hot"--capsaicinoids, a group of chemical compoundshas useful properties beyond making food taste delicious. However, the plants that make them (the chili pepper family, or Capsicum) are small and have relatively low yields. A new paper published today in the journal Trends in Plant Science proposes an alternative: engineering tomato plants to produce capsaicinoids. If all goes well, someday, you could enjoy a spicy tomato, or even be treated with capsaicinoids extracted from one.

The paper, written by a group at Brazil's Federal University of Viçosa, builds on recent work that showed the tomato has all the genetic information it needs to produce capsaicinoids. "We know that all the genes are there, but in the tomato they are silent," study author Agustin Zsӧgӧn says. His paper proposes a method for using gene-editing techniques to activate the genetic machinery in the tomato that tells it how to produce capsaicinoids, transforming the plant into both a "biofactory" that could produce larger amounts of the chemicals than it's currently possible to grow and a spicy snack.

Tomatoes have capsaicinoid genetic pathways like peppers because the two South American plants are related. "In our lab, we work with both species," Zsӧgӧn says. Last year, his team used gene editing to "domesticate" a wild tomato in just a few generations, engineering the strain to produce larger fruit, and greater quantities of it, than in the wild. This kind of process is how we ended up with the crops we eat today-- early farmers planted the offspring of the most fruitful plants of each generation, enabling their genetic survival. CRISPR-Cas9 is just a shortcut.
Get all the spicy news here.

Tuesday, January 08, 2019

Jesus' Baptism and the Mass of Humanity: A Lectionary Reflection on Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

Luke 3:15-17, 21-22

It is interesting that only Luke mentions that Jesus was baptized by John along with "all the people." In Jesus' baptism, he answers his calling and begins his ministry. And here is Luke 3:21-22, as Jesus enters the water of the Jordan River, he also identifies with the mass of humanity he has come to deliver.

Sunday, January 06, 2019

Scriptures and Prayer for the Epiphany of the Lord

See the source imageOld Testament: Isaiah 60:1-6

Psalter: Psalm 72:1-7, 10-14

Epistle: Ephesians 3:1-12

Gospel: Matthew 2:1-12
Bright Morning Star, your light has come, and the birth of Jesus has overwhelmed us with joy. Like the magi of long ago, may we be drawn to you and offer you such gifts as we are able. Amen.

Friday, January 04, 2019

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction: Shoot! It's Bigfoot!... Oh Wait... Oops!

Montana Man Shoots At Guy He Thinks Is Bigfoot

David Moye, 12/19/2018 04:52 pm ET

A Montana man who thought he was shooting at Bigfoot on Sunday ended up making a big mistake.

The supposed Sasquatch was actually a fellow human setting up targets to shoot in a forest area near Helena.

The 27-year-old victim narrowly avoided death when one bullet hit 3 feet to his left. Another bullet whizzed by him on the right, according to the Idaho Statesman. 

Police said the victim tried to avoid more gunfire by running into the trees, before he was able to confront his shooter: a man in a black Ford F-150.

The alleged shooter reportedly told the victim, "I thought you were Bigfoot," Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton told the paper.

The victim added that the suspect told him, "I don't target practice-- but if I see something that looks like Bigfoot, I just shoot at it."

The alleged shooter then reportedly told his victim to wear orange if he didn't want to be confused for Bigfoot.

"It seemed like a non-emotional approach to something that's extremely serious," Dutton told local station KTMF TV.

The alleged victim told dispatchers the incident occurred Sunday but he didn't report it until Monday, saying he "didn't think it was necessary," according to the Helena Independent Record. In addition, the man was not able to provide a description of the alleged shooter or a license plate number from the truck.

Deputies have not found a vehicle matching the description, but Dutton told the Idaho Statesman that a woman has come forward saying she too had been shot at by a man in a black F-150.

The woman didn't mention Bigfoot, but she was able to give a description of her alleged attacker. Dutton said authorities are working to find the man.
Source: Huffington Post