Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Community through doing

Thought provoking quote:

Christian community…is not primarily about togetherness. It is about the way of Jesus Christ with those whom he calls to himself. It is about disciplining our wants and needs in congruence with a true story, which gives us the resources to lead truthful lives. In living out the story together, togetherness happens, but only as a by-product of the main project of trying to be faithful to Jesus. (Hauerwas and Willimon as quoted in Hiebert and Meneses, Incarnational Ministry, 347)

Monday, October 27, 2008

The Green Bible?

Check it out. HarperOne has just released The Green Bible, a New Revised Standard Version Bible with 1000 verses that emphasizes God's ecofriendly purposes in forrest green.

I'm a big proponent of our responsibility to care for creation and appreciate the recent attention to the biblical soundness of such a posture. We definitely need resources that help us have a renewed understanding for our God-given responsibility to be stewards of creation, but I'm not sure that marketing a biodegradable copy of God's Word is the way to do this.

First of all, the whole concept of the specialty Bible is troubling. One of the earlier ones was the Men's Devotional Bible. This was basically a Bible with thirty one-page devotions laced throughout the pages. And then came Men's Devotional Bible II, which was the same thing with thirty new devotions. Seriously, does someone need to by another copy of the Bible just to get thirty more devotions? It reeks of marketing ploy. Now every kind of niche Bible seems to exist. People end up with a bunch of copies of the Bible that collect dust in someone's basement (not very ecofriendly). The other problem is that people can be distracted from the powerful and timeless of Scripture for some trendy theme or current favorite preacher.

In the case of the Green Bible, it can easily be misunderstood that care for creation is the primary theme in the Bible. Even the words of Christ are not in red in this version. It is overselling one theme among many and has the dangerous power to skew the broader narrative.

Why not simply produce a book that highlights the many verses and stories that highlight God's concern for his creation? This could be a valuable aid to our study of Scripture without potentially blurring other powerful themes in the Holy Writ.

The Caducity of Words

When I was in graduate school my friend Matthew and I had this goofy idea to create a list of rare and impressive words. The goal was to see who could incorporate these words the most in our research papers. It made the writing of some tedious papers a little more fun when we could slide "tergiversate" into a sentence. Now the challenge has been made for all of us to participate in comeback of some seldom used and underappreciated words.

A recent article in Time Magazine alerted me to the potential extinction of some fabulous words. This niddering campaign to exuviate the dictionary of some fabulous words is oppugnant and olid. That some of these words are passed their expiration date is apodeictic, but there are some that have a nitid quality. At the risk of sounding like an old Oxbridge English Don, I hate to see our English vocabulary become fubsy and…well…just dumbed-down. Is it worth trying to salvage some of these words or is this abstergent necessary.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Developing World Orphanages

We got into the taxi and told the driver where we wanted to go. He said, "Good, I need to go that direction anyway." He noticed that my wife was pregnant and said that his wife had just had a baby. His wife had to have an emergency c-section delivery. The problem is that this poor family did not budget for a c-section or for expensive hospital bills. The hospital has kept his baby until he could pull together the money to pay the hospital bills, adding some each day for caring for the baby. This man was obviously distraught but it sounded like he finally borrowed enough money to bring his baby home.

We have heard other instances where the family could not pay for the hospital bills and put the baby up for adoption in exchange for paying for the bills. There are a lot of families for whom things have gotten tight financially that have sent on of their children to a local orphanage to be raised.

On the news we are inundated with clips of Angelina Jolie and Madonna adopting children from developing nations. One gets the sense that these two believe that we can simply adopt the world's poorest children in order to lift the world out of poverty.

I am not saying that we should not adopt those that are truly orphaned. Scripture is clear when it urges us to care for orphans. But we need to be very cautious that we are not assisting in a terrible exploitation of the world's poor. There are so many parents that have no idea what happened to their children because they were essentially forced to sell them. My concern is that the influence of Angelina and Madonna will train our focus on Band-Aid solutions rather than looking at the root causes of poverty.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Remembering a bold martyr

Thanks to TSK for mentioning a young Saudi Arabian woman burned to death by her own father for following Christ.  Gulf News in the UAE has the story.

While on the subject of the persecuted church, here is an article from The Economist on what has been happening in Orissa, India.