Saturday, June 29, 2002

I pledge allegiance . . .

I just thought this one was a classic. Check it out if you haven't yet.

Thursday, June 27, 2002

I almost drove off the road this morning listening to NPR. They had an opinion essay read by one Baxter Black (if I remember the name correctly; I hope a long lost relative). He was speaking about the western forest fires and what few posessions people chose to save when forced to evacuate quickly. Most commonly people saved their pets. Mr Black wondered about why this should be. Is it because of love? No, he says, it is something deeper than that. He then quoted Genesis 1:28, the dominion covenant. He said that dominion meant responsibility, and that part of being who God made us to be involved taking care of our animals.

For the sake of my safe driving I hope they don't keep having essays like that during my commute.

Sunday, June 23, 2002

Time again for Paul's brief book reports.

David Dockery's Biblical Interpretation Then and Now was simultaneously informative and disappointing. The ostensible objective of the book is to provide some elementary analysis of the biblical interpreatation techniques/philosophies of the church fathers from the first to the fourth century and show how their writings could dialogue with modern hermeneutics.

The first part of this was done fairly well, though quite hurriedly. Still, I knew nothing about Theodore of Mopsuestia last week, and now I know a tiny bit. Unfortunately I still don't know where Mopsuestia is or whether it was the birthplace of the mop. But I digress.

Dockery discusses the hermeneutics of the New Testament, Clement, Irenaenus, the Alexandrians, the Antiochans, Jerome, and a few others in brief and simple language. He spend about 150 pages on this. The book as a whole is 183 pages, so you may see where the problem comes. He covers medieval and reformation contributions in about two pages, then proceeds to name drop Schliermacher, Husserl, Wittgenstein, Heidegger and other 20th c. figures. The dialogue portion occurs in roughly the last five pages of text and is, of course, not well developed.

My assumption is that the publisher only agreed to publish the book if it came in at a certain length, say less than 250pp including biblio, index and glossary. By the time he got through the church fathers, the space was simply gone. It's really too bad, since Dockery is apparently well versed in contemporary hermeneutical debates. It would have been interesting to see what he had to say. Oh well.

On the somewhat lighter side, I bring you Stephen Dobyns. You may or may not have read his excelent Church of the Dead Girls a little while back. Boy in the Water is a similar type of tale to that book, which is to say that it fits in the general category of "serial killer tale" but is really about how tragedy and violence affect "normal" people.

Since it is a very plot driven book I don't want to give away too much info, but I can tell you that the main character is dealing with an incredible load of guilt, and throughout the story, as more and more bad things happen to, him he struggles with the idea of cosmic justice. I don't think I said that very well, and don't think I can adequately describe the novel, but I'll just say I recommend it to those who like murder mysteries and are willing to try something a bit different.

Wednesday, June 19, 2002

How's this for a book recommendation? My friend, Kirk Nelson, called me from his business trip in Indianapolis just to tell me how much he enjoyed Corelli's Mandolin, which I had just loaned to him.

Idea just struck me. Maybe we should do the Chicago thing and have a "One Blog, One Book" campaign. Whaddya think?

Tuesday, June 18, 2002

Had an interesting professional challenge today. I was called on to evaluate a piano someone was thinking about buying. Though I'm always evaluating them in my mind as I work on them (usually "man, this piano sounds terible"), it's a bit different when I'm being paid for my opinion.

It turned out quite well. I brought along my Piano Atlas to check the manufacturing date, but decided to guess the age before looking in the book. I was pretty proud (though admittedly lucky) to have successfully guessed the exact year. My customer was impressed though. The evaluation turned out to be a no-brainer. The piano needed only a couple of minor repairs and was in great shape otherwise. The asking price was just $300, so there wasn't much to it. Plus now I'll have a tuning customer who's under the impresion that I know what I'm talking about.

Thursday, June 13, 2002

I just remembered what had I wanted to write about for a while now. Our church typically does elective class series in the summer time--the one time we break the age barriers. I just found out there had been a shortage of volunters to teach classes and my associate pastor asked if I would ever be interested in teaching one. I mentioned to him my idea for a class, and would like to get started on it for next summer potentially.

Here's where I need your help. The class I would want to teach would be on NT introduction, though I'd need a flashier name. My inspiration is from, as you may have guessed, Wright's NT&PG, which is probably the only good resource on the subject on my own shelves. I'm lloking for some good suggestions on literature on subjects like 1st cent. OT interpretation, Roman and Jewish culture at that time, good historical studies, studies in inter-testamental literature, etc.

I suppose I'll start by rereading Wright, but unfortunately he doesn't have an annotated bibliography.
Profound thought of the day:

I wonder how many total blog entries have been made in the last year which said, "Gee, I wish I had something profound to write today"??

I've sid it before and I'll say it again--if anyone would like to add some comments to my writings, 'til I can afford a real comment service, just e-mail them to me and I'll be happy to put your quote up, provided you give me your permission to do so.

Monday, June 10, 2002

I've heard the movie was awful, so I stayed away from it, but Correlli's Mandolin was an awesome novel. It's the story of life on a small Greek island shortly before, during and after WWII. It occurred to me that I've never really read before an account of how the war affected some particular community in Europe. Don't be intimidated by the subject though. Much of the book is light hearted. The portrayal of the Greek communist resistance alone is worth the price of the book, especially for me as I picked it up off the free rack outside my favorite used bookstore (it was slightly water damaged and had pen marks on the cover, but quite readable).

The Hauerwas book (see left), like most of his stuff, made me want to quote about eight percent of it here on my site. Unfortunately this would pretty well violate the copyright, and even though he claims to adhere to "Christian non-violence", I would want to find out what happens when push comes to shove, so to speak. His article "Sinsick", on the relatedness of sickness and sin was particularly provocative. He asks rhetorically why we are more concerned about the quality of our doctors than about the quality of our pastors. His answer: "We are atheists." We don't really believe that our church will affect the outcome of our souls, but we sure do believe that our doctors will affect our bodies.

Briefly, the Stephen Bury novel (ghostwritten apparently by Neal Stephenson) is a sci-fi political thriller, which is outside my normal scope of interest, but is just full of great writing and interesting ideas, characters and thoughts on the country we live in. If you've liked any of Stephenson's other stuff, you should like this. If you haven't read Stephenson you probably have a book shaped hole in your heart where his novels should fit nicely.

Monday, June 03, 2002

It's a bit unexpected to see this story coming out of Oregon, but it's nice to see that americans are still active in politics.

Sunday, June 02, 2002

So I heard this story on NPR about the late Stephen Jay Gould and his wife, who was an artist. His wife got him into learning the work of Duchamps (I believe that's right), who apparently put a lot of mysteriousthings into his art. For example, one of his works was a photo of a urinal. No one noticed, til years later, that no urinal of that description had ever existed, and based on the design, it wouldn't work. Gould enjoyed this puzzle-art thing tremendously.

According to his wife, he felt that puzzling out the meaning and sources of these works was similar to his work with fossils; trying to find the interconnectedness, the logic. I wonder if this ever caused him to think that logical design implies personal design???

Saturday, June 01, 2002

I feel like royalty now, or at least nobility, driving my new '83 Grand Marquis. It comfortably seat four Hondas in the back seat. I'm suprised to find myself enjoying it. It drinks gas like it owns a small mid-eastern country and stalls occasionally, but everything works n it, unlike ol' rusty here nothing worked anymore.

My cold has setled down to some sinus ad chest congestion, but nothing bad. Hope I'll be able to sing on Sunday. Unfortunately Lenise now has the cold, as well as some odd allergy symptoms. Her legs got all puffy yesterday, and today her eyes are swollen. I have to say that I'm not in favor of being sick, and don't recommend it to anyone else either, especially you kids out there.