Tuesday, October 29, 2002

I really like this entry. Hadn't though about it much in that context, But I've long believed that there is a directly inverse relationship between work on the one hand and getting into trouble on the other. At least this is true for me :)

Monday, October 28, 2002

If you really want to remember the 80's, I think this sums it up pretty well. If I understand correctly, MAME stands for Multiple Arcade Machine Emulator. (Deaconpaul does not endorse albinoblacksheep, but they have some funny stuff.)

Sunday, October 27, 2002

Back from the mountains today. Good, relaxing time. Got a lot of reading in, did a jigsaw puzzle and saw My Big Fat Greek Wedding. Very funny movie. Also funny was Daniel Pinkwater's novel, The Afterlife Diet, which was, to put it bluntly, a book about an afterlife spefically for fat people. It also contained perhaps the worst sci-fi short story I've ever read. Something about wereakeets. If you find it cheap somewhere (like I did), I'd recommend picking it up. Or just ask to borrow mine.

Sunday, October 20, 2002

Heading out for vacation tomorrow morning, so this will be the last blog til next week (unless I blog in the morning before I go). A wonderfully generous couple at our church gives out use of their mountain cabin for a very small fee to cover utilities. Same place we went on our honeymoon, which was good cuz we were quite broke then. We had our fourth anniversery on the 17th and my wife had her first 29th birthday today, so we've been celebrating a bit. Unfortunately, my wife sems to have contracted something or other, so we're hoping this doesn't ruin our vacation plans too much.

On the plus side, we just finished up our church missions conference, or Global Outreach, as I believe the new term is. Dr Walter Kaiser was our guest speaker this year. We've always had only top notch people in for our conferences in the past, and this year was certainly no exception. Dr. Kaiser, if you haven't heard him yourself, is very warm and funny in his speeches. He was one of my very favrite guest speakers when I was a student at Houghton. One of the highlights (from Saturday night) was him saying, "The english versions never translate this correctly. I did the NIV translation for this book, but the committees overruled me on this verse." If you care to know what it was, the verse in question is from II Samuel 7. Verse 19 in the NIV says ". . .Is this your usual way of dealing with people?" The word in the Hebrew is Torah, which of course is law or commandment generally.

Ok, time to start packing.

Wednesday, October 16, 2002

I believe this might be the most useful thing I've seen on the web to date.
Thanks to Valerie (don't call me Val) for another free commenting system for me to try till it stops working like the others :)

Monday, October 14, 2002

As promised, here are some thoughts on honor and shame as they relate to I Timothy ch 2.

In my continuing study of New Testament issues, by far the most intriguing and provocative book I've come across has been Bruce Malina's The New Testament World: Insights From Cultural Anthropology. If you wish to understand the NT and the characters in it better, I highly recommend it. But for those who are limited in time and money, I'll share a few things on the topic of honor and shame whih prof. Malina addressed therein.

There are a whole host of ways in which the man or woman of 1st century Judea is different from the man or woman of 21st century United States. One of the most fundamental of these is the function of the family. In our world the area on which people focus the most attention is the economic or financial area. As a reslut of this "the organizing principle of American life is instrumental mastery--the individual's ability to control his or her environment, personal and impersonal, in order to attain quality-oriented success: wealth, ownership, "good looks", proper grades, and all other measurable indications of success." (All quotes will be from the above mentioned book)

By contrast, the focal institution of the 1st cent. Mediterranean person is the family. The family is everything. As we have ways in our society of measuring how we are doing by societal standards, so the 1st century person. The rules by whih thy judged themselves were called honor and shame. Briefly, honor is "a claim to worth which is socially acknowledged", and shame, in the positive sense, is "sensitivity about one's own reputation, sensitivity to the opinion of others." Both of these, as you will notice, are qualities which can apply to both male and female, but they did apply differently.

The primary symbol of male honor is the testicles (which leads to interesting discussion of eunuchs in the bible), and they stand for the virtues of "manliness, courage, authority over family, willingness to defend one's reputation, and refusal to submit to humiliation." The symbol of female honor is the maidenhead, which stands for "sexual exclusiveness, discretion, shyness, restraint, and timidity." This is what Malina terms the sexual division of labor. '[H]onor delegates implicit goodness or virtue as expressed in sexual exclusiveness to females, and social precedence with the duty of defending female exclusiveness to the males. This sort of division of labor get replicated in arrangements of space." This refers to places which are exclusively female and in which females are allowed: kitchen, the (public) well the (public) oven, sewing, etc. All these things face inwards to the home. Things which face outwards are male such as the fields and other villages. In the areas of intersection, females could be there if they had a chaperone, or if no males wre present.

When it comes to the nitty gritty of life, if one was speaking of honor or shame, honor, then, is the male value and shame is the female one. Malina has a chart which shows shared, male, and female honor and shame. For males he lists increase-decrease (honor can wax and wane through challenges), sexually aggressive, authority, defense of family honor, concern for prestige, concern for precedence, aggressiveness, daring, boldness. For female he lists once lost, not regained (as opposed to male honor), sexually exclusive, submission to authority, unwillingness to risk, concern for shame-shyness, deference, passivity, timid, restraint. As a side note, he lists some families and institutions as being considered irretrievably shameless: husbands acting as pimps, tavern and inn owners, actors, and prostitutes. Also "men who must go out for protracted periods of time without thier women, such as traders, traveling merchants, certain types of shepherds, wandering preachers and the like, necessarily leave their honor in doubt, since thier wives are left alone for long periods."

If you've followed so far, in spite of my poor presentation, I'll point out that these things were not considered "ideals", taher they were just how societies understood the rlose of male and female. There was plenty of room for discussion of what men and women "should" be doing. This leads us to I Tim. 2. I'll quote some portions from the NASB:
1. First of all, then, I urge that entreaties and prayers, petitions and thanksgivings, be made on behalf of all men . . .8. Therefore I want the men in every place to pray, lifting up holy hands, without wrath and dissension. 9. Likewise, I want the women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments; 10 but rather by means of good works, as befits women making a claim to godliness. 11 Let a woman quietly receive instruction . . .15But women shall be preserved [or saved] through the bearing of children if they continue in faith and love and sanctity with self restraint.

You will notice the socially prevalent view of men and women demonstrated in this passage, but also instruction on what Paul thought men and women "should" be doing. As for men, their outward focus should be leading them to pray for all men, specifically mentioning kings in v 2. However they need to do so without falling into arguments and fights, which were also male typical.

The females need to be sensitive to the honor of thier families, thus adorning themselves with good works. They should do this in a properly female (in this context) submissiveness. But they need to avoid the vanity of exterior showiness. I would add that women "receiving instruction" was somthing of an abberation in this culture. Typically those who were disciples of a teacher were males. In the gospel story of Mary and Martha, you see Martha's disgust at Mary's behavior since she was taking the male-disciple role, rather than the female-homemaker role. As to the mysteries of vs15, let me provisionally suggest that Paul's emphasis is on the latter part of the sentence. The idea that women attain eternal salvation through having babies os certainly froeign to the rest of the bible. Perhaps Paul is saying that God will preserve the women, even through the immense difficulty of childbirth, if they remain faithful.

I hope that I've shed more light than I think I have. Feel free to email comments on any confusions, poor grammar, bad logic or anything else.

Sunday, October 13, 2002

This is horrible, but wasn't this story in the bible?
It's about time that we all remembered the wonder which was president Carter. Just too good to pass up.

Saturday, October 12, 2002

The bread pudding just came out of the oven. Waiting for it to cool a bit. Spent the last twenty minutes or so on the phone with my friend/hero Mark Horne. Hang in there, Mark :) Hadn't actually spoken to him in about three years, so it was nice to just hear his voice. He said he's planning on coming to NC for our denomination's general assembly next year, so I really look forward to that. Mmmmmm, I think it should be cool enough now. Next time I blog I should be about 8 pounds heavier.
Lenise is out of town for the weekend, so I'm trying to kep busy on my own. Went to the grocery store to try to find a cutard pie, but no luck, so I'm making my other favorite: bread pudding with whisky sauce, possibly a la mode. The butter's softening right now. Anyone wanna come over and try some?

Wednesday, October 09, 2002

I take it back. We did learn one thing at the town meeting: how much a new fire truck costs. Anyone want to guess? If you guessed $360,000, you are WRONG. The actual cost is over $700,000. They managed to get it financed at 3.9%, so it did fit in the budget somehow.

Monday, October 07, 2002

Feeling like I haven't been bloging enough. Lenise and I went to the Mebane town council meeting tonight. Didn't learn too much, but got to see how some of the personalities in town behave. The members of the council all seemed reasonabloe and intelligent, apart from one lady who sat on the end and said nothing throughout the meeting.

Afterwords we had a quick dinner and watched Unbreakable on the new DVD player. I suppose on reflection it might be considered a reverse comic book tale. The characters are established at the end of the film, while the big conflict (of sorts) is at the beginning. Was well put together, but I just think the story wasn't all that great. Last night we watched Outland, an old Western set in space/the future. I loved all the little Western elements: the swinging doors, the sheriff forced to mete out justice by himself, the plucky woman (in this case a doctor), and all the bad guy-gunslingers. My wife hated it. Oh well.

Thursday, October 03, 2002

Strangely enough, yesterday morning on NPR I heard an interview with author Neenah Ellis about her new book If I Live to be One Hundred.Speaking of which, as far as I could tell, I was, at thirty three, the youngest person at the service yesterday.

Wednesday, October 02, 2002

Went to work this morning; normal tuning plus needed a bunch of capstans regulated (don't ask); dentist appointment; quick lunch; pick up Mrs Thomas; take the two of us to Mrs. Coates' funeral; fairly long episcopal burial service; reception; take Mrs. Thomas back home; drive up to duke to visit with Dave Long after his back surgery (he's doing well); down to Boston Market to pick up food; take food to Hoffman's house (their baby is doing well); buy gas; drive back to Mebane; dinner is on the stove/in the microwave now.

Now I just have to eat, go back to Durham for music practice, and come home one more time and I'm done. Ok, I need to do the dishes too. They're piling a bit now. And go feed Tom's cat.

Did you ever have one of those days?