Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Clarity

Darrell Bock is a well known Biblical scholar, and a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary. He's written a Biblical response to same sex marriage. Same sex marriage supporters often try to argue that the Bible condones polygamy, incest, and other variants on monogamous marriage. I find the dismantling of this argument particularly helpful. Where the Bible talks about these things, it is clear from the context that it is descriptive, and not prescriptive.

You also often hear, sometimes from Christians, that the Old Testament prohibitions on homosexuality are just like the ceremonial laws that the ancient Israelites had to observe, with dietary restrictions, and restrictions on wearing clothing made of different fabrics. These Old Testament laws no longer apply.

Careful hermeneutics will help you to understand that the ceremonial laws served a purpose that is no longer needed, because they were abrogated by Christ. The moral laws remain. Like it or not, any expression of sexuality outside of monogamous, opposite sex marriage is a sin in the eyes of God.

Monday, July 27, 2015

Overkill?



The above infographic lists all of the upcoming comic book adaptations that Fox, Marvel Studios, Sony, and Warner Bros have in development for the next five years and beyond. It's slightly incomplete, because even though it's scheduled for release in 2018, Avengers: Infinity War is not listed. 

Who could blame them for wanting to milk the cow, so to speak? Because most of these properties have loyal fan bases, but also find wider audience appeal, they usually do well at the box office. They tap into that part of the human psyche that good will overcome evil, and that innocent people will be protected by noble individuals who are committed to a cause higher than themselves. 

They are idealized versions of humanity, that no mere human being could ever exemplify. It was Jesus who lived his life to serve others, preaching, teaching, and healing, and ultimately sacrificing his life for humanity, breaking the curse of sin that separated humanity from its Creator. 

I don't know when, or exactly how, but one day all evil will be defeated permanently. There will be no additional scenes during the end credits. The end is certain, even if the interpretation of the script is open to debate. Tragically, some people will be turned away from the screening because they don't have tickets, or the tickets they had turned out to be invalid (Luke 14:15-24). 

Saturday, July 25, 2015

The dodgy librarian

Roy Morgan Research periodically releases a survey of the most trusted professions in Australia. The most trusted professions are nurses, medical doctors, pharmacists, and High Court judges. 

Librarians don't even rate a mention. Why is this so? The likes of Xiao Yuan don't help matters. Xiao Yuan was a former chief librarian at a Chinese university. He admitted in court Tuesday to stealing more than 140 paintings by grandmasters in a gallery under his watch, and replacing them with fakes he painted himself. 

He sold the originals and used the proceeds to buy apartments and other paintings. At the time of writing he was still awaiting his sentence. 

Monday, July 20, 2015

Fluff


In the week ending July 23, 1965, the number 29 song on 3DB's Top 40 chart was Mrs Brown You've Got a Lovely Daughter by Herman's Hermits. Herman's Hermits were one of the more innocuous British invasion bands. As their former lead singer Peter Noone has often remarked in interviews, part of the reason why its works as a song is that it is sung in a thick Mancunian accent. It wouldn't sound right if it was sung in another accent.

http://peternoone.com

http://rateyourmusic.com/list/jwjstone/3db_top_40___23_july_1965___melbourne_vic_australia/

Snouts in the trough

Image source: http://allpoetry.com/Mulga-Bill's-Bicycle
Federal parliamentary speaker Bronwyn Bishop is on probation for taking a $5000 taxpayer funded helicopter trip to attend a recent Liberal Party fundraiser, with little to no relevance to her parliamentary duties. Whilst I agree that she made a serious mistake, it's hardly the worst thing a Speaker has done.

Some of us voters are old enough to remember Leo McLeay, who served as speaker from 1989-1993. He was awarded $65,000 in compensation for elbow injuries when in 1990, a foldable bicycle he hired from the Parliament House gym collapsed beneath him. Diddums.

It wasn't a good look, especially at a time when Australia was going through the most serious economic downturn since the Great Depression of the 1930's. He was also warned that the bicycle wasn't strong enough to support his weight.

Bishop's error of judgement once again highlights the need for the rules concerning appropriate usage of politicians' travel allowances to be tightened. At one time or another, politicians of all parties have been caught out doing the wrong thing.

http://www.abc.net.au/news/2015-07-20/pm-says-bishop-has-copped-a-justifiable-hiding/6632986

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/national-affairs/mate-leo-mcleay-gets-boards-eye-view-of-harbour/story-fn59niix-1226062277414

http://www.crispinhull.com.au/1993/01/01/1993_01_january_mcleay/

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Non story

The other day movie news sites were abuzz with the story that Sylvester Stallone would once again reprise the role of Vietnam veteran and one-man army John Rambo in Rambo: Last Blood. In this instalment, Rambo would be travelling to the Middle East to take on the Islamic State.

It was subsequently revealed that this story was false. Perhaps it's just as well. In Rambo III (1988), Rambo fought alongside the Afghan Mujahideen against the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Some versions of the film are even dedicated to the Mujahideen.

After the war, factions of this movement later became the Taliban and Al-Qaeda. It's just as well this story is false, because it would be ludicrous for Rambo to be fighting against people who were once his allies. Who wants to watch a movie that reminds you of your government's foreign policy misadventures? This would make the film a commercial flop. It would almost be a more visceral companion piece to Charlie Wilson's War. 

http://www.businessinsider.com.au/rambo-last-blood-is-rambo-vs-isis-2015-7


Friday, July 03, 2015

Well and truly over the rainbow

In the wake of last week's momentous US Supreme Court ruling legalizing same sex marriage across the United States, several of my Christian friends expressed their support for it by superimposing a rainbow flag, the symbol of the gay rights movement, over their social media profile pictures.

Pastor Kevin DeYoung of the Gospel Coalition, has written 40 questions that are addressed to Christians who support same sex marriage. I'd also like to put these questions to my friends. To this list I would also ask them how they would define the noun Arsenokoitai, used by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 6:9 and 1 Timothy 1:10.

As I reflect on what scripture says as a whole about marriage and sexuality, it seems to me that any Christian who wants to honour God with how they express their sexuality has only two options. They either marry one spouse of the opposite sex, or stay celibate. I do not see how there is another option, unless I have that wrong.

http://www.thegospelcoalition.org/blogs/kevindeyoung/2015/07/01/40-questions-for-christians-now-waving-rainbow-flags/

http://biblehub.com/greek/733.htm

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

400 posts

Today marks the 1936th anniversary of the death of the Roman Emperor Vespasian, who ruled from 69 to 79 AD.

Vespasian is a significant figure in Christian history. He reigned during the first Jewish revolt of 66-70 AD, which culminated in the destruction of Jerusalem and the temple, and the final exile of the Jewish people from their homeland. These events are described in the writings of Josephus, but long before that, the synoptic gospels record that Jesus himself prophesied about them (Matthew 24:1-3, 15-20, Mark 13:1-2, Luke 21:5-24).

At the same time that Jesus spoke of these events, he also spoke of his second coming. This portion of the prophecy is yet to be fulfilled. When and how this will take place is a matter of debate. The key thing is to make sure that we, and I include myself in this, are in right standing with God.