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Which Bible?
Wednesday, October 19th, 2005

This is a half silly, have serious post. Half silly because it is somewhat ludicrous that I have such a collection of Bibles (I’m a seminary student, its ok, right? RIGHT?) and half serious because I think Bible selection is an important task.

So if you are curious, on with a look at a wide variety of Bible selections (images are clickable)…

Read full blog entry…

Also, as a guide, Zondervan has provided a “map” of Bible translations that shows where the different versions fit on a scale from “thought-for-thought” to “word-for-word”

Bible Translation Chart

Do I have too many? So what is your favorite and why?
Ή χάρις του κυρίου ημων Ίησου Χριστου μεθ’ υμων.

Christian Carnival XCI
Wednesday, October 12th, 2005

I am pleased to bring you the 91st edition of the Christian Carnival a gateway to posts from around the Christian blogosphere! Christian Carnival is run by Dory over at Wittenberg Gate and is hosted by a different blogger each week. If you would like to read previous Carnivals and their respective posts, please check out my Christian Carnival Archive. Think Hugh Hewitt will ever contribute?

Without further ado, I bring you Christian Carnival XCI!

Read full blog entry…

Thanks to all the well wishers in putting this together, if there are any problems or missed posts, please let me know. God Bless and be sure to stop back and say hi sometime! :)

Ή χάρις του κυρίου ημων Ίησου Χριστου μεθ’ υμων.

100-Minute Bible
Friday, October 7th, 2005

100-Minute BibleI heard about this a few weeks ago, but refused to believe it. The 100-Minute Bible was launched on September 21st in England and at the risk of being sacrilegious, St. Paul is rolling in his grave… so to speak.

The 100-Minute Bible is primarily intended for people who have an interest in Christianity but not the time (nor tenacity!) to read the whole Bible. As the title indicates most people will only take 100 minutes to read it, making it ideal for an upcoming rail or aeroplane journey. [the100-minutepress.com]

What the hell? Seriously. This both says something about Christianity and society at large. I do believe that Christains need to be relevant to today’s society (although I am not so sure the Emergant Chuch has it right either), but there are appropriate ways to do this. In post-modern times this can be difficult, but needed. And it is still quite possible to retain tradition and more importantly Truth while still being relevant.

The way I see it the 100-Minute Bible is aimed at two groups: those interested in Christianity but don’t want to read the loooooong Bible AND Christians who don’t want to actually read the Bible but want to remain Christian. Let me discuss both groups.

For those that are interested in Christianity, I can understand that the Bible can be somewhat intimidating, it is, indeed, long. You have many options though. If someone is interested in Christianity, great, one of the first things you should know is that the Bible is considered sacred scripture and its authenticity is something that Christians try to hold in high regard. As such, any sort of modification to that text tends to be suspect. This is why Bible translation is such a difficult and important field. Bible translations attempt (some better than others) to capture original intent, meaning, and Truth. Any time a translator deviates from that, there are problems. If you have interest in Christianity, please respect the fact that the Bible exists as a whole and any sort of abridged version does not maintain the quality that is expected of a solid translation. Also, don’t feel you have to read all of the Bible if you are looking to find out more (that can come later). There are appropriate passages and sections that can be focused on (without having to throw out the rest), especially the Gospel of John. Another option would be to read books about the Bible that will let you know what is going on, the context, and theology to be found in the Bible without claiming to be the Bible. Gordon Fee’s How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth is a good introduction to what the Bible has to say. And many of C.S. Lewis’ books would be good reading for an introduction to Christianity (including the Narnia series). I just ask that you recognize that the Bible is a complex piece of literature that draws on many genres and can be read in pieces, but a truncated version is distinctly different.

To the second group (please see my post, Judge not…, before you jump all over me!), my brothers and sisters in Christ, I just have to say this: don’t be a lazy ass. You are short on time? That is the lamest excuse ever. Everyone has time, even if you don’t want to admit it to yourself. If you are reading this right now, you have time. No one ever said you had to read the entire Bible all at once, it would be stupid to suggest that you do (which is actually another thing the 100-Minute Bible does). No one even said you had to take your entire Bible with you everwhere you go. Take 5 minutes, read a Psalm. Take 15 minutes, read Phillipians. Whatever, just do it. Now of course, as a Christain, you should be wanting to grow in your faith and therefore would also want to meditate on the Word and that will often take a bit more time. But so what? You are (I am assuming) an adult, act like one and stop making excuses for displacing the practice of your nominal faith.

Just because society is set on being fast paced, doesn’t mean that religion has to be the same way. I think people should be able to come to Christianity as a breath of fresh air. Christianity should not act counter to what it is just because society acts that way.

UPDATE: Matt Gumm has a nice post on the 100-Minute Bible that offers more explicit suggestions for beginning Bible reading that will not deter from the whole Word.

Resources and articles:
The 100-Minute Bible Website, A sample of Matthew
New page-turner Bible is launched - BBC News
Speedy but spiritual: British cleric unveils ‘100-Minute Bible’ - Yahoo News
‘100-minute Bible’ is launched - CNN
Vicar launches ‘100-Minute Bible’ - Times Online (UK)

Ή χάρις του κυρίου ημων Ίησου Χριστου μεθ’ υμων.

Christian Carnival XC
Wednesday, October 5th, 2005

The 90th Christian Carnival is up over at Attention Span. I have contriubted my post on St. Ignatius: Holy or Insane? So head over to Christian Carnival XC - A Three Hour Tour to read all the latest posts from around the Christian blogosphere! If you would like to catch up on any previous posts, head over to my Christian Carnival Archive. Next week I will be hosting the carnival! I wonder if I will be ready…

The internet at home isn’t working again so that kinda sucks, hopefully it will be fixed soon!

St. Ignatius: Holy or Insane?
Friday, September 30th, 2005

St. IgnatiusThis week my Christian Spirit class here at Regent College looked at martyrdom in Christianity; specifically in the early church. The early church often saw martyrdom as a means of connecting with the crucified Christ. The ultimate act of devotion and service was to imitate Christ by dying for their faith. Martyrdom is still present in Christianity although those of us in the western world will very rarely have to deal with this (persecution, maybe, martyrdom, probably not). Martyrdom specifically marked the early church before c. 312AD when Christianity became the official religion of the Roman world. Before 312AD Christians had to suffer harsh persecution (up to and including martyrdom) through such Roman rulers as (among others) Nero and Domitian (at the local level) as well as Decius, Valerian, and Diocletian (at the state sponsored level). What grasped the Spiritual imagination of Christians of this era was the thought of martyrdom.

A few specific examples arose that exemplified Christian martyrdom. One that is particularly interesting is the story of St. Ignatius of Antioch. Ignatius was the third bishop (that is after St. Peter and St. Evodius) and was arrested in Syria (presumably because he would not offer allegiance to the pagan gods) and transported to Rome to be handed over to the lions of the arena. Ignatius was martyred in the Flavian Amphitheatre around 100AD.

While on his way to Rome, Ignatius wrote letters to many of his churches and I would especially like to point out his letter to the Roman church. In this letter Ignatius clearly spells out his desire to die as a martyr in the arena. The question that arises out of this letter (that was posed by professor Bruce Hindmarsh) is: did Ignatius have a holy longing for martyrdom or a neurotic deathwish?

Even after reading some background on Christian martyrdom as well as the specific context of Ignatius himself (see references), it is still difficult to come to an answer. Without the background and just reading his letter to the Romans, I would say that Ignatius was insane. Even with the background, I still lean that way. This is not to say that God did not use him and that he is somehow less “saintly”. In discussion, one thing that came out is what the nature of serving God is. Serving God will look like different things to different people. But I would say seeking death is not necessarily serving God even if you are doing that in the process. Serving God may end in martyrdom (or in today’s context, persecution), but martyrdom shouldn’t be the goal. The amount of sacrifice that persisted in Ignatius’ life could very easily conclude with martyrdom, it would have been completely consistent with his faith and works. But in reading his letter to the Romans, it seemed as though he was seeking martyrdom and not necessarily the service that may happen to lead to martyrdom.

That being said, I also want to mention two things that suggest Ignatius’ intentions were indeed holy. Firstly, Ignatius could have also been looking at the larger issue of church cohesiveness. There were lots of different things going on in the early church (of which many of Ignatius’ other letters address), many of them bad. Ignatius could have been using his martyrdom as a means to unite the churches around him, even in his death. He may have been at the point where he was not able to do anything for the ecumenical church so felt that his martyrdom and imitation of Christ could reinvigorate the early church. Secondly, the letter to the Romans could have been (as one student suggested in discussion) a pep-talk for himself. Essentially to build up the courage to follow his words with deeds. At one point he even says

Even if I were to come and implore you in person, do not yield to my pleading; keep your compliance for this written entreaty instead. Here and now, as I write in the fullness of life, I am yearning for death with al the passion of a lover. Earthly longings have been crucified (literally “my love has been crucified”); in me there is left no spark of desire for mundane things, but only a murmur of living water that whispers within me, ‘Come to the Father.’

This, of course, raises more questions. I do think this clearly shows Ignatius trying to prepare himself for martyrdom. He knows that if he sees the members of his church, he might not be able to follow through in deed what he has said in words so begs them to keep him on the path. But it is also clear that Ignatius wants to imitate Christ’s crucifixion at whatever cost. This still makes me think Ignatius had a neurotic deathwish that would disregard any other possibility for service in order to be like Christ in martyrdom.

As another student pointed out “if he is insane, I want to be as crazy as he is.” Amen to that.

What say you?

Ή χάρις του κυρίου ημων Ίησου Χριστου μεθ’ υμων.

Ignatius, “Epistle to the Romans,” in Early Christian Writings: The Apostolic Fathers, ed. Maxwell Staniforth (London: Penguin, 1987), 81-89.

Kenneth R. Morris, “’Pure Wheat of God’ or Neurotic Deathwish?: A Historical and Theological Analysis of Ignatius of Antioch’s Zeal for Martyrdom,” Fides et Historia 26 (1994): 24-41.

Louis Bouyer, “Martyrdom,” in The Spirituality of the New Testament and the Fathers (London:Burns & Oates, 1963), 190-210.

Christian Carnival LXXXIX
Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Christian Carnival LXXXIX has been posted over at In The Spirit of Grace. I have contributed my look at Genesis and Spirituality from my Christian Spirit class at Regent College. Also, if you would like to read a wider selection of posts, you can visit my Christian Carnival Archive to see all of the previous carnivals. Without further ado, head over and read Christian Carnival #89: A Holy-istic approach.

Its been a busy week. Regent retreat was good. Lots of reading to do. Hopefully get my car back this weekend… more to come.

Genesis and Spirituality
Wednesday, September 21st, 2005

You may (or may not) have noticed that I haven’t been posting much. That will be fairly common I think just because of the nature of my studies right now, but I will do what I can.

One of the readings for my Christian Spirit class was from Deryck Sheriffs’ “Walking with God.” and I liked this quote:

Genesis tells a story of human origins too. Unlike the scientific disciplines of biology and paleoanthropology in which storytelling and teleological language is out of place, the Genesis story interprets human history on earth in terms of a history that is going somewhere with God.

And this from Eugene Peterson’s “Saint Mark. The Basic Text for Christian Spirituality”:

What happens here (in Mark 8:27-9:9) is that we are invited into becoming full participants in the story of Jesus, and shown how to become such participants. We are not simply told that Jesus is the Son of God; we not only become beneficiaries of his atonement; we are invited to die his death and live his life with the freedom and dignity of participants. And here is a marvellous thing: we enter the centre of the story without becoming the centre of the story.

And finally this from Jean Sullivan (as quote in the Peterson article):

The fundamental insight of the Bible… is that the invisible can speak only by the perceptable.

How do you like that?
Ή χάρις του κυρίου ημων Ίησου Χριστου μεθ’ υμων.


Deryck Sheriffs, “Walking with God,” chap. in The Friendship of the Lord: An Old Testament Spirituality (Carlisle: Paternoster, 1996), 27-61.

Eugene H. Peterson, “Saint Mark. The Basic Text for Christian Spirituality,” Crux 29 (1993): 2-9.

Jean Sullivan, Morning Light, p. 18.

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