Monday, November 28, 2005

Online Advent Readings to Share From Old Friends and New

I've been part of the Egalitarian Christian Alliance (ECA) for many years now. ECA grew out of an online forum that started at Christians for Biblical Equality. (Many of us belong to CBE and originally "met" there on that forum.) When the CBE forum was discontinued, ECA was formed. ECA is an online community of friends who talk about issues related to biblical equality.

If you would like to join us for a daily reading of scripture and some thoughts related to this lovely season of the year, come over to ECA's Bible Study forum. It's a bit tricky, so look for the titles to keep straight which post is for which day. When you click on the link you will be on a lavendar page. ECA has lots of forums, and this is one of several. Scroll down a bit and you will see the list of posts. Just click on the title to open it. You are only a few days behind, so catch up quick, or join us on today's date. I'll be posting some thoughts, along with Huldasheir, Psalmist, Galina, and other ECA friends.

And you may have noticed the new link to RevGalBlogPals in the sidebar. This is a webring for women clergy and those who love them (grin). They have published a book of Advent devotionals and there is a wonderful companion website "A Light Blazes in Darkness." These are longer than the ones at ECA..

Read one in the morning and one in the evening perhaps?

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Thanksgiving Prayer

Ah, what a lovely turkey. We're heading out to Minnesota to spend Thanksgiving with our children. Thanksgiving is all about food, right? Well, partly.

For a serious moment...I am posting a prayer I recently wrote while at a silent retreat. I had just spent about an hour contemplating the crucifixion and death of Jesus Christ on the cross.

O Lord Jesus,
Thank you...
How inadequate those words. But I say them.

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for...
Suffering that I might be healed.
Enduring humiliation that I might be delivered from shame.
Being bound so that I might be set free.
Dying that I might live!

Thank you, Lord Jesus, for...
Winning the victory I could never win,
Paying the debt I could never pay,
Overcoming the enemy I could never defeat.

Thank you for
Enduring it all,
The horror, the questions, the loss,
The lonliness,
So that I can say,
"I am never forsaken!"

Thank you for taking my sin, my death,
So that I may live with you forever.
Thank you for sorrow removed,
So that I might have..

Saturday, November 19, 2005

The Rule of Cows

Suz posted a comment asking who I thought was meant by "cows" in the FOTF letter, and I replied that I think it was just an example of two postions that are so far apart that there is simply no room for discussion.

As for the Bible debate, well I disagree that there is no room for discussion, but that is nothing new.

Meantime, I kept trying to reply and post a link, but it didn't work. So for Suz, and all other interested persons, here is a link to The Rule of Cows. It's a bit of wisdom that the cow question brought to mind. It's not about the TNIV. But it is food for a lot of (metaphorically speaking) "cud chewing."

The Gender-Accurate Bible Blog

The Gender Accurate Bible Blog, hereafter known as TGABB, was created yesterday. Owner Pat Gundry also owns the blog "Women Preaching" which is included in my list of links (below, in the sidebar). It is still under construction, but Pat's introductory comments, as well of those of Wayne Leman, are well worth reading. Also check out comments on "Chasing the Wind." A link is also found on TGABB. Good stuff.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

The Bible Debate Part II

I will be posting a sidebar link to The Better Bibles Blog soon. I greatly appreciate the readable, informative, scholarly and calm approach used by Wayne Leman and his colleagues on that bog. Anyone interested in Bible translations should make a regular visit there.

Meanwhile, after reading their blog posts about Focus on the Family and the TNIV (Today's New International Version) debate, particularly Dobson's interview with Dr. Wayne Grudem, I listened to the broadcast via a link at FOTF. I was dismayed at the tone, and the fact that while Dobson admits there are differing views from "reputable Christian people," no attempt whatsoever was made to allow any sort of discussion on this admittedly "controversial" topic.
(How I wish people would stop calling this Bible translation "gender neutral." I have one, and I assure you it is no such thing.)

I wrote FOTF expressing my concern and suggesting they have someone from Zondervan on the program as well. Dr. Stan Gundry perhaps?

Here is their response:

Greetings from Focus on the Family.

It was good of you to share your reaction to our recent broadcast with Dr. Wayne Grudem, "The Problem with the _TNIV_" (October 26-27, 2005). Thoughtful, honest feedback like yours is always welcome here at Focus headquarters; as a matter of fact, we believe that the ministry's relationship with its constituents is never stronger than when it takes the form of a two-way conversation.

With regard to your assertion that this discussion was "imbalanced," we feel compelled to state the obvious - Dr. Dobson has very strong feelings on this subject. Accordingly, he has no interest whatsoever in presenting "both sides of the issue." It was never his intention to invite a mixed panel into the studio to debate the pros and cons of the _TNIV_. On the contrary, his goal from the very beginning was to inform, educate, and warn our listeners about what he regards as the *dangers* of this translation. Those who don't share his perspective are certainly free to publicize their views by any means available to them. But they shouldn't look to Dr. Dobson to provide them with a forum for arguing their case. That would be like expecting cattle producers to invite an animal-rights activist to address their national convention.

We hope that this reply has clarified our perspective for you. Thanks again for caring enough to contact us. Don't hesitate to let us know if we can be of any further assistance. God bless you.

Amy Campbell
Focus on the Family

Clarified their perspective? Well, yes indeed. Based on this letter, Dobson's intent was to "inform and educate" the public on--well--on his "strong feelings."

I don't agree with Dr. James Dobson on all issues, but I appreciate his fight against pornography and his desire to help families be healthy and strong. Dr. Dobson,in my opinion, has some valuable insights into psychological issues, and I have used some of his materials in the past. But he, by his own admission, is not a biblical scholar! Why should his "strong feelings" on biblical translation be authoritative? I am dismayed. Dobson is not, as one of my friends recently called him (tongue in cheek), "the Protestant pope." He is not the voice of authority on every topic. (No offense intended to any Roman Catholics reading this blog.)

It is increasingly clear that I can't tune in to Focus on the Family if I want to hear something a bit more reasoned than what Dr. Dobson happens to feel.

I am not saying I believe the TNIV has no flaws. I don't think a perfect Bible translation exists. Some of Grudem's comments deserve consideration--and for some lengthy but fascinating discussion, see the aforementioned blog.

But don't look to Focus on the Family for unbiased information. Be warned, Dr. Dobson thinks that sharing his opinion--in this case making some alarming remarks about the motives of reputable biblical scholars--is "educating" the public.

Christian people need to learn to think for ourselves. We are to study. We are to be right dividers of the Word of truth, according to 2 Tim. 2:15.

Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a worker who does not need to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.

Since we are not all Greek and Hebrew scholars, when it comes to issues of linguistics and translation we need to hear from a variety of people who have some knowledge and expertise. We need to STOP looking to Chritian celebrity personalities, no matter how well-intentioned, to tell us what to believe and how to think. The implications are frightening.

Friday, November 04, 2005

I Gotta Lighten Up...So

janeway wallpaper
You are Captain Janeway!
One of Starfleet's finest Captains, your style is
unique in that you encapsulate the spirit of
the Federation's highest ideals. Out in the
Delta Quadrant, you came across more unknowns
than any other officer in Starfleet. Your
victories over the Borg Queen several times, as
well as species 8472, have marked you as one of
the most innovative Captains in Starfleet
history. This is partly due to your ability to
think "outside the box" . Your crew
will not only die for you, they will and have
been to the ends of the Galaxy with you.

Which Starfleet Captain Are You?
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Wednesday, November 02, 2005

The Bible Debate

The debate that is not really a debate goes on. "Focus on the Family" continues to air what I believe to be completely misleading information about the supposed gender neutral TNIV (Today's New International Version). But I defer to someone with credentials.

See the "Better Bibles Blog" for comments from Dr. Stan Gundry. He is Senior Vice President and Editor-in-Chief at Zondervan, the well known (and very respected) Christian publisher of the TNIV. Dr. Gundry is upset, and he has every right to be. Please read his comments if you have any interest in Bible translation, and please write Dobson and ask for a real discussion, not a one-sided, misleading conversation. Perhaps he could invite Dr. Gundry to the program.