Friday, June 28, 2013

Hebrew Paper #3

This class has taken on a new relevance with the US Supreme Court's decision to establish another aspect of the ancient Canaanite Religion:  The government of ancient Israel decided that the god's would be pleased if they had more homosexuality, so the government became an active sponsor to it.  (Basically, rain was believed to be caused by the gods getting sexually excited, which would then cause the crops to grow.  The state religion thus encouraged the people to behave in ways that would make the gods get excited.)  In fact, they argued that unless homosexuality was sponsored by the government, the gods would withhold the rains from the land, hence, it was mandatory for the government to promote all kinds of sexual immorality, and especially abortion of infants.  Today, we can see a related argument:  The government must promote sexual immorality and baby abortion, or we will be a tyranny.  If we are a tyranny, then the economy will be stifled and everyone will suffer, therefore, the only conclusion is that the government must take an active role in promoting sexual immorality and infant slaughter.  Some arguments never change.  In ancient Israel, the surrounding places also had plenty of immorality, but Israel, having been the only nation commanded by God not to go wild, instead exceeded all the other nations in its wickedness.

Thus, the Hebrew class has been quite a delightful experience of Back to the Future, or perhaps déjà vu.  Paper #3 of 4 is almost done.  It certainly feels good to be on top of things, whether it is my class work or understanding the general trends in America's great leap forward into "hope and change".

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Bald Eagle Problems

I am still swimming twice a week at Shadow Cliffs park in Pleasanton.  The far side of the lake has a 20 foot bank rising up out of the water that creates a nice bit of lift when the wind is blowing.  A bald eagle coupled decided to choose the spot to hang out due to the nice conditions.  The last two swims this couple has provided us some good entertainment.  The problem for me is that I need to get a good picture, but I don't get to see them until I have been swimming 2,000 yards to the opposite side, which is more than a mile.  I could possibly put the camera in a bag, set it on a kick board, tie the kick board to my waist, and then swim on out. But would I keep the camera dry when I took the picture?  This morning they were happily posing on their perch, but the last time they were soaring back and forth along the cliffs with one of them carrying what looked like a goose chick.  This problem will most likely continue until I get my picture.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Sunday, June 02, 2013

Scrambled Brain

The current ideal protestant theology training requires learning both Greek and Hebrew.  Many of the Masters programs have the students studying both Greek and Hebrew at the same time.  If you are a Roman Catholic, than Latin must be added, although I believe that Hebrew gets dropped.  Something has to give.  We also have sanity as one of our trade off options.

Yesterday I finished the first of three term papers for my last semester of the Hebrew sequence, but I have been listening to Greek tapes on the side preparing for the next phase.  My brain, however, is starting to rebel as attempts to form a Greek sentence result in a mishmash of Hebrew and poorly pronounced Greek words.  How to keep it all straight?  Somehow I am not surprised that the surveys state that less than 20% of seminary students retain an ability to understand Hebrew.  I had thought this statistic to be something lamentable when I first read it, although a retained but scrambled understanding is potentially the worse outcome.