Sunday, September 29, 2013

Busy Update

The classes are perhaps 1/3 complete.  There is still a lot to do, and all this has to be arranged around work, family and church.

In one of the seminary classes, the professor was lecturing on the benefits of knowing Greek and Hebrew in order to correctly process the language of the Bible.  I am inclined to agree, as were the other students who had studied Greek or Hebrew.  The professor continued noting that most students stop using Greek and Hebrew as soon as they finish their classes and it is mostly forgotten within a year.  Life pressures then kick in, and the reality is that most seminary graduates lose all use of the language shortly after graduating.

I have been attempting a different track.  Since ending the last semester of Hebrew, I have been listening to Hebrew on my commute.  Separately, I just completed lesson 30 of the spoken Modern Greek lessons from Pimsleur. Since I work through the 30 minute lessons at least twice, this has resulted in more than 40 hours of work on Greek concentrating on pronunciation and conversation over the last two months.  The goal is to continue the dual language study up until May 2014.  At this point, the other classes will finish and I can formally start the Biblical Greek classes.  Rather than starting Greek from scratch, however, I should be able to have a simple conversation by then  What would really make me happy, however, is a temporary company shutdown to get some more time.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Slow Blogging

Things are getting busy again for a new semester of classes, so I will need to cut back on blogging.  My apologies to the few who might be disappointed.  And to those who are relieved, I will quote my former governor: "I'll be back".  Insha'Allah.

Monday, September 09, 2013

Are you a Fundamentalist?

Time for a HUGE rethink after going back to the original rebuke of the fundamentalists.  I used to think that to be a fundamentalist, you had to believe certain fundamentals of the belief system.  This is quite wrong.  In actuality, fundamentalism is a step removed.  Thus, we have the original objection to the fundamentalist belief system as given in a famous sermon in 1922 by the pastor/theologian Harry Emerson Fosdick:

"It is interesting to note where the Fundamentalists are driving in their stakes to mark out the deadline of doctrine around the church, across which no one is to pass except on terms of agreement. They insist that we must all believe in the historicity of certain special miracles, preeminently the virgin birth of our Lord; that we must believe in a special theory of inspiration—that the original documents of the Scripture, which of course we no longer possess, were inerrantly dictated to men a good deal as a man might dictate to a stenographer; that we must believe in a special theory of the Atonement—that the blood of our Lord, shed in a substitutionary death, placates an alienated Deity and makes possible welcome for the returning sinner; and that we must believe in the second coming of our Lord upon the clouds of heaven to set up a millennium here, as the only way in which God can bring history to a worthy denouement. Such are some of the stakes which are being driven to mark a deadline of doctrine around the church." - “Shall the Fundamentalist Win?”  May 21, 1922

Fosdick's fury was that certain churches wouldn't allow it to be taught that Christianity did not believe that Jesus had risen from the dead!  He was offended that certain organizations would not permit it to be taught that Christianity declared that Jesus had not done miracles.  Thus, the offense is related to what is taught about what Christians believe, and not directly about what any particular person believes.

This is all a great relief to me.  It means that because I believe that Islam teaches that pork must not be eaten, and I would be offended if the contrary were taught about Islam in my church, I am a Fundamentalist Muslim at the same time as I am a Fundamentalist Christian!  With a bit of work, I could probably be a Fundamentalist Rastafarian too!  But taking this further, because I believe that Frodo Baggins was a Hobbit in the fictitious Lord of the Rings, and would be annoyed if someone wasted time teaching that he was a Klingon per the Star Trek fiction stories, therefore, I am a Tolkien Fundamentalist also.   What is neat about all this is that one can be a Rabid Atheist and a Christian Fundamentalist at the same time, if you merely believe that Christianity teaches that Jesus did miracles, died for our sins and rose from the dead.

Saturday, September 07, 2013

Some More Photos from the San Francisco Asian Art Museum

What stands out to me is that the large majority of the art is of a religious nature.  An exception below is the bronze teapot from China done in the shape of a duck.  I have some trouble connecting the notion of a duck to tea, but the Chinese are known for trying just about anything.  Duck feet tea, anyone?