Sunday, May 31, 2009

On Applying Acts

The following musings are from a "pep talk" I gave my Acts students midway through last semester:

At the risk of overstating my case, I think it is absurd to go to Acts, derive timeless principles from stories and proclaim them as the Word of God for us—unless they are tied into major themes in Acts. God is gracious. He can use our misreadings. But, to state it positively, we are on much firmer ground if we are able to lock onto a practical application we are confident was important to the author.

A test: Could we get the same point from Aesop’s Fables, Plutarch’s Lives or The Office? If so, we’ve probably got an illustration sanctified by its source (like this example), rather than something Scripture actually teaches.

Another related test, courtesy of Dale Harris, is addressed to preaching:
But today I'm remembering another word of advice a friend gave me about preaching. Preaching, he said, must be a public proclamation that depends fundamentally on the death and resurrection of Jesus to give it meaning. Put differently: would you still say what you're about to say if the cross and the empty grave had never happened? Could you still say it if Jesus was still in his grave? If the answer is yes to that question, then whatever else you're doing-- entertaining, exhorting, educating, moralizing-- whatever else it is, it's not preaching.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Greek Inscriptions from Israel 1

This mosaic was discovered near the Cardo market street in Caesarea:
Can anyone tell me which New Testament passage it is from?

(I'll buy a coffee for the winner next time they visit Caronport.)

Friday, May 29, 2009

Career Advice

Dear Uncle Neil,

I would like to be an electrical engineer. Evidence of my skills is attached. Any tips on how to get started? Especially with electrically illiterate parents?



P.S. Daddy says he has 3 courses (almost) down; 1 more to go before he posts about his Israel trip.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Israel Trip 1 (April 28-29) - Climate Change

Our convoy of Caronport participants on the Israel tour drove through a blizzard on the way to the airport, the morning of April 28. Some 30 hours later we arrived at the Blue Bay Hotel in Netanya, which overlooks the Mediterranean Sea:
(The photo was taken from our hotel room window.)

I'm told the best time to visit Israel is at the beginning of May when the rains are past and before the searing heat of summer sets in. It was certainly true this year. At the start of my last week in Jerusalem I finally donned the fleece and jacket I brought along, but even that wasn't enough to stay warm on the roof of the Hashimi Hotel:
By the end of the week the weather had turned hot and muggy...
...a good time to return to chilly Saskatchewan, where our unusually late spring is just now under way. It apparently snowed here last week, but that's okay, it snowed in Saudi Arabia last week too.
(This is the first in a series of Israel tour posts; the second is here.)

Mark Twain the Postmodern

"When someone tells you they do know, I suggest Mark Twain's advice: respect those who seek the truth, be wary of those who claim to have found it." - Keith O. Rattie.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Almost Home

I leave Jerusalem early tomorrow morning to return to a large and now overdue pile of marking. (I made the decision to extend my stay in Israel before the winter semester began in the naive expectation that I could get everything done before I left.) However, the whole trip including this extra week on my own has been fantastic.

In the midst of my regular academic duties, a couple writing deadlines, and time with family, I hope to find time this summer to blog through the experience. You can expect a travelogue of sorts, with biblical studies-related observations, reflections on the current political situation, and lots of pictures.

Stay tuned!