Bible


Rowan Williams has a great series of lectures on the Gospel of Mark given in Holy Week 2010 during his time as Archbishop of Canterbury.  The audio links are provided below.

The beginning of the gospel – Reading Mark’s Life of Jesus:

1. History & Memory

2. Unveiling Secrets (with separate Q&A)

3. A Lifelong Passion

The series has now been published as a book.

book_cover

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Love this map of Paul’s missionary journeys from the blog theologygrams.  As someone quipped in the comments “Mind the Agape”.

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See also this timeline map of holy week: Holy Week Tube Map.

200+ US evangelical scientists call on Congress to act on climate change.  This is what they say in the opening paragraph

As evangelical scientists and academics, we understand climate change is real and action is urgently needed. All of God’s Creation – humans and our environment – is groaning under the weight of our uncontrolled use of fossil fuels, bringing on a warming planet, melting ice, and rising seas. The negative consequences and burdens of a changing climate will fall disproportionately on those whom Jesus called “the least of these”: the poor, vulnerable, and oppressed. Our nation has entrusted you with political power; we plead with you to lead on this issue and enact policies this year that will protect our climate and help us all to be better stewards of Creation.

Here is a copy of the full letter together with the list of signatories, which includes very prominent climate scientists, such as Tom Ackerman and Katherine Hayhoe.

Hayhoe’s work has been shared here before (see blog post An Evangelical Climate Scientist), but Ackerman has also written and spoken on his perspective as a climate scientist and an evangelical Christian (see webpage).  His views are outlined in the paper

T. Ackerman. Global Warming: Scientific Basis and Christian Responses. Perspectives on Science and Christian Faith, 59, 250-264, 2007.

Happy Christmas and New Year – better late then never!

“We saw his star when it rose and have come to worship him.” Matthew 2:2 (NIV)

I’ve posted on the star of Bethlehem before (see here), but I’ve just come across some interesting thoughts by Greg Boyd that I’d like to share.  In my previous post I laid out three possible astronomical explanations for the ‘star’ of Bethlehem (1. a conjunction of Jupiter and Saturn, 2. a comet, 3. a supernova); at the time I concluded that none of them really fit the biblical account which says “… the star … stopped over the place where the child was.” (Matthew 2:9).  However, Greg Boyd explains that this is just a turn of phrase, like we might say “oh look at the moon over the mountains” – obviously the moon isn’t really stopped over those particular mountains!  He then goes on to summarise Molnar’s hypothesis (option 1 above) as being interesting and worthy of consideration.  Check out the short video:

The other day I read an article from rejectapathy.com that asks: Does the Church need to become more unified in the fight against climate change?  They answer yes and you can read the full piece here.  I was particularly struck by a biblical analogy to our current inaction in responding to climate change and the prevailing attitude that says or implies we don’t need to worry because “at least it won’t happen in my lifetime”.  The analogy is with Hezekiah’s reaction to being told that his children would be taken into exile:

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, “Hear the word of the LORD: A time is coming when everything in your palace which your ancestors have stored up to this day will be carried off to Babylon; nothing will remain behind, said the LORD. And some of your sons, your own issue, whom you will have fathered, will be taken to serve as eunuchs in the palace of the King of Babylon.”  Hezekiah declared to Isaiah, “The word of the LORD that you have spoken is good.”  For he thought, “It means that safety is assured for my time.”  2 Kings 20: 16-19 (JPS)

Well today sees Rick Santorum finally calling an end to his bid to become the Republican nomination for US president. I’ve been meaning to blog about his views on climate change for a while so hear goes.  Santorum went further than all the Republican candidates who ran for the presidental nomination, the vast majority have stated that the science on climate change is unsettled.  However, Satorum goes further and says climate change is “an absolute travesty of scientific research …”.  Indeed he has called Obama’s theology phony and not based on the bible because he sides with radical environmentalists!  For reporting on this Bible-tinged climate change denial see this article.

Unfortunately the Christian theology of “dominion” has and still is contributing to environmental degradation.  You can read my own views on the use of dominion in Genesis 1 here.  The Bible actually says is that the Earth is not ours to use and misuse as we please, but

“The Earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it” (Psalm 24:1)

According to recent polls evangelical Christians are the least likely to agree that humans play a role in climate change and also the most likely to indicate that there is no scientific proof that climate change exists.  Yet, some scientists and Christians are suggesting that this has nothing to do with theology, and more to do with political science.  Environmental issues are often seen as liberal agenda items and many conservative information sources present climate change as a theory rather than scientific fact.  A recent study stated that views were strongly partisan, with 78% of Democrats believing in climate change and only 47% of Republicans.  Although, I have heard of a study that shows that the carbon footprints of Democrats and Republicans are no different, in other words whatever you believe people are not doing anything about it! Incidentally I also heard that this is true of climate scientist themselves who have the highest carbon footprints of any discipline.

The Body of the Dead Christ in the Tomb by Hans Holbein the Younger

“Then they took Jesus’ body and wrapped it, with the aromatic spices, in strips of linen cloth according to Jewish burial customs.  Now at the place where Jesus was crucified there was a garden, and in the garden was a new tomb where no one had yet been buried.  And so, because it was the Jewish day of preparation and  the tomb was nearby, they placed Jesus’ body there.” John 19:40-42

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