Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sunfest Saturday

We plan to attend Sunfest at Bartlesville today. It looks like rain. I hope it doesn't rain. I had wanted to have my garage sale today originally but after I learned this was the weekend for Sunfest, I decided on next weekend. Sunfest is a huge arts and crafts festival at Sooner Park in Bartlesville. It includes all sorts of entertainment and great food. We usually attend each June. Most of the time Bob is gone on some disaster or another but this year there have been no hurricanes yet. That's a blessing.

I hope to have some pictures to post later in the day if it doesn't rain and if we get to attend.

If it does rain, we will still go to their Wal Mart Superstore and buy the rest of the groceries that were not available here Thursday when we bought what we could here at our small store.

We went to Joplin yesterday and I finally found the towels I have been looking for for weeks. They had them in stock in their Penney's store. I had looked in Bartlesville and Owasso but neither store had them in stock. They are the beige towels like like the green ones I already have. We only had the one set to use and we were fast wearing them out using them and washing them and returning them to the towel bars.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Gay Wedding

A couple of guys from my church who have been together for nine years were married recently. They live in Iowa where gay weddings are legal.

They wanted to use the chapel at our university for the service and asked for it as a "worship" service. This was during the commencement preparations and no one checked it out.

It so happens, at this time, no minister from our church is authorized to marry gay couples...regardless of the law in the state. Well the president of the university is in deep doo doo for allowing the service in the chapel on the campus.

I had an e-mail from him yesterday and he seems to think the issue will be addressed at the 2010 World Conference of the church. I don't think so because there is no discussion of the issue currently in the Saints Herald, (the official church magazine) before the membership like there is "conditions for membership".

It will be interesting...that's for sure.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Jesus Interrupted

Ehrman's new book, "Jesus, Interrupted," will not lead many evangelicals and conservative Christians to invite him to talk to their Bible study groups. Picking up where "Misquoting Jesus" let off, it goes beyond the Bible's textual problems to look at deeper doctrinal inconsistencies and contradictions. Ehrman points out that Mark and Luke had radically different attitudes toward Jesus' death: Mark saw him as in doubt and despair on the way to the cross, while Luke saw him as calm. Mark and Paul saw Jesus' death as offering an atonement for sin, while Luke did not. Matthew believed that Jesus' followers had to keep the Jewish law to enter the kingdom of Heaven, a view categorically rejected by Paul. The conventional response to this is to try to "harmonize" the Bible by smashing all four Gospels together. But as Ehrman argues, this only creates a bogus "fifth Gospel" that doesn't exist

Ehrman's critique is far from over. He points out that many of the books in the New Testament were not even written by their putative authors: only eight of its 27 books are almost certain to have been written by the people whose names are attached to them. He writes that scholars have tended to avoid the word "forged" because of its negative connotations, but argues convincingly that much of the Bible is, in fact, forged

Then there's the problem of "which Bible?" As Ehrman notes, there were many other Gospels floating around in the days of the early Christians, many of which claimed to be written by apostles, and there's no historical reason to believe that some of these non-canonical gospels were any less worthy of being part of the Bible than the books that made it in. Later Christians excised some texts and included others for various reasons. Once one begins to look critically at what was left out and why, it becomes impossible to deny that the biblical canon was constructed by humans for human purposes

Finally, and most devastatingly, Ehrman points out that "some of the most important Christian doctrines, such as that of a suffering Messiah, the divinity of Christ, the trinity and the existence of heaven and hell," were not held by Jesus himself and were not contemporaneous with him. They developed later, "as the Church grew and came to be transformed into a new religion rather than a sect of Judaism." The doctrine of the trinity only appears once in the New Testament, and the doctrine that Jesus is equal but not identical to God is found in none of the four Gospels

Perhaps most surprising, even to readers who have some familiarity with biblical scholarship, is Ehrman's argument -- which, again, is the mainstream position among biblical scholars -- that Jesus did not teach that he was divine. Only in one Gospel, John, does Christ call himself divine, but John's theology is radically different from that in the other three Gospels. To understand Jesus' attitude toward himself, Ehrman argues, we must remember who he was: a radical millenarian Jew. Like other Jewish prophets in the Palestine of his day, Jesus thought that a cosmic judge, the Son of Man, was coming soon to earth. But he did not regard himself as the Son of Man.

Part of it comes down to a debate over what really is a Christian. A lot of sophisticated Christian thinkers, theologians and biblical scholars would say that you shouldn't have an essentialist understanding of Christianity. You can't just define Christianity and then gauge whether somebody is that or not. I have friends who don't believe that Jesus was physically raised from the dead. But they still call themselves Christian, and they still believe Jesus is divine. They have a different understanding of what it means to be Christian from an evangelical understanding of what it means to be Christian.

This book is very interesting and it is not hard reading either. It is very informative. I read the entire thing in two days. I recommend it.

Thursday Business

Today, we will go to Independence at noon to take Leslie to lunch and then go to the market. It seems we accumulate a list very fast.

Our tiger lilies are blooming now. When the sun really gets warm they will open. It's nice having something blooming all the time. Bob is mowing twice a week to keep the Bermuda grass spreading and choking out the weeds. At least that's what we hope will happen.


Well we took Leslie to lunch. She was not feeling very well. She has been burning her candle at both ends for the past month and now she is getting up at 4:00 in the morning to go into Independence and exercise at the gym. Then she goes back home and gets ready for work and goes to work. She is exhausted.

We went to the market here instead of Independence and we did not get all we needed because our Wal Mart is not a Superstore and has very few grocery items. I did not want to go to Country Mart too today. I too am tired but it's because I haven't done anything the past two days but read.

Tomorrow, we have no plans. Next week will be very busy so I should enjoy the time we have for quiet time.

I am reading "Jesus, Interrupted" by Bart Ehrman and it is a very interesting book. I will finish it this afternoon.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Ron's Remarks

We have been discussing the development of the Christian scriptures and the theology they contain on another board where I post.

One of my best friends, who is a physicist has a real way with words. This is his take on how the present theology developed. From all my reading, agree with his take:

"I think one of the reasons for such a broad range of beliefs is that the origins of Christianity had two very different sources with very different messages. Jesus proclaimed his message to Jews. His focus was on the redemption of Israel and the establishment of God's kingdom on earth. To Jewish ears, and I am sure in the mind of Jesus, this was to restore Israel to its previous national independence and free from Roman rule. The time was ripe for God to intervene in history and this imminent event was to be accomplished by miraculous overthrow of the wicked by the army of God's angels coming in the clouds. The Jewish peoples responsibility was to personally repent and live exemplary lives of righteousness. Thus this is a dual message of a call for extreme personal righteousness with a focus on love for God and fellow man and an extremely violent message of wholesale slaughter of the wicked.

On the other hand Paul was preaching to an entirely different population who were Gentiles who had a very different world view. They too were living in a Roman dominated culture and were saturated with Roman gods and what we call pagan worship. Paul's focus was on personal salvation. For him the enemies of this world were not the Romans but 'principalities and evil spirits' who were vying for the souls of mankind. Paul saw the crucifixion in the light of both the Jewish and pagan sacrifices made to gods. The resurrection was vindication of God's acceptance of the sacrifice of Jesus and acceptance of those who would acknowledge him as saviour.

From these disparate beginnings the various groups of followers managed to interface, but not too harmoniously. Luke tried his best to paper over the divisions of these basic differences with the stories of Paul visiting James however underneath his stories one can see the more vehement division. As the church became consolidated under Constantine's desire for a monolithic church to support his unified empire there developed a forced consensus and what we have inherited today in the melded theology which in many cases does not sit well with anyone who tries to rationalize the various elements forced to fit together."

Fun Wednesday

It rained last night. Before I went to bed I let the cat in. The patio is usually dry unless the rain blows under the roofing. I thought I might let Slinky, the dog, sleep in the kitchen because of the rain but he wanted to stay outside. So, I let him. This morning when I got up he saw me in the kitchen and wanted his cinnamon toast. He wanted it right away. He began barking at me to hurry up with it. I got it out to him as soon as I could and he ate it all as usual.

Before I give him a bite of it, he has to sit. I never even have to tell him to sit. He just does it. Now he is expecting a little milk on his dry dog food before he will eat it. I make him sit for that too. This morning he sat alright but the minute I began to pour the milk, he came toward the bowl. Finally I said, "Slinky, sit"...and he sat...then I said "stay" and he just sat there until I got the milk poured. Then I said "o.k." and he ate his food. What an obedient dog. That's why I like him so much.

This morning is when I get my hair done. Afterward I will meet Juanita for breakfast. We catch up on each of our news at that time. It is usually a week between visits. Then I will go over to "Nannie La Rose" and see if Karen has anything new I just can't live without. Nannie La Rose is the only clothing store this side of Bartlesville, Oklahoma...40 miles away. Living in a small town is not all that much fun if you want to buy clothing.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Quiet Tuesday

This has been a quiet day. I went to my sister's early this morning so my brother-in-law could go to his breakfast and then came home and have just read all day. We did go get some corn to put out for our squirrels. The little critters get into the bird's seed if we don't buy food for them.

We had my sister and her husband over for dinner last night. I baked some salmon. It was all right but certainly not my favorite food. I fixed some boiled and buttered potatoes, broccoli, salad and we had pudding for dessert with no carb whipped cream on it.

While we were up to Orchelan's where we bought the corn, I noticed they have their shrubbery on sale. They had lilac bushes and one Wegelia bush. I sure would like to plant another Wegelia bush but I wonder if it's too late for shrubbery to make it through the hot summer. I would have to add it to my watering chore each morning.

Tomorrow I will go get my hair done in Independence and have breakfast with Juanita.
Nothing else is planned for tomorrow either. I should be out there washing windows but we have rain forecast. I hate to take a chance on rain. I guess I will just read.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Housecleaning Monday

Well this is Monday and the day to clean house so I worked all morning doing that and laundry too.

I just called my sister and brother-in-law to see if they would like to come to dinner tonight. We bought some frozen salmon and I have never fixed it before so I am going to bake it frozen in the oven. That's what the directions say you can do. We will have salad and broccoli with it. I think I will forgo the potatoes. Both she and my Bob have diabetes. The salad and veggies will be good for them. Potatoes would not be good for them.

I fixed some chocolate pudding that I will serve with "no carb" topping for dessert. Pudding only has 6 grams of carbs.

I am going to try to have them over every week. My brother-in-law has his hands full now and that may help them and we can use the fellowship anyhow. We don't see too much of them anymore. Just Sunday at church and Tuesday mornings when I go over there to visit while he goes to have breakfast with his classmates.

I got everything done but the dusting. I will wait a little while and then get to that.

I am reading a book my neighbor loaned to me. It is called "Who Stole My Church". So far it's pretty good. It is about the resistance to change most churches are going through right now. Ours certainly is, I know.

I will read awhile and then do my dusting.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Clinton Accepts Responsibilty for Recession

Robert Rubin, as treasury secretary under Clinton, was responsible for three bad decisions: 1) to block the regulation of derivatives championed by Brooksley Born, chair of the Commodity Futures Trading Commission; 2) to urge Clinton in 1996 to reappoint Alan Greenspan as Federal Reserve chairman, clearing the path for 10 costly years of indifferent regulation of the financial sector; 3) and to repeal Glass-Steagall, the 1933 law that excluded commercial banks from investment banking (and vice versa).

This last decision did not play an appreciable role in creating the banking crisis, but, in the bank consolidation that resulted, it created ample future opportunities for banks to extend too much credit to companies whose stock their financial arms are trying to sell, and perhaps even more worrisome—is creating even more corporate entities that will henceforth be deemed "too big to fail."

Sheila Bair just said on Sixty Minutes this evening that there should be new legislation to prevent banks from getting too large and too diversified to be "too big to fail". Banks should stay in just the banking business.

"Going forward", Bair said, "I think we need to really review the size of these institutions and whether we should do something about that, frankly."

Bair surprised the interviewer when she suggested that maybe the mega banks, those bailed out by taxpayers, shouldn't be allowed to exist in the future.

"I think that may be something that Congress needs to think about.
I think taxpayers rightfully should ask that if an institution has become so large that there is no alternative except for the taxpayers to provide support, should we allow so many institutions to exceed that kind of threshold," she explained.

The idea would be that no bank would grow so large that it posed a systemic risk to the economy.

Clinton displayed infinitely more capacity for self-criticism on these matters than Robert Rubin, who refused responsibility for any of it. Keep in mind that while Rubin was the head of Citibank he was reputed to have made $115 million dollars.

Clinton rightly rejected as "just a totally off-the-wall crazy argument" that the Community Reinvestment Act, to which significant legislative and regulatory changes were made on his watch, is responsible for creating abuses in the sub-prime lending market.

But Clinton has also gone much further than George W. Bush, whose responsibility is infinitely greater than either Clinton's or Rubin's. But the idea that Bush would ever take adequate responsibility for his many blunders is so laughable that it hardly seems worth considering.)

As an after thought, I don't believe any company should be allowed to grow so large that it's failure causes national systemic GM, for example.

Coming Peace Colloquy

2009 International Peace Award
Recipient: Halima Bashir

Activist for Women and Children of Darfur

Dr. Halima Bashir, 29, provided medical care for soldiers and civilians on both sides of the conflict in Darfur. She treated and tried to console schoolgirls who had been repeatedly raped. When she spoke out against this abuse she was abducted and gang-raped for three days. She saw her village destroyed and her father murdered by the Janjaweed. She fled the country, but has continued to speak out. Learn more about her life at the Peace Colloquy held at the Community of Christ Temple For Peace this fall.

Halima is the second Muslim and eighth woman to receive the Community of Christ International Peace Award. She will be honored at the opening of the 2009 Peace Colloquy. Join us at the Temple October 23 at 7:30 p.m. or via live webcast. A book signing will follow.

A Great Sunday!

What a great Sunday this has been so far! We had a guest speaker from Miami, Oklahoma this morning. First thing this morning I did my usual chores of feeding the animals and watering the plants. Then I made brownies and iced them for a picnic luncheon just to the east of our church building.

The sermon was good and in fact the services went well.
Rick, the man who preached, told us about a program his church initiated called the "Spirit of Community" award. They award $1,000 every year to the individual or organization that does something to promote community. What a great idea!
I wonder if I could get our group to do something like that?

We had 33 in attendance this morning, which was great! We are a small congregation but we usually have closer to 20 -23 and so today was really nice. Everyone brought something. My son-in-law brought two cookers and Carletta made hamburgers while he did hot dogs. My daughter, bless her heart, made homemade ice cream! We had gobs of food! Everyone visited and had a great time.

Then everyone pitched in and cleaned everything up afterward. I think everyone had fun. I have said it before and I will say it again...feed them and they will come!

I even still have a few brownies left over. That's good because I didn't get one.