February 2015 Biblical Studies Carnival

…is now posted at Jennifer Guo’s blog, Two Ways to Live. Go see! Go see!

Keep Christianity Weird

Patrick Mitchell lays out a case for why we need a “weird” Christianity to protect it from any form of cultural captivity.

It’s no coincidence that both Barth and Schweitzer spent much time considering Jesus. The Jesus of the Gospels just isn’t dull, predictable, undemanding, easily accommodated into our lives and having little to say about the broken world in which we live.

Once we lose touch with the weirdness of Christian faith, it is inevitable that we end up with a form of Christianity that is virtually indistinguishable from the wider culture.

So what are some signs that we have lost touch with the strange Otherness of Christianity?

Here are some suggestions in no particular order – feel welcome to add your own:

Perhaps something for my Sunday school class to ponder as we continue to study the Sermon on the Mount. Definitely something I hope my CHR 150 students wrestle with throughout the semester.

Worship Decisions We’ll Regret

Wisdom from Chaplain Mike at InternetMonk:

[David] Manner is the Associate Executive Director for the Kansas-Nebraska Convention of Southern Baptists with responsibilities in the areas of Worship, Leadership and Administration. Before that he served in many congregations in worship and music ministry.

I like his list. A lot. I don’t agree with every point, and I don’t feel as strongly about some points as I do others. However, I think he’s captured a great deal of content in a nice, well-stated form that lends itself to discussion.

Here it is:

15 Worship Decisions We’ll Regret

1.     Dividing congregations along age and affinity lines.
2.     Eliminating choral expressions in worship.
3.     Worship leader ageism.
4.     Elevating music above Scripture, Prayer and the Lord’s Supper.
5.     Making worship and music exclusively synonymous.
6.     Trying to recreate worship with each new generation.
7.     Ignoring the Christian Calendar and adopting the Hallmark Calendar.
8.     Worshiping like inspiration stopped with the hymnal.
9.     Worshiping like inspiration started with modern worship songs.
10.   Not providing a venue for creatives to express their art as worship.
11.   Allowing songs about God to supersede the Word of God.
12.   Elevating gathered worship above dispersed worship.
13.   Setting aside traditionalism around the world but not across the aisle.
14.   Worshiping out of Nostalgia or Novelty.
15.   Worship services at the expense of worship service.

Chaplain Mike’s commentary that follows is well worth the read. It’s short, and it’s good.

January 2015 Biblical Studies Carnival

First-time Carnival host Vincent Artale has posted the latest collection of biblical-scholarly goodness for your reading pleasure. Well done, sir!

Hillel and Shammai Animation

Here’s a brief summary not so much of the substance of the disagreements between these two great religious scholars, but how those disagreements were depicted in the Mishnah. The point of the video is to find some wisdom about how people can disagree today without becoming disagreeable.

Ten Tips for Reading the Bible for the First Time

Courtesy of Patton Dodd.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg is known for making aggressive New Year’s Resolutions, and apparently keeping them. For 2015, he plans to become a bookworm, reading a book every other week. His plan may include the Bible:

My challenge for 2015 is to read a new book every other week — with an emphasis on learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories and technologies. . . . Rachel Brown, Bill Munns, Marlo Kanipe and others suggested I read the Bible.

Maybe the Bible won’t make the cut — it’s pretty tough to read it in two weeks even when you aren’t running one of the nation’s largest companies — but it definitely fits the bill for “learning about different cultures, beliefs, histories. . . .” So as as thanks (/punishment) for founding Facebook, I’d like to offer him — and any other new Bible readers out there — some Bible-reading tips.

December 2014 Biblical Studies Carnival

Posted for your reading pleasure at Jim West’s blog. It’s super duper.

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