Archive for May, 2013

Random Miscellany, pt 1/9865

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

1) This Open2Study things seems way to easy. Each course appears to release approximately 1 hour or so of video material, each broken into sections, with a ‘pop quiz’ after each, which is just 1 multiple choice (or T/F) question, followed by an ‘assessment’ which is 5 multiple choice questions, which you have 3 attempts at. To get a ‘I finished this’ certificate, you need only pass 3 of these ‘assessments’. As I said, too easy.

2) My fitness level is now quantified. My resting heart rate is under 70, about 65-ish, which I totally was not expecting from walking 3.5 hrs a week carrying about 5kgs at a time. Given that I actually have not been out just for a run for ages makes me surprised that my cardiovascular fitness appears to have done so well. Most of my exercise has been strength-related (I usually do push-ups, crunches, lunges, etc. between reading), so I have no idea how it dropped from about 80. I should probably check my blood pressure too while I’m at it.

3) Swans FTW. There’s been enough weeks to give an assessment on the AFL ladder at the moment. Melbourne, GWS, and the Bulldogs are where we thought they’d be. St Kilda is officially in a rebuilding phase. Vossy really hasn’t done enough at Brisbane. Nth Melbourne are the new Richmond. Gold Coast have improved significantly and can at least be counted as a mid-level team that should hopefully be trying to push into the bottom of the 8 next year. Collingwood has been relegated to middle tier. Richmond, Port, and Carlton will be having a fight to see who makes it to September and who gets an early holiday. The Crows have been disappointing. West Coast are quietly sneaking back into form after some early losses. Sydney require some more consistency, which will probably come once Kurt Tippett can join the field. Freo seem to now have the ascendancy in the west. Essendon – still got the drug cloud over them, but definitely a good team. Hawthorn and Geelong are once again the top teams, and would want to convert that into a trophy at the end of the year.

The Reading List – May 22 – 28

Monday, May 27th, 2013

First, a random note. I’m starting some of those free online courses, one on strategic management, and one on adult education. I might update about those in these courses if they’re interesting enough, or not.

1) The Christ of the Covenants by O. Palmer Robertson. A relatively old book (1980), but which nevertheless, provides a Biblical angle on reformed covenant theology. Unlike others, Robertson dislikes the use of the word ‘covenant’ to describe the pactum salutis, and in fact, uses the term ‘covenant of redemption’ to refer to what is normally referred to as the covenant of grace.
What I’ve worked out now is that Biblical evidence for a pre-fall post-creation covenant with Adam/Creation/humanity/something comes from Hos 6:7, postulated reference in Jer 33, and consistency of the Adamic administration with the writer’s definition of covenant. However, there can be some variation in what the writer actually takes to be a covenant. So, many of the early voices in this regarded the commandment regarding the Tree of the Knowledge of Good and Evil (TotKoG+E) as the stipulation of a covenant of creation/nature/works, whereas Robertson considers this as a simple test of obedience to the covenant, and that the true stipulations regarded marriage, labour, and sabbath.
What this also reveals is the various areas in which Reformed writers have interacted with their tradition in this area. Questions hang upon the ways in which the various covenants are continuous and discontinuous, important for the question of how one is to uphold it in the present day. As an OT scholar, Robertson is weak on the NT, and so it’d be good to read an NT scholar’s take on all this.

2) Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change by the late Paul Hiebert. People who were listening to Greg Anderson or who have otherwise done more missiological stuff may be familiar with this guy. The concern of this book is to get people to understand that Christian conversion is more than individual conversion, change in outward behaviours, and even expression of beliefs. Conversion requires bringing about change in worldviews, and thus requires understanding them. The book consists of an elaboration of these concerns, an overview of anthropological academic work on worldviews, a description of worldviews including that of modernity, postmodernity, and post-postmodernity, and then bringing it back to Christian worldviews and how to go about conversion thus. It’s a good challenge to get out of (philosophically) modern ways of thinking such as of binary, digital sets (as in sets whose categorisations are binary – yes/no) and to think in different categories. I’d already thought about this type of stuff in other subjects, but this helped to crystallise them and to give them a terminology. It’s clearly aimed at people interested in missions and missiology, but it’d be useful for anyone involved in wanting to bring people to Christ (i.e. pretty much any Christian that can handle this level of reading).

Star Trek Into Darkness

Sunday, May 19th, 2013

Quick rate: high quality stuff. Recommended

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Random Miscellany, pt -7610

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

1) It’s been a few rounds into the soccer season. I was concerned that my fitness wasn’t going to be great. However, it seems that playing cricket and carrying several kilos worth of catalogues have maintained some level of fitness, and even made my shoulders stronger. I no longer feel like my shoulders are slumping from weakness when I get tired.

2) Over at Ministry of Game, I’m now playing Battletech, meaning that after many years, I now get to virtually go around in a big robot, blowing up other big robots. Ohhhh yeahhhhh.

3) As some of you know, I’ve moved over from churching in Croydon, and gone to Kogarah, mainly because of distance. I’m not too perturbed by the ‘worship elements’, but then, that’s just the reasonably unflappable guy that I am. They even had a surprise visit from an African pastor last week, which was cool. Reminded me of Alfred, sigh.

4) Shute Shield rugby on ABC > all other televised sport. A large part of this equation is due to 0 appearances of that Waterhouse fella or that blonde from TAB. A significant part is also that the commentary isn’t annoying, which some of the ch 7 AFL commentary can be.

The Reading List – May 15 – 21

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

Yeah, it’s early, because I finished all the books I got from the library early. Just means I get more time to do … um … something else.

1) As suggested by Earngey, God and Adam: Reformed Theology and The Creation Covenant, by Rowland Ward. This book is basically a collection of what ‘everyone’ has said about the covenant of works/nature/whatever you want to call it. It begins with a brief overview of what the heck it is, and then the other sections talk about what everyone else said. Part 2 is what was said up to 1700, arranged chronologically. Part 3 is the same time period, arranged topically. Part 4 is what representative slices of the Protestant world have said and done since. The book doesn’t present an argument. Rather, it seeks to show something of the development and different ideas that have popped up in the Reformed world regarding this covenant. Looks like I’m going to have to read The Bav to get a detailed exposition of the subject.

2) Total Church by Chester and Timmis. I haven’t actually read this. Which is actually par for the course for me, because I tend to wait for hype to settle before going after stuff. I think most of what I read here I became convinced of from my time at Barneys. My ideas regarding how church should run haven’t really changed, but its nice to have something else to refer to so that other people can get on the wavelength.

3) And the random book of the week, Holy Superheroes! by Greg Garrett. Basically, its showing how various comics demonstrate various concerns, ethical, social, and philosophical. An adequate window into the modern mythology that comes from this genre.

The Reading List – May 8 – 14

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

1) The Pillar commentary on Philippians, by G. Walter Hansen. Basically, I needed to pull my head out and read a commentary, get back to just enjoying the Bible in detail and not just in macro layers. I think I’m going to attempt to read through all the Pillar volumes eventually, though I’d rather become too busy to be able to put that in effect. The commentary itself is decent, generally in the same vein and style that the Pillar series is known for, and Philippians is not exactly the most controversial Pauline epistle ever.

2) The John Chrysostom volume in the Early Church Fathers series, edited by Mayer and Allen. After reading Origen, I wanted to read someone in the Antiochene tradition. Unfortunately, many of these were later condemned as heretics, though perhaps out of over-zealotry of stamping out all error than for actual heresy. Chrysostom, fortunately, is not one of those! He did, however, fall prey to politiking, get ousted from being bishop of Constantinople and died in exile. Sigh. Nevertheless, you get an idea of his oratorical prowess from his homilies, and you also see his non-allegorical ways of interpreting Scripture. You also get some feel of his pastoral care from some letters included here.

The Reading List – May 1 – 7

Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

1) Quo Vadis Evangelicalism?, edited by Kostenberger, is a collection of presidential addresses given at ETS stretching back to its early days. I wanted to get a feel for the recent history of American evangelical theology, and I think I understand a bit more about why they harped on about inerrancy and so forth. It’s an interesting read mostly and quite informative.

2) Heinrich Bullinger and the Covenant by JW Baker. Basically, a monograph on Bullinger’s covenant theology. He conceived of there being only one covenant, and thus Christians are like the new Israel. It’s fairly clear that Bullinger has taken a fair few of his own biases and opinions and seen them in the Scripture – like thinking that the Judges period was a high point because it was quasi-republican, reflecting his own non-monarchical situation in Switzerland. Anyway, the point from here is to find more on the development of covenant thinking in Reformed theology.

3) Donald Robinson’s Faith’s Framework. Basically because I hadn’t read it yet and it’d probably be a good idea to see where Goldsworthy is coming from. It’s an easy read, and I don’t think it’s dated too much. It holds its own as a brief study on the New Testament as canon.

The Reading List – April 8 – 30

Wednesday, May 1st, 2013

So, I decided that I’d attempt to learn to read German.

My companion was Kay Avery’s little book. You’re not going to find this outside of Moore College circles. The book itself consists of a DVD containing Shockwave presentations of Kay reading the text and explaining stuff, and 14 chapters. The book is written so that a post-grad can self-help themselves into some reading capability of German. It will require more than these 14 chapters to attain any sort of mastery of German, but it’s already helping me decrypt some article titles. The book has some flaws. Most notable is that there are some glaring vocabulary omissions when you need it. What would have been really helpful would have been some summary tables at the back, as a quick reference or as a template to aid memorisation. All in all, it’s a start, and you could probably do far worse. If you want to spend money, apparently, German Quickly is the way to go, though if you can really afford it, you should do it properly – i.e. attend some sort of class.

Anyway, I’ve put this little German side project down to return to my normal reading foci.