Random sporting commentary

July 14th, 2013

1) Ashton Agar is definitely inline for some sponsorship money. Also, Ed Cowan will probably not make it to the end of the series unless someone gets injured.

2) This year’s Tour is definitely more interesting than last years. Last year, it was Team Sky destroying the opposition in time trials. This year, Sky doesn’t have Michael Rogers, who transferred to Saxo-Tinkoff, and has now dropped 2 riders, and everyone is playing the ‘spite’ game. In particular, Movistar and Saxo-Tinkoff have a lot to gain if their climbers can ride Sky off the road in the next few stages, which range from medium climbs to multiple massive climbs. Also, the recently renamed Belkin team have snuck in under the radar, and I expect they too will join in on the ‘anti-Sky’ action.

3) The AFL season progresses much as before. The top 5 deserve to be up there, but it will be a matter of musical chairs as to the final ladder positions come September. Richmond are playing well enough to deserve to play finals, and Collingwood also. However, the eighth spot will be hotly contested.

4) Barneys FC is entering the tenuous uni winter holiday period, when many people disappear back to the regional centres where they came from, leaving those of us left with, let us say, a lot more game time. At least we’re doing better than last year – firsts are top of the table, reserves are playing much better as a team due to a more consistent line-up.

Random comments on Australian politics

July 6th, 2013

1) I cringe every time I see Scott Morrison, opposition spokesman on immigration, come up on TV. He strikes me as an intransigent, belligerent fool, and is probably the number 1 reason I will not be persuaded to vote liberal in the next federal election. There are many places on the interwebs that will tell you why they are foolish and incompassionate on this, so I’ll let google earn its worth.

2) I also cringe, but slightly less so, when I see Greg Hunt, opposition spokesman on environment, though up until recently he’d not been anywhere near in the spotlight. The liberal position on climate change post Malcolm Turnbull’s time as leader is somewhat counter to the, what is it, 97% consensus figure in the scientific community?

3) The liberal party seems intent on bringing Australia back to what was perceived to be golden years under Howard, as though all the policy settings in that era will again bring prosperity and all-round awesomeness. This is stupid and will not work, for the simple reason of time and change.

4) Gillard really did get the short end of the stick. What really hurt her was a seeming inability to communicate well with the Australian public. Key example – “The Real Julia”, lol. The government tried – really tried – to get the message that they got stuff done, that they achieved significant things, but Julia had just failed to really connect with a broad enough section of the populous. She had some really competent people working on her team, Nicola Roxon springs to mind easily – remember plain packaging on tobacco? Unfortunately, many of these are forgotten as attention was focused elsewhere.

5) I’ll take this opportunity to point back to my party game of talking political idiocy, see top right in the links column.

Random Miscellany, pt -9/16

July 4th, 2013

1) With SMH mostly behind a paywall now, I’ve now deleted it from all my bookmarks. Unfortunately, this also comes as I make my transition out of the Google Reader universe, so I need to be a bit more pro-active on my other news sources (Global Mail, The Conversation [recommended], Slashdot). Fortunately, ABC has updated their Android app.

2) It’s Tour season, and already, the realistic Australian expectations have been met – Simon Gerrans of GreenEDGE winning a stage, and then the team winning the time trial, putting Gerro in the yellow jersey. After tonight, the peloton moves into the Pyrenees, so there’ll be some GC shakeup there and I doubt Simon will keep after that. We will then see who’s really come out to party at the TdF. The Tour has also helped me re-regulate my body clock – for unknown reasons I’ve been waking up far too early, but the late nights mean that I now get up at a more normal time.

3) The late night sport season combined with school holidays means I’m laying off the books for a little bit – I doubt concentration will be my strong suit right now.

4) Egypt has gone berserk again, only this time it’s more like Thailand, only, replace the monarchy with the army. And the mobs don’t appear to have colour-coded. Sigh.

RSS post Google Reader

June 28th, 2013

There’s only about 3 days until the venerable Reader shuts down. When Google announced this a few months ago, there was a mass exodus to various other similar services. I, however, found many of these unsatisfactory. Examples:

- Feedly – I found it cumbersome, and as far as I could tell, the mobile version had no ‘mark all as read’ button.
- Newsblur – slow, too complicated
- theoldreader – no mobile version
- commafeed – slow, underdeveloped

Right now, the very recently beta’d Digg reader appears to be fulfilling just what I want, though the Android app is yet to make an appearance, though it is scheduled. Most of the stuff that I pick up on RSS is slashdot (kazillions of posts, many not requiring reading), other internet news (e.g. The Conversation, again, only reading some of the posts), and then the regular webcomics (most posting once a day or second day, read all of them). Thus, what I require is speed, reliability, simplicity of interface including ‘mark all as read’, and that it works on Android. The Digg reader is not public beta yet, as far as I can tell, though I imagine that will change in the next few days.

Man of Steel

June 27th, 2013

Quick rate: sick of politics? go watch this! you’ll feel a lot better!

–###*** Usual potential spoiler alert ***###—
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The Reading List – Jun 19 – 25

June 25th, 2013

Well, like I said last week, finishing off marking Intro PTC papers, as well as this general dreary weather makes me less read-y. And this book has little to comment about it. Readings from the Ancient Near East edited by Bill Arnold and Bryan Beyer, part of Baker Academic’s Encountering Biblical Studies series. The EBS series is essentially a textbook series for giving grounding in biblical stuff, e.g. Psalms, OT, NT. This book is in the same vein, and is basically a reader in ANE texts that might be useful for biblical studies, organising them in categories that roughly correspond to the sections of the OT (english arrangement rather than hebrew) they might be useful for, e.g. creation epics at the start, prophetic stuff at the end. This is probably something to dip into when one wants to do more than just nod submissively when someone says the Ugaritic of somethingmajig is clearly a basis for Abraham’s thingamiwhat.

The Reading List – June 12 – 18

June 18th, 2013

I started reading two books, but then I also got a load of PTC papers to mark. So this week, it’s just Thomas Schreiner’s Magnifying God in Christ: A Summary of New Testament Theology. This book is a cut-down summary version of his mega-volume of the same name, only without the ‘summary’ bit in the subtitle. Note, by cut-down, I really mean cut-down. It’s gone from epic-size to paperback size. Also, it’s very much a summary. Schreiner basically just tells it like it is. All the sifting through positions and stuff is left in the megabook. This book sticks to telling you what’s happening in the NT. The arrangement is thematic, and within each chapter the arrangement is roughly by book or canonical author, depending on the material. This book is the kind of book you let an educated lay person read if they want a bigger picture of what’s in the NT. Schreiner is straight, his conclusions are more or less conservative evangelical, it’s not all that hard to read. It is almost purely descriptive, so it does get boring for the likes of me, but for some people, they probably appreciate just being told and leaving the working for people with more time or headspace.

The Reading List – June 5 – 11

June 10th, 2013

Just the one book this time. Covenant Theology by Peter Golding. This is going to be the last book on this topic I’ll read for the near future – I think I’ve read enough, as you may have gathered from my previous post. This book is essentially a summary and reaffirmation of Reformed covenant theology. The historical stuff is a useful overview, and he offers some references to more recent authors, though by that I mean McComiskey and Robertson, and he commends the usefulness of this doctrine, but it’s all a bit of a rah rah. He’s fairly fulsome of his praise of Robertson, and though he commends Murray’s call for more reflection on the topic, there is little hint of where that might come from here.

The conclusion I’m drawing from all this is that there’s this section of the theological world that isn’t caught up in the worries and travails of the competing biblical theologies of dispensationalism and covenant theology, and we in Sydney happen to be in it. Thanks to MTC, Goldsworthy, and NTE and KYLC teaching our own brand of biblical theology, we’re just not caught up in this discussion, and so think that these people are weird for not thinking that there are other options. I now appreciate even more the fact that Moore College got their own special seminar and panel a few ETS’s ago about Moore College biblical theology. It’s because there’s a world that doesn’t realise we do things differently.

Anyway, I’m probably going to move on to some more generalised topics until I find my next interesting subject to tackle.

My compiled summary regarding Reformed Covenant Theology

June 5th, 2013

Reformed Covenant Theology sprung up in the nebulous ‘things are settling down to normal’ period after the initial Reformation period. It’s deep origins can be traced to the influence of Bullinger and Calvin, though neither produced anything like the formulations you see in the various Reformed confessions that specifically include it. Bullinger had independently developed a covenant theology in Zurich, more advanced than Zwingli and often deployed against the Anabaptists. Calvin’s theology needs to be read from his commentaries. Both essentially speak of the unity of the covenants and so forth, but do not go into things like a covenant of redemption or works. Some argue that these ideas are either compatible with what is said by Calvin or nebulously appear, but until I go through Calvin’s commentaries myself, this is perhaps an argument from silence.
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The Reading List – May 29 – June 4

June 3rd, 2013

1) The Faith of Jesus Christ: The πιστις χριστου Debate, ed. by Michael Bird and Preston Sprinkle. This book revolves around the whole objective/subjective/something else entirely genitive of the Christou part of ‘faith of Christ’, i.e. whether Paul is talking about faith in Christ (objective genitive), the faith(fulness) of Christ (subjective genitive), or ‘Christ faith’ (authorial/source genitive). The book itself is basically a bunch of different people arguing from their respective disciplines about their take on the subject, so there isn’t any sustained argument either way. It’s enough to show that, well, it’s a vexed issue, and will still be for some time.

2) The Covenants of Promise: A Theology of the Old Testament Covenants by Thomas McComiskey. Another slightly old book, though more recent than Robertson last week. I’ve had this book for a while, but only now got around to reading it, now that I have a better idea of where its place is in the milieu of Reformed covenant theological development. In this work, McComiskey attempts to work out the continuity/discontinuity and biblical evidence and comes out with his bipartite covenant system. The system is that, essentially, there’s one main promise covenant (with Abraham) and the Mosaic and new covenants are administrative covenants, the difference being that the administrative covenants ‘administrate’ the promise covenant. There is some attractiveness to the general idea, though I have quibbles about some of his other comments. His case regarding the covenant of redemption is overstated, and in my view is weaker than he thinks. He regards the covenant of works as an overstatement, though one that is in possible concordance with the biblical data, and prefers to call it an administration. What I’m now seeing more and more is that covenant is the Reformed guys’ central pillar around which everything in biblical theology runs, whereas I think that it is not as central though is nevertheless important.