Monday, April 30, 2007
Sunday, April 29, 2007
Hosea 11:4, "I lead them with Cords of Human Kindness"
Saturday, April 28, 2007
The Tiphil Stem of רגל (Hosea 11:3)
Friday, April 27, 2007
...the Zephaniah reading is not all about victory. Zephaniah also talks about a people humble and lowly, a remnant. And these people, who sound a little pathetic, these are the same ones whom no one shall make afraid. Shame will be turned to praise.
It sounds like strength coming out of weakness, which we hear over and over in the Bible. Moses told God again and again that Moses was not up to the task, and yet, as we heard tonight, he led the people out of slavery in triumph. Ezekiel saw a valley strewn with dried-out bones, and before his eyes the same bones were transformed into a vast multitude.
None of this makes a lick of sense, and yet these are God’s promises to you and to me. Again and again, we turn away from God, but as we heard in Genesis, we, God’s creatures, are good. And in our weakness, we are called. Everyone who thirsts is invited to the water. God will save the lame and the outcast.
These are wild promises, and what do we offer in return? By our baptism, we came into a covenant with God. For many of us, those baptismal promises were made on our behalf, when we were babies, unable to speak for ourselves. But tonight is one of the nights that in response to God’s promises, and in anticipation of the resurrection and the end of the darkness and the rest of the story that will immediately follow, we will renew these vows; we will make these promises ourselves, as a community.
We are approaching the end of the darkness in our service, but not in the world. When we leave church tonight, it will be dark outside, and we might be tempted to lose hope. We can lose hope because of Iraq; we can lose hope because of Darfur; and we can lose hope because of tragedies closer to home, because of the suffering that surrounds us. What kind of people can celebrate in times like today?
We are that kind of people. We are foolish enough to believe we can change the world, to be reckless enough to see good in all creation; believing that, despite the insurmountable odds, we, in all our weakness, can participate with God in the deliverance of the oppressed.
We are foolish enough to believe that God can and has overcome death, and that no sin is so great that it cannot be forgiven through Jesus Christ.
At this point in our service, we are still in the darkness, but we do know the rest of the story, and we are foolish enough to put our faith in that glorious story of the resurrection. We will now renew our baptismal promises, outrageous and solemn promises that we can not possibly keep without God’s help. And with God’s help, we will keep those promises, and believe that, even in the darkness, God never abandons us.
We are an Easter people, even in the darkness.
Thursday, April 26, 2007
The Current VTS Merrow Fellow
After earning the M.T.S. degree from Virginia Seminary in 1995, Oliver Duku returned to Sudan to become Principal of Bishop Allison Theological College. This Anglican seminary had to relocate twice during the 1983-2005 war in southern Sudan. Following the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005, funds are now being raised for the return to the College from its place of refuge in Arua, Uganda to to new facilities in Yei, Sudan.
AABS Student Paper Competition!
The Anglican Association of Biblical Scholars
2007 Student Paper Competition
The Anglican of Association Biblical Scholars announces its second annual student paper competition. A prize of $250 and two years of free membership in the AABS will be awarded for the best paper in biblical exegesis written by a student attending a seminary of the ECUSA.
Deadline for submissions is May 15, 2007
• The paper shall be an exegetical study of a biblical text, theme, or concept or of a collection of texts relating to a question arising within the life of the church.
• Papers shall be submitted in both electronic and printed format. The electronic version shall be either a Microsoft Word or an Adobe PDF file.
• Papers shall be between 2,500–5,000 words in length, including annotations.
• Annotations and a list of works cited shall be formatted according to standards set by the Society of Biblical Literature manual of style.
• The paper shall be submitted in both printed and electronic form. The author's name, mailing address, e-mail address, telephone number, and seminary affiliation shall appear typed on a cover sheet separate from the printed manuscript, and as the first page of the electronic file. The author's name should not appear on the printed
manuscript or be inserted as a running header in the electronic file.
• All submissions shall be made to the designated AABS seminary representative listed at the bottom of the page. This representative will select one paper from among the entries at each institution to submit to the final level of the competition.
• The award will be announced on June 15, 2007. The winning paper will be submitted
for possible publication in Sewanee Theological Review.
Questions or comments about the competition may be directed to the AABS project
Dr. Brian Jones
100 Wartburg Blvd.
Waverly, Iowa 50677
VTS students may submit papers to me, Stephen L. Cook, placing them in my VTS box. Please email or call with any questions, or you can ask them by making a comment to this post.
Wednesday, April 25, 2007
Tuesday, April 24, 2007
Accessible Interpretation of the Psalms
I've been asked to recommend some books that provide "accessible interpretation" of the psalms. Here are a few books that spring to mind. (The section on psalms in the NIB is by Clint McCann.) It seems to me that, in their own way, each of these works take a post-critical, "canonical" approach that allows for theological and pastoral understandings of the Psalter. Do others have additional recommendations or thoughts?
Monday, April 23, 2007
Shall They Return to Egypt?? (Hosea 11:5)
Sunday, April 22, 2007
Saturday, April 21, 2007
Undelivered Email (humor)
Friday, April 20, 2007
And then there was one...
Thursday, April 19, 2007
Breaking News: VTS Search for New Dean and President
Ezekiel's Temple, One More Look
Wednesday, April 18, 2007
More on Ezekiel's Ideal Temple
Tuesday, April 17, 2007
Model of Ezekiel's Ideal Temple
Monday, April 16, 2007
Massacre at Virginia Tech
Today is a horrible day. All these young lives lost. I have to tell you that I really don't know what to say. Perhaps the most respectful thing is to say nothing, except to take it all in, feel as much as we are able, then offer our prayers for the slain, the injured, their families and friends.
If we need to say something, here's one prayer (with amendments) from our Prayer Book:
O God, whose beloved Son took children into his arms and blessed them: Give us grace to entrust these young students to your never-failing care and love. Let them grow in your love and your peace. Sustain us who mourn for them. Then bring us all to your heavenly grace and kingdom; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
Somehow, may we know a measure of God's peace, even today. ---Anne
Sunday, April 15, 2007
Update on Finalists for the VTS Dean and President Position
Passover Get Down
Saturday, April 14, 2007
Obadiah Verse 1 (MCOMBB 1)
Obadiah verse 1
Major Commentaries on Minor Biblical Books - MCOMBB 1
by A.N. Onymous
Winged Bull Press, 2007
xvii + 483 pages, plus extensive charts and plates, English
List Price: $75.00
Your Price: $63.75
Description from Eisenbrauns:
For too long biblical scholars have poured all their attention into the major books of the Bible. We feel it is time to pay more attention to the shorter books of the biblical corpus. To further this end, we are introducing a major new commentary series, Major Studies on Minor Biblical Books. The introductory volume, available now, is the biblical book of Obadiah, verse 1. This 500 page volume, lavishly illustrated with extensive charts and full color plates, concentrates on the overlooked importance of verse 1 in the canonical process and its implications for the entire biblical corpus, indeed for all theological undertakings.
U. Will B. Bore, ed. for the series, expresses the purpose of the series very clearly, "We feel that in an age of inclusiveness and pluralism, it is only fair to examine the importance of these frequently overlooked biblical books. We are delighted that Eisenbrauns has agreed to publish this milestone in biblical studies."
We strongly encourage you to place a standing order, since this will be a must-have reference series. The current plan is to issue one volume per year, beginning with Obadiah. The next volume will examine Obadiah, verse 2 and will be available in page proofs at AAR/SBL in November. The current page count for volume two is 479 pages, and we anticipate each volume will be of similar length. Imagine being able to reach over to your bookshelf and have over 10.000 pages of commentary and background information on the book of Obadiah! It staggers the imagination. Now, multiply that times the other shorter books and pericopes of the biblical corpus.
Because of the massiveness of this project, after the initial few volumes on Obadiah, we will begin publishing multiple volumes on other books or pericopes each year. Our goal is to have one volume per month, each month on a different biblical book or pericope. We are currently soliciting authors for the Greek New Testament books of II John (13 verses), III John (14 verses), Jude (25 verses), and Philemon (25 verses).
For the Hebrew Bible, we are in need of authors for some of the overlooked pericopes of the book of Judges. Each of the minor Judges will receive at least one volume, with more planned for important judges, such as Jephtha. We anticipate each volume will cover one verse each and be at least 400 pages. Because of the lengthy undertaking involved, we prefer younger scholars, who are able to dedicate the next 15-50 years of their life to this milestone in biblical and theological understanding.
Friday, April 13, 2007
Grin and bear it, if you possibly can. Sadly, the lack of knowledge of the Scriptures in modern society parodied here rings all too true...
Labels: humor; video
Durand's Painting of God's Judgment Upon Gog (Ezekiel 38-39)
Thursday, April 12, 2007
An Image of Ezekiel 37 by Stanley Spencer
Wednesday, April 11, 2007
Sketch of the W. F. Albright Institute in Jerusalem
The latest issue of the ASOR newsletter just came (click here for the PDF file), and it had this lovely drawing of the W. F. Albright Institute of Archaeological Research in Jerusalem. Like many of you, I've visited here several times and have fond memories of the place. The Albright Institute is the oldest American research center in the middle east. For those interested, the newsletter has information on applying for fellowships that the institute offers.
Tuesday, April 10, 2007
A Consecrated Flock (Ezekiel 36:38)
In reading the last sections of Ezekiel 36 last week in my Ezekiel seminar, we were struck by how Ezekiel flags Israel's new inhabitation and proliferation in the promised land as the visible marks of God's new salvation. God's redemption goes beyond the people's repatriation and inner healing to include the physical transformation of their environment and the granting of fruitfulness and multiplication to the people (cf. Ezekiel 36:11, earlier in the chapter).
This fruitfulness and multiplication of the redeemed people has strong spiritual significance. Observers of Israel see them living in Eden paradise (Ezekiel 36:35; cf. Isaiah 51:3). Their fruitfulness is a physical display of the mystery and presence of God among them, just as God was at home in the Garden of Eden. The rivers of Eden will flow down from God's mountain, making earth's landscape team with life and blessing. To the Bible's way of thinking, salvation is bound up with material prosperity and a thriving earthly environment.
In Isaiah 40-66 as well, the coming of fruitfulness and multiplication to God's people is the prime physical embodiement of God's promised eschatological comfort and restoration. Thus, Isaiah 51:3 connects God's eschatological "comfort" (cf. Isaiah 40:1) with God's making Zion and her waste places "like Eden" (51:3) and her people "blessed" and "multipled" (51:2).
The closing verse of Ezekiel 36 compares the redeemed people of God to Jerusalem bustling with flocks for sacrifices during pilgrimage time. My international students from Africa in the class immediately connected the verse to how African markets bubble and team with life and human interaction. It is spiritually invigorating to go to such markets and soak up the energy of community and mutuality of persons there.
The flock of Ezekiel 36:38 is not just any flock, but a "consecrated flock" (צאן קדשׁים). The connotations of the language here suggest how the numerousness of God's people is a physical sign of their eschatological sanctification. God's endtime work is the creation of a numerous people, whose very numbers signal their new, holy sanctification.
Monday, April 09, 2007
Finalists Chosen in VTS Search for New Dean and President
Dr. Ian Markham, Dean of Hartford Seminary, Professor of Theology and Ethics (pictured above), and:
The Rt. Rev. J. Neil Alexander, ThD, the Bishop of the Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta (pictured above).
Sunday, April 08, 2007
The Resurrection of Ezekiel 37 at Dura Europas
Rebecca Gets Bishop Jones' Easter Blessing
Saturday, April 07, 2007
Easter Weekend Meditation
“It is finished”
The tomb awaits, the darkness aches, the world berates- “It’s finished.”
Pain throbs and shakes, sobs, flees, and waits, and through it quakes, “it’s finished.”
Windy roads, tear soaked,
Stories, miracles, the laughs, the boats
Fish shared, mercy spared, now, now, now who’s there?
Where are they, my beloved- who jeered and tied my ropes?
Rejection, rejection, rejection, death nears. He’s aware.
My beloved, my people, I have to believe they care.
Yet death beckons, he can’t say no.
“I’m human, I’m human. It’s finished.”
Son of God, Light of Life, can no longer cope.
Cross tied, exhausted sigh, closed eyes.
It’s finished. It’s finished. It’s finished.
Blessings to you as you journey with Jesus and wait in that space of death and not knowing this Good Friday.
Easter Weekend Image
Friday, April 06, 2007
Thursday, April 05, 2007
VTS Press Release on Dr. Fuller
April 5, 2007 (ALEXANDRIA, VA) – The Very Rev. Martha J. Horne, dean and president of Virginia Theological Seminary (VTS), announced today the death of the Reverend Dr. Reginald H. Fuller, professor emeritus of New Testament at VTS and world-renowned scholar and teacher. Dr. Fuller died on April 4th in Richmond, following a fall last week (on the day after his 92nd birthday) and from complications following surgery for a broken hip.
Born in Horsham, England, Dr. Fuller was educated at Cambridge and Queens College, was ordained into the priesthood in June of 1941, and served churches in England and Wales throughout the 40’s and 50’s. In 1956, Dr. Fuller was received into the Episcopal Church in America and began teaching at Seabury-Western Seminary as Professor of New Testament Language and Literature. In 1966, Dr. Fuller served as the Baldwin Professor of Sacred Literature at Union Theological Seminary until 1972 when he became the Molly Laird Downs Professor of New Testament at Virginia Seminary. He taught at VTS in this capacity until his retirement in 1985.
Said Dean Horne, “Dr. Fuller was a mentor to many, many students over the years who not only studied New Testament and Greek with him, but who witnessed his faithful life of prayer, study, fellowship, and devotion to family and friends.”
In February of 2006, the president of Westminster Canterbury retirement community in Richmond, Virginia, presented Dr. Fuller with their Lettie Pate Whitehead Evans Award for distinguished volunteer service. In 2001, Dr. Fuller was recognized by the Washington Theological Consortium with their very first Consortium Ecumenism Award for his deep commitment to ecumenical relations. He was a member of the World Council of Churches’ Study Commission, served as a representative on Anglican-Lutheran dialogues, and in October of 2000, preached for the Lutheran Reformation Day service at the Washington National Cathedral.
Dr. Fuller was a prolific author and co-author, and contributed two writings to the Encyclopedia Britannica. Some of his books include, The Mission and Achievement of Jesus, The Use of the Bible in Preaching, Preaching the New Lectionary, A Critical Introduction to the New Testament, among others. He was a well-known translator from German to English of the writings of Dietrich Bonhoeffer and other theologians, and held honorary degrees from General Theological Seminary and the Episcopal Divinity School.
He was married to Ilse Barda for 65 years and had three daughters.
Funeral services will be held on Saturday, April 7, 2007 at 11:00 a.m. at Emmanuel Church, Brook Hill, in Richmond. The committal with interment of ashes will take place in the VTS cemetery at 11:00am on Friday, April 20th.
Cards and notes can be sent to Ilse Fuller at 1600 Westbrook Avenue, Apt. 320, Richmond, Virgina 23227.
Wednesday, April 04, 2007
Dr. Reginald Fuller, 1915-2007
Monday, April 02, 2007
The Annual Seder at VTS
Build Your Own Ossuary (Humor)
DIY Ossuary Kit
This item is heavy and will incur extra shipping costs!
Kit includes book of Bible names, measured plans, hammer, chisels, and 1 large block of genuine Indiana limestone, rough-shaped and ready for your inscriptions. Specify color when ordering. Standard size is 22 x 14 x 12"; custom sizing is available.
Bones not included. We suggest contacting your local teaching hospital for legally-obtained, gently-used cadavers.
Winged Bull Press, 2007
List Price: $950.00
Your Price: $883.50