Gordon Freeman and Edward Snowden–separated at birth?
This story by my co-worker Phil Hodges has me shaking with rage.
We see people wringing their hands in the media (often to the point of absurdity) about violent video games. But then when some real boy is discovered who actually can survive and work in meatspace, they try to imprison him and basically destroy his life.
The modern state is pursuing the formation of a domesticated male. And they are willing to get brutal to get what they want.
In his 1952 SciFi classic, City, Clifford D. Simak wrote of an attempt to colonize Jupiter by transforming humans into an entirely different race of creatures called Lopers. The problem was that none of these transfigured humans were returning to report their findings. Finally, the base commander, fearing he had sentenced others to some strange death, volunteered to go himself. What he found was that, as a different creature, Jupiter was a paradise. Rather than a place to endure under artificial conditions, as he had been doing, it was now a perfect home for him. No one had returned because they could not endure being changed back into human beings stuck under a metal dome in a crushing gravity field.
This is a fitting metaphor for how Christians should know their Bibles. Rather than throwing life-support systems over a small part of the Biblical world (mainly the Gospels and the Pauline Epistles, and not even them completely), Christians need to be transformed to be at home in the Bible—the whole Bible. They need to adapt to Scripture rather than trying to remain in a few places that seem comfortable.
Most of them have probably already discovered Biblical Horizons, the teaching ministry of James B. Jordan.
But if you haven’t encountered him yet: I pretty much owe him my eyes. At least when I read the Bible.
Supposedly, God only temporarily tolerated divorce, but then ended that tolerance after Jesus came. I do believe that it is possible for norms to change as humanity matures in Christ, but I don’t think the typical (i.e. John Murray’s) argument holds up. The argument derives from Deuteronomy 24.1-4:
When a man takes a wife and marries her, if then she finds no favor in his eyes because he has found some indecency in her, and he writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, and she departs out of his house, and if she goes and becomes another man’s wife, and the latter man hates her and writes her a certificate of divorce and puts it in her hand and sends her out of his house, or if the latter man dies, who took her to be his wife, then her former husband, who sent her away, may not take her again to be his wife, after she has been defiled, for that is an abomination before the LORD. And you shall not bring sin upon the land that the LORD your God is giving you for an inheritance.
The argument is that this law does not grant a right to divorce, but puts controls on a pre-existing practice. “When a man does x he is limited in what he can do next” is not the same as saying “A man may do x.”
OK, the grammar makes such an interpretation possible, but I still think the position is lacking.
First of all, lots of things were already followed and yet are still part of God’s law and included in the Mosaic legislation. The Sabbath was observed, circumcision was practiced, and some form of the Law of the Levirate was acknowledged as binding. We ought to consider that divorce was practiced in that same tradition.
Secondly, Deuteronomy 22.19 and 22.29 specify circumstances where a man can lose his right to divorce a wife. So if God had to tolerate divorce because the Israelites wouldn’t give it up, then how was he able to control them enough to prohibit divorce in some cases?
Third, we know the Law is a transcript of God’s character. The theory is that the actuall permission to divorce was not part of that Law. But how then does God himself follow this law?
Thus says the Lord:
“Where is your mother’s certificate of divorce,
with which I sent her away?
Or which of my creditors is it
to whom I have sold you?
Behold, for your iniquities you were sold,
and for your transgressions your mother was sent away (Isaiah 50.1).
If a man divorces his wife
and she goes from him
and becomes another man’s wife,
will he return to her?
Would not that land be greatly polluted?
You have played the whore with many lovers;
and would you return to me?
declares the Lord (Jeremiah 3.1).
So, how can something God actually does, and in so doing, appeals to the very law in question, not be a true part of the Law? This is no mere concession. And further, Isaiah and Jeremiah show that the sort of thing that is in view in the Law is actual adultery. Jesus was not adding anything to the Law or inventing anything new when he stated the “except for immorality” qualification (Matthew 19.9).
So what about the statement in Matthew 19.8?
He said to them, “Because of your hardness of heart Moses allowed you to divorce your wives, but from the beginning it was not so.”
“Hardness of heart” began when Adam and Eve sinned. “Hardness of heart” is involved in all marital infidelity. Before they sinned, there was no provision for divorce because no one was going to be unfaithful.
Finally, one of the planks in the argument for the “concessive” view is that, normally, an unfaithful spouse was always executed. Thus, the divorce provisions have to be for some lesser reason. I won’t take up space here arguing the point, but I don’t think that is true. The death penalty was an option, but not mandatory for such cases. An injured spouse could extend mercy to the guilty but end the marriage.
Finally, I’ve been using quotation marks for “OT” and “NT,” because neither one exists.
This post will stick to the iPod.
A few months ago, I was given a used iPod. Suddenly I didn’t have to listen to the radio anymore. I can just download podcasts and listen with few or no commercials. And consider how much free stuff is available!
In both these cases, you don’t have to download individual files or zip files from your browser. You can actually get the feed for the podcast so that the whole series is available to you through iTunes. And this is beside what you can find through powersearching podcasts and the iTunesU via the iTunes app.
Note that there are also seminaries that have put out free audio material. Here is my alma mater:
There are also lots of news podcasts.
I consider Antiwar Radio my daily dose of sanity in an insane Death Star nation.
When I can stand it, I try to listen to the Friday Roundup with Diane Rhem, my weekly dose of Establishmentia. Ms Rhem is nice enough, and that is usually helpful (except when it is not).
A couple of weird, conspiracy view of history sources I sometimes find useful:
Sometimes over the top, but sometimes quite amazing. If you go to his website you will find another feed that includes all his audio offerings, but his podcast “reports” are much more valuable, in my opinion (at least, the ones I think are plausible are much more valuable).
And then there is this:
This was the radio show that started out UGA in Athens, Georgia. It is defunct now. Some episodes are poison and a few are just boring. But many are quite interesting and helpful (note: I’ve only listened to episodes created at the student radio station. I’m not sure where the show went when it moved into the “Disinformation Series.”
Sorry I haven’t had much time here, lately. Have some Bible stuff planned and want to report on how I’ve enjoyed a generous gift of a Kindle since Christmas. But for now here is a quick list of people on my mind.
Richard Lee Guthrie, Jr.
Deborah Jean Palfrey
For what it is worth.
One if the biggest delusions about economic transactions is that the two traded items are supposed to be “equal” to each other. In an economy that uses money this would mean that a certain amount of money is “equal” to a good.
This is an example of an economic theory that makes no sense.
Imagine two people trade a mule for a cow. Would you expect them to trade back in the next minute?
But if the cow and the mule are “equal” then why not? Neither party loses or gains. If the items are equal then neither one is better off for the trade.
But then why trade at all? Claiming that an item or price is “equal” in a transaction makes the actual exchange meaningless and literally useless.
People trade things of less use for things of more use. They trade worse for better. In this sense trading is just another aspect of the same kind of decision-making that takes place when people choose how to spend their time, without reference to exchanging with another person. You decide you would rather post a blog than work on that book of essays on Romans you hope to finish some day because it can be finished faster and gain more immediate response. You decide that you are never going to read that history book so you taking to Vintage Stock to get credit toward that SuperMario Wii game you know your girls will like. One decision is “in” your own mind and the other is with a store that believes they are better off giving you a low price and getting your book to offer on their shelves.
For an economic theory to be cogent, it has to account for history. The economic actors need to be pursuing a new situation. If your economic theory works just as well when you “run the movie backwards” then it is probably not a theory suitable for the real world.
Who gets exploited in these decisions. Hard to say. Deciding to write the blog post may be the wrong decision from one point of view. Maybe the history book is really brilliant and you ought to read it. But then again, maybe your Romans essays are never going to be as good as you hope they will be, and will never profit you anyway. And if you’re never going to read the history book it really doesn’t matter how good it is.
Notice here that each person in a transaction is responsible for deciding what will make him or her better off. Is there a situation when this is not the case? Typically, one doesn’t allow adults to persuade children to trade with them. Parents claim the right to veto such decisions. This shows there is a case to be made for second-guessing and interfering in transactions. It also shows that doing so can be demeaning to adult persons, treating them like children.