Best of the Web for week of Christmas, 2008

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

Best of the Web For December 14, 2008

  • From the “OK, it’s kind of bizarre, but also kind of cool Department”…

    tags: bizarre, urban, camping, outdoors, urban camping, city

    • Car Tent 3
    • Car Tent 2
    • The Car Tent is a rather ingenious approach to urban camping. Instead of hiding in a park or making up excuses in a public location, car tent users can camouflage themselves right in plain view.
    • “The car tent is a tent designed to look like a car cover, so you can go camping in the city without being disturbed. And really, who doesn’t go camping in the city? When you get hungry you just shoot a business man and cook him over an open flame.”
  • Too good to be true? LiveDrive is the first service I have seen to claim unlimited file storage space on-line. This would certainly solve the dilemma that I have in trying to find hard drive space to keep my home movies…

    tags: online, service, web 2.0, beta, storage, livedrive

    • Never run out of storage space again! All Livedrive packages come with unlimited storage space.
    • We believe that using an online hard drive should be no different to using a normal hard drive … and that’s exactly how Livedrive works.
    • Send large documents, presentations and ZIP files to contacts and clients. Forget the hassle of emailing attachments.
  • tags: desktop, wallpaper, windows, multimonitor

    • Most popular by a landslide, was Mandolux.
    • Second and still highly favored was InterfaceLIFT, an enormous respository of wallpapers.
    • Although you wouldn’t expect anything less from a website devoted to creativity and artwork, the wallpaper section of DeviantArt is packed with beautiful wallpaper.
    • Social Wallpapering take a Digg-like approach with users submitting and voting wallapers up and down in popularity.

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

The problem with wives…

Monica's solo
Monica's solo

…Is that they make it look so easy.  There would be a lot less marital conflicts if the husband only knew what the wife had to go through for some of the seemingly simplest of tasks, such as just getting all of the kids ready and out the door to make an appointment.

Monica sang in a Christmas special recently (even had a solo!) and I had to get all the kids ready to go while she was getting set up at the event.  Maybe I’m just a bad father, but it’s harder than it looks.

You have to pack the diaper bag, get all of the kids’ hats and gloves, make sure they’ve all gone to the bathroom and had their drinks, make sure you have remembered to bring everything else that’s necessary for whatever event you are attending…  And that’s just going places, don’t even get me started on how hard it was to coordinate dinner so that everyone was eating exactly what they wanted all at exactly the same time and that it was cooked to perfection (or in this case, just heated up to perfection in the microwave).

Let’s give the wives a special round of applause!

Best of the web for the week of December 7, 2008

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.

GTD Tip #1 – Make your weekly review enjoyable

Over the years I’ve started using GTD principals a couple of times and have slowly fizzled out a couple of times.  I have managed to keep it going for awhile now (and am always more productive when I am doing it) by making the weekly review a little more enjoyable.

Nothing kills off the desire to “get things done” more than dreading the weekly review.  If you start to see it as a mundane chore that simply must be slogged through, you’ll start putting it off and skipping it some weeks altogether.  This spells doom for the GTD philosophy.

One thing that used to cause me to dread the weekly review was seeing the same old tasks over and over again that I knew I would never have time to get to.  How depressing to see all of those failures right in front of your face every week!  If you find this happening, remove the task from your list, and if it’s something you think you may one day get to, try to anticipate when you’ll be able to look at it again and set yourself a reminder to appear (maybe a few months hence), at which time you can evaluate whether you can take it on or just set another reminder.  Aim to “declutter” your task list every week.

Also, try to look forward to the weekly review as a time to take it down to third gear and relax a little.  Pour yourself a cup of coffee, or if you have a Starbucks nearby, pick up an eggnog latte or something.  How about a smoothie?   Put on some relaxing music, and try to have fun, visualizing your goals and the next steps you must take to get them done.  By keeping your review time organized, relaxed, and a little more fun, you’ll ensure that you stay willing to keep it on your schedule.

Bible Versions

I do not want to get into this. For years I have used only the King James Version (KJV). In high-school I wrote (and presented) a scathing lecture on modern Bible versions based solely on Gail Riplinger’s book (whatever it was called). I went to Bible college and sat in Kirk DiVietro’s Theology classes (they were great classes). I saw his personal copy of James White’s book The King James Only Controversy. I think it had more notes in red ink in the margin than there was actual text in the book.

And yet, around the time of my college-years, I became afraid of looking further into the KJV-Only stance. I’m (unfortunately) the type of person that if I found a golf-ball sized lump on my leg, I would avoid going to the Doctor for fear that there might be something wrong. In the same way, I never wanted to research Bible versions, so I have just gone along with it. I’m perfectly happy reading a KJV. No one disputes that it is a worthy translation. But it is also a point on which many in my denomination "hang their hat", so to speak. If I went out and bought a NASB as a gift for my son, for example, I could expect a serious "talking to" and some unfriendly labels placed on me and my family behind my back from other church-goers. I suppose the time has finally come to make a decision.

Studying this issue will cost me time that I don’t have. It will take effort that I don’t really want to give. I could be doing other things… You know? Spending time with my family… Making money… Reading my Bible. But I’m not doing this just for me. My kids are going to rely on my views in the formation of their own as they get older. My wife relies on me to discern truth. I can’t in good conscience continue without a definite view on this. Either modern Bible versions are as trustworthy as the KJV, or they aren’t. With a little study and a lot of prayer, I hope to come as close to the truth as I can.

Here’s some preliminary thoughts… I want to attack this on two fronts. First, textual-what texts are the bibles based on, and how do we determine which are more accurate? And two—one main attack from the KJV-Only side is that modern bibles attack the word of God by watering down doctrine. If it’s true that word-substitutions are made in only one direction that this could be a good case. However, if modern versions don’t actually water down doctrine, then they should have enough portions that are translated more conservatively to bring some kind of balance.

The King James Version is superior to all other modern-day Bibles
  • The texts that the KJV are based on are superior
    • What texts are the KJV based on?
    • How are these texts superior?
  • The theology of modern-day Bibles is watered down
    • What doctrines are watered down? Examples?
    • Do examples occur in the "other direction"?
  • Word-for-word translations are better than phrase-for-phrase/thought-for-thought translations.
  • Psa. 12-7 says of God’s words, "Thou shalt keep them, O LORD, thou shalt preserve them from this generation forever. ".
    • Or does it say that of God’s words? Is the pronoun "them" here mistranslated and should be "him", referring to the poor and needy?
    • I don’t know any Hebrew, but people who do say that the pronoun is masculine, but that the words of God are in the feminine form. Therefore it could not refer to "them".
    • Interestingly, the Bishop’s Bible translates it as "the Godly". Since the KJV was supposed to defer to the Bishop’s Bible in their translation choices, could it be that they had a good reason for rendering it "them"?
Modern-day Bibles are superior to (or at least as good as) the King James version
  • The texts that modern-day Bibles are based on are as trustworthy or even more trustworthy than the texts that the KJV are based on.
  • "Dynamic Equivalency" is a superior method of translation.
General thoughts to later possibly be collated into a coherent essay

It would be interesting to see a very detailed history of how churches throughout the ages were able to access God’s word. The KJVO position seems to leave the impression that there has been an unbroken chain of Bible’s in the believers’ hands since the point at which they were written. However, unless I misunderstand, a full copy of a Greek NT did not exist until Erasmus collated them into a whole in the 1500’s. What did this mean for the doctrine of Bible-preservation before the 1500’s? You would have to answer the God’s word had been preserved in a loosely scattered state throughout thousands of partial documents written on papyri, vellum, etc. But isn’t this the concept that the same position rejects?

Although it may not be representative of the KJVO position as a whole, there is a small portion of writing that says that the "error" that has crept into the modern versions is of demonic influence. If you take an objective look at people and churches that use modern versions, do you see evidence of the fruit of these clever demonic ploys, or does their fruit seem to be the fruit of the Holy Spirit? Are there perhaps small factions of the KJVO position that seem to fit the bill of "demonic fruits" better? This can be illustrated in a syllogism:

  • Errors creeping into the modern versions are the work of satan
  • satan’s goals are to hurt man, hurt God, and hurt God’s relationship with man
  • Therefore, people using modern Bible versions should have trouble getting saved and should not grow as Christians

Most KJV-Only proponents distance themselves from Ruckmanism by stating that the KJV is not inspired in itself but is based on preserved Greek texts. However, in order to defend the KJV translators’ decisions on which Greek variants to use in which places, these choices must have been guided by God. Isn’t this inspiration? Do God’s claims that Scripture is inspired extend to translations many years later?

"Psalm 108:5 promises that God will preserve His Word “unto a thousand generations.” For this reason, He would never allow it to be suppressed or withheld from His people as the Roman Catholic hierarchy did for 1400 years. It is reasonable to assume that God removed these manuscripts from circulation because they were not His Word. " If this is true, how do we interpret the fact that these mss were eventually found? That God tried to remove them from circulation, but was not powerful enough? They made their way back into circulation through "providential happenings" out of God’s control? I don’t see anywhere in the Bible that says that satan is omnipotent.

So, take the verses such as Luke 2:22 which show that the KJV and later editions of the TR went against the Majority Text. You can defend the decision to take the reading that "makes more sense" as much as you want, but it doesn’t change the fact that it goes against the reading that existed in the majority of Antiochan mss down through the years. But doesn’t this contradict the underpinning of the KJVO position, that the KJV is 100% based on the text that was 100% preserved by God? So it’s more like 99.9%?

Modern textual critics believe in a sort of "text-entropy". As copies of texts are separated more and more from their originals, they gain certain spurious additions and lose portions at random due to scribal error. But, then, how can it be that the "majority text" which is still a very diverse collection of mss, from different geographies and languages has the most coherent structure, but the ancient texts, which should be closer to the original and should be more in agreement, are actually less so?

(Possible answer to above is that the Byzantine texts are from a period in history known as the Period of Standardization from 325 – 1500 A.D) (From God to Us p. 164) where the Bible text was standardized and copied more professionally, under less duress and persecution).

KJVO make a big deal about "dynamic equivalency" and formal translations. We need the exact words God gave us. But how do they defend the translation of pascha as Easter? Any book I’ve seen says, "It’s not a mistake, they meant to do that, we just don’t know why, maybe it was to distinguish between this or that feast." I guess the formal translation argument doesn’t apply here.

Is the LXX the perfect word of God? If not, how did early Christians read the Old Testament? Remember, one of the underpinnings of KJVO is that every single word of God is available to every Christian throughout every age.

A quick note on italics in the KJV. These are totally inconsistent. For example, in Matthew 26:7, it reads "as he sat at meat." The Greek words for "sat at meat" is ἀνακεῖμαι. It means to recline, but can have a sense of "dining together", so "sat at meat" is fine. The KJV translators italicized "at meat" because the words were added for clarity, however in translating the very same Greek word in Luke 7:37, "at meat" is not in italics. Not to mention that the KJV translaters supplied the word "box" after alabaster and didn’t italicize it in either place.

Bible Study – Jesus Dines At Simon’s

Jesus Dines With Lazarus

Previously…
John 11:55-57

Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. (56) They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, "What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?" (57) Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

John 12:1-11

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. (2) So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. (3) Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume. (4) But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said, (5) "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?" (6) He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it. (7) Jesus said, "Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial. (8) For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."

Parallel Passage

Matthew 26:6-13

Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, (7) a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head as he reclined at table. (8) And when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, "Why this waste? (9) For this could have been sold for a large sum and given to the poor." (10) But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, "Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. (11) For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. (12) In pouring this ointment on my body, she has done it to prepare me for burial. (13) Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will also be told in memory of her."

Mark 14:3-9

And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he was reclining at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. (4) There were some who said to themselves indignantly, "Why was the ointment wasted like that? (5) For this ointment could have been sold for more than three hundred denarii and given to the poor." And they scolded her. (6) But Jesus said, "Leave her alone. Why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. (7) For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you want, you can do good for them. But you will not always have me. (8) She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burial. (9) And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is proclaimed in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her."

Verses

12:1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead.

  • Again, Bethany is about 2 miles from Jerusalem.
  • He and His disciples came back despite a standing order to notify the authorities.
  • Will come to Jerusalem later in chapter.
  • Probably 4 days elapse between now and verse 2.

12:2 So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table.

  • Jesus was reclining at the table when this happened (not seated at a table like we might think of).
  • Jesus came to a special dinner that was in His honor at Simon the Leper’s house, another person whom Jesus probably healed.
  • Notice that Martha is still serving, and Mary is still spending time with Jesus. However, no complaining this time.

12:3 Mary therefore took a pound of expensive ointment made from pure nard, and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair. The house was filled with the fragrance of the perfume.

  • Mary "broke" open the alabaster flask according to Mark. This could show it was the kind of flask that had a thin neck and that was sealed.
  • Alabaster was a kind of delicate limestone mined from Egypt.
  • Mary anointed Jesus’ feet, as was customary for guests, and also his head.

12:4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was about to betray him), said,

  • Not much to say here, just notice that John is the only one who puts a name to the one complaining.

12:5 (den’air-ee) "Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?"

  • Ancient writer Pliny gives us an idea of the range of value of this type of perfume… The cheapest would be around 10 denarii, the "most expensive" around 300. (Calvin)
  • Secular history agrees with Biblical history, this ointment was "very costly" and "most expensive."
  • Judas seems callous, but we say the same thing.
    • hesitate to put money in the offering = "Why are we giving money to God when we could be using this to put new siding on the house!"
    • Part of you wants to get up early to read your Bible, but the other part of you says you’ll be more productive if you use that time to get some work done around the house.
  • Caring for the poor is a very Christian attitude. James says, "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world." in James 1:27. Outwardly, Judas displayed this, but not inwardly.

12:6 He said this, not because he cared about the poor, but because he was a thief, and having charge of the moneybag he used to help himself to what was put into it.

  • “Temptation commonly comes through that for which we are naturally fitted” (Westcott)
  • Judas’s seemingly small sin gave Satan an "in" as Satan bought Jesus life for 30 pieces of silver, probably less than half the value of Mary’s oil.

12:7 Jesus said, "Leave her alone, so that she may keep it for the day of my burial.

  • Had Mary understood Jesus’ teachings that He would soon give His life?
  • "She is giving him the flowers before the funeral." (Robertson).
  • Is it possible Mary understood Jesus’ teachings that He was to die soon?

12:8 For the poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me."

  • Again, Mary is praised for choosing to devote her time and money to Christ, even in the face of other worthy pursuits. Being a servant… Giving to the poor… Good things, but more important is devotion to Jesus.
  • Jesus knew the time was coming. "You do not always have me." The stage was getting set for the rapid spread of Christianity.
    • He was back in the public eye defiant of a standing order to arrest him and now Lazarus
    • unprecedented numbers of people were starting to believe in him after seeing Lazarus raised from the dead
    • Judas’s sin and bitterness was coming to a head
    • The pharisees were becoming more and more desperate…
    • Next week we’ll see the next desperate power play of the pharisees.