Sunday Sermonette: Nope, never happened
Stayin' Alive
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3h ago
The Book of Kings does tell us that Asa became king of Judah, and that he eliminated shrines to foreign gods. However, contrary to what we read below in Chronicles 14:3,  1 Kings: 15 says "Although he did not remove the high places, Asa’s heart was fully committed to the Lord all his life." The Book of Kings entirely omits the succeeding story about the invasion by Zerah and the great battle.  The Cushite kingdom is traditionally associated with Ethiopia, and the KJV identifies Zerah as Ethiopian, but the NIV translators don't tell us where they think he came from. It is of course i ..read more
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Wednesday Bible Study: Genocide for God
Stayin' Alive
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5d ago
The story in Chapter 13 is not told in Kings. Kings does have the general idea that Judah and the northern kingdom, a.k.a. Israel, were at war, and that the King of Israel Jeroboam was apostate -- that he created golden calves as idols and allowed non-Levites to perform the sacrifices. (The golden calf motif, of course, first occurs in Exodus.) Remember that Chronicles was compiled (I say compiled rather than written because it is likely that little of it is actually original) after the destruction of the northern kingdom and the restoration of Judah following the Babylonian exile. The Chronic ..read more
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Risk Perception
Stayin' Alive
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6d ago
We've discussed this here a few times, but it never gets old. Yes, the U.S. has far higher rates of gun violence and gun deaths than other affluent countries, and most countries in general. (There is more gun violence in some Central and South American countries, however, where civic order has broken down.) However, media attention and political discourse focuses almost entirely on incidents in which a lot of people are killed at once, which is quite misleading with respect to the actual risks posed by firearms. Also, while there seems to be constant hysteria about violent crime in the U.S ..read more
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A few things you can do
Stayin' Alive
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1w ago
Voluntary action is not going to solve the planetary environmental crisis. We need a massive public policy response including public investment, regulatory and tax policy. So please don't think that any of your individual small acts of virtue mean you can stop being politically engaged. Still, we might as well do what little we can, in part because their can be multiplicative and synergistic effects. I'm going to point to a few things that basically won't cost you a penny, or inconvenience you, or make you give up anything you like. There are a lot of more sustainable food products becoming a ..read more
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Sunday Sermonette: Backsliding again
Stayin' Alive
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1w ago
The story in Ch. 12 is also told in Kings, more briefly, but this is obviously from a different source, probably one of the lost books he mentions at the end. It's basically the Groundhog Day story we read a dozen times in Judges. The leader abandons Yahweh and suffers military defeat. Before telling this story, Kings has a couple of chapters about going on in the northern kingdom, which the Chronicler skips. Note that in verse 1, he calls Judah "Israel," which he does frequently, and which can be a bit confusing.  12 After Rehoboam’s position as king was established and he had bec ..read more
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Some thoughts on where we are with Covid-19
Stayin' Alive
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1w ago
I hesitated to show you this graphic because it might lead to unwarranted complacency, but I'll show it to get it over with and then discuss. (Source: Worldometer ..read more
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Wednesday Bible Study: Tale of two cities
Stayin' Alive
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1w ago
The first four verses of Ch. 11 are lifted from Kings, but the rest is of unknown provenance. However, it is generally consistent with Kings in the idea that Israel, under Jeroboam, strays from the law, including Jeroboam's golden idols and promotion of non-Levite priests, while Rehoboam's Judah remains orthodox. The idea that Levites and faithful people of other tribes migrated to Judah is not really in Kings, however. For those of you who think the Bible says that marriage is between one man and one woman, read the last part of this chapter. Rehoboam's marriages are also incestuous, his wiv ..read more
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Missing white woman
Stayin' Alive
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2w ago
I was thinking of writing something about Missing White Woman Syndrome, because there's an excellent current example. A 41 year old highly paid professional, attractive white woman living in the affluent seaside Boston suburb of Cohasset disappeared just before she was scheduled to fly to D.C. on business. This has gotten wall-to-wall coverage not just locally, but nationally. As you might imagine, there are actually a whole lot of missing people in the U.S. right now, about whom maybe a single news story has appeared on the local TV web site, if they're lucky. Columbia Journalism Review has ..read more
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Journalistic malpractice
Stayin' Alive
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2w ago
 Here's a chart from the Bureau of Labor Statistics, just released today ..read more
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Wednesday Bible Study: More boasting
Stayin' Alive
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2w ago
The first part of Ch. 9, the visit from the Queen of Sheba, is lifted from Kings. The rest is more ridiculous boasting about Solomon's possessions and the vastness of his empire, all of which comes from a parallel universe. The Chronicler gives a bibliography toward the end, but for some reason does not mention Kings: "Nathan the prophet, in the prophecy of Ahijah the Shilonite and in the visions of Iddo the seer concerning Jeroboam son of Nebat."    All of these books are lost. Presumably they are excerpted in Chronicles, but we have no way of knowing which is which. We do not know ..read more
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