Archive for November 2010

Motivational Monday

An announcement: Starting next Monday, the Motivational Monday theme will be Christmas!

RIP Leslie Nielsen

Leslie Nielsen has passed away at the age of 84.

From the news report:

Born in Regina, Canada, Leslie Nielsen appeared in more than 100 movies and hundreds of television shows over the course of his career.
Awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, he was also made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2002…

You can see more here.

In honour of his passing, I present a trailer from a classic Leslie Nielsen movie:

A Day of Anticipation and Hope

Today, there is a sense of anticipation in the air.
The season has changed.
All around me, people are smiling and laughing. Strangers are greeting each other warmly and engaging in heart-felt chit chat.
There is a sense of unity.
Today is a special day.
Hope is in the air.
The dull colours of a white winter are easy to ignore with all the bright colour being displayed today.
Houses are decked out. People are decked out. Cars are decked out.
Today is a very special day.

I wish I could say that this is because today is the first Sunday of Advent. But, in reality, this day of anticipation and hope is because of this:

Tonight is the Grey Cup and the beloved Riders have made it to the finals. The entire province is awash in green.

I couldn’t go more than two steps in the grocery store yesterday without seeing someone wearing Rider gear. Rider t-shirts. Rider scarves. Rider hats. Rider toques. Rider mitts. Rider pants. And there is probably even Rider undergarments.

The cars sport Rider flags. Rider bumper stickers. Rider personalized license plates.

Even houses are sporting green Christmas lights in honour of the occasion.

As a newbie to Saskatchewan, I find this all fascinating and extremely strange.

Rider pride is everywhere.

Will I be watching the game tonight? Probably not. But I’ll keep my ear out for the score.

Will I be rooting for the Riders? Not sure. The brat in me wants to rebel and root for the other guys.

Now, it’s time to go to church. I wonder how many parishioners will be wearing Rider green?

UPDATE: Well, I was right, there was a lot of Rider green at church this morning. Somewhere near 3/4 of the congregation was wearing their Rider Pride.

Black Friday

Today is Black Friday. The day of shopping chaos. I’ve never understood the attraction. Go and line-up at a store at 4:30 in the morning with hundreds of other people, to then stampede through the doors to be the first to get this year’s Tickle Me Elmo or whatever.

Canada has its own variation of Black Friday, but here it occurs on Boxing Day (December 26). I remember, for years in Ontario, it was illegal for stores to open on Boxing Day, but electronic stores in particular found that the fine for opening was merely a cost of doing business, and would open anyway, making a bundle of money in the process.

I don’t like shopping at the best of times, but add a crazy busy crowd, and I can break out into hives (okay, not literally, but you get my point).

But now to shop on big days like Black Friday and Boxing Day is no big deal, thanks to the internet. Thanks to internet shopping, people (meaning me) can find deals and not have to dig their cars out of the snow, stand in line, or even change out of their pyjamas.

So in honour of Black Friday, I am posting my wishlist. If there are any elves who would like to contribute to the delinquency of a graduate student, now’s your chance. If not, that’s okay too. I like to make wishlists and dream about the day when I will have so many books that I have to buy a separate house just to hold them all.

Happy Thanksgiving weekend to all my American friends. Hope you got to eat lots of turkey!

Greek Septuagint

Paul and Scripture: Studying the New Testament Use of the Old Testament

Sin: A History

The Apostolic Fathers

And because I can’t read all the time:

Toy Story 3

Dollhouse Season 1 (and 2)

And just so this post isn’t all about me and my wishlist, if you’re trying to come up with a gift for that “hard to buy” person in your family, might I suggest you get them this? Makes great Christmas reading!

Is This a Caronport Thing?

Okay, so it’s winter. It’s winter in Saskatchewan. It’s cold (-30 C). It’s snowy (already had 10-15 cm, expecting another 5 cm).

Everyone is bundling up. Coats, hats, mitts, long underwear, and snow-pants. Those of us with remote car starters are thankful that we can start the car from inside our nice warm houses (big thanks to my in-laws for our remote starter!).

If you don’t have to go out, you don’t.

So can somebody explain this to me?

Is this some sort of seminary rite of passage? You will graduate with your M.DIV or MATS degree if you bike all year round? Is there a Seminary Credo like the Postal Service: Neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night nor subzero temperatures will keep a seminary student from riding their bike to get to class.

This is our first full winter in Caronport. I don’t know if I’m going to make it all the way through. It’s COLD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Buffy Re-boot

It has been announced that Warner Bros. is working on a re-boot of Buffy the Vampire Slayer. In my opinion, this has disaster written all over it.

First, they are re-booting the movie. The movie was awful. The reason it was awful was because the “suits” did not understand what Whedon was trying to do. The “suits” won and audiences were left with a B-level movie. It was only when Whedon was given the opportunity to do Buffy for the small screen, that we got to see what it was really supposed to be about.

Second, The Buffy-verse does not need a reboot! Spinoffs? Sure. Adaptation of the season eight comic book? Okay.
I say leave the Buffy story alone, and focus on one of the new Slayers (for those of you not in the know, at the end of Season 7, the Scooby Gang found a way to activate all the potential slayers in the world.)

Third, Joss Whedon is against this, and in true Whedon-humour says this:

I always hoped that Buffy would live on even after my death. But, you know, AFTER. I don’t love the idea of my creation in other hands, but I’m also well aware that many more hands than mine went into making that show what it was. And there is no legal grounds for doing anything other than sighing audibly. I can’t wish people who are passionate about my little myth ill. I can, however, take this time to announce that I’m making a Batman movie. Because there’s a franchise that truly needs updating. So look for The Dark Knight Rises Way Earlier Than That Other One And Also More Cheaply And In Toronto, rebooting into a theater near you.

Finally, I think this boils down to the fact that Warner Bros. is looking for the next Twilight. Repeat after me: Buffy is NOT Bella! Oh, and another thing:

Motivational Monday

Random Blog Posts and Stuff

All around the blogsphere you can find reflections on the just concluded ETS conference. Next up: SBL. Yes, I am jealous of those who went this year. But I am very glad for the various blog posts and reflections that are coming out of the presentations.

For example:
Check out Marc Cortez’s post: Synergism is not semi-Pelagianism, where he interacts with Tom Schreiner’s oft repeated assertion that monergism is the only biblical way to go.

Check out Mike Wittmer’s reflection on N.T. Wright at ETS. What I appreciated about this post is the fact that Mike brings out the character and behaviour of those involved in the conference. Too often we forget that these people are human, and that there are feelings, and humour and sarcasm and insults that are a vital part of the dialogue process at these conferences. I remember the first time attending the ETS in Toronto, coming face to face with some of the “giants” and being completely shocked that they were nothing like what I pictured in my head (which was a good thing).

Daniel Kirk is at SBL and has a post up about N.T. Wright and the IBR. He reflects that Wright’s presentation was nothing new to those who are Wright-fans, but was still well presented. As well, Kirk has a post about how to survive at SBL without being completely overwhelmed.

And I’m really hoping Scot Mcknight posts this paper to his blog at some point. At SBL he will be giving a paper on the theology of the KJV New Testament Translation.

See also, Collin Hansen’s summary of the three positions presented by Wright, Schreiner and Theilman in the post: A Justification Debate Long Overdue.

So while I am glad for the blog posts covering these conferences, I really really hope to attend next year. So prayers would be appreciated, in particular that the finances will come together so that I can attend. 2011– San Francisco, here I come!

Is Education a Democracy?

Earlier this week I posted a story from the Chronicle of Higher Education about a man who writes papers for students; students who either have no desire or no ability to write papers, and have several hundred (or thousand) dollars to spend on hiring a professional paper writer.

Today I am reading about another case of cheating, this time in Florida, where 200 of 600 students cheated on an exam. All 600 students have to re-write the exam as a result. The professor is offering academic amnesty (i.e. no punitive repercussions) for those students who confess and agree to take an ethics course.

Nathan Gilmour, over at Christian Humanist, looks at both situations and the state of education in general. He writes:

I still believe that higher education exists not for its own sake but for the sake of a larger community. That particular sort of benefit has at its root a set of aristocratic assumptions, namely that some human beings have over the years acquired a real and intelligible range of human goods alternately called wisdom, expertise, and learning; and that inherent inequality between teacher and student can and should have the erotic force (in the old Platonic sense) to draw students upward, inspiring them to emulate those professors whom they admire and to supplant those whom they despise…
My own working assumption, the assumption of aristocracy, is that students must rise in their relationships to their teachers, not assume a prior and all-consuming equality, and to cheat within this context is to betray the institution and the larger community. The open secret is that every professor worth anything at all longs for the day when student supplants teacher, taking the future of the community in directions that the teacher is incapable of imagining. But a system corrupted by widespread cheating stands to ruin all chances of anything like that happening.

Is education a democracy? Are students and teachers equal in the classroom?

I admit that I struggle with this. The seminary where I’m taking classes has small class sizes, which is great. But because we all live, work and study in the same small college town, there is an informality and equality that I find hard to navigate.

I sit under these professors. I am paying to learn from them and to be challenged in my theological and biblical assumptions. They are the experts in their fields, and deserve respect and a degree of deference. A sign of respect that I can use is to call them by their title, “Dr. so-and-so.”

And yet, the informality of the community has us all on a first-name basis. One of my professors (and his family) is a friend of my family. We semi-regularly have family dinners together. In the informal setting I can call him by his first name. But once I’m in the classroom, I can’t do it. I know that some teachers say, “Just call me so-and-so” but I can’t.

Professors and students may worship together on Sundays, together as equals. They may be neighbours and friends. They may do extra-curricular activities together. But in the classroom, there is, for me, a clear demarcation of roles. I am the student. They are the teacher. I am not the expert. I am the one who is called to sit at their feet and learn from their wisdom. They are called to teach and guide and utilize their wisdom to challenge and grow us.

Having “The Talk”

Every parent should watch this video: