Archive for Dr. Ortlund

Random Blog Posts and Stuff

Jeff Chapman over at the Midnight Diner, interviews my friend Dr. Eric Ortlund about zombies:

I find zombies uncanny and oddly revelatory because they are simultaneously unlike and like us. What could be more different from me than a walking, hungry corpse? On the other hand, any good zombie movie won’t waste much time collapsing the difference between the zombies and the remaining humans, who will act in increasingly selfish, ravenous, and thoughtless ways. And noticing this dis/similarity raises, in turn, huge questions: what does it mean to be alive?


Through Lent, Internet Monk is doing Fridays with the Church Fathers. The first installment is up: Clement of Rome.


Street hockey, it is the ultimate Canadian rite of passage for all children. When I was a kid, the game was almost always spur of the moment, and as soon as one person brought out a net in our neighbourhood, kids would come from up and down the street with the sticks, balls, and sometimes actual safety equipment. The game, always in the most desperate of moments (one point down, two minutes to go) would have to have a time-out as a car needed to be let out of a driveway. The kids would grumble and complain as the net was moved off to the side of the street to let the car through. And then, without hesitation, the game would start back up again. Parents in our neighbourhood never needed to worry where their kids were, they just had to listen for the sound of hockey sticks scrapping the asphalt.

It is a symbol of Canadiana. Which is why I was shocked by this story: A Dad was actually fined because his kids dared to play ball hockey in the street. Thankfully, the courts threw out the fine.

In Class

I am mid-way through a week long class on the Pentateuch with Dr. Eric Ortlund. It is a fantastic class. We only just got out of Genesis this morning, and I admit that I don’t know how we’ll manage to get through the rest of the Pentateuch in the next day and a half.
What I appreciate most about these week-long classes is that there is an amazing rhythm and pattern that unfolds that doesn’t happen in regular 75 minute weekly (or bi-weekly) semester-long classes.
We don’t have to backtrack and remember “where were we last week?” In many ways, I think this week-long intensive format better facilitates questions and queries and allows us to take some time to think out the theological and practical implications of what we are learning.
This is more than just learning facts.
This is about learning to enjoy Scripture. It is about delighting in God’s redemptive story as it works out through the Old Testament, culminating in the the New Testament with the Incarnation, and pouring out into the life of the 21st century Church.

Down a Research Rabbit-Hole

I’m working on my paper for Pentateuch class, and I’ve fallen down a rabbit-hole in my research. I’m following the white rabbit idea that Leviticus 11-13 is structured off of Genesis 3:14-19. So I’m currently reading through commentaries on Genesis 3.

I came across this interesting thought that, while it is not exactly useful for this particular paper, was nonetheless intriguing enough for me to pause and ponder for a little bit:

In God’s pronouncement of judgment, the snake is cursed, and the ground is cursed, but the man and woman are not cursed. True, the ground is cursed because of Adam’s sin (3:17), but neither human is cursed. What does this mean? Is it significant?

Wenham notes that instead of “curses” on the man and woman, their judgment takes “the form of a disruption of their appointed roles.” (pg 81). The woman will still bear children, though now her travails will be painful and arduous. Likewise, the man will still be caretaker of the earth, but now his work will be hard.

So here’s my random thought, as I sit at the bottom of the rabbit-hole (and still don’t know what to do with the idea that Lev 11-13 is structured off of Genesis 3): is this lack of cursing on the man and woman an example of God’s grace? He could have cursed them; He could have killed them for their disobedience, but He doesn’t. There are consequences and they are expelled from the Garden, and yet God does not abandon them completely. He does not abandon His creation. Throughout the rest of Genesis we see God communicating with humanity, covenanting with them, and caring for them. (How’s that for a sermon alliteration?)

Anyway, back to my paper. Got to see if I can get out of this rabbit-hole.

Prepping for Pentateuch

So I’ve signed up to take Pentateuch this fall with Dr. Ortlund.

These are the textbooks:

As this is a week-long modular class, there is pre-course reading and pre-course assignments, as well as post-course work.

I’ve picked my paper topic. I’m planning to write about the Levitical Purity Laws concerning women, in particular the regulations for purification after menstruation and childbirth (Lev 12, 15). I’m probably also going to travel into the New Testament and look at the woman who bled (Matthew 9; Mark 5; Luke 8). I’m going to research the “why” behind these laws, figure out what we do with them today, and maybe even explore why some fundamentalist Christian circles are adopting these laws concerning childbirth, menstruation and cleanliness.

I’ve already grabbed a bunch of commentaries from the library. Lots of reading ahead! Wahoo!!!!!!

Random Blog Posts and Stuff

Come join the conversation over at Scatterings, as Eric ponders “Artistic Participation in the Death of Christ”:

…But I can’t help wondering if there’s more. Without denying the “cease from sin” interpretation or drawing false dichotomies, the death of Christ, while centrally concerned with substitutionary punitive expiation and atonement for my sins, surely isn’t limited to that, right? God the Son is taking the whole human predicament on himself and redeeming it. The curse of the covenants – which itself echoes the curse on the man, woman, and all creation in Genesis 3 – is being realized to the fullest possible extent on Christ’s head. And his resurrection is as the “firstfruits” from the dead – which has various connotations (both as head of a group and as the first of a new harvest). So perhaps our participation in the death of Christ means that all these various dimensions of the meaning of his death touch our lives as we are baptized into it? That, in some infinitesimally smaller way, we are drowned in the abyss, under that creation-wide curse, too? Luther said that when someone first comes into Christ, God damns him: God makes the person feel the full weight of their condemnation before the law. Then grace hits them.

Mark Roberts is doing a series on Church conflict. Check out: How NOT To Solve Conflicts Part 1 and Part 2.

J.R. Daniel Kirk summarizes the latest Christian war that is brewing, this time between Albert Mohler and Biologos. He concludes by asking: Is it possible that diversity is inherently good? Can we, should we not, celebrate that there are people to both our left and our right in any circumstance, and that these will be able to truly draw people to the true God even though they (like ourselves) do not have the truth completely worked out.

Chaplain Mike has a helpful reminder of what the Ancient-Future Faith IS and IS Not:

But I’m afraid people may have the wrong conception of what I’m talking about when I refer to the Ancient-Future path. I understand some of the confusion, because those who talk about it (including me) make regular reference to such things as historic churches, liturgical worship, and other traditional practices. It’s important, however, to realize that there is no single uniform way of walking the Ancient-Future path…

Great video: Is the Bible about you and what you must do? Or is it about what Jesus has done. (HT: Evangel)

On the geek front, Joss Whedon talks about the new Avengers movie; and rumour has it that Marvel is gearing up to make an Iron Fist movie.

New Book — Old Testament

New book by Dr. Eric Ortlund, Theophany and Chaoskampf: The Interpretation of Theophanic Imagery in the Baal Epic, Isaiah, and the Twelve. Available from Gorgias Press.

Book Blurb, from the publisher:

The imagery of thunder and lightning, fire and earthquake which attends YHWH’s theophany in Old Testament poetic texts has most often been interpreted as a series of metaphors in biblical scholarship. This work applies insights from recent work in metaphor theory and myth theory—especially with regard to the hermeneutics of the symbol in a metaphorical utterance and a mythic narrative—to argue that this traditional interpretation of poetic theophanic imagery is mistaken, and that these texts make better exegetical sense when understood against the background of the ANE myth of the defeat of chaos. The most important West Semitic version of this myth, the Baal Epic, is examined in order to show the dimensions of this ANE mythic narrative and the use of symbols in it. Metaphorical and mythic frameworks are then applied to various texts from Isaiah and the twelve Minor Prophets in order to show that a metaphorical interpretation of poetic theophanic texts fails to do justice both to their internal unity and their larger contribution to the books in which they are now found. This work thus continues the application of metaphor and myth theory to biblical texts already occurring in biblical studies, as well as providing a new template for interpreting poetic theophanic texts.

Series: Gorgias Ugaritic Studies 5
Availability: In Print
ISBN: 978-1-61719-160-2
Availability: In_Print
Publication Date: 5/2010
Language: English
Format: Hardback, Black, 6 x 9 in
Pages: 323

Random Blog Posts

***Diglotting has a post about what would happen to Christianity if aliens came to earth:

I wonder how alien contact really would affect Christian theology. What if they too had a religion similar to Christianity which posits that the Creator of all things entered into his creation and showed them, through the life and teachings of the alien’s version of Jesus, what the kingdom of God was like. This would something huge to grapple with. One important theological change I think it would logically lead to would be a shift in how we think Jesus was God, in other words, it would lead to a more functional than ontological Christology.

***Scot Mcknight has been blogging through What Americans Really Believe. His post today contains some interesting statistics about rates of atheism. Looks like the % of those identifying as atheist has remained relatively stable since the 1940’s, ranging from 3-6%.

***Eric Ortlund has a good devotional word on acceptance. It was a much needed word for my soul this week.

***Christian Humanist has a review of Viola and Sweet’s Jesus Manifesto. Simul Istus et Peccator has also reviewed it here.

“Martial Virtues” and Bartitsu Demonstration

Dr. Charles Hackney was at the Briercrest Bookstore today, signing copies of his new book “Martial Virtues”.

As well, Chuck gave a demonstration of a few Bartitsu moves to promote the “Caronport Bartitsu Society”. Thanks to Dr. Eric Ortlund for being a willing victim, volunteer.

Brain Dead

I have learned a valuable lesson. Don’t sign up for two week-long modular classes back to back. No, I haven’t done that, but I now know not to do that. I spent last week in Former Prophets: Elijah and Elisha with Dr. Eric Ortlund. It was fantastic. By Friday afternoon I was juiced and excited and hyper and unable to do anything productive. My brain had spent five days going 1000 miles an hour and by Friday it didn’t know how to shut off. But by Saturday it did. And Sunday. And this morning. I have nothing left. I have tried to pick up my reading for my next class (at the end of May), and I can’t make heads or tails of a single word on the page. I’m reading N.T. Wright’s Jesus and the Victory of God for “Gospels”, and my brain is so dead that I just keep reading the same page over and over.

While it is frustrating, it is also a nice feeling. It’s nice to know that my brain had this intensive workout, and I that I survived it. Even better, I want to subject my brain to that kind of intensive study again. Just not immediately. I need a couple more days.

More Thoughts on Elijah and Elisha

Just survived day three of my class on Elijah and Elisha with Dr. Eric Ortlund. It’s a great class, but a week-long intensive is a brutal marathon for my brain. I love this feeling of mental exhaustion, well I love it once I’ve gone home and had dinner and vegged for an hour or two and can once again here single thoughts one at a time, rather than a cacophony of thoughts competing for my immediate attention.

Here are some more random, probably crazy thoughts:

1. Is there an echo in 2 Kings 2 back to Ruth? Elijah is leaving, journeying in circle (love the reference to Gilgal, which means ‘circle’), and is about to be translated by God. Elisha follows him. Elijah tells him to stay put while he goes on. Three times Elijah says this to Elisha, and each time Elisha responds: “As the Lord lives and as you yourself live, I will not leave you.” Is this an act of devotion much like Ruth showed Naomi? Naomi is returning to Israel and her two daughter-in-laws follow. She tells them to return to their land of Moab. Orpah obeys and turns back, but Ruth does not. She says instead: “Do not urge me to leave you or turn back from following you; for where you go, I will go, and where you lodge, I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God, my God.” (Ruth 1:16)

2. Is there significance in the reactions of the two mothers in 1 Kings 17 and 2 Kings 4? In 1 Kings 17 Elijah has to pry the dead boy from the mother’s bosom and take him upstairs (1 Kings 17:19), but in 2 Kings 4, the woman puts the boy in the upper room freely, and then goes in search of Elisha (2 Kings 4:21).

3. Is it significant that Elisha has trouble reviving the boy? Elijah’s miracle resurrection of the widow’s son is pretty straightforward. He lays on the boy three times and tada! Elisha lays on the boy, walks around, lays on him again. It feels like a struggle. I’m wondering if this is a sign that Elisha is not Elijah. Now, of course an argument can be made that Elisha received a “double-portion” of Elijah’s spirit. And so many suggest that this means Elisha had double the spirit. But, asking for a double-portion is not asking for more, it is the standard inheritance of a first-born son. Is Elisha only just asking for an inheritance of a first-born son? (And there is language throughout Kings that shows a familial relationship between prophets i.e. Father, son, brother etc)

4. What the heck is Elisha doing with a servant? Elijah didn’t have a servant. Is Gehazi a reflection of the fact that Elisha seems to have come from a well-to-do family (1 Kings 19:19-21)? I can’t help but see Gehazi as more of a hinderance than a help. He plays block for Elisha, getting in the way of the widow trying to see Elisha (2 Kings 4:26-27), and even worse he undermines Elisha’s ministry to Naaman by trying to exploit Naaman’s response of faith in order to get a few coins (2 Kings 5:20-27). Where does Gehazi come from?