Monday, April 27, 2009

From my blog roll

I just want to point folks to a couple of really intersting posts from my blog roll. Slacktivist is always worth a look not least for the weekly deconstructions of the execrable Left Behind series. I must admit to an almost pornographic fascination with things US evangelical and pentecostal. And the latest instalment on Slacktivist Left Behind really whets that fascination. Here we learn how Left Behind's characters refract the values of "evangelical courtship"

here we come to another reminder that the interpersonal events recounted here are every bit as strange, alien and inhuman as the international ones:
Chloe looked at [Buck] expectantly when she greeted him, yet she did not hug him, as Steele and Bruce Barnes had done. Her reticence was his fault, of course. They barely knew each other, but clearly there had been chemistry. They had given each other enough signals to begin a relationship, and in a note to Chloe, Buck had even admitted he was attracted to her.

Jerry Jenkins is well-served here by his habit of telling about things like this note without ever showing them to us, because such a note seems, if not quite impossible, at least unimaginable. "Dear Chloe. I admit I am attracted to you. Let us never speak of it again. Cordially, Cameron."

I appreciate that the target audience for these books includes readers in the hinterlands of the evangelical subculture where dating as it is practiced in most of the West remains a forbidden and largely unknown custom. LaHaye & Jenkins are writing for people who subscribe, instead, to the invented neo-Victorian practices of evangelical "courtship"

I suppose what really fascinates me is how people strive so hard to follow a supposedly 'biblically based' Christianity and end up with something that is so unrecognisable as Christian to so many Christians alive now and throughout history.

Meanwhile over at Two Powers in Heaven Mike Heiser has made available

Fifty-two pages of chunky pneumatological goodness, by Michel Rene Barnes. The paper is the first chapter in a monograph on the theology of the Holy Spirit until the time of Tertullian and Origen. Its thesis is that early Christian pneumatology continues and develops Jewish pneumatology.

I've read the paper and highly recommend it. I also discovered that the 2nd century Church Father, Theophilus of Antioch, in his work, To Autolychus, quotes from a Sibylline oracle in expounding a theology the Holy Spirit. He does so because, according to Barnes, "he considers (it) to be inspired by the Holy Spirit just like the Jewish prophets" (39).

Maybe the problems of 'biblically based' Christianity a la Left Behind relate to what Bible they use. For evangelicals and pentecostals it's pretty much a 19th century construct.

Finally, Mad Hatter has drawn attention to a post on Julie Redman's blog, "a brief but thoughtful note on the ways that the parables can be read." He sees there "a special value for studies of Pali Buddhism as the scriptures are replete with a variety of story-telling genres that require thoughtful and creative reading and interpretation." It's also set me a-thinking about parables and Jewish scriptures which I hope to put up as soon as exigencies of marking etc permit.

1 comment:

  1. I've read through the Two Powers in Heaven blogs and saved a number of them.

    I'm reading the Spiritus article now and thinking about writing an exegesis on the Johannine Paraclete with it. Thanks for the very many useful links.