Saturday, March 24, 2007

Bible Bending Item of the Day: Biblical Gardens
Spring is coming, all the information you need to plant your Bible garden today.

BBC News (UK): Nearly two million students are taught at home, by a parent, each year mostly to provide a biblically based education. A look at the rise of the homeschooling movement in the U.S.

Tuscaloosa News
(AL): Youth leader feels churches do not do enough to talk about sex. Tommy Woods, who has teamed up the Tuscaloosa Campaign to Prevent Teen Pregnancy, believes, "the church should only teach sex education from the biblical perspective." Woods has coordinated the first of several "biblical purity rallies" this Sunday.

The Sun News
(SC): In a letter to the editor, a reader responds to the debate over how released sex offenders should be handled by urging the community to recall how Jesus treated a woman who committed adultery.

Columbia Missourians
(MO): Messianic Jews, are Christians honoring their Jewish roots. “Messianic Judaism is about restoring the biblical faith that began with Abraham, Isaac, then Jacob, whose name was changed to Israel,” said one member. “God founded the nation of Israel when (God) brought the children of Israel out of Egypt. (God) gave them a religious culture, social and legal system.” According to the Messianic Jewish Alliance of America, Messianic Jews also believe that restoring Israel is part of the biblical prophesy for end-times.

New York Times (NY): David Damrosch's new book, "The Loss and Rediscovery of the Great Epic of Gilgamesh" tells the story of how the Epic of Gilgamesh, lost after the fall of Nineveh in 612 B.C., was pieced back together after it was rediscovered by British archaeologists in the 19th century. The importance of the epic poem, which includes a story of a deluge comparable to the story of Noah, has often been compared to the Bible. The New York Times writes, "surrounded by the shards of a prebiblical culture [the Epic of Gilgamesh] challenged assumptions about the primacy of biblical authority."

Thursday, March 22, 2007

Bible Bending Item of the Day: Scents of the Bible
biblically inspired perfumes.

Canton Repository (OH): Mennonites from Missouri are planning to move to another state after a law requiring all driver's license applicants to have their picture taken was passed. Mennonites, a more liberal branch of the Amish community, object to the mandate because of the biblical prohibition against "graven images."

Washington Post
(DC): The first murder (Cain and Able) had nothing to do with ethnicity or religion. We all have impulses for good and evil; the key is "to control the later and cultivate the former."

University of Wyoming News (WY): "This international squabble over Scripture [between the Anglican and Episcopalian community] and its applicability is only the most recent instance of the problems Christians face when they try to hold the Bible and modernity together."

Reuters (UK): Texas is the unlikely home of the world's largest gay congregation. Cathedral of Hope stresses Jesus' silence on the subject.

The Conservative Voice (NC): If Brazil passes a law prohibiting homophobic speech and discrimination, "Homosexuals then will gain special privileges while biblical moralists will be arrested. The Christian moral base will be mugged, gagged and spat out on that particular subject."

Philadelphia Neshoba Democrat (MS):Your Journey, another biblically-inspired weight loss program, "explores the biblical truths of healthy living by combining basic nutrition principles with God's word."

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Bible Bending Music Video: "Baby Got Book"
by Dan "Southpaw" Smith
(erroneously referred to as "Baby Got Bible" in this week's edition of Newsweek)

"Some brothers wanna play that hard hard role
And tell you that Book's too old
So they toss it and burn it
And I pull up quick to just learn it
So your girl likes paperback? Well I ain't down with that
Cuz my girlfriend's hot her Bible's rockin'
And she's got good doctrine
To the atheist chicks who try to dis
You ain't it Miss Priss
Give me a Christian, I'm insistin'
And I'll greet her with some holy kissin'
Some pervert tried to chase But he didn't make it past first base
She's quick to resist temptation
And she loves a new translation
So ladies who were lost and found
If you want the triple-six thrown down
Dial 1-800-reads-a-lot
And teach me about those Psalms
Baby got Book"

Full lyrics here.
Bible Bending Item of the Day: Would you like a Bible verse with your burger?
From The West coast burger franchise IN-N-OUT burger prints biblical verses (such as John 3:16, Revelation 3:20 and Nahum 1:7) on their soda cups and burger wrappers.

Jam! Showbiz (CANADA): A rock concert scheduled in Rijssen, Netherlands, an area known as "the Dutch Bible Belt," will be permitted under the condition that the performers refrain from cursing.

First Coast News (FL): Bible Battery? A corner preacher in Athens, TN has returned to his post after assaulting police with a Bible.

Columbus Dispatch (OH): An Oregon teacher fired after including biblical references in a presentation that linked evolution, Nazi Germany, and Planned Parenthood.

Christian News Wire (DC): John Hagee, a prominent evangelical known for his controversial position on Israel, has criticized the Bible Literacy Project for content in one of its publications that Hagee feels will confuse children. The textbook in question is "The Bible and Its Influence," a book used by many school districts who have approved a course on the Bible as literature. Hagee and other Christians are concerned that teaching children that William Tyndale, a 16th century translator of the Bible, coined the phrase "let there be light" will raise doubt over the true author of the Bible.
Other passages from the textbook that raises concerns:
  • "Job is one of the most difficult books in the Bible in that it provides no clear cut moral or answer to Job's situation." (page 161)
  • "God's help comes with strings attached – commandments or laws that the Israelites must obey in order to keep faith." (page 72)
  • "The Lord blessed the latter days of Job more than his beginning.' [Job 42:12] This ending, though pleasing in some ways, has failed to satisfy various readers over the centuries." (page 160)
  • "It is always good to remember not to try to apply current standards to the biblical accounts." (page 50)
  • "Many students although aware of good and evil, have not thought deeply about it. In the Judeo-Christian tradition, God is considered to be good, all knowing and all powerful. Yet this view presents a problem." (page 163)
  • "Gideon won the battle by a bit of trickery." (page 81)
  • "The pattern of family trickery and deceit continues." (page 56 speaking of the family of Abraham)
  • "American writer and reporter Lincoln Steffen's 1926 defense of Leninist (Communist) politics was called 'Moses in Red.'" (page 65)

Monday, March 19, 2007

New York Times (NY): The U.S. Supreme Court ponders the boundaries of free speech as it considers whether or not a high school had the right to discipline a student who displayed a banner that read: "Bong Hits 4 Jesus." Many conservatives are backing the student's right to free speech, despite the seemingly pro-drug content, because they fear that if the Supreme Court rules in favor of the administration's right to limit speech it could mean that schools would be justified in limiting religious viewpoints, especially against abortion and homosexuality.

Boston Globe (MA): All fundamentalisms, from Protestants reading the Bible uncritically to Roman Catholics reading papal statements uncritically, are dangerous.

TransWorldNew (GA): Should Christians become involved with politics?

Union College News
(KY): Philip Jenkins speaks about Christianity in the South (in the U.S.) and the circumstances that formed a unique relationship with the Bible. See Jenkins' book "The New Faces of Christianity: Believing in the Bible in the Global South."

Midland Daily News (MI): Many herbs we use today merit mention in the Bible. A detail of references from the Bible to such herbs as dill, thyme, coriander, leeks, hyssop, mint and more.

The Age (Australia): The televangelists couple Tim and Tammy Faye Bakker of Brazil are being charged with smuggling $9,000 cash from the U.S. concealed in a Bible, casting a shadow on their careers as preachers of the "prosperity gospel."

Ekklesia (UK): Giles Fraser: What was remarkable about Christian abolitionists like William Wilberforce and John Newton "is that they fought their society’s prejudice, as well as the uncritical biblical theology that reflected it."

Inside Bay Area (CA): The debate over adding a course on the Bible in a California school district continues as teachers object that they do not have time in their school day to teach students about the complexities of religion while other community members counter that a course on the Bible would help students make "better moral decisions."

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Epoch Times (NY): A photographer depicts his view of modern Israeli life by re-imagining biblical scenes. The photo to the left is a piece entitled "Abraham and Isaac."

Inspire Magazine (UK): Another weight loss program based on "biblical principles." See also: Weigh Down. William C. Berry's new book, "Religion: A Help or Hindrance to Salvation?" outlines the foundations of the major religions using the Bible for context.

Rutland Herald
(VT): A Vermont resident continues his legal battle to put a biblical reference on his vanity license plate. Shawn Byrne applied to put "JN36TN" on his license plate, a reference to John 3:16, two years ago but was turned down by the Department of Motor Vehicles. The DMV has a policy forbidding the expression of religious viewpoints on vanity plates but Byrne contends that "JN36TN" represents merely a "biblical passage."

Dayton Daily News (OH): Headline: "CCSU gets biblical in interest to beat top-ranked OSU." Biblical here means that the players from Central Connecticut State University see themselves as David battling Goliath.

Vancouver Sun (CANADA): For $25 visitors to Israel's Bet Guvrin National Park can take an "excavation vacation"--helping archealogists dig through dirt and wash shards of pottery. According to Ian Stern, director of Archeology Seminary, about 30,000 to 50,000 people pay to do the dig each year, raising about US$1 million.

Journal Chretien (FRANCE): Founder of Christians' Israel Political Action Campaign (CIPAC), Dick Hellman, asserts: "We take the message that support for Israel is not just a biblical imperative but very good for America, for our security and for our success in the war on terror." The lobbying group works daily on Capital Hill to further this message.

ClickPress (UK): To coincide with the launching of the website, for a limited time GIL Publications is offering the new book "101 Women in the Bible" for free. The book features "biblical lessons straight from the Bible on womanhood, motherhood, Godly wives, church and beauty."

In-Forum (ND): In response to a letter that claimed that women in the Bible are treated like chattel, this writer wants to clarify some points. "First of all, true biblical Christianity is not a religion, it is a relationship with the Creator of the universe, the one true and living God." And, "The Bible is meant to be read as a whole, in context, and taken literally from cover to cover." (Subscription)

Nashua Telegraph (NH):"In his fourth collection of poetry, Jeff Friedman of West Lebanon and New England College, where he teaches in the MFA program, returns to themes of family, loss, love, the potency of memory, and – for good measure – how the stories and characters of the Bible reflect our lives and inform us." (Subscription)
As the fat rabbi out front
of Shaare Emeth says a prayer
to his black Cadillac, parked in a
no parking zone,
as the old ladies totter toward
the mahjong tables at Golden Fry,
I peek through my folded hands
in the temple, and serpents hiss
and go to war on the cement floor,
and the frogs teem on the tables, and
locusts swarm the foliage
until everything is bare as the white
tablecloth on which the bread is cut,
and the rabbi beats his drum
and the gowns of the singers drop
to the floor, and red wine
overflows the silver cups
as the Egyptian Bride unwraps
her layers of silk, as I taste
the crumbs of honey cake
on Sally Abrams’ warm lips . . .
-From "Sunday School: The Plagues"