From N.T. Wright, an Anglican theologian and our modern day C.S. Lewis:
A footnote on sexual behaviour in Paul’s world. If one looks at the ancient world there is of course evidence of same-sex behaviour in many contexts and settings. But it is noticeable that the best-known evidence comes from the high imperial days of Athens on the one hand and the high imperial days of Rome on the other (think of Nero, and indeed Paul may have been thinking of Nero). I have argued elsewhere against the view that Paul was quiescent politically, that he held a strong implicit and sometimes explicit critique of pagan empire in general and of Rome in particular; and clearly denunciation of pagan sexual behaviour was part of that (e.g. Philippians 3.19– 21).
I just wonder if there is any mileage in cultural analysis of homosexual behaviour as a feature of cultures which themselves multiply and degenerate in the way that great empires are multiply degenerate, with money flowing in, arrogance and power flowing out, systemic violence on the borders and systematic luxury at the centre. Part of that imperial arrogance in our own day, I believe, is the insistence that we, the empire, the West, America, or wherever, are in a position to tell the societies that we are already exploiting in a thousand different ways that they should alter their deep-rooted moralities to accommodate our newly invented ones. There is something worryingly imperial about the practice itself and about the insistence on everybody else endorsing it. It is often said that the poor want justice while the rich want peace. We now have a situation where two-thirds of the world wants debt relief and one-third wants sex. That is, I think, a tell-tale sign that something is wrong at a deep structural level.
Wright, N. T.. Pauline Perspectives: Essays on Paul, 1978-2013 (p. 267). Fortress Press. Kindle Edition.
There is a popular post booming on social media that summarizes a book by Nicholas P. Lunn. Lunn argues the current ending of Mark (everything after 16:8) really is original to Mark (against the clear scholarly consensus) and that the scholars who argue that Mark either ends at 16:8 or the ending was lost are just wrong.
[Yes, this is the 3rd review M* has done of this book. You should read the review anyway.]
When I was a kid, I read a collection of Sherlock Holmes stories that was mostly unabridged, and I have been hooked on Holmes ever since. However, there was one small bit of abridgment that I overlooked at the time (looking back at the book – my mom still has it – there was a footnote mentioning this) where the “Mormon” parts of A Study in Scarlet were taken out, with the reasoning that those chapters didn’t deal with Holmes.
Fast forward a decade and a half (give or take a few years), and I’m on a mission for the LDS (Mormon) church. When out looking for people to teach, suddenly everyone is asking us about The Avenging Angel and Danites, saying things like “you guys have one whacked out history, dudes!” The one time I broke mission rules (I was a pretty strait-laced, rule keeping guy, which often caused massive amounts of conflicts with my companions, especially since the president would deliberately give me slacker, disobedient companions so I could “whip them into shape” – ugh, not fun; anyway back to the review . . .) was watching that movie, just so I could see what everyone was talking about. Continue reading
Review of Let Your Hearts and Minds Expand by Thomas F. Rogers.
Part of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship’s “Living Faith” series.
In his Foreword to this Book, Terryl L. Givens states he wants to “get out of the way and let you the reader get on with” reading the book rather than waste time with an introduction. I feel much the same way: Just read this book, and forget about this book review.
Just keep in mind what it is all really about:
“For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.”