Six years ago, Mignon Jacobs of Fuller Theological Seminary accepted the role of Regional Coordinator for the Society of Biblical Literature Pacific Coast Region when Claremont’s Tammi Schneider was term-limited out of that position. Now Mignon has reached the end of a fine six-year run as Regional Coordinator—the maximum allowed by SBL rules—so the mantle now falls to her hand-picked successor. You guessed it: that would be me.
If you’ve tried to visit iTanakh recently, you may have received a “page not found” or “server not responding” error. I apologize for that; I just discovered it this morning and I don’t know how long the service has been down. The problem apparently stems largely from my hosting provider changing the way they organize files on the servers, a change meant to accommodate a new front-end for users. At any rate, iTanakh will be down for a while, but I definitely intend to bring it back.
In fact, I’m working on a way to bring it back better than it was before—better, stronger, faster. Well, maybe not faster, but you get my drift. I’ve purchased some software that promises to help me transform iTanakh from static HTML pages to a database-driven site. If all goes well, the software will even let me enable some quasi-social features like link ratings and user comments on the various listings. Please stay tuned, and don’t give up on iTanakh!
During the first week of May each year, Pepperdine University hosts the Pepperdine Bible Lectures, drawing several thousand members of Churches of Christ to campus for three and a half days of preaching, worship, and Bible study classes.
In past years, Pepperdine has contracted with an independent firm to record and distribute the Bible lectures. Those recordings were convenient, but could get expensive. This year, Pepperdine decided not to subcontract the recordings, and to try to make the recordings available for free via iTunes U. Not all classes were recorded, and speakers weren’t informed of this until Thursday night.
Sadly, my own class—“As Far As We Know: Genesis 1 and Contemporary Science” was not recorded, though I could easily have carried my own recording equipment had I known about the new procedures. On the other hand, Richard Beck’s two-day series on “Love Wins” (part 1, part 2) and Jeff Childers’s two-day class entitled “‘Eucatastrophe!’ Says J.R.R. Tolkien” (part 1, part 2) are among the 65 sessions published so far.
So head on over to the 70th Annual Pepperdine Bible Lectures page in the iTunes store, browse the selections there, and find something interesting to help you pass the time during an upcoming commute, workout, or similar activity.
The old kneeler creaked loudly in the silent space, with a big echoing knock when it hit the floor. I knelt and took out my prayer book for morning prayers.
In many Church of Christ worship services nowadays, including the song services preceding the keynote sermons at the Pepperdine Bible Lectures, a sort of expectation has developed that the congregation will stand during songs that refer to standing. Continue reading
I received an eleventh-hour request to offer the opening prayer at our Sunday morning worship service on May 12, 2013. Reflecting on the work of Tim Bulkeley and many others before him, I found the following words appropriate.
Lord God, on this day that our nation sets aside to celebrate the mothers among us, we marvel at the way you mothered your people Israel.
When Israel was a child, you loved him, and out of Egypt you called your son. You taught him to walk, held him in your arms, swaddled him with love, lifted him to your cheek, bent down to feed him.1
And when Israel deserted the rock that bore him, when he turned away from the God who gave birth to him,2 your heart winced and your compassion grew warm and tender.3
And as you waited during the time of his punishment, as he suffered the consequences of his rebellion, you kept still for a very long time. You were silent and restrained yourself. But then, like a woman in labor you moaned, you gasped,4 bringing forth your people Israel once again from the lands where they had been scattered, gathering your people together, just as a hen gathers her chicks under her wings.5
And now your son Jesus has sought us, and found us, and has brought us into your family like adopted children.6
And so we thank you for and honor today those earthly mothers who reflect the heavenly, motherly love that you have shown to your people throughout the ages. And we seek your blessings on mothers everywhere, in all stages of life, in all seasons of joy and grief.1 Hosea 11:1, 3–4
2 Deuteronomy 32:8
3 Hosea 11:8
4 Isaiah 42:14
5 Matthew 23:37
6 Ephesians 1:5