Friday, July 15, 2011
Thursday, July 14, 2011
- Blogging requires commitment and work. It is not the kind of thing that one does haphazardly, unless you don't want any readers that is. You need to post regularly. At the same time, I have often resisted the urge to post just for the sake of posting. If I have a day that is too busy for me or I simply have nothing to say, than I resist the urge to post.
- It is a good exercise for writing. Since most of my posts are around 500 words, blogging allows me to exercise the "writing muscle." My schedule does not always allow me to work on whatever project I am working on. But blogging allows me the chance to write a little everyday and exercise that muscle. It helps make you a better writer.
- Blogging helps me to digest what I am reading and studying. At times I comment on things in the news, review a book or say something about a topic. Taking the time to write helps me to process the information.
- A blog can take on a life of its own. I have been surprised to see links to my posts in places across the internet.
- Some topics are hot and will bring more visitors. For instance, I posted a few times on the rapture and my thoughts on it. Almost 25,000 of my hits came from people reading those posts. If I was being paid for hits I now know how to become a very rich man.
- I am sometimes surprised at which posts attract the most attention. Sometimes I will work hard on a post and the interest will be minimal. But then I type off the top of my head about a topic I am passionate about and the hit count goes up. Go figure.
- Blogging provides me an opportunity for scholarly interaction. I miss the seminars from the days of studying for my PhD. When I post a blog I sometimes receive incisive comments from others and the chance to interact. I have also witnessed this happen between others. I once posted on the Church of the Holy Sepulchre and witnessed a vibrant debate between two of my readers.
- I think the future of scholarly publication is changing and blogging is one way in which information can be spread to others. While I think the peer review process is important and necessary, it can also be slow and cumbersome. Journal articles can sometimes languish for a couple of years until they see ink and paper. By that time the information may be old and/or the author is no longer interested in the topic. Blogging helps an author to share his or her work, get feedback and let people know what they are working on.
- Blogging helps me to keep in contact with my former students. It provides them a place to go where they can keep up on new trends and thoughts. It is also a place where they can read analysis of that information by qualified people.
- Finally, it is just plain fun.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
If you use an iPhone or an iPad, you can tap into the Bible Audio Pronunciations application, which offers up audio recordings of more than 1,000 challenging words found in scripture.
"We wanted to give people an easy tool to raise their level of understanding and enjoyment from reading the Bible," says Michael Vance, developer of the app. "It will speak out loud some of its most difficult words."
The app plays recordings of terms, names and places that many people find difficult to pronounce (like Shealtiel and Epaenetus). The recordings also offer the names of important church and historical leaders.
Here’s how it works: You can search or browse for words, and after you find the word you are looking for just tap it to start the recording. The developer plans to add new words on a regular basis, and also included links to Google and Wikipedia within the app. All for 99 cents.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
"The notion that early Christianity is a perfect model that all successive followers of Jesus Christ should imitate is clearly undermined in 1 Corinthians, and elsewhere in the New Testament as well. The early church, as we shall repeatedly see, had the same frailties and difficulties as ever subsequent Christian generation. Since this is the case, the way in which such difficulties are resolved should be particularly illuminating for the contemporary church, where many of these same issues are reflected, not least of which is the problem of the disunity and fragmentation of Christianity."
An ancient rock inscription of the word “Shabbat” was uncovered near Lake Kinneret this week – the first and only discovery of a stone Shabbat boundary in Hebrew. The etching in the Lower Galilee community of Timrat appears to date from the Roman or Byzantine period.
News of the inscription, discovered by chance Sunday by a visitor strolling the community grounds, quickly reached Mordechai Aviam, head of the Institute for Galilean Archeology at Kinneret College.
“This is the first time we’ve found a Shabbat boundary inscription in Hebrew,” he said. “The letters are so clear that there is no doubt that the word is ‘Shabbat.’”
Aviam said Jews living in the area in the Roman or Byzantine era (1st-7th centuries CE) likely used the stone to denote bounds within which Jews could travel on Shabbat. The Lower Galilee of Late Antiquity and the Early Middle Ages had a Jewish majority – many of the Talmudic sages bore toponyms indicative of Galilee communities.
The engraving uncovered in Timrat is the first and onlyShabbat boundary marker yet discovered in Hebrew – a similar inscription was found in the vicinity of the ancient Western Galilee village of Usha, but its text was written in Greek.
Monday, July 11, 2011
Three in 10 Americans interpret the Bible literally, saying it is the actual word of God. That is similar to what Gallup has measured over the last two decades, but down from the 1970s and 1980s. A 49% plurality of Americans say the Bible is the inspired word of God but that it should not be taken literally, consistently the most common view in Gallup's nearly 40-year history of this question. Another 17% consider the Bible an ancient book of stories recorded by man.