On the Cost of War: A Demonstration of Extreme Love and Loyalty at Great Cost

A recent trilogy of Rough Translation podcasts tells an amazing story of two people who make great sacrifices. I was struck by the display of the often unseen cost of war and violence and by the great display of love demonstrated by one who joined in with the sacrifice of a hurting veteran for whom she grew to care a great deal. There are many dimensions to the story and its implications; I’m still processing. The humanity, vulnerability, loyalty, love, sacrifice…

Here are links to the three podcast episodes that tell this story. They are worth your time. Beware if you are squeamish; the first episode tells the story of terrible injury and suffering in war.

  1. Battle Rattle
  2. Battle Lines
  3. Battle Bourne
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The crucifixion is not a defeat.

“The crucifixion is not a defeat to be overturned by resurrection. The crucifixion is a victory revealed by resurrection.”

– Brian Zahnd
@BrianZahnd

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Lectio Divina between Palm Sunday and Resurrection Sunday

Well, I don’t believe any one week is holier than another, but here’s a set of links for the Long Beach Friends Church lectio divina readings from 2020 at the start of the pandemic, one for each day of the week leading up to the Sunday on which many Christians traditionally celebrate Jesus’ resurrection.

What happened to Saturday? There are no videos to watch or audio tracks to listen to for Saturday, the day after Good Friday. Traditionally this is a day of silence to remind us of when Jesus was in the tomb. If you missed any of the week’s readings, Saturday might be a good day to catch up.

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Women’s History Month articles at Barclay College

Barclay College has put out several short blog articles for Women’s History Month. Check them out!

The first one is a brief comment on women in pastoral and other forms of leadership in the church and in society. It opens with an introductory defense of women in leadership and closes with a call for the church to do better at supporting God’s call to women in leadership positions. It is confounding that there are a few churches today claiming to be Friends who do not allow women as elders or in senior pastoral positions, in spite of our Faith and Practice! What?

The second is a short article on Margaret Fell, one of the first Quakers and a great early leader whose writings on women preaching remain relevant today. She’s not called the “mother of Quakerism” for nothing!

And lastly, there is a very short article on Mary Fisher, a pioneering Quaker missionary who undertook a dangerous mission to travel overland to meet with the Sultan of the Ottoman Empire to tell him about Jesus. Even some of her supposed “helpers” tried to undermine her efforts! But she was faithful to her calling, met with the Sultan, and afterwards refused his offer of protection: she was already was under God’s protection!

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Mom (Formally Speaking)

Below is the obituary that I put together for my mother shortly after she passed in early February. It’s not really much in the way of special memories or deep thoughts – though I captured a couple of hers in very brief form. It’s more the formal obituary that one finds in the newspapers. Or used to find in the newspaper and now one finds…. where? Well, here at least.

My sister Janice and my brother John and I called her (unsurprisingly) “Mom.” Mom was the branch for my ancestral Quaker roots, and her father Albert the one through whom much of the lifeblood of the Quaker incarnation of following Jesus flowed to me. Family. Anderson First Friends Church. Mom and Dad began taking in foster kids when I was in middle school, I think. It was just a thing we did…

Services in these strange and tragic times are difficult for family spread across the country and we are still working that out. Well, I said this was the formal part, so below is Mom’s obituary.

Rachael Ann Ginder, 83, of Anderson, passed away on  February 3, 2021, at Community Hospital of Anderson. She was born on December 8, 1937, in Anderson, the daughter of Albert E. and Cicely (Lancaster) Pike. Rachael was a member of First Friends Church in Anderson for much of her life and later attended Madison Park Church of God.

Rachael retired from Gaither Music, Alexandria after several years of service. She served on the board of several non-profit organizations and was a Court-appointed special advocate for a number of years. Her primary life-calling was as a mother to foster and adopted children, many with serious special needs. Over the years, with her husband Ron, she cared for over 200 children. In 1986, she received the Golden Deeds Award given annually by the Exchange clubs. She also received the Foster Parent of the Year Award twice. Featured several times in published interviews, she would emphasize, “My daily goal is to be sure disabled and dying children are not alone… You can find beauty when you allow God to give you the ability to see these little ones… as he does.”
 
Rachael is survived by her loving husband Ronald Ginder, whom she married, July 25, 1953; her children, Joseph (Susan) Ginder, John (Belinda) Ginder; adopted children Susanna Ginder, Rebecca Ginder, and their special sibling, Jana Marie Craig; grandchildren, Laura, Ben, Sam, Brian, Joe, Lara, Monica, Gabriel, and Gene’; and 5 great-grandchildren; her sister Phyllis Van Duyn; and many nieces and nephews.
 
Rachael was preceded in death by her parents and daughter Janice, and adopted children Michael, Melissa, Elizabeth, Patricia, and Alissa. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to White’s Residential and Family Services, 5233 S. 50 E.,Wabash, IN 46992 (or

Rachael Ann Ginder, 83, of Anderson, passed away on  February 3, 2021, at Community Hospital of Anderson. She was born on December 8, 1937, in Anderson, the daughter of Albert E. and Cicely (Lancaster) Pike. Rachael was a member of First Friends Church in Anderson for much of her life and later attended Madison Park Church of God.

Rachael retired from Gaither Music, Alexandria after several years of service. She served on the board of several non-profit organizations and was a Court-appointed special advocate for a number of years. Her primary life-calling was as a mother to foster and adopted children, many with serious special needs. Over the years, with her husband Ron, she cared for over 200 children. In 1986, she received the Golden Deeds Award given annually by the Exchange clubs. She also received the Foster Parent of the Year Award twice. Featured several times in published interviews, she would emphasize, “My daily goal is to be sure disabled and dying children are not alone… You can find beauty when you allow God to give you the ability to see these little ones… as he does.”
 
Rachael is survived by her loving husband Ronald Ginder, whom she married, July 25, 1953; her children, Joseph (Susan) Ginder, John (Belinda) Ginder; adopted children Susanna Ginder, Rebecca Ginder, and their special sibling, Jana Marie Craig; grandchildren, Laura, Ben, Sam, Brian, Joe, Lara, Monica, Gabriel, and Gene’; and 5 great-grandchildren; her sister Phyllis Van Duyn; and many nieces and nephews.
 
Rachael was preceded in death by her parents and daughter Janice, and adopted children Michael, Melissa, Elizabeth, Patricia, and Alissa. A memorial service will be announced at a later date.

Memorial contributions may be made to White’s Residential and Family Services, 5233 S. 50 E.,Wabash, IN 46992 (or whiteskids.org/donate).

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Links to a 2020 Advent series by Max Jeganathan

These brief Advent videos by Max Jeganathan are quite good.

Advent 1

Advent 2

Advent 3

Advent 4

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Is Music Joy? – a Lecture by Dan Chua

This is one of the most remarkable lectures I’ve heard ever, and it is on video at YouTube! It is Dan Chua, a scholar at the University of Hong Kong considering the question, “Is Music Joy?” He is speaking in the Bartlett Lecture Series at Yale Divinity School. Daniel Chua is a University of Hong Kong music scholar who studies the intersection between music, philosophy, and theology. The lecture proper begins after an introduction that introduces an introduction speaker who gives an introduction… Not bad, just not the lecture. These prelims take nearly 4 1/2 minutes. The lecture itself is about a hour. It was for me an hour well-spent! I found it deeply satisfying – even joyful! So, if you are into music in a serious way, or just enjoy thinking deeply, give it a listen. I mean, seriously. Joyfully even!

Quoting the blurb from several Yale Divinity School Bartlett Lecture announcements: “The Bartlett Lectureship was created in 1986 with a gift from the Rev. Robert M. Bartlett ’24 B.D. and his wife, Sue Bartlett. The purpose of the lectureship is to foster understanding of, among other issues, democracy, human rights, and world peace.”

This is the text of the link: https://youtu.be/lNyeA-XsA2E

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Dr. Michael Osterholm’s Covid-19 Podcast

Dr. Michael Osterholm runs CIDRAP, the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy, at the University of Minnesota. He has a Covid-19 podcast that is full of good information and… surprise… even encouragement!

I listened to his latest episode today as I walked this morning. It was entitled COVID in the Capital. Dr. Osterholm starts out with a sentimental story about a cat (!) and then starts talking about the best science and medical information regarding the Covid-19 outbreak in the Whitehouse without getting political. He is very kind and encouraging, but straightforwardly tells the truth from his perspective as an expert in epidemiology who strictly follows where the data leads.

So, in this episode, expect a sentimental encouraging story, a clear-headed non-partisan outlook on Covid-19 with practical advice, and kindness. You can find the podcast at CIDRAP’s website. Or you can find it on your favorite source for podcasts. I used Pocket Casts on Android.

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10 Principles for Reading the Bible (a link)… and a note on Everett Fox’s Hebrew Bible translations more generally

Everett Fox has a really, really excellent set of principles for Bible readers. He calls it For First Time Readers of Bible Stories. I would add that I find them generally useful even if you have read the stories in the Hebrew Bible many, many times. Appreciation of these literary qualities of the Hebrew Bible is sorely missing in most Christian readings in my experience. Well, maybe I should add: with the exception of The Bible Project. (You can be the judge as to whether that’s an indictment of my experience or an indictment of Christian readings more generally!) In any case, check them out here, from his page at Clark University.

On a follow-up note, I have found Everett Fox’s translation of the Torah to be the most helpful that I have ever read. I highly recommend it, and that you listen to it read aloud rather than just “reading in your head”. The first time I heard a friend read the first few chapters of Genesis aloud from it was eye opening, to say the least. Or would that be ear opening? It is entitled The Five Books of Moses. It’s available in print and in Logos. Why it is not available as an audio book is beyond my comprehension. Fox has also published a second set of translations of books from the Hebrew Bible entitled The Early Prophets. His notes on the Samson (Shimshon) cycle (from the Book of Judges) are available online and very helpful.

Footnote: For those who have done one of the Hardcore Bible Studies in past years at Long Beach Friends Church, I would definitely have included these principles had I been aware of them at the time. I will include them going forward.

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“Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you” – links to a series of articles

John Stackhouse is a theologian who teaches at Crandall University in Canada. He’s from a Plymouth Brethren background, educated at Queen’s University, Wheaton Graduate School, and the University of Chicago. He generally has a pretty sensible Christian view of most contemporary issues. (aka: I generally find him sensible… 🙂  )  

In this series of popular articles, he summarizes a bunch of influential academic trends that are influencing our culture these days. Of course, any such summary leaves out a lot that aficionados would find important. But then, he’s not writing for them. Maybe he’s writing for you?

Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 1

Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 2

Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 3

Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Part 4

Postmodernity, Critical (Race) Theory, Cultural Marxism, and you: Responses

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