Was Jesus Masculine?

I ran across this interesting passage in an essay I was reading today by, Tat-siong Benny Liew. The article, "Re-Mark-able Masculinities", attempted to explore Mark's definition of masculinity. At one point, Liew says this:

"If Plato and Seneca criticize the masculinity of Achilles and Hercules as reckless, ruthless, or even a kind of madness, it is because dominating others may easily turn into an excuse to kill or destroy without control or to be out of control. Note that Mark’s masculinity also demands death as a proof, although it is now the death of oneself rather than that of others. The masculinity that is demonstrated and demanded by Mark’s Jesus before the parousia is partly determined by whether one is willing to endure persecution, suffering, and death."

For the sake of argument, granting that this view is correct, it raises a number of questions for me, in terms of both antiquity & modernity, however, the ones that sit at the fore of my mind are: How might Mark's definition of masculinity challenge and/or affirm our definitions? And how, then, should we respond to Mark's defnition / model? Further, how might this affect one's view of femininity as well?


What if King James was Gay?

In the last couple of decades, D. M. Bergeron has attempted to argue that "King James", the impetus for the "King James Bible" translation had homosexual tendencies. He has published two books on this subject: Royal Family, Royal Lovers: King James of England and Scotland (1991) and : King James & Letters of Homoerotic Desire (1999).

This raises a number of questions for me, two being: 1) "If King James really was gay, how might this challenge the fundamentalist, King-James-Onlyists view of their Bible?" and 2) "How might this force those same people to think about homosexuality?"

Furthermore, do you think they would be more willing (acting as if the premise were true) to give up a KJV-Only view first or their views towards homosexuality? Or, would it not make a difference at all if this were true?

(By the way, D. Capps has written an article that seems to aptly refute the accuastions about King James! ("The Homosexual Tendencies of King James:
Should this Matter to Bible Readers Today?" in Pastoral Psychology)


Some Good News

As many of you know, my wife and I have been going through the adoptive process; we are adopting a child from Ethiopia. Some good news came via UPS today which said the following:

Dear Adoptive Parent,
Congratulations! Your dossier for Ethiopia has been reviewed and approved for the authentication step. Now it is time to send it to Washington, D.C. to be authenticated at the U.S. State Department and the Ethiopian Embassy.

Of course, there was much more that the letter said but that was the opening paragraph. Anyway, it was some good news.


Exegesis That Starts Wars & Stops Biblical Fidelity

So, I've been on quite a hiatus from blogging over the last few weeks. It all started when the motherboard on my laptop had a meltdown. Well, now I've got the computer back and it's working okay. I've had a number of things happen in my life over the last month, some great and some, well, not so great. I'll save those things for another post perhaps. Anyway...

Last night, just before going to bed, I landed on the local Christian TV station. There were two ladies speaking about2 Cor. 3.13-6. In those verses, Paul is comparing the obstinate hearts and minds of certain Hebrew (Jewish) people in his day to that of his Hebrew forebearers. To quote, the verses say this: "We are not like Moses, who would put a veil over his face to keep the Israelites from gazing at it while the radiance was fading away. But their minds were made dull, for to this day the same veil remains when the old covenant is read. It has not been removed, because only in Christ is it taken away. Even to this day when Moses is read, a veil covers their hearts. But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away."

Neither of the hosts read the four verse in their entirety but they did spend about 5 minutes expounding on them. In the course of four minutes, I swear to you that I have never heard such terrible exegesis. On the one hand, it was the type of interpretation that leads people to hate, hurt, start and start fights. On the other hand, it was the type of reading that makes people who actually take the Bible seriously, want to get as far away from these kinds of so-called "Christians" as possible. Here's what happend in those four minutes:

1. The lady who was speaking the most said, "I want you to know that in my heart-of-hearts, I think Jesus is coming back soon. And I also want you to know that every offering or gift that you send in to this program, it is lifting the veils from people's faces. I have a sense of urgency in my heart that Christ is coming back and we want to see as many veils lifted as soon as possible."

(Comments: Do you see what just happened here? This lady totally took the verse out of context and then used it to exploit people for money! She used language cloaked in fear and urgency to try to pull people's heart strings...and wallet strings.)

2. The lady proceeded to talk and said this: "Now, you know, I don't really want to get too deep into this but one of the reasons I feel like the world is going to end soon, that Jesus is coming back soon, is because of Islam. And here's the thing, in these verses, we read about a veil. Now, who is it that wear's veils today? It's the Muslim people."

(Comments: I must admit, I didn't see this coming. She blindsided me with this. She just went from guilt-tripping viewers into giving to pitting Christianity against Islam. So, at this point, she has doubly (or triply) misconstrued this passage and what it is really all about. This is the kind of exegesis that starts wars mind you! The poor lady's logic is just so flawed and terrible.)

3. Now, the other lady who has been sitting there listening the whole time, she finally speaks. On the verge of tears, she says something like, "Oh, that just gives me chills, I've never thought of that, you're right. That's so, true."

(Comments: This fictitious emotionalism is another way to make money. Moreover, it shows you just how stupid these so-called "Christians" who are supposed to love God with their minds, really can be. She totally just bought into this crap. Now, un-thinking Christians who are watching will probably do the same.)

4. The lady who had been speaking the majority of the time chimes in again. She is motivated by the woman's tears and continues to make non-existent connections between the veil in 2 Cor. and Islam. She proceeds to tell a story about a Christian family who was "Pentecostal-to-the-bone". Yet, somewhere along the way, in this hard-core Pentecostal family, one of the daughters converted to Islam. She went on and on about how it hurt the family so bad and that she had never seen anyone so sad. She wondered and wondered how it happened. She couldn't stomach the thought now of this girl (who she knew) being covered with the veil that would bring the end of the world to fruition.

(Comments: Again, it's another heart-string story that is just retarded. It may well be true but it has nothing to do with what Paul is talking about. Furthermore, it was a way for her to segue back into a plea for money: "Please, if you want to see the veil (not spiritual but physical) removed from women like these (contributing to terrorism), contribute to our show. Sow your seed and send your financial gift.")

5. Finally, the lady goes all nationalistic on us (quite what Paul may have actually been railing against in 2 Cor., to some degree) with this: "Just like this young girl, Islam has invaded America, God's territory. We need to stop it. You can help us do that by giving to this show which is sending out broadcast signals all over the world to help remove those veils."

(Comments: So, this whole thing was an apocalpytic-economic scheme which kind of reminds me of how pyramid schemes work--they don't! Anyway, I got sick to my stomach and had a hard time sleeping. I'm grieved that this is what the Western Church is coming to. When will we ever stop being so humanistic, prejudiced and ignorant? When?)


Paper Accepted for SCJ Conference

I found out yesterday that another one of my paper proposals as been accepted, this time, for the SCJ (Stone-Campbell Journal) Conference (This will be either my third or fourth year presenting at the SCJ Conference). The title of the paper is: Why Jesus Was Baptized: Immersed In Mark's Story & Culture. I must say, though, that in this paper, I arrive at quite a different conclusion than the one I blogged about some time ago (HERE).


Some Good Books

I thought I'd pop in and do a brief post (since my computer is still being worked on somewhere out there), so, here are a few more books I got for Christmas:

* For a Later Generation: The Transformation of Tradition in Israel, Early Judaism and Early Christianity

* A Reordering of Power: A Socio-Political Reading of Mark's Gospel

* Ancient Greeks: Change and Tradition, Cultural and Historical Perspectives

* Blasphemy and Exaltation in Judaism : The Charge Against Jesus in Mark 14:53 (Biblical Studies Library)

* Heritage and Hellenism: the Reinvention of Jewish Tradition (Hellenistic Culture and Society)

* Jesus and His Adversaries: The Form and Function of the Conflict Stories in the Synoptic Tradition


SBL Paper Accepted

Since my laptop has been shipped out to HP for a motherboard replacement, I thought I'd swing by the local library and check my email today. I'm glad I did. Waiting for me was a response from Dr. C. Rothschild that my paper for the 2009 Midwest Region SBL was accepted. I will be presenting in the Gospels Section. Here's the title of the paper: A New Reason for Jesus’ Death: Reading Mark Socio-culturally.