Saturday, October 21, 2006

Ethics of Work

Have been asked to lead a strand for AFES's National Training Event on the Ethics of Work. (It's not so much that I've been asked. Joce is a full time staffworker and has lead their Biblical Theology strand for years now, so she asked for a change and this is what they suggested. Am looking forward to it but have some thinking to do. Have not become conscious of my thinking on ethics so will need to give myself more of a framework. (This year's philosophy helped but need to think on the explicitly Christian application of it.) Big questions at this stage: if we say that work is neither entirely continuous nor entirely discontinuous, how do we speak about the continuity and on what basis do we draw the line? what is the cash value? (obviously not "your work redeems creation and establishes God's kingdom now", but neither is it "your work is useless or only of value for feeding yourself" - which Ephesians 6 pushes against) So some fun thinking to be done.

Monday, October 16, 2006

Success with Puppy Linux

Well, I ended up getting my Compaq laptop to run, but only by dropping back to Puppy 1.08. Two major improvements from the last install. First, I installed a newer version of OpenOffice that uses the GTK+ graphics system (or whatever JWM uses) so it runs heaps faster. Second, initially I couldn't get BibleWorks 5 to re-install under wine. (It was a different pup file than my original install.) But when I found a replacement dll file for the editor's dll, it ran happily. I'm back to working well on my laptop after much frustration.

Thinking through Niccacci on text analysis

I've been working through our Old Testament set texts for college (1 Sam 9-10; 2 Sam 6-7) and marking them up largely according to Niccacci's method of text analysis. However, I'm having trouble with his insistence on dividing narrative from other discourse. It seems to me that narrative is something we all do during speech and it would be surprising that there would be such a strong distinctive in how the language works. Instead, I wonder if written narrative is just a slightly more formal form of discourse narrative. If that's the case, then we need to treat weX-qatal's as more like mainline clauses and less like offline clauses. They provide emphasis in the narrative and may be largely antecedent (though I'm still working through whether they always refer to what is about to happen or can look back and add information to what has already happened in the narrative, cf George Athas' teaching grammar) but still, they are more than merely circumstantial clauses. They introduce significant information that substantially affects the narrative. At least, in my limited experience of analysis so far. I have much to learn.

Sunday, October 08, 2006

A good, readable introduction to the Trinity?

I'm not aware of any simple, easy to read books that introuduce the Trinity to Christians and help them better understand why we must believe it because of who we meet in Jesus in the Bible but also why it's so valuable because of the difference it makes to our relationship with God. I figure it's increasingly important. In the evangelical circles I'm in, exegetical teaching is primarily how the Bible is taught. That means people are really confident of their ability to learn from the Bible but it means sometimes people aren't as thought through about these more systematic issues. And I figure this is increasingly important as Christians should be increasingly in dialogue with Muslims given the danger of fear developing on both sides in our society at the moment. Christians need to have Muslim friends and understand how they view God. But Christians also need to be clear why the Bible doesn't let us say that Jesus is simply a prophet and not God's Son and genuinely God. (And also how Mary is not the third member of the trinity.) As far as introducing why we believe in the Trinity, it needs to cover:
  • monotheism as a Jewish and Christian insistence;
  • understanding what Jesus said and did in this light;
  • how the early Christians talked about Jesus in the same way as they did about God.
Within this section you'd also want very brief explanations of things the early church fathers wrote in the creeds we recite, like:
  • what does "of one substance" mean?
  • what does it mean that Jesus is "begotten" and how does that compare with the Spirit "proceding"?
  • how did they still insist that Jesus wasn't simply another "face" of God?
But you wouldn't want to make this too heavy. Rather, we would want to explore what these things mean for our relationship with God. So:
  • how, because of Jesus, we now can be totally confident that God can be known and that we know him;
  • the way that; because God is triune, he didn't have to create the world - it wasn't that God was lonely;
  • but also, that because God is trune relationships are fundamental to the nature of the universe and the difference that can make;
  • the way that each person in the godhead works in a different way to restore us to relationship with themselves.
The difficult thing with that last bit is how much to explore Jesus' divine and human natures. It's exciting but also hard work. Will keep working on a table of contents until I hear of someone who's done it already.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Setting up an old Armada laptop with Linux

Have been setting up an old Compaq Armada 1500c laptop with Linux and have tried the following: Obviously Ubuntu was just too slow (it only has 64MB RAM). Xubuntu is nice to use but again ends up too slow, especially with OpenOffice. Puppy wasn't a lot better for OpenOffice but because booting and general use are a lot faster, it was easier to at least get off the ground. My particular problem has been using Wine to run BibleWorks 5 - software for working with the Greek and Hebrew text of the Bible. Originally I had Puppy 1.8 and the version of Wine I downloaded happily installed BibleWorks. But in every other later setup (including Puppy 2.2 and Xubuntu 6.6) the version of Wine froze during early installation or would freeze immediately on startup. Am still only learning the ropes with Wine so will keep trying. On BibleWorks 5 is listed as not installing so it's not really that surprising. What is surprising is that it worked in the first place. Have fiddled with WineTools under Xubuntu without any effect. My next plan is to try installing under Win98 mode instead of NT. Perhaps the first install was before they had switched the default emulation mode.