Were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in Nineveh? Here’s some evidence.
Were the Hanging Gardens of Babylon in Nineveh? Here’s some evidence.
The Nictone Theological Journal is finally back.
Read through the Shorter Catechidm tonight with 20+ others from church. I took small breaks along the way to answer questions and the Mrs. made some burritos for us to eat about halfway through. Fun evening.
When you make a plan to kill a public person, the kind of public person who is animated by a powerful inner force, you’d better make sure to kill him… there’s that powerful inner force to deal with: what if, by killing him, you just let it out?
It’s Good Friday. I’m thinkinng about sympathy, empathy, and the cross.
It’s Good Friday and I am reminded how good it is that the Son of God partook of flesh and blood, suffered when tempted, and ultimately died. He did this so that we might be delivered from death and helped in every way as he works in our lives.
For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but one who in every respect has been tempted as we are, yet without sin. (Hebrews 4:15)
This also reminds me of the recent conversation we had at our Westside Fellowship on 1 Peter 3:8, where God calls us to exhibit this same kind of sympathy in our lives towards others.
But should we really? Perhaps you’ve heard some people say we need to reject sympathy and strive for empathy instead. Or perhaps you’ve heard others say that empathy is the one that is dangerous and needs to go in favor of sympathy or compassion.
The problem is that because of several factors, we’re in a moment where there is a lot of confusion about these terms. If this is something you’d like to be less confused about, this article by Jonathan Worthington will help.
One fascinating thing Worthington points out is that the English word empathy does not correspond to what you’d think would be the corresponding Greek word. The Greek word, ἐμπάθεια (empátheia), rarely occurs in Greek and originally meant something quite different from what anyone is proposing today, namely, a kind of intense emotion such as deep sadness, anger, or sexual passion that had nothing to do with how one “felt with” another person. Today, in Modern Greek, it just means “hatred or malice.” Which is why Paul would not have used this word to describe the compassionate feeling of another’s emotions—it just didn’t mean that. And it doesn’t mean that in English either.
Surprisingly, our word does not come from the Greek, but the German word Einfühlung, which meant to project oneself into something else, as in art appreciation. “When Edward Titchener converted Einfühlung from art appreciation to British psychology, he should have gained a Greek-ish term “eispathy” instead of borrowing εμπάθεια. But he didn’t.”
So our English word isn’t directly related to the Greek, but to the German. Our word involves: “moving yourself into someone else’s mental and emotional shoes to walk around from their perspective for a time, especially to help them.” Which is a necessary and godly thing to do.
The bottom line, however, is that no matter what you call it in English, is that “Jesus understands and experiences our perspective and emotions from our vantage point, without losing truth or becoming enmeshed, so as to help us in the most effective way for our good.”
And because he did this, we can confidently come to the throne of grace to receive mercy and grace to help in time of need (Heb 5:16), even if what we are needing is a more loving, Christ-like heart.
Here’s Thomas Murphy’s plan for memorizing scripture in 15 minutes a day.
In Pastoral Theology: The Pastor in the Various Duties of His Office, Thomas Murphy shares a plan on how to memorize scripture. Here is a slightly paraphrased summary of the plan: Repeat a passage of scripture 15X/per day, reviewing the previous twenty-five passages 1X/day.
Here’s how to get started:
🎧 Listen to Billy Collins tell Alan Alda about writing poetry. He has great advice for creative work of all kinds.
We’re big fans of BRBC Family Camp at Covenant. Check out the new website I made for this year. Registration is now open!
Caleb Miller on expressing uncertainty in the pulpit:
A consistent practice of avoidance, or refusal to admit concerns publicly, especially from the pulpit, gives the impression in the long run that doubt and uncertainty are things to be shamed and ignored, perhaps even feared, rather than patiently and pastorally addressed out in the open. If doubt itself becomes something to be feared, it becomes nearly impossible to tackle a problem authentically. On the other hand, a consistent practice of acknowledging any and all uncertainties, rehearsing each and every last unknown, especially from the pulpit, can lead to its own crippling disaster. If doubt is something idealized and venerated, a near-weekly occurrence and constant refrain demonstrating “authenticity,” telling our congregation so regularly that we actually nurse private doubts about the reliability of the biblical testimony, they will invariably begin to follow our lead. They will begin to lose confidence in the Scriptures, in us, or both.
Good observations. The core problem is that both of these approaches undermine the gospel. I look forward to reading more of his thoughts in forthcoming articles.
Good idea: Intentionally spiraling out - Austin Kleon
Love this video of a couple #tucson burritos head home.
I’m sharing with you the best advice I’ve received on how to revise your writing. Check it out.
This document started as my notes from Amy Nichols’ lecture, “Make it Lean, Make it Strong: Revision Techniques” @ the 2016 Desert Nights, Rising Stars Writers Conference, which was excellent. Since then, I have added notes from other places and included thoughts of my own.
“Revision is re-vision. It takes time.” (Amy Nichols)
Print it out. Go somewhere different.
Read it out loud. Pay attention to your gut. Box things that don’t work. Label the boxes if you know what’s wrong (e.g. pacing, voice, boring, too fast, too much backstory). Here are some things to look for.
For bigger ideas that can’t be easily attached to a place in the text, put it in a notebook, like plot holes, research needed, logic leaps. Also, use the notebook to record surfacing subconscious thoughts.
Ask at end points: what did this section do? Is it in the right place?
Write down your outline on notecards. Put note cards onto a sticky magic wall. Put plot timelines on a calendar if necessary.
Take a break: Recharge. Let the questions and things you are considering get into your subconscious. These will germinate and pop-up when you are blow drying your hair, brushing your teeth, sweeping. Doing repetitive things with your hands seem to be best.
When you are willing to take a look again, go back and start with the easy things.
Look for structural problems: Is it logical, progressive? Is something missing? Are there sub-plots that need strengthening/eliminating? Should chapters be swapped?
Ask: Can I make changes that would take the reader to unexpected places.
Look for pacing: color code action and reflection
Take a break.
For setting your mind:
For unity and strength and beauty:
Crafting Voice by Jennifer Sinor
Politics and the English Language by George Orwell
Becoming a Writer by Dorothea Brande
Advice to Writers: A Compendium of Quotes, Anecdotes, and Writerly Wisdom from a Dazzling Array of Literary Lights complied and edited by John Winokur
Not Every Sentence Can Be Great But Every Sentence Must Be Good by Cynthia Newberry Martin
“If you see yourself as a ‘little sinner’ you will inevitably see Jesus as a ‘little Savior’.” — Martin Luther