Life: March 2005 Archives

When the Reformation Study Bible came out, I didn't want to get a third copy of the New American Standard Bible, which was the only translation they had it in. I already had a Ryrie NASB and a Thompson-Chain NASB. Then they changed the translation to the NKJV, which I had already in study Bible form with the Open Bible. Since I'm not a big fan of the textual basis of the NKJV, I didn't want a second NKJV, since I wanted my Reformation Study Bible to be a translation I'd want to read regularly. So I've been waiting for quite some time, and now they've finally released it in the English Standard Version.

This is an opportune time for me, because my hardcover ESV is just about ready to fall apart. I've read all of it now except the minor prophets from Hosea 9 through the end of Malachi, and I've brought it with me most of the time to Bible studies, church, and other occasions. It's nice to have this translation with a study Bible I've wanted to have for years, and the binding will last this time. I made the mistake of trying to find it at the local Christian bookstore, where I was told that it was out but they'd never even received the copies they'd ordered due to such incredibly high demand that the publishers couldn't produce enough of them to meet everyone's orders. Amazon and CBD had pretty high prices, so I checked on Froogle and found that Westminster Seminary had it in stock and could send it out that day. That did. That was Tuesday, during the 4:00 hour. I have it in my hands right now. That's what I call service. Not only did it arrive within two days, but it was hand delivered with a grin by a member of my own congregation who works for UPS!

Negativity

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PlaidBerry raises some concerns about pessimism. People are too often negative when there's a lot to be positive about. I agree. As a Christian, I think there are plenty of things to be negative about simply because God evaluates those things negatively, but you can't use that to ignore the things God considers beautiful, valuable, and good. Certain hope is one of the key excellences the Christian is called to seek.

At the same time, I hesitate about some of what Chad says, particularly this: "My issue here is with those folks who offer plenty of critique and nothing by way of recommendation. Zero proactive effort is taken to remedy the problem (as they see it) and no ideas are offered as an alternate solution. Of course, countless examples of this scenario abound, whether it be at home, work, church, etc." I think this attitude ignores something very important about how God has constructed different people. What follows is a development of my comments on his post (I seem to be doing this a lot lately).

St. Francis of Assissi is known for a famous quote, which for all I know may be apocryphal: "Preach the gospel at all times. If necessary, use words." I was at the Jesuit college I teach at today, and I saw someone in the little snack bar on campus wearing a t-shirt that had the above quote on the back, in large enough letters that it would be visible from a pretty good distance.

Why was someone wearing this particular t-shirt in an environment littered with people who don't believe the gospel? What were those who made the t-shirt thinking it was supposed to accomplish to begin with? It involves words clearly connected with the gospel. The quote is supposed to be encouraging words related to the gospel but only in certain circumstances, presumably not ones involving casual anonymous contact with someone's back. It's not an outright contradiction, because the message isn't technically the gospel, and I suppose there might be a few extremely unlikely but possible situations in which it would be necessary to wear such a t-shirt, but doesn't it undermine the shirt's own message to wear it in a context when one will encounter nonbelievers (at least in a visible way not covered by some outer garment)?

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