Sunday, February 17, 2008


The topic of Bible translations offers never ending and largely useless fodder for discussion but in light of the previous post I thought one point worth noting. On of the great drawbacks of the New International Version of the Bible is its gender exclusive use of pronouns (using 'man' or 'brothers' or 'sons' when a cross gender audience is intended). Then came the recent release of Today's New International Version. The naming of Bible translations is of course a whole other conversation (like the presumptuous New Living Translation). Anyway, I thought that the primary change in the TNIV was to correct the use of gender. However, notice the difference in translation of the Philippians passage discussed in the previous post.

NIV Php 2:5-7
5 Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
7 but made himself nothing,
taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.

TNIV Php 2:5-7
5 In your relationships with one another, have the same attitude of mind Christ Jesus had:
6 Who, being in very nature God,
did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
7 rather, he made himself nothing
by taking the very nature of a servant,
being made in human likeness.



Saturday, February 16, 2008

Snow Birding

Well its been no Manitoba here in Southern Ontario but it has been cold enough. Next week my wife and I will be flying down to sunny Arizona to visit my parents in Yuma. Well spend a night in L.A.. And visit a little Mexican cantena. And just soak up some rays (I hope).
I would like to have been posting more these days but there will certainly be a break coming up after which I hope to post more on Balthasar's Mysterium Paschale.

Sucks to be cold!


Thursday, February 14, 2008

MP and Christ's Grasping

The first chapter of Mysterium Paschale attempts to link the incarnation of Christ with his passion. To demonstrate that "he who says Incarnation, also says Cross." What I find most interesting in this chapter is his account of Kenosis reflecting on Philippians 2. The phrase Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped. I think this always left me with the impression that the Father still remained somehow 'higher' than the Son. Balthasar says that this passage refers not to a power relationship. He writes that the form of God is not something "which is to be conquered by force . . . but rather something precious." And that Christ "did not believe it necessary to hold on on to that condition as to some possession, precious, inalienable, all his own. . . . [Christ] can renounce his glory. He is so divinely free that he can bind himself to the obedience of a slave. In this reciprocal detachment of two images of God, the self-emptying Son stands opposed, for a moment, to God the Father who is still in some way depicted in the colors of the Old Testament palette. But theological reflection at once evens out this difference: it is in fact the Father himself who 'does not believe it necessary to hold on to this Son', but 'delivers him over' as the Spirit is continually described as the 'Gift' of them both."
"The question of some kind of 'mythical' premundane temptation of the Son (as primordial Man) does not, then, arise. It is not a matter of an incapacity to master the highest degree of glory without undergoing Incarnation. There is, therefore, no parallel with Adam who, anticipating the reward of the divine command to obey, 'grasped' the apple for himself. What is at stake, at least in a perspective of depth, is an altogether decisive turn-about in the way of seeing God. God is not in the first place , 'absolute power;, but 'absolute love', and his sovereignty manifests itself not in holding on to what is its own but in its abandonment - all this in such a way that this sovereignty displays itself in transcending the opposition, known to us from the world, between power and impotence." [emphasis mine]


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Mysterium Paschale - Lent 08

I just received my copy of Hans Urs von Balthasar's Mysterium Paschale (The Mystery of Easter). This will be my Lenten text. I am planning an Easter Vigil service on Saturday night of Easter weekend. I am hoping my readings here and the centrality of Balthasar's account of Christ's descent into hell will significantly shape what this service will look like.
From the preface to the second edition,

We shall never know how to express the abyss-like depths of the Father's self-giving, that Father who . . . makes himself 'destitute' of all that he is and can be so as to bring forth a consubstantial divinity, the Son. Everything that can be thought and imagined where God is concerned is, in advance, included and transcended in this self-destitution which constitutes the person of the Father, and at the same time, those of the Son and the Spirit. God as 'gulf' of absolute Love contains in advance, eternally, all the modalities of love, of compassion, and even of a 'separation' motivated by love.


Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Own only what you can always carry with you: know languages, know countries, know people. Let your memory be your travel bag.

- Alexander Solzhenitsyn


Saturday, February 02, 2008


Well I have been tagged to perform the following
Pick up the nearest book of 123 pages or more. (No cheating!)
Find Page 123.
Find the first 5 sentences.
Post the next 3 sentences.
Not wanting to cheat as I sat in my church office I saw my Bible laying to my left. So I thought I would start there but then work my way past the music stand where my Greek and Hebrew texts are laid out (mostly for show) and then look to my easy-access reference shelf for the 'real reading'.
Place the alter of burnt offering in front of the entrance to the tabernacle, the Tent of Meeting; place the basin between the Tent of Meeting and the alter and put water in it. Set up the courtyard around and put the curtain at the entrance of the courtyard. Take the anointing oil and anoint the tabernacle and everything in it; consecrate it and all its furnishings, and it will be holy.

Okay and here is a rough translation,
All widows and orphans you shall not afflict. If you afflict them and they cry out to me I will surely hear their cry. And my face will burn and I will kill you with a sword and your wives will be widows and your sons orphans.

There were some of the scribes sitting there considering in their hearts, "Why does this man say this, he blasphemies? Who can forgive sins if not the one God?" And immediately Jesus, understanding with his spirit what they were considering within themselves, said to them, "Why are you considering this in your hearts?"

Here I had a few choices as to what would have been considered the closest book. I decided to start with the top shelf. The first book, however, was Brother Lawrence's The Practice of the Presence of God which had less than 100 pages. The next book with the red spine was the writings of Evagrius of Pontus,

An irascible person will experience terrors; a gentle person will have no fears.
A violent wind drives away clouds; resentment drives the mind away from knowledge.
The person who prays for his enemies will be free of resentment; one who is sparing with his tongue will do his neighbour no injury.

Well there you go. Anyone who reads this can consider themselves tagged.


Friday, February 01, 2008

Alternative Education?

Anyone want to weigh in on the recent approval for the development of "black schools" in Toronto? There are already a number of alternative schools available which segregate communities at least in terms of economics. I am quite sure that our local private Mennonite high school does not limit enrollment to confessional belief (as I belief there is at least one Muslim student enrolled). The heat of course is in part historical after such effort was made for integration out of the civil-rights movement. The argument now is that black students in Toronto are statistically not succeeding and the belief is that this is in part due to the structure and content of the school system. The premier of Ontario has recently called to a stop to this decision. I don't have a real clear response as of yet . . . how about you?