Sunday, October 28, 2007

Why have icons where the people can't see them?

I gave a tour of my church today, and as I was giving the visitors a peek behind the icon screen, a gentleman asked if other churches had more diaphanous icon screens, so that people could see the icons behind the altar. I said that some in fact offered less concealment, but I said that we must be cautious. Not everything in liturgy needs to be seen by the people. To have that mentality is to shift the focus of the liturgy from God to us--liturgy as entertainment. 
It is not a bad thing to have icons that are never seen or prayers that are never heard, since the liturgy is not for the sake of us and our entertainment, but on God and our thanksgiving for the blessings given. 

Monday, October 22, 2007

Have you ever wanted a Greek lexicon and morphology analyzer?

Come on, I know that you have. Hasn't everybody?

This morning I was looking through the Perseus Project, but was disappointed in the speed of the connection. Perhaps the computers at Tufts are overburdened by young classicists. I was trying to practice my Greek by reading the epistle for the day, but I couldn't access the online lexicon. What could I do? What if Perseus went down for good?

There is a solution: "Diogenes", a program for searching the TLG cdrom. I don't have this cdrom (400$, I think), but the program does some things even without it, namely look up the meaning of Lation and Greek words, as well as analyze the form of a word, telling case, number, etc. Just choose the action "Look up a word in the dictionary" or "Morphological analysis." It will even parse words for you. How wonderful!

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Google has a Blogger Widget

I have been very lax on blogging for the last year or so. I'm sorry, and am pleasantly surprised to find that I still have readers. Perhaps having this neat little gadget on my Mac dashboard will help me to blog more often. I find many blogs that are updated more often consist of little stippets of the poster's day. So, here goes:

I'm sitting at my kitchen table reading Fr. Tarazi's volume The New Testament, Introduction: Paul and Mark. It's quite interesting, in particular his take on the disputes between Paul and the Church of James in Jerusalem. One point strikes me: Paul identifies Christ with the Suffering Servant from Isaiah, a servant whose fate was so stunning that all nations would be brought into relationship with God. Paul must preach the gospel to the nations, or Jesus is not Lord. Or, to put it another way, if Jesus isn't the light to the gentiles, then he isn't the one whom the prohets spoke of.

This puts the task of evangelism in a different light. We don't just evangelize to convince others of the truth of the faith, but to convince ourselves of its truth, for through our preaching the power of God is active. We know God through the power of his word, through seeing how all nations come to accept it.

As always, my posts are speculative. All theological points are subject to revision.

Let's see--what else is going on. . . I'm trying to have a few moments of peace while the kids are asleep. I am the "primary caregiver", and so have little time for reading or thinking. I teach two classes and barely find time to get ready for them. I don't know how people like Amy Welborn do it. Right now girl #1 is up sitting newt to me, eating cheese. Girl #3 is in her swing, almost falling asleep but not quite. Girl #2 refused to go to the bathroom, and I took away her blanket until she acquiesced. She didn't, and wet herself. I guess I win. 

Well, back to Tarazi, while the kids are mostly quiet.