Interpreting Each Other

I was going to teach Bible study this past Wednesday but we ended up having a prayer meeting instead. My topic was going to be interpreting each other. I won’t post all of my notes but the long and short of it was going to deal with that just as we interpret biblical texts—and should do so as believers with a hermeneutic of charity—so we should interpret each other in like manner. In thinking through this it struck me that we’re never simply interpreting texts though. There’s always a person or persons behind the texts we’re reading. I don’t know why that never occurred to me before, but it seems so revolutionary, if not painfully obvious now. In any event, I don’t know if that lesson will end up getting taught but it is a subject I’m going to continue to work through and think about.


In the Mail

The other day I received a copy of Matthew W. Bates’ The Birth of the Trinity: Jesus, God, and Spirit New Testament & Early Christian Interpretations of the Old Testament from Oxford University Press. I’m really looking forward to this. All too often we skip the Old Testament and move right along to the New Testament and post-NT Christian literature in discussions about the Trinity without taking time to reflect on the fact that the NT and post-NT literature drew heavily from the OT in their trinitarian formulations. Hopefully Bates will highlight this practice throughout this volume. I’ll let you know if he does in due course.


Sacred Name

I was asked to comment on a Facebook post last night by a friend and fellow elder. The topic of the post was Jesus’ name. The writer said that the reason people aren’t seeing results to their prayers is because they’ve been calling on the wrong name. You see, his name isn’t Jesus, which is manmade, it’s Yahweh. If we call on Yahweh rather than Jesus we should see results.

The comments that followed proceeded to call Jesus “Yahshua” and take Hosea 4:6 out of context, suggesting that if people continued to call him Jesus then they’d perish for their lack of knowledge. A couple of people from my church were arguing that it doesn’t much matter what variation of his name we use so long as we know him. I just came in and added a little background to that claim.

I noted how the Hebrew name is Yehoshua. How in the Aramaic bits of the Bible we read Yeshua. How in the NT—which I’d think would be paramount in such a discussion—it’s Iesous. In Latin it’s Iesvs. And finally English translates it as Jesus. We’re English speakers. Why wouldn’t we use the English name? If we were speaking Italian we’d say Jesu. If we were speaking Spanish it would be Jesús.

In any event, I did note that we’d never call him Yahshua for reasons I didn’t want to bore anyone with. But readers of this blog don’t mind being bored. In short, people have this weird penchant of finding out that the Hebrew name for God YHWH and its shortened form YH exist and all of a sudden they want to insert it where it doesn’t belong. It’s not that Yah never appears in Hebrew names; it just never appears at the beginning of them. For example:

Ma’aseYah = Maaseiah (Neh. 12:42)
MichaYah = Micaiah (Neh. 12:42)
Z’charYah = Zechariah (Neh. 12:42)
MalkiYah = Malchiah (Neh:12″42)
AzarYah = Azariah (Neh. 12:33)
Sh’maYah = Shemaiah (Neh. 12:34)
MatanYah = Mattaniah (Neh. 12:35)
SherevYah = Sherebiah (Neh.12:24)
ChashavYah = Hashabiah (Neh. 12:24)
BakbukYah = Bakbukiah (Neh. 12:25)
OvadYah = Obadiah (Obadiah 1:1)
AchazYah = Ahaziah (1 Kings 22:50)
S’raYah = Seraiah (2 Sam. 8:17)

At times Yah also appears in combination with hu making the form Yahu as in:

YeshaYahu = Isaiah (Salvation of the Lord)
YirmiYahu = Jeremiah (The Lord casts)
EliYahu = Elijah, and (My God is the Lord)
YoshiYahu = Josiah (The Lord rescues me)
Chizkiyahu = Hezekiah (My strength is the Lord)

Now when the shortened form of YHWH does appear at the beginning of a personal name it’s used in combination with a verb and we see Yeho, not Yah, so:

Yehoshua = Joshua
Yehoachaz = Jehoahaz (2 Kings 10:35)
Yehoyachin = Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:6)
Yehoyakim = Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:34)
Yehoshafat = Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 17:3)
Yehochanan, which is a longer form of Yochanan = John (Neh. 12:42)
Yehoram = Jehoram (1 Kings 22:51)
Yehoyada = Jehoiadah (2 Sam. 818)
Yehotzadak = Jehozadak (1 Chr. 6:14 [1 Chr. 5:40 MT])

But the point is that the “Sacred Name” movement is built on some bad information. And more to the point, the referent is more important than the name by which he’s referred. As long as he knows us and we know him then he’ll answer however we call. Jesus is as much Lord over language as anything else.


Dueling Duds

So I mentioned the other day how I received a defective USB 3.0 hub. The company that I purchased it from, Jacob’s Parts, sent out a replacement, which I received today, much to my dismay, this unit was defective as well. The first unit I received was defective in that only the first 3 ports closest to the end that the power adapter plugs into worked. I had tried plugging external hard drives, flash drives, and peripherals into the other 4 ports and none of them are recognized. I unplugged the USB hub from the power source and tried it with just my MacBook Pro’s power and that didn’t help the problem. I restarted the computer and changed out the USB 3.0 cable connecting the hub to my MBP and that didn’t help either. And in the process of that all, my computer restarted itself at one point and blacked out—by which I do not mean logged out or went to sleep—two or three times. It was a nerve-racking experience.

I contacted the seller that day and they promptly responded by telling me that they’d send out a new unit that had been tested. I was confident that the replacement unit would function properly. My confidence was misplaced. The results are basically the same. Not all of the ports are working even though I was told that the unit would be tested. When a port does finally work, after plenty of plugging and unplugging, it stops working when something gets plugged into another port. I’ve tried switching out USB 3.0 cables from the hub to the computer; from the external devices (in my case 2 Seagate 1TB external hard drives, 1 Western Digital external hard drive, and 2 24″ Dell monitors, which function as hubs themselves) to the hub and it hasn’t fixed the issue.

I’ve also plugged the replacement hub into a different port on my computer and tested each individual port separately with a 16GB Kingston flash drive. The first 5 hubs didn’t register at all. The last 2 did. Then I went back through and some of the hubs started to pick up the device while others did not. But a product either works properly or it doesn’t and I shouldn’t have to hope and pray that I get a port that feels like picking up my drives and devices when it feels like it. I’d also mention that both units had shallow ports for the AC adapters. Neither AC adapter plugged fully into either USB hub. That was disconcerting because it left me wondering what would happen if there was a power surge or something. Would the unit be vulnerable to sparking in such an instance? I don’t know.

I’ve since began the process of returning both defective units. I suppose that I could technically keep one of them but neither works so it’s not really worth it. I’m also quite displeased that I have to pay the shipping cost to return this item. If bought directly from Amazon this wouldn’t be an issue. They provide labels where the postage has already been paid in the case of defective items. While I appreciate that Jacob’s Parts was prompt and courteous with their customer service, I can assure you that I will likely never purchase products from them again.


In the Mail

No mail on Sunday but between Twitter, Instagram, and the blog it becomes difficult to remember what I’ve said or shown and where. Anyway, a week or so ago (I think), I received copies of Preaching by Ear: Speaking God’s Truth from the Inside Out by Dave McClellan and Persuasive Preaching: A Biblical and Practical Guide to the Effective Use of Persuasion by R. Larry Overstreet from The Weaver Book Company. I have a few other books on preaching that I’ve skimmed but haven’t delved into so I’d like to take the next month or two to acquaint myself with the material. I am, after all, a preacher, so it wouldn’t hurt to get some tips from those more experienced than me.


A New Hub

Okay, so let me tell a quick story. I’m supposed to be putting the final touches on an editing project but I need a break because I’ve been staring at that thing all day. Anyway, here’s the deal. I’ve got certain aesthetic sensibilities that are easily offended. I like my commentaries shelved by series; my business cards clean and simple; my shoes lined up in a row starting with casual and moving toward formal (from left to right); etc. I wouldn’t say that I’m obsessive-compulsive about any of this stuff but I do like things a certain way.

So anyway, for months and months I’ve been staring at two Dell 24″ computer monitors hooked into my Macbook Pro. I love them; they’re essential for my workflow. I tried working away from home yesterday on just the laptop and it was a pain in the neck. Anyway, up until a few days ago I had the monitors raised a good bit. I can’t remember why I ever had them so high to begin with but I think it was a holdover from when I had the Macbook resting on a Rain Design mStand. If memory serves I had the bottom of the left Dell monitor matched up with the bottom of the Macbook monitor. Ah yes, that’s what it was.


Anyway, I had them up kinda high. I really had no issues with that. The viewing angle was good. But every time I looked down I saw all my cables behind the monitors. I had them all tied together neatly, but being able to see them irked me something awful. You can’t really see it in this picture because the iPad is hiding them, but they were there and the iPad wasn’t always.


This went on for months. Months I say! Anyway, I finally decided to lower the monitors so that I wouldn’t have to see what was happening behind them. Best move ever!


But I had another issue. This one technical, not aesthetic. The issue has to do with connecting external drives to the Macbook. I only have 256 GB of flash storage (or something like that) and that all goes pretty quickly when you’re using a lot of programs like I use. So external storage is a must. I have a couple of 1TB Seagate drives for my personal stuff and then another 1TB Western Digital drive for the things I need for church. Problem is that you can’t leave external drives plugged in indefinitely on this stinking computer! It was never an issue with my Toshiba. Never!

The problem is that once the computer goes to sleep it dismounts the drive. Then when you wake the computer up you get this annoying message saying that the drive was not properly ejected.


This then requires that you unplug the drive and plug it back in. Super annoying. Super I say! So I had the brilliant idea to purchase a powered USB hub (7 ports on the one I got) with individual switches. This way I can eject the drives safely and flip the switch. Then when I need them I flip the switch back on. No more plugging and unplugging. It was genius!

Screenshot 2015-03-19 22.50.42

So the hub came in today and unfortunately I got a dud. Only 3 of 7 ports are working. The seller has already processed a replacement and I hope to have it by early next week. But getting this new hub also created some space for a bit of rearranging behind the monitors. Now the cables that I had feeding through the monitor stand to the front of the desk for the hard drives are secured behind the monitors. The drives are also back there. So now I can’t see any of that. The only thing I can see if the hub, which I can easily access but it isn’t in the way by any means, and the two wires coming out of it (but they’re quite low profile).

Pretty cool. Below are some pics to help tell the tale.

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Slight Overreaction

Okay, so here’s the situation. Stephen Young wrote an article on “Protective Strategies” in “Evangelical Inerrantist Scholarship” and Christopher Skinner predicted that responses would be forthcoming. Steve Hays then responded to the article. In the interest of full disclosure, I must admit that I’m not familiar with either Young or Skinner. I’ve heard Skinner’s name in the blogosphere and on Twitter but I haven’t read any of his work or interacted with him personally. I’ve not heard of Young before this. Hays on the other hand I know (inasmuch as I can “know” someone whom I’ve never met in person). But we’ve interacted aplenty over the past few years.

I said all that to say this: I think that perhaps Skinner has overreacted to Hays’ response to Young. I haven’t read Young’s original article so I can’t comment on it. I have read Hays’ response and Skinner’s impressions of Hays’ response. I don’t know if Skinner has a personal or professional relationship with Young. He did call him a “very bright Ph.D. candidate” so at least he holds him in some regard. Hays on the other hand was unknown to Skinner before his response to Young’s article. But it becomes clear that he doesn’t hold Hays in nearly the same regard.

Skinner refers to Hays’ response as “rambling, mostly incoherent” as well as “ludicrous” and “disturbing.” He says that he “shudder[s] to point readers to [Hays’] site for fear that this poster will experience a rise in his daily stats and thereby believe that he is reaching the masses…” Again, I don’t know Skinner or his relationship to Young, but when I read this I wondered why he felt so incensed as to employ that kind of rhetoric. I assumed that he was simply taking up for a friend. Maybe. Maybe not. I don’t know.

But then I skimmed Skinner’s original post where he first mentions Young’s article and saw that he was “someone who once clung tightly to the trappings of the evangelical inerrantist subculture and ultimately found that narrative both deficient and oppressive…” He said that it was “empowering to have someone put a name to the ways in which this subculture continues to exercise its influence over the lives and beliefs of so many.” So Skinner has been affected, for the negative it seems, by Evangelical Inerrantist Scholarship. That helps to make sense of his rhetoric, which reads as someone lashing out against someone who has hurt them.

I didn’t discern anything incoherent, ludicrous, or even remotely disturbing in Hays’ response. It was all very well laid out and reasoned. That’s generally a mark of Hays’ writing. If I were to fault him on anything it would be the not too infrequent typographical errors that make their way into his posts. I’d also add that I was at once slightly amused and annoyed by Skinner’s comment that he didn’t want to spike Hays’ blog stats by linking to his post. Amused because Triablogue has been around for more than a decade and is one of the more popular blogs covering the subject matter it covers. Annoyed because it came off as hubristic.

In any event, read everyone involved and judge for yourselves.