Category Archives: News

On Recent Events

I have a lot to say about the recent police shootings that have happened but I won’t say it here. I will say two simple things:

  1. Police officers, in most circumstances, can subdue suspects without taking their lives. Discharging a firearm should be the last resort and an action that should be taken only if another’s life is immediately in danger.
  2. Suspects need to cooperate with police officers, which means no resisting arrest as well as not reaching for anything unless instructed to do so. I’m convinced that if this were the case then there would be less deaths at the hands of police officers.

I would also like to add that I don’t much care for the rhetoric of “murder” being used so carelessly in each and every one of these cases. At times the police officers are guilty of murder, but more often than not they’ve simply killed someone, which is tragic, but not murder in and of itself.

That is all.

B”H

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The Psychology of Sexual Abuse

The allegations against Bill Cosby are shocking. He has long been a cultural icon whose name has been nearly synonymous with morality (a bald morality devoid of Jesus, mind you, but morality by the world’s standards nonetheless). But 15 women accusing him of rape is no joke, and regardless of whether or not he did it, his reputation will be tarnished forever. I don’t care to discuss that though.

What I want to address is a subject that I’ve heard raised on the radio as well as in the barbershop that I manage. The issue I’d like to address is the one pertaining to why come out now and not when these alleged attacks first took place. A coworker of mine gets incensed every time the subject is brought up and blames the alleged victims for waiting so long to come forward. In his mind this is a clear sign of Cosby’s innocence.

But he also adds that even if Cosby is guilty, these women are making themselves look stupid by keeping quit for so long. Surely had they really been assaulted they would have gone to the authorities immediately; I mean everybody knows that, right? WRONG! I’ve not read any studies on the subject (I really wish I had statistics to bolster my claims here) but I can speak anecdotally because I know dozens (that’s right; dozen in the plural) of people who have been sexually assaulted.

I know both women and men who have been abused sexually, whether molested or raped (some violently and some who have been victim to date rape), and there’s a common denominator in all of their testimonies: SHAME. I don’t know a single person who has been abused sexually who hasn’t felt some kind of shame about it. Some of those I know who were strong enough to tell on their abuser were met with scorn and doubt from those they told. Most were too traumatized or too deceived into thinking they were to blame to say anything at all initially.

The thing I tried to explain to my coworker (repeatedly), was that many women (and men as well) who are victims of sexual assault don’t say anything because speaking about it causes them to relive the experience. In addition, many believe themselves to have been at fault for a variety of reasons (e.g., not fighting against the attack as hard as they could have; coming on too strong and inviting the attack; putting themselves in a situation to be attacked; etc.). The point is that there’s a lot of moving parts to why someone wouldn’t just up and tell on their abuser.

And I know a bunch of nobodies (and by that I mean people who are not well known by the general public) who were abused by a bunch of nobodies. Bill Cosby is a somebody. Again, he’s been a cultural icon for half a century! Standup comedy (clean standup comedy at that); movies; wildly popular television programs; endorsements; philanthropy; etc. Now think of how that impacts the dynamic. You have a number of women who have allegedly been sexually assaulted by one of the most loved figures in recent American memory. How easy is it to just up and tell on him given the broad range of emotions they’re feeling and the magnitude of his public persona?

It’s not easy at all. It’s not easy for nobodies to tell on nobodies let alone nobodies tell on famous people. So why now? Why stay quiet for all this time? Well, I don’t have all of the facts, so I don’t know exactly when these women started to come out of the woodwork, but lets say that they all came out within a month or two of each other. It’s not so difficult to account for that (and we see it with these types of cases all the time). There is strength in numbers. One victim stepping forward empowers another to do the same. So on and so forth. It’s the reason that support groups exist.

Now I don’t know if Bill Cosby is a serial rapist or not. I don’t find it implausible. In fact, I tend to find 15 women accusing him of rape well after they can seek legal recourse (and from what I’ve read, none are seeking damages either) more implausible, which is to say that given the scope of the accusation and the similarity in the stories of the alleged victims (at least from what I’ve read), I tend to think that there’s a good chance he did it. But Bill Cosby isn’t the issue here. The issue is thinking that it’s just as easy to report a sexual crime as it is to report a hit and run or burglary. It’s not. Not even close.

Just something to ponder for those who are quick to blame the alleged victims of sexual crimes. Much more could be said but I’ll leave it to the experts to say it.

B”H

I’m a Winner

I learned earlier today that I won Dave Black‘s recent mystery man contest. He posted a picture of James Montgomery Boice on his blog and asked for emails telling him who the man was. In the event that multiple people got it right he’d have his lovely wife Becky pick the winner out of a hat. Well, she picked me! See his Saturday, January 26, 6:33 PM post for the announcement. So Dave is kindly sending me a copy of his book Perspectives on the Ending of Mark: Four Views. I’m very much looking forward to this book since Mark’s ending plays an important role in what Pentecostals believe about the signs that should follow believers. Can’t wait!

B”H

I’m a Winner!

I received an email informing me that I’ve won a copy of the Lutheran Study Bible in Shaun Tabatt‘s annual 12 Days Before Christmas Giveaway! This was one of the prizes from day 2. Shaun has informed me that random.org generates the winners so there was no favoritism at work but I’d like to think otherwise. So I’d like to thank Shaun for the prize and I’d like to dedicate this victory to my dear friend and fellow (losing) contestant, Esteban Vázquez. ;-)

B”H

Score!

For years Nathan MacDonald’s Deuteronomy and the Meaning of Monotheism has been eluding me. I first became interested in it after reading a chapter that Richard Bauckham contributed to the volume Out of Egypt: Biblical Theology and Biblical Interpretation in which Bauckham drew from MacDonald’s work. I’ve read portions on Google Books but that’s never the same.

Anyway, I tried obtaining a review copy from Mohr a while back but  was told that it was an older volume and they’d exhausted their review copy stock on it. Drats! I’ve had it on my Amazon wish list for quite some time and it’s always been unavailable. It’s conceivable that I would have picked up a second hand copy if I could have found one.

But by divine providence, I happened to google the title this morning, and it led me to the original doctoral dissertation on which the book is based (something that has also eluded me, because trust me, I’ve looked for it)! So now I’ll be able to finally read MacDonald’s “One God or One Lord: Deuteronomy and the Meaning of ‘Monotheism’” in its entirety! This will definitely hold me over until I can get the monograph.

Score!

B”H