Friday, 25 January 2008
Some readers of this blog will recognize the name of Sam Lawlace, an internationally recognized cinematographer using the medium of Lego blocks filmed in stop-motion. His latest release is worth watching.
In a series of earlier posts, I examined the first few chapters of Acts in evaluating the TNIV's mistranslations of terms referring specifically to males, as if they were inclusive of females. I'd like to get back to that topic, but from a little different angle (if I can). I'll use the King James Version as my base, with reference also to the Greek text.
Acts 1:13 gives a list of people who were gathered in the upper room. These eleven men are the very disciples formerly known (when Judas was one of their number) as The Twelve. Then in verse 14, others are mentioned as being in their company:
- [some] women
- Mary the mother of Jesus
- his [Jesus'] brothers
I can't resist pointing out here that the TNIV missed the chance to turn this last item into "Jesus' brothers and sisters," which is the obvious meaning of the passage in TNIV-speak. But the point here is that some unmistakably female persons are listed along with some unmistakably male persons as being in "one accord in prayer and supplication" with the Eleven. There is no question, then, that what those women were doing in the Upper Room was praying in mixed company. If the women were just sitting in as observers, then so were the brothers of Jesus, among them the future leader of the local church there in Jerusalem. There is no gender basis here for the exclusion of anyone from joining in public prayer.
In verse 15, we see Peter rising to address this mixed company. Or do we? In the base text of the NIV (based in turn on the Alexandrian manuscript tradition), Peter addressed "the brethren." Whomever he was addressing, he directly calls them 'Men' (andres) so let's recognize that for the next few verses, the women present are only listening in on someone else's discussion. As ample proof of that, Peter continues with male-specific language:
v. 21 "of these men (andrwn) . . . must one be ordained"
And in fact, it was two men who were put forward to replace Judas, though at least some of the women present would have been eligible under the guidelines Peter gave, minus the male-specific language. I mean, come on--who would have better fit the qualifications than Mary herself? But only two were found qualified--and they were both men. Of the two eligible candidates, Matthias was the one chosen.
Now we come to chapter 2 of Acts. The ordination service is over, and the mixed company is back at their business of praying and supplicating in one accord. Note in this chapter the total absence of male-specific language in reference to this company:
v. 1 they
v. 2 they
v. 3 each [one] of them
v. 4 they all; them
This is when the Spirit falls, and the company switches over from praying to proclaiming.
In v. 5, as in v. 14, 22, and 29, the audience is specified as male. But not so the speakers:
v. 6 them
v. 7 these
v. 11 them
v. 13 they (KJV has 'these men,' a paraphrase]
v. 15 these
Now Peter is going to make application of this phenomenon to the book of Joel, which mentions:
v. 17 all flesh; sons and daughters; youths and elders [KJV & TNIV have 'young men' and 'old men']
v. 18 manservants and maidservants [KJV 'servants' and 'handmaidens']
It's pretty obvious here that what Peter claims is being fulfilled really is: both men and women are proclaiming the wonderful works of God. Backing up a bit, both men and women were visited with the tongues of fire. Both men and women were praying in one accord.
So, what were those women doing in the Upper Room? They were publicly participating in prayer and worship inside the church, and proclamation outside the Church. They were not participating in the governance of the church.
This is in keeping with the teaching of the rest of the New Testament.
Monday, 7 January 2008
Having recently had to face prosecution on a matter related to vaccination, the White Man is going over the literature again to look for the latest research on the efficacy and safety of vaccines. Or perhaps I should say, the relative efficacy and safety of vaccines, as no one claims they are completely safe or completely effective. Anyway, I turned up some investigation into claims made by Robert F. Kennedy Jr. which appeared in this 2005 article. Suffice it to say that, having examined the evidence myself, I have come to two preliminary conclusions (and given that these claims were answered two years ago, I doubt my opinions will find reason to be changed in the near future):
1) Thimerosol in vaccines is not a statistically identifiable threat to children;
2) Removing mercury compounds from vaccines does not make them identifiably safer.
It's actually a relief that Thimerosol has finally been ruled out as a primary cause for autism in immunized children. This means that the vaccine itself, not any additive, remains suspect. But notice, it took 10 years after beginning to pull Thimerosol off the market before this causative link could be ruled out in children being vaccinated. At this rate it could take many more decades to rule out other ingredients, like the aluminum salts or even the attenuated virus itself.
For years we have avoided infant vaccinations because of the highly controversial evidence linking them to brain and skin damage leading to lifelong disability. We had the confidence to do this because of the admitted inefficacy of the vaccines and the suspicion that our children were so healthy as to be a low risk of death or disability from childhood diseases anyway (just to recap: In 2000 half of our family members had been vaccinated for pertussis; half had not. A pertussis epidemic swept through, and half of us got it: half of the ones that had been vaccinated, and half of the ones who hadn't--none required medical aid).
Of course those who stand to profit from compulsive vaccination, along with those who believe it to be protective of their own health, will try to convince us that we are wrong, but we are not so gullible as to take their word for it. We now concede what we never specifically refuted: that the Thimerosol component in vaccines is not the culprit. But we have not begun to see the evidence that an initially healthy child kept from city water, processed foods, polluted air, and vaccines is anywhere near as susceptible to death or disability as an initially healthy child exposed to all of the above. In fact we are unaware of any studies whatsoever that have even attempted to prove it.
Spending time in jail is not fun, but it pales in comparison to the agony of having to raise a child whose deformity is the result of you trusting the experts contrary to the evidence.
UPDATE OCTOBER 2011: The situation is turning out to be much more complicated than it appeared nearly four years ago. Much research has been since carried out to show that the additives in vaccine do in fact play a major role in vaccination injuries. Search on the label "which doctors" to find further posts on this topic.