Archive for the ‘Fun’ Category

More fun in the Library

October 12, 2009

To continue from last term’s fun


For more irony, this NRSV cover spells the word “Anglicised” with the American spelling:


Reason #73 why I love the Anglican Church

September 20, 2009


Not only does it have the subtle commend-the-good dynamics of thanking me for not smoking, but it’s a cross-stitch!

Fun at the British Library

September 5, 2009

Today I visited the “Treasures of the British Library” exhibition in London. A bit geeky, but it was really good. Some of the British Library’s most famous and historic documents are on display – from sacred texts to a profanity-laden draft of one of Harold Pinter’s plays.
Some of the manuscripts I was most interested in seeing were the Biblical texts. Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Alexandrinus were both on display. It was worth getting to see them to understand some of the points in NT textual criticism about the “corrections” to Sinaiticus and other manuscripts. These were written in the margins and clearly distinguishable… an important thing to grasp as I hadn’t really understood how scholars knew which were the “corrections”. Most of these on the pages shown seemed to be spelling variations! Reading the text was quite hard as there are no spaces between words, and capital letters are used (with a lunate sigma resembling C used rather than Σ). Sinaiticus is exciting to see in particular because of its value in witnessing to the integrity of the Greek New Testament text (and also as one of the most important Septuagintal witnesses) and anyone who claims that the text of the Bible has been corrupted by the church would do well to go along to the BL with a modern edition of the Greek New Textament and do a comparison. Or just view it online.
Other exciting Bibles were the Lindisfarne gospels, which are beautifully illustrated and still look vivid after hundres of years, and the Gutenberg Bible (though, rather disappointingly, the page on display was from the preface!).
In a separate display were three misprinted Bibles, including the famous “Wicked Bible” which omits a crucial “not” from Exodus 20:14 (leaving “Thou shalt (or, ſhalt) commit adultery”), one which misprints Matthew 5:9a as “Blessed are the place-makers”, and one which prints 1Corinthians 6:9 as “Know ye not that the unrighteous shall inherit the kingdom of God?…”. There’s a post from a while back on The Merrie Theologiane about these, and other, misprints, called “Bibles worth burning”. A cautionary example of the need for careful proof-reading!

Some church posters

September 1, 2009

Found by a friend of my sister, in Kent somewhere…

Fancy a change? Try Church

Fancy a change? Try Church

Spread God's light all over this land

Spread God's light all over this land

They’re almost, but not quite, in the same league as my all-time favourite: “CH__CH: What’s missing?”

University Challenge

August 3, 2009

This evening I was on an episode of University Challenge, representing the University of Nottingham. I’m a big fan of quizzes, and so getting a chance to appear on the great-granddaddy of all TV quizzes was not to be passed up! It was a close match against Girton College, Cambridge, and after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing, we lost 145-180. I like to think that we gave them a good enough match to not besmirch our fair university’s reputation, and loved Jeremy Paxman’s little comment at the end: “Nottingham, I would have thought you’d have done a bit better than that”. Never mind. It was a great experience, and a lot of fun. In the UK, the episode is available to watch until next Monday evening on the BBC iPlayer.parrot

What’s your C-factor? (Calvinism!)

July 11, 2009

Quiz here. This is a fairly lighthearted and unscientific quiz that covers not only the theological distinctives of Calvinism, but also attitudes to work, society and relationships. I got 81% Calvinist overall, with 100% in the “Beliefs” category, which sounds about right. I once came extremely close to ordering a T-Shirt from the web that read “Servetus had it coming” so clearly I’m too Calvinist for my own good…

(I don’t really!)

In fact, I found this quiz thanks to an article on BBC News: “Economic crisis boosts Dutch Calvinism”. Unfortunately, unlike the quiz which is actually pretty good at showing that the social and cultural aspects of Calvinism stem from the theology – i.e. taking the Bible seriously – the impression you get from the BBC article is that Calvinism is only about “hard work and frugality”.

Does Calvin espouse hard work and frugality? Well, yes, but in the context of “Christian liberty” as a response to grace:

“Certainly ivory and gold, and riches, are the good creatures of God, permitted, not destined, by divine providence for the use of man; nor was it ever forbidden to laugh, or to be full, or to add new to old and hereditary possessions, or to be delighted with music, or to drink wine. This is true, but when the means are presented to roll and wallow in luxury, to intoxicate the mind and soul with the present, and be always hunting after new pleasures, is very far from a legitimate use of the gifts of God. Let them, therefore, suppress immoderate desire, immoderate profusion, vanity, and arrogance, that they may use the gifts of God purely with a pure conscience … to learn with Paul in whatever state they are, “therewith to be content,” to know “both how to be abased,” and “how to abound,” “to be full and hungry, both to abound and suffer need” (Phil 4:11).
Institutes III:19.9

Calvin urges moderation in the enjoyment of the gifts God has given – knowing both that “everything created by God is good, and nothing is to be rejected if it is received with thanksgiving” (1Timothy 4:4) but that immoderate use of created things can quickly become spiritually distracting or even idolatrous. To “wallow in luxury” keeps our attention on the present, feeds a theology of glory rather than a theology of the cross, and teaches us to ignore God.

But Calvin would have recoiled in horror from the idea that economic and social moderation is virtuous outside of its connection with Christ. Calvin’s motive for enjoining moderation and Christian liberty is to encourage Christians to glorify God in their living by enjoying His gifts without letting them eclipse Him. It is not even hard work done to merit salvation, but freedom given by salvation by grace to live for the glory of God. The motive is also (contra the BBC article) not political or to encourage hard work for hard work’s sake; it is theological, theocentric, God-exalting living completely informed by the unearned grace he has described only a few paragraphs earlier:

“…the law … leaves not one man righteous [and so] we are either excluded from all hope of justification, or we must be loosed from the law, and so loosed as that no account at all shall be taken of works… Therefore laying aside all mention of the law, and all idea of works, we must in the matter of justification have recourse to the mercy of God only; turning away our regard from ourselves, we must look only to Christ. For the question is, not how we may be righteous, but how, though unworthy and unrighteous, we may be regarded as righteous … when the conscience feels anxious as to how it may have the favour of God, as to the answer it could give, the confidence it would feel, if brought to his judgement seat, in such a case the requirements of the law are not to be brought forward, but Christ, who surpasses all the perfection of the law, is alone to be held forth for righteousness.
Institutes, III:19.2 (emphasis mine)

If that excerpt had you nodding along in agreement, or even punching the air and saying “Amen!”, then you’re well on the way to being a Calvinist, no matter what you got on the quiz!

Seeing as I’ve stolen a cartoon from them, this is also worth a read: “Why I am a Calvinist” by C. Matthew McMahon.

Security Protected…

May 16, 2009

…please remove prior to putting in microwave.


Found by my housemate on a DVD (Ice Age) from Sainsbury’s. I really can’t get my head around this one – I can’t think of any security-protected goods that are typically put in the microwave – DVDs, CDs, Alcohol, knives, clothing…

Fun in the Library

April 21, 2009

The atmosphere in the library’s pretty intense at the moment, but there’s still space for amusement… even from books!


Now, my French is a little rusty, but I don’t remember any souffle in the Old Testament. Unless that’s what manna is…


This one is more tragicomic… the spelling doesn’t make me optimistic about the scholarship therein…


And finally, something a little more low-brow.

What’s your theological worldview?

April 13, 2009

Just taken this quiz… I think it’s pretty good as far as these things go – some questions could be a bit more nuanced, but, hey, I’m happy with the results.

You Scored as Reformed Evangelical
You are a Reformed Evangelical. You take the Bible very seriously because it is God’s Word. You most likely hold to TULIP and are sceptical about the possibilities of universal atonement or resistible grace. The most important thing the Church can do is make sure people hear how they can go to heaven when they die. 

Reformed Evangelical
Neo orthodox
Evangelical Holiness/Wesleyan
Roman Catholic
Classical Liberal
Modern Liberal