Academic smackdowns #1

From John Stackhouse, Making the Best of It, 208, n. 34: This is just one of many places in which I could signal, as I do now, both my frequent confusion about what Stanley Hauerwas is saying in his many writings, and my likely disagreement with him on some (but by no means all) key points. … Indeed, given Brother Hauerwas's current prominence, I must confess that I find him—despite his oft-praised penchant for the exciting phrase—so frequently obscure, as well as so frequently implausible, that I have focused my attention herein on the more intelligible and provocative work of his mentor, John Howard Yoder.

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David Davis on the UK's Investigatory Powers Bill

Great interview in the Guardian with David Davis: In every other country in the world, post-Snowden, people are holding their government’s feet to the fire on these issues, but in Britain we idly let this happen. We’re the country that invented James Bond and we like our spies. We have a wonderful illusion about our security services, a very comforting illusion. But it means we’re too comfortable. Because for the past 200 years we haven’t had a Stasi or a Gestapo, we are intellectually lazy about it, so it’s an uphill battle.

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Paperless productivity

I've had a Fujitsu ScanSnap S1300 for ages, and have recently been making a bigger effort to keep on top of scanning & shredding. A couple of tweaks have helped a lot with this. The first is installing the ScanSnap ix500 software over top of the S1300 software. This comes with a separate application (Scannable PDF converter) for OCR-ing the PDF files. You can choose this as the destination for the ScanSnap manager, and then also set ScanSnap manager to do its work in the background (Preferences, Status Display, uncheck "

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Email apps

The Mac email app leaves droppings all over my Gmail Drafts folders, is very slow at sending messages, and has no integration with my todo apps (Asana + something else). Search works perfectly though, and given that I have about 50,000 messages saved search has to be perfect for my email. Problems with other apps: Mail Pilot: no Exchange support, todo within email not integrated to other apps Mailbox: no Exchange support, no todo integrations Airmail: bit clunky, can integrate with Things/Omni/Evernote but not Asana/Wunderlist etc.

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GTD apps

My ideal GTD app would offer:

  • great native interface on Mac and iOS
  • reliable fast sync
  • next/later/someday split
  • shared lists or even better, ability to delegate tasks
  • location reminders like Checkmark (i.e. multiple physical locations for a location category, such as "Groceries")

Nice to have:

  • Reminders auto-import
  • Ability for 3rd party apps to interact (mainly email clients)

Reasons why I don't like particular apps:

  • Todoist: due-date-based interface; you can do GTD but it's clearly not the priority, Mac app is clunky
  • Things: no sharing, no location reminders, limited app integration
  • Wunderlist: no location reminders, no someday category
  • Checkmark: location reminders can't be in a project/list, no Mac app, no app integration
  • OmniFocus: no sharing, complicated interface, Mac App especially takes way too much screen space per task, limited app integration
  • 2Do: clunky interface, sync unreliable
  • Asana: clunky interface (still my preference for teams but not good enough for personal GTD), no Mac app

Novum Testamentum article

My journal article on Jesus and debt-forgiveness, with the catchy title, "Did Jesus Oppose the prosbul in the Forgiveness Petition of the Lord’s Prayer?", has been published in the current issue of Novum Testamentum. Here's the abstract: NT 56.3_233-244_1447_Drake.indd The forgiveness petition of the Lord’s Prayer includes the condition that the petitioner must forgive their own “debtors,” widely taken to be a metaphorical reference to sin- forgiveness. In this article, I argue that to Jesus’ contemporaries “debt” would have been an unusual way of referring to sin, and that the choices made by the Matthean and Lukan redactors show that they understood the Jesus-saying to enjoin debt-forgiveness as well as sin-forgiveness.

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Tolerance is often seen as a great virtue in Western societies, and has at times been held out as a moral absolute. The problem is that some points of view seem intolerable. Most obviously, those calling for universal tolerance cannot generally tolerate those who are themselves intolerant or call on others to be intolerant. To those who are not Christian, the views of Christians are sometimes intolerable, and this results in inconsistency over the degree to which tolerance is commanded as a public virtue.

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Repost: trader to theology student (& now pastor)

Some readers of this article in the New Zealand Herald might be interested in reading what I wrote when I left my previous job at Barcap: However, while I think Christians sometimes have useful ideas on how society could be improved, including perhaps the financial industry, I don’t have any ethical problem with banking as an industry… I don’t think that my job was unethical – but I do think that what I am going to do is a far better use of my time and energy.

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Abba isn't Daddy

Should Christians speak to God as "Daddy," or think of God as their "Daddy God" as some people suggest? Background The New Testament was written in Greek, but Jesus and his disciples most likely spoke Aramaic as their main language. (Aramaic is a Semitic language closely related to Hebrew.) There are a few places in the New Testament where Aramaic words are found transliterated into Greek, alongside a Greek translation of the word.

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It doesn't matter if David Bain was guilty

A great deal of energy is being spent by the government, the justice system, and various commentators on the guilt or innocence of David Bain. (He spent many years in prison for murders, but has since been acquitted.) An example is the opinion piece in the Herald by C K Stead (Opinion: Why judge was wrong on Bain - Politics - NZ Herald News). Some people continue to think David Bain is guilty, but it is evident that at least one jury, and a number of highly qualified legal practitioners, think there is not enough evidence to prove his guilt (and a substantial number of people believe him to be completely innocent).

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