#DearPresidentObama

#DearPresidentObama:

Now that your time in office is coming to an end I just wanted to thank you for your service to our country. Did you get everything right? Of course not. Did you do things that I personally did not agree with or that were against the things I hold dear and believe? Of course you did. Did you do some really good things for our country? Yes you did!

Thank you for holding the office you held with integrity, for loving your wife and children, for being an overall gentleman that we as a country can be proud of—It was sure nice not having any scandals come out of the White House will you were Commander-in-chief.

But what I think I will miss the most is your yearly NCAA Bracket predictions. I absolutely loved that you took time to do that! And, you picked my Kansas Jayhawks to win it all once, so, you are okay in my books.

All that to say, now that you are going to be transitioning back into civilian life, may it be restful and may you be able to reflect back on your time with a clear conscience, knowing that you did what you felt was best not for you or your personal interests, but what was best for me and my fellow Americans.

Thank you, Mr. President. And may the Lord Jesus Christ grant you rest. I bet you are tired!

Sincerely,
Cliff Kvidahl

PS: If you are ever in my neck of the woods you are more then welcome to come over for cup of coffee and a Chicago Blackhawks game.

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The Liebster Award

liebsterIt looks like my friend Jennifer Guo has nominated me for what is called the Lobster Award. Gonna be honest, I have never heard of this award before, but I want to thank the little people for getting me where I am today, which is not much further from where I was yesterday.

So, here are the rules:

“The Rules” according to the Wording Well, in order to accept the nomination you must follow these following guidelines:

  • Post the award on your blog.
  • Thank the blogger who presented this award and link back to his/her blog.
  • Write 5 random facts about yourself.
  • Nominate 5 bloggers (they should have less than 300 followers).
  • Answer 5 questions posted by the presenter and ask your nominees 5 questions.

Jennifer’s Questions:

1. If you could have any super power what would it be, and who would your arch-nemesis be?

Not sure if this is a super power, but I would want to be able to read any book in a matter of seconds. If this cannot be done, then I would want to invent the Matrix so that I can download Google Books/Internet Archive into my brain. As far as arch-nemesis goes, it would have to be publishers and authors. Once I download all the world’s books, I will need more and soon I will come looking for more.

2. Middle Earth or Narnia and why?

Neither! My home would be in post-apocalyptic SoCal, fighting against Skynet alongside John Connor and the Resistance army.

3. What’s your favorite biblical/theological topic/area?

Heilsgeschichte and really anything to do with the letter to the Hebrews.

4. Favorite scholars?

Not sure I would use favorite, but as far as most influential goes I would say the following fit that role:

  • C. K. Barrett
  • Oscar Cullmann
  • Adolf Schlatter
  • George Ladd
  • George Guthrie
  • N. T. Wright
  • Richard Hays
  • Martine Hengel
  • Don Hagner
  • Greg Beale
  • Will Varner
  • Joe Hellerman

5. If you’ve been to SBL, describe a favorite memory. If not, describe what you’d be most excited about if you were going next year.

My favorite memory of SBL was sitting with Don Hagner and listening to him tell stories about his Doktorvater F. F. Bruce and his good friend Martin Hengel. He has since become a dear friend.

Five Random Facts About Me:

  • I am a huge Pittsburg Penguins fan! I grew up in SoCal, and the first hockey game I remember watching on TV was a Penguins game. I was mesmerized by the greatest hockey player of all time, Mario Lemieux!
  • I can spend all day watching SportsCenter!
  • I can play drums, guitar, base guitar, trumpet, and a little bit of piano.
  • I love to roast my own coffee.
  • Before I die I want to see the Swiss Alps.

#SBLAAR14 Warning: Beware of @drjewest Crazy Antics

For all who are in San Diego for the SBL gathering, I want to give you fair warning. If you decide to invite Jim West to hang out at your hotel room after the days over you may find that your room was not the same as you first left it.

nariman_destroyedSo if you want to keep your room from being West-enized, just be sure you speak well of Bultmann and Zwingli.

Keeping up with Scholarship

I love research! I love going to a library and spending hours making mental notes of all the latest journals, books, and other things relating to New Testament scholarship. When I was a undergraduate student I worked at the library. When I was not helping patrons with questions, usually you could find me scanning the TOC of all of the journals we carried—both paper copies and electronic copies. I would store important articles away in my head for use on a rainy day. The really important ones I would make photocopies of; or if it was electronic, I would save a PDF of it to a thumb drive. By the time I graduate I had a collection of some 100+ articles. The same could be said for books. I got to know our library so well that when someone came in looking for a particular title I could take them straight to it without having to check our records for its location. All this to say, I have a unquenchable curiosity for what is going on in the field.

Now, why do I say all of this? I have been asked a few occasions how I have attained my knowledge of these things. The simple answer is I have no life. I would rather stay home and catalog my library or download the latest TOC of NovTest, NTS, etc. than go see a movie or eat a fancy dinner. While potential PhD students are looking for an advisor for their dissertations, I am looking to get info on their latest writing projects. So, this is my attempt to flesh out what I do stay on top of the latest trends in NT scholarship.

Before I say anymore, let me state that I am no scholar nor do I claim to be. There are far smarter people than me out there. Nevertheless, one does not have to be a scholar to stay informed.

1. The Publishing World

One of the easiest ways to stay informed in to get copies of every major academic publishers catalogs of forthcoming books. When I worked at a Christian bookstore in my hometown I use to spend my lunch breaks reading through the Baker Academic, Eerdmans, and Zondervan catalogs. Whenever I came across a book that looked promising, I would make a mental note of it (I seem to have a strange ability to remember books without writing them down). If it was really good, I would also selfishly have the store order it so that I could get it at 40% off. Now, with the ease of Amazon I can also search by publisher and then sort by publication date to see what books are coming later in the year. Speaking of Amazon, I use their wish list to now keep track of what I want to get at some point.

2. Blogs and Blogging

I have been grateful to befriend a number of people through the medium of blogging. These connections have helped me meet some new friends that are involved in the world of academics and publishing. I have made connections with some key publishers like Baylor, Fortress, Zondervan, and others, for which I am grateful and blessed to know. I have also become friends with scholars in the field of NT studies. People like Mike Bird, Nijay Gupta, and others are doing some awesome things in their area of expertise. Heck, I have even gotten to sit in a room with other bloggers and interview N.T. Wright! See, blogging pays off.

3. Read, Read, and Read

I read all the time! At any given moment I am in the midst of 3 or more books. Like I said above, I would rather spend the evening with a few books than at the movies. I get up at 5am to read and go to bed around 12am with a book in hand. Thankfully I have a wife who understands my love for reading and puts up with my nose constantly in a book. While I read, I am not only tracing the argument, but I am again making mental notes of the bibliographic citations in the footnotes. I find footnotes to be a book in and of themselves. I keep track of what books are being cited and tuck them away in my mind.

4. Networking

With social media this has become easy! I get to know people through twitter and then have a beer with them at SBL in November. Also, by working at Logos Bible Software I have been lucky to befriend folks like David Garland, Joel Willitts, Josh Jipp, Lynn Cohick, and Mike Bird!

5. Love for History

When I was in school I always did well in history. When everyone complained about having to remember dates, I always loved that part because it was the dates that I used as containers for the information. I loved tracing important historical facts from one point to another, from cause to effect. It is the same with NT scholarship. I like to trace the development of one area of research through all of the key players along the way, reading their works as I do.

I could add more but I will stop there. In truth, when I am asked how do I know what I know I really do not know how to answer. My brain is just wired to remember random facts and information.

None of this may make any sense, but it is what makes sense to me. I also don’t know if you can teach somebody this. I think it is just in their bones.

The Pope, a Parrot, Jesus and a Dinosaur

 

jesusridingdino_prehistoric

Our good friend Joel Watts has weighed in on the Pope blessing a parrot and Jim West’s reaction to it. While I share Jim’s reaction to this whole fiasco, I must say that I rather enjoyed Joel’s confession of loyalty to love for the Holly Father. Look, I like a guy who wears fancy hats and dresses (read: robes) as much as the next guy, but at the end of the day it is nuts to consider that the Pope’s blessing of a parrot is anything other than a case of crazy.

Now, if it was Jesus blessing a velociraptor, well that would be a legit blessing. Am I right Jeremy?