Thursday, August 27, 2009


Angry face.

I saw a link on CNN to a website called "Personas" developed by MIT where you can go, type in your name, and find out what kind of person the internet thinks you are. (You can try it for yourself here.)

So, I went and typed in my name and the results started pouring in. As I watched, I noticed a quote from one website that made me a little angry. Part of me was mad, because the quote was mean, but I was a more upset because it was true. And, let's be honest, nothing hurts more than when someone successfully points out one of your faults.

The full quote was: "Don't ask for help from friends like Joshua Elek who are completely incapable of being helpful when they see an opportunity to be funny."

See? Isn't that mean? And, isn't it worse that it's also kinda true? Wouldn't you be ticked off if someone said something like that about you on the Internet? Especially if you sort of agreed with it? Well, I was ticked. And I was going to find out who said it.

So I went to Google and searched for "Joshua Elek completely incapable of being helpful" or something like that, and hit enter. The results popped up and, boom. There it is, the exact quote... ON JR'S BLOG.


So, now I'm sitting at my computer thinking... JR? JR Rozko? JR ROZKO?! Why the hate man? Why you gotta be bashin' me on your blog for all the world to read... what did I do? You big mean jerk! I even helped you move! Who do you... Grrrrrr.....

Well, the quote wasn't right there on the page when I got there. So, I scrolled down through the post to find out what he's talking about. When did I refuse to help my good buddy JR because I wanted to be funny? Gotta see why Junior's all ROASTIN' me on his blog.

Eventually, I found the quote. It wasn't in the post. It was in the comments section, and JR didn't write it after all. In fact... it was me. I wrote it.

Oh. Duh.

Sorry JR.

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

The Order of Creation

Notice the curios lack of a watch on either of God's wrists.

My friend Jay just pointed me to an online Bible app at It looks pretty neat and allows you to actually post little bits of commentary on verses that other people can read. (I still prefer The Unbound Bible for the record... just because it has the scholarly stuff that I need.) I started at Gen. 1, and noticed a note by someone claiming that the Day/Evening language in Gen. 1 supports the literal seven day creation timeline. So, I wrote a little note to explain why I disagree with that position, and figured I'd toss it up here for someone to discuss if you're feeling particularly geeky. Here's what I had to say about the order and timeline of creation in Genesis 1 and 2.

Often people consider the "evening/morning" language in Genesis 1 to be evidence that creation took place over seven twenty-four hour periods. There are certain issues with a literal reading of the creation account however. These problems do not imply that God was not responsible for creation, but they do point out that a literal reading of Genesis 1 requires a symbolic reading of other texts.

Gen. 1 can be read as a literal account of the creation of the world, only if Gen. 2 is not read as a literal account of the creation of the world. Let me show you why I say that:

The order of creation in Gen. 1:
Day 1: Day and Night (1:3-5)
Day 2: Sky and Sea (1:6-8)
Day 3: Land and Plants (1:9-13)
Day 4: Sun, Moon and Stars (1:14-19) [ignore the problem of plants growing before the creation of the Sun for now.]
Day 5: Sea creatures and birds. (1:20-23)
Day 6: Wild animals, then human kind. (1:25-31)
Day 7: Rest (2:1-3)

If we just read Genesis 1, there is no problem. Maybe God made everything just like this, in seven twenty-four hour periods. There is the issue of plants growing before the creation of the Sun, but we'll table that for now. So, according to Genesis 1:25-31, humankind was created on day 6, AFTER the plants, and wild animals were created.

The problem with this arises in Gen. 2:5-7. There we read that "no shrub of the field had yet appeared on the earth and no plant of the field had yet sprung up..." (2:5) Then, in 2:7, God creates man. After creating man, God plants a garden in Eden (2:8), creates all the living creatures (2:19), and finishes by creating woman (2:20-22).

So according to Gen. 1, plants are created, then animals, and humans are created last. But according to Gen. 2, Man is created, then plants are created, then animals, and woman last.

The NIV recognizes this problem, and does a little trick to the Hebrew that most people would never recognize. The Hebrew in Gen. 2:8 reads: "ויטע יהוה אלהים" or "wayyitta Adonai Elohim." The NIV translates that: "Now, the LORD God had planted..." The problem is, the verb "wayitta" is written in what is called the waw-consecutive, which is used to explain the order of events in a story. By using the waw-consecutive, the Hebrew is expressly saying that the planting happens AFTER the creation of Adam. The NIV's translation "Now, the LORD God had planted..." implies that the Garden was planted BEFORE God created Adam. In other words, the NIV's translation directly contradicts the Hebrew grammar in order to support a preconceived theological position on the text. In Hebrew it is clear that in Gen. 2, God creates Adam, and then plants a garden, and then places Adam in the garden, and then creates the animals, and only THEN does He create Eve.

Whether or not you understand all the scholarly mumbo-jumbo is not important. What is important is that in these verses, the NIV is altering the Biblical text in order to support a theological position, instead of altering their theology to align with the Biblical text. Some people may see what I'm writing here and assume that I'm trying to undermine the Bible. I'm actually trying to do the opposite. I'm trying to respect the words of the Bible, and form a theological position from what the Bible says, instead of changing the words in the Bible to fit my theological position.

So what do we do? Do we throw out the whole thing? Do we conclude that all the Bible is a lie, and it's all just fairy tales Jewish Mommies used to tell their Jewish Babies? Of course not. When we look at the text for what it is, and refuse to distort it so that it conforms to our preconceived notion of what it is supposed to be saying (which I claim the NIV is doing), we are made to ask why it is written as it is. Why do Genesis 1 and 2 provide different orders of creation? When we ask that question, we begin to see that God is less concerned with using the Bible to explain the order of creation, or exactly how long it took Him to do it, and more concerned with telling us that it was He who created everything. Humans were made first, humans were made last... whatever. 7 days, 700 billion years, who cares. The point is, God did it.

Note that if you disagree with everything I've said, and maintain that the order in Genesis 1 is the literal order of creation, then you still have to explain how light existed and plants grew before God created the Sun, Moon and stars. But, when we put the Bible before our theology, and read Gen. 1 and 2 as they are written instead of as we want them to be written, we find this discrepancy. And once we see it, I think we are forced to accept that the Bible wants to tell us not HOW everything was made, but WHO made it. And fortunately for us, when we read the creation account in that light, that pesky question of how plants grew before the creation of the Sun, doesn't really matter any more.

Oh, and just a note because I did read a quick blurb on someone else's comment. While the English uses the definite article in front of the days, (as in "The first day... the second day...") the Hebrew is actually lacking the definite article. A more accurate translation of the days would be "Day one... Day two... etc." But that's minor.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Better than Bible Gateway


I'm in a Biblical Studies program, so I have to read the Bible a lot. Often, when I need to copy and paste portions of the Bible into a paper, or just for study, I go to Biblegateway provides a large number of translations, but does not include the RSV or the NRSV, versions which I prefer to the NIV/TNIV. So, I went shopping around and stumbled on this amazing Bible website. Strangely, I can get the RSV, and NRSV at The Unbound Bible, but I cannot get the NIV. Maybe there's some Coke vs. Pepsi thing going on with with two translations, whatever.

The reason this website is so great, is that I am able to examine the text in four different versions all at the same time. And I don't have to rely on translations either. There I can find the BHS with and without vowels, the Septuagint with and without accents, as well as with and without verb parsings. They have the Leningrad Codex, the Aleppo codex, and the Peshita, along with a myriad of other translations. Though it may be missing the NIV, the versions that it does have vastly outweigh that omission.

In short, if you're leading a Bible study and want to use the NIV because of its simplicity, or if you're just looking to examine a bunch of different English translations together, then go with (But keep in mind, you'll be missing out on one of the best English translations to date, the NRSV.) If you want the scholarly tools, then definitely check out The Unbound Bible. (Oh, and the best thing about The Unbound Bible, is that the Hebrew copies and pastes right into Mellel, with perfect pointing. You just have to change the font to the SBL Hebrew font and it works great... now if only Times New Roman would learn how to point Hebrew...)

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Queen Norah

I have this bad habit lately of staying up waaay later than I need to. Basically, Rach goes to bed around ten, and that's when I realize that I can read whatever I want, and play whatever video game I want and watch Law and Order on Netflix for as long as I want, so I go hog wild and party like it's on sale for $19.99 every single night. As much fun as it is to stay up late in a quiet apartment reading and playing games and watching TV until 3 am every night... I always seem to forget that Norah doesn't care how late it was when I went to bed, she's getting up at 7:00 no matter what.

So, I woke up today, bleary eyed and smacking myself in the head while Norah sat in her bed saying "Down. Down. Down. Lilly. Lilly. Down." until I went and got her out of bed.

So, I poured two bowls of cereal, one for me and one for Norah; and I and threw some Tea on. (I've been drinking a lot of tea lately. Largely because it just seems like a hassle to make one cup of coffee.) Rach took off for work, and I decided that Norah and I were going to have a crafty day.

Norah and I have several different kinds of days. There are adventure days, where we go "Bye bye" in the "Stower." There are park days, where we go see the "buhds" in the "pahk" there are home days where we sit at home and play with blocks. There are learning days where we practice the alphabet. And then there are craft days, when we play with some home made playdough, or color, or make paper dolls, or just crinkle up paper and throw it around the apartment.

Today, I decided, would be a craft day. So, I took a diaper box out of Norah's closet, and made a little crown for Norah. I decided it needed some jewels, so I cut out some green circles, and gold circles, and some white diamonds, and put Norah's crown on. She thought it was hilarious, and kept tipping her head down and staring me down. That's when I decided to make her a scepter, and tied her blanket around her shoulders. That's pretty much all she needed to be Queen Norah, and we played around for the rest of the afternoon as Queen Norah and Squire Dad.

Our camera broke, but I did manage to grab a few photos with our Mac, so I figured I'd toss them up here. They're on Facebook right now, so I thought I'd toss the captions under the pictures here as well.

Princess Schmincess... I'm the QUEEN!


I now pronounce you... CHIMICHANGA!

Um... yes. Now I shall eat a popsicle.

As you can see, we had a lot of fun. When Norah finally took a nap (at 12:00) she had me put the crown on her teddy bear, and then... (here's the best part) she napped until FIVE! Yeah...

Maybe tomorrow will be another craft day.