James's Weblog

Oak Hill Theological College is a truly marvellous place

Sat, 12/05/2007 - 11:09 -- James Oakley

Well I would say that – I went there. But not everyone is proud of institutions they attended, and it is with some envy that I look at a college that has got stronger every year. How good it would be to start over again in 2007!

In last week’s Church Times (4 May) a letter was published by a recently retired DDO of St Alban’s Diocese. She picked up on some of the critical things that Tom Wright has said about the recently published book, Pierced for our Transgressions, and concluded that Oak Hill was not fit to be an Anglican Training College. Actually, she thought Oak Hill was not fit to train for Anglican ordination long before the publication of said book, but she doesn’t show that card in her hand.

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Daniel 7-12

Mon, 23/04/2007 - 21:15 -- James Oakley

OK: I know this may be too general (macroscopic) to be useful, but does this work? If it does, broadly, work, I know for sure that my headings will need refining.

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"Those aren't horses - those are coconuts!"

Fri, 20/04/2007 - 15:36 -- James Oakley

I'm sure everyone reading this would want to wish the cast of the Monty Python spin-off musical, Spamalot, all the very best in their world record attempt in Trafalgar Square on Monday. They aim to beat the world record for the largest ever coconut orchestra, by getting the public involved in playing "Always look on the bright side of life". In case you were wondering - the current record is held by them too.

Yes, they have officially registered their attempt with Guinness World Records. Those wanting to know what to expect can find photos of the previous world record, which was established on Broadway last year.

Those who were on Lymington holidays with me in the late 1990s will immediately know which member of the Oak Hill teaching staff really ought to be going along to take part. His part in the "Old Hag" sketch was always done with finesse. (No, I'm not talking about Mike - although I suspect he would rather enjoy being at the world record attempt, if he had the time).

So: All the best to them!

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Wow! After only a month!

Fri, 20/04/2007 - 15:14 -- James Oakley

This will delight some of you.

I got an e-mail from the good people at the good book company yesterday. IVP are already reprinting Pierced for our Transgressions - the superb looking new defence of the doctrine of penal substitutionary atonement. Not read it yet - my copy is on order - awaiting reprinting!

After only a month that really is good going!

I can think of two reasons for this. Either of them means that the need for a reprint delights me. It might be that the book is selling outstandingly well. Or it might be that IVP were overly pessimistic in the size of print run they commissioned, and the pessimism has been exposed. Either way - top news that Mike, Steve and Sachy's hard work is enjoying a wide distribution. "It can't be written," some said. Well it has, and the hot cakes are going fast!

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Ernest Lucas on Daniel 8

Wed, 18/04/2007 - 18:39 -- James Oakley

"Within the context of this vision 'the end' (19) need not be 'The End', the ultimate end of history. The earlier Hebrew prophets used the term 'the end' to indicate the end of a particular evil state of affairs or the final day of reckoning for a particular people (e.g. Amos 8:1-2). Sometimes what might seem to be 'end of the world' language is used of such events, though they clearly occur within history (e.g. Is. 13:9-22). These events within history are seen as foreshadowing the final day of reckoning, rather than being simply identified with it. This may be the case with the dreams and visions of Daniel, though at the end of the final vision there is a 'fusing' of the horizons of the end of Antiochus' career and the end of history."

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JMB's Notes

Mon, 16/04/2007 - 22:04 -- James Oakley

This is just to make Jam really nostalgic.

A Level maths, lesson 1: “You: Why are you taking notes in my class? No taking notes. The only notes you’re allowed to take are the 10 that I will give you. And here’s the first: ‘Draw a Diagram’. Always draw a diagram of what you’re trying to solve in mathematics.”

99 notes and 2 years later – that particular blackboard had filled up. Here they are. I can remember what most of them refer to.

Less syllabus please

Mon, 16/04/2007 - 21:45 -- James Oakley

This won’t make sense to many of you – except Jam

I just received my phone call from a recent pupil of the secondary school I went to. They’re phoning round us all to keep us up to date and to ask for money for their new maths and science building. Yes – it does need replacing. The old one’s drafty. Especially when the windows are left open. With snow on the ground outside.

The statue in Daniel 3

Mon, 16/04/2007 - 18:47 -- James Oakley

E C Lucas, Daniel (AOTC), pages 94-95

"Five times in vv. 1-12 it is stated that the image was set up by Nebuchadnezzar. This emphasizes the way in which religion and the State get intertwined. Refusal to worship the image cannot be tolerated because it subverts the authority of the State. As Welch (1958:85) comments, 'The State has certain ends in view and want a certain type of citizen to fulfil them; it issues its orders by which it shall procure the best means to serve its ends. Some day it may demand an obedience which will make it impossible for certain men to save their souls alive. Then the opposite ends for life will come into open collision, and men will have to choose whom they mean to serve.' This is the choice that faced Diaspora Jews from time to time.

"Nebuchadnezzar's rage (13-15) may contain an element of annoyance at the ingratitude of these Jews. Powerful patrons can turn into dangerous enemies. However, he does not accept the accusation against them without giving them a chance to prove their loyalty and obedience. His primary concern is with their public conduct, rather than with their private beliefs. There is a parallel to this in modern secular society. Religion is acceptable as long as it is a matter of private belief and does not lead people to challenge the assumptions and values of their society by what they say or do."

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Conclusion of Miserable Children

Fri, 13/04/2007 - 17:48 -- James Oakley

I’ve just read (in the transcript online – I’d got home long before this point) Andrew Brown’s conclusion to the programme:

But what can we change? What should our arrangements be? We can’t disentangle the problems of children from those of adults. The government, too, sends families mixed messages. They are to be, in Gordon Brown’s great phrase, “hard working families”. But do the hardest-working families have the happiest children? The evidence suggests that they don’t and that it’s the family which plays together that stays together. In fact it’s hard to resist a rather heretical conclusion. Most of what we have seen as the peculiar horrors of modern childhood seem to arise from a lack of authority: they can, in shorthand, be blamed on the Sixties. But that was a complicated decade, with good as well as bad; and one of the distinctive attitudes of the Sixties was a distrust of money, and a belief that material success should not be the measure of everything. We’re never going to get away from a society that cares about status. But one in which status is measured only by material success makes us, and our children, needlessly miserable.

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Miserable children

Fri, 13/04/2007 - 17:39 -- James Oakley

I had to laugh out loud in the car on the way home from standing committee last night. I often have Radio 4 on in the car, engine starts up for a ten minute journey, and I catch some snippet of something.

Last night, the programme was Analysis, looking at the UNICEF report that said Britain’s children are amongst the unhappiest in a developed nation. No, the laugh-out-loud (shortened to LOL, by the way) moment wasn’t the continuity reader accidentally calling us an undeveloped nation, although that was funny.

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