4.4.03

A senior student at a mid north coast high school, angered by the split from his girlfriend, took revenge by using a crossbow. He shot a girl through the chest and the arrow then hit another girl, pinning her legs together. Quick action by other students prevented the boy from setting a molotov cocktail alight. Both victims required surgery but are now recovering in hospital.

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2.4.03

To return to James Dunn. I have several books by him, including the two volume Word commentary on Romans and his huge book on the theology of Paul. I enjoy his scholarly approach. His writing is clear and concise and many parts of his book on Paul's theology have a devotional tone to them.

Yesterday he spoke on "Jesus and the oral tradition." I come from a Protestant background with a very heavy emphasis on the written word of God as revealed in the Bible and a distrust of tradition. As I have studied, I have been exposed to those who value tradition more than I was taught. I have benefited from their study and have often thought about the role of tradition. Paul tells us to guard what has been handed down to us, in other words tradition. But what is this? No answers here. Just some thoughts.

Dunn suggested that our preoccupation with finding the "exact " words Jesus used is a symptom of our culture. we try to impose our standards on a culture which did not work the same way. We try to peel back the layers of the gospel records and finally can only say something like, "Matthew got it from Mark who got it from Q." We try to rationalise the differences in the synoptic gospels and to syncretise a single document which ties up all the loose ends. Dunn thought that this could not be done, even if Q could be proved to have ever existed.

He looked at the accounts in the book of Acts of Paul's conversion. Written by the one author, from evidence of the one person, but differing. Different oral traditions have been given for different cases. He suggested that the gospels reflect this too. The communities had different ways of expressing the one original truth to suit their circumstances. so we have difffering versions of the Lord's prayer.

Now I know many who will immediately cry out that this is like reducing some of Paul's commands to their cultural context. where do we stop? I agree with this to some point and can see what they are worried about.

Dunn suggested that community is found as groups of people take the tradition and mould it to their own circumstances. Perhaps this is something of what many here in blogdom are trying to do or are thinking about. Perhaps it even helps those of us who have spoken about a community among bloggers. It will be different with each group. He also suggested that this way of thinking may form a bridge between Protestant and Orthodox thought. As I said, I have no answers, just thoughts going around in my mind and I look forward to Dunn's book to be released in a coupple of months.

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Australian health officials have warned Australians not to travel to SARS affected countries, including Singapore, China, Vietnam and...Toronto,Canada. Airlines will, for a time, refund costs or alter tickets at no charge.

Contrary to earlier reports there have been no cases of SARS here, although two poeple are under investigation. A school in Queensland has ordered a quarantine period of ten days for a rugby team and its teachers who have just returned from a trip to infected areas.

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Today I went to hear Professor James Dunn at Macquarie Uni. More later, I hope on this. I'm looking forward to a new book of his on Jesus and the oral tradition, due later this year.

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Australia reported its first case of a killer pneumonia which has claimed at least 62 lives worldwide.

But local health authorities played down the danger saying the threat had been contained.

A British tourist, who has recovered and since returned home, became the first official case of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Australia after experts ruled out other causes of illness. Story from ninemsn.

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1.4.03

Most headlines carry something along the lines of, "This war may take a long time." What did they really expect? While I imagine many Iraqis would like to see the end of Saddam Hussain, invasion may also not be welcomed. I too, would like to see an early end to the war, but somehow I don't think that's likely. It seems as if the "quick fix" principle is at work here as in so many other areas of our lives. too many things are subject to a quick fix and often have to be redone. We are impatient and unwilling to spend time waiting for an answer. I imagine many of us have succumbed to this, one way or another. Computers which run much faster than those of just a short time ago. Do most of us really need this? SMS messages on mobile phones, with words abbreviated to the minimum. Instant noodles, Whatever. Is all this necessary?

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31.3.03

A little light relief. Are you a fan of Dilbert, Snoopy, L'il Abner,Tarzan? Find many of your favourites here.

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