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Weekly Meanderings, 8 April 2017

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Apr 8, 2017 @ 0:07 by Scot McKnight Leave a Comment
This week has been consumed with the expansion of Northern Seminary — four sites (South Side, Lawndale, Lisle [moving from Lombard], and our wonderful Northern Live program) and adjustments and, well, there are more announcements to come. Stay tuned.
Roger Olson on Trump’s decision to bomb Syria :
So, my own conclusion as a Christian ethicist is that, should it turn out that the U.S. government is telling the truth (and not “alternative facts”) about its military intervention in Syria, it is justified—because necessary to protect weak, vulnerable and defenseless people–even if not righteous.
Now I can just hear some Christian pacifists saying “That’s Niebuhrian—pure and simple!” Well, not quite. Niebuhr sadly and notoriously neglected the church in his Christian realism. The church should not actively support or applaud any government’s violent aggressions. It should be an alternative community to the violence of the world. So what should the church’s response be to America’s violent and aggressive attack on Syria? Neither celebration nor condemnation but prayer and witness—prayer for peace and witness by example of how it is possible for people of extremely different kinds to live in peace with each other. But it should realize that violence is inescapable in this fallen, broken world and give spiritual aid and comfort to those Christians who must reluctantly use violence when necessary—to protect and defend the weak and helpless.
What say you?
Did Jesus celebrate a Seder? (No.) Should Christians? (No.) In my book Jesus and His Death I argued Jesus ate a meal during Passover week but it was not the Passover meal and the Seder is subsequent to the NT. So this is a phenomenon that cannot be denied, but it is one that most Jews find particularly troubling. The first reason is historical. The Seder ritual, as it is practiced today, did not exist at the time of Jesus. It was only fully developed by the rabbis in the years following the destruction of the Temple in 70 C.E., in other words, at least two generations after Jesus. Many assume that Jesus, at the Last Supper, conducted what we now know of as a traditional Passover Seder with the Pesakh (pascal) offering of the lamb, matza, bitter herbs, the telling of the tale of the Exodus from Egypt, and other rituals as found in the Jewish Passover Hagada. This is incorrect. To put it bluntly, Jesus certainly celebrated Passover, but neither he nor his disciples ever attended a Seder, any more than they drove a car or used a cell phone. In the Last Supper, Jesus surely is making allusions to the Exodus, as does the Jewish Passover meal, but that event takes a back seat to his revealing himself as “the Passover lamb,” as the object of a new and revolutionary expression of faith. The Jewish Passover meal inaugurates the Jewish people into its history; it prepares them to fulfill the responsibilities of the mitzvot (commandments) given at Sinai. As such, it is an event designed for and limited to the Jewish people. Jesus of Nazareth, in the Last Supper, presents himself as the offering not just for all Israel, but for all of humanity. He is, in short, establishing a unique ritual. In our view, celebrating a Christian Seder to commemorate the Last Supper misses the point historically.
Alex Dobuzinskis on Bill O’Reilly :
Fox News host Bill O’Reilly and his employer have made payouts totaling about $13 million to five women to settle claims of sexual harassment and other inappropriate behavior, the New York Times reported on Saturday.
O’Reilly said in a statement that he has been unfairly targeted because of his public prominence.
“In my more than 20 years at Fox News Channel, no one has ever filed a complaint about me with the Human Resources Department, even on the anonymous hotline.” O’Reilly, host of “The O’Reilly Factor,” the network’s biggest star, added, “I have put to rest any controversies to spare my children.”
Fox News declined to comment.
“While he denies the merits of these claims, Mr. O’Reilly has resolved those he regarded as his personal responsibility,” Twenty-First Century Fox Inc, the parent company of Fox News, said in a statement. “Mr. O’Reilly is fully committed to supporting our efforts to improve the environment for all our employees at Fox News.”
The report follows heightened scrutiny of the workplace climate at Fox News, the top-rated cable news network and unit of Twenty-First Century Fox Inc. Founding Chairman Roger Ailes left the company last year after sexual harassment allegations.
Aveneesh Pandey :
It is estimated that over 660 million people in the world still do not have access to clean and safe drinking water — a number that is only expected to rise in the coming decades as water supplies begin to run dry. According to the United Nations , by 2025, 14 percent of the world’s population will face water scarcity.
This is despite Earth being a “pale blue dot,” 70 percent of whose surface is covered in water.
The problem is that the water held in our planet’s oceans, which accounts for over 96 percent of all water on Earth, is not potable. So far, efforts to make it drinkable have been either inefficient, dauntingly expensive, or both.
Now, in a study published Monday in the journal Nature Nanotechnology, a team of researchers from the University of Manchester have described a breakthrough that could open the door to the synthesis of an inexpensive desalination method — creation of a graphene oxide membrane that can be used as a sieve to remove salt from seawater.
“Realization of scalable membranes with uniform pore size down to atomic scale is a significant step forward and will open new possibilities for improving the efficiency of desalination technology,” study co-author Rahul Nair said in a statement released Monday. “This is the first clear-cut experiment in this regime. We also demonstrate that there are realistic possibilities to scale up the described approach and mass produce graphene-based membranes with required sieve sizes.”
Although previous experiments have shown that graphene-based membranes are capable of filtering out small nanoparticles, organic molecules, large salts, until now, scientists had been unable to create membranes with pore size small enough to filter out sodium chloride.
Tiffany Bate s, and this will be an option that will haunt American politics:
After four days of scrutinizing hearings and nearly a week of vociferous debate, the U.S. Senate has voted 54-45 to confirm Neil Gorsuch as an associate Supreme Court justice.
Gorsuch’s sterling credentials and demonstrated fidelity to the Constitution and the rule of law should give all Americans confidence that he will be a fair and impartial justice.
Chief Justice John Roberts is set to swear him in early next week, and Gorsuch will take his seat immediately.
The ceremony will round out a uniquely transparent nomination process. President Donald Trump was clear about the type of justice he would appoint, even taking the unprecedented step of publishing a list of candidates from which he would choose.
He repeated his promise to appoint someone from the list throughout the campaign, often citing the fact that many Americans would vote for him because of the Supreme Court vacancy.
This turned out to be true. Polls show that the future makeup of the Supreme Court was a leading concern of the American people, and it was this promise—more than anything else—that convinced many to support him.
Trump fulfilled his promise by nominating Gorsuch, to acclaim from conservatives and even some fair-minded liberals.
Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer pledged to oppose the nomination to the bitter end—even though neither he nor any other Democrat opposed his nomination to the 10th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals 11 years ago. Chicago-area teenager has been accepted to 22 colleges, WLS reports.
Ariyana Davis, a senior at Mother McAuley Liberal Arts High School, was also awarded $300,000 in scholarships.
“”It was a pretty amazing experience. I’ve made so many friends,” Davis said. “I’ve been friendly with so many teachers, and I’ve gotten a lot of support from the entire school.”
Davis, who plans to major in accounting, used just one college application to obtain admission and scholarships to the universities.
“I used the Common Black app, which is a website where students can apply to HBCUs where you can apply to up to 50 colleges,” Davis said.
According to the Common Black Application’s website , aspiring college students can apply to any number of 50 HBCUs at the same time for just $35. To date, more than 100,000 students from the U.S., Africa, South America and the Caribbean have completed the application, the website states.

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