Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Very Happy - with review of my book!


Delighted with Ben C. Ollenburger's review of my book!


"In this bracing study of the Deuteronomistic History, Marty A. Michelson combines a careful literary reading of key texts with Rene Girard's theory of mimetic violence, sacrifice, and the scapegoat mechanism to offer a fresh explanation of the emergence of kingship in Israel. Michelson's innovative study not only unsettles common historical assumptions but challenges readers to think in new ways, including positive ways, about violence and kingship, and the relation between the two. Girardian theory is here put to constructive historical use."

-Ben C. Ollenburger
Professor of Biblical Theology
Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary

More here:  Reconciling Violence and Kingship

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My first book is published

The publisher called me yesterday to confirm my address in order to send me "my" copies.

The publisher just uploaded the content to Amazon (however that is done) today - and the Book Image/Art is not yet up - so I'll be excited to see what they've chosen when that is complete!  It's about the formation of the monarchy in ancient Israel - Reconciling Violence and Kingship in Judges and 1 Samuel.

Super excited.

One major milestone completed for my life - many more yet in store!

Monday, May 09, 2011

My library and the Library of Congress

A colleague shared with me the website and program Library Thing - a couple of years ago.

Slowly but surely I began to catalogue my library into their system - which is "my" library hosted on their site.  (In hindsight - I wish I would have paid for the scanner - but that would have required me to keep dust-jackets in many cases - which I rarely keep.) 

About two months ago  - the same colleague hired a University student to help him label and organize his physical library - and - once those two worked out all the glitches on printing labels, and so forth  - I hired the same student to help me.

Several weeks ago - that student and I - and my children (who I used as conscripted forced labourers) - labeled and reorganized my entire library. 

The average person walking into my office this week - would probably not notice anything different from several weeks ago - basically the same stuff on the shelves - just shuffled.   But, I *know* the difference - and know that I can more quickly access, use, and loan my library out now.  And that makes me *feel* so much better about my work space!  And, a clean and clear work-space is a productive space! 

(As an additional bonus - the reorganization helped me "toss" or donate many items that had someone managed to "land" on shelves - and additional advantage!)

This is yet another reason I haven't been reading much - but I have not been idle either!

Saturday, May 07, 2011

Torah Scrolls and Holocaust Memorial - Yom Ha Shoah

I spent part of my day as an intermediary - connecting saved Torah Scrolls from Nazi Holocaust destruction - with the Jewish Federation Yom HaShoah event next weekend!

I have been connected to the Jewish Federation for at least a decade in various ways here in Oklahoma City - and in the past numerous months have developed a relationship working in academic ways - and in collegial and networking-connected ways - with both the Green Scholars - and the coming exhibits that highlights the collection of Bible material in the Green Family collection.

Exciting opportunities.

Appliances and Yard Work

This site originated as a place where I track my reading.  But, over the last couple of years I have cited a few other things.

I haven't had time to do much reading of late - too busy with too many papers to grade from too many assignments I've assigned!  Phew!

Today was a crazy day.  I moved 9 separate dryers and 1 washer - back and forth between 6 different properties.  Boy I'm glad that I own a pick-up truck, a trailer, and a good appliance dolly!  Oh, and glad I own properties and garages to get stuff moved around in. 

A few weeks ago I hired a friend to help me sort and organize all my tools!  My tools are organized better now than they have been in - well, forever.  Never have my tools been so clearly organized, labeled, stored and picked up.  Very, very nice.

I like scholarship - my life in books and thinking - preaching and communicating - but I like working too.

I've said to my wife many times - if I weren't a scholar - and if I couldn't live in Oregon - the next best thing would be to be a groundskeeper at a gorgeous golf course.  (Preferably in the Northwest - or West Coast - but I could go to pretty places East of here.)   I love mowing.  Silly.  But true.  I love mowing grass!

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Wendell Berry - on Violence.

Wendell Berry reflects on the violence of killing others as a perpetuated acceptable human value.

This is one of Berry's "Sabbaths" poems from his collection, Leavings.

They gather like an ancestry
in the centuries behind us:
the killed by violence, the dead
in war, the "acceptable losses" --
killed by custom in self-defense,
by way of correction, in revenge,
for love of God, for the glory
of the world, for peace; killed
for pride, lust, envy, anger,
covetousness, gluttony, sloth,
and fun. The strewn carcasses
cease to feed even the flies,
the stench passes from them,
the earth folds in the bones
like salt in a batter.

And we have learned
nothing. "Love your enemies,
bless them that curse you,
do good to them that hate you"--
it goes on regardless, reasonably
the always uncompleted
symmetry of just reprisal,
the angry word, the boast
of superior righteousness,
hate in Christ's name,
scorn for the dead, lies
for the honor of the nation,
centuries bloodied and dismembered
for ideas, for ideals,
for the love of God!

Thanks to John Hay Jr. for sharing.

Sunday, May 01, 2011

A few quick notes

The past month has been full on many fronts - decidedly wonderful to be with my family in several ways.

I have picked up some additional responsibilities at my home church - currently between pastors - and that has occupied much of my time, but I enjoy being involved in pastoral ministry and still tell my wife that I really do think I would enjoy the patterns of life associated with a small church somewhere in the northwest - preferably on the Oregon coast.  I keep telling the representatives for the Church of the Nazarene in Oregon to keep me on their lists.  Someday the timing might be right.  I think about Oregon - and the coast - perhaps every single day - at least 5 days a week, that is for sure.  Having opportunity to preach in a series of weeks - has been delightful - so that sermons and content and the reading of Biblical books can be connected.  I post some of my public preaching / teaching at this link - http://mysermons.posterous.com/

Had opportunity to get to the TallGrass Prairie Reserve in the center of Kansas.  Amazing to study (as I did more in the past) how much American Westward Expansion has diminished this huge natural ecosystem down to nearly nothing.  I am not against what we have done - necessarily - as much of what we have done includes making the vast prairie of old into the "breadbasket" that keeps America and persons in the world - alive through agricultural harvest.  At the same time, I wish we were more frequently more thoughtful about how we use land - and how we allow for natural ecosystems to survive as we humans live in sync with the complexities and diversities of Creation.  The same days I was able to be among in the wild, I got in on some of the meetings of the International Symposium of Agroterrorism.  Not my bailiwick, but interesting for sure.

I had opportunity to read through Bill Bryson's most recent book, Home .  Not my favorite of Bryson's - mainly because the book did not seem to do what it claimed it would do.  Instead of being about the Home, it was much more like his other book, A Short History of Nearly Everything - where he follows a series of connected ideas on a wide berth of subjects.  I enjoyed *much* of what I gleaned and learned in HOME - but it was not what I had expected it to be - and not Bryson's characteristic charm.

I caught up on a couple of National Geographic magazines.

And, I've been grading a lot - it's the end of the semester, after all.

I leave soon for Thailand - will spend some time with family before departing. 

Blessed life I live.  Blessed.