Culture

The Stanford Rape Judge: Aaron Persky

I met Aaron Persky (here’s the link to today’s NY Times article on Persky) in the fall of 1980 when we were both freshmen at Stanford together. Aaron was the roommate of one of my best friends from Ames, Iowa, Eric Wolfe. (Eric and I were roommates our junior and senior year in our fraternity). I hung out with Aaron a lot our freshmen year, but I haven’t stayed in touch with him since then.

Aaron Persky was the judge in the recent Stanford rape case.  In case you haven’t been following it, a Stanford student (Brock Turner), a star on the swim team, raped a non-Stanford student who was drunk and unconscious. Turner was also drunk at the time. Judge Persky gave Turner a light sentence, 6 months. He could likely get off with good behavior at 3 months.

In my opinion (I’m not a lawyer, nor a specialist in sentencing for rape cases, like Judge Persky), I think Turner should have been given a more severe punishment. I discuss the problems associated with prosecuting rape cases in my most recent book (Prostitutes and Polygamists: A Look at Love, Old Testament Style). Our culture has a tendency to blame the victim. Many perpetrators of rape get off scot-free, so the fact that Turner is sentenced at all is a good thing, not ideal, but a step in the right direction.

Judge Persky is now being threatened, and trolls are hoping that his children get raped. (God, help us.) I have no problem with the petition that calls for his removal. But before I would sign my name to that list I would want to learn a lot more about rape law and rape sentencing in this country, and more about Persky’s record since he’s been a judge.

According to the NY Times article, Persky has been involved in leadership positions for several organizations that advocate for women and victims, including a support network for battered women, which doesn’t surprise me given what I know of Aaron.  It sounds like Persky is exactly the sort of person you would want deciding cases about rape and violence against women.

What do you think?  

The Emoji Bible

Bible EmojiThe twitter account has been going for almost a year, but the moment you’ve all been waiting for, the newest version of the Bible, in that special language we love, The Emoji Bible has finally arrived.

You can purchase it for $2.99 at iBooks.

Check out the perspectives of Christianity Today or The NY Times.

Before you get too excited, there are a lot more English words (from the King James Version), than there are emojis.

While I don’t use emoji’s except to make fun of them, or other people for using them, I don’t think this is a work of Satan (as some apparently do), but a great idea.  Anything that gets people to read God’s word in language that speaks to their heart, soul, mind, and strength is a good thing.  If you love to use emojis in your various forms of communication, this translation could speak to you.  History of full of people who have adapted God’s word into the vernacular of their day in creative ways.  The Emoji Bible fits into this tradition.

Although I was a bit disappointed when I typed in one of my favorite verses into the Emoji Bible verse translator site and this is what it gave me, only a couple legit emojis:

4 the whole 🏠 of ahab shall perish: & i will cut off from ahab him that pisseth against the wall, & him that is shut 👆 & left in israel (2 Kings 9:8 in KJV).  

What do you think?  Thumbs up, or thumbs down?

Of Kings and Prophets: Canceled

of_kings_and_prophets_abcLike the dynasty of Saul it portrayed, the ABC TV show based on the books of 1, 2 Samuel Of Kings and Prophets was cut short, canceled after only two episodes due to low ratings and bad reviews.  (Here’s my initial blog.)

I discovered the cancellation after watching episode #2 this morning while on my exercise bike.  I searched for the third, which should have already been recorded, but it was nowhere to be found. For more explanation, check out this USA Today article.

Why didn’t people watch it?  Who knows, but here are some possible reasons.

  1. It was confusing.  The two episodes I watched were a bit hard to follow, and I’m pretty familiar with the subject matter.  Most ABC watchers won’t have read or written as much about David as I have (including this article on David’s Trash Talking).
  2. Bible Overload.  Perhaps watchers think there’s too much Bible to watch lately, between The History Channel’s The Bible, Noah, Exodus: Gods and Kings, and other things.  Even though I had problems with this portrayal of the lives of Saul, David, and Samuel, I am always happy to watch the Bible’s story, and see how people interpret it.
  3. Too much sex.  (Don’t they say, “Sex sells”?) While I think we need to talk about the scandalous sex stories in Scripture, perhaps Christians feel uncomfortable watching it come from the Bible.  The scandalous stuff in episodes #1 and #2 were all extrapolations, not based on the biblical text.
  4. No familiar faces.   Apart from Roy Winstone (who isn’t that well known in the US), most of the faces are unfamiliar to most American viewers.  The fact that this series had a higher percentage of people of color than many other biblical TV and film dramas is a very good thing and a welcome change.
  5. No drama.  People already know that David will defeat Goliath and become king, and Saul will die, so there aren’t really any shockers there.  I still enjoyed watching The Martian, even though I had read the book beforehand, but some of the drama was gone because I knew what would happen to Mark Watney.

You can still watch the first two episode on the ABC website, but no decisions have been made about when other episodes might air.

Did you see it? What did you think?

Please Comfort Comfort

kidnappednigeriangirls-1On April 14, 2014 more than 200 schoolgirls in NE Nigeria were kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram.

Today at our BTS faculty meeting we prayed over a list of some of the names we received from the Church of the Brethren, since many of the girls are from families associated with the Church of the Brethren in Nigeria.

While politicians discuss ransoms and prisoner exchanges, whether it is ever acceptable to negotiate with terrorists, or whether the US should send troops on the ground to another sovereign nation, we can pray.  I assume, many of you are doing so already, but if not pray with me.

God, comfort Comfort Amos and her friends. 
Show grace to Grace Paul and her friends.  
Christ, be with Christiana Bitrus and their friends. 
Lord, we want to rejoice with Rejoice Sanki and her friends.

I spent the summer of 1985 in Bauchi state northern Nigeria not far from Borno State (NE corner of Nigeria) where the village of Chibok is located, where these girls are from.  Ironically, the nickname of Borno State is “Home of Peace.”

God, bring peace to the Home of Peace.  
God, comfort Comfort Amos and her friends.  

If you’d like to read more about the injustice that is happening to females in the world, check out these two books.

 

Half the Sky, by Nicholas Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn, is a bestseller that not only tells incredible stories of oppressed women and girls but also offers a hopeful vision–how empowerment and education of women will lead to progress and development.

Half the Church, by Carolyn Custis James, speaks to what God is already doing, and what the church could be doing to embrace God’s vision for women throughout the globe.