Matthew Henry John Bartlett

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Sunday 30 October, 02005


by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:34 am

Said Wendell Berry at the ‘Fast Food World’ conference in 2003:

After long practice I can say all I know in eight minutes. Evenutally it’ll be a haiku. My starting point is the failure of the environmental movement to envision and promote a conserving, land-based economy. The movement has failed to forsee or envision a mean between the pristine and the utterly spoiled. There’s talk now, among biologists, of dividing the world 50-50 between nature preserves and industrial farming & forestry. But this abandons any hope of harmony between human life and the life of the world. Without which, neither can be preserved. (more…)

Saturday 29 October, 02005

Point sink

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:26 am

Said Blaise Pascal:

I do not know who put me in the world, nor what the world is, nor what I am myself. I am in a terrible ignorance about everything. I do not know what my body is, or my senses, or my soul, or even that part of me which thinks what I am saying, which reflects on itself and everything but knows itself no better than anything else. I see the terrifying spaces of the universe enclosing me, and I find myself attached to one corner of this expanse without knowing why I have been placed here rather than there, or why the life alloted me should be assigned to this moment [rather] than to another in all the eternity that preceded and will follow me. I see only infinity on every side, enclosing me like an atom or a shadow that vanishes in an instant.

…but I think the feeling dissolves in good company.

Friday 28 October, 02005

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:20 am

Website colour scheme generator
Richard, Aaron, hell
WIT Gospel of Mark seminars [90K PDF] – in Wellington tomorrow, Palmerston North 5 November and Carterton 12 November.

Wednesday 26 October, 02005


by Matthew Bartlett @ 11:12 am

I’d be greatful if someone could explain New Zealand to me.

Tuesday 18 October, 02005

by Matthew Bartlett @ 5:10 am

Kenneth Bailey on informal controlled oral tradition
Letter from Earth, January 2003

Sunday 16 October, 02005

by Matthew Bartlett @ 11:12 am

Fightin words

by Matthew Bartlett @ 10:24 am

Stanley Hauerwas in After Christendom said:

In short, the great problem of modernity for the church is how we are to survive as disciplined communities in democratic societies. For the fundamental presumption behind democratic societies is that the consciousness of something called the common citizen is privileged no matter what kind of formation it may or may not have had. It is that presumption that gives rise to the very idea of ethics as an identifiable discipline within the modern university curriculum. Both Kant and utilitarians assumed that the task of the ethicist was to explicate the presuppositions shared by anyone. Ethics is the attempt at the systemization of what we all perhaps only inchoately know or which we have perhaps failed to make sufficiently explicit.
   Such a view of ethics can appear quite anticonventional, but even the anticonventional stance gains its power by appeal to what anyone would think upon reflection. This can be suitably illustrated in terms of the recent popular movie, Dead Poets Society. It is an entertaining, popular movie that appealed to our moral sensibilities. (more…)

Saturday 15 October, 02005

by Matthew Bartlett @ 1:00 pm

The Uses of Disaster: Bad weather and good government [via D]
Convert real-audio streams to MP3

Thursday 13 October, 02005


by Matthew Bartlett @ 8:49 pm

I began summarising Chapter 14 – “Violence in Defense of Justice” of Richard Hays’ Moral Vision, but realised it would take hours to finish, so I’ve stopped after the first section. This beginning is still pretty helpful though, I reckon:

The Church has often accepted war as a practice that Christians may at times be required to pursue. But is it appropriate for followers of Jesus to take up lethal weapons against enemies? Is it ever God’s will for Christians to employ violence in defense of justice? NT at first glance seems to say ‘no’, but human experience presents us over and over again with situations that appear to require violent action to oppose evil.
   The just war tradition was developed to limit the use of violence, but as Hay’s previous chapters’ survey of theological ethicists (Reinhold Niebuhr, Karl Barth, John Howard Yoder, Stanley Haueras and Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza) show, there are serious questions to be raised about whether this tradition can be justified on the basis of the NT’s teaching. What norms concerning the use of violence might be derived from the NT? First let’s look at the Sermon on the Mount: (more…)

Wednesday 12 October, 02005


by Matthew Bartlett @ 12:06 am

Richard B Hays’ The Moral Vision of the New Testament is the most beautiful book I’ve read for a long time. It’s sharper than ye olde two-edged sword:

One reason that the world finds the New Testament’s message of peacemaking and love of enemies incredible is that the church is so massively faithless. On the question of violence, the church is deeply comprimised and committed to nationalism, violence, and idolatry. (By comparison, our problems with sexual sin are trivial.) This indictment applies alike to liberation theologies that jsutify violence against oppressors and to establishment Christianity that continues to play chaplain to the military-industrial complex, citing just war theory and advocating the defense of a particular nation as though that were somehow a Christian value.
   Only when the Church renounces the way of violence will people see what the Gospel means, because then they will see the way of Jesus reenacted in the church. Whenever God’s people give up the predictable ways of violence and self-defense, they are forced to formulate imaginative new responses in particular historical settings, responses as startling as going the second mile to carry the burden of a soldier who had compelled the defenseless follower of Jesus to carry it one mile first. The exact character of these imaginative responses can be worked out only in the life of particular Christian communities; however, their common denominator will be conformity to the example of Jesus, whose own imaginative performance of enemy-love led him to the cross. If we live in obedience to Jesus’ command to renounce violence, the church will become the sphere where the future of God’s righteousness intersects – and challenges – the present tense of human existence. The meaning of the New Testament’s teaching on violence will become evident only in communities of Jesus’ followers who embody the costly way of peace.

Monday 10 October, 02005

Tuesday 7pm, Murphy 632

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:49 am

Tomorrow evening at 7pm in room 632 in the Murphy Building at Vic Andrew Shepherd, Justin Duckworth and I will talk at the last of this year’s eco-justice seminars: “Enacted Theology: Christian Responses to the Environmental Crisis.”
Download the flyer [210KB PDF]

(oops some comments disappeared)

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:35 am

Interview with John (Jack) D Caputo

You tale

by Matthew Bartlett @ 9:29 am

Says Dennis Bratcher in Speaking the Language of Canaan: The Old Testament and the Israelite Perception of the Physical World:

I would suggest that the naturalistic view of the world, whether it emerges in historical positivism, philosophical deism, or atheistic empiricism, is just as mythical in the technical sense as is the Enuma Elish or the Ba‘al myth. It assumes that one way of looking at the physical world is the only way, and that one set of metaphors, and one language, is adequate. This ascension of the myth of naturalism and natural law has created the tension that most of us have experienced as we move from our modern world view to the world view of the Scriptures. While this modern myth of immutable natural law is being modified from the perspectives of quantum physics and the theory of random event, there is still a disposition, perhaps a need, to see the world in rational categories, in terms of stability and order. After all, that is a basic premise for most of the work done in the Natural Sciences.

[via WRD]

Friday 07 October, 02005

by Matthew Bartlett @ 3:28 pm

Matthew Baird on receptivity to news of climate change

Thursday 06 October, 02005

by Matthew Bartlett @ 7:35 am

In The Idea of a Local Economy, Wendell Berry said:

A change of heart or of values without a practice is only another pointless luxury of a passively consumptive way of life.

George Monbiot on climate change [via w-berry list]