I want to take my hat off to Samuel Martin and say, “Thanks!”
When I think about Samuel Martin, what comes to mind is a contemporary and contextualized, this-world version of William Wilberforce. He certainly has Wilberforce blood running through his veins. He is a Christian living in Jerusalem with an interest in connecting to the rest of the world in ways that are helpful and strategic about how to live out one’s faith. Check his website: http://samuelmartin.blogspot.com/ . You will find interesting discussions about various biblical subjects.
In addition to being a blogger, Samuel is an author. I just finished reading his book Thy Rod and Thy Staff They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy. I ordered the book from a California source and had it delivered to a Canadian residence http://www.archivescalifornia.com/. Unlike more academic books that I tend to write, which can often be inaccessible to average readers (!), Samuel Martin does a good job of writing with an easy-to-understand touch. For me the greatest benefit in reading his book was to see how a movement towards an anti-spanking position can be developed through Jewish sources and readings of Scripture (as well as Christian ones). He comes to similar conclusions that I do regarding the spanking controversy but his path through the biblical material is quite different–a fascinating read.
Blogger, author and, most importantly, activist! My third “thanks” to Samuel is that he has reminded me of my own need to be at least to some extent . . . an activist. He has not done this by way of harrassment. No, he has shown me this through his own life and example. He would be happy to know that recently I have broken out of my insulated scholarly circles and actually done a handful of radio interviews. Now that is a stretch for a stuffy, old professor of New Testament. Through his own activist work–quite extensive as I have watched from afar–he is changing the world one person at a time. He does so often by putting people together in ways that help to bring influence on those who perhaps would otherwise not listen. Samuel has reminded me of something that is easily forgotten in the ivory towers of academia, namely, that ideas only work to the degree that there are people willing to influence (other) people about those ideas.
So, on three accounts my hat is off to Samuel Martin–blogger, author and activist.