Daily Archives: 12 Jan 2010

A Real Wonder…

Die fürsichtigkeit gottes regiert und leitet alle ding so gwuß, daß ein wunder ist, daß wir die nit gemeinlich bas erkennend.  — Huldrych Zwingli (in his Bern Sermon)

A Bit of Music From Zwingli

Zwingli is sometimes accused (by those completely unfamiliar with him) of rejecting music.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  He played a number of instruments and loved music, composing several songs too.  Here’s one titled ‘Kappeler Lied’.

Luther - Zwingli - Calvin in ihren Liedern

Zwingli did reject music from the service of worship for several reasons; but primarily because in Zurich in the 16th century singers and musicians were more concerned about exalting themselves rather than God. So rather than allow them to detract from worship, Zwingli put an end to such performances.

And Another Musical Interlude…

A Musical Interlude…

From Wicked.  And trust me, you will enjoy it.

Another Thought Worth Thinking

A person is never sufficiently pierced by the knowledge of his own weakness until after he has compared himself with God’s majesty. — John Calvin

It Seems A Strange Thing For A School Board to Get Worked Up About…

But long hair on a 4 year old has a board in Texas all in a lather.

The parents of a 4-year-old boy disciplined for having long hair have rejected a compromise from a Texas school board that agreed to adjust its grooming policy. The impasse means pre-kindergartner Taylor Pugh will remain in in-school suspension, sitting alone with a teacher’s aide in a library. He has been sequestered from classmates at Floyd Elementary School in Mesquite, a Dallas suburb, since late November.

Really? Why? And why does the school care?

According to the district dress code, boys’ hair must be kept out of the eyes and cannot extend below the bottom of earlobes or over the collar of a dress shirt. Fads in hairstyles “designed to attract attention to the individual or to disrupt the orderly conduct of the classroom or campus is not permitted,” the policy states.

Talk about arbitrary and silly. Yes, just silly. The job of schools is to educate kids, not dictate hairstyles. That’s the parent’s job.

On its Web site, the district says its code is in place because “students who dress and groom themselves neatly, and in an acceptable and appropriate manner, are more likely to become constructive members of the society in which we live.”

Really? Are we to believe that serial killers and bank robbers and AIG executives and Congressmen and Politicians and most lawyers and half the clergy in the country all have messy hair then?

It’s a silly controversy over a silly subject. No wonder some people feel driven to home school their kids in Texas.

Church and State

On January 12, 2010 the Center for Religion and Public Affairs at Wake Forest University released a statement titled Religious Expression in American Life: A Joint Statement of Current Law. A diverse working group of church-state experts drafted the statement, and the Center served as the convener and facilitator of the work. Read more about the statement here.

Churches and the Economy

It seems counter intuitive, but larger churches in America are suffering more from the economic downturn than smaller ones, according to a new study by Barna.

I have my own idea of why this is so: larger churches tend to count among their members more marginal believers. They are ‘observers’ rather than ‘participants’. Smaller churches have more committed members simply because the commitment of all is essential to the continued health of the small church

Larger churches, in contrast, have many members who, because the church is large, depend on others to do the work and the giving. ‘They won’t miss my tithe’ or ‘they have plenty of people to do it’ eventually results in very little being given and very little being done.

Quote of the Day

The death of Christ was sufficient for all, efficient for some.  — Andrew Fuller

Featured Work of the Day

Is this Zwinglian gem.

In it, Zwingli spells out the characteristics and duties of the true Shepherd (Pastor) and contrasts him with the false.  Good stuff!

Avatar: The Vatican’s Response

I love the Vatican’s willingness to take on every aspect of modern culture.  You and I may not agree with some of the things the Vatican says, but we all have to admire their willingness to speak out and see everything under the sun from a theological / ethical perspective.  They have some real theologians over there.

Their latest target is the movie Avatar (which I haven’t, and won’t see- it just looks goofy to me.  I like movies where people actually act.  Not computer generated characters with people’s voices.)

Unlike much of the world, the Vatican is not awed by the film “Avatar.” James Cameron’s big-grossing, 3-D spectacle has earned lukewarm reviews by both the Vatican newspaper and its radio station, which say the movie is simplistic in its plot is superficial in its eco-message, despite groundbreaking visual effects. Perhaps more significantly, the Vatican takes the movie to task for flirting with what it says is the worship of nature as a substitute for religion.

‘Nature worship’ is a problem these days. That has to be granted. Maybe we should call the latest substitute for authentic faith ‘Environ-olatry’.

Anyway- good on you, Vatican, for being honest in evaluating cultural trends.

The Death of a Real Hero

Miep Gies has died at the age of 100.  Not familiar with her name?  She’s the woman who helped hide the family of Anne Frank.

Miep Gies, the office secretary who defied the Nazi occupiers to hide Anne Frank and her family for two years and saved the teenager’s diary, has died, the Anne Frank House museum said Tuesday. She was 100. Gies died from a neck injury sustained in a fall at her home shortly before Christmas, museum spokeswoman Annemarie Bekker said.

She always denounced the name of ‘hero’ because she believed that people would not take action if they didn’t think themselves extraordinary. But she was a hero. And extraordinary. And fearless. May she rest in peace and may her tribe of fearless, extraordinary, and amazing people increase.

Quote of the Day

As all natural human action reveals the sinful heart, so all philosophical speculation, when left to itself, bears witness to the obscuration in the inmost recesses of our reason.  — Emil Brunner