Daily Archives: 23 Jan 2010

An Interesting and Useful Resource

This site (which I’ve linked to on the right under ‘Confessions of Faith’) contains Creeds from the Bible to the present.  And if you hunt around on the site, you’ll discover loads of other interesting things too.

Hope Hopes

On the 11th day after the Haiti quake a survivor was found in the depths of rubble.  And another miracle was observed.  Who would have hoped such a thing could happen- except those who hope in the face of all contrary evidence.  Hope hopes.  That’s what it does.

Not Exactly The Sort of Person You’d Want Around Your Friends…

Is he?  Vulgar, crude, and interested, evidently, in just one thing.

The Legend of the Nearly Burned Letter

Students of the Zurich Reformation will know of the story of the letter in which Zwingli confesses his tryst with the Einsiedeln strumpet; and Schulthess’s supposedly nearly tossing it in the fire and ridding the world of the story that no one else, at that time, had ever heard. According to the tale,

Eines Abends besuchte der junge Alexander Schweizer seinen Lehre Schulthess. Er fand ihn im Archiv des Antistiums mit den Originalen der Briefe Zwinglis beschäftigt. … ‘Sie kennen den Inhalt diese Briefes,’ bemerket Schulthess zu seinem Schüler, indem er das Blatt der Kerzenflamme näherte: ‘Was meinen Sie? Ausser Ihnen und mir kennt heute niemand diesen Brief…’. Dann, mit einem Ruck, legte er den Brief zu den anderen. Nein, der Protestantismus ist die Wahrheit, Wahrheit unter allen Umständen.

Turns out that little scene probably never took place. The moral of the tale, the truthfulness of Protestantism, was probably the point of its telling all along.  A new essay by Alfred Schindler in Zwingliana 36, 2009,  provides the evidence.

Zwingli: On the True Church

This [i.e., the true] church is known to God alone, for he alone knows the hearts of the children of men. But, nevertheless, those who are members of this church, since they have faith, know that they themselves are elect and are members of this first church, but are ignorant of the members other than themselves. — Huldrych Zwingli

The only people we know are elect are ourselves. We don’t know about the status of anyone else. We don’t know who’s in, or who’s out. Only God does.

Kids, It’s Just A Game…

It’s not life and death.  It’s not important.  It’s certainly not worth getting into a big old brawl over.  It’s just a game.  Nothing more.

Except to these 9 year olds who haven’t been taught such self evident truths.

Oh you Russians…

Calvin’s Influence on Reformed-Catholic Dialogue?

Really, Vatican?

William Henn is a Capuchin Franciscan Friar and Professor of Ecclesiology at Rome’s Gregorian University and a member of the Catholic Reformed Dialogue Commission. He spoke about how much the theologian John Calvin has been an influence on the reformed Catholic dialogue.

Has he ever read what Calvin said about Rome? He wasn’t a fan (to put it charitably). Unless, of course, the good Franciscan means that Calvin would have disapproved of such dialogue and been an influence that way.

[I like the way ‘reformed’ has a little ‘r’ while Catholic has a big ‘C’.  That speaks volumes about the ‘dialogue’ which, if Rome is following its usual procedure, means asking the Reformed to abandon their heretical ways and return to the fold].

The Pope Wants Priests To Blog…

The Telegraph’s’ headline says so: Pope tells priests to get blogging.

And so, evidently, it’s true.

The Pope had told priests that they should write blogs and use the internet more, saying they must learn to use new forms of communication to spread the gospel message. In his message for the Roman Catholic Church’s World Day of Communications on Saturday, the Pope, who is 82 and known not to love computers or the internet, acknowledged priests must make the most of the “rich menu of options” offered by new technology.

It’s nice to see the Catholic Church catching up to what we Protestants have been doing for, oh years now.  Protestants: Leading the Way Since 1516 (when Zwingli came to his awareness of the Gospel and began to preach Reform).

What Do People Think About Sermons?

Recent research in Great Britain resulted in some interesting results. For instance,

Eighty-four per cent [surveyed] agreed that sermons should be closely con­nected with the Bible. Ninety-seven per cent said that they looked for­ward to the sermon every week. Overall, 55 per cent said that their knowledge of Jesus was frequently improved by sermons, although the figure was far higher among Baptists (79 per cent) than Methodists (20 per cent).

And

Only 16 per cent said that ser­mons helped them to understand events in the news or controversial issues, but again this varied by de­no­mination. Thirty-two per cent of Anglicans said that sermons helped them in this way, compared with four per cent of Methodists, and no Baptists.

That surprises me. But perhaps British Baptists aren’t as engaged in the so called ‘culture wars’ as their American counterparts.

Here’s a handy chart of the researchers findings:

All around good news I suppose for the many Pastors and Preachers in the land who feel like they aren’t really being heard. Maybe they are.

A Few More Reviews

Rainer Kessler, A Social History of Ancient Israel, part one and part two.

James Dunn, Christianity in the Making: Beginning From Jerusalem, part one, two and three.

‘Vengeance Is Mine…’

Says the angry scorned and spurned mistress

On first glance, it could be the ultimate Valentine’s Day card — a gigantic billboard that towers over New York’s Times Square, featuring a happy couple with the text: “You are my soulmate forever, Charles & YaVaughnie.” But as every scorned lover knows, looks can be deceiving. This billboard — which also has gone up in Atlanta and San Francisco — is the ultimate act of revenge — a very public retaliation by a dumped mistress aimed at a very wealthy, and married, businessman who is an adviser to President Obama.

Let this be a lesson to all philanderers: mistresses dumped are mistresses angry and they will wreak vengeance on their own, not content to leave it in the hands of God (doubtless because – being mistresses – they are in the same moral boat as their dump-er).

The best policy, then, is not to be an adulterer or adulteress in the first place. then you won’t have to suffer either indignity nor judgment.

[With thanks to Bob Cargill for pointing the story out on Facebook].

A Few Reviews

Anthony LeDonne’s ‘The Historigraphical Jesus‘, parts one and two.

Jack Levison’s Filled With the Spirit, parts one, two, and three.

Jeremy Corley’s New Perspectives on the Nativity.

James Edwards’ The Hebrew Gospel and the Development of the Synoptic Tradition.

Philip Davies’ Among the Prophets.

Helmut Koester’s The Word of Life, part one, and part two.

Another Quote Worth Considering

God does not offer Himself to be contemplated directly and up close except in the face of His Christ, who can only be seen with the eyes of faith.  — John Calvin

Good For Him

As a top prospect for the Oakland Athletics, outfielder Grant Desme might’ve gotten the call every minor leaguer wants this spring. Instead, he believed he had another, higher calling. Desme announced Friday that he was leaving baseball to enter the priesthood, walking away after a breakout season in which he became MVP of the Arizona Fall League.

Good for him. Especially since he remarks

“I love the game, but I aspire to higher things,” he said. “I know I have no regrets.”

In our sports obsessed society, a gifted athlete who asserts that there’s more to life than a game is both an oddity and a marvel. So, again, good for him.  His decision reminds me of Scott Bailey‘s- a former pro hockey player who gave it up for a career in biblical studies.  I admire such persons.  They turn their backs on wealth and fame and follow a more meaningful path.

James Tabor: What Kind of Jew Was Jesus?

A public lecture to be held at UNC Asheville-

What Kind of a Jew Was Jesus? How Texts and Archaeology
Tell Us a New Story

Thursday, February 11, 2010, 7 p.m. The Reuter, UNC Asheville. Free and Open to the Public.

That’s within driving distance.  I might try to make it.  If I do, I’ll offer observations afterwards.

Quote of the Day

The Church is always at war.  — Heinrich Bullinger