Erlöste und Verdammte: Eine Geschichte der Reformation

619qnts6nhl-_sx323_bo1204203200_Die Reformation hat die Welt so tiefgreifend verwandelt wie kein anderes Ereignis seit dem Ende der Antike – auch der Katholizismus war danach nicht mehr der gleiche. Thomas Kaufmann erzählt souverän und auf dem neuesten Forschungsstand die Geschichte dieser religiösen Revolution in einem Zeitraum von mehr als hundert Jahren. Seine magistrale Darstellung lässt die Dramatik des erbitterten Kampfes um himmlische Erlösung und irdische Macht für heutige Leser lebendig werden. Die Reformation entstand fernab von den politischen, wirtschaftlichen und kulturellen Zentren Europas, und doch hat sie den gesamten Kontinent in Aufruhr versetzt. Viel ist darüber spekuliert worden, welche politischen und sozialen Faktoren für diese Revolution verantwortlich waren. Thomas Kaufmann, einer der besten Kenner der Reformation, sieht die wichtigsten Beweggründe in der Religion selbst. Den Reformatoren ging es um das Seelenheil. Als der Papst Luther und seine Lehre verdammte, hätte dies das Ende sein können. Doch Luther sah den Papst selbst in ewiger Verdammnis. So nahm die Kirchenspaltung ihren Lauf. Hass auf die Verdammten ließ Menschen in den Krieg ziehen, in der Hoffnung auf Erlösung verließen unzählige ihre Heimat und trugen die Reformation in die letzten Winkel der Welt. Thomas Kaufmann zeigt eindrucksvoll, wie ganz Europa durch das Beben der Reformation umgestaltet wurde und welche Nachbeben die Reformation bis heute auslöst.

The Putative ‘Tomb of Jesus’ in the News

The tomb believed to be the place where Jesus was laid has been opened for the first time in centuries.  For decades, archaeologists and theologians have debated over whether the Church of the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem is the site where Christ was supposedly buried and resurrected after being crucified.   The tomb has been sealed in marble since the 1500s in order to prevent visitors from stealing pieces as relics.

What?  Christians stealing stuff?  They kind of missed the point of being Christians, didn’t they?

Over the preceding centuries, the famous church had been destroyed and rebuilt so many times that experts were left unsure about whether the tomb had been moved and what it might contain. Lifting the tomb’s marble lid for the first time in 500 years, researchers discovered the limestone shelf where Jesus’s body was thought to have been placed, the Mirror reported. Also discovered, was a second grey marble slab previously unknown to the researchers, engraved with a cross they believe was carved in the 12th century by the Crusaders.

This is the splotch of ground Constantine the Wretch’s mom was told was the spot of Jesus’s burial.  Personally I’ve never thought it the right one.  Nor, frankly, is the Garden Tomb.  The site is unknown, like most of the ancient sites pilgrims visit as though they were the ‘real thing’.

Anyway, if you’re looking for something to read this afternoon, enjoy.  And if you don’t like to read, just look at the pictures.

Learning the Faith Through the Heidelberg Catechism

The Heidelberg Catechism is one of the most profoundly helpful introductions to the Christian Faith that has ever been composed.  For the next 129 days I’ll be posting one of the questions and answers (along with the scriptural supports).  Enjoy.

Question 1. What is thy only comfort in life and death?

Answer: That I with body and soul, both in life and death, (a) am not my own, (b) but belong unto my faithful Saviour Jesus Christ; (c) who, with his precious blood, has fully satisfied for all my sins, (d) and delivered me from all the power of the devil; (e) and so preserves me (f) that without the will of my heavenly Father, not a hair can fall from my head; (g) yea, that all things must be subservient to my salvation, (h) and therefore, by his Holy Spirit, He also assures me of eternal life, (i) and makes me sincerely willing and ready, henceforth, to live unto him. (j)

(a) Rom.14:7 For none of us liveth to himself, and no man dieth to himself. Rom.14:8 For whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore, or die, we are the Lord’s. (b) 1 Cor.6:19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? (c) 1 Cor.3:23 And ye are Christ’s; and Christ is God’s. Tit.2:14 Who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works. (d) 1 Pet.1:18 Forasmuch as ye know that ye were not redeemed with corruptible things, as silver and gold, from your vain conversation received by tradition from your fathers; 1 Pet.1:19 But with the precious blood of Christ, as of a lamb without blemish and without spot: 1 John 1:7 But if we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship one with another, and the blood of Jesus Christ his Son cleanseth us from all sin. 1 John 2:2 And he is the propitiation for our sins: and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world. 1 John 2:12 I write unto you, little children, because your sins are forgiven you for his name’s sake. (e) Heb.2:14 Forasmuch then as the children are partakers of flesh and blood, he also himself likewise took part of the same; that through death he might destroy him that had the power of death, that is, the devil; 1 John 3:8 He that committeth sin is of the devil; for the devil sinneth from the beginning. For this purpose the Son of God was manifested, that he might destroy the works of the devil. John 8:34 Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth sin is the servant of sin. John 8:35 And the servant abideth not in the house for ever: but the Son abideth ever. John 8:36 If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed. (f) John 6:39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. John 10:28 And I give unto them eternal life; and they shall never perish, neither shall any man pluck them out of my hand. 2 Thess.3:3 But the Lord is faithful, who shall stablish you, and keep you from evil. 1 Pet.1:5 Who are kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation ready to be revealed in the last time. (g) Matt.10:29 Are not two sparrows sold for a farthing? and one of them shall not fall on the ground without your Father. Matt.10:30 But the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Matt.10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows. Luke 21:18 But there shall not an hair of your head perish. (h) Rom.8:28 And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (i) 2 Cor.1:20 For all the promises of God in him are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 2 Cor.1:21 Now he which stablisheth us with you in Christ, and hath anointed us, is God; 2 Cor.1:22 Who hath also sealed us, and given the earnest of the Spirit in our hearts. 2 Cor.5:5 Now he that hath wrought us for the selfsame thing is God, who also hath given unto us the earnest of the Spirit. Eph.1:13 In whom ye also trusted, after that ye heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation: in whom also after that ye believed, ye were sealed with that holy Spirit of promise, Eph.1:14 Which is the earnest of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, unto the praise of his glory. Rom.8:16 The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: (j) Rom.8:14 For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God. 1 John 3:3 And every man that hath this hope in him purifieth himself, even as he is pure.

International Day of Persons With Disabilities

This is the internationally recognized symbol ...

Today is the International Day of Persons with Disabilities.

The annual observance of the International Day of Persons with Disabilities on 3 December was established by the International Year for Disabled Persons (1981). The Day aims to promote a better understanding of disability issues with a focus on the rights of persons with disabilities and gains to be derived from the integration of persons with disabilities in every aspect of the political, social, economic and cultural life of their communities. The goal of full and effective participation of persons with disabilities in society and development was established by the World Programme of Action concerning Disabled Persons, adopted by the United Nations General Assembly in 1982.

It’s a day worth observing.  And our disabled friends and family are worth supporting.

Trumpites Need to Get a Life

This is vile.

Diners aren’t just great places for an affordable bite to eat.

Specifically here in Philadelphia, they’ve long been places for community members and politicians of all stripes to gather, talk and debate, with a civil tongue.

But the 2016 presidential election may be changing that, judging by the firestorm that has erupted at the Trolley Car Diner in Mount Airy.  A server’s comment to a supporter of President-elect Donald Trump has fueled racist and anti-Semitic harassment—an episode that has potentially disturbing implications for free speech in the era of Trump.

You Trumpians aren’t going to like where all this is going.  Rein yourselves and your colleagues in or you’ll rue the day.