Because, Honestly, Who Needs All That?

Finally, an executive order I can get fully behind

A new mandate banning churches from implementing incredibly awkward times of forced meeting and greeting is the latest executive order to be signed by President Trump, sources at the White House reported Friday.

The order instructs churches to allow fellowship to occur “naturally and organically,” rather than asking church members to turn to one another and say some pithy phrase during the worship set. It also instructs law enforcement officers to intervene to prevent any forced time of shaking hands, saying a silly phrase, or greeting those sitting in pews near a victim, according to sources.

Unlike some of President Trump’s more controversial executive actions, the order was reportedly met with near-universal praise from the nation’s churchgoing community.

“Now this is what I call making America great again,” a church member who describes herself as “introverted” said in response to the executive order. “I can finally just attend church without worrying about being put on the spot with a time of compulsory fellowship.”

The Bee Stings the Silly Coiffed ‘Worship Leader’

According to sources, the $75,000 annual worship ministry budget at Gracepointe Community Church has been totally depleted just over six months into the year, with worship leader Matthew “Aces High” Bogdan having spent almost the entire sum on various designer hair products.

“Hey, leading God’s people in worship while making sure your hair is on point ain’t cheap,” Bogdan told reporters as he motioned for a forklift to offload a pallet of custom-made Shu Uemura sculpting pomade. “A lot of people think leading worship is just playing a few chords and closing your eyes in feigned sincerity. But that’s just part of it.”

“They don’t see all the work that goes into looking this good,” he added.

According to Bogdan, the product he has should last him through the end of the month, and then he’ll have to apply for an emergency budget increase to get him through the rest of the year. “I’m not worried. They’ll take it out of missions or something,” he said.

At publishing time, sources had confirmed that a small portion of the now-depleted budget had been spent on designer jeans and scoop-neck T-shirts.

Oswald Myconius: Briefwechsel 1515–1552

9783290178901This two volume edition of the letters of Oswald Myconius will be a boon to students of the Swiss Reformation.

Oswald Myconius (1488–1552) war Schulmeister in Basel, Zürich und Luzern, Mitarbeiter und erster Biograph Zwinglis und ab 1532 als Münsterpfarrer Vorsteher der Basler Kirche. Sein Briefwechsel ist mit 1338 Briefen eine ausserordentlich ergiebige Quelle zur schweizerischen und europäischen Reformationsgeschichte. Er dokumentiert das Informationsnetzwerk und die Entscheidungsprozesse der politschen, kirchlichen und theologischen Eliten im schweizerisch-oberdeutschen Raum, insbesondere in den Jahren 1531 bis 1552. Zu den Hauptkorrespondenten von Myconius zählen Zwingli, Bullinger, Bibliander, Bucer, Capito, Vadian und Calvin.

Rainer Henrich fasst den Inhalt sämtlicher erhaltener Briefe erstmals in heutigem Deutsch zusammen und erschliesst sie durch ein Orts- und Personenregister und ein Bibelstellenverzeichnis. Den Briefregesten voraus gehen eine biographische Einleitung zu Oswald Myconius auf neustem Forschungsstand sowie ein Werkverzeichnis.

myconius

It includes a CD of the entire collection as well as the printed works.  Many thanks to the Verlag for sending the set for review.

The collection begins with a quite helpful introduction which extends from page 7 through page 108.  101 pages which, had the publisher chosen, could easily have been sent out into the world as a separate volume.  Myconius, his work, and his world are all discussed whilst the primary achievement is the summation of his theology as evidenced by his letters.  The letters are nicely summarized in modern German so that they are utterly accessible to readers and thoroughly annotated for maximum historical comprehension.

The remainder of the first volume provides primary source materials for the Swiss Reformation in the form of letters to and from Myconius.  And unlike more formal theological tractates and books and Flugschriften, letters allow us to see into the inner workings of the Reformers minds and the motivations which drove them.

The second volume contains both dated letters from 1542 till 1552 and undated letters which themselves provide quite intriguing information.

The second volume also includes indices of places and people and scripture.  The collection of letters commences thusly:

Am 12. Juli 1536 starb Erasmus von Rotterdam. Dem grossen Humanisten, der sich nie der Reformation angeschlossen hatte, wurde gleichwohl ein Begräbnis im Basler Münster zugestanden. Die Abdankung hielt der damalige Antistes der Basler Kirche, Oswald Myconius. Dass dem Geistlichen der Verstorbene viel bedeutete, wird aus seinem Bildungshintergrund deutlich, vor allem aber aus seinem Exemplar des «Lobs der Torheit», das er schon als Student zusammen mit dem Künstler Hans Holbein durchgearbeitet hat: die Randbemerkungen des einen und – ungleich berühmter – die karikaturhaften Skizzen des anderen zeugen bis heute davon. Myconius’ Wertschätzung für Erasmus beruhte womöglich nicht auf Gegenseitigkeit, aber der Verstorbene wurde nicht mehr gefragt.

Schon diese Episode (s. dazu in der Einleitung S. 11 und 20, auch Anm. 38 auf  S. 17) macht deutlich, wie vielschichtig die Interaktionen zwischen den Repräsentanten des geistigen Lebens waren und wie wenig mit schlichten Kategorien wie Reformator, Humanist und Künstler geholfen ist. Dass die Vernetzungen sich vielfach in einer reichen Korrespondenz spiegeln und dass die Netze breit und erstaunlich intensiv geknüpft waren, ist eine häufig geäusserte Einsicht. Sie ist aber erst dann von Nutzen, wenn sie konkret nachvollziehbar und so mit Leben gefüllt wird. Das geschieht im vorliegenden Band: ein weiterer wesentlicher Mosaikstein im immer präziser werdenden Bild des geistigen Lebens der Reformationszeit.

Interesting facts are found throughout.  For instance, on 25 March, 1525 Myconius writes Farel and the letter is summarized thusly:

Anémond [de Coct] ist gestorben und hat gewiss den Lohn seines Glaubens empfangen; an uns ist es, so zu leben, dass auch wir zum gleichen Ziel gelangen. Vor Anémonds Abreise aus Zürich hat man mit der bejahrten Kostgeberin [N. N.] von dessen Adoptivsohn [N. N.] abgerechnet, wobei er ihr 3 Gulden und acht Schilling schuldig blieb; für die seither vergangenen vier Wochen sind je zwei Batzen bzw. fünf Schilling zu entrichten. M. weiss nicht, wie lange der Knabe [in Zürich] bleiben soll, und hofft, dass ihn F. im Namen der Brüder Anémonds [Guigo und Laurent] wegführen lässt. M. als dessen Treuhänder wäre andernfalls verpflichtet, den Knaben zu sich zu nehmen, weiss aber nicht, woher er die Mittel dazu nehmen sollte, während dies anderen leichtfällt – Anémond sprach von einem kinderlosen Bruder [Laurent], der den Knaben gerne bei sich hätte. M. bittet F. dringend, sich um den Knaben zu kümmern, die alte Frau zu bezahlen und ihn selbst zu entlasten. Was [in Zürich] mit den Täufern gehandelt wurde, wird Georg [N. N.] berichten.

Few tools will assist historians and theologians whose primary focus is the 16th Century Swiss Reformation the way these two volumes will.

Quote of the Day

Apropos of Father’s Day-

zwingli8411.jpgFirst of all, let me say that, although man can in no wise draw his own heart to faith in the only true God, even if one could surpass in power of speech the celebrated and eloquent Pericles, but only our heavenly Father who draws us to Himself can do these things; yet faith comes, according to the apostle Paul, by hearing, in so far as such hearing is the hearing of the Word of God. Do not understand, however, that the preaching of the mere spoken Word can accomplish so much, unless the Spirit within attracts and speaks. For this reason, must faith be implanted in the heart of a youth with pure and sacred words coming, as it were, from God himself. The speaker should, at the same time, also pray to Him who alone can work faith, to the end that He may enlighten by his Spirit, the one who is being instructed in the Word of God. — Huldrych Zwingli

#ICYMI – Accreditation… Yeah Right… Who Watches the Watchers?

UPDATE: this story was posted a year ago.  It’s interesting that in spite of all known facts, procedures and policies among academic institutions refuse to change.  That says a great deal about academia which, one would imagine, would be the most fact driven segment of society and yet, it is not.

NPR has an interesting report on an accreditation agency that clearly has no business being such and showing the underbelly of an industry that exists simply because of the money scheming imagination of its creators.

This could be the beginning of the end for the organization that accredited the now bankrupt for-profit Corinthian Colleges.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Education took a step toward shutting down the Accrediting Council for Independent Colleges and Schools by recommending it not be renewed as an accrediting body later this summer. Founded in 1912, ACICS is one of the country’s oldest and largest college accreditors.

But it recently came under fire after continuing to accredit campuses owned by Corinthian while the for-profit giant lied about graduation rates and used aggressive sales tactics to recruit students.

Corinthian collapsed two years ago, after the government investigated its practices and then froze its access to student aid money. The recommendation issued Wednesday says that ACICS failed to meet federal standards and failed to hold schools accountable.

How many times have these sorts of agencies not done their job and still collected fees from schools and simply not been caught yet.  Accreditation: an invention of the 1960’s.