Pigs Love the Sty, and the Vile Love Perversity

And that’s why Trump loves the profanity of his communications director.

White House communications chief Anthony Scaramucci dropped jaws when he cursed a blue streak about chief of staff Reince Priebus — but President Trump loved it, according to a report.

Of course. I sure would like one of Trump’s ‘Christian’ followers/admirers to explain how they can turn their back on their faith and all they believe for such a wretch.

The Problem With the Universalists God is, It isn’t God

Because the Universalists God is a utility and the Universalists are only concerned with essentially just enough God to ‘get me to heaven’. Theirs is truly a utilitarian God of ‘love’ who doesn’t love enough to discipline or correct.  A God as a means to an end, and nothing more.  Not God as Lord, but God as slot machine.  In sum, a God that doesn’t exist except in the minds, and disturbed ones at that, of their Universalist creators.

Wright’s Wrong… It’s Nice Other People Are Finally Catching Up and Figuring That Out

If you want a quick-but-tedious way to separate some of the shallower evanjellyfish from the more theologically-serious evangelicals in your circle of friends, here’s a simple method: call N.T. Wright a heretic. It’s quick because the blowback you will surely experience can be timed in microseconds. It’s tedious because you will be subjected to a series of overweeningly shrill diatribes, accompanied by confident insinuations that anyone who says such a thing is a divisive dolt.But a more effective method is difficult to find.

N.T. Wright is a heretic. There, I’ve said it. Let the ranting begin.

I don’t know who Ron Henzel is, but he’s right about Wright and it’s nice to see him, and others, finally catching up to what a few of us have known for years.  Give his essay a read.

How Much Would A Luther Bible Cost when It Was First Published?

lbOur Saxon friends write

Did you know that when Luther’s Bible was published in 1534, the Bible cost a equivalent of 17 fat geese?

So I asked- how much is that?  They replied

The September Testament one and a half Gulden. Two Gulden acht Groschen the complete Bible. (60 Gulden was a equivalent to a small farm).  One and a half Gulden was an annual salary of a maidservant. A teacher’s 3 3/4.

Concerning Luther’s own salary they remark

As preacher at the City Church Luther had been receiving an annual salary of 9 Gulden since approx. 1514. In 1523 this sum was still the only cash at his disposal, since his Augustian professorship gave him free lodgings, together with brewing rights, a claim to payment in kind, but not to a salary. It was only in 1524 that Elector Frederick granted him an annual salary of one hundred Gulden. The new elector John ultimately accorded him two hundred Gulden so that Luther would earn as much as Philipp Melanchthon. This sum was a top salary for a Wittenberg Professor at the time, but the big house, the runaway monks and nuns the Luthers took in, and the continual guests made the household expensive to run. Luther calculated his annual expenses at about five hundred Gulden (Btw Luther never earned anything from his writing, he refused to accept a penny from them).

Neat, right?!?!  And we think books are expensive today!  It cost over a year’s salary for the goodly maid to buy a single Bible.  Astonishing.

I bought a two volume facsimile of the 1534 Bible and I think it cost around $199.  So, quite a bargain!

Generation Null

Did you know that the latest generation to arrive on the planet, Generation Null, is comprised of an astonishing 95% of babies who don’t do any of the housework or help around the house in any way????  Appalling

Droht der Welt die faulste Generation aller Zeiten? Laut einer internationalen Studie anerkannter Soziologen der Princeton-Universität in den USA beteiligen sich Neugeborene der letzten zwei Jahre kaum bis gar nicht im elterlichen Haushalt. 

“Es ist erschreckend – aber man muss den ab 2014 geborenen Menschen im Bereich häusliche Mithilfe ein vernichtendes Zeugnis ausstellen”, erklärt Studienleiter Howard Whittaker, der Kinder aus 32 Ländern untersuchte, darunter die USA, Kanada sowie mehrere europäische Länder wie Frankreich, die Niederlande und Deutschland. “Selbst zur Erledigung babyleichter Pflichten wie der Hilfe in der Küche, dem Aufräumen des eigenen Zimmers oder dem Entsorgen von Müll zeigt sich die neueste Generation länderübergreifend nicht mehr bereit.”

Die Gründe dafür haben die Wissenschaftler noch nicht hinreichend erforscht. “Problematisch ist, dass die meisten Betroffenen die Gründe für ihre Untätigkeit nicht artikulieren wollen”, so Whittaker. “Wir stehen vor einem Rätsel. Selbst finanzielle Anreize scheinen nicht zu greifen.”

Horrible.

Observing Signs, Wonder, Portents, And a Belief in Astrology: These are Things Melanchthon and Zwingli Had in Common

I think everyone knows that Melanchthon had a penchant for astrology.  Luther chided him about it regularly.  But he wasn’t alone in the 16th century in holding such views.  Zwingli too had an affinity for such things (though of a milder sort than Melanchthon).  This was especially the case in the dreadful atmosphere of mid Summer, 1531:

As the year wore on it was increasingly plain that war was inevitable, and Nature seemed to Zwingli to prophesy disaster. Zurich was again visited by the plague, though not in severe form. Like others of his time, Zwingli believed in signs and portents and had a lingering faith in astrology. So he was greatly disturbed at an extraordinary communication from Schenkenberg, near Brugg, in Aargau, some seventeen miles north by west of Zurich, written by the magistrate of the village and dated July 29, 1531, to the effect that on July 24th blood had been seen issuing in a stream from the earth!

Other equally circumstantial reports of uncommon physical phenomena were:

  • that at Zug, some fifteen miles south of Zurich, on Lake Zug, a shield had been seen in the air; on the river Reuss, which runs into Lake Zug, shots were heard at night;
  • on the Bruenig Pass, some twenty-five miles south of Luzern, flags flew in the heavens,
  • and on the Lake of Luzern phantom ships sailed filled with ghosts in warriors’ garb.
  • At Goostow, in the county of Gröningen, belonging to Zurich, a poor peasant woman, Beatrice of Marckelssheim, bore a child that had two heads with faces, three legs, and three arms, but only one body. Two of the arms hung from the sides as usual, but the third came out of the back between the shoulders, and had on the end two hands clasped. Two of the legs were also normal, but the third hung from behind for all the world like a tail! One of the heads died in the birth, the other lived a short time after it.

But still more alarming was the comet, of which Zwingli writes, on August 16th: “Some have seen a comet here in Zurich for three nights. I for one only, i. e., August 15th; what we shall see to-day, the 16th, I don’t know.” Bullinger thus relates the incident:

“Upon [St.] Lawrence [day, Thursday, August 10, 1531], appeared at sunset a right fearful comet whose long and broad tail stretched to mid heaven. The colour was pale yellow. And when Zwingli was asked what it meant by George Müller, abbot at Wittengen, as standing in the churchyard of the Great Minster, near the Wettinger House, they contemplated it together, he replied: ‘Dear George, it will cost me and many an honest man his life, and truth and Church will yet suffer; still Christ will not desert us.’ ”*

Doesn’t the baby of Goostow sound like Joel Watts? Anyway, I think it would be unfair of us to look down our noses at the notion that astrology is even remotely sensible. Their world was different than ours and the views held by its residents deserve to be judged on their terms not ours.
_________
*Huldreich Zwingli: The Reformer of German Switzerland (1484–1531) (pp. 350–352).

Tomorrow is the Anniversary of Rudolf Karl Bultmann’s Death

Stay tuned for a day of remembrance.  It is impossible for me to express how important Bultmann has been to me over the course of my life.  He and von Rad were pivotal and critical while I was in grad school and they have both remained insurmountable and indestructible.   Those who haven’t read Bultmann really have no reason to describe themselves as New Testament scholars just as those who have ignored von Rad have no cause to call themselves Old Testament scholars.  They are both that important and that epoch making.