Daily Archives: 16 Nov 2017

I’m No Expert On ‘Diversity’ ….

But doesn’t it seem like a women’s organization focused on scholarship and a diversity organization would have a woman or two at a conference on … Women……

Isn’t this like having all White men on a panel discussing Hispanic theology?

That One Time You Discussed Keeping Your Church Safe from Gunmen, And One of the Gun Toters Accidentally Shoots 2 People…

Good grief.

Police say two people were accidentally shot at a church in Tellico Plains Thursday afternoon during a discussion about the recent church shooting in Texas.

The Tellico Plains Police Department says elder members of First United Methodist Church were meeting for a Thanksgiving dinner around 1 p.m. and began discussing the Texas shooting when someone asked if anyone brought a gun to their church.

A man spoke up and said he carries his everywhere he goes. He pulled the gun out, emptied the magazine and chamber, and then started passing the gun around.

Once the gun came back around to its owner, police say the man put the magazine back in and recharged the chamber, but accidentally squeezed the trigger. The gun went off, hitting the man in the hand and his wife in the abdomen.

Both were taken to UT Medical Center by helicopter for non-life threatening injuries. Their names have not been released.

Nearby schools were briefly put on lockdown during the initial investigation. The lockdown was lifted once the scene was cleared.

Good grief.

No, Jesus is Not Your Boyfriend, and No, God is not in a ‘Romantic Relationship’ With You…

Good heavens where do people come up with their theology these days?  I mean besides their corrupt imaginations…

Judas Iscariot’s Favorite Book? Joel Osteen’s “Your Best Life Now”

New evidence uncovered Wednesday has confirmed that Judas Iscariot betrayed Jesus Christ to the Sanhedrin for 30 pieces of silver immediately after finishing Joel Osteen’s famous book Your Best Life Now.

Written accounts from eyewitnesses has been unearthed that record several events that took place immediately prior to Judas’s betrayal of the Son of God and Savior of the world.

“Don’t just accept whatever comes your way in life. You were born to win; you were born for greatness; you were created to be a champion in life,” Iscariot is said to have repeated to himself as he worked up the courage to accept the bribe for the life of the Lord.

“Start calling yourself healed, happy, whole, blessed, and prosperous,” he continued.

Taking a deep breath and entering the chambers of the chief priests, the betrayer then sold the Son of God for money.

When the day came to identify Jesus to authorities by kissing him on the cheek, documents confirmed that a nervous Judas repeated another passage from the book to himself: “You have to learn to follow your heart. You can’t let other people pressure you into being something that you’re not. If you want God’s favor in your life, you must be the person He made you to be, not the person your boss wants you to be, not even the person your parents or your spouse wants you to be. You can’t let outside expectations keep you from following your own heart.”

And, gathering courage, he was able to carry out his task.

Yup.  Osteen makes Judases.

If Immorality Is Bad For Republicans…

It’s bad for Democrats.  If you denounce Republicans because of their immoral behavior, you had better denounce Democrats for the same.  Otherwise your real concern isn’t morality, it’s politics.  And shame on you.  You are why this country is in the shape it is.  You’ll vote for a pervert like Trump but screech like a banshee about Clinton.  Or you’ll vote for Clinton but whine like an infant about Moore.


The Personal Luther: Essays on the Reformer from a Cultural Historical Perspective

Overwhelmingly, Martin Luther has been treated as the generator of ideas concerning the relationship between God and humankind. The Personal Luther deliberately departs from that church-historiographic tradition. Luther was a voluble and irrepressible divine. Even though he had multiple ancillary interests, such as singing, playing the lute, appreciating the complexities of nature, and observing his children, his preoccupation was, as he quickly saw it, bringing the Word of God to the people.

This book is not about Luther’s theology except insofar as any ideational construct is itself an expression of the thinker who frames it. Luther frequently couched his affective utterances within a theological framework. Nor is it a biography; it does not portray a whole life. Rather, it concentrates on several heretofore neglected aspects of the Reformer’s existence and personality.

The subjects that appear in this book are meant to demonstrate what such core-taking on a range of mainly unexplored facets of the Reformer’s personality and experience can yield. It will open the way for other secular researchers to explore the seemingly endless interests of this complicated individual. It will also show that perspectives of cultural historians offer the broadest possible evidentiary base within which to analyze a figure of the past.

Brill have sent along a review copy.

First, in terms of contents- the volume consists of the following chapters (along with the usual preface and introduction and an index)

1 Luther’s Ego-documents: Cultural History and the Reconstruction of the Historical Self
2 Luther’s Conscience: A Template for the Modern West?
3 Luther’s Friendship with Frederick the Wise
4 Luther’s Relational God. Finding a Loving Heavenly Father
5 Fleshly Work. The Sex Act as Christian Liberty
6 The Masculinity of Martin Luther. Theory, Practicality, and Humour
7 The Tenderness of Daughters, the Waywardness of Sons. Martin Luther as a Father
8 Martin Luther’s Heart
9 Martin Luther’s Perfect Death
10 The Imprint of Personality upon the Reformation

The volume is rich in details and documentation and even richer in breadth of scope. Many volumes on Luther focus on his theology. Many focus on his biography. But few (and the good ones doing so are even fewer and further between) examine Luther the ‘person’. What kind of person was Luther? What were his attitudes towards himself, his friends, God, liberty, masculinity, sexuality, children, and death? This work attempts to examine precisely those questions.

Our author expresses the book’s intention thusly:

This book is not about Luther’s theology except insofar as any ideational construct is itself an expression of the thinker who frames it. Luther frequently couched his affective utterances within a theological framework. Nor is it a biography; it does not portray a whole life. Rather, it concentrates on several heretofore neglected aspects of the Reformer’s existence and personality.

Those ‘neglected aspects’ of Luther’s existence are genuinely engaged and explored. Each chapter can be read independently and they need not be read in order. Those interested in Luther’s attitude to sex and his understanding of sexuality (a hot button these days if ever there were one) can feel comfortable reading that segment of the tome without feeling as though they are missing something of the argument if they skip what comes before it. These chapters are not interlocked.

Susan’s writing style is professional and enjoyable.  She can write.  She can inform, without being a bore.  For example,

From Martin Luther’s perspective, fatherhood was central to Protestant masculinity. Luther had launched a revolution in the clerical world not just of theology but of the social placement of the pastor. In a literal sense, Luther had clergymen rejoin society by marrying and founding households. Henceforward, their liaisons were public and legitimate, and very quickly their spouses came to be drawn from social ranks that were commensurate with their own. Concubines had a more humble provenance, which symbolized their fragile respectability. After the Reformation, pastors, preacher, and deacons no longer paid concubinage and cradle fees, for they were doing nothing to be fined for. Late medieval and early modern secular society regarded marriage and reproduction as the norm. Even though the Catholic priesthood had officially practiced celibacy, chastity in the form of sexual abstinence often did not accompany the unwed state. Probably out of their desire for stability and a sense of the irresistibility of sexual desire, communities tolerated the long term cohabitation of priests and their ‘housekeepers’. For similar reasons and their monetary advantage, bishops, too, accepted an annual fine and ‘looked through their fingers’ at paired-off clergymen.59 Their progeny were a bit of an embarrassment and an inconvenience. They were barred from craftguilds and from claims to inherit.

I recommend all who wish to understand Luther better, as a person and not simply a hero or a villain or a theologian or a translator or a Professor take this book in hand and make use of its learning to enhance your own.

The Most Disgusting Nativity Scene, Ever

Via the twitter-

Caspar Cruciger

crucigerOne of Martin and Katie Luther’s dearest friends, Caspar Cruciger, died November 16, 1548, at the age of 44.

Cruciger’s first encounter with Luther was when he attended the debate between Luther and Johann Eck in Cruciger’s home town of Leipzig. After attending the University at Wittenberg, he became a professor there in 1528.

In 1524, Cruciger married former nun Elisabeth von Meseritz who soon became one of Katie’s closest friends. When Elisabeth died in 1535, at the age of 35, he married Leipzig noblewoman Apollonia Gunterode.

Cruciger was instrumental in bringing the Reformation to Leipzig but his greatest work was in Wittenberg where he became part of Luther’s “high council” put together to help Luther with his revision of his translation of the Bible into German.

After Luther’s death, Cruciger was able to aid his friends one more time when the Elector appointed him and Philipp Melanchthon to be the guardians for Martin and Katie’s children.

The portrait of Caspar Cruciger is by Lucas Crancach the Younger from 1558.

-Rebecca DeGarmeaux for Katie Luther on FB.

Zwingli on the Source of War: Atheism

In 1522, on May 16th to be precise, Zwingli published his ‘anti-war’ book Ein göttlich vermanung an die ersamen, wysen, eerenvesten, eltisten Eydgnossen zü Schwytz, das sy sich vor frömden herren hütind und entladind, Huldrichi Zwinglii, einvaltigen verkünders des euangelii Christi Jhesu and in it he writes, towards the beginning while describing the source of conflict-

How does it happen that we Christians who are united by such powerful agencies have much greater quarrels than unbelievers? And how does it happen that in a Confederacy in which until now a fraternal love prevailed, for the sake of foreign lords violent quarrel has arisen? Answer: Real piety, by which is meant true worship and prayer to God, has disappeared among us, as St. Paul writes to the Romans [Rom. 1:28–31]: “And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient; being filled with all unrighteousness, fornication, wickedness, covetousness, maliciousness; full of envy, murder, debate, deceit, malignity; whisperers, backbiters, haters of God, despiteful, proud, boasters, inventors of evil things, disobedient to parents, without understanding, covenant-breakers, without natural affection, implacable, unmerciful.” From these words of Paul we learn that all these evils which he enumerates arise when we desert God, do not fully recognise Him, do not look up to Him, do not place our whole trust in him, but on the contrary despise Him and regard him somewhat as we would an old sleeping dog.

War comes when God is forgotten!  That’s Zwingli’s stunning observation.  I recommend that you get hold of the book and read it.  It’s fantastic and indeed the editor of the English edition of Zwingli’s works writes in the introductory preface

… what [Zwingli] says about war is worthy of republication by our Peace Societies, and they are entirely at liberty to use this translation.*

The combatants in Israel and Gaza (and in other conflicts around the world) may think that they are doing something grand and good and great and helpful but war is never any of those things.  War is atheism and those who perpetrate it are, practically speaking, atheists because war is rejection of and denial of God.

*The Latin Works and The Correspondence of Huldreich Zwingli: Together with Selections from His German Works, Volume 1 (S. M. Jackson, Ed.), p.130.

Today With Zwingli

zwingliThere have come forward in our day those who have said that a symbolical meaning is to be found in the word “This.” I commend their faith, if only it is not counterfeit. For God seeth the heart, we poor wretches judge from the face [1 Sam. 16:7]. I greatly commend, therefore, not the faith which makes them venture thoughtlessly to treat these words, but that through which they see that it is untenable for us to understand bodily flesh here. I will not, however, speak now of the Charybdis the fear of which drove them upon this Scylla, for it has no bearing upon this matter.*

Those who have come forward to whom Zwingli refers are, among others, Matt Alber. On 16 November of 1524 Zwingli addressed him thusly:

Gratia et pax a domino! Aspersit nos rumor de certamine, quod tibi futurum est cum quodam fratre, ut aiunt, ingenue etiam Christo favente, qui ut facie mihi notus est, ita nomine ignotus, contra tu nomine nobis et euangelii gloria notissimus es, facie ignotus. Certamen autem Michael noster audivit περὶ τῆς εὐχαριστίας esse indictum, in qua vereor multos vehementer errare, nisi ego magis quam omnes errem. Ac nisi me fallit omnis scripturae tum proprietas, tum sensus, imo pietas ipsa, longe hactenus a scopo iecimus. Quisquis autem peccati huius tandem sit autor, nunc non est ut dicam per epistolam, quam esse brevem oportet.

And then he rips into Carlstadt. Good times, good times.
*H. Zwingli, The Latin works of Huldreich Zwingli, (Vol. 3, p. 221).

Oh You Aren’t All That, Sparky…

Let the reader understand-

You aren’t that scary, threatening, or significant.