Daily Archives: 15 Jan 2019

If Pastors Priced Services Like Hospitals Do

  • Prayer for you- $10
  • Prayer for your family- $15
  • Prayer for your extended family- $20
  • Prayer for ‘the world’- $50
  • Prayer for your Pet- $10,000
  • Prayers at Community Events, Family Reunions, and all other Non-Church Gatherings- $490,000
  • Home Visit- $50
  • Hospital Visit- $75
  • Hospital Visit +Prayer- $200
  • Morning Sermon- $777
  • Evening Sermon- $777
  • Midweek Prayer Service- $900
  • Sunday School Class (Teaching)- $50
  • Sunday School Class (Non-Teaching) – $90,000
  • Wedding Rehearsal- $500
  • Wedding Ceremony-$1000
  • Wedding Where a Bridezilla is Present- $10,000
  • Counseling- $100,000 per hour
  • Funeral for Church Member- $1000
  • Funeral for non Church Member- $2000
  • Funeral which says nice things about the deceased- $5000
  • Business Meetings- $5,500
  • Deacons Meetings- $25,000

The price list is non negotiable.

Do You Fancy Being a Pastor of a Church Whose Members Don’t Wish Kids To Be Around?

Then this may be the ideal job for you:

“New Life Christian Church is located in The Villages, FL, a retirement community with a current population of about 150,000 residents above the age of 55. We are a church of 450 active seniors which is our targeted demographic. We have no children and have no plans to become a multi-generational church.”

Down with kids!

No, I won’t tell you how I got that.  Because then you’d know the Pastor looking for another job.  Suffice to say that I think it’s hilarious.

Understanding the Gospels as Ancient Jewish Literature

This may be of interest to some.

Respect for the Military? Not When You Refuse to Pay them Because You’re Petty

Zwingli’s Private Library

This arrived from Brill for review a while back:

The Swiss theologian Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531) was one of the most prominent reformers and the founder of the Reformed Protestant Church in the Swiss Confederation. During the last hundred years more than 200 titles from his private library have been discovered. They give an interesting insight into his interests and sources. The present book contains not only an extensive introduction and a catalogue of these books and manuscripts, but also an inventory of the lost works possessed by Zwingli. They open the door to Zwingli’s study and to the intellectual world of an important reformer.

The book is comprised of three parts.  In part one, Leu and Weidmann put Zwingli in the context of books and libraries in general and in the context of his own library in particular.  As they state it

… investigating someone’s private library is just as crucial in tracing his spiritual life and intellectual conflicts, as is the scrutiny of other personal documents.

They go on to say a bit further on

Zwingli loved the secluded life of study. It is no coincidence that he underlined the quotation by Horace: “Beatus ille, qui procul negotiis” (Happy the man who is far away from the business) in his copy of the Orationes praelectiones et praefationes by Philipp Beroaldus.

So the aim here is clearly stated: which books did Zwingli own and what did he think of them?  To that end, then, we are informed that

… a maximum of a few thousand titles would have been available to scholars during Zwingli’s lifetime.  It can thus be inferred that they had to purchase many of the books they wanted themselves, due to the difficulty, at times sheer impossibility, of accessing the material otherwise.

And books were expensive!

One of his most expensive books was probably his edition of the works of Augustine (no. 13). The edition printed later in 1529 by Johannes Froben (about 1460–1527) had cost 18 guilders.

I had to do a little research, but I discovered this bit of information about the value of the guilder:

An outdoor laborer earned 6.50 guilders per week or just over 300 guilders per year.
master carpenter earned 9 guilders per week or just over 450 guilders per year
Wages did not change for 150 years.

A pastor earned 500 guilders per year. Rent free. We have an antique Dutch book and it describes the detailed living expenses of a pastor and his wife on a 500 guilders a year salary. They could not make ends meet.

Today, economists find it difficult to express a meaningful correlation factor of cost of living between two very different cities e.g. Miami, Oklahoma and Miami, Florida, let alone find a factor for correlating cost of living between two countries over some 400 years. However, research on inflation and CPI over the period of 1600 to 2000, -as well as rate of exchange and purchasing power- gives us a workable factor of 60. That means that for the rest of this report we’ll use: 100 guilders in the 1600s equals US $6,000 in today’s money.   (Cf- http://vanosnabrugge.org/docs/dutchmoney.htm).

That’s approximately the valuation of the guilder used in Switzerland during Zwingli’s lifetime.  I.e., 1 guilder = $60.  That means that Zwingli’s copy of Augustine’s works cost him $1080.

Zwingli paid off this work in at least two installments because on 8th March 1521 he wrote to Beatus Rhenanus that he had sent four guilders to the bookseller Mathias Biermann to settle the debts for his Augustine.

Leu continues:

If we calculate Zwingli’s income, it becomes evident that the Reformer spent a comparatively large amount of his money on his library which numbered several hundred titles. He was prepared to spend substantial sums on books and on education. We do not know how much he earned in Glarus, his financial situation in Einsiedeln is better documented. As well as a papal pension of 50 guilders per year for his military services in northern Italy, he also had a sinecure from Glarus and received an annual salary of twenty guilders from the monastery in Einsiedeln. There, he was also entitled to part of the so-called Beichtschilling (confessional shilling), to the fees for reading Masses (Oblations) and to a quarter of the donations at a funeral (mortuaries). Furthermore, he held the parish of Glarus de jure and had a locum vicar, thus securing for him self an additional income. Zwingli certainly earned over 100 guilders annually in Einsiedeln, which was not the case during his early days in Zürich.

These fascinating details fill this volume’s first chapter and no fuller picture of Zwingli’s book acquisitions has ever been composed.

When our authors get to the second part of their work they examine in brilliant detail the works in Zwingli’s library (of three chief sorts, Theological, Historical, and Miscellaneous).  They provide many examples of marginal notations along with many historical details about the works Zwingli used.  For instance, and remarkably

Astonishingly enough, not one single German Bible has survived from Zwingli’s Bible collection, although he certainly knew the so-called Wormser Propheten (no. A 17) as well as Luther’s New Testament (no. A 18). He used both of these works in preparing his translation for the Zürich Bible. Unlike the private collection of Zwingli’s successor, Heinrich Bullinger, no copy of the Zürich Bible has come down to us from Zwingli’s library, although he himself contributed greatly to its translation. We do however have a complete Greek Bible which, in a way, can be seen as Zwingli’s family Bible (no. 26). He would not have read aloud from it in the family circle, but he recorded the births of his children on the back inside cover. This list of births was continued by his son, recording his children with Anna Bullinger proving that the Bible remained in the Zwingli family after his death and was not transferred to the abbey library of the Grossmünster.

They also provide numerous illustrative plates throughout the volume.

Zwingli’s library was comprised of just over 400 volumes.  197 of them are held in the Zurich Central Library and they are available online, as we are here informed:

Finally it should be noted that all titles held by the ZBZ are available in digitized form at the following internet address: http://www.e-rara.ch/pbhzwingli/nav/classification/17174539

There is a wealth of material in those volumes in the form of Zwingli’s marginal notations.

The third part of the volume is the catalogue itself.  And, unsurprisingly, it is simply a listing of those volumes held by Zwingli in his personal library.

The volume concludes with a bibliography.  It also concludes with a series of indices of printer’s locations, a list of contributors to Zwingli’s library, and finally, dedicators.

This is an exceptionally interesting book.  The historical details it shares and the massive amount of material it so carefully sifts is astonishing.  Readers of this volume will learn more about Zwingli and his world than from most other volumes on the great Reformer.  I cannot recommend it highly enough.  And so I recommend it to you, to your library, and to your research institution.

The Contents of Zwingli’s Library

Zwingli’s personal library held over 400 works.  The Central Library of Zurich has 197 of them.  And they are all digitized, which means that where Zwingli annotated them you can see those annotations themselves.    With 10,000 thanks to Urs Leu for mentioning the collection in his book:

Finally it should be noted that all titles held by the ZBZ are available in digitized form at the following internet address: http://www.e‑rara.ch/pbhzwingli/nav/classification/17174539

Prayer Requests… For Times of Annoyance

  1. Lay the guilt on them, God, make their intrigues their own downfall; for their countless offences, thrust them from you, since they have rebelled against you. (Ps. 5:10)
  2. Break the arm of the wicked and evil, seek out wickedness till there is none left to be found. (Ps. 10:15)
  3. God, break the teeth in their mouths, snap off the fangs of these young lions, Yahweh.  May they drain away like water running to waste, may they wither like trampled grass, like the slug that melts as it moves or a still-born child that never sees the sun.  Before they sprout thorns like the bramble, green or burnt up, may retribution whirl them away. (Ps. 58:6-9)
  4. Destroy them in your anger, destroy them till they are no more, and let it be known that God is Master in Jacob and the whole wide world. (Ps. 59:13)
  5. May their own table prove a trap for them, and their abundance a snare; may their eyes grow so dim that they cannot see, all their muscles lose their strength. Vent your fury on them, let your burning anger overtake them. Reduce their encampment to ruin, and leave their tents untenanted, for hounding someone you had already stricken, for redoubling the pain of one you had wounded. Charge them with crime after crime, exclude them from your saving justice, erase them from the book of life, do not enrol them among the upright. (Ps. 69:22-28)
  6. My God, treat them like thistledown, like chaff at the mercy of the wind. As fire devours a forest, as a flame sets mountains ablaze, so drive them away with your tempest, by your whirlwind fill them with terror. (Ps. 83:13-15)
  7. May his life be cut short, someone else take over his office, his children be orphaned, his wife be widowed. ‘May his children wander perpetually, beggars, driven from the ruins of their house, a creditor seize all his goods, and strangers make off with his earnings. ‘May there be none left faithful enough to show him love, no one take pity on his orphans, the line of his descendants cut off, his name wiped out in one generation. ‘May Yahweh never forget the crimes of his ancestors, and his mother’s sins not be wiped out; (Ps. 109:8-14)
  8. Yahweh, do not grant the wicked their wishes, do not let their plots succeed. Do not let my attackers  prevail, but let them be overwhelmed by their own malice.  May red-hot embers rain down on them, may they be flung into the mire once and for all.  May the slanderer find no rest anywhere, may evil hunt down violent men implacably. (Ps. 140:8-11)

The Greatest Threat to the Church Isn’t Islam, It’s Robert Jeffress and His Ilk

In a mildly boring post about the imprecatory Psalms someone writes

… as we see such things as the Islamic threats to the church continue, the Chinese church suffering threats and persecution, and increased hostility toward the church in the West, we need to learn to pray prayers strong enough to meet the challenges and humble enough to cast our full dependency on God. The Lord has given us such prayers right in the heart of our Bibles, the very prayer language of the Holy Spirit. Will the church pray them?

The greatest threat to the Church isn’t Islam, or the government of China, or any of the things this essay mentions. It’s fake Christians. Pretend, hypocritical, politically driven, power craving unbelieving wolves wearing the clothing of sheep. That is the greatest threat.  Robert Jeffress and his ilk pose a greater threat to Christianity than Islam ever has.  Or ever will.  Because he and they are a cancer within the body.


“Once the heart has been gained by God, everything else will eventually take care of itself. This is why He requires the heart above all else.” – Jeanne Guyon (1648-1717)

American Political Pseudo-Christianity as Viewed from the Other Side of the Atlantic

Read this.  It’s quite rightly said.

Fire From Heaven… It Sounds Like a Good Idea to Me Too…

Now it happened that as the time drew near for him to be taken up, he resolutely turned his face towards Jerusalem and sent messengers ahead of him. These set out, and they went into a Samaritan village to make preparations for him, but the people would not receive him because he was making for Jerusalem.  Seeing this, the disciples James and John said, ‘Lord, do you want us to call down fire from heaven to burn them up?’  But he turned and rebuked them, and they went on to another village.

I don’t know why Jesus was miffed at them.  Honestly, there are a lot of people who need to be smitten.  Washington DC is full of them.  Full.  Of.  Them.

As they travelled along they met a man on the road who said to him, ‘I will follow you wherever you go.’  Jesus answered, ‘Foxes have holes and the birds of the air have nests, but the Son of man has nowhere to lay his head.’  Another to whom he said, ‘Follow me,’ replied, ‘Let me go and bury my father first.’  But he answered, ‘Leave the dead to bury their dead; your duty is to go and spread the news of the kingdom of God.’  Another said, ‘I will follow you, sir, but first let me go and say good — bye to my people at home.’  Jesus said to him, ‘Once the hand is laid on the plough, no one who looks back is fit for the kingdom of God.’  (Lk. 9:51-62)

Because people are awful.  And self centered.  And awful.

That fire needs to fall.  Let’s just all admit it. Or bears.  Bears are good.  Bears, fire, something, anything…


Who doesn’t love them?

Someone Hates Cats, A Lot…

Otherwise he wouldn’t pay $1500 a month for an apartment for two cats that his daughter couldn’t take off to college with her.

Oh, and people are insane.

“From the real estate point of view, it may sound a little bit funny, but it’s clever and creative,” said Sophia Delacotte, a real estate agent. “And I like it.”

Of course you like it- you’re making money from the madness.

Oh, and people are insane.

Quote of the Day

Tip: When someone says that a biblical interpretation is “wonderfully contemporary” it is almost certainly a wonderfully incorrect interpretation. – Christian Brady

Melanchthon Explains the Bible to Luther