Daily Archives: 5 Dec 2019

TurnItOff

It? Turnitin.

Read the essay, it’s on the mark.

Signs of the (Medieval) Times

Republican learning: John Toland and the crisis of Christian culture, 1696-1722

This book explores the life, thought and political commitments of the free-thinker John Toland (1670-1722). Studying both his private archive and published works, it illustrates how Toland moved in both subversive and elite political circles in England and abroad. It explores the connections between his republican political thought and his irreligious belief about Christian doctrine, the ecclesiastical establishment and divine revelation, arguing that far from being a marginal and insignificant figure, Toland counted queens, princes and government ministers as his friends and political associates.

In particular his intimate relationship with the Electress Sophia of Hanover saw him act as a court philosopher, but also as a powerful publicist for the Hanoverian succession. The book argues that Toland shaped the republican tradition after the Glorious Revolution into a practical and politically viable programme, focused not on destroying the monarchy, but on reforming public religion and the Church of England.

The book also examines how Toland used his social intimacy with a wide circle of men and women (ranging from Prince Eugene of Savoy to Robert Harley) to distribute his ideas in private. It explores the connections between Toland’s erudition and print culture, arguing that his intellectual project was aimed at compromising the authority of Christian ‘knowledge’ as much as the political power of the Church.

Overall the book illustrates how Toland’s ideas and influence impacted upon English political life between the 1690s and the 1720s. It forms an excellent study on a fascinating character in early modern history, scholars and enthusiasts of the period will find it extremely valuable.

And it’s free to download.

It’s True

Congress Doesn’t Represent America, Because It Was Never Intended To

Because America isn’t a land whose government is a representative democracy, it is an oligarchy.  And it will always be controlled by the wealthy, for the wealthy, and the exploitation of the middle and lower classes.  Until it is ended.

Quote of the Month

Universities are becoming seminaries for the formation for the high priesthood of capitalism. – Massimo Faggioli

Church Marketing’s Goal: Just Get Them in the Doors…

Forget all that tiresome and outdated biblical stuff like ‘go into all the world and make disciples’.  That’s too hard and people just aren’t interested in that.  Instead of going deep, go as shallow as you can and get those butts in seats, because that’s what it’s all about…

Thom can teach you the latest marketing manipulations to get you a gusher of guests… (what a word to choose)…  Although the Bible never tells us to make ‘guests’, but disciples.

Mary, Ever Virgin?

Nope.

Ἔτι αὐτοῦ λαλοῦντος τοῖς ὄχλοις, ἰδοὺ ἡ μήτηρ καὶ οἱ ἀδελφοὶ αὐτοῦ εἱστήκεισαν ἔξω, ζητοῦντες αὐτῷ λαλῆσαι. (Matt. 12:46)

The usual response from my Catholic friends is ‘well brother can mean cousin’.  Well if that’s so, then can’t ‘mother’ mean anything but mother?  If we’re going to claim that it was Jesus’s step brothers or cousins who came to take him home, then by all rights we have to talk about his step mother too….

God Is in the Manger: Reflections on Advent and Christmas by Dietrich Bonhoeffer

Free from Logos now so get it while you can.  Sure, it’s Bonhoeffer.  But who knows, he may say something useful this time!  And if not, you didn’t spend anything on it!!!!

😉

The 2020 Rudolf-Bultmann-Gesellschaft Meeting

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Hypocritical Preachers

The worst thing about ministry is the hypocrisy. And I don’t mean the hypocrisy of the church members, I mean the hypocrisy of the Pastor. I.e., no matter how loving you are, you will never rise to the level of pastoral perfection. Consequently, your life always teeters on the verge and sometimes plunges over the edge of hypocrisy. It isn’t intentional, it’s just part of being a human being. Imperfection.
 
Yet your imperfections are always more glaring than anyone else’s. So, for example, if you’re obese and you preach on gluttony, many of your equally obese hearers won’t hear the sermon because they’ll be too busy judging you as a hypocrite.
 
Yet, in my estimation, the greatest preachers are the ones who are willing to expose themselves to the charge of hypocrisy in order to preach the Word of God truthfully and fully.
 
It’s far easier to avoid those topics and texts which point out our own failings, and yet the pastoral office demands that they be addressed. And pointing them out and preaching from them does cause the pastor to be viewed rather darkly. But this cannot be helped.
 
Mature Christians will recognize themselves as equally flawed and immature Christians will eventually arrive at the same juncture. Accordingly, friends in ministry, preach the Word, even if you find yourself stung by its words.
 
It’s your duty. Even if you aren’t perfect. And even if others mistakenly think you are and hold you to a higher standard than they ever would themselves.
 
Because at the end of the day, what matters isn’t you, it’s the Word truthfully proclaimed. Even if it infuriates the Devil. And especially then.

Hatred

From the Catechism of the Catholic Church

“Deliberate hatred is contrary to charity. Hatred of the neighbor is a sin when one deliberately wishes him evil. Hatred of the neighbor is a grave sin when one deliberately desires him grave harm.”

Indeed.

I Can’t Send a Card to All of You

Even though I would like to.  So this will have to do.  Merry Christmas!

Starving Christians in America

Not that kind of starvation- the starvation that comes when worship, prayer, scripture reading, and ministry are either wholly ignored or only occasionally enjoyed.

There’s a famine in the land- but one of our own making and it has resulted in the spiritual emaciation of the vast majority of Christians in this country.  It’s why so many are powerless, weak, and incapable of the smallest spiritual victory.

And worst of all, most Christians know they are spiritually malnourished and they simply do not care.  They’re starving their souls to death, and it does not matter to them.

It’s sad.  But at the end, unsurprising, since none less than Amos spoke about this very sort of famine in the 8th century BC-

The days are coming- declares the Lord Yahweh- when I shall send a famine on the country, not hunger for food, not thirst for water, but famine for hearing Yahweh’s word.  People will stagger from sea to sea, will wander from the north to the east, searching for Yahweh’s word, but will not find it.  ‘That Day, fine girls and stalwart youths will faint from thirst. (Amos 8:11-13)

Those days have come, not because God has sent it but because Christians have made it happen themselves.  We are reaping what we have sown.