Sign up to Listen to James Crossley Talk About ‘The Life of Brian’


Shtick! Life of Brian


Perhaps one of Monty Python’s most notorious productions, Life of Brian has been widely criticized for its blasphemous nature and the seeming resemblance between Brian and Jesus Christ. In this episode, prof Corssley will discuss this issue and explain how he thinks the film should be interpreted, and answer the question – is Brian indeed Jesus?


Oct 28, 2020 05:00 PM in London

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More Erasmus

There remains one order of the clergy, who are so tied to religion by vows that, if they were inclined, they could no more shake it off, than the tortoise can get rid of the shell which he carries on his back, like a house. I should hope, if I had not been so often disappointed, that, among these persons, coming in the name of peace, I should gain a welcome reception. However, that I may leave no stone unturned, I go and try whether I may be allowed to fix my residence here. Do you wish to know the result of the experiment? I never received a ruder repulse. What indeed could I expect, where religion herself seems to be at war with religion. There are just as many parties as there are fraternities. The dominicans disagree with the minorites, the benedictines with the bernardines; so many modes of worship, so various the rites and ceremonies; they cannot agree in any particular; every one likes his own, and therefore damns all others. Nay, the same fraternity is rent into parties; the observantes inveigh against the coletae; both unite in their hatred of a third sort, which, though it derives its name from a convent, yet, in no article, can come to an amicable convention.

Fire them All

I could not agree more.  Everyone in Congress needs to be fired.

The Republican governor of New Hampshire on Monday blasted Congress for failing to reach another coronavirus stimulus package to help Americans deal with the fallout from the pandemic.

“Fire them all. I really mean that sincerely,” Gov. Chris Sununu said on CNBC’s “Squawk Box.” “No one in the Senate or Congress can say that they’ve shown leadership on the Covid crisis. What have they done since March? Like literally nothing.”

Sununu — who is running for a third, two-year term against Democrat Dan Feltes — said Congress has “made a lot of promises” to respond to the coronavirus pandemic but failed to overcome partisanship to match them with real actions.

“Put it this way: Would the country be better or worse off if you replaced all 535 today?” Sununu said, referring to turning over all 435 House seats and the 100 Senate seats. “I think the odds say we’d probably be a little better because you get the political nonsense out of the picture, all of the things that have just clogged the system up so badly.”

Get rid of every single one of them.

Martin Luther: On Those Jackdaw Preachers Who Steal Other People’s Sermons

lutherThere are some lazy pastors and preachers, who are no good themselves, those who count on getting their sermons from … other [people’s] … books. They do not pray, do not study, do not read, do not meditate on anything in Scripture, just as if on account of [these books] one did not have to read the Bible. They avail themselves of books such as the Formulary and the Calendar to earn their annual keep. And they are nothing but parrots or jackdaws that learn to repeat without understanding. — Martin Luther

Amen and amen.

To The Lying Prophets of Baal Who Say that The Behavior of Politicians Doesn’t Matter, Because they are Politicians and Not Pastors

John the Baptist thinks otherwise.

At that time Herod the tetrarch heard the report about Jesus and said to his servants, “This is John the Baptist; he is risen from the dead, and therefore these powers are at work in him.” For Herod had laid hold of John and bound him, and put him in prison for the sake of Herodias, his brother Philip’s wife. Because John had said to him, “It is not lawful for you to have her.” And although he wanted to put him to death, he feared the multitude, because they counted him as a prophet.  (Matt. 14:1-5)

It’s better to speak the truth to power and die than it is to live like a court prophet, ignoring the sins of the king and being an apologist for his behavior.

Erasmus as Forerunner of Luther and Zwingli

normal_Durer-Albrecht-Erasmus-Sun2016 ehrt die Reformationsstadt Basel Erasmus von Rotterdam. Denn der Humanist, der zeitlebens Katholik blieb, legte am Rheinknie die Basis für den Durchbruch von Luther und Zwingli.

2017 feiert die protestantische Welt Luthers Thesenanschlag am Kirchenportal zu Wittenberg. Der Akt bildet den Auftakt zur Reformation, die ganz Europa erschütterte. In Basel hingegen beginnt das Reformationsjubiläum schon 2016. Die Stadt ehrt Erasmus von Rotterdam. Der Theologe machte mit seiner Bibeledition und seinem Wirken die Reformation erst möglich. Trotzdem blieb er Katholik.

There is something to be said for Erasmus as ‘way-paver’ for the Reformation. He could, and would, never have gone as far as Luther and Zwingli, which is why he matter less. But he does matter and he’s worth remembering.

Brunner’s Ordination

October 27th, 1912, Emil Brunner was ordained. He had preached his first sermon earlier that year, on April 14th. His subject, “Jesus is the Divine Man’. In that sermon, which really serves as an indication of all his later work (though of course just in the slimmest of outlines), Brunner asserted that ‘Faith in the biblical sense is nothing other than an apprehension of the truth’. And faith in the theological sense is like ‘when a mother says to her son, I believe in you!’

The concept of faith remained important to Brunner his entire ministry.

Oh, and he was more brilliant than Barth to the same degree that the sun is more brilliant than a firefly.

And a Happy Servetus Day to You All…

@jdmccafferty – 27 Oct 1553: Michael Servetus anti-Trinitarian thinker burnt at #Geneva #otd on a pyre of his own books (McGovern).

Servetus was a theological dilettante.  He should have stuck with medicine.

Calvin never wrote a book on medicine.  Do you know why?  Because that wasn’t his field!  If only everyone were like Calvin and stayed in their own lane.

In All My Days…

I have never seen the putative Christians fawn after the ungodly like I have the last four years. Never.

I remember when being a godly person meant supporting godly people. Those days have vanished and now the godly pant after the ungodly like she-asses in heat pant for a male, to borrow a phrase from Ezekiel.

Yet she multiplied her harlotries, remembering the days of her youth, when she played the harlot in the land of Egypt. She lusted after their paramours, whose flesh is like the flesh of donkeys and whose issue is like the issue of horses. Ezek 23.

What Ezekiel said of Judah describes Evangelicals in pursuit of power. Prove me wrong.

The SBL 2020 Meeting App is Available

We are pleased to announce the release of the mobile app and desktop planner for the 2020 Virtual Annual Meeting. The app can be downloaded from the Apple App Storeand the Google Play Store. The online desktop planner is also available. The mobile app and desktop planner are your gateway to the Virtual Annual Meeting, including the sessions, the Publisher Spotlight, and all that the meeting has to offer. Be sure to log in using your registration number to get the full experience, such as to take advantage of the customized schedule, to use the discussion functionality, to access the sessions when the meeting begins, and to view recorded sessions through 31 January. If you have not yet registered for the meeting, you can do so on the SBL website.

At the End of the Day, Theologians are Guard Dogs

I see a sect the most execrable and pernicious that ever was in the world. I see that it does much harm, and is like a fire kindled for the general desolation and destruction, or as a contagious disease to infect the whole earth, unless some remedy is applied.

Since, then, our Lord has called me to that office, my conscience constrains me to resist it so far as it is possible for me. And, more than that, with strong and earnest entreaties, I am seriously importuned by the poor believers, who see with concern the Netherlands of the Emperor altogether corrupted, that as soon as possible, and without delay, I put my hand to the work. Nevertheless, even after such requests, I have put off a whole year, to see whether the malady would be lulled asleep by silence.

If any one should allege that, I could well, indeed, write against the wicked doctrine, letting the individuals alone, I have my more than reasonable excuse; it is that, considering what ruin Messieur Antony Pocquet has spread in the country of Artois and of Hainault, according to the relation of the brethren who have come hither expressly on that account, having heard the same repeated here; and considering that Quintin pretends no other object than to draw the poor simple souls to that more than brutal sect, and not so much by the report of others as having heard with my ears, understanding that they are always very bitter in opposing the doctrine of holiness, to draw poor souls into perdition, to beget in the world a despising of God, judge, Madame, whether it would have been lawful for me to dissemble?

A dog barks and stands at bay if he sees any one assault his master. I should be indeed remiss, if, seeing the truth of God thus attacked, I should remain dumb, without giving one note of warning, I am quite persuaded that it is not your mind, that in order to favour you I must betray the Evangel which God has committed to me. Wherefore I do beseech you, Madame, not to be offended, if, being constrained by the duty of my office, under penalty of incurring the offence of God, I have not spared your servants, without, however, addressing yourself.  — John Calvin

If Trump Wins, You’ll Have Conservative Catholics to Blame

NPR has a fantastic report on the rise of the importance of conservative Catholics for the success of the far right in American politics.  Including in Trump’s chances for re-election.

Four years ago, white evangelicals rallied behind Donald Trump’s presidential candidacy, and he reveled in their adulation.

“The evangelicals love me, and I love them,” Trump said repeatedly on the campaign trail. In his acceptance speech at the Republican National Convention, evangelicals were the only faith group he singled out for thanks, saying their support was “a big reason for me being here tonight.”

In the general election, however, it was not the evangelicals who carried Trump to victory but Catholics, a group he had rarely mentioned in his speeches.

How long before Trump becomes a Catholic?