A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
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I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

The First Woman Protestant Reformer

See the source imagefrom Peter Matheson, Christian History Institute:
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DON'T LET THE UNUSUAL NAME TRIP YOU UP! Argula von Grumbach (1492–1554 or 1557) was a brave and extraordinary woman. Martin Luther (1483–1546) knew her well. We have a precious copy of his Little Book of Prayers with a dedication to her inscribed in his own hand: "To the noble woman Hargula von Stauff at Grumbach" (von Stauff was her maiden name).

Luther knew well what von Grumbach had suffered for the sake of the gospel: the abuse, the threats, the loss of status. This Bavarian noblewoman, with four little children dependent on her, had taken incredible risks. She had challenged the influential theologians of Ingolstadt University in Bavaria to a public debate with her in German about the legitimacy of their conduct in persecuting a young student.

Von Grumbach's challenge was unheard of. Theologians didn't lower themselves to debate with lay people, and still less with women, not to mention in German rather than Latin. They tried to ignore her, but friends had her letter to them published by the new medium of the time: the printing press. Publishers all over Germany and into Switzerland then raced to reprint it, no less than 15 times. It was a huge sensation: a mere woman challenging a university!
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You can read the entire article here.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Demographics Is Destiny

from Kim Hart at Axios:
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Between the lines: The white population's declining slice of the population pie is widely blamed for the rise of white nationalist extremism and anti-immigrant sentiment. But the demographics also show that diversity and immigration are key to future U.S. economic growth.

The bottom line: The country's rapidly changing racial makeup is exposing a growing cultural gap between generations.

"Baby boomers grew up in an era where America was mostly white, and the biggest racial minority was African Americans who were still mostly segregated," Frey noted. "Millennials and post-millennials are much more open to diversity and integration."
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You can read the entire post here.

Pray for All in Authority, That They May Leave Us Alone: A Lectionary Reflection on 1 Timothy 2:1-7

1 Timothy 2:1-7

In Paul's first letter to Timothy, the apostle instructs the young pastor to pray for all in authority, "for kings and all who are in high positions." The character of such prayers are intercessory and thanksgiving in nature. Why are such prayers necessary? Because as Paul writes, God "desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (v. 4).

But while God desires all to be saved, another concern is on Paul's mind. Paul wants believers to pray for those in authority "so that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and dignity" (v. 2). In other words, pray that all those in authority will just leave Christians alone to practice their faith in order to bear witness to the gospel.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Scriptures and Prayer for Fourteenth Sunday after Pentecost

See the source image
Old Testament: Jeremiah 4:11-12, 22-28 or Exodus 32:7-14

Psalter: Psalm 14 or Psalm 51:1-10

Epistle: 1 Timothy 1:12-17

Gospel: Luke 15:1-10
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Persistently forgiving God, we are a stiff-necked and stubborn people who try your patience; yet, instead of giving us up for lost, you seek us out until we return to you. Break our willfulness and bring us back from our wanderings; bend our pride and create in us pure and faithful hearts, which rejoice in your forgiveness made known through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Saturday at the Cinema: What and Where is the Kingdom of God?

Scriptures and Prayer for Holy Cross

See the source imageOld Testament: Numbers 21:4b-9

Psalter: Psalm 98:1-5 or Psalm 78:1-2, 34-38

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1:18-24

Gospel: John 3:13-17
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For the healing of the nations, O God, you raised up your Son on the wood of the cross and exalted him as the Lord of all creation. Grant that all who believe in him may have the gift of eternal life and share in the glory of your kingdom, where you live forever and ever. Amen.

Friday, September 13, 2019

The Fear of Friday the 13th, Or Paraskevidekatriaphobia

The Quotable Lesslie Newbigin

"The relativism which is not willing to speak about truth but only about ‘what is true for me’ is an evasion of the serious business of living. It is the mark of a tragic loss of nerve in our contemporary culture. It is a preliminary symptom of death."

"When the Church tries to embody the rule of God in the forms of earthly power it may achieve that power, but it is no longer a sign of the kingdom."

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Christendom and Christian Witness

While I disagree with French that a "form of Christendom is necessary and important," his analysis is worth consideration.

from David French at the National Review:
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Jerry Falwell Jr. Shows How the Advance of Christendom Can Harm Christianity

September 11, 2019 2:17 PM

Our wealth can be great. Our influence can be vast. But it is for naught if our commitment to Christendom supersedes our commitment to Christ.

If you haven't read Politico's lengthy investigative report on Jerry Falwell Jr.' conduct as president of Liberty University, published earlier this week, I'd urge you to do so. It's a sordid tale of the self-dealing, personal ambition, and extreme intolerance for dissent that's long been an open secret at Liberty and beyond. It's also an extraordinarily familiar tale for any person who's spent any time around institutional evangelicalism. Time and again, powerful Christian men create or nurture powerful Christian institutions-- only to fall prey to the temptation to equate the advance of those institutions and their own power with the advance of the Gospel and the Kingdom of God.

In other words, the zeal for the advance of Christendom harms the practice and witness of the Christian faith.
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You can read the entire post here.