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
___
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)

Saturday, January 20, 2018

Saturday at the Cinema: When Did the First Christians Believe in Jesus' Divinity?

Larry Hurtado is one of the foremost experts on the subject.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Scriptures and Prayer for the Feast of the Confession of Saint Peter the Apostle

First Reading: Acts 4:8-13

Psalter: Psalm 23

Epistle: 1 Peter 5:1-4

Gospel: Matthew 16:13-19
___
Almighty Father, who inspired Simon Peter, first among the apostles, to confess Jesus as Messiah and Son of the living God: Keep your Church steadfast upon the rock of this faith, so that in unity and peace we may proclaim the one truth and follow the one Lord, our Savior Jesus Christ; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and for ever. Amen.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

The Early Church and Caring for the Sick

from Gary B. Ferngren, Christian History Institute:
___
If you had the misfortune of becoming sick in classical Greece or Rome, it was your problem. 

Responsibility for health was regarded as a private, not a public, concern. In spite of the damage wrought in the ancient world by several well-known epidemics, virtually all victims of infectious disease were left to deal with their symptoms themselves. Public officials did not believe they had any responsibility to prevent disease or to treat those who suffered from it. 

Philanthropy among the Greeks did not take the form of private charity, nor was it driven by a personal concern for those in need. There was no religious or ethical impulse for almsgiving: philanthropic acts were undertaken for the purpose of increasing one’s personal reputation.

The classical world did not recognize emotion or pity as a desirable response to suffering or as a motive for personal charity. And when donors did make gifts or perform services, they intended them for the entire community. Any benefaction (civic gift), endowment, or foundation had to be provided for all members of the city-state, rich and poor alike; this was true all the way from Greek city-states in the fifth century BC up to large thriving cities of the Roman Empire in late antiquity, over 700 years later. 

The sick poor simply did not have an identity as a defined group that deserved special consideration. Classical society required a new movement, arising outside the traditional framework of the classical world, to challenge this assumption. That movement was Christianity.
___
The entire article can be read here.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Letter from Birmingham Jail

Martin Luther King. Jr.
Letter From Birmingham Jail

April 16, 1963

MY DEAR FELLOW CLERGYMEN:

While confined here in the Birmingham city jail, I came across your recent statement calling my present activities “unwise and untimely.” Seldom do I pause to answer criticism of my work and ideas. If I sought to answer all the criticisms that cross my desk, my secretaries would have little time for anything other than such correspondence in the course of the day, and I would have no time for constructive work. But since I feel that you are men of genuine good will and that your criticisms are sincerely set forth, I want to try to answer your statements in what I hope will be patient and reasonable terms.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Scriptures and Prayer for the Second Sunday after the Epiphany

Old Testament: 1 Samuel 3:1-10, (11-20)

Psalter: Psalm 139:1-6, 13-18

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 6:12-20

Gospel: John 1:43-51
___
Insistent God, by night and day you summon your slumbering people, So stir us with your voice and enlighten our lives with your grace that we give ourselves fully to Christ's call to mission and ministry. Amen.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

We Always Manage to Receive What We Wish to Avoid

Many years I spent a week one July vacationing in the mountains of northern Virginia with my two sons, Joshua and Jason.

On Tuesday of that week, we made a three-hour drive to Gettysburg. I had wanted to tour the Civil War battlefield since I was a boy, and my sons also expressed an interest in going. As anyone familiar with battlefields will note, it is ideal to visit during the time of the year of the actual battle. This way one gets an accurate impression of what the conditions were like when the fighting took place. Since the Battle of Gettysburg took place from July 1-3, 1863, we visited at the right time of the year.

Monday, January 08, 2018

On the Duty of Constant Communion: Because Some Things Are Too Important to Neglect

John Wesley, the founder of Methodism (along with his brother Charles) participated in the sacrament of Holy Communion at least a couple of times a week. He told his people called Methodists that they should take Communion as often as possible. In his sermon entitled, "The Duty of Constant Communion," Wesley gives his reasons for constant Communion as well as answering common objections to those who believed the Lord's Supper could be celebrated too frequently. In response to one objection that I heard often growing up in the church Wesley writes,

Sunday, January 07, 2018

Scriptures and Prayer for the Baptism of the Lord

Old Testament: Genesis 1:1-5

Psalter: Psalm 29

Epistle: Acts 19:1-7

Gospel: Mark 1:4-11
___
Holy God, creator of light and herald of goodness, at the waters of his baptism you proclaimed Jesus your beloved Son. With the baptized of every time and generation, may we say yes to your call to repentance and be led to the life of abundance we experience in your kinship and your love. Amen.