Stuff from last week

I haven’t been posting much recently, partly due to time and partly due to disinclination, but last week a came across a few things I found interesting, that I thought I’d share. The plan was for it to go up on Friday, but the Monday Morning Wife and I had our 10th Anniversary and I got distracted.

Russell Moore spoke on The Gospel Coalition Podcast about the obstacles of religious liberty. Depending on your perspective, it’s not what you think. I thought the points he makes about us looking too much for the government to help us and enforce our view of morality were really good; though he does fail to note the painful irony that some of the biggest pushers for ‘religious liberty’ and government enforced morality are often the most ardent anti-government.

Somewhat related, Theocast talks about losing a generation at church. I’m less concerned than most people, though probably not concerned enough, because I think it is inevitable. We were never a ‘Christian Nation’, whatever that means, but for the most of our history, we’ve been a solidly Christian culture, but we aren’t any more. This means we are shedding some of the cultural only hanger’s on. I guess I should care more, but I don’t.

The other thing that stuck out to me about this particular episode was the lack of political honesty. There is one quick mention/jab about not agree with ‘they younger people’ and their politics, but no real discussion about the impact politics has played on losing more and more young people. When I was growing up, Monica Lewinsky was the worst thing ever, a national moral tragedy. Many of the same people publicly deriding Clinton are now, 20 years later, some of the most vocal supporters of Trump. A democrat being immoral is cause for massive public outcry, but these people really don’t seem to give a shit how many hookers and pornstars a republican bangs. All these leaders have traded in the Gospel of Christ of the promise of power from Christian Nationalism, and we are the lost generation?

I could go on and on about this, because it pisses me off so, but if the ‘church’ keeps acting like questioning the Moral Majority or St. Ronnie is blasphemy, and cannot have adult conversations about political issues such as healthcare, minimum wage, income inequality, etc. without resorting to beating up tired old strawmen or just screaming ‘socialism’, we are going hemorrhage anyone under 65 faster than we can imagine.

Speaking of being somewhat bad with economics, I started a new book – Practicing the King’s Economy: Honoring Jesus in How We Work, Earn, Spend, Save, and Give
It seems really good so far, except they seem to think per capita GDP is useful measure, confuse mean for median, don’t accurately represent inflation, and ignore income inequality. I guess this isn’t surprising, because those things tend to get political, and they state at the beginning, they don’t want to do that, for, you know…reasons. Anyway from a Biblical prospective, it is pretty interesting so far, especially the focus on community.

I haven’t written many reviews lately because I’m still trying to power through this – 50 Core Truths of the Christian Faith: A Guide to Understanding and Teaching Theology I’m a big fan of theology, and the part where he gets rolling are really good, but it is slow going as it is a bit repetitive, a little redundant, and well, over 400 pages.

Lastly for books, I read Notes From the Underground, which is really interesting, but I have this copy – Notes From Underground And The Grand Inquisitor. I recommend against this as the second half of the books is an excerpt from The Brothers Karamazov (Everyman’s Library), which I already own.

Finally, you may have seen that we moved our embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. There is plenty written out there about the political consequences of this, but I found this article from a Catholic viewpoint to be interesting. If you didn’t grow up in the dispensational work, or studied your way out, Christian Zionism can seem really odd, so I appreciate the view from someone else.

That’s all for now, hopefully, I’ll have some reviews up soon.

500th Anniversary of the Reformation

Happy Reformation Day. This is the 500th anniversary of the day that Martin Luther nailed the 95 Theses on the door of Wittenberg Church. A couple of things to remember, first Luther was not trying to break away from the church, that is why he (and the others) are called Reformers (and the the event is called the Reformation, not the Great Schism), because they wanted to reform the church. A huge focus was the selling of indulgences (which is still a thing), the more important impact was the ‘rediscovery’ of Grace. We also received the Five Solae (or solas for Americans), to ground us back in the Bible and Grace and away from the Church and Papal Authority.

One of the more fascinating changes that Luther brought was the weekly sermon and the singing of hymns, especially in the common language. Luther also eventually supported marriage of pastors, something all Protestant churches do today, but the Catholic Church still does not. Basically, the typical Sunday morning at church would be unrecognizable to modern protestants. There would be no sermon, basically just the ‘Mass’ or communion, and it wouldn’t be in the common language, it’d be in Latin. Even if you happen to go Advent or Easter and catch a homily (a type of sermon), it would also not be in your language. You would not sing, if there was a choir and any singing it all, it would also, you guessed it, not be in your language. The Bible, again, not in your language. The priest didn’t know Hebrew or Greek, and some of them likely didn’t know Latin. It really is hard to think about today, how far off from any type of church service you’ve ever been to, and how different it would all seem.

As Christians, this should probably be seen as the most important event/date outside of the Bible. Or at least most important since the formulation of the early creeds and confessions. However, the church had drifted so far from those early days, that this is at least on par with the early church.

 

That is really all I have to say. I’ll leave you with three podcasts, two articles related to the Reformation, and of course a few books to read. I don’t listen to many podcast that or focused towards Christians, because honestly, most kind of suck. Three that I do listen to are White Horse Inn, Theocast, and 5 Minutes in Church History. The first two both did a podcast each on the Five Solae that are well worth listening to for a basic theological understanding. The church history podcast (which if you listen at 1.5X like me, is more like 3:30) posted a podcast every day this month with some historical insights.

Two articles that I found interesting (there were surprisingly few out there), one is kind of a Catholic view, and the other more in the lines of ‘why I’m still protestant.’

You can also check our my review of Martin Luther in His Own Words, Martin and Katharine, and probably the best intro book into Protestantism and Reformed Theology out there.

So, that is it. Take some time and reflect before heading out to teach your kids to take candy from strangers this evening.