Friday, October 31, 2008

Martin Luther's 95 Theses

Theses
[11]Out of love for the truth and the desire to bring it to light, the following propositions will be discussed at Wittenberg, under the presidency of the Reverend Father Martin Luther, Master of Arts and of Sacred Theology, and Lecturer in Ordinary on the same at that place. Wherefore he requests that those who are unable to be present and debate orally with us, may do so by letter. In the Name our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

1. Our Lord and Master Jesus Christ, when He said Poenitentiam agite, willed that the whole life of believers should be repentance.

2. This word cannot be understood to mean sacramental penance, i.e., confession and satisfaction, which is administered by the priests.

3. Yet it means not inward repentance only; nay, there is no inward repentance which does not outwardly work divers mortifications of the flesh.

4. The penalty [of sin], therefore, continues so long as hatred of self continues; for this is the true inward repentance, and continues until our entrance into the kingdom of heaven.

5. The pope does not intend to remit, and cannot remit any penalties other than those which he has imposed either by his own authority or by that of the Canons.

6. The pope cannot remit any guilt, except by declaring that it has been remitted by God and by assenting to God's remission; though, to be sure, he may grant remission in cases reserved to his judgment. If his right to grant remission in such cases were despised, the guilt would remain entirely unforgiven.

7. God remits guilt to no one whom He does not, at the same time, humble in all things and bring into subjection to His vicar, the priest.

8. The penitential canons are imposed only on the living, and, according to them, nothing should be imposed on the dying.

9. Therefore the Holy Spirit in the pope is kind to us, because in his decrees he always makes exception of the article of death and of necessity.

10. Ignorant and wicked are the doings of those priests who, in the case of the dying, reserve canonical penances for purgatory.

11. This changing of the canonical penalty to the penalty of purgatory is quite evidently one of the tares that were sown while the bishops slept.

12. In former times the canonical penalties were imposed not after, but before absolution, as tests of true contrition.

13. The dying are freed by death from all penalties; they are already dead to canonical rules, and have a right to be released from them.

14. The imperfect health [of soul], that is to say, the imperfect love, of the dying brings with it, of necessity, great fear; and the smaller the love, the greater is the fear.

15. This fear and horror is sufficient of itself alone (to say nothing of other things) to constitute the penalty of purgatory, since it is very near to the horror of despair.

16. Hell, purgatory, and heaven seem to differ as do despair, almost-despair, and the assurance of safety.

17. With souls in purgatory it seems necessary that horror should grow less and love increase.

18. It seems unproved, either by reason or Scripture, that they are outside the state of merit, that is to say, of increasing love.

19. Again, it seems unproved that they, or at least that all of them, are certain or assured of their own blessedness, though we may be quite certain of it.

20. Therefore by "full remission of all penalties" the pope means not actually "of all," but only of those imposed by himself.

21. Therefore those preachers of indulgences are in error, who say that by the pope's indulgences a man is freed from every penalty, and saved;

22. Whereas he remits to souls in purgatory no penalty which, according to the canons, they would have had to pay in this life.

23. If it is at all possible to grant to any one the remission of all penalties whatsoever, it is certain that this remission can be granted only to the most perfect, that is, to the very fewest.

24. It must needs be, therefore, that the greater part of the people are deceived by that indiscriminate and highsounding promise of release from penalty.

25. The power which the pope has, in a general way, over purgatory, is just like the power which any bishop or curate has, in a special way, within his own diocese or parish.

26. The pope does well when he grants remission to souls [in purgatory], not by the power of the keys (which he does not possess), but by way of intercession.

27. They preach man who say that so soon as the penny jingles into the money-box, the soul flies out [of purgatory].

28. It is certain that when the penny jingles into the money-box, gain and avarice can be increased, but the result of the intercession of the Church is in the power of God alone.

29. Who knows whether all the souls in purgatory wish to be bought out of it, as in the legend of Sts. Severinus and Paschal.

30. No one is sure that his own contrition is sincere; much less that he has attained full remission.

31. Rare as is the man that is truly penitent, so rare is also the man who truly buys indulgences, i.e., such men are most rare.

32. They will be condemned eternally, together with their teachers, who believe themselves sure of their salvation because they have letters of pardon.

33. Men must be on their guard against those who say that the pope's pardons are that inestimable gift of God by which man is reconciled to Him;

34. For these "graces of pardon" concern only the penalties of sacramental satisfaction, and these are appointed by man.

35. They preach no Christian doctrine who teach that contrition is not necessary in those who intend to buy souls out of purgatory or to buy confessionalia.

36. Every truly repentant Christian has a right to full remission of penalty and guilt, even without letters of pardon.

37. Every true Christian, whether living or dead, has part in all the blessings of Christ and the Church; and this is granted him by God, even without letters of pardon.

38. Nevertheless, the remission and participation [in the blessings of the Church] which are granted by the pope are in no way to be despised, for they are, as I have said, the declaration of divine remission.

39. It is most difficult, even for the very keenest theologians, at one and the same time to commend to the people the abundance of pardons and [the need of] true contrition.

40. True contrition seeks and loves penalties, but liberal pardons only relax penalties and cause them to be hated, or at least, furnish an occasion [for hating them].

41. Apostolic pardons are to be preached with caution, lest the people may falsely think them preferable to other good works of love.

42. Christians are to be taught that the pope does not intend the buying of pardons to be compared in any way to works of mercy.

43. Christians are to be taught that he who gives to the poor or lends to the needy does a better work than buying pardons;

44. Because love grows by works of love, and man becomes better; but by pardons man does not grow better, only more free from penalty.

45. Christians are to be taught that he who sees a man in need, and passes him by, and gives [his money] for pardons, purchases not the indulgences of the pope, but the indignation of God.

46. Christians are to be taught that unless they have more than they need, they are bound to keep back what is necessary for their own families, and by no means to squander it on pardons.

47. Christians are to be taught that the buying of pardons is a matter of free will, and not of commandment.

48. Christians are to be taught that the pope, in granting pardons, needs, and therefore desires, their devout prayer for him more than the money they bring.

49. Christians are to be taught that the pope's pardons are useful, if they do not put their trust in them; but altogether harmful, if through them they lose their fear of God.

50. Christians are to be taught that if the pope knew the exactions of the pardon-preachers, he would rather that St. Peter's church should go to ashes, than that it should be built up with the skin, flesh and bones of his sheep.

51. Christians are to be taught that it would be the pope's wish, as it is his duty, to give of his own money to very many of those from whom certain hawkers of pardons cajole money, even though the church of St. Peter might have to be sold.

52. The assurance of salvation by letters of pardon is vain, even though the commissary, nay, even though the pope himself, were to stake his soul upon it.

53. They are enemies of Christ and of the pope, who bid the Word of God be altogether silent in some Churches, in order that pardons may be preached in others.

54. Injury is done the Word of God when, in the same sermon, an equal or a longer time is spent on pardons than on this Word.

55. It must be the intention of the pope that if pardons, which are a very small thing, are celebrated with one bell, with single processions and ceremonies, then the Gospel, which is the very greatest thing, should be preached with a hundred bells, a hundred processions, a hundred ceremonies.

56. The "treasures of the Church," out of which the pope. grants indulgences, are not sufficiently named or known among the people of Christ.

57. That they are not temporal treasures is certainly evident, for many of the vendors do not pour out such treasures so easily, but only gather them.

58. Nor are they the merits of Christ and the Saints, for even without the pope, these always work grace for the inner man, and the cross, death, and hell for the outward man.

59. St. Lawrence said that the treasures of the Church were the Church's poor, but he spoke according to the usage of the word in his own time.

60. Without rashness we say that the keys of the Church, given by Christ's merit, are that treasure;

61. For it is clear that for the remission of penalties and of reserved cases, the power of the pope is of itself sufficient.

62. The true treasure of the Church is the Most Holy Gospel of the glory and the grace of God.

63. But this treasure is naturally most odious, for it makes the first to be last.

64. On the other hand, the treasure of indulgences is naturally most acceptable, for it makes the last to be first.

65. Therefore the treasures of the Gospel are nets with which they formerly were wont to fish for men of riches.

66. The treasures of the indulgences are nets with which they now fish for the riches of men.

67. The indulgences which the preachers cry as the "greatest graces" are known to be truly such, in so far as they promote gain.

68. Yet they are in truth the very smallest graces compared with the grace of God and the piety of the Cross.

69. Bishops and curates are bound to admit the commissaries of apostolic pardons, with all reverence.

70. But still more are they bound to strain all their eyes and attend with all their ears, lest these men preach their own dreams instead of the commission of the pope.

71. He who speaks against the truth of apostolic pardons, let him be anathema and accursed!

72. But he who guards against the lust and license of the pardon-preachers, let him be blessed!

73. The pope justly thunders against those who, by any art, contrive the injury of the traffic in pardons.

74. But much more does he intend to thunder against those who use the pretext of pardons to contrive the injury of holy love and truth.

75. To think the papal pardons so great that they could absolve a man even if he had committed an impossible sin and violated the Mother of God -- this is madness.

76. We say, on the contrary, that the papal pardons are not able to remove the very least of venial sins, so far as its guilt is concerned.

77. It is said that even St. Peter, if he were now Pope, could not bestow greater graces; this is blasphemy against St. Peter and against the pope.

78. We say, on the contrary, that even the present pope, and any pope at all, has greater graces at his disposal; to wit, the Gospel, powers, gifts of healing, etc., as it is written in I. Corinthians xii.

79. To say that the cross, emblazoned with the papal arms, which is set up [by the preachers of indulgences], is of equal worth with the Cross of Christ, is blasphemy.

80. The bishops, curates and theologians who allow such talk to be spread among the people, will have an account to render.

81. This unbridled preaching of pardons makes it no easy matter, even for learned men, to rescue the reverence due to the pope from slander, or even from the shrewd questionings of the laity.

82. To wit: -- "Why does not the pope empty purgatory, for the sake of holy love and of the dire need of the souls that are there, if he redeems an infinite number of souls for the sake of miserable money with which to build a Church? The former reasons would be most just; the latter is most trivial."

83. Again: -- "Why are mortuary and anniversary masses for the dead continued, and why does he not return or permit the withdrawal of the endowments founded on their behalf, since it is wrong to pray for the redeemed?"

84. Again: -- "What is this new piety of God and the pope, that for money they allow a man who is impious and their enemy to buy out of purgatory the pious soul of a friend of God, and do not rather, because of that pious and beloved soul's own need, free it for pure love's sake?"

85. Again: -- "Why are the penitential canons long since in actual fact and through disuse abrogated and dead, now satisfied by the granting of indulgences, as though they were still alive and in force?"

86. Again: -- "Why does not the pope, whose wealth is to-day greater than the riches of the richest, build just this one church of St. Peter with his own money, rather than with the money of poor believers?"

87. Again: -- "What is it that the pope remits, and what participation does he grant to those who, by perfect contrition, have a right to full remission and participation?"

88. Again: -- "What greater blessing could come to the Church than if the pope were to do a hundred times a day what he now does once, and bestow on every believer these remissions and participations?"

89. "Since the pope, by his pardons, seeks the salvation of souls rather than money, why does he suspend the indulgences and pardons granted heretofore, since these have equal efficacy?"

90. To repress these arguments and scruples of the laity by force alone, and not to resolve them by giving reasons, is to expose the Church and the pope to the ridicule of their enemies, and to make Christians unhappy.

91. If, therefore, pardons were preached according to the spirit and mind of the pope, all these doubts would be readily resolved; nay, they would not exist.

92. Away, then, with all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Peace, peace," and there is no peace!

93. Blessed be all those prophets who say to the people of Christ, "Cross, cross," and there is no cross!

94. Christians are to be exhorted that they be diligent in following Christ, their Head, through penalties, deaths, and hell;

95. And thus be confident of entering into heaven rather through many tribulations, than through the assurance of peace.

Happy Reformation Day!




We didn't have as many trick-or-treaters this year, so that was a bit of a letdown, but in other news on Oct. 31, in 1517 the Protestant Reformation gets a kickstart, when Martin Luther posts his 95 theses on the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.

Here is Dr. Jonas' post on the subject:

Friday, October 31, 2008
Thank You Martin Luther!
On this evening, exactly 491 years ago, Martin Luther nailed his "95 Theses" to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg. The "95 Theses" concerned the sale of indulgences (forgiveness of sin in return for a certain amount of money) which, given his shift in theology, particularly his doctrine of salvation, Luther thought was reprehensible.

I have sort of resisted saying that this act "started" the Reformation because I usually like to give some credit to "pre-Reformation" reformers like Hus and Wycliffe. Nevertheless, Luther's protest against the sale of indulgences was the spark that was needed that set off the powder-keg in the 16th century called the Reformation.

And so, this evening, I think it is good to remember and celebrate the life and work of this great man, Martin Luther!

posted by Glenn Jonas at 2:30 PM | 0 comments

Memento Mori: A Halloween Related Post

Post-mortem photography (also known as memorial portraiture or memento mori) is the practice of photographing the recently deceased.

From the above link:
The invention of the daguerreotype in 1839 made portraiture much more commonplace, as many of those who were unable to afford the commission of a painted portrait could afford to sit for a photography session. This cheaper and quicker method also provided the middle class with a means for memorializing dead loved ones.

These photographs served less as a reminder of mortality than as a keepsake to remember the deceased. This was especially common with infants and young children; Victorian era childhood mortality rates were extremely high, and a post-mortem photograph might be the only image of the child the family ever had. The later invention of the carte de visite, which allowed multiple prints to be made from a single negative, meant that copies of the image could be mailed to relatives.

The practice eventually peaked in popularity around the end of the 19th century and died out as "snapshot" photography became more commonplace, although a few examples of formal memorial portraits were still being produced well into the 20th century.


Examples:

Syrian bishop seated in state at his funeral (ca. 1945).

---see: Victorian post-mortem photography.

---Guess who is dead in this photo?

See more examples: Here. While post-mortem photography seems morbid and spooky to us, at the turn of the century, it was one of the only affordable methods of photography for poor families at the time. Post-mortem photography seemed to have waned around World War 2, but has been revitalized by The Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation to provide comfort, hope and closure for parents who lose their babies in child birth or through other birth defects.

See also: http://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw?url=search-alias%3Daps&field-keywords=Post-mortem+photography&x=13&y=25.

Jack The Ripper: A Halloween Related Post

Find out about Jack The Ripper, who terrorized Whitechapel and gave London nightmares over 100 years ago:

Jack the Ripper is an alias given to an unidentified serial killer[1] active in the largely impoverished Whitechapel area and adjacent districts of London, England, in the autumn of 1888. The name originated in a letter sent to the London Central News Agency by someone claiming to be the murderer.

The victims were women allegedly earning income as prostitutes, who were killed in public or semi-public places at night or in the early morning. Each victim's throat was cut, after which her body was mutilated. Theories suggest that the victims first were strangled, in order to silence them, which may explain the reported lack of blood at the crime scenes. The removal of internal organs from three of the victims led some officials at the time of the murders to propose that the killer possessed anatomical or surgical knowledge.[2]

Newspapers, whose circulation had been growing during this era,[3] bestowed widespread and enduring notoriety on the killer because of the attacks' savagery and the police's failure to capture the murderer (they sometimes missed him at the crime scenes by mere minutes).[4][5]

Because the killer's identity has never been confirmed, the legends surrounding the murders have become a combination of genuine historical research, folklore, and pseudohistory. Many authors, historians, and amateur detectives have proposed theories about the identity of the killer and his victims.


Gruesome crime scene photo:



See also: Casebook: Jack the Ripper for an extensive collection of contemporary newspaper reports related to the murders as well as articles by modern authors.

Somehow silly Halloween songs such as Screaming Lord Sutch's aptly named Jack The Ripper:

1963 version:


1977 version:
---do not seem to evoke the sheer sense of terror and panic London felt all those years ago.

For another Jack that terrorized London's city streets see:

Spring Heeled Jack (also Springheel Jack, Spring-heel Jack, etc), is a character from English folklore said to have existed during the Victorian era and able to jump extraordinarily high. The first claimed sighting of Spring Heeled Jack that is known occurred in 1837.[1] Later alleged sightings were reported all over England, from London up to Sheffield and Liverpool, but they were especially prevalent in suburban London and later in the Midlands and Scotland.[2]

Many theories have been proposed to ascertain the nature and identity of Spring Heeled Jack. The urban legend of Spring Heeled Jack gained immense popularity in its time due to the tales of his bizarre appearance and ability to make extraordinary leaps, to the point where he became the topic of several works of fiction.

Spring Heeled Jack was described by people claiming to have seen him as having a terrifying and frightful appearance, with diabolical physiognomy that included clawed hands and eyes that "resembled red balls of fire". One report claimed that, beneath a black cloak, he wore a helmet and a tight-fitting white garment like an "oilskin". Many stories also mention a "Devil-like" aspect. Spring Heeled Jack was said to be tall and thin, with the appearance of a gentleman, and capable of making great leaps. Several reports mention that he could breathe blue and white flames and that he wore sharp metallic claws at his fingertips. At least two people claimed that he was able to speak in comprehensible English.


Pearl Curran: A Halloween Related Post



Here are some tidits about one of my distant relatives by marriage, despite the "an" ending instead of an "in" ending:

Patience Worth was allegedly a spirit contacted by Pearl Lenore Curran (February 15, 1883–1937). This symbiotic relationship produced several novels, poetry and prose which Pearl Curran claimed was delivered to her through channelling the spirit, Patience Worth.

About Pearl Curran

Curran was born Pearl Lenore Pollard in Mound City, Illinois. The family moved to Texas when she was eight months old and she started school when she was six. She was an average but uninterested student, eventually dropping out in her first high school year, later stating she had a nervous breakdown due to the strenuous academics. She later returned to classes at St. Ignatius Catholic school.

Curran was a normal girl and was sensitive about her looks, considering herself to be ugly. She admitted to having little imagination and few ambitions, except to be successful as a singer. She had a short attention span and read very little during her formative years.

Her family moved to St. Louis when she was 14. She made a last attempt at attending school but was discouraged when placed in a lower grade based on her academic skills. However, she took music lessons and training in piano and voice and aspired to be a prima donna. About that time the family moved again, to Palmer, Missouri. As Curran's musical talents blossomed, she was sent to Kanakee, Illinois for voice training, before moving to Chicago for tuition from J.C. Cooper. She worked at the McKinley Music Company addressing envelopes for $6 a week, then the Thompson Music Company selling music. From the age of 18 to 24 she worked at assorted jobs in Chicago during winter months, and during the summer she taught music at home in Missouri.

Pearl married John Howard Curran when she was 24. Though by no means wealthy, they lived a lifestyle which gave Pearl free time for movie going or playing cards with her husband or neighbors. The Currans had an average education for that time and owned few books; neither of them had travelled extensively. The first seven years of their marriage were uneventful.

[edit] The Appearance of Patience Worth

Beginning in July 1912 Pearl Curran and her friend Emily Grant Hutchings were making a call on a neighbor who had a ouija board and during that call there came what purported to be a message from a relative of Mrs. Hutchings. Mrs. Hutchings then bought a ouija board and took it to Mrs. Curran's house with the idea of continuing the communications. Pearl was somewhat indifferent and had to be coaxed to participate at the board. On June 22, 1913 a communication from"Pat-C" began to come through. Then on July 8, 1913 the board seemed to be possessed with unusual strength and supposed communications from Patience Worth began. "Many moons ago I lived. Again I come. Patience Worth my name. Wait, I would speak with thee. If thou shalt live, then so shall I. I make my bread at thy hearth. Good friends, let us be merrie. The time for work is past. Let the tabby drowse and blink her wisdom to the firelog." When asked when she lived, the dates 1649 - 94 were given and that her home was "Across the sea."

Although Patience indicated that she was from England, she never named the town or village in which she lived although she did give some clues which were deduced by Casper Yost and other intimates of the Currans to indicate that Patience Worth had lived in rural Dorsetshire with her father John and mother Anne. Mrs. Curran had a mental picture of the place in which Patience Worth lived indicating that Patience lived in "...green rolling country with gentle slopes, not farmed much, with houses here and there. Two or three miles up this country on this road was a small village ---few houses." Mrs. Curran then visualized Patience leaving for America on a huge, wood three-masted schooner. Patience was described by Mrs. Curran as"...probably about thirty years. Her hair was dark red, mahogany, her eyes brown, and large and deep, her mouth firm and set, as though repressing strong feelings. Her hair had been disarranged by her cap, and was in big , glossy, soft waves." Mrs. Curran also saw Patience "sitting on a horse, holding a bundle tied in sail-cloth, tied with thongs and wearing a coarse cloth cape, brown-gray, with hood like a cowl, peaked. The face is in shadow. She is small and her feet are small---with coarse square-toed shoes and gray woolen stockings." After a long voyage the ship arrives at the jagged coast of Americia where they could find no landing place for the ship. Several flat boats were launched and Mrs. Curran saw Patience standing in the prow of her boat and one of the first to reach the shore. Patience Worth was later to indicate that she was eventually killed by the Indians.

No authenticated documentation has ever been found to indicate that someone named Patience Worth had lived in Dorsetshire England during the later 17th century nor are there any ship logs from that period with the name Patience Worth. The name Patience Worth does occur in census data of early settlers of the United States but none of them has been linked to the Patience Worth of Pearl Curran.

(Read More: Here).


See also: THE SORRY TALE and Songs of the Spirit by Patience Worth.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Codex Sinaiticus Is Going Digital Soon




The rival to the Bible

By Roger Bolton

What is probably the oldest known Bible is being digitised, reuniting its scattered parts for the first time since its discovery 160 years ago. It is markedly different from its modern equivalent. What's left out?

The world's oldest surviving Bible is in bits.

For 1,500 years, the Codex Sinaiticus lay undisturbed in a Sinai monastery, until it was found - or stolen, as the monks say - in 1844 and split between Egypt, Russia, Germany and Britain.

Now these different parts are to be united online and, from next July, anyone, anywhere in the world with internet access will be able to view the complete text and read a translation.

For those who believe the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there will be some very uncomfortable questions to answer. It shows there have been thousands of alterations to today's bible.

The Codex, probably the oldest Bible we have, also has books which are missing from the Authorised Version (King James Version) that most Christians are familiar with today - and it does not have crucial verses relating to the Resurrection.

(Read More: Here).


See also: “The Rival to the Bible?” Nice line but shame about the agenda…

Mainly, these sections from the above link:

OBSERVATIONS OF BIAS?
But here are some observations from the article:

The title is nice, isn’t it? Has a nice ring and rhythm. It even rhymes, sort of. I bet the bod who thought it up was pretty pleased. I would be. But it’s a bit of an exaggeration, surely?
Then look at the statements at the end of the opening paragraph: It is markedly different from its modern equivalent. What’s left out? Well the article only touches on one or two things - nothing justifies use of the word ‘markedly’ in my opinion.
But take this: the thrust of the article. Roger Bolton writes: For those who believe the Bible is the inerrant, unaltered word of God, there will be some very uncomfortable questions to answer. It shows there have been thousands of alterations to today’s bible. Well, it’s true that there are many questions to answer about the Bible - i will certainly never exhaust them, and nor will the greatest scholars. And some are perhaps uncomfortable. But so what? It seems to me that the purpose of the article, far more than to inform about an exciting technological and academic development, is to make faithful traditional believers feel uncomfortable.


And:

One reason that i like the NIV is that it has nothing to hide - so WHENEVER there are variants or textual issues, they are always explicitly mentioned in footnotes. As someone who read Classics at university (and had to read the whole of Homer’s Iliad in Greek), it is incredible how FEW footnotes there are for the NT, in huge contrast to other ancient texts. But the task of scholarship is always to hone our understandings of texts and original manuscripts. Which is why the making of the CODEX SINAITICUS online is such GREAT news - and why I’ve had a link from my resources bar on the right for months! I’m not embarrassed or concerned by this. It is a HUGE STORY.

But notice the implication of appealing to one scholar, Prof Bart Ehrman:

Mr Ehrman was a born again Bible-believing Evangelical until he read the original Greek texts and noticed some discrepancies. The Bible we now use can’t be the inerrant word of God, he says, since what we have are the sometimes mistaken words copied by fallible scribes.


Oh well - that’s OK then. Anyone else who is a born-again evangelical will now obviously read this article on BBC online and they will give up their faith too (beause presumably, most people do not have the ability to read ancient Greek texts). You’d have to be an idiot not to. But of course there are some people who are Christians who don’t believe all this ‘Bible is true’ rubbish - because as the last interviewee said, ‘the Bible is a living text’. Whatever that means. So if you have to be a Christian, at least take a more relaxed line.


All I have to say is no manuscript contradictions are great cause for concern, however that may be inerrancy of the bible is still an absurd position to take.

Mistakes 2

Sorry for the misspelling on the title of this post: TheoPoetic Musings: My Political Canidate---Jesus For President: Long Live The Slaughtered Lamb, but since it's too late for me to change it and the links to it, I'm leaving it as is. I caught the spelling error after posting it and linking to it in another post---it should be: My Political Candidate---Jesus For President: Long Live The Slaughtered Lamb.

Secondly from this post: TheoPoetic Musings: 08-08-08 At 8 P.M.: My Cousin's Wedding: "Also, my mom believes that homosexuality is God's answer to the problem of overpopulation." should be corrected to: "Also, my mom believes that homosexuality is possibly God's way of dealing with/one of God's answers to the problem of overpopulation."

Please let me know if you catch any other mistakes such as spelling errors, broken links or what not.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Anabaptists And Anarchy



Based on my recent posts on Jesus For President, here are some thoughts on anarchism and the Anabaptists:

First, here is a brief sketch of some of Anabaptists beliefs from Wikipedia:

In the following points Anabaptists resembled the medieval dissenters:

Some followed Menno Simons in teaching that Jesus did not take the flesh from his mother, but either brought his body from heaven or had one made for him by the Word. Some even said that he passed through his mother, as water through a pipe, into the world. In pictures and sculptures of the 15th century and earlier, we often find represented this idea, originated by Marcion in the 2nd century. The Anabaptists were accused of denying the Incarnation of Christ: a charge that Menno Simons repeatedly rejected.
They condemned oaths, and also the reference of disputes between believers to law-courts.
The believer must not bear arms or offer forcible resistance to wrongdoers, nor wield the sword. No Christian has the jus gladii (the right of the sword).
Civil government (i.e. "Caesar") belongs to the world. The believer, who belongs to God's kingdom, must not fill any office, nor hold any rank under government, which is to be passively obeyed.

Sinners or unfaithful ones are to be excommunicated, and excluded from the sacraments and from intercourse with believers unless they repent, according to 1 Corinthians 6:1–11 and Matt.18:15 seq. But no force is to be used towards them.
....................

The Anabaptists were early promoters of a free church and freedom of religion (sometimes associated with separation of church and state).[9] When it was introduced by the Anabaptists in the 15th and 16th centuries, religious freedom independent of the state was unthinkable to both clerical and governmental leaders. Religious liberty was equated with anarchy; Kropotkin[10] traces the birth of anarchist thought in Europe to these early Anabaptist communities.

According to Estep,[11]

Where men believe in the freedom of religion, supported by a guarantee of separation of church and state, they have entered into that heritage. Where men have caught the Anabaptist vision of discipleship, they have become worthy of that heritage. Where corporate discipleship submits itself to the New Testament pattern of the church, the heir has then entered full possession of his legacy.



See also: Theology of Anabaptism and Christian anarchism.

Here is a quote from an early Anabaptist forerunner, Petr Chelčický: "The man who obeys God needs no other authority (over him)."

Secondly, check out these websites: http://propheticheretic.wordpress.com/?s=anabaptists, Jesus Radicals, Anabaptists and Anarchists- Potential conversation Partners, On Leaving Government and Here: "The Anabaptists of 16th century Europe are sometimes considered to be as religious forerunners of modern anarchism. Bertrand Russell, in his History of Western Philosophy, writes that the Anabaptists "repudiated all law, since they held that the good man will be guided at every moment by the Holy Spirit...[f]rom this premiss they arrive at communism....""



Thirdly, one of the reasons the Anabaptists were repudiated and persecuted by the Magisterial Reformers is because of their promotion of: "a free church and freedom of religion (sometimes associated with separation of church and state [or religious liberty])." The early Baptists retained these beliefs such as when Thomas Helwys said (concerning King James): "For we do freely profess that our lord the king has no more power over their consciences than over ours, and that is none at all. For our lord the king is but an earthly king, and he has no authority as a king but in earthly causes. And if the king’s people be obedient and true subjects, obeying all human laws made by the king, our lord the king can require no more. For men’s religion to God is between God and themselves. The king shall not answer for it. Neither may the king be judge between God and man. Let them be heretics, Turks, Jews, or whatsoever, it appertains not to the earthly power to punish them in the least measure. This is made evident to our lord the king by the scriptures" (53).---The Mystery Of Iniquity.
(See also: Thomas Helwys Against King James).

Last but not least check out: John Howard Yoder---the preeminent Anabaptist theologian of the 20th century.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Shocker: for once I actually agree with Al Mohler...at least,

In this instance:

When the Christian worldview is abandoned, there is no adequate replacement -- nothing that can ground human dignity in anything other than philosophical quicksand. When plants are said to have rights, human rights are automatically undermined. A biocentric worldview is a recipe for disaster, but it is a logical alternative once the Christian worldview is rejected.---Al Mohler on the Plants Rights Movement.


Read the full context: Here. For those of you who wish to know what Dr. Mohler is referring to---here are the articles that he was commenting on: The dignity of living beings with regard: Moral consideration of plants for their own sake and Switzerland's Green Power Revolution: Ethicists Ponder Plants' Rights.

Another good section of Dr. Mohler's Post is:

In the most important part of the report, the committee identified four alternative worldviews that would lead to very different conclusions. These are:

Theocentrism -- "The basis for this position is the idea of a God who is creator, and therefore the creative ground of all living organisms. What counts for its own sake is God. All organisms count because of their relationship to God."

Ratiocentrism -- "In this position the issue of whether beings count for their own sake depends on their (potential) capacity for reason and their capacity for abstract speech."

Pathocentrism -- This position is based in the sentience of living organisms. They count morally for their own sake if they are sentient and are therefore able to experience something, in some way, as good or bad."

Biocentrism -- "Living organisms should be considered morally for their own sake because they are alive."


I must say---first of all, I have seen similar articles before and the only good thing to arise out of these ideas is that it gives PETA wackjobs a taste of their own medicine such as: Plant Liberation, Plant Rights Movement En Route to America and The Silent Scream of the Asparagus: Get ready for 'plant rights.' for example. Secondly, plants do feel pain as this is scientifically proven: Scientists Prove Plants Feel Pain, Vegans Face Starvation, How can a plant feel pain without a nervous system? and Plants make their own painkillers for example. I'm all for "good stewardship," but there is such a thing as going/taking this idea too far.

Thirdly, watch this video for a humorous take on the subject:
---Arrogant Worms - Carrot Juice is Murder.

Lastly, it is refreshing to see Al Mohler speak in such strong Christocentric language rather than the normal bibliolatrous language of Fungelicals such as: biblical integrity, biblical worldview, biblical authority, Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, Think Biblically, etc. (For my satire on this idolatrous language see: TheoPoetic Musings: HOW TO POOP IN A BIBLICALLY CORRECT WAY). The biblical worldview died shortly before the canonization of the scriptures and we are living in a Post-Biblical world, however, Christians live in a Christocentric world as Christ truly is the center and head of all things for Christians. Also, Matthew 28:18 clearly states that Jesus has "all authority in heaven and on earth"---notice that this verse doesn't say that the bible or anything else has any authority or is our "Final Authority" but that "all authority" belongs to Jesus. However, I believe that the bible is authoritative only in the sense of the Holy Spirit's (who comes from both Christ and the Father) usage of it and the authority that the Holy Spirit imbues to the scriptures---for the text of the scriptures have no power or authority in and of themselves but only through the Holy Spirit do they gain these attributes.
(See also this video: Mark Driscol/Larry Norman).

Jesus For President---The Book



For those of you wondering where I got the phrase "Jesus For President: Long Live The Slaughtered Lamb" from in this post: TheoPoetic Musings: My Political Canidate---Jesus For President: Long Live The Slaughtered Lamb and what it's all about---here is the book that inspired it all: Jesus for President: Politics for Ordinary Radicals.

I am in the midst of reading the book at the moment---I only have 54 pages left, so look forward to many good quotes soon---but until then here are a few items to peruse:

Jesus For President: The Official Website

Book Review: Jesus for President (initial thoughts)

Book Review: Jesus for President (Part 1)

Jesus for President: Revolution in Jesusland

Jesus for President: An Ecumenical Campaign

Jesus for President: Long live the slaughtered Lamb!

And: Jesus for President, a Book Review for Atheists; Part 1, What is Shane Claiborne?.

I highly recommend this book so go out and pick up a copy or two from your local or church bookstore or order it from Amazon for you, your relatives and/or your friends today. It is well worth it and should inspire your Christian political imagination!

Could Solomon's Mine Have Been Found?

Mine Dates Back to King Solomon's Time
AP posted: 9 HOURS 28 MINUTES AGO
comments: 247 filed under: Science News, World News
WASHINGTON (Oct. 28) - The fictional King Solomon's Mines held a treasure of gold and diamonds, but archaeologists say the real mines may have supplied the ancient king with copper. Researchers led by Thomas Levy of the University of California, San Diego, and Mohammad Najjar of Jordan's Friends of Archaeology, discovered a copper-production center in southern Jordan that dates to the 10th century B.C., the time of Solomon's reign.

The discovery occurred at Khirbat en-Nahas, which means "ruins of copper" in Arabic. Located south of the Dead Sea, the region was known in the Old Testament as Edom.
Research at the site in the 1970s and 1980s indicated that metalworking began there in the 7th century B.C., long after Solomon.
But Levy and Najjar dug deeper and were able to date materials such as seeds and sticks to the 10th century B.C.
"We can't believe everything ancient writings tell us," Levy said in a statement. "But this research represents a confluence between the archaeological and scientific data and the Bible."
Their findings are reported in Tuesday's issue of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-10-27 20:28:29

Monday, October 27, 2008

My Political Canidate---Jesus For President: Long Live The Slaughtered Lamb

For those of you as sick of bipartisan politics as I am and all the hate mongering and bigotry on both sides, here is a much needed alternative: Christarchy!

What is Christarchy! you may ask? Here is a brief definition from the above site:

Christarchy! is a growing network of people who want to put the ethical teachings of Jesus into practice (living simply, caring for the poor, practicing hospitality, making peace, etc.) Jesus calls us to a revolutionary way of life. He challenges the economic, political, social, and religious status quo. And we want to follow in his footsteps.


Also check out: Christarchy: Support groups for the Jesus revolution.

Here is a much more detailed explanation:

I much prefer the term “Christarchy” to anarchy. Christarchy is the combination of the words “Christ” and “anarchy”. The “an” in “anarchy” means “no”, but I do believe in a ruler, and that ruler is Christ, so the term “Christarchy” means much more sense. Christ is the ruler of all things. I am not an anarchist, but I do strive to be a Christarchist- someone fully under the rule of Christ.

The biggest outcomes of being a Christarchist in my life are resisting my impulses to collect power and instead trust that God is in control. My attempts to collect power is an attempt to gain control because I doubt that God is in control. In trusting God is in control, I also seek a society where power is shared, where no one is oppressed and everyone is seen as equal. Where we don’t try to power over each other but instead interact with each other in voluntary submission to one another. Letting go of power and submitting ourselves to others requires the power of Christ- and therefore is something I think the Church can attempt to do much more than the larger society.

Being a Christarchist also means a profound change in the ways I view politics. I used to put my hope in the government in making changes towards bringing about the kingdom of God, but I now see that that is false. Christ is the divine ruler, and my hope lies in Him, not in my government. The government may make some good and some bad decisions, but the kingdom of God can only come through Christ. I believe that Christ will use the Church to do his good work on earth. I have given up lobbying government, believing in politicians, and even in voting, and instead have put my belief in the ultimate rule of Christ. My hope is in Christ, through the Church, not in our government. The government will continue, and I will submit to it, but I will also subvert it. (Hopefully more about this in later posts.)

I think if the American Church embraces Christ as their true ruler, we will begin to step out of the American empire, (and yes, I believe that we are living under an empire, much like the early Church lived under the Roman empire) and we will begin building an alternate society, a new way, as a witness within the American empire that another way is possible. This is my biggest hope. That the Church can move out from the middle of the empire, to the margins where it belongs, and where it can once again become a prophetic witness to Christ and his kingdom. I think Christarchist ideas can help us get there. They can help us see that the empires of this world stand in opposition to the kingdom of God. Government policies, economic systems, and prevailing social and cultural values can be critiqued by the kingdom of God. If we take ourselves out from the rule of the world and put ourselves under the rule of Christ (Christarchy), we can begin seeing both the good and the bad, the beauty and depravity, of the worldly empires. We cannot see this as clearly when we are living under them and giving them authority in our lives.

If we rule out violent anarchism, there remains pacifist, antinationalist, anticapitalist, moral, and antidemocratic anarchism (i.e., that which is hostile to the falsified democracy of bourgeois states). There remains the anarchism which acts by means of persuasion, by the creation of small groups and networks, denouncing falsehood and oppression, aiming at a true overturning of authorities of all kinds as people at the bottom speak and organize themselves. -Jacques Ellul “Anarchy and Christianity”


Indeed, Jesus should be Lord in all areas of our lives including politics and economics.

See also: Make Affluence History.

Lighthearted Political Humor

Getting Kids Started On Politics Early: When Canidates Become Cabbage Patch Dolls

Betcha Want a Palin Cabbage Patch Doll
By DERRIK J. LANG, AP
posted: 12 HOURS 59 MINUTES AGO
comments: 65filed under: Highbrow, Politics, WTF? LOS ANGELES (Oct. 27) - Move over, Tina Fey, there's a new Sarah Palin impersonator in town.
Four one-of-a-kind Cabbage Patch Kids dolls crafted in the likeness of presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain and vice presidential candidates Joe Biden and Palin will be auctioned on the eBay.com Web site.

The dolls sport outfits inspired by their counterparts, with the Palin doll wearing the Republican candidate's signature rimless eyeglasses, red suit and heels.
"These four folks in particular seemed like the perfect candidates, if you will, to become one-of-a-kind Cabbage Patch Kids," said Jakks Pacific Inc. spokeswoman Genna Rosenberg. "We've had a great history with making celebrity look-alikes with these Kids. We've done everyone from Elvis to Donald Trump to Ellen (DeGeneres) and Oprah (Winfrey)."
All proceeds from the auction, which begins Thursday and ends Nov. 4, will benefit the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation. Jakks Pacific will also auction six limited edition 25th-anniversary dolls that have been created to look identical to the original Cabbage Patch Kids that were first released in 1983.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-10-27 11:13:07

I've Tried To Keep Politics Off Of Here...

But this is too rich:

Dr. James Dobson, of Focus on the Family has published a letter trying to "scare" Christians into voting for John McCain. It is a fictional letter written by a Christian in 2012, four years after Obama is elected. Frankly, it is one of the most offensive things that I have ever read. I believe that it important for Christians not to be scared or bullied into voting one way or another. I'm tired of hearing people say that McCain is the way Christians need to vote, hearing about how pastors have said it is "unchristian" for people to vote for Obama, and seeing Church signs pushing their parishioners one way or another.

Read more from my friend Christina Whitehouse-Suggs' Livejournal.


Read Dobson's actual letter: Here.

Here is Christina's letter of response:

Dear Dr. Dobson,

I am so very tired of your ranting about politics and theology, claiming that all good Christians agree with your views. Your most recent fictional letter is yet another brick in the fundamentalist wall you continue to build around your narrow-minded kingdom. I'm sure others are saying they are appalled and outraged at your sensationalist tactics, but I'm far past that. For years you have not shown yourself to be concerned with anything that lines up with the message of the risen Christ.

If you truly consider yourself a follower of the Jesus portrayed in the Gospels, then you need to write a letter of apology to Senator Obama, as well as the entire Democratic party. Your work of fiction is the most vilifying piece of trash I've read since the Left Behind series. As Christians, we should be active in the political process but never stoop to such low-handed, strong-armed tactics.

Rev. Christina Whitehouse-Suggs


I must say I actually agree with Christina's letter moreso than Dr. Dobson's eventhough I may be a registered Republican (though I don't support either party). However, being thoroughly Baptist---I respect Dobson's right to believe as he chooses, but I believe Dobson went too far here. Especially, since coercive faith is against basic, fundamental and standard Baptist principles or as Roger Williams would say: “forc’t Worshipp stincks in Gods nostrils.”

Write your own response letter: Here.

Just When You Thought The SBC Couldn't Get Any Nuttier

Read this from The Big Daddy Weave's Blog:

Sunday, October 26, 2008
SBC Ethics Guru Dick Land Goes Anti-Vasectomy


I never realized that the Southern Baptist Convention had taken a position on the Vasectomy until I read this quote from Southern Baptist ethics guru Richard Land:

The Southern Baptist Convention is not opposed to the use of birth control within marriage as long as the methods used do not cause the fertilized egg to abort and as long as the methods used do not bar having children all together unless there's a medical reason the couple should not have children," he told Dallas television station WFAA.


Good gracious. Land definitely puts the kook in kooky.
Labels: Richard Land


posted by Big Daddy Weave at 12:35 AM

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Baptists And Lutherans Together

This is good stuff:

Monday, August 04, 2008
Lutherans: Maybe Constantinianism was a bad idea after all...

I just found this in the Biblical Recorder, the newspaper for the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina:

Lutherans to apologize for Anabaptist persecution

(Religion News Service)

The Lutheran World Federation (LWF) is preparing a statement asking forgiveness from Anabaptists - Mennonites, Amish, and similar believers - for 16th century persecution, which included torture and killings.

The decision to prepare the statement was made by the LWF council, the world body's main governing agency, which met in Tanzania in June.

[snip]

Much of the Lutheran persecution of Anabaptists was based on writings by key figures in the Lutheran movement such as Martin Luther and condemnations in Lutheran confessional writings such as the Formula of Concord and the Augsburg Confession, which are still considered authoritative for Lutherans today.

The statement seeking forgiveness is expected to be ready for the LWF's 11th Assembly, in July 2010. The LWF represents 68 million Lutherans in 141 member churches in 17 countries, including the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America.
Labels: Discipleship, Ecumenism


Posted by Chris Schelin at Monday, August 04, 2008 | Permalink | Comments (0)

Jesus And Paul Versus Roman Imperialism

return to religion-online

Jesus and Paul Versus the Empire

by John Dart

Formerly religion religion writer for the Los Angeles Times, John Dart is news editor of the Christian Century magazine. This article appeared in The Christian Century, February 8, 2005, pp. 20-24. Copyright by the Christian Century Foundation; used by permission. Current articles and subscriptions information can be found at www.christiancentury.org. This material was prepared for Religion Online by Ted and Winnie Brock.


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The "Kingdom" of God and "gospel" are usually thought of as terms unique to Christianity. And who else but Jesus was called not only "the son of God" but also "Lord" and "Savior"?

In fact, say biblical experts, these terms and concepts were already familiar to residents of the Roman Empire who knew them as references to the authority and divinity of the emperors, beginning notably with Caesar Augustus before the dawn of the first century.

Julius Caesar was assassinated on the Ides of March in 44 BC. When a comet was later visible on July nights, Octavius, the adopted son and heir of Julius Caesar, promoted the idea that it was a sign that the divine Caesar was on his way to heaven. When Roman law in 42 BC deified Julius Caesar, the status of Octavius, who took the name Augustus, was strengthened by adding the phrase "son of God." Poets celebrated the divinity associated with Augustus, and across the empire coins, monuments, temples and artwork promoted the cult of Augustus and other emperors who adopted Caesar as an honorific title.

To many in the empire, Roman civilization brought stability and wealth. And the people were urged to have "faith" in their "Lord," the emperor, who would preserve peace and increase wealth. "In the Roman imperial world, the ‘gospel’ was the good news of Caesar’s having established peace and security for the world," wrote Richard A. Horsley in Jesus and Empire.

Christians gave secular words associated with the empire a new meaning. The Greek word parousia referred to the triumphant arrivals of emperors into cities. In churches it meant the expected return, or second coming, of the heavenly exalted Christ. Churches, literally "assemblies," were the Christian counterparts to the Roman ekklesiai where Caesar was celebrated, according to Horsley, a professor at the University of Massachusetts at Boston. "Caesar was the ‘Savior’ who had brought ‘salvation’ to the whole world."

In that context, the Christmas passage in the Gospel of Luke has a subversive tone, says Horsley. Angels bring "good news" of joy "to all the people," because of the birth of a "Savior, who is the Messiah, the Lord." A heavenly multitude joins the angels in proclaiming "on earth peace among those whom he favors." For the Romans, peace was the militarily imposed Pax Romana, and it was already guaranteed by Rome.

Horsley has been a pioneer among biblical scholars who have emphasized the anti-imperial, political strategies of the Jesus movement. He has been joined in recent years by a growing number of colleagues, including prolific authors N. T. Wright and John Dominic Crossan. The latter’s latest book, coauthored with Jonathan L. Reed, In Search of Paul, is subtitled: How Jesus’ Apostle Opposed Rome’s Empire with God’s Kingdom.


Read more: Here.

Lutherans And Roman Catholics Together On Justification

For those of you who haven't seen this yet---this is an interesting read:

JOINT DECLARATION
ON THE DOCTRINE OF JUSTIFICATION

by the Lutheran World Federation
and the Catholic Church

Preamble

1.The doctrine of justification was of central importance for the Lutheran Reformation of the sixteenth century. It was held to be the "first and chief article"[1] and at the same time the "ruler and judge over all other Christian doctrines."[2] The doctrine of justification was particularly asserted and defended in its Reformation shape and special valuation over against the Roman Catholic Church and theology of that time, which in turn asserted and defended a doctrine of justification of a different character. From the Reformation perspective, justification was the crux of all the disputes. Doctrinal condemnations were put forward both in the Lutheran Confessions[3] and by the Roman Catholic Church's Council of Trent. These condemnations are still valid today and thus have a church-dividing effect.

2.For the Lutheran tradition, the doctrine of justification has retained its special status. Consequently it has also from the beginning occupied an important place in the official Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue.

3.Special attention should be drawn to the following reports: "The Gospel and the Church" (1972)[4] and "Church and Justification" (1994)[5] by the Lutheran-Roman Catholic Joint Commission, "Justification by Faith" (1983)[6] of the Lutheran-Roman Catholic dialogue in the USA and "The Condemnations of the Reformation Era - Do They Still Divide?" (1986)[7] by the Ecumenical Working Group of Protestant and Catholic theologians in Germany. Some of these dialogue reports have been officially received by the churches. An important example of such reception is the binding response of the United Evangelical-Lutheran Church of Germany to the "Condemnations" study, made in 1994 at the highest possible level of ecclesiastical recognition together with the other churches of the Evangelical Church in Germany.[8]

4.In their discussion of the doctrine of justification, all the dialogue reports as well as the responses show a high degree of agreement in their approaches and conclusions. The time has therefore come to take stock and to summarize the results of the dialogues on justification so that our churches may be informed about the overall results of this dialogue with the necessary accuracy and brevity, and thereby be enabled to make binding decisions.

5.The present Joint Declaration has this intention: namely, to show that on the basis of their dialogue the subscribing Lutheran churches and the Roman Catholic Church[9] are now able to articulate a common understanding of our justification by God's grace through faith in Christ. It does not cover all that either church teaches about justification; it does encompass a consensus on basic truths of the doctrine of justification and shows that the remaining differences in its explication are no longer the occasion for doctrinal condemnations.
Read on: Here.

The ELCA Is Pursuing More Inclusive Language In It's Statements On Sexuality

DOCUMENT CONTINUES – Page 1 of 10
Lutherans Concerned/North America

RESPONSE TO THE ELCA DRAFT SOCIAL STATEMENT ON HUMAN SEXUALITY
Lutherans Concerned/North America (LC/NA) calls upon all ELCA members who are committed to a church that fully includes people of all sexual orientations and gender identities to respond to the Draft Social Statement on Human Sexuality. In the document that follows, LC/NA has pointed out both language that needs to be changed to be more fully inclusive, and language that affirms a vision of full inclusion.
The Draft Social Statement (see http://www.elca.org/faithfuljourney) is divided into five sections. Accordingly, the changes recommended below are organized by those same five sections, beginning with STRENGTHS in that section, followed by recommended CHANGES to each section.

Read more: Here.


For more information see: Shellfish: Lutherans Concerned Responds to Sexuality Draft. Another good Blog post that's related somewhat to the subject is Faith and Theology: Twelve propositions on same-sex relationships and the church.

See also Faithful Conversation: Christian Perspectives on Homosexuality for a more indepth look at the ELCA's stances on sexuality.

From a Baptist perspective see: Rescuing Sex from the Christians--- http://www.claytonsullivan.com/bio.html.

Hopefully, CBF will learn from the ELCA and get on the bandwagon by producing clear language with regards to it's intents with the issue of gender identity and sexuality.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Johann Christoph Blumhardt and Christoph Friedrich Blumhardt On Inspiration



"People speak much these days about “the inspiration
of scripture”; and this is good. However, I prefer to speak of
“inspired people.” God be thanked that we have scriptures that came from those through whom God’s Spirit spoke the
truth. Yet it is the prophet who is inspired, not the letter of
scripture. And if the letter is to lead to the truth, so must
you also be led by the Spirit of God as you read. Conversely, today’s natural man knows nothing of the
Spirit of God and so gets himself quite confused regarding
the words of the inspired prophets. But thus, also, a man like
Luther could, for his time, personally witness to the God intended
truth of that for which other writers of his time
could find no meaning nor make any sense. He was ruled
by God and the Spirit, not by biblical texts. But if we all attend
only upon the revealed life of God, and if each person
is zealous only for his own gifts regarding God’s truth and
steadfastness, then we do not need to be in conflict over the
inspiration of scripture. We then can find ourselves in reciprocal
agreement."

Pgs. 104-105, Thy Kingdom Come: A Blumhardt Reader


Read more about this book: Here.

Friday, October 24, 2008

Updates: *Edits* 3

I now have a buisness card advertising my Blog:

Also, I added some new widgets and rearranged my layout:

First I added a Clustrmap , which I have moved below my Profile (which is located below My Blog List).

Secondly, the reason I moved my Clustrmap was because I also added a Feedjit widget, which also has a map of where site visitors are from but provides further details. Visitors take time to explore both of these handy gadgets. Feedjit (which is located between my Snapshots badge and my Blog Archive) also allows one to view top page hits of the day on my Blog and you can also view visitor activity on my Blog. Here is an example of that:

Buies Creek, North Carolina arrived from blogsearch.google.com on "TheoPoetic Musings: So as I was Googling Dr. Queen, my pastor..." by searching for "divinity school student".
10:27:25 -- 13 hours 40 mins ago
Grand Rapids, Michigan arrived from blogsearch.google.com on "TheoPoetic Musings: What Can We Know Of The Truth?" by searching for "James K.A. Smith".
10:09:49 -- 13 hours 58 mins ago
India arrived from in.search.yahoo.com on "TheoPoetic Musings: Defining The Bible" by searching for HEBREW BIBLE.
10:01:49 -- 14 hours 6 mins ago
New Orleans, Louisiana arrived from us.mg2.mail.yahoo.com on "TheoPoetic Musings: Defining The Bible".
06:52:34 -- 17 hours 15 mins ago
Perpignan, Languedoc-Roussillon arrived from blogsearch.google.com on "TheoPoetic Musings: Preteens use dance to share faith" by searching for preteens.
06:07:51 -- 18 hours ago Wilmington, North Carolina left via www4.clustrmaps.com from "TheoPoetic Musings"


Thirdly, I added my Blog to the website Blogged, which presents a directory of different Blogs and rates them. My Blogged rating based on the editor's review is a 8.1---visitors can check this out by going to my Blogged Rating badge, which is located between my Youtube widget and Blogged badge. If one clicks on my Blogged Rating badge, it will take you to this page and if one clicks on the Blogged badge, it will bring up the directory of Christion Blogs on Blogged.

Finally, I added three other Feedjit widgets: a Feedjit Live Traffic Map, which is located between my Profile and Clustrmap; a Feedjit Live Page Popularity widget (which is located under my Scripture Of The Day and Google widgets), which should help visitors find pages that visitors have accessed the most and along with that I added the Feedjit Recommended Reading widget (which is located between my Blog List and my Profile) and is similar in function to the Feedjit Live Page Popularity widget.

Blog Posts Of Interest 3

On spiritual meaning in the High School Musical phenomenon: Spiritual meaning in ‘High School Musical’ (really).


On the possibility of Pope Benedict XVI being a Barthian Catholic: Narrative and Ontology: Is the Pope Barthian?.


On Indiana Jones being denied tenure: C. Orthodoxy: Indiana Jones Denied Tenure.

Nun Says She Was Raped by Hindu Mob

Nun Says She Was Raped by Hindu Mob
By GAVIN RABINOWITZ, AP
posted: 1 HOUR 36 MINUTES AGOcomments: 23filed under: Crime News, World NewsPrintShareText SizeAAANEW DELHI (Oct. 24) - A Roman Catholic nun who accused a Hindu mob of raping her said Friday that she will not cooperate with local police, alleging that they stood by idly during the attack.
Hiding her head and face behind a scarf, the nun told reporters that she was raped after a mob attacked a Christian prayer hall on Aug. 25 in the eastern state of Orissa.

In her first public comments, the nun said a group of about 50 men tore off her clothes and raped her. Later, she said, she was paraded naked, together with a priest, past several policeman who refused to help her.
When she arrived at the police station, officers tried to dissuade her from filing a complaint, she said.
"I was raped and now I don't want to be victimized by Orissa police," she said, calling for a federal investigation.
Orissa police have been harshly criticized for waiting more than a month to begin investigating the attack and only taking steps after the story appeared in news reports.
Police said they had been waiting for a medical report confirming a rape in order to begin their investigation. Police have since detained five men, though it was unclear whether they have been charged with any crime.
The Associated Press does not normally identify people who say they are the victims of sex crimes. The authorities did not provide her age or nationality.
The violence between Hindus and Christians followed the killing of a Hindu religious leader. Police blamed Maoist rebels, but conservative Hindu groups blamed Christian residents and set fire to a Christian orphanage.

The state government said 32 people died in the ensuing clashes. The Catholic Bishops' Conference of India said at least 40 Christians were killed.
Relations are usually peaceful between Christians, who make up 2.5 percent of India's 1.1 billion people, and Hindus, who account for more than 80 percent.
However, Orissa has a history of anti-Christian violence with hard-line Hindu groups claiming Christian missionary groups are forcing or bribing people to convert to Christianity, charges denied by Christian leaders.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-10-24 12:24:04


What would you do in the nun's place? How would you be like Jesus in this situation?

What's The World Coming To: Sex Ed. For Kindergartners

Read this:

Britain Embraces Kindergarten Sex Ed
By NANCY ZUCKERBROD, AP
posted: 1 DAY 1 HOUR AGOcomments: 289filed under: Health News, World LONDON (Oct. 23) - It's a controversial idea in a land known for prudishness about sex — teaching kids as young as 5 about the birds and bees.
But with one of the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe, the British government is bringing sex education to all schools in England — including kindergartens.

While countries like France, Holland and China already require sex education, few places demand that it be introduced at such a young age.
"It's vital that this information doesn't come from playground rumor or the mixed messages from the media about sex," Schools Minister Jim Knight said Thursday, announcing that sex ed would be added to the national curriculum.
English schools now are required to teach basic lessons on reproduction as part of the science curriculum. Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales have separate education departments and standards. Only Scotland makes sex education voluntary.
The government hasn't detailed what the new curriculum will look like, but schools will be asked to provide lessons on relationships and contraception, topics not previously required. Lessons will become more sophisticated as kids get older.
Elementary schools can offer lessons in naming body parts, preparing for puberty and relationship feelings, Knight said.
For the very young, sex ed will mainly be about self-awareness, he said.
"We are not talking about 5-year-old kids being taught sex," he said. "What we're talking about for key stage 1 (ages 5-7) is children knowing about themselves, their differences, their friendships and how to manage their feelings."

But not everyone feels the state should decide when and how to broach the topic.
"I am not the parent who calls her son's penis a wee-wee. But I should decide if the word penis enters my child's vocabulary at 5 or not," said Elizabeth Talbot of London, who has two sons, aged 4 and 6 months old.
The government said children over 11 — the age at which kids generally go to secondary school in England — could learn how to develop respectful relationships and how risky sexual behavior contributes to the spread of sexually transmitted diseases and unplanned pregnancies.
Britain has among the highest teen pregnancy rates in Europe, with government figures showing that about 39,000 girls between ages 15 and 17 became pregnant in 2006, the year for which the most recent figures are available. An additional 7,200 girls between the ages of 13 and 14 were reported pregnant the same year.
Yet the country has long been considered more prudish and reserved than its continental neighbors.
"Everybody has sex at some point or other in their lives ... (but) we're not willing to prepare them," said Gill Frances, who served as part of a group that advised lawmakers on the new sex ed policy.

French students get sex ed in middle and high schools. Norwegian students typically get mandatory sex education around age 15. The topic is not mandatory but left up to principals and teachers in Italy.
In Finland, at age 11 or 12 children in school are taught about reproduction but sexual health and human relations begins between age 14 or 15. The Finish children's watchdog, the Mannerheim League for Child Welfare, last month proposed distributing free condoms to ninth graders (16 year olds) in schools to the stop spread of sexually transmitted diseases; education authorities rejected it.
In the United States, which lacks a national curriculum, the decision to offer sex education is left to individual states and districts. In recent years, the federal government has funded programs promoting sexual abstinence. The abstinence programs are favored by religious conservatives.
The topic has even made it into the presidential election campaign.
John McCain accused Barack Obama of being bad for families, saying he supports sex education for kindergartners. The legislation that Obama supported in the Illinois Senate would have required information deemed age appropriate, and Obama has said that meant warning young children about sexual predators.

In China, students generally begin sex education in middle school, but the curriculum is basic. In India, where more than 2.5 million people are infected with the AIDS virus, basic sex education has been offered in schools since the late 1980's. However, six of India's largest states banned the basic programs, saying they would corrupt the young.
Peru is implementing a pilot program this year in 146 schools that begins lessons on sexual reproduction at age 11 and on birth control at 14. It will be adopted nationwide next year.
"Statutory (sex ed) is absolutely crucial in reducing teenage pregnancy, particularly for vulnerable young people, but all children and young people need equipping with the skills and knowledge to help manage their lives," said Frances, chairman of the Teenage Pregnancy Independent Advisory Group.
Supporters of the government's plan for England say they hope the lessons give kids information they need.
"When parents fail to educate their kids properly, the government has every right to step in," said Gayla Coil, a Londoner and mother to two kids ages 13 and 10. "Me, I welcome the help."
Knight said teachers would get training and that schools would "ensure there is flexibility for schools to tailor lessons to reflect the values and beliefs of the parents and communities they serve." Schools will be expected to implement the curriculum by 2010.

Teachers will likely have mixed feelings about the change, said Nansi Ellis, head of education policy for a teachers union.
"Some teachers will be uncomfortable with teaching this to very young children," she said. "But it's a really important part of children learning. Learning isn't just about academic achievements but the development of the whole person."
Associated Press Writers Elle Moxley in London, Anita Chang in Beijing, Nathalie Gentaz in Paris, Vladimir Isachenkov in Moscow, Victor Simpson in Rome, Doug Mellgren in Oslo, Norway, Matti Huuhtanen in Helsinki, Finland, Andrew Whalen in Lima, Peru and Gavin Rabinowitz in New Dehli contributed to this report.
Copyright 2008 The Associated Press. The information contained in the AP news report may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or otherwise distributed without the prior written authority of The Associated Press. Active hyperlinks have been inserted by AOL.
2008-10-23 16:17:13


I'm not sure what to make of this, so what are your thoughts?

Thursday, October 23, 2008

What Can We Know Of The Truth?

This is the biggest question of our day. Here is what John Armstrong with my thoughts (in italics) has to say about the subject:

"Propostional" Truth, "Objective" Truth and the Debate About What We Know and How We Know It

God chose to reveal himself ultimately through Jesus Christ. (I agree.) This does not mean, however, that he did not also use words. Jesus is the ultimate "truth" but this does not mean there is no other truth source. We encounter Christ via revelation but this comes through the Holy Scriptures. (I have to add this revelation through the scriptures happens via the Holy Spirit as Jesus is God's self-revelation to man and we encounter this Spirit in the scriptures through an act of the Divine Mediating Agent of Grace.) This involves both our mind and our heart. (And spirit.) I have said the same over and over again but some still think I am saying something that I am not saying thus they regularly challenge my approach to theology and truth. Several comments that have appeared recently on the posts made on this site have chosen to hear me only with an epistemology that is modern and, in my judgment, very flawed. It would take a course in epistemology to sort all this out and this is not the place to teach such a course. I would suggest the following readings with which I have a great degree of sympathy:

1. Who's Afraid of Postmodernism? James K. A. Smith (Baker)

2. How Postmodernism Serves (My) Faith, Crystal L. Downing (IVP)

3. The Myth of Certainty, Daniel Taylor (IVP)

4. Longing to Know: The Philosophy of Knowledge for Ordinary People, Esther Lightcap Meek (Brazos)

5. The Drama of Doctrine, Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Westminster/John Knox)

These books will give you a very good insight into how I am using terms and why philosophy cannot be divorced (entirely) from these commonly used words that we all assume have a meaning we completely agree upon as Christians.

There are two elephants in the room: truth and proposition. Truth, fundamentally, comes only from the One who is Truth. It is rooted in revelation. Human ideas never perfectly conform to that Truth, never. Truth is grace, truth comes by grace, never by reason. This is basic to my epistemology.

....
This indeed is the emerging paradigm that the church finds itself in. Read on:

Some who post have asked me a number of questions. I have provided a framework for my thought process, but not explicit answers. Am I dodging the questions. The tone of these posts suggests that I am. We are back to the notion that I am hiding something and thus I am dangerous.

Do I believe in inspiration? Of course I do. Do I believe the Bible is trustworthy? Most certainly. And where does anyone ever get the idea that I am suggesting we cannot rely upon written Scripture? I never asserted anything of the kind, not even close. The reason I do not answer all of these suspicious questions is that they reveal the questioner doesn't understand what I am actually saying and wants to prove me wrong by using a check list of various "objective" truths. We have a different theological method but I doubt we disagree about the core truths of Christianity at all. So why bother? For one reason, we need a more humble approach to knowing if we are to be effective in the world we now find ourselves in. (I am not calling my opponents arrogant people! Read the statement clearly.)

We can know God in Jesus Christ with deep assurance. We can know this with our minds and our hearts both. What I deny is the kind of certitude that is associated with modernistic philosophy, which is in the background of a great deal of "evangelical" epistemology, thus my repeated statements about "we" and so forth.

Again, I am happy to say more, time permitting, but interested and fair-minded readers can see that I am not denying the truth of confessional Christianity in the least but rather denying some of the ways we argue for it and about it. I reject the method of many conservatives, and their epistemology, but not the faith in any meaningful sense.


Read The Full Post: Here or Here.

Defining The Bible

Sunday, July 20, 2008
Bible: Rules or Guidelines?

The Bible appears to be simply a book of rules; rules which if you break could bring on some horrific consequences. These rules, when broken, are punished by horrible acts including stoning, burning, and miscarriages. In the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) God seems to condone genocide and the killing of innocent people, how can we place our faith in a book which seems to display such a disregard for any type of morality? To be able to do so we must first understand how the Bible came to be in the form we have it in today. Jesus did not come to Earth and handwrite the King James Version of the Bible; rather it was formed through centuries of editing and translation. The texts were edited to fit the changing beliefs of the Hebrew and Jewish cultures. Every one of the disciples, and Paul, were Jewish and remained Jewish. Jesus was born, raised, killed, and supposedly resurrected as a Jewish man himself, to understand the Bible we must first understand that. Jesus said he came not to destroy the Law, but to fulfill it (Matthew 5:17-18). If he did not come to destroy the Law, then why do we still eat meat or use contraceptives, because those practices are condemned in the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament). The point of the Law was not to be a rule book though, the Law gave the Hebrew people their identity, and the Law was their guidelines on how to be “fully human”. They, just as mankind today, expressed their thoughts and ideas through a system of symbols we call language. While our symbols have become fairly complex, they still fall short of expressing the pure meaning of what is trying to be said. For example if someone says “I love you”, this is a very general statement, and there is an infinite amount of degrees of love. You may love an ex-partner still, but you could never act on it because you may love your new partner much more. The same symbol (word) is used to describe two different feelings, and this is the case with most scenarios. The Hebrew language, which is the language the Hebrew Bible (Old Testament) is written in, is very ambiguous.


Read More: Here.