I Desire to Dwell Among This People

In 1219 Francis of Assisi traveled to Damietta, Egypt, in order to convert Sultan Malek al-Kamel and avoid the Fifth Crusade.  He did not baptize the sultan but he did work out a peace treaty which was later rejected by his fellow Christians.  He also spend time in Egypt and in the Holy Land ministering to the needy regardless of creed.After Francis returned he drew up a Rule for those who were to join him as Franciscans.  This document is called the First Rule, or, because it was … [Read more...]

Religiously Motivated Coverups

And you thought I was going to say something about Mountain Meadows, right?Nope.  I am not feeling serious today. … [Read more...]

A Particle of Faith

I sometimes hear folks at church distinguish themselves from other Christians by asserting a difference between the LDS “I know that…” and the non-LDS “I believe that… The former, it is implied, is the stronger and therefore the better faith. At the level of individual intent, I am not sure that such is the case. But the real issue is a bit of a misunderstanding about the effectiveness of faith.The efficacy of faith does not depend on its fervor, but on the trustworthiness of its object. It … [Read more...]

Been Sittin’ On My Butt…

The first words of his testimony today were "Been sittin' on my butt at home for the last six months so I thought I ought to at least give up smoking." He said he hadn't been at church during that time like he ought to, "prolly because the fish were biting and the ducks were flying." And finally he allowed as how, after fifteen or so years, he'd started to feel like he was finally good enough to join the rest of us.Pretty strong stuff, you know? … [Read more...]

Get Thee to a Grad School

In recent weeks both TT and Chris have each made controversial posts. By this I mean no criticism, but simply that each has created entries on “hot” issues that invite responses from a wide variety of readers. I could tell from reading the responses that many folks had spent a great deal of time thinking about these issues. All in all, I have really enjoyed those threads.But alas, I am Mogget the Bible dork and teacher. And the teacher in me also noticed quite a spread in the level of the … [Read more...]

The Church and the Conversion Experience

Some time ago someone made a comment on one of our threads characterizing the LDS notion of revelation as a “hot sensation brought on by emotionally charged media.” In regard to the role of revelation in the conversion experience, the writer also felt “challenged” by the need to explain the revelatory experience to an investigator because he or she had “expected divine communication to be more clear.”I share the writer’s distaste for the maudlin and sentimental in media, from which I protect m … [Read more...]

Dei Verbum: The Word of God in Modern Times

Yesterday's post was on Vatican II as a background to Dei Verbum. Here you will see how the Catholics talk about integrating critical methods with the pastoral mission of the Church. This is a very interesting topic, but I am assured that students at BYU would find this scary and useless (See comment #30) so if you came out of that institution you'll want to read the rest of this with your eyes closed and the blankets over your head.Although pretty much all of the documents of Vatican II … [Read more...]

Vatican II and Modernity

Last time we met, Pius XII had published Divino, and set the Catholics on a glide path for a more productive encounter with modern life. I should emphasize that it's a Catholic approach to modern life, so you won't be finding a retreat from Catholic positions on faith and morals. But you will see that they are far more engaged than they had been.Before we get into Vatican II, there's one more event I'd like to mention because it gets at the relationship between exegesis and theology. Before … [Read more...]


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