Fasting for 40 days before Easter

Today is Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent.  There are those who claim that these too have pagan origins, which is particularly ludicrous.  In his ongoing dismantling of the claims that Christian holidays have pagan origins,  Pastor Joseph Abrahamson tells about the true origin of Lent, the 40 day fast (not counting the six Sundays, which are feast days) before Easter.  See the details after the jump.

Lent always does me good.  Resolutions with a limited time frame are easier to keep.  The small acts of self-denial and self-discipline are good from me, as are eating less (and healthier) and my custom of reading some heavy-duty theology.  (This year:  Martin Chemnitz on the Two Natures of Christ.)  And observing Lent really does set up a joyous Easter.

I’ve noticed that even many Christians who do not follow the church year all that much are starting to observe Lent.

What about you?  What do you do for Lent, if anything?  What does it do for you?

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Luther quotes that Luther didn’t say

Justin Taylor has a useful post entitled 6 Quotes that Luther Didn’t Actually Say.  After the jump, see what they are.  (To be fair, some of them are close to what he said, as loose translations or summaries.  And what he attributes to me on the “wise Turk” quote actually comes from the regular  commenter here Carl Vehse, who has done quite a bit of work in tracing such apocryphal quotations.) [Read more...]

George Washington, political prophet

On George Washington’s birthday, February 22, it is the custom in the United States Senate to read aloud his Farewell Address.   This year those words must have stung those who heard it, since Washington seemed to be describing with great precision the state of American politics.  It is as if the Father of Our Country took his children to the woodshed. [Read more...]

St. Valentine’s Day

Here is a good account of the history of St. Valentine’s Day, how it’s NOT related to the pagan festival of Lupercalia and how the death day of an early Christian martyr got connected with love and romance.  (Short answer:  Chaucer.)

So what can be said about the true meaning of St. Valentine’s Day in 2014?

Textbook’s version of the Second Amendment

How American history and the Constitution are taught in high schools:

The authors of United States History: Preparing for the Advanced Placement Examination have taken it upon themselves to change the Constitution of the United States. The high school textbook contains a summary of each Amendment that alters the initial intent in which they were created.

The textbook notes the Second Amendment as, “The people have a right to keep and bear arms in a state militia.” [Read more...]

Jesse James meets the Second Amendment

If there should ever be a monument to the Second Amendment, it should be erected in Northfield, Minnesota. In this little college town in 1876, Jesse James and Cole Younger, with six other members of their gang, tried to rob the First National Bank, only to get shot up by an aroused citizenry.  I just finished reading a new book on the subject, Mark Lee Gardner’s Shot All to Hell: Jesse James, the Northfield Raid, and the Wild West’s Greatest Escape.

I knew about the Northfield raid and when I spoke at St. Olaf College a few years ago, my hosts took me to see the bank and the marks of the bullets that still adorn the downtown buildings.  But I did not know the details, nor did I know about the equally thrilling aftermath.  Gardner’s book, while being sober history, reads like an action thriller, but what I most took away from the book was a glimpse of something we don’t see all that much anymore; namely, a genuine community, whose members look out for each other, protect each other, and pull together for the common good. [Read more...]


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