Luther and bowling?

Martin Luther’s influence goes far beyond the theology of the Lutheran Church.  His putting the Gospel and the Word of God at the center was the catalyst for all Protestantism.  But even his theological opponents have accepted his ideas like worship in the vernacular, congregational singing, and vernacular translations of the Bible.  Then there are his cultural contributions:  universal education, standardizing the German language, vocation.  But there are also things he is credited for that are questionable or uncertain, like inventing the Christmas tree.  And there are things that that he is credited for that are just wrong, like writing “Away in the Manger” and being the source of German anti-semitism.  Being a master of language, he is supremely quotable on all kinds of subjects.  But he is also cited as the source of things that he never really said (such as the “Wise Turk” quote).  I have recently learned that Luther is considered one of the inventors of bowling!  [Read more...]

The case against the Olympics

The Winter Olympics begin February 7 in Sochi, Russia, and people are getting nervous over terrorism threats, anti-gay laws, the toilet situation, and whatever Vladimir Putin might do.

Columnist Charles Lane argues that the Olympics have gotten too politicized, too expensive, too drug-saturated, too corrupt, and too corporate.  We should just end them.  Read his case against the Olympics here.

Does he have a point?  Or is there still value in having virtually all of the countries of the world come together in a huge athletic event?  Might the Olympics be reformed rather than killed?

Armwrestling and vocation

A Lutheran pastor, Guntars Baikovs, originally from Latvia but a St. Louis seminary Ph.D., has become the Super Heavyweight champion armwrestler–in both arms–in Australia.  After the jump, read a news story about him.  Notice how he works in a plug for vocation:

“In our society we celebrate achievements. That’s good, we need to nourish our gift and be proud of them. But for so many of us, it makes our lives difficult. Our value and dignity doesn’t depend on our achievements,” he said.

“In reality, what is much more important than our extraordinary achievements in our hobbies, are the ordinary things we all do on a daily basis – how we serve people around us.”

[Read more...]

St. Augustine’s friend at an NFL game

Our discussion of the brutality of the NFL reminded me of the good friend of St. Augustine, Alypius, who was a fan of the gladiator games.  In his efforts to pursue virtue, he knew that taking pleasure in other men’s suffering and inflicting suffering was wrong, so he resolved not to go to them anymore.  Until. . .well, let’s let the Bishop of Hippo tell the story after the jump. [Read more...]

The NFL’s corruption

Brutal bullying.  Murder charges.  Rape.  Suicides.  Scrambled brains.  Just another week in the NFL.  Pulitzer Prize winning sportswriter Thomas Boswell loves professional football, but he is dismayed at what the NFL has seemingly become.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised.  Of course the game creates a market for “mean jocks” and criminal-types.  The notion of the athlete as a role model may be outmoded in today’s sports culture.  Can or should anything be done about all of this?  Consider Mr. Boswell’s catalog of corruption after the jump. [Read more...]

The World Series is all red

The St. Louis Cardinals will play the Boston Red Sox in the World Series starting Wednesday.  For the first time I can remember, both of the teams that I was rooting for in their respective league playoffs were victorious.  The playoff games were indeed fascinating, and the pitching was awe-inspiring.  In the World Series, I’m for the Cardinals.  I predict they will win it in six games.  What do you think?


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