News & updates

Lots of things have been happening in the news, including some new developments in topics we have discussed earlier.  I’ll just pull together some links:

Have you seen these men?  The FBI has released photos from surveillance videos that depict two suspects in the Boston Marathan bombing. UPDATE:  They have been identified and a wild chase is going on, as Boston is in lockdown.  They are apparently Chechen terrorists.  One has been killed.  (HT to Tom Hering.  As things develop, please let us know in the “comments.”  I probably won’t be able to monitor things closely, so I’ll depend on you for further updates.)

A fertilizer factory exploded in West, Texas, 20 miles from Waco, killing between 5 and 15 people and injuring 160.

Gun control bill fails in the Senate.  None of the President’s proposals could pass the Democratic-controlled Senate. [Read more…]

Bad sermons

Karl Barth (not to be confused with the good Karl Barth of the LCMS) was a neo-orthodox theologian, which isn’t as good as being an orthodox theologian, but it was arguably better than being a liberal.  Which he was when he first got out of seminary, to the point that he was called in his Swiss parish “the red pastor of Safenwil.”  Barth recalled the bad sermons that he used to preach.  Fred Sanders posts about the time he preached on the text of the Titanic:

Looking back on these early days, Barth later remarked with some regret, “During my time as a pastor… I often succumbed to the danger of attempting to get alongside the congregation in the wrong way. Thus in 1912, when the sinking of the Titanic shook the whole world, I felt that I had to make this disaster my main theme the following Sunday, which led to a monstrous sermon on the same scale.” (from the definitive Barth biogarphy by Eberhard Busch, p. 63) Yes, Barth took as his sermon text the current event of a disaster, rather than an actual portion of Scripture. [Read more…]

“The long march through the institutions”

In the course of an article about the Roman Catholic organization Communion and Liberation, a group with which the current Pope Francis was affiliated, one that offered a more orthodox alternative to Liberation Theology, Tracey Rowland describes two Marxist strategies for dealing with Christianity and for influencing the culture.  One is Stalin’s approach of violent revolution.  The other is Antonio Gramsci’s “long march through the institutions.” [Read more…]

American beer is “in”

Interesting story in the BBC on how American beer, once derided in the world’s cultures that take beer seriously,  has suddenly become fashionable.  America’s craft breweries have spawned international fans and imitators, though also new controversies among the purists. [Read more…]

Ricin attacks and an arrest

Letters laced with the deadly poison ricin were sent to President Obama and a Republican senator.  The letters were intercepted and an arrest has been made (one Kenneth Curtis of Tupelo, Mississippi, someone who doesn’t sound Muslim).   Authorities don’t think these terrorist attacks are related to the one in Boston. [Read more…]

Easter and Vocation

In the sermon for the third Sunday of Easter, based on John 21:1-19, in which the disciples saw Jesus while they were fishing, Pastor Douthwaite related Easter to vocation:

Jesus has not changed, and Easter does not mean that He is now done all His work and now it’s up to us. No, He is still working. What He did before Easter He now does after Easter. And Jesus is not just now all “spiritual” – He is still working through the physical, through their calling, or vocation, as fishermen. That didn’t change and won’t change. What changed is the disciples. What changed is us. Jesus’ death and resurrection was not to make Jesus new, but to make us new. To raise us from sin, fear, and death to a new life in Him. Not a new super-spiritualized life, but a new life in your callings, or vocations. Not to take us out of this world, but to make us new in this world. And we see that in Peter. He is a changed man. And so are you.

via St. Athanasius Lutheran Church: Easter 3 Sermon.