The German state church

Mathew Block, in the course of correcting a media error, explains that the Protestant state church of Germany is NOT Lutheran, but a federation of Protestant churches with a number of different theologies, including particularly the “Prussian Union,” which drove confessional Lutherans to Australia and America:

Two days ago, the Catholic Herald posted a story about Pope Francis meeting with Rev. Dr. Nikolaus Schneider. The article is entitled “Lutheran pastor meets Pope Francis in Rome,” and the text of the article also refers to Dr. Schneider as a Lutheran pastor. There’s just one problem, as the friend who brought this story to my attention noted: Dr. Schneider isn’t Lutheran.

You’d be forgiven for thinking so. He is, after all, President of the Council of the Evangelical Church in Germany. And surely the Evangelical Church in Germany is Lutheran, right?

It depends. The thing English speakers often miss is that the Evangelical Church in Germany (which formed in 1948) is actually a federation of separate church bodies in Germany rather than a unified denomination itself. [Read more…]

Luther memes

I stumbled upon He Rice Tanned (read it fast), a collection of sometimes humorous Luther memes.  Samples after the jump.  (If you know of others, or other Christian-related, or other good ones of any kind, let us know in the comments.) [Read more…]

The moralistic approach to filmmaking

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Assessment for government programs

In my field of higher education, the big idea is assessment.  Accreditors are requiring that we assess what we do; that is, that we give evidence for the quality and effectiveness of our programs and operations.  Businesses too are measuring product quality and customer satisfaction.  But there is almost no assessment of government programs.  Very little data is gathered to determine whether or not a program works or fulfills its purpose.  As a result, once a program is enacted, it is almost impossible to kill.  But now some economists are proposing ways to bring assessment to the government. [Read more…]

Atheists want to participate in interfaith services

Atheists in Boston are complaining that they haven’t been invited to participate in the interfaith services held in connection to the Boston Marathon bombings.  See No Room for Non-Theists at Boston Interfaith Service | (A)theologies | Religion Dispatches. [Read more…]

CSI, Boston

Here is a fascinating account of the police work that led to the identification and apprehension of the Boston Marathon bombers:  Police, citizens and technology factor into Boston bombing probe – The Washington Post.

The legal issue now is whether “Jahar,” the surviving terrorist, should be considered an “enemy combatant” or whether he should be given all of the legal rights to which he is entitled  as an American citizen, including the right to remain silent.  What do you think?