Chrysostom predicts the 21st century

Thanks to Bob Miller for showing me this quotation from John Chrysostom (c. 347-407) from his Homily 5 on Titus:

“Woman was not made for this, O man, to be prostituted as common. O you subverters of all decency, who use men, as if they were women, and lead out women to war, as if they were men! This is the work of the devil, to subvert and confound all things, to overleap the boundaries that have been appointed from the beginning, and remove those which God has set to nature.”

This early Church Father is not just ranting and raving; rather, he suggests a whole approach to issues like these:  What are we made for?  What are the “boundaries,” or do you really think we can do without any boundaries at all?

Swimming the Elbe

Those who convert to Catholicism are said to have “swum the Tiber,” referring to the river that runs through Rome.  Those who convert to Orthodoxy are said to have “swum the Bosphorus,” the strait in Turkey that separates Europe from Asia.  So what is a person swimming who converts to Lutheranism?  I have heard “Mississippi” for those who join the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, based in St. Louis.  But Anthony Sacramone gives the definitive solution (whether he came up with it first or someone else did, I don’t know) when he refers to “paddling the Elbe.” [Read more…]

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…]