Theological bankruptcy

Christianity Today has a thoughtful editorial on the bankruptcy of the Crystal Cathedral and what that means (or should mean) for contemporary Christianity: This past October, the megachurch prototype of the late 20th century filed for bankruptcy. A 24 percent drop in donations and a $50-$100 million debt owed to more than 550 creditors forced the Crystal Cathedral to file. It was a poignant moment in the history of modern evangelicalism. Robert H. Schuller’s famous Crystal Cathedral was built on… Read more

Anger at God leads to atheism

Joe Carter reports on a study that shows that atheists are angry at a God they don’t believe exists.  Or, rather, their anger at God motivated them not to believe in Him: A new set of studies in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology finds that atheists and agnostics report anger toward God either in the past or anger focused on a hypothetical image of what they imagine God must be like. Julie Exline, a psychologist at Case Western… Read more

Frodo & Vocation

The Lord of the Rings is another tale about vocation, as John Ortberg realizes: My daughter and I were re-watching Lord of the Rings before Christmas. At one point, on the last part of the journey through Mordor, Frodo turns to Sam and tells him how badly he wishes he did not have to be the one to carry the Ring. Being the Ring-Bearer was a difficult and dangerous role. He took it up voluntarily; he knew it was a… Read more

Vocation gone wild

This is from a couple of years ago, but Carl Vehse just found it and brought it to my attention.  It’s from Pastor Petersen at Redeemer Lutheran Church in Ft. Wayne, IN.  It’s an account of vocation gone wild: I recently had a mild encounter with a German friend of mine. I wanted him to turn down the heat in a public building, of which he is a member. I didnt feel quite right doing it, since I was a… Read more

Two meanings of “faith”

Thanks to FWS who pointed us to this post from LCMS president Matthew Harrison quoting the German theologian and enemy of Nazism Hermann Sasse (who quotes Werner Elert): Werner Elert repeatedly drew our attention to the fundamental difference between the Roman Catholic and Evangelical Lutheran understandings about ecclesiastical confessions of doctrine. It consists in this, that the Roman doctrinal confession has the form of an imperative, while the Lutheran has the form of an indicative. Roman dogma is a command… Read more

“Apocalyptic” floods in Australia

The Australian state of Queensland is half again as big as Texas, the size of France and Germany combined.  A third of it is under water.  The flooding is being described as “apocalyptic.”  Now the waters are threatening Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city.  Efforts are being made to evacuate its 2 million people.  To date, 14 people have died, and 90 are missing. The city of Toowoomba was hard hit.  That is where the late Rev. Kurt Marquart, the sainted… Read more

Tucson shootings & political rhetoric

Conservative polemics are being blamed for the shooting in Tucson that critically wounded Congresswoman Gabrielle Giffords and killed nine others, including a judge and a little girl. The killer shows clear symptoms of insanity, though, and was evidently motivated by schizophrenia rather than politics. And the liberals are ignoring their own history of demonizing their opponents and violent rhetoric. (There was a book, a play, and a movie fantasizing the assassination of George W. Bush.) But still. . . .Do… Read more

‘Huck Finn’ without the N-word

A new edition of Mark Twain’s Huckleberry Finn will leave out all of the N-words, which have caused some people to charge the novel with racism, even though the point of the book is to combat racism.  From a CNN report: What is a word worth? According to Publishers Weekly, NewSouth Books’ upcoming edition of Mark Twain’s seminal novel “Adventures of Huckleberry Finn” will remove all instances of the N-word — I’ll give you a hint, it’s not nonesuch –… Read more

List of common misconceptions

Something really interesting from Wikipedia:  An extensive List of common misconceptions in history, science, religion, sports, travel, and technology.  The list includes my pet peeve, the myth that the ancients believed that the earth is flat, as well as many similar urban legends and scholarly bloopers. Did any of these surprise you?  Do you want to challenge any of these misconceptions to argue that they are correct conceptions? HT: Joe Carter Read more

True Grit

We saw True Grit over the weekend, the Coen brothers’ rendition of the  novel by Charles Portis, which had also been made into a movie that earned John Wayne an Oscar.  I’m a fan of the novel and both movies, including this one. The John Wayne movie is an iconic Western, and I like icons.  This one is darker and, well, grittier, and I like that too.  The Coen version is especially good in bringing to the forefront the novel’s… Read more

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