When Christianity comes across as dull

The redoubtable Anthony Sacramone tells about how he was influenced–indeed, evangelized–by  C. S. Lewis.

Mr. Sacramone had gone through through a Lutheran parochial school, learned the Catechism, was confirmed.  But, like many young people, he left all of that behind as soon as he could.  Christianity, he says, “seemed so small, constricting, even petty.”  He became an atheist, but in the course of researching a story idea, he stumbled upon Lewis, who “made Christianity bigger than anything I could imagine.”  Later, he came back to Lutheranism.

Read about this after the jump, and then I want to pose some questions.   Christianity has mind-blowing teachings–the infinite God becoming a man, then taking the evil of the world into Himself and resolving it by dying and rising again and offering free forgiveness and everlasting life–so how in the world is it possible to make them seem dull?   I mean, I can see why someone might not believe it, but how can Christianity be so poorly presented that it  seems “small, constricting, even petty”?  And yet somehow that’s the way it comes across to many people, especially young people brought up in the church.  This is surely a communication fail of the highest magnitude.  [Read more...]

Sacramone’s free magazine for college students

Whatever happened to Anthony Sacramone, you may ask?  He of the blog Strange Herring.  Formerly of the blog Luther at the Movies.  The satirical Lutheran who blogs with manic intensity until he seemingly burns himself out and stops blogging for months, until he starts again with a slightly new identity.  Well, I have learned that he has become the Managing Editor of  Intercollegiate Review | A Publication of the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. [Read more...]

What is a Lutheran?

Anthony Sacramone tells about his own spiritual history, his current frustrations in trying to find a Lutheran congregation, and various theological difficulties.  He closes by asking “what is a Lutheran?” and asks for help in sorting through all of this.

The man is a great humorist, but this is a plaintive post.  His experiences are important for us Missouri Synod types to face up to, how in our doctrinal purity we sometimes scare people off and drive them away even when they desperately want and are open to precisely what we can give them–Christ, the Gospel, the Sacraments. And can anyone help him with his search for a congregation that would put up with him and vice versa?  (I do know that Lutheran identity is, in practice, more flexible than it is sometimes presented and that congregations vary a lot, in some positive as well as negative ways.  He lives in New York City, a small town when it comes to the number of Missouri Synod Lutherans.  But perhaps some of you could give him suggestions.)

If I send you over to his blog Strange Herring, will you help him and not attack him?

If so, here is the link:  Nadia Bolz-Weber and Lutheran Identity « Strange Herring.

Anthony Sacramone is back and making fun of Batman

The blogging maestro Anthony Sacramone, who used to be Luther at the Movies, is back, after one of his intermittent long blog vacations.  Read his notes on the new Batman movie.  Read them all, but here is a random sampling:

Ah! Some real action. Finally. Selina Kyle, aka Cat Womyn, played by Anne Hathaway, granddaughter of Miss Jane Hathaway, late of The Beverly Hillbillies, a true fact I found on Wikipedia after I cut-and-pasted it there, puts one in mind of what a young Sean Young would have done with the role had she not gone batcrap crazy. With legs long enough to make a crane fly cry and a freakishly narrow skull, Hathaway is both terrifying and strangely alluring, a wastrel who cat burgles in order to “feed herself,” although her 14-inch waist would lead one to believe she’s not very good at her job. Desperate to wipe the criminal-record slate clean and start again, this time as a medical transcriptionist in Scarsdale, Cat Person is obviously seeking both redemption and a spinoff movie to make us forget Halle Berry’s calamitous effort. Coming in at a weight of 125 pounds, Selina is nevertheless able to kick several 6-foot-6, 350-pound gangsters unconscious in a matter of seconds, when it took the 135-pound Bruce Lee a good while to take out Kareem Abdul Jabbar. Must be something in those Flintstone vitamins these gals take nowadays. . . .

Lionized by the conservative press as something of an anti-Occupy movie, The Dark Night Mooneth does demonstrate in vivid color what a revolution really looks like — a lot of show trials, explosions, hangings, and an added 45 minutes to everyone’s commute. Makes one feel sorry for Michael Moore and other Hollywood socialists, who I’m sure will be accosted on the streets with copies of Hayek and Burke after young libertarians leave the theaters on fire for counterrevolutionary activity.

(Progressive commentators, however, have bemoaned Citizen Bane’s failure to implement a “green” policy that would have demanded the purchase of carbon credits before setting off the big bang-bang. If you’re going to hold a city hostage, a la certain public-worker unions, you must at least have a recycling plan in place for all the attendant debris.) . . . .

This film is very loud. I tried signaling the projectionist with a sign (PROJECTIONIST: THIS FILM IS VERY LOUD) I always keep on my person, but my efforts were met with catcalls and boos from my fellow auditors. One even got up and screamed, “Sit the eff down you effing eff or I’ll effing eff you up!” That’s literally what he said. Must be a Baptist . . . .

Why is it that filmmakers love to blow up New York City? It must be the skyline, or maybe Mayor Bloomberg has decided to ban something again, like Mentos or something.

via A Strange Review: The Dark Knight Stinketh « Strange Herring.

Mr. Sacramone also posts about an upcoming movie about Hell, that guy who texted as he drove off a cliff, and much more.

You should bookmark his blog, Strange Herring, and visit it regularly.  I have been doing so for five months, just to see if he might have started posting again.  He finally has.

The Sacramone mystery solved

The Lutheran blogosphere has been in a state of disturbance since the disappearance of Anthony Sacramone.  When you go to his blog site, Strange Herring, a window comes up that says that it is available by invitation only.  Since no one has an invitation, that has provoked outrage and hurt feelings, with an inchoate fear that Mr. Sacramone has been murdered.  (Sorry, I’ve been reading Swedish mysteries.)  So it comes as something of a scoop for this blog that Mr. Sacramone in a comment came out of his self-imposed exile and explained himself.  In case you missed it, here is what he had to say:

Herr Veith:
The attention you have shown my online wares over the years is both undeserved…and much appreciated. As for Strange Herring, as you have noted, my enthusiasm waxes and wanes for it, as I question its value, even entertainment value, over the long haul. I have also mulled the possibility of re-jiggering it, making it more focused, perhaps strictly on film. In any event, I found myself inundated with some editing work and just didn’t want to think about it anymore, so I took it offline, which I now recognize was a mistake, as it seems to have offended some who thought I had made it for members only, when in fact not even I go on it (LARS! IT WAS NOTHING PERSONAL!). Also, I have been informed that FIRST THINGS is looking for a more “moderate tone,” and since I don’t do moderate, I have probably blogged my last over there. So, as soon as I can figure out how best to peddle my limited talents, I promise to reemerge.

So the message about the blog being by invitation only is just a quirk of the software, nothing personal!  So thank you, Mr. Sacramone, and we understand.  Take all the time you need, but just realize that you have lots of fans and you have an obligation to the public good.

Do what you please, of course, but I implore you in your new re-jiggering to BRING BACK LUTHER AT THE MOVIES, at least sometimes, at least as a special guest.  Your portrayal of him as if he came back to live today as a movie critic, as unlikely as that might seem, just nails the personality, the earthy spirituality, and the gusto of the great man.   That is a literary achievement of great note.

UPDATE:  Oh, man. Strange Herring is back, and Mr. Sacramone is on another roll.  He says some kind things about us here, so thanks for that, but there is much more good stuff.  I’m glad we shamed him so effectively.

I believe in the “holy Catholic church” or “holy Christian church”?

The great Lutheran blogger Anthony Sacramone–remember Luther at the Movies?–goes from posting whole handfuls of entries a day at Strange Herring to going months without posting a thing (and now to keeping the public from reading it, for some reason).  But he sometimes puts something up at the First Things site.   He has a characteristically humorous, provocative, and instructive post there now:  What’s in a Name? Plenty. » First Thoughts | A First Things Blog.

After riffing on how Campus Crusade has changed its name to “Cru,” he complains about how his fellow Lutherans in the Missouri Synod and other confessional churches translate the Apostle’s and Nicene Creeds as “I believe in the Holy Christian Church,” instead of the more direct rendition of the Latin, “I believe in the Holy Catholic Church” like everybody else does (only sometimes with an asterix).

He does cite the fact that this comes from the German translation that predates even the Reformation, but he makes the case that today in English we should  show that we are “catholic” in the sense that we claim to be by using “catholic” like the rest of the universal church.   He points out that all kinds of sects and heretics claim to be “Christian.”  We need to affirm that we part of the historical universal Body of Christ, which is what “catholic” does.

In the course of the discussion, he gives some interesting biographical tidbits about his own spiritual pilgrimage  that I have always wondered about. But doesn’t he have a good point?  In the Athanasian Creed, which I’d be glad to confess every week, we do use “catholic.”   It’s a good word, like “evangelical,” and we shouldn’t cede it just to the Church of Rome.  Or are there reasons to change it?


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