Government approved churches?

Conservative churches are troubled with the gay marriage decision and feel threatened lest the government punish them for teaching that homosexuality is sinful.  But liberal churches are celebrating the ruling and will have no problem with discrimination statutes.  If conservative congregations lose their tax exempt status, liberal congregations wouldn’t.  Indeed, some denominations would presumably include conservative congregations that would and liberal congregations that would not.

So you have GOT to read Anthony Sacramone’s post Do You Worship in a State-Approved Church?  Read especially “the talk” that he says conservative pastors must give to their congregations.   I’ll excerpt the first part after the jump, but you really need to read the whole thing.

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Imaginary Yelp reviews from famous theologians

What might Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Wesley, Charles Spurgeon, Charles Finney, Billy Graham, John Chrysostom, Tim Keller, and the Apostle Paul say about Joel Osteen’s church, with its Prosperity Gospel and Power of Positive Thinking?

Anthony Sacramone has the spiritual gift of being able to give spot-on madcap imitations of famous preachers and theologians.  See what he does in imagining Yelp reviews of Rev. Osteen’s church from those distinguished figures. [Read more...]

You Might Be a Lutheran If…

The invaluable Anthony Sacramone has put together a mashup of theological culture and Jeff Foxworthy, resulting in a list of 20 descriptors entitled “You Might be a Lutheran if. . . .”  My favorite:  “You think the pope is the antichrist but still a Christian.”  After the jump, the first part of the list and a link to the rest.

My challenge: Add to them.  (Bonus:  Explain Mr. Sacramone’s more obscure references.)

My other challenge:  Come up with something similar for other Christian traditions, preferably one you are a member of.  (“You might be a Catholic if. . .”; “You might be a Baptist if. . . .”; “You might be a Calvinist if. . . .”; You might be Orthodox if. . . .”; “You might be a theological liberal if. . . .”; etc., etc.)

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Thomas More vs. the Reformation

Now that Hilary Mantel’s superb novels about Thomas Cromwell have been made into a TV series, Wolf Hall, her points about the good guys and bad guys in Tudor England are attracting attention and controversy.  Conventionally, Cromwell has been considered a Machiavellian villain who helped Henry VIII  break from the Church of Rome because of his romance with Anne Boleyn, only to later frame her for unfaithfulness.  His foil was Thomas More–later, St. Thomas More–the humanist scholar who refused to go along with these schemes at the cost of his life.

But Mantel portrays Cromwell as a decent man, carefully navigating the whims of an unstable king, while deftly advancing the cause of reform and Reformation in a corrupt society and a corrupt church.  More, on the other hand, as Mantel tells it, is a reactionary bigot, who sought to stamp out the Reformation by burning the “heretics” at the stake (which would include William Tyndale, for translating the Bible into English).

Now many Catholics are outraged at this treatment of their Renaissance saint, who has lately been held up as the model of the Christian intellectual who puts the laws of God over the laws of the state.  Mark Movesian goes so far as to say that Wolf Hall is part of the attack on religious liberty.  The depiction of More, he says, is an example of today’s mindset that the demands of the state should trump the teachings  of the church.  But, of course, it finally comes down to whether you support the beliefs of More or his victims.

Anthony Sacramone has given a quite brilliant Lutheran reply to all of this.  He includes what More said about Luther (who also opposed Henry VIII and his shenanigans), More’s defense of heretic burning, and what Purgatory meant to the people of the time. [Read more...]

Maundy Thursday and the search for the real Jesus

Anthony Sacramone discusses all of the magazine cover stories about “the search for the real Jesus” that get published during Lent, generally concluding that we can’t really know much about Him, the assumption being that the Gospels aren’t reliable.  Well, Mr. Sacramone gives a very Lutheran answer to those in search of a tangible Jesus, proposing a billboard campaign, as you can see after the jump. [Read more...]

The 12 Funniest Books Ever Written?

In the spirit of Fat Tuesday, in which we go through our cupboards to use up any treats and frivolities before the solemnities of Lent, I would like to draw your attention to  Anthony Sacramone’s list of  The 12 Funniest Books Ever Written.  You need to go to the link to read his paragraphs about each work on his list, but I will list the titles after the jump, along with my own additions and corrections. [Read more...]