Do Your Duty

I published an article in Tabletalk Magazine about the concept of “duty,” tying it via the Small Catechism to the works of vocation. [Read more...]

Catechism app

Get Luther’s Small Catechism for your smartphone, for free.  It isn’t exactly an app, but it’s the same difference, mostly.  Go online with your device to cph.org/catechism and bookmark the site, which is specially formatted for mobile phones and tablets. [Read more...]

Duty and Vocation

Reflecting on the beards of the Red Sox made me think about the Victorians and a concept that was a major preoccupation of that era but that is hardly talked about anymore today:  Duty.   This is not the same as virtue or morality.  Rather, it is the obligation associated with a particular vocation.

The duty of a husband is to be faithful to his wife, support her, and protect her.  The duty of a soldier is to obey orders, remain at his post, and hazard his life for his country.  The duty of a worker is to do a good job, etc., etc.

Significantly, the place in Luther’s Small Catechism that teaches about vocation, giving the Biblical teachings about “the various holy orders”–such as pastors and laity, rulers and citizens, husbands and wives, parents and children, employers and workers–is called the Table of Duties. 

After the jump is William Wordsworth’s “Ode to Duty,” in which the pioneering Romantic poet writes about how he is sick of living just for himself and how he craves “the spirit of self sacrifice.”  Maybe our culture will get to that point. [Read more...]

The true meaning of Thanksgiving

 

I believe that God has made me and all creatures; that He has given me my body and soul, eyes, ears, and all my limbs, my reason, and all my senses, and still preserves them; in addition thereto, clothing and shoes, meat and drink, house and homestead, wife and children, fields, cattle, and all my goods; that He provides me richly and daily with all that I need to support this body and life, protects me from all danger, and guards me and preserves me from all evil; and all this out of pure, fatherly, divine goodness and mercy, without any merit or worthiness in me; for all which I owe it to Him to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him. This is most certainly true.

via First Article of the Creed. The Small Catechism – Book of Concord

God “has given me. . .meat and drink. . .and all my goods,” as well as family, protection, and “all that I need.”  And He “has given me. . .all my senses,” so that it is fitting that we savor, enjoy, and take delight in our Thanksgiving Feast.  “For all which I owe it to Him to thank, praise, serve, and obey Him.”

An Ecumenical Catechism

Is this possible?

A Vatican official has floated the idea of a shared “ecumenical catechism” as one of the potential fruits of 40 years of dialogue among Catholics, Anglicans, Lutherans, Methodists and members of the Reformed churches.

“We have affirmed our common foundation in Jesus Christ and the Holy Trinity as expressed in our common creed and in the doctrine of the first ecumenical councils,” Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, told representatives of the churches.

Opening a three-day symposium at the Vatican to brainstorm on the future of ecumenism, Cardinal Kasper said it is essential “to keep alive the memory of our achievements” in dialogue, educate the faithful about how much has been accomplished and prepare a new generation to carry on the work.

He said the members of his council “proposed an ecumenical catechism that would be written in consultation with our partners,” but “we do not yet have any idea how such a catechism could be structured and written.”

One thing for sure, he said, is that there is a need for “an ecumenism of basics that identifies, reinforces and deepens the common foundation” of faith in Christ and belief in the tenets of the creed. The churches may hold those positions officially, but if their members do not hold firmly to the basics of Christian faith, the dialogue cannot move forward, the cardinal said.

via Vatican Official Proposes Ecumenical Catechism » Evangel | A First Things Blog.

Before you answer, consider: Isn’t there such a thing as what C. S. Lewis calls “mere Christianity” that all strains of Christianity agree on? What about the Apostle’s and Nicene Creed, which all of these groups, I believe, say they affirm? Couldn’t there be a catechism based on those?

I think what is most problematic in this proposal is that the mainline Protestant groups that have forged agreement with Rome in their very stance towards doctrine would be unwilling to accept a catechism of any kind.

I would argue that there IS an ecumenical catechism already: Luther’s Small Catechism. Seriously. It bridges what it most precious in both the Catholic and the Protestant traditions.

I would love to hear a review of that Catechism from you non-Lutherans. Read it–it isn’t long–and post your thoughts.

HT: Paul McCain


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