The true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day

The true meaning of St. Patrick’s Day, which is today, is not to honor Ireland but to honor missionaries.  But we can honor Ireland too, which–thanks to St. Patrick and the church he brought to that island–saved civilization.  To celebrate the day, don’t just wear green.  Read this meditation by St. Patrick, which has been turned into a hymn and one of this blog’s most popular posts:  Christ within me, Christ behind me, Christ before me.

[Read more...]

Person of the Year

Time’s Persons of the Year are the Ebola fighters.  I think that’s a pretty good choice.  A good many of them are missionaries, who, in the accompanying story, explain their faith and why they risk their lives to help those who are suffering.

Our custom at this blog is for commenters to propose other people for Person of the Year.  Who would be some good candidates? [Read more...]

Resenting Christian compassion

Ross Douthat has a rather brilliant essay in which he considers whether the church is facing a new pagan society, as in the first century.  He thinks not, but he notices that some of the hostility against Christianity is very similar to the resentment against the faith expressed by pagan Romans.  He cites a recent rant in Slate complaining that so many of the doctors battling Ebola are Christians and missionaries, and calling for a separation of religion and health care.  Douthat said  this is like Julian the Apostate’s frustration that “all men see that our people lack aid” from pagan sources, even as “the impious Galilaeans support not only their own poor but ours as well.” [Read more...]

Missionaries putting their lives on the line

In many places in the world, the only modern medical care available is provided by Christian missionaries.  Thus, the main people fighting the Ebola epidemic in Africa are missionaries and the hospitals they operate.  Some of these missionaries are themselves getting Ebola.  And yet  they don’t stop serving.

Of course, we shouldn’t forget the service of other religions that present themselves as being compassionate–Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism–as well as atheists, with their benevolence and humanism.  Oh, wait.  They don’t do any of this.  It’s just the Christians.

UPDATE:  A thousand apologies to those of other religions and no religions who also have ministries of mercy of one kind or another!  Thank you commenters and Friendly Atheist for setting the record straight. [Read more...]

Converting the barbarians

Today we express our appreciation to the Irish for saving civilization.  St. Patrick converted the Irish, who copied books from classical literature through the Bible and kept alive the ability to read them, as the barbarians ravaged Europe after the Fall of Rome.  The consequent “Dark Ages” (not to be confused with the Middle Ages!) lasted until the Irish and others  converted the barbarians to Christianity.

No offense to the “barbarians”–as they were termed by the Greco-Romans–who did, actually, have civilizations of their own, but these pagan warlike tribes really did settle down, once they accepted Christianity, giving us the High Middle Ages and the various nations of Europe.  So let’s give credit to St. Patrick, but also to those other missionaries who brought the Gospel to the ancestors of us European-Americans: [Read more...]

The “Place of Jesus” Lutheran church & the LCMS

As we’ve blogged about earlier, the Ethiopian Evangelical Church Mekane Yesus has broken ties with its mother church in Sweden over gay marriage and related issues.  Now the 6 million-strong church–one of the fastest growing in the world (and the third largest Lutheran church in the world)–is seeking ties with the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod.

Here is a fascinating interview between Rev. Berhanu Ofgaa and Deaconness Pamela Nielsen that tells the story of Mekane Yesus, which means “Place of Jesus,” a name that confesses the real presence of Christ that all Lutherans should start using. [Read more...]