The human race, to which so many of my readers belong, has been playing at children's games from the beginning, and will probably do it till the end, which is a nuisance for the few people who grow up.- from The Napoleon of Notting Hill by G. K. Chesterton
13 September 2016
16 August 2016
"In [Luther's] day, as Catholic historians all agree, the Popes of the
Renaissance were secularized, flippant, frivolous, sensual, magnificent and
unscrupulous... Politics were emancipated from any concern for the faith to
such a degree that the Most Christian King of France and His Holiness the Pope
did not disdain a military alliance with the Sultan against the Holy
Roman Empire. Luther changed all this. Religion became again a
dominant factor even in politics for another century and a half. Men cared enough
for the faith to die for it and to kill for it. If there is any sense remaining
of Christian civilization in the West, this man Luther in no small measure
deserves the credit.”
Okay, so I know my blog hasn't been really active for quite some time. Life happens. So for a while, all I've been posting are book reviews. I'm planning on beginning something more substantial though.
The upcoming year, 2017, is a special year for the history of the Church. On October 31, 1517 Martin Luther posted his 95 theses, sparking the Protestant Reformation in Germany. 2017 marks the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, and in honor of the occasion I've set myself a project to complete. I'm going to keep a "Luther journal" as a sort of commonplace book and verbal scrapbook, and to fill it with notes, I'm planning on immersing myself in the world of Luther as much as possible over the next year. I'm starting by re-reading Roland Bainton's classic and authoritative Luther biography Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, since I haven't read it since college and college seems to be continually drifting farther back in time. I have a few other books in mind to read about the time period, and I also plan on re-reading Luther's Bondage of the Will as well as several of his treatises. The big thing though is that I plan on reading through the complete sermons of Martin Luther to get a feel for Luther's pastoral heart.
So what that means for this blog is that I'll probably be posting lots of quotes from various sources that I copy into my journal and find interesting enough to share here as well.
|Also, just for fun, here's a picture of me dressed as Martin Luther from way back in my days as a youth pastor.|
09 August 2016
"When the business man rebukes the idealism of his office-boy, it is commonly in some such speech as this: 'Ah, yes, when one is young, one has these ideals in the abstract and these castles in the air; but in middle age they all break up like clouds, and one comes down to a belief in practical politics, to using the machinery one has and getting on with the world as it is.' Thus, at least, venerable and philanthropic old men now in their honoured graves used to talk to me when I was a boy. But since then I have grown up and have discovered that these philanthropic old men were telling lies. What has really happened is exactly the opposite of what they said would happen. They said that I should lose my ideals and begin to believe in the methods of practical politicians. Now, I have not lost my ideals in the least; my faith in fundamentals is exactly what it always was. What I have lost is my old childlike faith in practical politics. I am still as much concerned as ever about the Battle of Armageddon; but I am not so much concerned about the General Election."
23 July 2016
Johnny Cash wrote a book about the Apostle Paul? Yes! And here's the rundown on The Man in White.
Johnny Cash was actually a capable writer. He clearly put a lot of research and time into his exploration of the pre-conversion life of Saul of Tarsus, and felt a strong personal connection to the apostle. He has great description of Paul's mystical experiences, and most of the characters in the book are well drawn.
On the other hand, I'm not very convinced of Cash's interpretation of Saul's character before his conversion or the relationship he had with the Sanhedrin and his fellow pharisees. In Cash's story, the Sanhedrin views the Christians as heretics and worthy of death, but at the same time they view Saul as a dangerous and rather annoying fanatic. The high priest is only too happy to give Saul the required letters simply in order to get him out of Jerusalem. Of course, the Bible doesn't paint a clear character picture for us so it's mostly just a matter of personal interpretation, and Cash is careful not to contradict the Scriptures in any particulars. The ending felt a bit rushed as well, and there were a couple of factual historical errors that were clearly simple editorial oversights; Diana is called the goddess of love, for example.
To be honest, I most enjoyed the lengthy introduction to the book written by Cash. It details his spiritual journey as a Christian through his later years of addiction to pain killers up through the death of his father. I especially liked the image of Johnny Cash traveling with a saddlebag stuffed with three Bibles, and copies of Josephus, Tacitus, and Suetonius. Cash writes nonfiction with much more ease and style than he does fiction.
Overall I would recommend this book for fans of Johnny Cash as an interesting curiosity. Also for folks who are big fans of historical fiction, this is a shortish read that you may want to check out as well. Otherwise, you're not missing out if you give this one a skip.
25 June 2016
27 May 2016
03 May 2016
Here's a cute but important little video about the difference between sympathy and empathy from Dr. Brene Brown.
18 April 2016
I'm not in the habit of doing Top Five lists anymore like I used to on this blog. However, it seems like without my meaning it to, it has become a tradition at some point each year to share the music I'm listening to while grading papers.
Music for Grading
More Music for Grading
Still More Music for Grading
So here's what's on my playlist this year. I guess my musical taste hasn't changed much here.
1. Andrew Peterson, The Burning Edge of Dawn
Someday Andrew Peterson will release a new cd that doesn't make my cry like a little baby when I listen to it. But this isn't the one. Powerful, painful, and lovely.
2. Jon Foreman, Sunlight and Shadows
3. Jon Foreman, Darkness and Dawn
Jon Foreman called these four cds "The Wonderlands". There are 6 songs per cd, 25 songs in all (okay, so one cd actually has 7 songs), each song corresponding to an hour of the day.
4. Randall Goodgame, War and Peace
Charlie Brown, Harry Truman, Pope Joan.. what sort of album is this? It's funny sometimes. And sad. (The title is "War and Peace" after all.)
5. M. Ward More Rain
M. Ward is always great music for relaxing.
14 April 2016