commentary and editorials

20 notes

You have no idea what you would do if you were poor until you are poor. And not intermittently poor or formerly not-poor, but born poor, expected to be poor and treated by bureaucracies, gatekeepers and well-meaning respectability authorities as inherently poor. Then, and only then, will you understand the relative value of a ridiculous status symbol to someone who intuits that they cannot afford to not have it
The Logic of Stupid Poor People

(via nathanjurgenson)

44 notes

The book of Revelation balances on a knife-edge, literally. It uses the most powerful metaphors of violence to proclaim the overcoming of violence: the victory of the lamb. And why would it do this? Because the embryonic Christian movement had been plunged as into the belly of the most violent and brutal of empires, Rome, and could find no other language both to identify the issue and imagine its complete undoing. If Christianity had been about saving souls and not the redemption of the earth, the book of Revelation would never have been written.

-Anthony Bartlett

The irony of that last sentence.

(via gospelofthekingdom)

(via affcath)

2 notes

when Paul was writing his first epistle to the Thessalonians around the year A.D. 54, he also wrote about spiritual weaponry. However, at that earlier time in his ministry, his understanding of spiritual armor was clearly undeveloped. At the time Paul wrote First Thessalonians, he mentioned only two pieces of spiritual weaponry: “But let us who, are of the day, be sober, putting on the breastplate of faith and love; and for an helmet, the hope of salvation” (1 Thessalonians 5:8). It is plain to see that over the next ten years, the Holy Spirit continued to expand these ideas in Paul’s heart and imparted even further revelation concerning the “weapons of our warfare” (2 Corinthians 10:4). During his numerous imprisonments, Paul was frequently bound to a Roman soldier who kept constant wa…
Rick Renner
Rick Renner - Dressed to Kill: A Biblical Approach to Spiritual Warfare and ArmorDressed to Kill: A Biblical Approach to Spiritual Warfare and Armor
(Via Jim D)

(Source: kindlequotes)

79 notes

We never keep to the present. We recall the past; we anticipate the future as if we found it too slow in coming and were trying to hurry it up, or we recall the past as if to stay its too rapid flight. We are so unwise that we wander about in times that do not belong to us, and do not think of the only one that does; so vain that we dream of times that are not and blindly flee the only one that is. The fact is that the present usually hurts. We thrust it out of sight because it distresses us, and if we find it enjoyable, we are sorry to see it slip away. We try to give it the support of the future, and think how we are going to arrange things over which we have no control for a time we can never be sure of reaching… . Thus we never actually live, but hope to live, and since we are always planning how to be happy, it is inevitable that we should never be so.
Pascal, quoted in this post offering a 17th-century perspective on the “quantified self.”

(via ayjay)

52 notes

The Church is not ‘of the opinion,’ it does not have ‘views,’ convictions, enthusiasms. It believes and confesses, that is, it speaks and acts on the basic of the message based on God Himself in Christ.
Karl Barth, Dogmatics in Outline

(Source: invisibleforeigner)

51 notes

…if your biggest complaint in life is that your doorman is silently judging you for shopping at J.Crew, don’t ever talk about that. Seriously. Don’t even bother shifting into count-your-blessings mode, because doorman and shopping and J.Crew are right there on the label. Don’t bother trying to be ashamed about your privilege, because you’re right, it’s not something you can help. But also don’t whine about the terrible burden it places on you. Don’t develop a persecution complex, as if all of the peons of the world are taking valuable time out of their day to judge you for your handbag. It would be great if you could acknowledge your privilege and find a way to leverage it on behalf of people who don’t have any — volunteer work, advocacy, donations, something. But even if that is completely beyond you, stop whining. Because no one cares that your 1,500-thread-count sheets are too slippery, and if you keep moaning about how hard it is to be rich, people really are going to hate you.
She’s a rich girl, and she’s gone too far

(via azspot)

2 notes

Luther and the Word of God

Germany is currently just more than halfway through its “Luther Decade,” culminating with the five-hundredth anniversary of Luther’s posting of his ninety-five theses upon the Wittenberg church door on October 31, 1517. The commemorations will focus on the reformer’s ecclesiastical rebellion, his translation of the Bible, the work of reform, and the Lutheran legacy in music and art. Those celebrating Luther’s legacy should not ignore the reformer’s preaching.

Many Protestants still imagine that prior to the Reformation, European Christians never heard a sermon in their own language. That is false. Parishioners expected their priests to preach, either before or after the mass and in the vernacular, and star preachers attracted large audiences when they visited towns. [See the first chapter in John Frymire’s The Primacy of the Postil.] Certainly, Luther and many others complained incessantly about priests who neglected their duty of preaching, but Protestants did not invent the Christian sermon (one should probably credit Jesus and Paul for that). What Luther and his followers did was amplify and redefine the sermon’s importance.

Luther had preached before 1513, in the monastery in Erfurt at which he began his theological and philosophical education and at which he took his own vows. After his initial reluctance, moreover, he became a fixture in the Wittenberg pulpit, preaching hundreds of sermons over the following three decades. While there is no gainsaying the importance of Luther’s printed works, sermons, according to Frymire, remained the “key medium for spreading the evangelical message and movement.”

For Luther, it was important that ordinary people had access to the written Word of God. Hence, he feverishly translated the New Testament in the span of a single fall. Still, Luther believed it was of even greater importance that people hear God’s Word read aloud in their churches. “Satan does not care a hoot for the written Word of God,” Luther once commented, “but he flees at the speaking of the Word.” Preaching, moreover, was a central means through which parishioners encountered the living Word of God, the presence of Christ in the world. Just as Christ was mysteriously present in the sacramental bread and wine, so He was present in sermons. “[T]he preacher’s mouth and the words that I hear are not his,” Luther explained, “they are the words and message of the Holy Spirit.”

Luther’s own sermons are variously erudite, derogatory (toward his enemies), and tender (toward sinners struggling with doubt and temptation). His theology evolved considerably between the beginning of his preaching office in Wittenberg and his complete break with Rome, but from the start he hinted at some of his later core doctrines. In his earliest preserved sermon, preached in 1514, Luther emphasized that “no one is justified by faith except one who has first in humility confessed himself to be unrighteous.”

The sermon became the centerpiece of Protestant worship, and it remains so in many contexts. At the same time, few Protestants retain Luther’s theology of preaching. Luther would have little stomach for the entrepreneurial world of American Christianity, in which individuals without any ecclesiastical ties or theological training found new churches. Nor would Luther — despite his own translation of the Bible and his own devotional and academic study of the scriptures — agree that it is most important for people to study the scriptures on their own or in small-group Bible studies. They need to hear the Word proclaimed and expounded upon, and not just a sentence or two, as is increasingly common. There is, moreover, an enormous gulf between Luther’s world and ours, and perhaps today Luther would open a coffee-house ministry or, more likely, a tavern. Today, churches try harder to “reach people where they are.”

(Source: azspot)

49 notes

To be uninterested in economy is to be uninterested in the practice of religion; it is to be uninterested in culture and in character. Probably the most urgent question now faced by people who would adhere to the Bible is this: What sort of economy would be responsible to the holiness of life?
-Wendell Berry

(Source: gospelofthekingdom)