Protestantism has had a good run. It remade Europe and made America. It inspired global missions, soup kitchens, church plants, and colleges in the four corners of the earth. But the world and the Church have changed, and Protestantism isn’t what the Church, including Protestants themselves, needs today. It’s time to turn the protest against Protestantism and to envision a new way of being heirs of the Reformation, a new way that happens to conform to the original Catholic vision of the Reformers.
It would be pure illusion to believe that laws are made to be respected, or that the police and courts are intended to make them respected. Only in disembodied theory could we pretend that we have once and for all subscribed to the laws of the society to which we belong. It is common knowledge that laws are made by certain people for other people to keep.
But we can go further. Lawbreaking is not an accident, a more or less unavoidable imperfection. Rather, it is a positive element of the functioning of society. Its role is part of a general strategy. Every legislative arrangement sets up privileged and profitable areas where the law can be violated, others where it can be ignored, and others where infractions are sanctioned.
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 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.
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…
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.
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.
…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.