So says the Rev. James Martin, SJ over at HuffPo: “Saint John Chrysostom, patriarch of Constantinople, writing in the fourth century, used Judas as an example of the wickedness of Jews in general.”
In an article gearing up for the Easter season, the Jesuit author reflects on how Judas has been portrayed through the years, noting that a pillar of the church no less than Chrysostom used Judas as an occasion to unfairly portray Jewish people.
Chrysostom (the name means “golden mouth,” a tribute to his skills as a preacher) was one of several saints whose writings were tinged with — and contributed to — the virulent anti-Semitism common at the time. Judas was evil not only because he had betrayed Jesus, but because he was Jewish.
Chrysostom sees the suicide of Judas as foreshadowing the suffering of the Jews, and comments on this approvingly. In his Homilies on the Acts of the Apostles, he writes: “This desolation [his fate] was a prelude to that of the Jews, as will appear on looking closely into the facts.” That one of the most influential figures in the patristic era could write so cruelly shows not only the rapid assimilation of anti-Semitism into Christianity, but the hardening of the Christian imagination against Judas.
Martin goes on to deal with other examples – in the Renaissance and later periods – of Judas being used as cannon fodder.
Is this really an accurate way to handle the data, or is there another angle for reading Chrysostom? Continue reading
…Lobbyists naturally believed that all you had to do to allow gay marriage was to extend to same-sex couples exactly the same law as applied to existing, heterosexual marriages.
Too late, they discovered, this cannot be done. Civil servants, confronted with the embarrassing task of working out what defined the consummation of a homosexual relationship, faltered. Since homosexual acts have no existential purpose and no procreative result, consummation is a meaningless concept. From this it followed that the Government could come up with no definition of adultery in a homosexual marriage. A law designed to be equal, is not. Under the Bill, non-consummation will not be grounds for divorce in same-sex marriage. Nor will adultery.
By accident, then, the Government is introducing, for the first time, a definition of marriage which has no sexual element. Yet it refuses to face the logical consequence of this surprising innovation. If sexual intercourse is not part of the definition of same-sex marriage, why should blamelessly cohabiting sisters not marry one another in order to avoid inheritance tax? Why should father not marry son? Why shouldn’t heterosexual bachelor chum marry heterosexual bachelor chum? What, come to think about it, is so great about the idea of monogamy, once sex and children are removed from the equation? Does the word “marriage” any longer contain much meaning?
And if Equality is the highest of all moral aims, how can the Government possibly justify not extending the gay right to a civil partnership to heterosexual couples who, at present, have no such privilege? If this Bill becomes law, all these matters will be litigated over, right up to the European Court of Human Rights in Strasbourg. Against such outcomes, as he painfully well knows, Mr Cameron can make no provision.
Possibly the House of Commons, where mere politics reigns and virtually no time has been permitted for debate on the Bill, will fail to think through these issues, although revolt is growing. But precision and fairness in framing our laws are subjects in which the House of Lords rightly claims a key role. The Government faces trouble there. Continue reading
…combine the romantic and innocent side, with the insolent and daring side. For some reason, you only ever see that combination in Russian characters
on filming To the Wonder
So, for example, he recommended that Kurylenko read The Idiot with a particular eye on two characters: the young and prideful Aglaya Yepanchin, and the fallen, tragic Nastassya Filippovna. “He wanted me to combine their influences — the romantic and innocent side, with the insolent and daring side. ‘For some reason, you only ever see that combination in Russian characters,’ he said to me.”
As prompts for the actors, Malick shared representative works of art and literature. For Affleck, he suggested Fitzgerald, Tolstoy, and Dostoevsky. (Affleck read Martin Heidegger on his own, having known that Malick had translated one of the German philosopher’s works as a grad student.) For Kurylenko, he also recommended Tolstoy and Dostoevsky — specifically, Anna Karenina, The Brothers Karamazov, and The Idiot. “Those books were, in a way, his script,” she says. But he did more than give the actors the books; he suggested ways to approach the texts and characters to focus on. So, for example, he recommended that Kurylenko read The Idiot with a particular eye on two characters: the young and prideful Aglaya Yepanchin, and the fallen, tragic Nastassya Filippovna. “He wanted me to combine their influences — the romantic and innocent side, with the insolent and daring side. ‘For some reason, you only ever see that combination in Russian characters,’ he said to me.”
Jeff Vanderstelt on the definition of “missional” (around the 1:55 mark of this video):
A man stood up at a conference and said, “Missional is the new ‘seeker’… the church finally getting its hands dirty.” Someone asked me to respond to him.
When we say missional, what we mean is:
God’s church is so saturated in the gospel and the mission of Jesus, that they see themselves as the sent ones of Jesus in all of life, to make disciples who make disciples, so that the earth is saturated with people who love Jesus and God is glorified in all things. That’s what I mean when I say missional… I want you to understand there are lots of definitions out there, but I when I say [missional] that’s what I mean.
Could you get behind that definition of “missional?” Why or why not?
Certainly, some terms need to be parsed out. As much as I appreciate Vanderstelt’s ministries, I’m not sure his definition of “God’s church” is the exact same as the Reformed confessions. Nevertheless, there is a lot of good here to chew on.
Vanderstelt also suggests that we ought not quibble over terminology: Why I’m tired of Hearing About “Missional”.
For more, go back to WSCal’s 2008 annual conference Missional & Reformed: Reaching the Lost & Teaching the Reached. The audio lectures up for free are:
- Why the Mission Needs the Marks of the Church
- The Mission and the Confession of the Church: Friend or Foes?
- Why the Marks of the Church Need the Mission
- Mission According to Paul
- Mission in a Pluralistic Age
- Mission and Missions: Evangelism in the 21st Century
- Missional and Reformed (Q&A Session)
Michael Horton sums it up: “The mission of the Church is to evidence & execute the marks of the Church.”
What kept Abraham from being crippled by regret over Ishmael, whose progeny would plunge two lineages into millenia of violent conflict? What kept Joseph from the bitter regret of losing the prime of his life to wasted jail time, betrayal, and abandonment? What kept David from despairing in regret over Bathsheba – not only losing their child, but the perpetual consequence of the sword in his own household? What kept Peter from the regretful shame of denying his Lord and Master three times? And what steadied Paul when he could have easily plunged into guilt and regret over his former life as persecuting Saul?
What will keep you from a life crippled by regret? What will bring you hope?
There’s only one medicine that can cure the cancer of regret.”Therefore, preparing your minds for action, and being sober-minded, set your hope fully on the grace that will be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” (1 Peter 1:13). Continue reading
“Grant, Almighty God, since thou settest before us so clear a mirror of thy wonderful providence and of the judgments on this ancient people, that we may also be surely persuaded of our being under thy hand and protection: – Grant, that relying on thee, we may hope for thy guardianship, whatever may happen, since thou never losest sight of our safety, so that we may invoke thee with a secure and tranquil mind. May we so fearlessly wait for all dangers amidst all the changes of this world, that we may stand upon the foundation of thy word which never can fail; and leaning on thy promises may we repose on Christ, to whom thou has committed us, and whom thou has made the shepherd of all thy flock. Grant that he may be so careful of us as to lead us through this course of warfare, however troublesome and turbulent it may prove, until we arrive at that heavenly rest which he has purchased for us by his own blood. – Amen.”
John Calvin, prayer concluding his 1st lecture on the book of Daniel
When it says further down “Most Millenials Want Both,” caveat lector: I assumed it meant most millenials want a good marriage and good parenting. That’s not what it says. While they want both marriage and parenting, the overall premise that parenting is more important than marriage is emphasized throughout the research.