Into her famous mid-20th century essay “The Dogma Is the Drama,” mystery writer, religious playwright, and Dante translator Dorothy L. Sayers inserts the following scathing and humorous assessment of what many unchurched people think the church believes. Sadly, this portrait may still not be far off. And as they were then, these sorts of mistakes are still largely the fault of the church itself.
Q.: What does the Church think of God the Father?
A.: He is omnipotent and holy. He created the world and imposed on man conditions impossible of fulfillment. He is very angry if these are not carried out. He sometimes interferers by means of arbitrary judgments and miracles, distributed with a good deal of favoritism. He . . . is always ready to pound on anybody who trips up over a difficulty in the Law, or is having a bit of fun. He is rather like a dictator, only larger and more arbitrary. Continue reading
I wrote this a while back–before entering my position as Associate Professor of Church History at Bethel Seminary, St. Paul. At that time, the Iraq war was still new news rather than old news. But some news never gets old–that’s church history. And I decided to offer the best ten reasons I could think of to immerse ourselves in that news:
Top Ten Reasons to Read Christian History
War’s reports deluge us every hour. Why should we read the “old news” of Christian history?
by Chris Armstrong
In a time of war, everything seems to hinge on The Now. But more than ever, it is really a time when we must be in touch with our history—especially, our sacred history.
But why? Continue reading
Posted in Medieval Wisdom for Modern Protestants, Patron Saints for Postmoderns, Resources for Radical Living
Tagged biography, C S Lewis, Christian history, church history, culture, denominations, heresy, martyrs, war
That wonderful 20th-century curmudgeon-convert, the British journalist Malcolm Muggeridge, first came to faith after meeting the larger-than-life Mother Teresa. It didn’t take long before Mugg began writing about many other saints, past and present. In this e-newsletter written while I was at Christianity Today, I excavate some of his observations on that towering figure of Western theology, Augustine of Hippo (I’ll also post on Mugg on Kierkegaard, in a moment). Don’t bother clicking the links, though. They’re almost all out of date:
“St. Mugg” and the Wrestling Prophets
A modern British journalist gives us timely words from yesterday’s sinner-saints.
Lurking in the shadows of the headlines we examine in our “Behind the News” newsletter is a common and spiritually deadly virus—something we might call “photonegative syndrome.” It is best described in the words of author and professor David Wells:
“Worldliness is what any particular culture does to make sin look normal and righteousness look strange.” Continue reading
One of the first challenges I encountered in putting together an issue of Christian History & Biography on J R R Tolkien was justifying the topic. Tolkien? Wasn’t he a writer of secular fantasy stories? What did he have to do with Christian history? At the time the issue was being crafted, I reflected on this question in an online article:
Saint J. R. R. the Evangelist
Tolkien wanted his Lord of the Rings to echo the “Lord of Lords”—but do we have ears to hear?
His family and friends called him by his second given name, Ronald, but his first name was John, in honor of his patron saint, John the Evangelist. And when J. R. R. Tolkien wrote The Books that have now spawned The Movies, his work was deeply colored by the convictions of his Roman Catholic faith. Continue reading