Yes, this is the mascot of OSU. Yes, it's a beaver. Don't anger it.
Some links I’ve run across and would like to share.
First, the Oregon State University historian of science, medicine, and ancient Greece & Rome Gary Ferngren (who I’ve quoted many times on this site–go ahead, search on his name–and am hoping can help us out on Christian History issue #101 on healing in the early church & the Christian invention of the hospital) was captured on video three years ago debating OSU colleague Marcus Borg at a meeting of the OSU Socratic Club. A straightforward, clear presentation of “traditional Christianity.” Worth watching.
Second, an interesting article on Salon.com about a question that has occupied my mind over the years: Why are Christian movies so awful? The “presenting symptom” here is the movie Soul Surfer.
Third, a poem by my creatively and intellectually outstanding future daughter-in-law, Hannah Sauerwein, on being sick. It moves in a different, perhaps more reflective, ambit than this poem by the master of humorous poetry, Ogden Nash. But it certainly has its own charm. Proud to know Hannah!
Ta ta for now!
Posted in Uncategorized
Tagged apologetics, Early Christianity, early church, film, Gary Ferngren, Greece, healing, health, Marcus Borg, medicine, movies, Ogden Nash, Oregon State University, poetry, Soul Surfer
Almost every seminary president and board chair in North America receives the magazine InTrust, from InTrust, an organization dedicated to helping seminaries provide excellent theological education. For the magazine, which is edited by my friend from Duke days Jay Blossom, I reviewed two anthologies of wisdom on work and vocation from a Christian perspective:
|Wise words: Voices from the church on vocation and calling
Chris R. Armstrong
|In modern North America, the question “What am I supposed to do with my life and why?” is both focal and vexed. Our pragmatic society focuses on work and career so much that our first question on meeting a new friend is “What do you do?” Given this national obsession, it would be reasonable (but wrong) to expect North Americans to drink deeply from centuries of reflections about this thing called “work.” Continue reading →
It’s great when pop culture creations push us back to our history. In fact, such times are for many of us amnesiac American Christians the ONLY times we think about our history! So when Mel Gibson’s The Passion of the Christ appeared in theaters around 5 years ago, sparking again century-old questions about the historical Jesus, this historian rejoiced:
Christian History Corner: Just a Closer Walk … with the Historical Jesus
Mel Gibson’s movie raises again the question: How much can we know historically about Jesus’ life and times?
By Chris Armstrong
The Passion of the Christ looks to have secured its place financially among the movies that have grossed the most during their opening week. Its $23.5 million first day‘s take puts it in the company of Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” series and the latest “Star Wars” movies.
While it is a good bet that many of those attending the movie this week are Christians, it is also a good bet that many do not share Gibson’s conservative Catholic piety or evangelical Protestants’ theological commitment to seeing Jesus’ act as one of substitutionary atonement. Continue reading →
I posted recently (Nov. 2) on “Tavern tunes in church music and ‘Why should the devil have all the good music?'” The piece, posted a while back on www.christianhistory.net, used a Canadian Anglican clergyman who calls himself “Elvis Priestly” as a jumping-off point for a consideration of “Christian pop culture.” This is a follow-up, thinking a bit more about how pop-culture presentations of gospel themes can help or hurt the cause of Christ. One of my favorite writers, Dorothy L. Sayers, shows up here with a few words of wisdom:
Caveat Gyrator (Elvis Priestly, Part II)
So you’ve got an evangelistic pop-culture act ready for prime time. Here’s a historical pause for reflection.
Last week we looked behind the recent headlines about “Elvis Priestly,” a Canadian Anglican minister who has integrated a jump-suited impersonation routine into his sacred services. We surveyed a few of the many points at which Christians have co-opted popular artistic forms in order to get their evangelistic message across (Part I: From Oratorios to Elvis).
This week, we ask the questions: how have Christians historically reacted to such forays into popular forms? And how successful have the resulting products been in themselves—that is, as songs, plays, novels, and so forth, quite apart from their message? Of course, we can only touch the surface of these issues. But with Elvis now in the (church) building, this seems a worthwhile use of a few minutes. Continue reading →