Tuesday, February 20, 2007
He went like one that hath been stunned,
And is of sense forlorn :
A sadder and a wiser man,
He rose the morrow morn.

The Rime of the Ancient Mariner is a very manly poem:

Words: 4839

Female Score: 4877
Male Score: 6493

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

At The Little Professor (one of my favorite academic blogs), I found a post about this site, which analyzes a person's writing in order to determine their gender.

I pasted in the following excerpt from the third chapter of my dissertation:

As Archibald Pitcairne traveled to Leiden, he made the acquaintance of a fellow Scot, Charles Oliphant, who had recently departed Leiden to return home. Whether they knew one another prior to this meeting we do not know, but they struck some sort of affinity with one another, for when Pitcairne returned to Edinburgh and the debate over the process of examination ensued, Oliphant supported Pitcairne. By the end of the decade, however, the two had become bitter enemies. In this chapter, we shall take a closer look at the ‘riot in ye colledge’ (as the tempestuous debate over examinations is commonly called) and at the events which followed. Rather than merely synthesizing the various accounts, however, I will again strive to put the events into the Dutch context. Seen in this light, Pitcairne’s actions will, as in the previous chapter, reveal more than historians have previously identified. Pitcairne indeed imported a Leiden model into Edinburgh medicine, but not the model that has heretofore been recognized.

From Pitcairne’s vantage point, everything that historians see as having been accomplished in 1726 (the formal founding of a medical school in Edinburgh with paid Professorships) had effectively already been done (just without the salaries!). The Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh had been established to examine and license M.D.s in the town, and three “professorships” had been established in the town college (as the University was yet known). His activities in the 1690s, therefore, focused not on establishing something, but on improving what had been established already. Pitcairne set about this task of improvement by concentrating on three things: 1) modifying the examination procedure in the RCPE to more closely resemble the Leiden model, 2) asserting the primacy of the physicians over the surgeons, and 3) making adjustments to the teaching curriculum and medical facilities that would take into account his own new theories. As we examine all three of these areas, the Leiden model shall serve as the explanatory key.

In the Early Years of the Royall Colledge of Phisitians of Edinburgh, Robert Peel Ritchie recounted the events surrounding the riot in the college and W. S. Craig, in his History of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh, visited them again without significant changes in the story.[1] The practice originally set up by the College in 1681 required that each aspiring physician be examined in three areas. The first exam focused on questions on the Institutes (or theory) of medicine. The second focused on questions taken from Hippocrates’s Aphorisms, where the examinee would have to expound on the selected aphorisms to the satisfaction of the examiners. The third part of the examination comprised the student responding to two practical cases presented to him by the examiners. In each portion of the exam, the College appointed two examiners on an ad hoc basis.

As we touched on in the previous chapter, the College later altered this practice and began appointing examiners on an annual basis instead. The minutes being absent for the period between 1685 and 1694, we do not know precisely when the change took place. Ritchie suspects that the change came late, and I see no reason to disagree. The events show that under (Pitcairne’s father-in-law) Archibald Stevensone’s leadership, the new form had been practiced. But after the college elected one Dr. Trotter as the new President, the rule returned to the old form.[2] At precisely this point, Pitcairne and Stevensone, along with Oliphant, and a few other younger of the Fellows broke ranks with the newly elected officials and attempted to hold their own College meetings with the “re-elected” Dr. Stevensone as the President. The entire affair is difficult to unravel, and the difficulty is only compounded by the absence of the minutes. We must, however, establish the salient points.

[1] Robert Peel Ritchie, The Early Days of the Royall Colledge of Phisitians, Edinburgh (Edinburgh: Johnston, 1899) and W.S. Craig, History of the Royal College of Physicians of Edinburgh (Oxford: Blackwell Scientific Publications, 1976).

[2] Ritchie, Early Days , 107-8, & 164-6.

Thankfully, the gender genie determined that I am a male.

Words: 628

Female Score: 542
Male Score: 975

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: male!

Feminine Keywords Masculine Keywords
[with] 5 x 52 = 260 [around] 0 x 42 = 0
[if] 0 x 47 = 0 [what] 1 x 35 = 35
[not] 4 x 27 = 108 [more] 2 x 34 = 68
[where] 1 x 18 = 18 [are] 0 x 28 = 0
[be] 1 x 17 = 17 [as] 10 x 23 = 230
[when] 2 x 17 = 34 [who] 1 x 19 = 19
[your] 0 x 17 = 0 [below] 0 x 8 = 0
[her] 0 x 9 = 0 [is] 3 x 8 = 24
[we] 6 x 8 = 48 [these] 1 x 8 = 8
[should] 0 x 7 = 0 [the] 73 x 7 = 511
[she] 0 x 6 = 0 [a] 5 x 6 = 30
[and] 14 x 4 = 56 [at] 3 x 6 = 18
[me] 0 x 4 = 0 [it] 0 x 6 = 0
[myself] 0 x 4 = 0 [many] 0 x 6 = 0
[hers] 0 x 3 = 0 [said] 0 x 5 = 0
[was] 1 x 1 = 1 [above] 0 x 4 = 0

[to] 16 x 2 = 32

On the other hand, I excerpted the following passage from this post at McCain's blog, and got some interesting results.

In my ongoing conversation with a friend about sanctification, we've come to another issue that is important in this discussion. My friend, again, in a well intentioned desire to speak faithfully about sanctification, has unfortunately set up another straw man. She has opined that "some Lutherans" regard sanctification as "synergistic" while other Lutherans view sanctification in terms of monergism because it is worked in us by God's grace alone by means of Word and Sacrament. Well, of course, no faithful Lutheran that I know of is running about suggesting, much less actually saying, that sanctification is "synergistic." I think where the confusion comes here is, again, a fundamental lack of knowledge of what our Confessions actually teach based on the Scriptures. Our conversation goes back to our discussion of how, or if, Lutherans in their preaching and teaching should spend time talking about the works we are set free in Christ to be doing. Her position is that time spent on talking about good works we can and should be doing is just less time talking about Christ. That's a false alternative though. Her view helps me understand why some Lutheran preaching these days is lacking in any conversation directed to the regenerate about their lives in Christ beyond saying to the regenerate, "You are sinful and fail to keep God's law and here is how you fail to keep it" instead of encouraging them to be what they have become in Christ by drawing them to the cruciform life as an expression of thanks and praise, calling them to continue on in the greatest epic journeys any human being is ever called to take, to take joy in the calling and station of life and to see the privilege of living under Christ in His kingdom and serving Him in everlasting righteousness, innocence and blessedness. Our Confessions wisely note that we need always to keep in mind that there is a difference between the unregenerate and the regenerate. Here is how I responded to her inquiry on this issues, and maybe you might find it interesting, perhaps helpful.

We must never give anyone the impression that conversion is God's work and sanctification is our work. Clearly, that is not true. But the Scriptures do speak of our life of good works as our cooperation with the Holy Spirit, made by possible through grace alone. The way to avoid false understandings is not to avoid talking about works, or saying that we should urge Christians to them, for fear of taking their eyes off Christ. The best way is simply to teach and keep these things clear and distinct. Here is what I told her.

"Susan, when you asked me previously to tell you if sanctification is "synergism" or "monergism" I answered by saying that if you insist on using the term "synergism" in the discussion, not helpful in my view, then one could say that Sanctification is "syneristically monergistic" or "monergistically synergistic."

Our Confessions teach very clearly that in fact Sanctification does involve our doing and willing, precisely because of God's doing and willing in us, because of Christ. In Sanctification we can and should speak this way, but in justification such talk is entirely excluded.

That's why I told you previously that it is not correct for you to say that when you read your Bible you should never say, "I'm going to try to do this in my life, by God's grace and blessing" but only to say, "I can't do this. I'm glad Jesus did." You are regenerated in Christ. In Christ, according to the new man, your will is now freed from sin and death and the power of Satan. You can say, "I will do this, in Christ." St. Paul was very bold to say, "I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me." He said, "I can do..." There is nothing wrong in saying that, but it is always "in Christ." That's the point.Another problem in your comments which do not properly distinguish things is that you do not seem to recognize that conversion does change us. It is not the change in us that justifies us, but we are changed as a result of our regeneration.

Words: 717

Female Score: 853
Male Score: 847

The Gender Genie thinks the author of this passage is: female!

Feminine Keywords Masculine Keywords
[with] 2 x 52 = 104 [around] 0 x 42 = 0
[if] 3 x 47 = 141 [what] 3 x 35 = 105
[not] 8 x 27 = 216 [more] 0 x 34 = 0
[where] 1 x 18 = 18 [are] 4 x 28 = 112
[be] 3 x 17 = 51 [as] 4 x 23 = 92
[when] 2 x 17 = 34 [who] 1 x 19 = 19
[your] 3 x 17 = 51 [below] 0 x 8 = 0
[her] 4 x 9 = 36 [is] 27 x 8 = 216
[we] 8 x 8 = 64 [these] 2 x 8 = 16
[should] 5 x 7 = 35 [the] 22 x 7 = 154
[she] 1 x 6 = 6 [a] 6 x 6 = 36
[and] 21 x 4 = 84 [at] 0 x 6 = 0
[me] 3 x 4 = 12 [it] 6 x 6 = 36
[myself] 0 x 4 = 0 [many] 0 x 6 = 0
[hers] 0 x 3 = 0 [said] 1 x 5 = 5
[was] 1 x 1 = 1 [above] 0 x 4 = 0
[to] 28 x 2 = 56

Luckily for McCain, the Gender Genie was also wrong about the Little Professor, so I am led to believe that whatever algorithm the Gender Genie uses has some flaws. Otherwise we might have had to conclude that the LCMS had already begun ordaining women. Egad!

I noticed something, however, about the algorithm which I think does reflect differences in male and female speech patterns: the different forms of the verb "to be". The forms most often employed in passive constructions ("be" and "was") are considered female speech, while the more active forms ("is" and "are") are male. Interesting. Of course, we all know that the word "the" is part of male speech!(?!) It has a "y" chromosome after all...right?
Monday, February 12, 2007

He's just so...happy. All the time. Nothing upsets him.
Lutheran Carnival XLIII is up over at Saint Charles' Place. My previous post didn't make the cut, but then it was really just an extended link. Oh, well. Better luck next time.

Tolle lege!

UPDATE: Hey, I made it after all!
Friday, February 09, 2007
Those of us believe that embryonic stem cell research is morally questionable (at the least!) should be among the first to celebrate when alternative methods are showing as much signs of hope as the unacceptable methods are only theorized to hold.

Anthony Atala, director of the Institute for Regenerative Medicine at Wake Forest University School of Medicine, reported that stem cells in the amniotic fluid that fills the sac surrounding the fetus may be just as versatile as embryonic stem cells. At the same time they maintain all the advantages that have made adult stem cells such a success.

This has caused great consternation on the part of those seeking increased taxpayer embryonic stem cell funds. The reason is that there are currently no practical applications for this type of cell. There hasn't even been a single clinical trial involving them. Researchers admit we won't have approved embryonic stem cell treatments for at least 10 years.


As stem-cell researcher Malcolm Alison of the University of London told a British newspaper, the amniotic cells "appear to be at least as malleable as embryonic stem cells but without all the ethical baggage."

Don't expect the MSM to hype this, folks. We need to do what we can to spread the word. The author points out the blatant and intentional cover-up (his words!) by the New York Times of the advances made in adult stem cells and in stem cells harvested from amniotic fluid.

It is neither paranoia nor exaggeration to say that the New York Times is engaged in a stem-cell cover-up.

Instapundit has already linked the article, so lots of people are going to see it; but not all people in the Lutheran/Christian blogosphere read Instapundit. And, as always, remember to Read the whole thing™. Or, as I prefer to say...

Tolle lege!

Thursday, February 08, 2007
RevFisk has a great post on Neil Postman over at Cross Theology.
Wednesday, February 07, 2007
This is a continued thought from a previous post....

For the proponents of Sanctification as "good works" motif, the 'ought' of the Law is incapable of motivating a believer to do anything, except cower in fear of a Holy and Perfect God. It most certainly does not imply the 'can'.

Sanctification as "good works" is learning what we are in Christ. It is most decidedly not about "not doing," but about accepting. (I confess, I was about to use the word "becoming" rather than "accepting," but I realized it would sound too much like Paul Tillich, and that can never be a good thing. Besides, it was the wrong word). I'm pretty sure it was Gerhard Forde who said that sanctification is "getting used to" justification. (Someone correct me if I am mistaken.)

Sanctification as "good works" looks outward, not inward. We don't spend time thinking about ourselves, we spend time thinking about how to help our neighbor -- our neighbor being our spouses, our children and the bald guy across the street who lets his dog poop on our yard.

How does the Law figure into this?

Does it ask the question, "What would Jesus do?" No. That is the ethicist's way of prodding sanctification. Does it put on a slightly meaner countenance and declare, "That's not what Jesus would do!" No, that's the moralist's way of prodding sanctification.

The ethicist and the moralist are just two sides of the same coin. Or, better stated perhaps, the moralist is the ethicist on a bad day.

The fact of the matter is, all that the Law can tell us is this: "You have offended a Just and Holy God, and will receive the penalty of death." The Law accuses, always: lex semper accusat. And, in fact, that is ALL that it does. That is all that it knows how to do, and all that it was designed to do. It is the standard against which we are judged.

But, then...what about good works? Where do they come from?

They come from being in Christ. With the life, death and resurrection of Christ, the New Covenant promised in Jeremiah has come (cf. Jer 31:31 ff & Heb 8). In the New Covenant, the Law was to be written on new hearts of flesh - rather than stone - which God would give us. These he gives us in our baptism. We who have been justified have the law written on our hearts. Our good works will flow freely from the faith God has granted us. As Luther said, "Faith] does [not] ask whether good works are to be done; but before the question is asked, it has wrought them, and is always engaged in doing them." (Intro. Ep. Rom., quoted in SD V)

The Biblical evidence of this is the Parable of the Sheep and the Goats, when those who have been judged righteous ask, "But Lord, when did we....?" (Matt 25)

These works, as the Solid Declaration states, are necessary; and yet, as the Solid Declaration states, they are also not coerced:

But in this connection the following distinction must also be noted, namely, that the meaning must be: necessitas ordinis, mandati et voluntatis Christi ac debiti nostri, non autem necessitas coactionis (a necessity of Christ's ordinance, command, and will, and of our obligation, but not a necessity of coercion). That is: When this word necessary is employed, it should be understood not of coercion, but only of the ordinance of the immutable will of God, whose debtors we are... (SD V.12)

Good works are necessary, then, not in the sense that the Law coerces us to do them, but that in Christ, and in faith, we will do them. How could it be otherwise?

What causes this? Does the law have no place in producing good works?

Law -C and Law +C

Well that depends on which Law you're talking about. In Christ, the Incarnate Son of God, the Law has been fulfilled. All the demands have been met. Before it was merely an outline, a sketch. But in Christ, all the colors, depth and perspective are present. The Law itself has been transfigured. Now, instead of a black cloud hanging over us, it is a burning beacon, drawing us to it. We WANT it. We love it. (Psalm 119:97) We yearn for it, as a "doe longs for running streams." (Psalm 42:1) When Jesus came, when He died and rose again, the Law changed. (cf. Heb 7:12)

The problem, of course, is that we didn't. Yes, we have been declared to be righteous, but we are yet sinners. And with sinners still in this world, the Law-C still has a function. This is the "Second use of the Law." It works on unbelievers and believers the same. It condemns and terrifies. It drives us back to the Cross.

But the transfigured Law (Law +C) , this Law creates the very thing it asks for. (cf. Eph 2:10) It says, "Love!" and in the same moment creates the love; it says, "Follow," and provides energy to our feet. (I'm loosely quoting from David Scaer here, found on pg. 18 of this paper.) The transfigured Law does not command; it invites.

In our present condition, we just can't see it. We have to live by faith. The Law will ALWAYS bite, no matter what, because we are simul iustus et peccator. We will not grow in the love and knowledge of God by being prodded, or by diligently not doing the things we ought not do. Dilgently "not sinning" is rank Pharisaism. We don't go around picking weeds.

We do go around desiring to be what we are told we are. The Apostle says, "Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind..." (Rom 12:2)

"Do not be conformed": that's the 2nd use of the Law .

"be transformed": that's the transfigured Law speaking (although it, too, can be 2nd use, i.e., "but I know I'm not transformed!"). Like baptism in Acts 2:38, "be transformed" is a passive imperative. You accept it. You "get used to it."

In Him there is no darkness at all,
The Night and the Day are both alike,
The Lamb is the Light of the City of God,
Shine in my heart, Lord Jesus.

"Shine in my heart"... the same heart upon which you have written your Law.
Tuesday, February 06, 2007
And still, over at Daylight, the debate rages on. The new post is here; tolle lege. Of particular interest is McCain's first reply to the post, which is the sixth comment overall.

He first demonstrates that he misunderstands Rick's post completely. He understands Rick to be saying that
[Rick] do[es] not agree with the Lutheran Confessions nor do[es he] regard [himself] as bound to them.
Where McCain gets the data to draw this conclusion is a mystery; we do know, however, that it did not come from Rick's post. What line, what statement could possibly lead to McCain's conclusion? I don't see it.

The question Rick asks is NOT "are the Confessions correct"; the question he asks is "WHAT are the Confessions doing, and WHY are they doing it?" This is no more an impious question on Rick's part than it is impious in the Small Catechism, when it says, "What does this mean?" Furthermore, Rick leaves the ENTIRE question open. He left the doors WIDE OPEN for an interesting discussion; but McCain, whose nostrils are infected with the pungence of perfidy, senses only malice.

The real kicker however is this gem of a paragraph:
The extent to which you continue to kick against the goads on the issue of the Holy Spirit's use of the Law in your lfie [sic] as a regenerate Christian, to exhort you and to guide you to keep doing good works makes me truly wonder if there is not another issue at work here, and to you I say the same thing I say to Kobra: "I seem to have touched on a very sensitive issue in your life and hit a very raw nerve. Is there some sin you need to confess?" If so, please seek out your pastor for personal confession and absolution.
People need to realize that McCain has NEVER MET Rick Ritchie. Never laid eyes on him; couldn't pick him out in a crowd. But somehow, using his crystal ball and his magic faerie dust (he is Irish after all...), he has discerned that Rick has unconfessed sin in his life. Isn't this how those hucksters on TV operate?

Did McCain not even read in Rick's own comments where Rick says,
You could do 3rd Use without doing Law Gospel Law. I've heard some good sermons that were 3rd Use of the Law-Gospel sermons.
There it is: black on beige. Rick agrees that good sermons can include the Third Use. (I imagine McCain saying, "Oh no! That's not enough! Unless he says that they MUST include the Third Use, he's not REALLY a Lutheran.")

I know Rick Ritchie; I lived with him for five years. Aside from my own Father, I don't know a man with more integrity and honesty than Rick. His friendship and counsel have helped me keep my ship on a steady course for years, and I've had some crises that I very well may not have survived without him. The Blessed Holy Spirit used Rick to keep me in the faith when I was all but gone. I have witnessed him struggle; I have stood next to him in church when we prayed and confessed along with our other Brothers and Sisters in the Faith that we are sinners in need of forgiveness. We have fought and disagreed; he has always forgiven me, and I him.

I have witnessed Rick love his neighbor, because I AM Rick's neighbor.

I am done with this; I will listen to these [8th commandment edit] accusations no more.

God forgive me, a sinner...
Monday, February 05, 2007
All "drive-by" comments will be rejected. It is a basic tenet of blogosphere decorum that if you want to comment, you should discuss the subject at hand.

Furthermore, the practice of "seeding" people's comments sections with the same comment posted over and over and over again on several blogs - like a dog humping every available leg in the room - is also condemned.

Your recommended daily allowance of Vitamin D and yet another brilliant post, over at Daylight.

And be sure not to miss Comment #1, where PTM completely misses (or is it "intentionally avoids"??) the point! There is no end to the incoherence.
Sunday, February 04, 2007
In this increasingly ridiculous argument that has developed over sanctification, it has become eminently clear to me that there are two broad and overarching ways that people use to imagine what "sanctification" is. One way to envision sanctification is to see the Christian life as one of less and less sin. This is the "not sinning" view of sanctification, and it's the one I am going to talk about in this post. I'll reserve the other view for the next post.

The view that sees sanctification as "not sinning" takes it on faith that when Jesus told the prostitute whom he rescued from death by stoning to "Go and sin no more," his command implies that the deed is possible. After all, why would God in the flesh tell someone to "sin no more" if it were not actually possible? That would make God an arrogant monstrosity, but the testimony of Scripture is that he is not that at all.

We see this vision of sanctification throughout late eighteenth and nineteenth century theology, which actually is no surprise. This view rests on the above mentioned assumption that "if God said do it, it has to be possible." And that view is what we call a categorical imperative. It's most famous and articulate proponent was the German enlightenment philosopher Immanuel Kant. Kant said, "man must judge that he can do what the moral law tells him unconditionally that he ought to do." Stated more succinctly, "the ought implies the can." (You can find the original in The Metaphysics of Morals, part II)

Nineteenth century theology (German, British and American) took this and ran with it. If God said, "Be ye Holy as I am Holy," than by cracky it MUST be possible for us to do just that. By combining Kant with the pietism of the previous century, the Holiness Movement was born.

Now what does this look like?

It means that Biblical injunctions are to be taken as absolute requirements. And further, given the proscription against violating one's own conscience, it further means that anything that could be imagined to be a sin necessarily is a sin.

For example, Paul's words in 1 Corinthians 6, "your body is a temple," were pushed to their ultimate meaning. Anything that polluted or damaged the body was sin. The nineteenth century is rife with examples of how this thinking spread. The Mormon proscription against caffeine and alcohol (a proscription which they likely picked up from Charles Finney), the Seventh-Day Adventist's vegetarianism, the Health & Wellness movement (see the movie The Road to Wellville, if you want to know about this!), and many others.

Then of course there was dancing, riding in horse-drawn coaches (yep, that was considered a sin because of the potential damage done to the spine), living in cities (pollution of both the physical and spiritual kind), and many, many other examples.

Now that I've mentioned "spiritual pollution," let's move on to that.

"Be ye not conformed to this world." (Romans 12:2)

Applying this verse with the categorical imperative as the motivator leads to all sorts of fascinating behaviors. Anything that is "worldly" must (and, of course, can!) be avoided. Let's look at a few:

Anything that has any sexual implication--

  • can't watch college football games, because of the cheerleaders and their skimpy costumes
  • can't watch the Super Bowl today, because the beer ads (and many others) contain sexually provocative material
  • can't go to (most) movies, because, well, they're just filled with sex.
  • can't go to the mall, because you might pass by a Victoria's Secret window, and we all know that's not good
  • can't listen to jazz, and a good deal of classical music (well, operas mostly, but who listens to those anyway?)

anything that has any "vulgar" language--

  • see "movies" above
  • most Rock and roll music
  • much television programming

anything that encourages people to defy authority--

  • punk rock, specifically
  • sports, again (how many of our "sports heroes" were arrested last year??!!)
  • encouraging our young students to argue with their liberal college professors. Professors also fall under the rubric of "those whom God has put in authority".
  • People who blog and/or surf the internet at work are stealing from their employers.
  • Exceeding the posted speed limits, rolling stops, failing to use a turn signal.

anything that leads to excess--

  • Scripture specifically enjoins us not to live beyond our needs. When we know that poor and hungry people surround us in society, and yet continue to "supersize" our McValue meals, and exceed our necessary daily caloric intake, we are robbing from the mouths of the poor. Anyone who is more than ~15 pounds overweight (~15 pounds being the bounds of statistical weight distribution for healthy adults) may as well account himself a murderer.

anything which is not strictly necessary for basic survival--

  • just overall unnecessary consumerism...no one needs more than 1 television in their house. NO ONE.
  • No one needs more than about a week's worth of clothes, a couple of pars of shoes.
  • There is no need for a "dress coat" and a "casual coat", one coat will do. WHO are we trying to impress, anyways? (cf. James, chapters 1 & 2)
  • Let's not mention all the wasteful spending on CDs, DVDs, cable television, magazine subscriptions, overly huge houses which waste natural resources (robbing them from our neighbor) by heating and air conditioning excessive amounts of space. Who actually NEEDS a 3000 sq. foot house?

Even being casually associated with any of these things is, in fact, sinful. We are, after all to "avoid even the appearance of evil."

To fail to do those things which God commands of us will result in damnation. Without fail. To break any portion of the law is to be guilty of violating ALL of it.

Whether someone surfs porn, listens to music with violent lyrics, uses vulgar language, is overweight, steals from his employer, casually misrepresents others' words -- it doesn't matter. All of these belong to the Kingdom of Satan.

I'll probably edit this a bit later, but for now, that should provide an adequate picture of the theology of sanctification by "not sinning."

Saturday, February 03, 2007

You come along-tearing your shirt-yelling about Jesus. I want
to know what the hell you know about Jesus?

Jesus had a way of talking soft, and everybody except a few
bankers and higher-ups among the con men of Jerusalem liked
to have this Jesus around because he never made any fake
passes, and everything he said went and he helped the sick
and gave the people hope.

You come along squirting words at us, shaking your fist and calling
us all dam fools-so fierce the froth of your own spit slobbers
over your lips-always blabbering we're all going to hell
straight off and you know all about it.

I've read Jesus' words. I know what he said. You don't throw any
scare into me. I've got your number. I know how much you
know about Jesus.

He never came near clean people or dirty people but they felt
cleaner because he came along. It was your crowd of bankers
and business men and lawyers that hired the sluggers
and murderers who put Jesus out of the running.

I say it was the same bunch that's backing you that nailed the nails
into the hands of this Jesus of Nazareth. He had lined up against
him the same crooks and strong-arm men, now lined up with
you paying your way.

This Jesus guy was good to look at, smelled good, listened good.
He threw out something fresh and beautiful from the skin of his
body and the touch of his hands wherever he passed along.

You ... put a smut on every human blossom that comes
in reach of your rotten breath belching about hell-fire and
hiccuping about this man who lived a clean life in Galilee.

When are you going to quit making the carpenters build
emergency hospitals for women and girls driven crazy with
wrecked nerves from your goddamn gibberish about Jesus? I put
it to you again: What the hell do you know about Jesus?

Go ahead and bust all the chairs you want to. Smash a wagon load
of furniture at every performance. Turn sixty somersaults and
stand on your nutty head. If it wasn't for the way you scare the
women and kids, I'd feel sorry for you and pass the hat.

I like to watch a good four-flusher work, but not when he starts
people puking and calling for the doctor.

I like a man that's got guts and can pull off a great, original
performance; but you-hell, you're only a bughouse peddler
of second-hand gospel-you're only shoving out a phoney
imitation of the goods this Jesus guy told us ought to be free as
air and sunlight.

Sometimes I wonder what sort of pups born from mongrel bitches
there are in the world less heroic, less typic of historic greatness
than you.

You tell people living in shanties Jesus is going to fix it up all right
with them by giving them mansions in the skies after they're
dead and the worms have eaten 'em.

You tell $6 a week department store girls all they need is Jesus; you
take a steel trust wop, dead without having lived, gray and
shrunken at forty years of age, and you tell him to look at Jesus
on the cross and he'll be all right.

You tell poor people they don't need any more money on pay day,
and even if it's fierce to be out of a job, Jesus'll fix that all right,
all right--all they gotta do is take Jesus the way you say.

I'm telling you this Jesus guy wouldn't stand for the stuff you're
handing out. Jesus played it different. The bankers and
corporation lawyers of Jerusalem got their sluggers and
murderers to go after Jesus lust because Jesus wouldn't play
their game. He didn't sit in with the big thieves.

I don't want a lot of gab from a bunkshooter in my religion.

I won't take my religion from a man who never works except with
his mouth and never cherishes a memory except the face of
the ... dollar.

I ask you to come through and show me where you're pouring out
the blood of your life.

I've been out to this suburb of Jerusalem they call Golgotha, where
they nailed Him, and I know if the story is straight it was real
blood ran from his hands and the nail-holes, and it was real
blood spurted out where the spear of the Roman soldier
rammed in between the ribs of this Jesus of Nazareth.

p.s. This isn't something by me that is untitled. It's the blog post that is untitled. The poem's title is Billy Sunday, by Carl Sandburg.

Friday, February 02, 2007
Over at Daylight. A classic Fisking.

Tolle lege!
So I found this article from Walther posted on a website dedicated to the darker side of Lutheranism. (By "darker side," I mean the kinds of Lutherans who don't believe women should play sports because a) it doesn't teach them anything about being mothers, and b) it invariably leads to lesbianism. No, I'm not kidding, they really do exist.)

Anyways, think twice next you go to the movies, and be sure to ask yourself, "What would Walther do?"

Lectures against the Theatre.
From the German of C. F. W. Walther, D. D., and adapted
for the WITNESS, by R...r...
XV. PAPER (Conclusion.)

We proceed to the Fourth argument from Scriptures against the attendance of the theatre. 1 John 2, 15. 16. we read, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of the life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.” But the play-houses are most eminently the temple of the world in which it worships its three-headed idol, Lust of the eyes, Lust of the flesh, and Pride of life sacrificing body and soul. Whoever goes to a play-house consequently goes to the church of the world.

But still more. Fifth, God's Word says, Eph. 5, 4: “Filthiness, nor foolish talking, nor jesting, let it not be once named among you, which are not convenient, but rather giving of thanks.” In the plays, however, especially in comedies, “filthiness, foolish talking, and filthy, or, at least, unchaste jesting” constitute the principle part; for the world does not wish to cry over sins, but to laugh at them. You, however, that are Christians, do not say, Oh, we shall be very careful not to laugh then! First, you do not know whether you will not laugh when you see them all laughing, just as Peter, having once stepped into the house of blasphemers of Christ and been seized with fear of them, finally uttered blasphemies himself. And second, Christian reader, are you not ashamed to go to a place where all kinds of shameful words enter your ear and soil your souls? O leave it hurriedly and weep bitterly, with Peter. Whoever goes to the theatre, goes to the school of shame.

Sixth, Scriptures say, “Pray without ceasing.” 1 Thess. 5, 17. Praying, however, is altogether out of the question in the playhouse. True, they sometimes pray there, too, even a miserable prostitute and courtesan will often pray there with her whorish lips. It even happens that Holy Baptism and Holy Eucharist are mocked on the stage. Why, in order to render his piece most interesting, the German poet Schiller, the greatest favorite especially with the youth, found himself induced to mimic the latter. Besides that, the name of God is taken in vain in the theatre, they swear frivolously, and curse by all that's holy. And, Christian reader, you will pay these cursing players for their cursing!? Whoever goes to the theatre, goes to the school of scoffers.

Seventh, Scriptures say, “Be not conformed to this world.”Rom. 12, 2. Theatrical plays are, however, most properly to be counted among the pleasures of the world. For the Church of the New Testament did not get the play from the Church of the Old Covenant, which did not know anything of it, but from heathendom. Whoever, therefore, goes to the theatre, goes to the school of the world, makes it his teacher, becomes a declared apostate, and above that, perhaps without wishing to do so, yea, protesting against such an imputation, thereby actually pronounce publicly, I will not belong to the Christians, but to the world; I do not wish to be a world-denying child of God, but a child of the world.

Eighth, Scriptures say, Sit not in the seat of the scornful.” Psalm 1, 1. But how may one attending the theatre deny his seating himself with the scornful? Where will they sit if they do not sit there? Hence it is out of question, Whoever goes to the theatre, does not merely seat himself aside, but even at the feet of scoffers.

Ninth, Scriptures say, ”Be not partaker of other men's sins.” 1 Tim. 5, 22. It is impossible, however, to go to the theatre without partaking of other men's sins, both of the sins of the players and of the audience, For what are you doing by going there? The fact of your appearance in the theatre calls upon the actor to sin, to do something on account of which he has ever been excommunicated from the true Christian church! The other godless attendants at the theatre, however who come for the purpose of catering to their flesh, you are confirming therein. And still you mean to say, I dare go to the theatre without committing a sin? O, may God keep you from this dangerous delusion! Your own sin draws you into the theatre, and fraught with many of other people's sins you go out again.

Tenth, we read in God's Word, “Teach us to number our days that we may apply our hearts unto wisdom.” Psalm 90, 12. Hence, according to Holy Writ, a pious Christian is forever to think of his death. But the actor is bent, above all, on causing people to forget, for some hours at least, that they must die once and appear at the judgment of God. Whoever, therefore, goes to the theatre goes to the school of atheists, whose principal motto is, Let us eat and drink and be merry, for to-marrow, may-haps, we shall be dead and death ends everything.

Now then, dear reader, I would ask you, What will you do? Will you side with Christ or with the world? Will you be an attendant at church or at the theatre? Perhaps you will say, I attend both. Let me, then, point out to you the word of the prophet Elijah, 1 Kings 18, 21: “How long halt ye between two opinions? If the Lord be God follow Him: but if Baal, then follow him!” Yea, let me draw your attention to the word spoken to us all in the Gospel, by the Lord Himself, “No man can serve two masters: for either he will hate the one and love the other, or else he will hold to the one and despise the other. Ye cannot serve God and the mammon.” Matth. 6, 24. You cannot serve Christ and the world. Do not, therefore, divide your heart, but give all your life and soul to Jesus. Do you still hesitate in accepting what Heaven offers you? O turn your eyes wholly to its everlasting treasures and glory. Whoever does not wholly give himself up to Jesus, must endure pain and anguish in this world, and his wages will be Death eternal. May the good God keep us from this for Jesus' sake and grant us admission to yon heavenly exhibition where, after having closed our eyes in death, we will see God face to face in everlasting joy and blessed light of heaven.

From The Lutheran Witness, October 21, 1888