Jan 30, 2009

717-741 East v. West: Icons

The Master told me, "Go, post a lookout.
Have him report whatever he spots.
When he sees horses and wagons in battle formation,
lines of donkeys and columns of camels,
Tell him to keep his ear to the ground,
note every whisper, every rumor."
Just then, the lookout shouted,
"I'm at my post, Master,
Sticking to my post day after day
and all through the night!
I watched them come,
the horses and wagons in battle formation.
I heard them call out the war news in headlines:
'Babylon fallen! Fallen!
And all its precious god-idols
smashed to pieces on the ground.'"

(The Message Isaiah 21:9)

The Iconoclasts headed by Emperor Leo III (717-741) hard lined against Icons(Icons are artistic representation of Christ). Christ could only be represented in the Cross, and the Lord's Supper. He whitewashed common elements from representing Christianity. He did not agree with Plato's Allegory of the Cave: "a copy is a reminder of the original."

Genesis 1:26-28 Matthew Henry

"Let us make men." Man when he was made was to glory the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. Into that great name were are baptized, for to that great name we ow our being. It is the soul of man that especially bears God's image... His understanding (before the fall) saw Divine things clearly and truly; there was no errors or mistakes in his knowledge; his will consented at once, and in all things, to the will of God. His affections were all regular, and he had no bad appetite or passions. His thoughts were easily brought and fixed to the best subjects. Thus holy, thus happy, were our first parents in having the image of God upon them. But how is this image of God upon man defaced! May the LORD renew it upon our souls by grace! (Henry 2)

Questions for Discussion: (Answer all or the ones that strike you most).

1. Can Art represent the Gospel? (Why or why not?)

2. What type of Art represents the Gospel best?

3. Should movies be used to tell of the Gospel?

4. If we want to reach unbelievers should we show movies with moral points and not say the name Christ?

Jan 29, 2009

June 2, 455: Standing Amidst the Ruins-Pontifex Maximus

Look, here comes a man in a chariot
with a team of horses.
And he gives back the answer:
'Babylon has fallen, has fallen!
All the images of its gods
lie shattered on the ground!' "
Isaiah 21:9

God offered a clearance sale of Rome's Idols and Precious Objects to the Vandals. Past relics stood between holy Ground. Spared Roman Churches were now at the center of Roman Life. Thankfulness arose in the hearts of the Christian Citizens. They thanked the Vandals and their lucky-stars; but they failed to thank God's rescuing hand.

Jan 28, 2009

Synthetic Churches = Synthetic Fruit

Churches today produce materialistic, synthetic seeds that cannot produce fruit. God in Glory delivers a perfect Gospel. LORD Jesus provides the great example of never wavering. We need to follow this example in our fallen world,and how little followed. LORD break my heart so that I am filled up by and with your almighty graciousness.

Part One:

Part Two:

Jan 27, 2009

330 AD: Matthew 16:13-19

Constantinople became the New Imperial Roman Center. Rome was now the boonies, a backwater hole, once grand but now laid waste by the Barbarians. This new emphasis on Canstinonople upset many Romans. The Roman Christians believed that in Peter the keys to the kingdom had been handed over. Peter's ministry and martyrdom was in Rome.

*(See Below Matthew 16:13-19)

Matthew 16:13-19
(The Message)
16Simon Peter said, "You're the Christ, the Messiah, the Son of the living God."

17-18Jesus came back, "God bless you, Simon, son of Jonah! You didn't get that answer out of books or from teachers. My Father in heaven, God himself, let you in on this secret of who I really am. And now I'm going to tell you who you are, really are. You are Peter, a rock. This is the rock on which I will put together my church, a church so expansive with energy that not even the gates of hell will be able to keep it out.

19"And that's not all. You will have complete and free access to God's kingdom, keys to open any and every door: no more barriers between heaven and earth, earth and heaven. A yes on earth is yes in heaven. A no on earth is no in heaven."

(See Augustins view of Matthew 16:13-19)

Fifth Citation (Augustine on the Psalms, Volume VII, Psalm LXI ) "For Christ Himself is the tower, Himself for us hath been made a tower from the face of the enemy, who is also the Rock whereon hath been builded the Church."

Jan 26, 2009

325-390 Gregory Nazianzen

Thy grace, O Father, give
I humbly thee implore;
And let thy mercy bless
Thy servant more and more.

Catholic Stewardship

Imagine the tension between the Catholic City Slickers and the Presbyterian Farmers:

Catholic Bishop: "We were here first."

Farmer in Burgundy: "So!"

"We know how to run country folks. Bishop Blood lines draws from Peter and Paul! We appoint representatives to administer sacraments but we run the show."

"You can't tax us without our regard."

"Ha ha, Watch us!"

Jan 25, 2009

Interlude: Whom Is the Greatest

(the Message 18:1-5)
" At about the same time, the disciples came to Jesus asking, "Who gets the highest rank in God's kingdom?"

2-5For an answer Jesus called over a child, whom he stood in the middle of the room, and said, "I'm telling you, once and for all, that unless you return to square one and start over like children, you're not even going to get a look at the kingdom, let alone get in. Whoever becomes simple and elemental again, like this child, will rank high in God's kingdom. What's more, when you receive the childlike on my account, it's the same as receiving me.

(ESV Matthew 18:1-5)
1(A) At that time the disciples came to Jesus, saying, "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?" 2And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them 3and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you(B) turn and(C) become like children, you(D) will never enter the kingdom of heaven. 4(E) Whoever humbles himself like this child is the(F) greatest in the kingdom of heaven.

5(G) "Whoever receives one such child in my name receives me, 6but(H) whoever causes one of these(I) little ones who believe in me to sin,[a] it would be better for him to have a great millstone fastened around his neck and to be drowned in the depth of the sea.

Jan 24, 2009

452 AD "The Scourge of God" at the Po River

June 452: Attila marched up the Danube setting fire and vanquishing the wilderness. The "Scourge of God" advanced on Rome onto a lightly guarded populace. Leo was there to negotiate with a known terrorist. The contest seemed unequal, one had Christ, the other had mighty warriors well seasoned in conquest. Leo (Vicar of Christ)stood firmly.

Jan 23, 2009

Augustine and the City of God i.11

Augustine and the City of God i.11

At times we must go on or else be caught in the maelstrom of entropic forces that will pull all of Polycarp 55 to the pit of space and time. As I do not want to excel into the vast void, will move on now from Augustin and back into the stream of the church narrative.

Jan 22, 2009

AUgustyine City of God i.10

STRIVE in keeping your eyes off shinny temporal BMW's that lose value once driven off the car lot, STRIVE to keep your anxiety away from where you park your BMW, a scratch reveals the reality that all things in time will fall apart, STRIVE to find Christ, creative love that makes something out of nothing.

Jan 21, 2009

Augustine and the City of God I.9

Longmont Colorado, (Parking Lot of a Liquor Store) October 1991 :

We the living, inhabiting teenage wasteland.

"Let's get some Ouzo" Noah said.

"No thanks." I said, the air smelt like snow,cigarettes, and fear; images of dying miserly in a park compelled me to leave the scene.

That night I called Noah's home, because I did not want my friend to be another teenage causality.

Jan 20, 2009

CIty of God I.7

A Balanced point of view (POV):

Elation has us walk into walls, because we are blinded by our arrogance. Deflated we are already in the grave. A POV can either burn us up and eat us up like a goat inside our stomachs, or can be the opportune heat we need to build our character.
The choice is ours, where will you put your ideas today?!

Jan 18, 2009

City of God I.6

Augustin's City of God I.6

Romans believed that it was noble, "to spare the vanquished and subdue the proud,” and that they preferred “rather to forgive than to revenge an injury;"

Jan 17, 2009

City of God I.5

Idaho Mascot Vandals

Christ sacked us from the present evil age. We did not choose to be sacked but it happened in our daily routines. We became enslaved to our Lord, even if we had previously fought him.

Did he spare the dwellings of our Gods?

God will trouble hearts, conquering us with loving twine from within.

Jan 16, 2009

Augustine and the City of God I.4

"You tend to keep on doing what you have done; and the more so, the more you have done it. That is spiritual inertia... They are hypnotized by spiritual desires. "
(Willard, Dallas Renovation of the Heart pg 154)

And now I have come down to help them, pry them loose from the grip of Egypt
(Exodus 3 from the Message)

Habit: We tend to repeat those things we have repeated. It's not especially laziness; it's just the way we are constructed. It's the way our mind works.
David Mamet in his book: True and False.

Jan 15, 2009

Augustine and the City of God I.3

Augustine and the City of God I.3
Are societies built on wish dreams or divine reality? Juno bore Mars the God of War and destruction out of pity and anger. Panthus the Trojan Elder watched the ungodly birth: he was covered by the birth of Mars and the splattering of red crimson onto white sheets, and he shivered out of deep fear.

Be broken you peoples, and be shattered;
give ear all your far countries; strap on your armor and be shattered.
Take counsel together, but it will come to nothing;
speak a word, but it will not stand, for God is with us.
- Isaiah 7:9-10

Jan 14, 2009

Augustine and the City of God I.2

Augustine and the City of God Chapter Two

Romans had embalmed themselves, made themselves Frightened Lost Sheep, excommunicated from the source of truth, God:
The heart is deceitful above all things,
and desperately sick;
who can understand it?
10 “I the Lord search the heart
and test the mind, [1]
to give every man according to his ways,
according to the fruit of his deeds.”
Jeremiah 17:9-10

Jan 13, 2009

Augustine and the City of God I.1

Augustine and the City of God (II)
Chapter One of Augustine's City of God

"To their very threshold the blood-thirsty enemy raged; there his murderous fury owned a limit." (Augustine I:5) The limit to the murkiness and the deep darkness is the LORD and Savior Jesus Christ. But once we are saved we go back again, "Yet now, in ungrateful pride and most impious madness, and at the risk of being punished in everlasting darkness, they perversely oppose that name under which they fraudulently protected themselves for the sake of enjoying the light of this brief life." (I:13)

Augustine and the City of God Introduction

Augustine and the City of God (Introduciton)
Augustine was 56 years old when Rome was sacked. He asked himself, "Do cities consist of walls or men?" Rome was no more, it had been blown to pieces by the horde of Barbarians. To Augustine there were two cities, Las Vegas or Boulder Colorado. "Heavenly city outshines Rome beyond comparison.. instead of victory is truth."

Jan 12, 2009

373 We Don't Need No Compromise

God is in the purity of the cross, the purity of the word.

1 Timothy 4:1 The spirit clearly says that in later times some would abondon the faith and follow deceiving spirits and things taught by demons.

373 Roman Empire: God never compromises to the will of man. He is the type of Coach that never punts for a better position on the field. He is a coach of miracles so he will always go for it on 4th down.

Athanasius knew that toleration of doctrine that looks similar but is not taints the purity of the Cross. Athanasius knew that the Arieans based their hope on Toleration. The state of Rome hoped to maintain peace through a compromise. They did not see what the big deal was; "Why can't y'all just get along." Constantius hoped to build a compromise between the Arians and the Athanasiusians.

Constantius compromise was to build a new vocabulary of toleration. He coined the term homoiousion(of similar substance) to replace homoousion (Same substance).

Athanasius stood against this idea of "similar substance". He did not see that this replacement helped the Christian Cause. He also did not like being told by the state government what Church should or should not accept. And if the Son is the "Word" and "Wisdom" of God, how was there a time when He was not? It is the same as if they should say that God was once without Word and Without Wisdom?"

If we tolerate what is not written in the bible, what is not the WORD of GOD, than we transgress the kingdom. Witness's do not add anything to the event but truthfully tell what they see.

Latourette, Kenneth Scott Christianity Through the Ages Harper Chapel Books, New York: 1965.

Jan 11, 2009

431 Augustine Of Sin and Grace (3/4)

Westminster Confession of Faith:

III. This infallible assurance doth not so belong to the essence of faith but that a true believer may wait long and conflict with many difficulties before he be partaker of it: yet, being enabled by the Spirit to know the things which are freely given him of God, he may, without extraordinary revelation, in the right use of ordinary means, attain thereunto. And therefore it is the duty of everyone to give all diligence to make his calling and election sure; that thereby his heart may be enlarged in peace and joy in the Holy Ghost, in love and thankfulness to God, and in strength and cheerfulness in the duties of obedience, the proper fruits of this assurance: so far is it from inclining men to looseness.

"The more merit-mongers labor and sweat to bring themselves out of sin, the deeper they are plunged into it. There is no means to take sin away but grace alone." - (Luther 32)

Belloq: You and I are very much alike. Archeology is our religion, yet we have both fallen from the pure faith. Our methods have not differed as much as you pretend. I am but a shadowy reflection of you. It would take only a nudge to make you like me. To push you out of the light.
: Now you're getting nasty.

Indiana Jones is a true gritty American, who carries the red, white and blue at the beginning of the regiment. Belloq appears pure evil, a Nazi, in with the great forces of evil. But both are fallen; their faith is humanistic and they both believe that knowledge will make them victorious in a fallen world.

Jan 10, 2009

431 Augustine Of Sin and Grace (1/4)

The Westminster COnfession of Faith sees Of Assurance of Grace and Salvation as the Following:

I. Although hypocrites, and other unregenerate men, may vainly deceive themselves with false hopes and carnal presumptions: of being in the favor of God and estate of salvation; which hope of theirs shall perish: yet such as truly believe in the Lord Jesus, and love him in sincerity, endeavoring to walk in all good conscience before him, may in this life be certainly assured that they are in a state of grace, and may rejoice in the hope of the glory of God: which hope shall never make them ashamed.

Outside of him: the cold wind blows hard against the naked body. There is no Good Creek of knowledge outside of God. All creative currency is his, so submit to worship through creativity. He creates the true conversion. We walk in good conscience before him, and our eyes are set on him early and quick.

"It is with such gunshot and artillery that heathen religions must be destroyed, and all works, merit and superstitious ceremonies as well. Martin Luther.

Jan 9, 2009

387 AD: Christian Apologetics and Augustine

Luke 14:23
"And the lord said unto the servant, Go out into the highways and hedges, and compel them to come in, that my house may be filled."

What made the Christians think towards the inquisition?

Augustine read Luke as Jesus granting the use of force to suppress heresy. Rivals were a threat to the sheep. They mislead them to places where candles could never be relighted. Rivals lead people to eternal damnation. For hark you, Luke warns leaders, that the flock were slain to late, as to never to return.

I am more inclined to the theology of Eugene Peterson when he re-wrote Luke 14:23 as; "Collect all who look like they need a square meal, all the misfits and homeless, and wretched you can lay your hands on, and bring them here."

Jan 8, 2009

13 November 354, Augustine is Born

Augustine's nagging mother, constantly asked him to do his laundry, clean his dirty dishes and go to Church. She never relented, even when the perverse winds blew against her advice. Augustine's mom helped her son stop walking the streets of Babylon. And Augustine's heart was regenerated. He did his homework and wrote many Christian Apologies.

Jan 7, 2009

The Middle or the Edge?

Do you view history as a line of facts? Do you see time as quicksilver, easy to see hard to get a hold of? Do you want to tell more here or there? I could continue writing about these cool monks for years, but this is a quick sketch of time, not a completed illustration. Enjoy!

Jan 6, 2009

340-420 St. Jerome

God will use unfit for Godly purposes.

Jerome was tirelessly taunted by pictures in the middle of glossy magazines. (Yeah I know, they did not have magazines in 358 AD, but if they did these pictures would have taunted his diabolic desires ). He picked up the pen and started translating the bible into a common language.

Jan 5, 2009

320 Solitude and Community

"I had heard of you by the hearing of the ear, but now my eye sees you; therefore I despise myself, and repent in dust and ashes." Job 42:5-6

Could monasticism be more than single men collecting cats, and balls of polycarbonate colored threads? St. Pachomius grew tired of the caterwauling and finally answered the escalating meows! He designed regulated times: monks knew when to eat, labor, and worship. Possessions were divested. Marriage and happiness did not bind. Freedom of choice became freedom less.

Jan 3, 2009

320 AD Monks a Crazy Lot

There were crazy monks amongst the religious flock, the craziest was Simeon Stylites. He had a great amount of style and grew tired of all the noisy din, from all his friends who visited him,so being the creative stylist that he was moved his home on top of of a pillar for thirty years.

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