Thanksgiving choking hazard

Originally posted on That Letter From Elijah:

Thanksgiving (the act, not the holiday) should not be hard.

The list need not be long to be wondrous.

Like many of us in an abundant time and place, I suppose my list of blessings is so long that I take much of it for granted.

And I’m quick to think of an infinite list of “don’t haves” that provoke anxiety.

I wolf down too much; I bring up too much.  I choke on overabundance and even more on the expectation of this, that and the other thing.

The New Testament gives a short list when it comes to expectations and entitlements:

Of course, there is great gain in godliness combined with contentment; for we brought nothing into the world, so that we can take nothing out of it; but if we have food and clothing, we will be content with these.  (I Timothy 6:6-8 NRSV)

Man, I’m not very…

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The Soul of a Nation: educating in America

Originally posted on The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood:

In light of the widespread agitation on college and university campuses, I thought it worthwhile to share these few lines from The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood, (Pickwick, 2015).

Our campuses were once – and not too long ago – the crown of our American civilization: we believed that they were not places merely for the privileged few, even as we recognize that living a part of one’s young adulthood in living the intellectual life – in pursuit of the beautiful, the true, and the good – was a great privilege, indeed.

We understood that, even if university is not “for” everyone, the kind of society we wanted to be could not long survive without a major national commitment to keeping spaces open for and dedicated to the unfettered and undistracted exploration of the arts and sciences, in which cogency…

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The Soul of a(n immigrant) Nation

Originally posted on The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood:

Anyone looking to The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood for opinions on policy, will be disappointed.

As I say in the introduction:

There have always been those who have found, and there are today many who find America—what it was at the beginning, what it is now, what it might become—indefensible, and there are reasons. If, however, the persons who held the equal creation of all men and the rights to life liberty and the pursuit of happiness to be self-evident, the persons who ordained and established the Constitution, were able at all to make such a declaration and establish an ordinance for the protection of their declared understanding of human being, then our judgment of them must be based, not on disagreements with the policy of one or another administration’s exercise of America’s constituted governing machinery, but on our understanding of…

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Not As Simple As Catholic Answers

Originally posted on the theological beard:

Note: The immediate question to be answered in this post (even if not fully) is whether or not Luther was right to add the word “alone” to Romans 3:28. This is separate from the ultimate question concerning Luther, Paul, and James which will not be answered in this post. 

Luther - alone

If anyone had told me a couple weeks ago that I would be writing even one post on Martin Luther let alone three or four, they would have received a look of great scepticism. I just don’t pay that much attention to Luther or Lutheranism. I prefer to stick with patristics, medievals, and current events/theology in the Catholic Church. However, when you know hardly anything about someone or their teaching, and you level an accusation that you simply take for granted, but have never investigated, then one little door opens another and another and another. I originally said that I can’t take…

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THE SOUL OF A NATION now available for order

Originally posted on The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood:

Dear friends, I am very happy to announce that The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood is now available for order online. At present, the book is available through (here) and on the website of the publisher, Wipf & Stock – at a significantly discounted price!

Click the book title above for more, or go to:


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Dim and Dimmer

Originally posted on That Letter From Elijah:

The folks who wrote the Bible could see stars. Sure, there must have been cloudy nights and Mt. Vesuvius erupting and other occasional disruptions, but they didn’t have all night city light glare to muck up the sky.

So when the Apostle Paul sat in jail he could still imagine the brightness of the night sky and write an uplifting letter to one of the Greek churches (click on the picture to enlarge it):


The divisions among Christians are like the garish, wasteful excess of city lights that obscure the stars. Our divisions reflect centuries – centuries – of tightly clutched complaints and arguments; of church corruption and nominal members living no differently from the dying, decaying mess around them.

When Elijah called the devotees of a false god to come up Mt. Carmel and have it out, he also called the rest of Israel – supposedly God’s own people…

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Martin Luther and the “Epistle of Straw”

Originally posted on the theological beard:

In the previous post I asked Protestants to please consider that Martin Luther called the Epistle of James, which is a divinely inspired writing, an “epistle of straw”. That Luther said this seems to be common knowledge among those who care – Catholic, Protestant, whoever. Often times though what is accepted as common knowledge is not known in its proper context nor is it as simple as we typically think. Since I did not know the context for this little quote from Luther, I decided to do a quick internet search. Over at The Calvinist International there is a post with the quote in context.

In a word St. John’s Gospel and his first epistle, St. Paul’s epistles, especially Romans, Galatians, and Ephesians, and St. Peter’s first epistle are the books that show you Christ and teach you all that is necessary and salvatory for you to know, even if you…

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Excerpt from “Standing to Declare” in The Soul of a Nation


“Wording the world is precisely what God does when He creates it.”

Originally posted on The Soul of a Nation: America as a Tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood:

The Soul of a Nation: available for order by the end of November!

Here is a brief excerpt from The Soul of a Nation: America as a tradition of Inquiry and Nationhood, taken from a section dealing with Stanley Cavell on Ralph Waldo Emerson on the notion of “wording the world” and the public nature of language. There are echoes and resonances of J.L. Austin in here (unsurprising for anyone who reads Cavell), and the whole thing is pointing toward something even more radical than a (mere) indictment of John Locke and his “theory” of property.


Jean Leon Gerome Ferris, “Writing the Declaration of Independence, 1776”

 – Ferris is appreciated these days for his attention to particular detail, though he is unconerned with conveying “accurate” portrayals of the events of history, which form part of his Pageant of a Nation series. I suspect he may have understood better…

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