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Reformation

Pobody's Nerfect: On Performance Anxiety and (Not) Giving Advice from the Pulpit

Pobody’s Nerfect: On Performance Anxiety and (Not) Giving Advice from the Pulpit

With both the Reformation’s quincentennial kickoff and our DC conference mere weeks away, we’ve put our feelers out for all things smacking of the reason for the season, that “harsh doctor,” Martin Luther. Today we were pleased to find just that from our friend Phillip Cary, who is featured in the latest issue of First Things. Below I’ve re-posted a handful of memorable excerpts from his piece “Luther at 500” (ht RS):

The great pastoral aim of Luther’s doctrine of justification is to free us from the kind of performance anxiety that arises whenever our salvation depends in any way on us, our hearts,…

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Reformation Celebration: I Will Drink Your Tears With My Champagne

Reformation Celebration: I Will Drink Your Tears With My Champagne

In late October, every year, without fail, a group of well-meaning people (men) in mainline denominations go into an official state of mourning because the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation is fast approaching. They bemoan (this particular) schism in the church. They talk a lot about Christian Unity (preferably with people who vote the same way they do).

This October is going to be especially difficult for them, because it marks the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation. Sad.

Meanwhile, the Rev. Mrs. Condon (wife of the Rev. Mr. Condon) will be somewhere all:

I first noticed this we-don’t-feel-good-about-the-Reformation gang when I was in…

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Is There Any Comfort? Remembering the Reformation 500 Years Later

Is There Any Comfort? Remembering the Reformation 500 Years Later

We are now less than a month out from our upcoming conference in D.C.! Come celebrate 500 years of grace with us, October 27-29—you can register here.

With the Reformation on the brain, here is a fantastic piece written by our friend, Jonathan A. Linebaugh.

In 1519, Thomas Bilney sat in a small Cambridge college with a book in his hands. It had been two years since a German monk named Martin Luther was said to have nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the church door in Wittenberg—hammer blows that were later remembered as the start of the Reformation and were rumored to have shaken…

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What Made Paul Tillich a Conscious Protestant

A timely dose of the controversial theologian doing what he did best, i.e. taking the theology of the cross to its existential limits. Via the introduction to The Protestant Era:

“You cannot reach God by the work of right thinking or by a sacrifice of the intellect or by a submission to strange authorities, [ed: religious or not]… You cannot, and you are not even asked to try it. Neither works of piety nor works of morality nor works of the intellect establish unity with God. They follow from this unity, but they do not make it. They even prevent it if you try to reach it through them. But just as you are justified as a sinner (though unjust, you are just), so in the status of doubt you are in the status of truth. And if all this comes together and you are desperate about the meaning of life, the seriousness of your despair is the expression of the meaning in which you still are living. This unconditional seriousness is the expression of the presence of the divine in the expression of utter separation from it. It is this radical and universal interpretation of the doctrine of justification through faith which has made me a conscious Protestant.” (pg XV)

Yet Another "New Start": Karl Holl on Luther's Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

Yet Another “New Start”: Karl Holl on Luther’s Vigorous Reinterpretation of the Christian Life

The following is an excerpt from Karl Holl’s booklength essay, “What Did Luther Understand by Religion?” (trans. Meuser & Wietzke) in which Holl draws out Luther’s theology beginning with his history. As you’ll see, Holl maintains a refreshing emphasis on everyday heart-level matters, compared to other scholars of his caliber. Still, you might want to put on your academic spectacles for this one—but it’s worth it. I started transcribing the first paragraph and just couldn’t stop there. Enjoy!

Like Jesus, [Luther] tried to show his contemporaries that their apparently intense piety, the piety of good works, devotions, and mortifications, was actually…

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Champions She Shall Never Want

Champions She Shall Never Want

I recently decided to leave Mockingbird. I do not mean that I was convinced over a bourbon-fueled colloquy with a recent Catholic convert that Sylvester Prierias was unimpeachably correct to respond to Luther’s attack on indulgences by defending papal authority. Nor do I mean that I brushed up on recent Pauline scholarship and determined that Luther’s existential read of Romans is passé. Least of all do I mean, by leaving Mockingbird, that the Mainline Protestant status quo—with its newfangled gospels—holds any lingering appeal. By leaving Mockingbird, I simply mean to relate what it was like, just a few months ago…

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Sin Boldly? Really? – Mark Braaten

Next breakout from Tyler is here! This one arrives courtesy of our friend Pastor Mark Braaten of Our Savior’s Lutheran Church down there, who gives a terrific primer on the anniversary at hand. Apologies for the audio, which comes in and out a bit:

Sin Boldly? Really? ~ Mark Braaten from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Dear Reformation, It’s Not You It’s Me: Theology We Love to Hate – Sarah Condon

The first video from Tyler is here! And as you’ll see, the footage fills in a number of blanks from the recording, so if you’ve yet to listen to the audio, definitely start here. The good Rev. Condon brought the house down – truly one for the ages (and an immediate addition to the “I’m New Here” page). Asshats not included sadly:

Dear Reformation, It’s Not You, It’s Me: Theology We Love to Hate ~ Sarah Condon from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

P.S. We’ll have PZ’s opening talk soon – the separate venue made for a slight delay.

Mockingbird on a Wire: Grace Across the Church Divide

Mockingbird on a Wire: Grace Across the Church Divide

I imagine there are some enthusiastic Mockingbird recruits out there, but I feel drafted. Visiting the Limelight Marketplace – a onetime church turned legendary nightclub turned bourgeois boutique (which advertises a “slice of heaven” from its gourmet pizza shop) – was my Protestant rock bottom. Limelight is not far from where I had attended Father Richard John Neuhaus’ funeral, who had been keen (as he was everyone) to see me come home to Rome.

Wandering the Manhattan streets after seeing the shell of Protestantism flagrantly capitulate to consumerism, my eyes spotted St. George’s, a church which I had never visited. Church…

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The Pastor in the Batter's Box

The Pastor in the Batter’s Box

Get your elbows up! Watch the ball! Bend your knees! Be a hitter! Keep your elbows down! Choke up on the bat! Jump on that fastball! Wait for your pitch!

I remember standing in that little league batter’s box, with coaches and random parents and teammates all yelling their well-meaning directives to me at the same time. And I wanted to please them all. I wanted with all my 9 year old body to actualize all their shouted instructions simultaneously — even when they contradicted one another. But most of the time, I felt practically paralyzed by their imperatives. The…

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Happy Reformation Day! Special Podcast and Round-Up

When I realized the law was one thing, and the gospel another, I broke through and was free. – M. Luther

21. Believe it or not, this week marks not only 499 years since the Protestant Reformation kicked off, but one year since The Mockingcast did. Coincidence?! You decide… In commemoration of both anniversaries (but mainly the former one), we put together a special episode. Scott, Sarah and myself open the festivities before handing the mic to Duo Dickinson and Paul Zahl for an extended reflection on the meaning of the day. Click here to listen.

2. Over at 1517 Project, our friend Scott Keith put together a super accessible guide to “Just What Are the Five Solas of The Reformation”. A great refresher for today.

3. Be sure to take a gander at Nick Lannon’s wonderful “Merry Halloween” post if you haven’t recently. A seasonal favorite for sure. Click here to peruse our Martin Luther archive, too.

4. On the grace-in-practice front, pretty amazing to read about Pope Francis’ trip to Sweden to celebrate the 500th Anniversary.

5. Mark your calendars for October 19-21, which is when the Here We Still Stand: A Reformation Conference takes place in San Diego. I’ll be there, and hope you will be too.

6. Don’t forget the Luther Insult Generator.

More as the day progresses.

P.S. Huge thank you to all those who helped make this past weekend’s conference in Oklahoma City such a beautiful time! Recordings will be available soon.

How to Snub Christ (According to Martin Luther)

As the countdown to Reformation Day (10/31) continues, a quick word from the Great Reformer’s commentary on Galatians:

Men fast, pray, watch, suffer. They intend to appease the wrath of God and to deserve God’s grace by their exertions. But there is no glory in it for God, because by their exertions these workers pronounce God an unmerciful slave driver, an unfaithful and angry Judge. They despise God, make a liar out of Him, snub Christ and all His benefits; in short they pull God from His throne and perch themselves on it.