Posts tagged "Heidelberg Disputation"

Forde Friday: The Law Making Matters Worse

Forde Friday: The Law Making Matters Worse

Kicking off a new weekly feature highlighting the inspiring work of late Lutheran theologian and Mockinghero Gerhard Forde, here’s a memorable portion from one of our absolute favorite volumes, On Being a Theologian of the Cross. The following excerpt is part of his unpacking of the first thesis of Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation (“The law of God, the most salutary doctrine of life, cannot advance humans on their way to righteousness, but rather hinders them.”). Don’t let the historical context put you off, Forde has an incredible knack for breathing life, excitement and pastoral sensitivity into Reformation texts:

The law ‘Thou…

Read More »

Gerhard Forde on the Creative Love of God and the Great Reversal

Gerhard Forde on the Creative Love of God and the Great Reversal

A few choice excerpts from the closing section of Mbird cornerstone On Being a Theologian of the Cross: Reflections on Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, 1518, pgs 105-115:

Aristotle sets forth commonsense human wisdom about good works. What he says certainly seems meet, right and salutory. We learn to play the piano only by practicing, we learn a skill only by doing. This is the wisdom by which the world runs. It is what lawmakers try to inculcate. But not here… The cross has reversed everything. The foolishness of God in the cross is wiser than the wisdom of the world. The righteousness…

Read More »

For the Love of Gerhard Forde (and The Cardigans)

For the Love of Gerhard Forde (and The Cardigans)

From page 107 of his classic On Being a Theologian of the Cross, in reference to Thesis 26 of Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation:

“We see that the law simply cannot bring into being what it commands…The law says, ‘Thou shalt love!’ It is right; it is ‘holy, true, good’. Yet it can’t bring about what it demands. It might impel toward the works of the law, the motions of love, but in the end they will become irksome and will all too often lead to hate. If we go up to someone on the street, grab them…

Read More »

Human Righteousness as performed by The Portsmouth Sinfonia

Human Righteousness as performed by The Portsmouth Sinfonia

Have you heard the Portsmouth Sinfonia?

You see, The Portsmouth Sinfonia was founded by an English art school in 1970. Oddly, its primary requirement was that the musicians not be…well… musicians, or at least not play the instrument to which they were assigned. This reminds me of what I put my parents through for nine years of semi-annual school orchestra concerts (not to mention practices).

But why expose anyone to this abysmal cacophony of Nixon era ear horror? Because they took it seriously. Just as we take seriously our daily moral efforts and supposed petty superiorities. The music presents itself as…

Read More »

The Darjeeling Limited and The Theology of the Cross

The Darjeeling Limited and The Theology of the Cross

Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited was released on Criterion two weeks ago, and if you know what’s good for you, you’ll add it to your Christmas list post-haste. It’s a beautiful edition of a beautiful movie that boasts surprising, albeit inadvertent theological resonance. I’m serious. Even if you find Wes’ films overly stylized or precious (or whatever people say about him – I obviously worship the guy), or if you wrote the film off as a tedious feature-length tribute to Satyajit Ray, I encourage you to look again. There is much to appreciate here.

The film tells the story of three…

Read More »

Double Rainbow Guy and Thesis 19 of the Heidelberg Disputation

Heidelberg Disputation: Thesis 19 –> That person does not deserve to be called a theologian who looks upon the invisible things of God as though they were clearly perceptible in those things that have actually happened (or have been made, created).

Have you watched this hilarious ode to Pantheism: the double rainbow guy? 

At a few points he says, “I don’t know what it means,” a sentiment that betrays the deep desire humans have to interpret God, to read the omens, and to turn religion into superstition.  Faith is not trusting God to work in ways that we can easily make sense…

Read More »

325 Days of Lent: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

325 Days of Lent: "Father, into your hands I commit my spirit."

Like all of the seven last words of Jesus, these have provided Christians comfort throughout the ages. And they should, writes Hauerwas, “but that the words comfort us should not hide from us that these last words of Jesus before his death name his willingness to embrace the ice-cold silence of hell. Accordingly these words, ‘Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit,’ are every bit as frightening as Jesus’ prior cry of abandonment. Jesus is not comforting himself; he is gesturing to the Father that he is ready to face the final work that only Jesus can do. ….

Read More »

Don’t Call It A Comeback: The American Music Awards, Mickey Rourke, and the Thirst for Glory

Don’t Call It A Comeback: The American Music Awards, Mickey Rourke, and the Thirst for Glory

A couple of nights ago I watched the American Music Awards with my wife, and we were struck by all of the “comeback” stories in the entertainment world. Michael Jackson was up for 5 awards including Artist of the Year. He didn’t win that one, but he did win a bunch of others. His sister Janet opened up the show with a performance honoring him, which is kind of a “comeback” in and of itself. Eminem, who recently returned to recording after years of debilitating drug addiction, was up for Rap Album of the Year, which he did not win,…

Read More »

What Can you Do?

What Can you Do?

I have recently gone back to school and one of the courses I am taking this semester is centred around the theology of the reformers, specifically that of Luther and Calvin. In class this past week, we were discussing the bound will from Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation, and of course the topic of semi-Pelagianism came up. One of my classmates used an illustration to explain this heresy that is too good not to share with you on Mockingbird.

He pointed out that a semi-Pelagian sees God like the Home Depot store whose tagline is “You can do it, we can help”….

Read More »

The Power of "Free"

The Power of "Free"

In a recent issue of the New Yorker, Malcolm Gladwell (of Tipping Point fame) writes a not-too-flattering review of Chris Anderson’ new book Free: The Future of a Radical Price, which is about the trend towards “freeness” in technological products and services and the psychological significance and impact of “free.”

One passage from the article (cited from the book) caught my eye:

“From the consumer’s perspective, there is a huge difference between cheap and free,” Anderson writes. “Give a product away, and it can go viral. Charge a single cent for it and you’re in an entirely different business. . . ….

Read More »

Theologians of Glory vs. Theologians of the Cross: An Intro and Definition

Theologians of Glory vs. Theologians of the Cross: An Intro and Definition

Here at Mockingbird we use the terms “theology/theologian of the cross” and “theology/theologian of glory” quite a bit. As a result, we thought they would be the perfect terms to explore this week.

In order to do so, I want to reference the late, great theologian Gerhard O. Forde. I think his definitions of the two terms found in his excellent work On Being a Theologian of the Cross (an in depth look at Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation) are just about perfect. SO, away we go!

Theologians of Glory – “operate on the assumption that what we need…

Read More »

The Gospel According to Pixar: Toy Story

The Gospel According to Pixar: Toy Story

For those who haven’t seen the movie (it is 17 years old!), Toy Story is a tale about the secret lives of Andy’s toys. Whenever Andy leaves, a whole unknown toy world comes to life. This is a world of staff meetings, checker games, friends, and Plastic corrosion awareness meetings. Andy’s favorite toy is Woody, an old pull-string cowboy. Woody enjoys a charmed life of love and personal prestige. Yet in one day he loses all of this as Andy is given a new Buzz Lightyear Space Ranger toy for his birthday. Woody is a character that has lost his…

Read More »