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Posts tagged "St Paul"

Rest for the Fickle

Rest for the Fickle

We’re fickle. Human beings are fickle. You and I both know it and we’re free to confess it. Our hearts and minds easily change orientation and preferences by the mere shifting of the wind, our hearts and minds have a difficulty staying the course, being constant in our loyalty and affections.

I do want to be clear that I don’t think all moments of changing our mind are bad; sometimes our propensity toward changing our mind isn’t necessarily a bad thing; there are times receiving new information and incorporating it into our database of knowledge is good, in fact it’s an…

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Another Week Ends: St. Paul’s Gift, Princeton’s Fifth Quintile, Biden’s Kierkegaard, Russia’s Soul, Pixar’s SadLab, and the Peak of Television

Another Week Ends: St. Paul’s Gift, Princeton’s Fifth Quintile, Biden’s Kierkegaard, Russia’s Soul, Pixar’s SadLab, and the Peak of Television

1) After the seriously powerful interview Colbert conducted with Vice President Joe Biden, Quartz did a closer look on the guiding philosophy that helped Biden endure the loss of his son Beau. If you’ve not watched the interview, well, go ahead and do that, but Biden describes a note that his wife left him on his mirror, which read, “Faith sees best in the dark,” which comes from Kierkegaard.

Apparently, says Joel Rasmussen of Kierkegaard’s phrase, this is the paradoxical power of Christianity in the human occasion of suffering.

“One sees a kind of goodness coming out of this darkness but, as…

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A Reading from St. Paul's Letter to American Christians

A Reading from St. Paul’s Letter to American Christians

Excerpted from Martin Luther King Jr.’s book, Strength to Love:

“I would like to share with you an imaginary letter from the pen of the Apostle Paul. The postmark reveals that it comes from the port city of Troas. On opening the letter I discovered that it was written in Greek rather than in English. After working assiduously with the translation for several weeks, I think I have now deciphered its true meaning. If the content of this epistle sounds strangely Kingian instead of Paulinian, attribute it to my lack of complete objectivity rather than Paul’s lack of clarity. Here is…

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False Starts in the Problem of Jesus and Paul, Pt 2

False Starts in the Problem of Jesus and Paul, Pt 2

This is the second of three posts examining the possible relationship between Paul of Tarsus and the historical Jesus.

The previous post broadly outlined the problem of the historical Jesus and his relationship to Paul the apostle. I noted Paul’s apparent indifference toward Jesus’ message, the conceptual dissimilarity between Paul’s doctrine of justification and Jesus’ kingdom of God (to recall one example), and most importantly, the requirement of historical Jesus studies to separate Jesus’ words from later confessions about Jesus. Consequently, many have construed the relationship between Jesus and Paul in antithetical terms – one may choose either Paul or…

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The Law and Death of Replacement Referees

The Law and Death of Replacement Referees

The internet exploded yesterday. At least, the sports corner of it did. For those not in the know, the NFL has been operating this season with replacement referees, having locked out the unionized regular refs in a contract dispute. The replacements have performed, depending on whom you ask, anywhere from “predictably shaky” to “seismically catastrophic.”  Monday Night’s performance, though, was one for the ages.  Calls were missed or made incorrectly all game long, but the coup de grace was a time-expired Hail Mary pass that seemed, in replay, to be awarded to the wrong team, completely altering the outcome of…

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The Cross As Moral Striving?

The Cross As Moral Striving?

Bad PR dies hard. Somehow, the word got out that Christianity is about moral reform and our inner 2nd-grade, grumpy-pants teacher has been looking over our shoulders ever since. Despite the insistence of St. Paul, Luther, Calvin and a host of other Reformers, faithful laymen and preachers that we’re free in Christ, we’ve had a 2,000 year battle on our hands. Just think of the many bumper-sticker falsehoods floating around. You know, “Do your best, and God does the rest. “Just follow your heart”. Or America’s favorite (non) verse “God helps those who help themselves.” The sentiment is always the…

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Sigmund Freud and the Moral Importance of Emotional Transparency

Sigmund Freud and the Moral Importance of Emotional Transparency

For whatever reason, it’s never been fashionable to note the uncanny congruencies between Sigmund Freud and St. Paul. Yet they are there if you look: they both assert that ‘inheritance’ is a key factor in human behavior, they both paint the inner life as a conflict between forces over which we don’t necessarily always have control. In fact, the more one studies Freudian categories, the more eerily the concept of the ‘superego’ dovetails with Paul’s understanding ‘conscience’ or ‘Law,’ ‘id’ with ‘flesh,’ etc. The parallels are limited, of course, as the two men come to radically different conclusions on the…

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Norway and the Gospel: A Christian Response to World War IV

Norway and the Gospel: A Christian Response to World War IV

It has been a very intense week in the news, to say the least. While Obama and Boehner battle it out for the soul of the United States in the latest round of the American “culture wars,” the Norwegian tragedy draws our attention to what is truly the next great global conflict, what some are calling World War IV. The complicated, often violent encounter between the “Judeo-Christian” West and Islam is causing European Countries to question their decades-long commitment to multiculturalism and to more thoughtfully consider what it means to be European, even while they abandon the Christian heritage of…

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Hannah Arendt Explains Paul's Discovery

Hannah Arendt Explains Paul’s Discovery

By popular demand, a couple more quotations taken from the chapter “The Apostle Paul and the Impotence of the Will” in the second volume of her The Life of the Mind:

The Apostle Paul’s discovery, which he describes in great detail in the Letter to the Romans, again concerns a two-in-one, but these two are not friends or partners; they are in constant struggle with each other. Precisely when he “wants to do right (to kalon),” he finds that “evil lies close at hand” (7:21), for “if the law had not said, ‘You shall not covet,’” he “should not have…

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Hannah Arendt on Jesus' and Paul's Conception(s) of the Law

Hannah Arendt on Jesus’ and Paul’s Conception(s) of the Law

Another quotation taken from the chapter “The Apostle Paul and the Impotence of the Will” in the second volume of her The Life of the Mind, pgs 66-68:

Paul was certainly aware of the radical turn the old demand to fulfill the law had taken in the teaching of Jesus of Nazareth. And he may well have suddenly understood that in this lay the law’s only true fulfillment, and then have found out that such fulfillment was beyond human power: it led to an I-will-but-cannot, even though Jesus himself seems never to have told any of his followers that they could…

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Hannah Arendt on St Paul's Conception of the Will (and Counter-Will)

Hannah Arendt on St Paul’s Conception of the Will (and Counter-Will)

The first of several quotes we’ll be reproducing from the seminal philosopher’s chapter “The Apostle Paul and the impotence of the Will” in the second volume of The Life of the Mind:

The Will, split and automatically producing its own counter-will, is in need of being healed, of becoming one again. Like thinking, willing has split the one into a two-in-one, but for the thinking ego a “healing” of the split would be the worst thing that could happen; it would put an end to thinking altogether. Well, it would be very tempting to conclude that divine mercy, Paul’s solution for…

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Leonard Cohen – The Future

My favorite Leonard Cohen song, for obvious reasons: an apocalyptic tour-de-force, complete with a cameo from St Paul and Christ presented as mankind’s only hope. Like many of Cohen’s songs, I much prefer it when covered by another artist – if you can get past the uncensored first verse, Teddy Thompson’s version from the I’m Your Man soundtrack is particularly fine. But here’s the man himself performing the song just after it came out, with the obscene lyrics thankfully modified for public consumption. I’ve included the most Mbird-friendly portions below.

Give me back my broken nightMy mirrored room, my secret…

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