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Posts tagged "Thomas Cranmer"


No, Actually, I Don’t Work Out: Good News for Unwilling Hearts (A DC Conference Preview)

I don’t have any acquired tastes. I don’t drink coffee, or smoke a pipe, or do anything else that I didn’t like the first time. And no, actually, I don’t work out, either. I used to think that I was just weak…but now I’ve realized that while I am weak, I’m not just weak. I am also human.

Thomas Cranmer, the English Reformer and first Protestant Archbishop of Canterbury, knew a lot about this connection between weakness and humanity. When he was formulating the theological expressions of the post-Reformational church in England, he realized that the old way—which, of course, remains the predominant way—of thinking about the human person was completely backward and insufficient to explain the struggles of real life.

So, as a good reformer might, he reformed it.

I’m so looking forward to Mockingbird’s Washington DC conference at the end of this month (Oct 27-28), celebrating 500 years of grace, the anniversary of the Protestant Reformation. My talk is entitled “No Actually, I Don’t Work Out: Good News for Unwilling Hearts” and in it, I’ll attempt to translate the Reformation insight about the human person—that we are way more bound and twisted than we ever thought we were—into Good News for sinful people 500 years later. To do it, I’ll talk about a couple of episodes from the life of the Apostle Peter, discuss the (very real) Crotchety Associate Rector Syndrome, lament the fact that gyms have mirrored walls, fix WWJD bracelets, and confess weakness in the face of Oreos and General Tso’s Chicken. Through all that—and the Reformational lens—a portrait will appear: a savior God who came to Earth, not waiting for the weak to become strong or for the sinners to become saints…a Christ who came to set the captives free.

Click here to register for our Fall Conference in DC on October 27-28—you won’t want to miss it!

Devastating and Hopeful: Collect for the Second Sunday of Lent

Devastating and Hopeful: Collect for the Second Sunday of Lent

Looking through our archives the other day, I was surprised to discover that we’ve never posted an excerpt from The Collects of Thomas Cranmer by Paul Zahl and Fred Barbee. It’s a wonderful little book, really more of a devotional, and not just for those who are interested in Cranmer’s prayers or the Anglican tradition. Take for instance the meditation on the collect for the Second Sunday in Lent (this past Sunday):

The Collect: Almighty God, which doest see that we have no power of ourselves to help ourselves; keep thou us both outwardly in our bodies, and inwardly in our souls;…

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Thomas Cranmer’s Gospel of Divine Allurement – Ashley Null

The fun never ends! Here’s Dr. Null’s presentation from our NYC Conference, which was delivered immediately after Tim Kreider’s. It was quite dramatic:

Thomas Cranmer’s Gospel of Divine Allurement ~ Ashley Null from Mockingbird on Vimeo.

Reviewing The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography

Reviewing The Book of Common Prayer: A Biography

I was honored a few months ago to be asked to review Alan Jacobs’ new biography of The Book of Common Prayer for Modern Reformation magazine, one of my/our favorite periodicals. Seeing as the issue in which it appears just hit stands (May-June), here’s a generous portion of the article. Be sure to head over to Mod Ref and subscribe to read the whole thing:

To borrow a phrase from faux fashion icon Mugatu in Ben Stiller’s film Zoolander, liturgy is so hot right now. A minister at an evangelical Congregational church in Massachusetts uses The Book of Common Prayer at every…

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NOW AVAILABLE! Comfortable Words: Essays in Honor of Paul F. M. Zahl

NOW AVAILABLE! Comfortable Words: Essays in Honor of Paul F. M. Zahl

Talk about a double whammy! As promised, here’s the second part of our PZ-centric month at Mbird. This project has been in the works for quite some time–ever since the father figure in question hit the big 6-0 in fact–and we are absolutely thrilled it is finally available! Edited with care and precision by John Koch (aka JDK) and Todd Brewer (aka Todd Brewer), published by Wipf and Stock, and containing entries from a slew of Mbird contributors (and many other esteemed colleagues!), not to mention a preface from Tullian Tchividjian, this is something special indeed. After all, it’s not…

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Sorry Not Sorry

Sorry Not Sorry

The Vances lived in number seven. They had a different father and mother. They were Eileen’s father and mother. When they were grown up he was going to marry Eileen. He hid under the table. His mother said:

— O, Stephen will apologize.

Dante said:

— O, if not, the eagles will come and pull out his eyes.–

Pull out his eyes,
Apologize,
Apologize,
Pull out his eyes.
Apologize,
Pull out his eyes,
Pull out his eyes,
Apologize.

James Joyce, Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man, Chapter 1

Apologies are not hard; they are impossible. From the time we are children, we are forced to say that we’re sorry for things…

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A Reformational History of the English Reformation, Part 1

A Reformational History of the English Reformation, Part 1

In eager anticipation of the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation (not to happen, incidentally, for another five years), we’re doing a short, slightly speculative series on a Reformational history of the English Reformation. It also doubles as a book review of Hilary Mantel’s fantastic, Booker-winning Wolf Hall, the source for a fair amount of the detail here:

King Henry the VIII had earned the title “Defender of the Faith” for his jeremiads against the burgeoning Lutheran movement in central Europe. God-fearing in a quite literal way, it seems he valued theology highly, was constantly nervous about the threat of divine…

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Another Week Ends: Randy Travis, Prayer Book Poetry, Sanford's Tutorial, Ethical Blind Spots, Breaking Bad, Bernie, Glorious Ruin and Cville Conf Update

Another Week Ends: Randy Travis, Prayer Book Poetry, Sanford’s Tutorial, Ethical Blind Spots, Breaking Bad, Bernie, Glorious Ruin and Cville Conf Update

1. An amazing, amazing article about Randy Travis appeared on The Atlantic, trying to make sense of the country singer’s hellish year. You may know that in August he was booked for a DUI after being found naked on the side of the road (his truck in the middle of a nearby field), and then last week he was jailed following a fistfight outside a church. Writer Anthony Easton looks at Randy’s dramatic ups and downs via the two most tried and true narratives about alcoholism in country music: you’re either delivered by God or you die. Easton notes how…

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Ideas or the Human Heart?

Ideas or the Human Heart?

From a BBC news flash yesterday:

Pope Benedict has rejected the idea of collective Jewish guilt for Jesus Christ’s death, in a new book to be published next week.

Tackling an issue that has led to centuries of persecution, the Pope argues there is no basis in scripture for the Jewish people to be blamed.

It’s a good thing for the Pope to say this, of course. But the BBC article (read it here) is misleading in that it repeatedly gives the casual reader the impression that this idea is the result of groundbreaking exegetical research. That’s of course always going to be…

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Thomas Cranmer on Justification by Faith

Thomas Cranmer on Justification by Faith

 “This proposition – that we be justified by faith only, freely, and without works – is spoken in order to take away clearly all merit of our works, as being insufficient to deserve our justification at God’s hands; and thereby most plainly to express the weakness of man and the goodness of God, the imperfectness of our own works and the most abundant grace of our Saviour Christ; and thereby wholly to ascribe the merit and deserving of our justification unto Christ only and his most precious blood-shedding.

“This faith the Holy Scripture teacheth; this is the strong rock and foundation…

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What the Heart Loves, the Will Chooses and the Mind Justifies: Ashley Null on Thomas Cranmer

What the Heart Loves, the Will Chooses and the Mind Justifies: Ashley Null on Thomas Cranmer

In 2001, in conjunction with the 450th anniversary of the second/canonical edition of The Book of Common Prayer, one of the world’s leading authorities on the English Reformation, Dr. Ashley Null, was interviewed about the life and theology of its author, Thomas Cranmer. Dr. Null coined what may be our favorite distillation of Protestant anthropology ever uttered, the one that rightly positions Cranmer (along with Christ, St Paul, Augustine, Luther, etc) as something of a social science prophet. Eat your, um, heart out, Jonathan Haidt!

“According to Cranmer’s anthropology, what the heart loves, the will chooses, and the mind justifies. The…

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Gimme Little Sign — Thomas Cranmer and Brenton Wood

“Sacraments ordained of Christ be not only badges or tokens of Christian men’s profession, but rather they be certain sure witnesses, and effectual signs of grace, and God’s good will towards us….”— Thomas Cranmer, Article XXV

“But if you need me, show me that you love meAnd when I’m feeling down, wearing a frownYou be there when I look around…Just gimme some kind of sign….”— Brenton Wood, “Gimme Little Sign”

Nice to know that both guys understood the same thing: that we need a little sign, made just for us, if we are going to believe Somebody loves us. BW grooves…

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