Tuesday, October 29, 2013

THE CURSE | Super Inc. Cinema

There's bad in all of us.

"It doesn't matter how far you run, there are some demons you just can't escape."

It is impossible to run away from ourselves.

Sin lives in us.

What we want to do we do not do, but instead we do what we hate.

Even though we desire to do what is good, we cannot carry it out.

We want to do good, but evil is right there with us.

Our own bodies wage war against the law known to our minds.

We are wretched men.

Who will rescue us from our bodies of death?

There was a time when the church wasn't sure how to answer that.

It was a time that she became obsessed with earthly treasures, works, and merit.

She tried so hard to please her Lord that she had forgotten that His heart had already been won.

She became obsessed with her appearance, her facade, and her own glory.

She wore indulgences as a make-up to cover the scars of her sin.

She set herself to the fire so that she might be welded and straightened, waiting for the time that all of the imperfections would finally be purged away in the afterlife.

She had forgotten that she had already been made clean.

She had been given a pure garment of salvation and clothed in righteousness.

Her sin had been drown in a Baptismal sea of forgiveness.

The Lamb's blood had bleached away her filth, cleansing her from impurity.

Martin Luther tried to course-correct her.

He confronted her, talked with her, and scolded her.

He warned her of the crooked practices of those who claimed to serve her.

He reminded her that she could not cover up her sin with anything other than the Gospel.

He directed her to love her neighbors instead of her money.

But, sin still lives in us.

It haunts us.

The law plagues us and condemns us with the knowledge of our sin.

We must die to the law so that we might belong to another.
We must not live for works instead of Christ.

We must belong to him who was raised from the dead... in order to bear the fruit of God.

When we were controlled by the sinful nature, sinful passions were at work in our bodies.

We bore the fruit for death.

But now, by dying to what once bound us,
We have been released from the law which condemns us.

We are free to serve in the new way of the Spirit.
Selfless, in Christ.

Who will rescue us from our bodies of death?
Jesus Christ our Lord!

Monday, October 28, 2013

INTRODUCTION | Super Inc. Cinema

The final chapter of Romans is another beginning.

As Paul closes his letter, he encourages the readers to greet those who are close to him 17 times within 13 verses (verses 3-16).

He commends his brothers to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles against their doctrine.

He does not want their hearts to be deceived by someone who does not serve our Lord Christ.

Paul rejoices over his brothers, but he reminds them to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. Because the God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet.

He wants the Romans to carry on, refreshed and renewed.

He wants them to live out the lives of SUPERMEN, as THE REMNANT left loyal to God.

He wants them to live not in THEIR OWN RIGHTEOUSNESS, but in Christ's... To know God's SEVERITY AND KINDNESS.

He wants them to BE TRANSFORMED by God so that through them, Christ's LOVE FULFILLS THE LAW.

He wants them to refrain from STUMBLING over each other, but instead to BEAR THE WEAK.

He wants them to live in Christ's name according to the revelation of the mystery that was kept secret for long ages but has now been disclosed and through the prophetic writings has been made known to all nations, according to the command of the eternal God, to bring about the obedience of faith--to the only wise God be glory forevermore through Jesus Christ! Amen.

No. This is not our end, but our beginning.

***Romans 16.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

The Everlasting Man | Common Man

"No wise man will wish to bring more long words into the world. But it may be allowable to say that we need a new thing; which may be called psychological history.

I mean the consideration of what things meant in the mind of a man, especially an ordinary man; as distinct from what is defined or deduced merely from official forms or political pronouncements...

So long as we neglect this subjective side of history, which may more simply be called the inside of history, there will always be a certain limitation on that science which can be better transcended by art. So long as the historian cannot do that, fiction will be truer than fact. There will be more reality in a novel; yes, even in a historical novel (91-92)."

BEAR THE WEAK | Super Inc. Cinema

Hawkman's origin story is one of the most complicated and profound.

He's a member of an alien race, an intergalactic space-cop, and a person who had once been treated as a god in Egypt... His past doesn't seem to coherently fit together. But, whatever the case may be, he is who he is.

Although, he does not serve or live with his native people, he still does what is just. He protects the innocent, fighting for those who can't fight for themselves.

We also have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves.

Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.

Christ did not please himself, but... 'the reproaches of those who reproached you fell on me.'

What was written in former days was written for our instruction, that through endurance and through the encouragement of the Scriptures we might have hope.

Both Paul and Christ fit into this character's shoes... Paul sharing and Christ becoming the hope of both their own race and a gentile people.

May the God of endurance and encouragement grant us to live in harmony with one another, in accord with Christ Jesus, that together we may with one voice glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ... welcoming one another as Christ has welcomed you, for the glory of God.

Christ has become a servant to even those who had not shared in Abraham's covenant to show God's truthfulness, in order to confirm the promises given to our fathers, in order that all people may glorify God for his mercy.

This is a bold action and Paul follows through by boldly writing because of the grace given to him by God... to be a minister of Christ Jesus to all... It is only in Christ Jesus that anyone may have reason to be proud of their work. Even Paul will not venture to speak of anything except what Christ has accomplished through him to bring even Gentiles to obedience--by word and deed, signs and wonders, by the power of the Spirit of God--...

Thus his ambition is to preach the gospel where it has not been heard.

And, he boldly goes, serving those who are not his own, bearing the weak and building up neighbors, pointing them to Christ.

And, we may boldly go, no matter where to come from, to serve our neighbors, bringing Christ to them.

*** Romans 15.

The Everlasting Man | More than Material

"The materialist theory of history, that all politics and ethics are the expression of economics, is a very simple fallacy indeed. It consists simply of confusing the necessary conditions of life with the normal preoccupations of life, that are quite a different thing...

It will be hard to maintain that the Arctic explorers went north with the same material motive that made the swallows go south. And if you leave things like all the religious wars and all the merely adventurous explorations out of the human story, it will not only cease to be human at all but cease to be a story at all.

The outline of history is made of these decisive curves and angles determined by the will of man. Economic history would not even be history...

But there is a deeper fallacy besides this obvious fact; that men need not live for food merely because they cannot live without food The truth is that the thing most present to the mind of man is not the economic machinery necessary to his existence; but rather that existence itself; the world which he sees when he wakes every morning and the nature of his general position in it.

There is something that is nearer to him than livelihood, and that is life...

They all come back to what a man fundamentally feels, when he looks forth from those strange windows which we call the eyes, upon that strange vision that we call the world. (p.90-91)..."

Friday, October 25, 2013

The Everlasting Man | Common Sense

"Christianity is at one with common sense; but all religious history shows that this common sense perishes except where there is Christianity to preserve it.

It cannot otherwise exist, or at least endure, because mere thought does not remain sane. In a sense it becomes too simple to be sane. The temptation of the philosophers is simplicity rather than subtlety. They are always attracted by insane simplifications, as men poised above abysses are fascinated by death and nothingness and the empty air.

It needed another kind of philosopher to stand poised upon the pinnacle of the Temple and keep his balance without casting himself down (p89)."

Thursday, October 24, 2013

STUMBLING | Super Inc. Cinema

The fulfillment of the law is love. But, what does that love look like?

Love welcomes the weak in faith.
It does not quarrel over opinions.

If one person believes he can eat anything while a weak person only eats vegetables, the one who eats should not despise the one who abstains and the one who abstains should not pass judgment on the one who eats, for God has welcomed him.

Who are you to pass judgment on the servant of another?

It is before his own master that one stands or falls.
He will be upheld, for the Lord is able to make him stand.


This passage, Romans 14, tells us not to let petty arguing hurt our relationships, cancel-out our fellowship, or hinder our faith.

It is not our place to pass judgment over little things.

People will have different perspectives.

One person esteems one day as better than another, while another esteems all days alike. Each one should be fully convinced in his own mind. The one who observes the day, observes it in honor of the Lord. The one who eats, eats in honor of the Lord, since he gives thanks to God, while the one who abstains, abstains in honor of the Lord and gives thanks to God.

None of us lives to himself, and none of us dies to himself.

If we live, we live to the Lord, and if we die, we die to the Lord. So then, whether we live or whether we die, we are the Lord's. To this end Christ died and lived again, that he might be Lord both of the dead and of the living.

The key, then, is the motivation behind the perspective.

It is the faith in the Lord.

That is the mistake the Flash makes today.

Although it is unusual, Flashpoint seems to turn the hero into the villain.

He wanted to change one thing. One. Selfish. Thing.

It might seem selfless or loving, caring or just. But, the baseline is the same: Barry Allen went back in time and saved his mother. This caused a horrendous outcome. It changed the world in ways that he never could have seen coming. He put his faith in his cause, in his moral, in himself.

Instead, he should have been able to trust in God. He should have known that the world is the way it is for a purpose. There is a reason why things happen the way that they do.

He found out the hard way that there are somethings that you can't change... It's just a waist of energy...

So, why do you pass judgment on your brother? ... Why do you despise him? ... We will all stand before the judgment seat of God... giving an account of ourselves to God.

Let us not pass judgment on one another any longer.

We should decide to never put a stumbling block or hindrance in the way of a brother.

We should not be a cause for their doubt.

We should be loving, caring, as Christ is to them, a brother.

Paul was persuaded in the Lord Jesus that nothing is unclean in itself, but it is unclean for anyone who thinks of it unclean. If your brother is grieved by what you eat, you are no longer walking in love. By what you eat, do not destroy the one for whom Christ died. Do not distract them by becoming a hindrance to them.

Do not let what you regard as good be spoken of as evil.

The kingdom of God is not a matter of eating and drinking but of righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit. Whoever thus serves Christ is acceptable to God and approved by men. So, let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.

Do not, for the sake of food destroy the work of God... It is wrong for anyone to make another stumble by what he eats. It is good not to... do anything that causes your brother to stumble.

The faith that you have, keep between yourself and God.

Whatever does not proceed from faith is sin.

It's the motivation that matters.

What motivates you?

***Here's a bonus video for the week.
***This study is on Romans 14.

Monday, October 21, 2013


Paul has described for us how we are transformed to become part of community... But, he doesn't stop there, he continues to explain how we are to react to a life in a body of community, how we react to a life under the government...

Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. There is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God.

Those who resist authorities resist what God has appointed...

Those in the government have been placed there by God Himself.
He has given them the gifts needed, qualifying them for their jobs.

We are to honor that.

But, then why to we glorify the rebel? How do you explain a good amount of uprisings (not to mention Exodus) in the Old Testament?? Why were so many of the Jews waiting for a messiah who would overthrow their leaders and bring in a new earthly kingdom?!?

The clip from above is from Injustice: Gods Among Us. In this game, the DC heroes from the original timeline are brought to an alternate universe where Superman has become an evil dictator, seizing control of the world and killing those who get in his way.

Ares brings Wonder Woman back to the Amazon to tell her what her alternate Amazon sisters are planning on doing (invading as SuperHitler's army, probably pursuing mass murder), she cannot believe her eyes and knows that she must do everything in her power to stop them.... to set things right.

She rebels against SuperHitler's governing authority.

Is that wrong?

First of all, we must realize something. We must not overlook what Paul presupposes a governing authority is: Rulers are not to be a terror against good conduct, but against bad...

If you do what is good, you should receive the government's approval. For rulers are God's servants for our own good. But if we do what is evil we should be afraid, for God has not given the government authority to bear the sword in vain.

The government is meant to be God's avenger, who carries out God's wrath on the wrongdoer.

That is why we are to be subject to it, not only to avoid God's wrath but also for the sake of conscience.

The rebels of our past, Christian warriors and martyrs, reformers and just fighters, leaders and heroes were not mistaken to take their place against the government. Many times, in many ways, sin seeps into the governing bodies. Although, the office and the vocation are instituted by God, just like Saul, our leaders are capable of falling short and abusing their privileged position.

Wonder Woman is justified because SuperHitler has become a terror against good conduct, the opposite of what he was always intended to be.

She reminds her sisters of what the governing bodies were made for.... And, in many ways, what we were made for in our daily lives:

We are to give service, help the innocent, save the lives of friend and foe.

That is our way...

The path that the warriors were about to choose was folly and Wonder Woman insists that:

We are to unite the world's people, lessen man's rages, overcome them with passion and love...

Let us enter battle, but as human kind's protector, not its destroyer.

The governing body that we submit to is one which should be just, seeking punishment for evil, and being in accord with that which is good.

It is too often that we lose sight of that.

Because our government acts on behalf of our Lord, we are to pay taxes as our offering to the secular ministers of God, we are to pay respect to whom respect is owed, and we are to give honor to whom honor is owed.

Above that, we are to owe no one anything except love.

For the one who loves another has fulfilled the law. The commandments, 'You shall not commit adultery, You shall not murder, You shall not steal, You shall not covet,' and any other commandment, are summed up in this word: 'You shall love your neighbor as yourself.'

Love does no wrong to a neighbor; therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.

If you do all you do out of love, the law should be in accord with you.

It pays to implement this now.

Time is of the essence.

For, salvation is nearer to us now than when we first believed... wake from sleep... the night is far gone and the day is at hand... cast off works of darkness... walk properly as in the daytime... sinlessly... put on the Lord Jesus Christ... avoiding selfish desires.

These sins and desires are what get our leaders in trouble in the first place. The first thing that they do wrong is to ignore the first commandment.

But, they are not the only ones. It is all too easy to become distracted, discouraged, and disengaged to our calls.

Still, Christ empowers us to rise up, kill the old Adam, and live in love.

After all, it is only by His grace and His limitless love that we have been saved from the Law.

***This study is on Romans 13.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

BE TRANSFORMED | Super Inc. Cinema

We don't know what to do.

We gawk, we stare, we try our best...

We read, we pray, we do all that we can...

We have been charged to continue in God's kindness...

We present our bodies as living sacrifices, holy, and acceptable to God...

But, we don't even know what that means.

We must no longer be conformed to this world but be transformed...

Transformed by the renewal of our minds... that by testing we may discern what is the will of God... what is good, acceptable, and perfect.

But, we are not perfect.

Perfection comes from beyond our control.

Have you ever noticed that in the Green Lantern, everything is beyond Hal's control??

Through-out the movie Hal Jordan goes from a reckless pilot to a responsible leader. He changes from a womanizer to a man of character. He is transformed from just another average guy to an out-of-this-world hero.

But, none of it is really his choice.

The ring chooses him, the Corps adopts him, the Guardians accept him, Oa changes him.

I could easily start talking about the ignorant savages we are until God, like the lantern, chooses to give life to us; the fire and the trials that we have been through that build our character, just like Hal is poked and prodded as he is given his suit; or the remarkable power that the Gospel bears, compared to the power given to Hal. These things are all true. But, Paul takes us somewhere else.

He takes us back to the bigger picture, he knows it is the Spirit who transforms our lives, but he doesn't dwell on that fact... he dwells on the purpose... the reason... why? Why are we to be transformed?!


When Hal is transformed by the Lantern, it isn't just for his sake. It isn't to make him a better person. It isn't to get him the perfect girl or the dream job. It isn't about him at all.

He is transformed and adopted into a community. He has become one of the Corps. He is a member of the fuller body of life forms chosen to protect their sectors, to serve their communities, to be stewards of their home-worlds.

We are transformed for a similar purpose. As we set ourselves apart to be holy and acceptable to God... living sacrifices... discerning the will of God... we must not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to think. We must be humble... We must have sober judgment according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. We cannot boast to have what we do not have or claim to know what we do not know. We have been made the way we are for a reason. We have a different set of strengths and weaknesses than anyone else.

We are members of a body... not all have the same function.... though we are many and we are varied in our functions, we have become one body in Christ... Having different gifts to be used in different ways.

Could you even picture some alien GL trying to serve Earth's sector??? That would blow peoples' minds.

Because we have been transformed, we are to abhor what is evil, holding fast to what is good... letting love be genuine... loving one another with brotherly affection, outdoing one another in showing honor... we are not called to be slothful, but to be fervent in spirit... to serve the Lord.

We may rejoice in hope, be patient in tribulation, constant in prayer, contributing to the needs of our fellow members and looking to show hospitality... blessing those who persecute us... Rejoicing with those who are rejoicing and weeping with those who are weeping... living in harmony with one another... We must not be prideful or arrogant, but associate with even the lowly... not to repay evil for evil, but to give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all....

To live peaceably with all, if possible...

Not to avenge ourselves, but leaving it to the wrath of God...

If our enemy is hungry, we shall feed him... thirsty, give him something to drink... overcoming evil with good.

This is what community is about.

This is who we have been transformed to be.

Paul doesn't focus on how we got here, or discuss the great length that the Son of God incarnate had to go to show this to us, he doesn't focus on the trials and the means of discerning God's will, he knows we can figure those things out. We've got plenty of other chapters to focus on those things. And, God's will will reveal itself whether we want it to or not.

Here, and now, Paul paints us a picture of who we are meant to be.... who the Holy Spirit has transformed us to be.... But, are we really listening?

He gives us a vision of the heroes we are.

But, how close to those heroes do we really seem to be?

How do we act in community?

****This study is on Romans 12.
***Here's another Super Inc. Devotion on Romans 12:2 with Gambit.
***Here's another Green Lantern Devotion.


Did you see that?!?

Cut off.

 No flinch. No hesitation. No second-guess. .. Only action.

In that one, single, character-defining moment, Aquaman's credentials fly through the roof.

The King of the Sea finds himself chained to a boulder, falling towards a pit of lava, with his one and only son by his side. I believe he would have done anything to save his child.

But, what if the babe wasn't his son?

What if the infant wasn't an heir in line for the throne??

What if the child wasn't even related???

That is what Romans 11:16-24 is about:

Paul's story starts out plain enough. "If the root is holy, so are the branches." Those who he is writing to know that the Jews have always been set apart for God as a holy people. He is holy and so they are holy. He is their God and they are His people. They are his heirs.

"But if some of the branches were broken off," some of His people have fallen away. They have given into idolatry and have denied His incarnation. "and you," the Gentiles, those who have not always been set apart as a holy people who were instead of being part of the tree had become "a wild olive shoot," growing beneath its trunk. These same Gentiles were made into part of the tree. The Gardener had mercy on them and instead of tearing them down and casting them into the fire, He "grafted" them "in among the others" so that they may live. They "now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree" so that they may grow.

God has taken those who have not been His heirs and has grafted them among His faithful.

Still, these new members to the body of the tree are warned, "do not be arrogant toward the branches. If you are, remember it is not you who support the root but the root that supports you." They must not forget their roots or the faith and body that they have now become a part of. They must not forget that all that they have been given is a graceful gift of God.

As they look down from the part of the tree they have now become grafted into, they can see the others, those who have been pruned and fallen aside, cast away. "Then you will say, 'Branches were broken off so that I might be grafted in.' That is true. They were broken off because of their unbelief." How easily they have fallen away and have been...

Cut off.

Paul warns these new heirs not to make the same mistake.

"But you stand fast through faith.
So do not become proud, but stand in awe.

For if God did not spare the natural branches,
neither will he spare you.

Note then the kindness
and the severity of God:
severity toward those who have fallen,
but God's kindness to you,
provided you continue in his kindness.

Otherwise you too will be cut off."

This is the severity and the kindness of God.

Out of His kindness, He cut off a part of Himself to save us.

He sacrificed His all for us, His heir, His Son for us.

The babe fell so that He may see Him in us.

But, then the babe rose proving that the will of God is greater than the will of his adversaries.

Out of His severity, He has cast off those who have denied him.

His reaction is similar to our hero's at the end of the clip, He becomes wrathful toward those who would even dare hinder those whom He loves.

Still, His grace outweighs His wrath. It is still not too late for those branches that have started to rot beneath the tree. "Even they, if they do not continue their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree."

It is never too late, even for those branches that we thought had already been lost.

And, in Christ, we know where we stand with Him.

Although, God is filled with severity and kindness, grace and wrath, Jesus has drank the cup of wrath, He has taken on the severity so that we may know His grace and truth, His kindness and mercy.


***The picture at the end of the clip and with the theme takes place after this event. With Aquaman's water manipulation skills, he is able to re-graft a hand out of water... He took what he once lost, the flesh and blood, and grafted in the water.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Isolation of Religion

"To isolate religion from other topics is, of course, an artificial modern process and tends to violate the assumption that the classical man was the 'whole man,' at least much more of a whole man than modern man is."

Rexine's Religion in Plato and Cicero

Sunday, October 6, 2013


"Come in, sit down, take off your mask."

"Who is that behind the mask?

Why do you feel the need to go out into the world

                                                        and fight people like me?"

Batman has often been defined by the villains he encounters. They tend to be the most complex, malicious, and insane.

This Dark Knight may be the only hero imaginable who can consistently put up with these whack-jobs again and again. He has sworn to protect his city, Gotham, and he is in a never-ending war with villainy over the lives of the innocent. But, even at the end of the day, when the crooks are bagged and tagged, the Bat doesn't kill them.

You could blame this on the death of his parents, that he has seen enough bloodshed to create any more of it himself. But, he knows that keeping these crooks alive will create exponentially more death than putting them out of there misery right then and there. You could say that Bruce Wayne has higher morals, he doesn't kill because he isn't a monster like them, he has a higher standard. But, time and again the Bat sees more of a villain than a hero within himself.

I think the real answer is for the sake of the villain.

Although he roughs them up and pummels them close to death, he never finishes the job. Although he terrifies them he doesn't murder them. When it's all said and done, he's the one to take them to an institution founded to help them to physically and mentally recuperate.

He has the same hope for them as Paul had for those who would not believe:

"My heart's desire and prayer to God for them is that they may be saved."

But, before any forward motion may be made.... they need to stop running in the wrong direction.... to turn around... to "repent." They need to stop fighting the truth... to stop putting up barriers and blockades... They need to be willing to about-face.

Many times, before this can happen, they need to know what they're doing that is wrong.

How can you turn from a sin your don't know you're committing??

They have become too good at seeing their own righteousness.

They make up more, easier, or "better" ways to seek their own salvation... this is often not a salvation to Christ or eternal life with Him. But, a salvation from whatever current predicament they're in. This limited salvation usually just leads them into another predicament and another predicament until they give up on becoming saved or doing what's right for themselves at all.

"Do you really think you can win? We'll see..."

"They" are often us.

Paul speaks of the Israelites who have denied Christ, "I bear them witness that they have a zeal for God, but not according to knowledge. For, being ignorant of the righteousness that comes from God, and seeking to establish their own, they did not submit to God's righteousness.

For Christ is the end of the law for righteousness to everyone who believes."

We know that the pieces fit. We were once righteous and may become righteous once again. But, the pieces have fallen away, crumbled down. We try to build them back up, to put Humpty Dumpty back together again.

"Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.

But the righteousness based on faith says, 'Do not say in your heart 'Who will ascend into heaven'' (that is, to bring Christ down) or ''Who will descend into the abyss?'' (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead). But what does it say? 'The word is near you, in your mouth and on your heart.' (that is the word of faith that we proclaim); because if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved... 'Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame...'

'Everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.'"

To submit to God's righteousness would mean to give up our own, pleading guilty before God, admitting that we are lost and have gone astray.

Christ is the only one who is able to put the broken pieces back together again. He is the only one capable of fixing the communication which we have lost with God. He is the only one capable of repairing the schism placed between us. He has traveled from Heaven to Earth to Hell and back... He has ministered, died, and rose for us... something we would never be able to do on our own.

The Lord, Jesus Christ is the only one conceivable to be able to beat the terrors that we face every day. They are too complex, malicious, and insane for anyone else to try to take down on their own. They have become a part of us. They constantly wage war within us. We seek our own righteousness, our own ways out... we trust in gods that are not God... And, we come up empty handed, we fall into a false salvation, a worse predicament.... our only prayer is that we may be saved.

That is why the Word must continually come back to us... Christ builds our relationship with Him.

We must be able to call on Him in whom we have believed... who we have heard... who has been preached... from those sent by Him.

And, we must be sent to preach so that others may hear, believe, and call on Him too.

It is beyond our power, our own righteousness.

But, nothing is beyond His.

*** Bible passages from Romans 10:1-17.

** For more Dark Knight Devotions, click here!!!

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Luther's Education Vocation

Gene Edward Veith’s article entitled “Classical Education as Vocational Education: Luther on the Liberal Arts” (in LOGIA) was able to explain Luther’s drive for educating the masses through the lense of serving his neighbors. He did a remarkable job highlighting the importance of teaching, sharing the two types of content taught, and explaining the difference in Martin Luther’s pupils from the standard pupil before him.

In the first section, Veith reminds the reader that Luther has charged parents to “bring up their children in the fear and knowledge of God” “on peril of losing the divine favor.” The Large Catechism makes a critical point that the responsibilities of the elders include mentoring and teaching the young. Souls are at stake.

With the Reformer’s view of vocation, man would now need to be able to understand both “liberal” and “servile” arts (or studies). To fulfill one’s vocation, they would not only need to be able to take on their manual job, but be able to understand “the skills necessary for a free citizen” to “express himself effectively” and “to conduct himself with honor and wisdom.” Both studies were meant to be an active part of every Christian’s life.

As Luther challenged his predecessor’s view of the royal priesthood of believers, he opened the door to all members of the body of Christ to learn. This included young and old, boys and girls, the servant class and fairer classes. All mankind was meant to know their Creator.

This article helped me see that in many ways, Luther practiced what he believed. His new (really old and less corrupted) view on theology led him to a new view on the way we should live our lives. Like in so many other places, Luther was wise enough to know that there is no reason to divide something that should be whole. He brought both kingdoms back together in the vocation of reshaped education.

Friday, October 4, 2013

Honoring Truth | Luther's Role in Education

It was Aristotle who said, it is our duty to “honor truth above our friends.”[1] He was not the only one. 1800 years later, Martin Luther was born. As the German theologian meditated on the beliefs circling around him, he clung to what he knew and dismantled the beliefs hindering him. He called Reason a whore and spoke of the Ancient Philosophers as traitors. He called his fellow teachers fools and their doctrine heresy. Still, this is what the education system needed.

Luther did not see himself as a master, but as a servant. He knew that the church and the school systems were losing those who they had been formed to help: Common Man. Somewhere along the line, a moat had been dug and a draw-bridge lifted up between the people and the shepherds who were placed there to mentor them.

Part of this was that the teachers became too distracted by things that they could never understand. They became obsessed with studying God and philosophy as something to dissect and reason out instead of something to explore and know. They held on to a tradition of teaching in an unused language. They were speaking Latin to a crowd who only knew German. And, in Luther’s eyes, they had misplaced truth, burying it beneath half-truths and lies. To honor truth, he needed to unbury it, to give it back, to share it as a service to those around him.

The rebel, Martin Luther, then risked his career, life, and soul to get back to the people. He needed them to know truth. They needed an understanding of the basic principles that should drive their lives. They needed to hear what Luther knew how to teach.

Before he was well-known, he gave out pamphlets of his ideas to the public to read, in their own language. He stood up and spoke against the horrific job that other mentors had been doing in their own language. He produced catechisms, literally meaning “books for teaching,” to instruct households and teachers in their own language. He challenged the educated to correct him, to find a solution to the problems that he had found in their teachings and they could not.

The importance of education was passed down from him. A tradition of forming schools and studying truth had begun spreading from his days in Germany all the way to Modern Day America. Here, in the States, the first Lutheran churches were required to have schools. And, most school systems have been strongly influenced by the post-scholastic practice of teaching, adopting the idea to teach both boys and girls to think for themselves. The idea of studying and sharing wisdom with the common man continues. And, truth is explored.[2]


[1] Aristotle’s Nicomachean Ethics I.6
[2] Although Luther and Aristotle tend to clash (Veith calls Aristotle “Luther’s philosophical nemesis”), they do agree on the importance of truth. They just disagree on the reason for its importance. Aristotle drives after truth for its own sake, for his own arrogant stature, to better himself selfishly. Luther finds truth for the benefit of those around him, to love his neighbor, to fulfill his vocation. I hope the difference has been made plane in the paper above.