Lutheran susceptibility to memes: “Use” of the Law

[Written January 2016 as an extended sidebar to this piece; published February 2017; not polished; sort of ends abruptly] Same question: what would the point be in insisting on the dichotomy of “God uses the Law; you do not”? Well,… Continue Reading

Technopoly’s Reverence for Statistics and Polls

From Neil Postman’s Technopoly: The Surrender of Culture to Technology (New York: Vintage Books/Random House, 1993); Chapter 8, “Invisible Technologies.” Apropros of the sustained effort of fraudulent wish-projection by “the polling industry” (excepting Kellyanne Conway), i.e., the reason why President-elect Donald Trump’s… Continue Reading

Beauty, The Churches of Peace, and What We Build Instead

The Silesian Churches of Peace The above is a friend’s response on seeing some pictures of the “Churches of Peace.” Never heard of the Churches of Peace? That’s alright. Here’s the relevant info from the Wiki: The Churches of Peace (Polish:… Continue Reading

Who uses the Law, God or Man?

[Related: “Mathew Block, the Formula of Concord, and more on who’s using the using”] In the contemporary debate regarding the three uses of God’s Law a certain assertion is frequently made. Interestingly, it doesn’t seem to be unique to one side… Continue Reading

Luther on the two kinds of righteousness in Great Galatians

Maybe you’re a Lutheran who doesn’t much like the idea of a “two kinds of righteousness” paradigm. That’s fine— I’m sorta kinda with you, as the only “paradigms” I genuinely like are the kind that help the kiddos learn their… Continue Reading

Should Christian Couples Use Contraception? What the Bible, the Church’s Witness, and Natural Law Have to Say about Birth Control

“Unfortunately, it seems like most Christians either fall into the trap of either ignoring what the Scriptures say about the family and the blessing of children or go to the opposite extreme and try to infer all kinds of strange… Continue Reading

Social media, universal human insanity, and loving your neighbor

“What other people say about you is none of your business.” Once upon a time in college, a wise friend of mine, quoting her wise mother, shared this pearl with me. When she first dropped it, I didn’t think it… Continue Reading

“When will the Gospel Drop?” A brief reflection on Lutheran preaching clichés.

Whether one skims their endings or peruses his sermons in their entirety, one is hard pressed to read the sermons of Martin Luther and not feel that he approached the homiletical task rather differently than many of today’s Predigern in the church… Continue Reading

Risks of Living in the Gomorrah-Camelot Greater Metro-area

Two scans, some photo stitching, and about an hour of airbrushing later, it’s done. The above image is the 10.5″ x 14″ cover of one of my precious rare finds: a December 26, 1955 special issue of LIFE magazine on… Continue Reading

Monarchy, Confederacy, and the Failed American Experiment

I don’t frequent discussions of politics these days, although I used to be (or at least imagined myself to be) quite the politico when I was in high school and college. Still, people who didn’t know me then but know… Continue Reading

What is the “New Man”?

“[W]e speak of such faith as is not an idle thought, but of that which liberates from death and produces a new life in hearts— that is, faith is such a new light, life, and force in the heart as to… Continue Reading

The popular, but flawed, interpretation of Luther’s “simul” doctrine

(NB: I’ve been working on a more formal article on Martin Luther’s use of the phrase “simul iustus et peccator” for a few months now, so this topic has been on my mind a lot. Please bear with me; what… Continue Reading

Some thoughts on existentialism and reason in theology + Meditation XXXVIII by Gerhard

Nota Bene: What follows is sort of a diatribe. If you clicked on this link because you want to read some Gerhard, scroll down; I won’t be offended. Heck, I won’t even know! I have a soft spot in my… Continue Reading

John Jeremiah Sullivan: “Christian rock is a musical genre…that has excellence-proofed itself.”

Wikimusic Frank Hart 09-26-13 from FiveTwo on Vimeo. Quoting John Jeremiah Sullivan; starting in medias res… For their encore, Jars of Clay did a cover of U2’s “All I Want Is You.” It was bluesy. That’s the last thing I’ll… Continue Reading

John Henry Newman: “The Bearing of Theology on Other Branches of Knowledge”; The Idea of a University; Discourse III, Pars vii

“The Bearing of Theology on Other Branches of Knowledge”; The Idea of a University; Discourse III, Pars vii: Now what is Theology? First, I will tell you what it is not. And here, in the first place (though of course I… Continue Reading

Cartesian States of America: Alexis de Tocqueville on the philosophic habits of Americans

From Democracy in America (Alexis de Tocqueville, trans. Harvey Mansfield & Delba Winthrop; University of Chicago Press: 2000), p. 403: I think there is no country in the civilized world where they are less occupied with philosophy than the United States. The… Continue Reading

Concupiscence and the Myth of “Straight” Sexuality

http://rezchurch.org/sermon-audio/2013/matthewmason061613.mp3Podcast: Play in new window | DownloadSubscribe: iTunes | Android | RSS I wish to offer some thoughts on the topic of homosexual desire from a Christian perspective. I am no expert theologian or natural law jurist, so I may… Continue Reading

“The Tyranny of the Middle” vs. “The Idolatry of Better”: a reader’s response to Mrs. Mussmann

I love the article, Anna, as well as the emendation to charity that graces the combox (just noticed the latter). It’s easy to agree with the beneficence of the principle you articulate, i.e., that one should avoid the judgmental air… Continue Reading

“THAT’S a Unicorn!” Philosophy, theology, and the reduction of untruth, Part I

“THAT’S a Unicorn!” I’ll never forget the moment in my Intro to Philosophy course at Hillsdale College when Dr. Stephens eviscerated one of the standard “gotcha!” arguments that I had deployed as a high-schooler. Luckily (or unluckily) for my freshman undergraduate… Continue Reading

Taking my pet heresies for a walk: assurance of salvation

“I have never been so far in my life, and am never likely to get farther than to the point of ‘fear and trembling’, where I find it literally quite certain, that every other person will easily be blessed —… Continue Reading

The beauty of the ordinary and the red herring of originality: from Life is a Miracle, by Wendell Berry

“As a norm of expectation or ambition, then, heroic discovery is potentially ruinous, and maybe insane. It is one of the versions of our obsession with ‘getting to the top.’ Unlike the culture of the European Middle Ages, which honored… Continue Reading

Modern Blues: Wendell Berry on “the so-called identity crisis”

  The following is an excerpt from Wendell Berry’s superb essay “The Body and the Earth,” originally published in his seminal work The Unsettling of America and reprinted in his equally good collection of essays The Art of the Commonplace.… Continue Reading

Alfred Lord Tennyson, “Supposed Confessions of a Second-rate Sensitive Mind”

Oh God! my God! have mercy now. I faint, I fall. Men say that thou Didst die for me, for such as me, Patient of ill, and death, and scorn, And that my sin was as a thorn Among the… Continue Reading

Donnybrooking: “Armadillos, an Assistant Principal, and Rod Dreher”

Originally posted here. Donnybrooking is a blog that I have contributed to, off and on, for about three years, along with some buddies from Hillsdale College. ~ The carcasses of abandoned blogs litter the internet like the hollowed-out husks of dead armadillos… Continue Reading

VIDEO: “The Mysticism of Small Things: Recognizing the Eternal in the Objects and Events of Every Day”

This is for those of you who loved the last post, “The Writer,” by Richard Wilbur, especially Seth and Anna, who do not know each other but are kindred spirits in their appreciation of beautiful things. (Seth, meet Anna —… Continue Reading

“The Romance of Domesticity,” by Dr. Nathan Schlueter

It is my honor to present to you a piece written by a former professor of mine, Dr. Nathan Schlueter. The “Last Day Lecture” which Dr. Schlueter refers to in the first paragraph is one of a plethora of grand… Continue Reading