Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Lunch Time Learning: To Fast or Not to Fast, How is the Question.

This blog was taken from www.challies.com

Fasting is, by far, the least-appreciated and least-practiced spiritual discipline. There is a curious apathy about a discipline Jesus assumed his followers would practice. After all, just as he gave instruction on prayer prefaced by the words “And when [not if] you pray…,” he gave instruction on fasting prefaced by “And when you fast…” Both appear to be normal, expected disciplines for Christ’s followers. While Jesus did not command fasting, certainly he commended and demonstrated it. At the very least, if Jesus felt it necessary to fast, it seems unlikely that we are meant to avoid it altogether.

I am convinced that much of our apathy toward fasting derives from our confusion about it. We do not understand why or how to fast and, therefore, we do not fast. Strangely, we seem to want to have a perfect theology of fasting before we practice it. Yet nowhere else do we demand such precision. We begin to pray before we know an adoration from a supplication and we begin to read the Bible before we know an epistle from an apostle. But somehow when it comes to fasting we allow ignorance to breed inaction.

At heart, fasting is simple—it is refraining from a specific thing for a specific time and a specific reason.

Monday, May 15, 2017

Lunch Time Learning: Nailed or Not

This year we hear repeatedly that it was on October 31, 1517 that Martin Luther nailed his Ninety-Five Theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg.  But did he?  Where is the proof for this?  I remember the first time I encountered skepticism about this claim — I found it intriguing and, the more I looked into it, I became skeptical too.  I’m currently reading Michelle DeRusha’s Katharina & Martin Luther and she mentions this question as well.  Here’s what she writes on page 92:

Interestingly, Reformation scholars today still debate whether or not Luther actually posted his Ninety-Five Theses on the door of Castle Church.  Martin Brecht notes that the posting of the Theses on the church doors was first mentioned well after Luther’s death by his friend and fellow reformer Philip Melanchthon, who wasn’t even living in Wittenberg in 1517, the time of the alleged posting.  In his thousands of Table Talk entries Luther never told the story of posting the Theses, nor did he mention it in any of his own writings that detail the beginnings of the reform movement.  Brecht guesses that Luther probably did post the Theses, as nailing a notice on the church door was standard protocol for academics who wished to engage in a public debate, but the truth is, no one knows for sure if Luther stood before the doors of Castle Church with a hammer in his hand.

There’s a bit more information about this matter here.  


The Perfect Woman

Monday Morning Music: Jesus is Better