Leap Year

February 29, 2008

February 29th. I wonder if leap years are chosen for the U.S. presidential contest (can’t say ‘race’, right) in all its Byzantine complexity because it really needs that extra day to get the business done. As the primary season heads towards a close, I still find myself laughing about something that happened last time round, the onstage implosion of the leading Democrat.


That’s the fun over with. Back to Christ and the Decree and an enormous pot of coffee.


On Valentine’s Day…

February 14, 2008

Some advice from Archbishop James Ussher, as he reflects on Proverbs 5:18-20:

…thou must nourish a kinde Affection to thy wife: for tis not The Hauinge, but The Louinge thy wife, will keep thee from the strange woman. 

So, go on, get her some flowers.

Popish Puritans?

February 12, 2008

I have long been aware that the word ‘Puritan’ can be used equivocally, but the following usage was a new one for me. It comes from the sermon preached by Joseph Hall, Dean of Worcester and later Bishop of Exeter, at the Synod of Dort, November, 1618:

Fit companions for such a one [the Pharisee] are (if they choose) those Popish Thrasos, most sanctified men, who boast that they keep the law to the greatest exactness, and can afterwards bestow something upon God beyond what is required of them. Truly these are the real Puritans of these days; a term which they use as a reproach to others.

Thrasos being the Greek spirit of rashness and insolence. This is obviously directed at the doctrine of works of supererogation. I don’t know if there was a particular target for this remark. The context suggests not. So, popish puritans. There you are!

Zen Calvinism

February 10, 2008

I have no idea what it is either. I’ll be ordering Carl Trueman’s new book to find out. This new collection of essays apparently covers ‘Chick Lit, Adolf Eichman, the i-pod, Roger Beckwith, the Blues, Watership Down, American Idol, Nietzsche, zen-calvinism, Augustine and ferrets(!)’

Details here.


February 7, 2008

I could barely believe what I was hearing today. Rowan Williams, Archbishop of Canterbury, believes that there should be a place for sharia law in the British legal system. I suspect that even the term ‘British legal system’ would become anachronistic in Williams’ utopian vision. The story is here, and comment and legal opinion at Anglican Mainstream. This will be in the news for a while.

Poetry and Polemic

February 1, 2008

I suspect that it’s a rather bad reflection on me that I occasionally get a laugh from reading this type of thing. Polemic. Sixteenth and seventeeth-century theologians were good at it. It’s something of a lost art, and some might say perhaps that’s just as well. It could all get a bit too personal. It’s not just that they attacked their opponent, but that they used some of their best metaphorical writing to do so. A recent favourite line comes from Hugh Broughton as he lays into Thomas Bilson on the descensus ad inferos.  

It is great pitie that D. Bilson consulted not with others before such wordes fled through the hedge of his teeth. Higher blasphemies never were uttered.

Hugh Broughton, Declaration of generall corruption of religion, Scripture and all learning; wrought by D. Bilson While he breedeth a new opinion, that our Lord went from Paradiseto [sic] Gehenna, to triumph over the devills. To the most reverend Father in God Iohn Wm. Doct. in Divinitie, and Metropolitan of England (1603). 

Anyone care to post lines that have tickled them?