RAMBLER OF THE WEEK
Despite the fact that, in one of his last writings, Martin Luther:
- addressed the pope as “Your Hellishness,”
- called him a person who shoveled horse shit into people’s mouths;
- despite his description of the pope as “full of all the worst devils in hell-full, full, and so full that [he] can do nothing but vomit, throw, and fart devils!”;
- despite the fact that he called him “a desperate scoundrel, the enemy of God and man, the destroyer of Christendom, and Satan’s bodily dwelling,” “a crude ass, unlearned in the Scriptures,” and “a pope of Sodomists, this founder and master of all sins” —
— despite all that, Pope Francis will ramble to Sweden this week, where he will honor Luther at a conference that kicks off a year of commemorations of the Reformation’s 500th anniversary.
Pope Francis travels to Sweden Monday on a trip that marks the start of yearlong observances for the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. He will be meeting with the Lutheran World Federation, which was founded in Lund, Sweden 70 years ago. Some 10,000 people are expected to attend a joint Catholic-Lutheran conference and prayer service under the theme From Conflict to Communion – Together in Hope.
Francis will attend a Catholic-Lutheran prayer service at the Protestant cathedral of Lund on Oct. 31, the anniversary of Martin Luther nailing his 95 Theses to the door of a German cathedral, which questioned the sale of indulgences and the Gospel foundations of papal authority and sparked the Reformation.
Pope Francis, with this initiative toward healing old wounds, is our Rambler of the Week.
• • •
CHICAGO CUBS AND CLEVELAND INDIANS IN THE WORLD SERIES!
That’s right, in case you’ve been living under a rock somewhere, the unthinkable matchup in Major League Baseball’s World Series has come to pass. The Cubs haven’t been in a World Series since 1945 and the Indians haven’t won a World Series since 1948. The teams split the first two games in Cleveland, and will meet at Wrigley Field for the next three games. Who’dathunk it?
In related news, the Prince of Darkness announced that a heavy frost surprised residents of hell when they awoke this morning. A hard freeze warning was issued for tonight. “We just might freeze over,” Lucifer warned.
Also, this just in: God did not make the little green apples. And it does not rain in Indianapolis in the summertime.
Go Cubs go.
Update: The Indians just beat the Cubs 1-0 in game three. This Cubs fan is very, very anxious.
• • •
INTERNET MONK ALTERNATIVE PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE 2016
Well, we’re just a little more than a week away from the 2016 elections here in the U.S. To say the least, we here at IM are underwhelmed by our choices for president this year. So we’re looking for alternatives, and this guy…
He’s suave. He’s debonair. Cool under pressure. And you can bet he knows his stuff. We present our fourth alternative candidate for President of the United States in the election of 2016: Deputy Bernard P. Fife.
Just ask him where Aleppo is, you’ll see.
• • •
MINNEAPOLIS INSTITUTE OF ART LUTHER EXHIBIT
An extraordinary and extensive exhibit has come to the Minneapolis Museum of Art (Mia) in this Reformation season. “Martin Luther: Art and the Reformation” opens October 30.Mia partnered with four German institutions for the show, including the Luther House in Wittenberg, which is closed in preparation for its jubilee year, allowing a number of key works to travel to the U.S.
Here’s an overview of the exhibition:
Five hundred years ago, one man took a stand that shook Europe and changed the world. Now you can see the story of Martin Luther and the Reformation brought to life through astonishing artworks and historical objects, traveling outside Germany for the first time ever. Luther used art and the newly invented printing press to challenge Europe’s leaders and spread a revolution of religious, cultural, and societal change. This exhibition includes paintings, sculpture, gold, textiles, and works on paper—as well as Luther’s personal possessions and recent archaeological finds—that shed new light on an explosive era and the man who ignited it.
In addition to archaeological objects that tell the story of Luther’s life, the exhibit contains some rare pieces, including the pulpit of Luther’s last sermon. There’s also a copy of the Ortenburg Bible, a hand-colored copy of Luther’s translation of the Bible into German, and paintings by Lucas Cranach the Elder, who helped shift the style and tone of religious art as a way to communicate Luther’s message.
• • •
R.I.P. JACK CHICK
It’s almost unfair to put this right after the notice about some of the sublime and world-changing art of the Reformation. But Jack Chick died last week, and the “art” he exhibited through his tracts was one of the staples of the modern Jesus movement that I was involved with in the 1970’s.
Jack Chick, the cartoonist who wanted to save your soul from hell, died Sunday at age 92.
The biggest name in tract evangelism, Chick distributed more than 500 million pamphlets, nicknamed “chicklets,” over five decades. His signature black-and-white panel comics warned against the dangers of everything from the occult to Family Guy.
Chick’s messages were controversial—including among evangelicals—but his work enjoyed a global reach. His most popular tract, This Was Your Life!, was translated into more than 60 languages.
Chick came to faith shortly after World War II through Charles E. Fuller’s radio show, “Old Fashioned Revival Hour.” The former technical illustrator began drawing and funding his first comic books and pocket-sized tracks in the early 1960s, according to Christian Comics International. Chick Publications grew to start its own print shop, and took off in the ’70s.
• • •
R.I.P. C. PETER WAGNER
Another influential person from 1970’s evangelicalism went the way of all flesh last week. C. Peter Wagner, whose Wikipedia entry describes as “an Apostle, theologian, missiologist, missionary, writer, teacher, and church growth specialist best known for his controversial writings on spiritual warfare.”
Wagner had a missionary background in South America, which influenced his perspectives on spiritual warfare. This emphasis ultimately found Wagner heading up Wagner Leadership Institute, which serves to train leaders to join in a movement known as the New Apostolic Reformation, an organization Wagner also helped to found.
My own little corner of fundamentalist evangelicalism decried his charismatic teachings and didn’t have much to do with Wagner. What I do remember was his teaching about spiritual gifts, which was his major contribution to the Church Growth movement. Most everything that became common regarding spiritual gifts teaching and implementation in evangelicalism (defining the spiritual gifts, teaching that every Christian has at least one spiritual gift, using inventories that help people “find” their gift”) owes Wagner credit (or blame, depending on your point of view).
• • •
R.I.P. LARRY RICHARDS
And that’s not all, folks, though the next name may not be as well known to you if you did not go to Bible college or seminary, or have a familiarity with the theories and practices of Christian Education.
Lawrence O. (“Larry”) Richards was a Wheaton College Graduate School professor in the late 1960s, when his seminar on Christian education was highlighted by the National Association of Evangelicals, launching him into the national spotlight.
A Dallas Seminary graduate, his books were standard fare in our dispensationalist-oriented Bible College, including Creative Bible Teaching. One professor said that Richards developed “the most comprehensive theory of Christian education by any evangelical writer of the 20th century,”
Larry Richards wrote more than 250 books, and is probably known by most people for his children’s and youth Bibles. His kid-friendly versions of the NIV include the jungle-themed Adventure Bible, which is the top-selling children’s Bible in the world, and the Teen Study Bible, which sold more than 4 million copies.
• • •
QUESTIONS OF THE WEEK
• • •
PUT THIS IN YOUR “HUH?” FILE
Hey, maybe he didn’t realize he was being watched. But I would think being followed by a helicopter after police tried to arrest you on an outstanding warrant might be something a person wouldn’t miss.
Nevertheless, 35-year-old Joshua Adkins either didn’t know or didn’t care.
While leading police on a chase, including the helicopter that kept tabs on him, Adkins did something most fleeing criminals wouldn’t do — he stopped at In-N-Out Burger and ordered a meal. Apparently, he got ahead of his pursuers just enough to satisfy his hunger. But then, when he drove into a neighborhood and tried to flee on foot, the cops got him.
Doesn’t say much for Adkins, though you might give him credit for not going to jail hungry.
On the other hand, it says a lot for In-N-Out Burger.
• • •
REFORMATION MONTH: LUTHER INSULT OF THE WEEK