The IM Saturday Monks Brunch: January 5, 2019
Welcome to our first Brunch of the new year!
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The religious makeup of the new Congress
Like the rest of U.S. society…the new Congress is a bit more diverse, with Christians making up 88 percent of the membership, down from 91 percent. Among the non-Christian members are 34 Jews, three Muslims, three Hindus, two Buddhists, and two identifying as Unitarian Universalist.
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From The Theological Comedy Awards…
Derek Witten has given out some awards spanning church history, which honor “some of the most gloriously peculiar happenings which Christianity has witnessed.”
Here’s an example:
THE CHURCH CALENDAR AWARD
This award goes to the most humorous historical events related to the church calendar.
One of the most pristine facts in Christian history is that the Swiss love of sausages sparked the Swiss Reformation.
The short version goes like this: The church clock strikes Lent in Zurich, 1522. The nation begins to fast—compelled not just by tradition, but by law. Ulrich Zwingli, the Swiss Reformer, has just finished his book on Paul’s epistles. His staff are hunched over the printer, working overtime trying get the ink on the pages. Their empty stomachs are roiling. Finally, the leader of the famished book-printers, Christoph Froschauer, has had enough, and invites the lot of them to feast on some hearty Swiss sausages. They partake (although Zwingli abstains).
Froschauer gets arrested for his crime, and Zwingli is fed up. He pens Regarding the Choice and Freedom of Foods, which argues, employing the novel concept of sola scriptura, that an extra-biblical principle like Lenten fasting shouldn’t be enforced by law. Authorities are livid; pork lovers are elated; the Swiss Reformation has begun!
For about 300 years in Medieval France, the Feast of the Holy Innocents and the Feast of Fools were widely celebrated from December 28 to January 1. They were, by all historical accounts, a really great time. The idea was to illustrate, right in the church’s liturgy, Paul’s idea that “God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise” (1 Cor 1:27). This was done by reversing normal Church hierarchies. Lower ranking church officials were permitted to perform the highest roles. A boy from the community would be assigned the “boy bishop.” In the monasteries, the youngest nuns and monks became abbot and abbess for a day. Also, they’d let a donkey walk down the aisle and the “song of the ass” would be sung, which “evoke[d] the beauty, strength, and virtues of an ass as it journey[ed] from the East, across the river Jordan, to Bethlehem.”
Predictably, the celebrations sometimes got out of hand. The feast was condemned by the Council of Basel in 1431, although it didn’t die out until the sixteenth century. All you pastors out there, I hope you’re getting ideas.
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The far side of the moon…
A Chinese probe has made a historic touch-down on the far side of the Moon, according to the country’s state-run media. It is the first time a probe has visited the region, 60 years after an orbiter gave humans their first look at the area.
Chang’e-4 reportedly landed inside the Von Kármán Crater at 2:26 ut on 3 January, and has sent back its first images. At 14:22 ut the mission’s 140-kilogram Yutu2 rover drove down a ramp and onto the lunar terrain, according to images widely circulated on social media.
As the Moon’s far side is permanently hidden from Earth, the news of Chang’e-4’s successful landing was relayed by a spacecraft called Queqiao. It has been circling around a gravitationally stable point about 60,000 kilometres beyond the Moon since it launched in May.
Then there was this response: “The Flat Earth Society remains skeptical of any government’s claims regarding space travel. We didn’t trust the USA or its allies when they said it, and we see no reason why we should view China, a hostile state, as any more trustworthy. Our society is one of empiricists—we’d much rather experience the world by ourselves than take someone’s word for what the truth is.”
• Pete Svarrior, Flat Earth Society (TFES)
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Washington New Year’s humor from The Babylon Bee…
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Top Ten Biblical Archaeology’s Discoveries in 2018…
- A Pontius Pilate seal ring
- The statue head of a biblical king from Abel Beth Maacah
- Possible signature of Isaiah the prophet in a seal impression
- Clay seal impression of the “Governor of Jerusalem”
- A beka weight to measure the temple tax during the First Temple period
- A Canaanite tomb excavated at Tel Megiddo
- An abecedary (a version of the Semitic alphabet in ABC order) from the days of Moses
- The remains of a palace of the Assyrian King Esarhaddon
- A clay pomegranate decoration at Tel Shiloh, the site where the tabernacle and Ark were located between the Israelite conquest and the building of the Temple in Jerusalem
- A column inscribed with “Jerusalem” from 100 BC.
Read more about these findings at THIS CHRISTIANITY TODAY ARTICLE.
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A few interesting tidbits…
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A voice to remember in 2019…
This is Irish singer-songwriter Dermot Kennedy from Dublin, who mixes poetic sensibility, an acoustic folk/pop singer’s narrative depth, and hip-hop style for great production. 2018 was a break-out year for him and I think he has a great future in front of him.
Here’s Kennedy’s first release from a few years ago: “After Rain” —
And here is the official video for his song “Glory” —