Saturday, October 21, 2017

Reformation 500 (& other notable anniversaries)

Many have written to say they find it hard to believe we're coming upon the 14th anniversary of (actually no one has so written, but it's not too late). And then there's the 500th anniversary of the Reformation that some are talking about as well. You need not endure without my commentary on the subject. There's this talk on John 17 in 2017, this talk on the neglected Italian Reformation among other matters (e.g. the "Lutheran" Michelangelo), and then some brief engagement last week (among other fine talks) with Luther, the New Perspective, Anglicanism, Brad Gregory, Jansenism, etc. at All Souls Wheaton. And if you like to read things instead, there's this Pascalian meditation at Mockingbird. The upshot is that grace still manages to threaten, so we want little to do with it. As Gerhard Forde puts it, God batters down the door of the prison of conditional thinking, but we stay inside nonetheless.
We seem always to want to hold out for something somehow, that little bit of something, and we do it with a passion and anxiety that betrays its true source – the Old Adam that just does not want to lose control (p. 24).
That said, I hope you're busily preparing to celebrate the 500th anniversary of the completion of the north tower of Chartres Cathedral tower this year as well, or perhaps the 100th anniversary of the apparition at Fatima if you're so inclined (not my favorite Marian event, but still). And why should only the Orthodox be celebrating the centenary of the martyrdom of St. John of Chicago (first clergy martyr of the Bolshevik revolution, I'm told) which falls on Reformation Day this year as well?

If we don't at least know about those events, then divided Christians haven't learned much in 500 years at all.

Which brings us back to grace.