On the Misery of Man


Living on earth is truly a misery. The more a man desires spiritual life, the more bitter the present becomes to him, because he understands better and sees more clearly the defects, the corruption of human nature. To eat and drink, to watch and sleep, to rest, to labor, and to be bound by other human necessities is certainly a great misery and affliction to the devout man, who would gladly be released from them and be free from all sin. Truly, the inner man is greatly burdened in this world by the necessities of the body, and for this reason the Prophet prayed that he might be as free from them as possible, when he said: “From my necessities, O Lord, deliver me.”6

But woe to those who know not their own misery, and greater woe to those who love this miserable and corruptible life. Some, indeed, can scarcely procure its necessities either by work or by begging; yet they love it so much that, if they could live here always, they would care nothing for the kingdom of God.

Thomas A’Kempis, “Thoughts on the Misery of Man”

6 6. Ps. 25:17.


On Tradition


Jaroslav Pelikan on Tradition:

Tradition is the living faith of the dead; traditionalism is the dead faith of the living. Tradition lives in conversation with the past, while remembering where we are and when we are and that it is we who have to decide. Traditionalism supposes that nothing should ever be done for the first time, so all that is needed to solve any problem is to arrive at the supposedly unanimous testimony of this homogenized tradition.

Do We Want Civil Religion?


Do we believe that it is the role of the state to be the custodian of our faith in some public way? If you want to trace this argument go back to Emperor Constantine, where Christianity was granted official state protection and wedded to the state in a manner that gave it preference over Roman deities. The results of this marriage have been, at best, very mixed. Religious wars and major shifts in cultures have resulted from this arrangement. In America we separated church and state, primarily to protect the church from the state. Over the course of 225-plus years we have been working out what this actually looks like in a society that was predominantly Christian, at least in a cultural sense. When the state sponsors or supports any expression of faith, Christian or otherwise, what we get is civil relgion. Why do we fight so hard to protect this form of civil religion when the clear facts are that it is not working as it once did? Further, is civil religion really the friend of vibrant, prophetic, radical discipleship in public? I think not.

From John Armstrong posting over at Steve Brown Etc. (read the whole post)

What do you think?