People Don’t Care About Martin Luther, et al

I just came across this and thought I’d share.

I haven’t said much about the Pew Forum poll regarding people not knowing things about religion because in general it was something mildly interesting but I thought the whole “OMG” response among religious people and the “hahahaha suxxors” response among atheists was ignorant at best, uncharitable at worst, and thoroughly *yawn*

But I came across this post and appreciated some of what the roundtable of scholars had to say on the subject.  The takeaway for me was that a great many religious folks just aren’t in it for a set of history lessons.  That John Edwards was a major figure in the first Great Awakening, that Muslims celebrate Ramadan, etc., all these things aren’t bad things to know (I’m not disparaging knowledge), but a lot of folks go to church to feel a breath of life in otherwise troubled or sad or distracted lives.  Whether they get it or not, I don’t know, I think it’s far too often that people walk out of church not knowing what they came for or what they got from it, but that’s why a lot of them go, I think.  And some go for the coffee and cheese crackers.  And some go because their friends go.  And some go for networking.  And some go out of obligation.  And some go out of a feeling that their children need “moral values,” whatever that means, as if the church should be in the business of teaching your children proto-ethics via allegory.  And so on.  But I doubt a great many of them go in order to be more deeply educated about the vagaries of 17th century religious movements.

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Mean While

It’s been a long time since I posted anything, mainly because I’ve been busy playing video games, reading books, going to work, and loving my significant other.  But now that school has started up again I have less time to play video games, which means that I’m reading books, going to class/work, loving my significant other, and also doing other things here and there, and I’m going to try to be more…devoted…to writing in this thing every once in a while.

For the present, suffice it to say that this is my sermon text for Friday’s preaching praxis.  Matthew 1:18-25.

Now the birth of Jesus the Messiah took place in this way.  When his mother Mary had been engaged to Joseph, but before they lived together, she was found to be with child from the Holy Spirit.  Her husband Joseph, being a righteous man and unwilling to expose her to public disgrace, planned to dismiss her quietly.  But just when he had resolved to do this, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream and said, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take Mary as your wife, for the child conceived in her is from the Holy Spirit.  She will bear a son, and you are to name him Jesus, for he will save his people from their sins.”  All this took place to fulfill what had been spoken by the Lord through the prophet:

“Look, the virgin shall conceive
and bear a son,
and they shall name him
Emmanuel,”

which means, God is with us.”  When Joseph awoke from sleep, he did as the angel of the Lord commanded him; he took her as his wife, but had no marital relations with her until she had borne a son; and he named him Jesus.

I don’t really know what I want to do with this text.  I have one or two little ideas, but nothing big, and Friday is approaching.  There’s a lot I could say about this text from feminist perspectives, of course.  But my heart’s not in it.  I don’t know, though, something about the “do not be afraid” part is talking to me, especially because there are two more angel-speaks-to-Joseph vignettes in which the angel is like “dude someone’s gonna kill your family” and “hey bro the would-be baby killers died” and it seems much more appropriate to say do not be afraid in those contexts.  But I don’t know.  That’s not a lot to start on.

Anyway I’m gonna be posting more often, hopefully, maybe.  This year will probably be a lot more religious just because I’m working at a church and that’s on my mind a lot.