Category Archives: Other Posts

Quote of the Day, Tillich (importance of theology)

Creation of Adam ( )
Creation of Adam ( ) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

“If taken in the broadest sense of the term, theology, the logos or the reasoning about theos (God and divine things) is as old as religion. Thinking pervades all the spiritual activities of man (sic). Man would not be spiritual without words, thoughts, and concepts.”1


  1. Tillich, Systematic Theology, (1951), 15.

#CFP: Trinity Institute’s 2015 National Theological Conference “Creating Common Good” Announces Essay Competition on Economic Inequality

Trinity Institute’s 2015 National Theological Conference “Creating Common Good” Announces Essay Competition on Economic Inequality

From January 22-25, 2015, a diverse group of scholars and faith leaders will offer strategies for developing a more just economy and instill the confidence to take action for social change at Trinity Institute’s 44th National Theological Conference, “Creating Common Good: A Practical Conference on Economic Equality.”

In keeping with the theme, Trinity Institute is holding an essay competition to inspire theological scholars to examine the post-2008 economic context and offer solutions about how best to pursue God’s promise of abundant life against the backdrop of the global financial crisis.  Essays should envision alternatives to the status quo that are consistent with scripture, theological traditions, and contemporary understandings of human flourishing.

Entries should answer some aspect of the following three questions: (1) When does economic inequality become sinful?; (2) How can theological and biblical sources help turn the economy toward the common good?; and (3) What individual and community practices could be created to confront the sin of inequality and cultivate theological visions of the common good?

The first-place prize is a $10,000 award, with essay publication in the Anglican Theological Review and a public lecture at Trinity Wall Street.  Two runner-ups will receive prizes of $2,500 each.

Entries must be original, unpublished work, not exceeding 6,500 words in length including footnotes,   accompanied by a 100-150 word précis and brief author’s biographical statement for publication purposes.  Style sheet information may be found at:

Manuscripts must be submitted before July 1, 2015 by email attachment in .doc, .docx, or .rtf format to Jackie Winter at:  Please include “Trinity Essay Competition” in the subject line.  Prizes will be announced on September 1, 2015.

For more information about attending Trinity Institute’s 2014 National Theological Conference in person at Trinity Church, visit, call 1-212-300-9902 or email

For more information about Trinity Institute, visit

Trinity Institute

Trinity Institute is a continuing education program founded in 1967 as an outreach of Trinity Wall Street, an Episcopal parish.  The Institute’s annual National Theological Conference equips clergy and laypersons for imaginative and catalytic leadership.  Recent conferences include Building an Ethical Economy: Theology and the Marketplace, Reading Scripture Through Other Eyes, and Radical Christian Life: Equipping Ourselves for Social Change.The conference presents emerging and inclusive theological perspectives and engages participants in inquiry, dialogue, and reflection.  Theological reflection groups are assembled both onsite and at partner sites and provide opportunities to arrive at a deeper understanding of the presentations through peer learning, reflect on how to integrate conference themes with life and work, and build community with colleagues. Participants from all denominations and faith traditions are welcomed.

Trinity Wall Street

Located at the head of Wall Street, Trinity Church has been part of New York City’s and our nation’s history since its charter in 1697. Today, the organization has grown to include many important areas of focus and is collectively known as Trinity Wall Street.  Most importantly, Trinity Wall Street is an Episcopal parish offering daily worship services and faith formation programs at Trinity Church, St. Paul’s Chapel, and online at  In addition, Trinity Wall Street includes Trinity Grants, providing $80 million in funding to 85 countries since 1972; Trinity Preschool; Charlotte’s Place, a community space; Trinity Institute, an annual theological conference; an extensive arts program presenting more than 100 concerts each year through Concerts at One, the Choir of Trinity Wall Street, and the Trinity Youth Chorus; and Trinity Real Estate, which manages the parish’s six million square feet of commercial real estate in lower Manhattan.  For more information, visit

Yes, Jesus even repented for Jim West

Over the weekend, Jim took to the blog and then tried to defend his position on Twitter. Much like Zwingli on the battlefield, or Calvin in the after life, he went down.

NEIN! And- Satan Goes to Supper | Zwinglius Redivivus.

The cross is the means of reconciliation; it is by it man, in the person of a holy victim, comes back to the God who has been waiting to receive him since the world began. In this holy Being, who represents the human race, suffers more than any of His brethren, it is, as we have shown in speaking of the agony in Gethsemane, precisely because of His holiness and His love; He suffers not alone for Himself, but for all generations of mankind; in the strength of His sympathy, He bears in Himself all the shame and all the misery of sin. He repents for us; and in the crime of which He is the victim, He sees and bewails the darkest exhibition of human depravity. His compassion fills up the measure of His sufferings by making Him acquainted with such bitterness as remorse, which His own sinless nature could never have known. It is in this sense that He descends into hell to save us. Stephen could die joyful and triumphant; the feeblest Christian may so die; but Jesus could not, because infinite love, in conflict with infinite evil, could not escape unutterable anguish.1

  1. E. de Pressensé, Jesus Christ: His Times, Life, and Work (trans. Annie Harwood; Fourth Edition.; London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1871), 484.

Murder of the Innocents (Repost – 2014)

Small Passion: 16. Christ before Herod
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Herod was furious when he realized that the wise men had outwitted him. He sent soldiers to kill all the boys in and around Bethlehem who were two years old and under, based on the wise men’s report of the star’s first appearance. Herod’s brutal action fulfilled what God had spoken through the prophet Jeremiah: “A cry was heard in Ramah– weeping and great mourning. Rachel weeps for her children, refusing to be comforted, for they are dead.” (Mat 2:16-18 NLT)

The Murder of the Innocents is a seriously debated account found only Matthew’s Gospel. Recently, the National Geographic has come out with a theory that Herod did not commit these crimes as recorded in the Gospel. There is a simple explanation for the exclusion from history.

From the Catholic Encyclopedia,

The Catholic Encyclopedia in 1910 argued that the Matthew Gospel account “is not contradicted by the mere silence of Josephus; for the latter follows Nicholas of Damascus, to whom, as a courtier, Herod was a hero.” It also cited an 1897 book by A. J. Maas: “Cruel as the slaughter may appear to us, it disappears among the cruelties of Herod. It cannot, then, surprise us that history does not speak of it”.

Calvin’s rationale,

Josephus makes no mention of this history. The only writer who mentions it is Macrobius, in the Second Book of his Saturnalia, where, relating the jokes and taunts of Augustus, he says: When he heard that, by Herod’s command, the children in Syria under two years of age had been slain, and that his own son had been slain among the crowd, “I would rather,” said he, “have been Herod’s hog than his son.” But the authority of Matthew alone is abundantly sufficient for us. Josephus certainly ought not to have passed over a crime so worthy of being put on record. But there is the less reason to wonder that he says nothing about the infants; for he passes lightly over, and expresses in obscure language, an instance of Herod’s cruelty not less shocking, which took place about the same time, when he put to death all the Judges, who were called the Sanhedrin, that hardly a remnant might remain of the stock of David. It was the same dread, I have no doubt, that impelled him to both of these murders.

Finally, from the College Press NT commentary, which I believe actually helps in understanding how this even could have been passed over.

While the historicity of this event has been disputed by some, R.T. France has provided compelling evidence giving credibility to the Matthean account. Not only is the slaughter of the infants consistent with what is known about Herod, population estimates in and around Bethlehem, coupled with probable birth and infant mortality rates, have led to estimates of around twenty infants being slain by Herod. While not diminishing the tragedy of the situation, such a crime in the light of Herod’s other atrocities may very well have gone unnoticed by contemporary historical sources.

It was indeed a slaughter of the innocents, but it could very have been but a few children, perhaps as the commentary above, nor more than 20. This could easily have been buried in the heaps of historical events that surround Herod and indeed, could have escaped unnoticed since it was such a small number, albeit every murder is important.

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The Politicization of Christmas – I Heard the Bells on Christmas Day (Repost – 2014)

Illustration for the poem "A Psalm of Lif...
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A historical hymn, perhaps, and one not generally one sung in the South, it was political weapon used in the War Between the States. Written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow in response to the anxiousness he felt at hearing about the injures of which his son had suffered in the war. In a deeply emotional state, he decided to use the approaching Christmas season to castigate the brothers who fought one another in a war which claimed over 600,000 lives.

It is a powerful song still yet, when we remember the men and women still in uniform, the hungry children, the angry masses, the hateful speech of me and you.

I heard the bells on Christmas day
Their old familiar carols play,
And wild and sweet the words repeat
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And thought how, as the day had come,
The belfries of all Christendom
Had rolled along the unbroken song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

Till ringing, singing on its way
The world revolved from night to day,
A voice, a chime, a chant sublime
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

And in despair I bowed my head
“There is no peace on earth,” I said,
“For hate is strong and mocks the song
Of peace on earth, good will to men.”

Then pealed the bells more loud and deep:
“God is not dead, nor doth He sleep;
The wrong shall fail, the right prevail
With peace on earth, good will to men.”

Historical Note: Stan­zas 4-5 speak of the bat­tle, and are usual­ly omit­ted from hymn­als:

Then from each black, accursed mouth
The cannon thundered in the South,
And with the sound the carols drowned
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

It was as if an earthquake rent
The hearth-stones of a continent,
And made forlorn, the households born
Of peace on earth, good will to men.

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