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Thursday, December 1st, 2005

Placing Myself in America's Christian Past

Yahoo! Avatars Hat tip to Jeremy Abel regarding Yahoo Avatars (Click the picture to make your own). But I don't want my whole entry to be on those. I can do a tie-in to something else.

The 1620 Plymouth Rock tie-in is that I have finished Mark Noll's History of Christianity in the United States and Canada, and am busy reading in the area of American Church History. (I've mentioned a couple of the sermons already.) Today I stopped at the Concordia University library and read a bit in Henry Melchior Muhlenberg's Journals. They have the whole three volume set. When I saw just how much information was in the three volumes, it was easy to settle on the idea of ordering the one volume abridgement. (They had that on the shelves, too.) I learned about how Muhlenberg was involved in the Great Awakening, and how he had cordial if not always easy relations with the Reformed. (To my eye, that part looked good. Staunchly Lutheran, but wanting broader connections. And willing to credit his neighbors' strengths.) His disapproval of dancing struck me as being a bit strict. But the Great Awakening has to be understood as a phenomenon. I think it created a pervasive atmosphere in any churches touched by it that we don't rightly consider. I found that when I was in Boston. Sites where the Second Great Awakening took place had a distinct feel to them. Like the pleasures of this world had been burned out of people with a blowtorch. It was difficult for me to figure out how to evaluate this, as I had grown up in a more life-affirming West Coast evangelicalism. In any case, whatever I learned about Muhlenberg and early American Lutheranism today, I certainly had the breadth of the Great Awakening confirmed.

10:51 pm Pacific Standard Time

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In Limbo over Limbo

Over at nbcnews.com, I found a link about the Vatican's proposed new guidelines concerning unbaptized babies in Limbo. I found that quite funny. Similar to reading a headline saying "Presbyterians Veto Hell." As if it were up for a vote. When I got to the video, however, it appeared the church was coming to a more Scriptural way of talking about the subject. "We commend them to the mercy of God, and don't have to state explicitly what happens to them." That is the kind of answer I am used to hearing Lutheran pastors give.

Click here for video.

7:35 pm Pacific Standard Time

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