Extracurricular Activities — December 28, 2013
The only thing I know about your reaction to this list of top 10 theology stories is that you won't agree. Maybe partially, but not entirely. And that's okay. None of us sees the full picture from God's perspective. In five years we may not be talking about any of these events and trends (see what I mean by reviewing my lists from 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012). Actually, you've probably already forgotten a number of entries on this year's list!
This year the official Christmas season is the shortest it ever gets. My wife Shannon says it begins immediately after Thanksgiving, although many stores seem to think Christmas begins right after Labor Day.
Since Thanksgiving was on November 28 this year (the 4th Thursday of November), the period between the two holidays is a short as it gets this year.
Don’t get me wrong. I love Christmas. But a question comes to mind even in the midst of this abridged holiday season.
Why do we celebrate Christmas for a month and Easter for a week?
Not that long ago I wrote a post, based on Mike Bird’s Evangelical Theology, in which he had said the resurrection was neglected and perhaps the most neglected, but that’s not quite right: the most neglected element of the gospel, and in the life of Jesus, is the ascension. He calls it the “poor cousin” (449), and today’s post is from Bird’s discussion of the ascension.
In the early 1500s God raised up William Tyndale, a passionate and gifted young scholar who learned Latin, Greek, and Hebrew in order to translate the Scriptures into English. Tyndale wanted to bring his nation a Bible they could read and a God they could know, but he faced two challenges. First, Bible translation was illegal, the equivalent to heresy. Second, Tyndale didn't have the financial means to focus his time exclusively on such a massive project.
It was a London businessman whose generosity bailed him out and so changed the course of the English-speaking world. When Humphrey Monmouth met Tyndale and heard about his ambition, Monmouth took a risk to provide for him, protect him, and partner with him. For six months he housed Tyndale and enabled him to work diligently on the translation. And when it was done, Monmouth leveraged his business connections with other merchants to use their ships to smuggle the contraband Bibles throughout England. Both men paid a high price for this endeavor. Monmouth ended up in prison. Tyndale ended up dead. But together they lit a flame that still burns in our generation.
Once again, Gallup has examined who Americans regard as the most honest and ethical person in their lives—and found that the answer is not their pastor, but their nurse or pharmacist.
In fact, recorded public trust in clergy has now reached an all-time low, with only 47 percent of Americans rating clergy highly on honesty and ethics (compared to 82 percent saying the same about nurses). The previous low since Gallup began asking the question in 1977: 50 percent in 2009.
However, clergy still ranked No. 7 out of the 22 professions studied. And confidence in the overall church as an institution improved over the past year.
Extra-Curricular Activities is a weekly roundup of stories on biblical interpretation, theology, and issues where faith and culture meet. We found each story interesting, thought-provoking, challenging, or useful in some way – but we don't necessarily agree with or endorse every point in every story.
If you have any comments on these stories, we welcome you to share them here. We hope you enjoy!
–The Editors of Koinonia Blog
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