Athenaeum Meeting Minutes Ė December 8, 2001 Ė Dog & Duck Pub

Attending:  Steve, John Mays, Bob, Matt Thomas, Eli Pickering

Book for Discussion:  Here I Stand, Roland Bainton

Minutes:

Matt: asks how much of the theological passages are Bainton or Luther. Matt comments there is a good balance between the story of his life, and Lutherís own words.

Matt: Luther, in his sermons, "editorializes" the stories of the bible, exp: Jonah encounter with the whale. Also, Luther tailored biblical translations to fit the German culture.

John: Comments on Lutherís fortitude. How he was impressed by the faith of the patriarchs.

Steve: Comments on Lutherís early suffering as a monk.

Matt: Points out Luther had a sense of the change the reformation was going to have. Luther understood his role in history.

John/Eli: 95 Treaties was primarily focused on the practice of indulgences.

Matt: Finds Lutherís comments on family quite funny, exp: Lutherís comment about his crying baby, about the fights Adam and Eve may have had "forever" had they not fallen, on his wifeís speaking without saying the Lordís Prayer.

Eli: Lutherís wife had 6 kids in 8 years, and still had time to brew beer for her husband.

John: 20th Century marriage is ruined on photographers, flowers, dresses, details, etc. Laments traditional weddings where the guests would party for a week or so while the newly weds would go consummate the wedding from time to time.

John: Recommends some reading: On the Road With Archangel by Frederick Buechener. Itís the book of Tobit put to story.


BEER BREAK

Bob/Steve: Argued that Islam is a violent religion in which peace is found through military conquest of itís enemies. Eli disagrees.

Matt: Luther on Jews- was he anti-Semitic? In late life, Luther wrote that Jews should be rounded up and sent to Palestine, but this was his grump gieser age.

John: Luther on political argument expands on Augustineís "2 Kingdoms" (Church and State). Society cannot be Christianized, so corruption is inevitable. Eli disagrees with Lutherís use of the words "never" and "always" since this undermines the growth, and ultimate domination, of the Christian faith over the minds of men.

This started a sidetrack discussion about different oral systems at work today:

  1. Cultural Moral Agreement which ultimately leads to "Might is Right"
  2. Greek/Platonic Moral stemming from the Psukykon (ideal man) or "Revealed Morality:

Lutherís extension of "2 Kingdoms" did not make provision for the "revealed morality" in a state completely ruled by reason. They may have totally lost the stenographer by this time.

Matt: Comments on the priesthood of believers, and what that meant for the church liturgy in Lutherís theology, specifically that all Christians should partake of the elements of communion, and hear the words in their own language. This also meant that all work, all labor, was equally redeemable. This priesthood of believers minimized the power and importance of high level occupations such as politics and ministry, doctors and lawyers. Good point, Matt.

Steve: Raises questions regarding the authority of the church. John brings up the "liberal" nature of specific points of Protestant doctrine that stem from a lack of a definitive figure with the last word. These ambiguities are not present in the Catholic Church due to the Pope, and the hierarchy of priests. Steve reminds us there are many "Protestant" denominations that donít rely on Sole Scriptura.

Bob: Points out the modern tendency to hold all traditions suspect, and sites Emersonís Walden as an example. This is powerful apologetic for independent thought, and John opines that Modernism is the pollution of the Enlightenment by the supposition of personal dynamics.

John: Reminds us of the Romantic backlash against the Enlightenment. The Christian view should be (but itís not practiced as such) as the balance of both reason and feeling.

Eli: Attempts to recenter the discussion on Here I Stand, by pointing out an event that Bainton himself brings out. The image of Luther confronted by the Emperor of the Holy Roman Empire at the Diet of Worms, where he was told to recant. Itís an amazing testimony to faith that a rebellious Monk could stand before the most powerful man in the world, and stand fast on faith alone to the principals of the Reformations. For Luther was more afraid of his standing before God, than his standing before man.

Matt: At Worms, Luther asks for a day so as "not to say too little or too much". He was hesitant before God. In the end, when pressed to recant or not, he said "Here I stand. I cannot do otherwise", even though he knew it may be a death sentence. Amazing Faith!

Eli: In Godís great timing, the printing press made the soil fertile for to sow the seeds of the reformation, because for the first time the principals of Lutherís doctrine could be printed and distributed to the populace, en mass. Matt asks what could the internet do?

All: The discussion veered course again to debate the Biblical fitness of the corporate structure in a capitalist system. The lines were drawn with Matt holding the "pro" ground and John the "con". Matt claims itís not UN-Biblical (which is different from saying itís Biblical), while John counters that because the corporation is beholden to stock holders, upper management make irresponsible decisions that unfairly impact the lower ends of the work force.

Voting for February:

 John 
 Bob 
 Steve 
 Eli 
 Matt 
 Total 
(Bob) Satanic Verses
X
X
X
   
3
(Matt) Art of War    
X
X
X
3
(Eli for Pete) Paradise Lost          
0
(Eli) Tortilla Flats      
X
 
1
(Eli) Federalist Papers        
X
1
(John) Lord Jim
X
       
1
(John) 100 Years of Solitude  
X
     
1

Runoff: between Satanic Verses and Art of War

 John 
 Bob 
 Steve 
 Eli 
 Matt 
 Total 
(Bob) Satanic Verses
X
X
X
   
3
(Matt) Art of War      
X
X
2

Next Meeting:

January 12th at the Dog and Duck Pub, to discuss

January Napoleon of Notting Hill, G. K. Chesterton

February Satanic Verses, Salman Rushdie

Athenaeum Meeting Minutes