Dr. Thomas Comber, former Dean of Durham, wrote:
The great maintainers of this worship would prove it no idolatry by this notable maxim: “That in every thing we not look at the fact that is done but at the intention of him that does it.” Now the worshipers of images, they say, do not intend to commit idolatry. I reply, the heathens when they bowed down to their idols and offered incense and gifts to them as some Christians do to images did not intend either to worship a false god or to commit idolatry, and yet God calls and counts them idolaters, and such doubt they were. And if we apply this maxim to other sins, Noah did not intend to be drunk nor Lot to commit incest. Those who went out with Absalom in the simplicity of heart did not intend to be rebels nor Ahab to kill Naboth, Yea Pilate himself seems to have no design to condemn our Saviour, but can any man say all these were innocent? There are but few sinners in the world, if none be guilty but they who before-hand intend to do some great sin: if we go voluntarily into ill company, and drink by their rules, though we did not design to be drunk, yet we may be guilty of intemperance. The primitive martyrs (had they known of this device) need not have died, rather than have offered incense to the emperor’s image, or to those of his gods: for if their intention had been to honor the true God that way. they might have saved their lives, and by this doctrine might have been very innocent: but the maxim is extremely misapplied by these image-worshippers, for since God hath forbid that way of worship, no intention of ours can annul that law, or give us license to break it.
This week I made a new friend via the net, he is Peter, and this is his blog:
rise children rise
He is looking to be part of the AMiA, and he is full of cool ideas.
There is an interesting LDS conference coming up – I wish I lived close enough to sit in on it. Here are the topics from a brochure:
The Religious Studies Program at Utah Valley State College presents the eighth annual Mormon Studies Conference entitled “Restoration Christianity: Commonality and Divergence in Latter-day Saint Movements” on Monday, April 1, 2008 in the UVSC Student Center, Room 206a. The conference will explore the relationship between the traditions that trace their history and teachings to the revelations of Joseph Smith.
The Rev. John Mendham writes:
The worship of images, for the establishment of which the Second Council of Nice was called together, was one of those corruptions of Christianity which crept into the Church stealthily and almost without notice or observation. This corruption did not, like other heresies, develop itself at once, for in that case it would have met with decided censure and rebuke: but, making its commencement under a fair disguise, so gradually was one practice after another introduced in connection with it, that the Church had become deeply steeped in practical idolatry, not only without any efficient opposition, but almost without any decided remonstrance; and when at length an endeavor was made to root it out, the evil was too deeply fixed to admit of removal.
That the worship paid to images in the eight century was not primitive – that it had not its original with the Gospel as it has so often been asserted – is proved alike by the history of that early period, and by the fathers who lived in those ages. Not only do we find no allusion in those writers to any such reverence of images as the Council of Nice enjoins, but, on the contrary, language utterly inconsistent with it: and from their way of arguing against the Gentiles we may fairly infer that no such practice was ever known amongst them as that of bowing the head to images, prostration before them, or the offering of incense or lighting of candles, all which practices are now adopted alike by the Church of the East and of the West. Many passages might be selected from Tertullian, Origen, Arnobius, and others, which certainly could not have been written by them if they had held the same sentiments with their successors of the eighth century. Thus Arnobius (lib. vi. p. 195) declares, “That if the gods be in heaven, it is a folly to direct our eyes to stones, and wood, and walls, when we address ourselves to them; and that rather we ought to direct our eyes to heaven, where we believe they are.” Lactantius (lib. ii. cap. 2) argues that “images are either for the commemoration of the dead or of the absent, it must be much more folly to adore their images.” Tertullian yet more strongly asserts that “the Devil brought into the world the artificers of statues and images.” Such were the sentiments of the writers of the primitive ages. Would they have used language so strong and unequivocal as this, had they been accustomed to worship images themselves?
About six months ago, I wrote that the local APA parish would probably not last for six months. Indeed, St. Michael’s APA folded three months later, in December, 2007. It is hard to see what the attraction of Anglo-Catholicism is in this age. If you are ok with praying to Mary and the Saints, bowing to objects, and believing in seven sacraments, then why not become Roman Catholic? Add to that the reality that these kind of parishes are seldom if ever evangelistic, and Anglo-Catholicism looks like a club of Anglophiles, not a real church that gets in the trenches. St. Michael’s specifically had other problems including vestry members who were Masons, which I guess didn’t phase the APA Bishop over the church. The crying need in this neck of the woods is for an updated version of the Anglicanism that was generated by Ridley, Cranmer, Donne, et al.
I despair of anything to write about. Who cares about politics – does it matter? And do I have anything to say that anyone else hasn’t said? Probably not. I do have a couple ideas in mind, but don’t make time to write them out, so they probably aren’t that exciting if I can’t even care enough to write them. I am excited about the Clone Wars movie this summer, that ought to be fun. I hope Prince Caspian is good, but my hopes aren’t up too high. I’m really tired lately. Work has been very busy. Add the commute and I don’t have much energy for things such as blogging. I did rake more last weekend. Yes, I am still raking in March. That’s what I get for living in the forest – General Beauregard’s revenge perhaps. Spring has sprung. Buds are everywhere, things are growing.Easter was wonderful, the service was great. We re-watched some of the Gospel of John movie. That is a great movie. It was moving to see the end of Jesus’ life, and then His resurrection. Considering trips to the coast, New York City and points elsewhere. Anxiously awaiting the next update of Buzzword which should add some cool functions.I moved all of my 401k into bonds to avoid the current turbulence. I have a sense that things are going to even out and stabilize. The bad news is a trailing indicator, I think the worst is behind us, but then I don’t know anything more than anyone else, so that could be totally wrong.OK, enough for tonight.
My grandfather, Lester Forest Moar, while in the Navy. He served aboard submarines in WW I:
I’ve been uploading and touching up pictures of my ancestors as part of a project to digitize all of the genealogical work that I have done over the years. Here is one example:
These are scary times in the world of finance, and increasingly in our every day world too. The collapse of Bear Stearns shows the instability in the system. Housing prices have fallen, oil and gas are out of control and the dollar is weak. I am currently reading the Black Swan by Naseem Taleb (you should too) and his book seems incredibly relevant given the situation we are in.
Essentially he says the obvious: no one knows the future and the value of all predictions is next to meaningless. Statisticians and “experts” rule out massive outliers and thus their predictions are moot. They assume a nice, stable world where massive changes do not happen, when the reality of our time is that massive changes are more and more likely. No one predicted 9/11 of course, but it invalidated all financial models made up to the day before it. The current crisis in the financial sector is somewhat more predictable, but still, the collapse of Bear Stearns was not on the horizon. I read Tobias Levkovich weekly, and note that he assumes nice stable historical patterns, which mean that his predictions are as useless as mine. I am not doing justice to Taleb’s book or his ideas, but the main takeaway is that forecasting the future is almost utterly vain. What if the USA collapsed next month, or a new disease wiped out half the planet, or some other huge event? It would be unforeseen and disruptive. Also, in its wake we would see books and stories that tried to make sense of it in a narrative way, that would show us how we should have seen it coming and how it all made sense – but it wouldn’t.
So the financial situation can cause panic and fear. All I have to lean on are the word’s of the Messiah: “sufficient unto the day is the trouble thereof.”