Anselm – On being Satisfied

a knight looking satisfied

Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)[1] – considered by some to be one of the greatest Christian thinkers – wrote a much loved book called ‘Cur Deus Homo’ – ‘Why Did God become Human?’ In this he has a dialogue with one of his students, who goes by the superb name of ‘Boso’. Boso wants to understand the doctrines of Christianity, and I therefore consider him my rightful ancestor. He is a clever chap, trained in philosophy – which is where, on both counts, the relational similarity between us breaks down.

So Anselm sets out to explain the various doctrines in as easy a way as possible.[2]

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Made for worship…

chameleons vox

First published this post in October 2011…. having re-read it I figured it deserved another shot.

Just had an interesting  moment!

Running “Spotify” on my phone, plugged into the Hi Fi, listening to “What does anything mean, basically” by The Chameleons  – and its been a number of years since I heard it. Nearly every song evokes a strong, significant emotional response in me – you know memories of college, old friends that I haven’t seen in years, feelings of studying physics in the uni library, drinking in the student bar, playing in bands, the optimism of youth etc etc.  Every song a winner, wave after wave of pleasure. Some of the musical arrangements are frankly beautiful; stunning almost – shimmering veils over pounding rhythms that wont let up. They should have been just MASSIVE. Bigger than the biggest thing ever.

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Irenaeus Explains the Atonement.

ball of tangled wool

This post carries on the introduction to the recapitulation theories that were framed by Irenaeus (130-202). Irenaeus was taught by Polycarp, who in turn heard sermons preached by a certain John the Evangelist. Imagine what that must have been like – to meet first generation apostle – someone who knew Jesus the man? So, we are right back almost at the source.

When I was at school I read Shakespeare and Chaucer; perhaps I should say I was ‘forced to read’ Shakespeare and Chaucer. To be honest, I did not understand much of school, and English Literature classes were some of the most boring of all! (ha ha, the irony!) I could read the words of these old books no problem, but put the words together and they didn’t mean much to me.

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Irenaeus and two Early Atonement Theories

christ the champion

At long last it is time to launch into one of the theories of the atonement, or more correctly one of the early church Father’s writings about atonement. In study group one of these went down very easily, and the other required a bit more wrestling. I could see that their horizons were being opened up – which is exactly what happened to me when I first heard these ideas too. On reflection though, as I look back, it seems to me that I was being in introduced to ‘a half remembered tune’ playing ‘softly in my mind.’ [1] … See what you think!

The very early church certainly proclaimed the cross, yet seemed to not spill much ink explaining how it provided salvation[2]. Sure, the New Testament (which they didn’t have then of course) mentions various metaphors as we have seen. From the second century Irenaeus (130-202) and others began to think of cross in terms of conflict with the powers of the day. This goes beyond the ‘Jesus is Lord’ vs ‘Caesar is Lord’ that we might think we understand, off into the spiritual, cosmic realm.

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