Month: February 2016

126-A City on a Hill file | Play in new windowThis episode is titled, A City on a Hill, and returns to our look at the Propagation of the Christian Faith in the Americas. Back in Episodes 105 & 6, we breached the subject of Missions in the New World. We shared about the role the Jesuits played in the Western Hemisphere. While the post-modern view of this era tends to reduce all European missionaries in a monochromatic Euro-centrism that leveled native American cultures, that simply wasn’t the case. Yes, there were plenty of Catholic, Orthodox and Protestants who conflated the Gospel with their native culture. But there were also not a few missionaries who understood the different and valued the uniqueness that was native American cultures. They sought to incarnate the Christian message in those cultures and languages. That often got them in trouble with officials back home who wanted to exploit the Native Americans. In other words, it isn’t just modern Liberation Theology advocates who sought to protect the peoples of the New World from the exploitive injustices of the Old. Many early missionaries did as well. So, we considered the work of men like Jean de Brébeuf  & Madame de al Peltrie in the NE of North America. We considered the work of the Russian Orthodox Church in the far NW and down the western coast to CA. They were...

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125-The Rationalist Option Part 2 file | Play in new windowThis is part 2 of The Rationalist Option on Communio Sanctorum, History of the Christian Church. In our last episode we took a look at eh genesis of the Enlightenment in England & France. We’ll come back to France  a bit later after taking a brief look at the Enlightenment in German & Russia. Germany took a bit longer to join the Enlightenment. That was due in part to the condition of the land following the Thirty Years War. It’s estimated the population shrank from 20 million to just 7 after it. There’s also the issue of Germany not really being a country. It was at that time a collection of independent statelets, united by language & culture, but divided between Catholics & Lutherans. The low regard for contemporary culture at that time in Germany is illustrated by the fact that while Newton, Locke & Voltaire were regarded as heroes in their realms, Germany’s equivalent, Gottfried von Leibniz, was never popular during his lifetime. Yet he was he was one of the most brilliant men, not just of his day, but of all time. Born in 1646 in Leipzig, Leibniz was the son of a professor of philosophy. He studied law before taking up with a disreputable group of alchemists, and worked for the Elector of Mainz. Leibniz came to the attention of...

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124-The Rationalist Option Part 1 file | Play in new windowThe title of this episode is, The Rationalist Option Part 1. I want to give a brief comment here at the outset that this episode doesn’t track much of church history per se. What we do over the next minutes is take a summary look at the European Enlightenment. We need to because of the ideas that come out of the Enlightenment to influence theology and the modern world. The 30 Years War ended in 1648 with the Peace of Westphalia. But decades of bitter conflict left Europe a ravaged land. People were weary of conflict, both military and theological. And even though the 30 Years war was over, the decades following were by no means peaceful. Among other things, they witnessed the English Civil War with its execution of Charles I, and yet more wars between European powers, albeit on a smaller scale. Against this turmoil-laden background, a new spirit was brewing in Europe: one desperate to make a break with the past with its religious tension, dry scholasticism, incessant bickering and occult fetishes the Renaissance and Reformation seemed to have spun off. By the mid 17th C, the seeds of the Enlightenment, were well sown. A new breed of thinkers inhabited a continent quite different from their ancestors. At the dawn of the 16th C Europe was dominated by the resolute...

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