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08 The Fashions of the World

By John Thiel, The Last Generation Challenge series, mp3

Scripture reading: 2 Corinthians 6:17 Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean [thing]; and I will receive you, 18 And will be a Father unto you, and ye shall be my sons and daughters, saith the Lord Almighty.

To be a Christian, a true Christian, in this period of time is a challenge indeed. The challenge is that there needs to be a complete and absolute surrender to everything that God has said, whether we eat, or drink, or whatsoever do – things which are very much part of our sense of satisfaction, indulgence, and pleasure. When you eat, or when you drink, when you dress – these are all very, very personal and individual attachments. And when God reveals to us that certain things that we do are not part of His desire for us, we are challenged whether we will let them go. The challenge is met with the sense of His great love. If I love Him I will sacrifice everything for Him, as He has loved us so much, and sacrificed so much for us. So may God help us as we venture into this topic of separation from the world. We will enlarge what this means in reference to its customs, its practices, and its ways, so that we may stand to God’s glory in a world that glories in its practices. Read the rest of this entry

St. Valentine’s Day: 5th Century Rome

Early 20th century Valentine's Day card, showi...

“The Catholic Church’s attempt to paper over a popular pagan fertility rite with the clubbing death and decapitation of one of its own martyrs is the origin of this lovers’ holiday.”

As early as the fourth century B.C., the Romans engaged in an annual young man’s rite of passage to the god Lupercus. The names of teenage women were placed in a box and drawn at random by adolescent men; thus, a man was assigned a woman companion, for their mutual entertainment and pleasure for the duration of a year, after which another lottery was staged. Determined to put an end to this eight-hundred-year-old practice, the early church fathers sought a “lovers’’ saint to replace the deity Lupercus.They found a likely candidate in Valentine, a bishop who had been martyred some two hundred years earlier.

In Rome in A.D. 270, Valentine had enraged the mad emperor Claudius II, who had issued an edict forbidding marriage. Claudius felt that married men made poor soldiers, because they were loath to leave their families for battle. The empire needed soldiers, so Claudius, never one to fear unpopularity, abolished marriage. Valentine, bishop of Interamna, invited young lovers to come to him in secret, where he joined them in the sacrament of matrimony. Read the rest of this entry

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