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Hildegard of Bingen
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

As I am reading more and more in Medieval and Renaissance history, I continue to have my pre-conceived ideas overturned.  I am still reading (and re-reading) Thomas Cahill's "Mysteries of the Middle Ages" (2006).  I have been fascinated with some characters who just are not talked about much in popular knowledge of the Medieval World.  Like Hildegard, for example.  This German lady was born in 1098 at the very beginning of a true blossoming of culture, science, and the arts. 

She entered a monastery at the age of eight, but certainly was not sheltered.  As she matured and later became the abbess of a convent, she became a composer and musician, a writer of a musical play (some say it was the world's first opera), a writer of some 400 letters to the notables of her day, an author of several volumes of scientific natural history, a reformer against the religious corruption of her day, AND an itinerant evangelist who preached in Roman Catholic churches in the Holy Roman Empire!  (I'm almost worn out just listing her accomplishments, and I still haven't listed them all!)

Although I would probably not agree with some of her theological conclusions, the people of her day (like the venerable Bernard of Clairvaux) so enjoyed her books about her visions and insight that he sent the material to Pope Eugene III, who then gave his blessing.  As I study her life, I simply cannot find any woman who compares with her in the Islamic or Chinese or Hindu cultures of that time period.  It is amazing to me that there was this much freedom and admiration for this lady at that time.  Maybe I shouldn't be so surprised....

Hildegard died on September 17th, 1179.  She was canonized by Pope Benedict XVI in 2012 and officially made a "Doctor of the Church" (along with such luminaries as Augustine and Aquinas).  Fascinating life.  I think I'll just keep on reading about these surprising people from 1000 years ago.

Thursday, June 22, 2017, 09:56 PM

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Western Europe's Deadly Paralysis
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

Recently we have witnessed yet another terrorist attack from the jihadists.  Those who want to create a world wide caliphate and impose Sharia on us all blew up 22 people at a concert in Manchester England.  Dozens more were dismembered and maimed for life.  Not long before that dozens were run over by a jihadist on a London bridge.  Back in April Italy foiled a plot by jihadists to blow up the Rialto Bridge in Venice.  And there was the truck attack crushing 100 people to death in Nice France, shooting a cop in Paris at the Arc D'Triomphe, the Charlie Hebdo massacre, the bombing of the airport in Brussels, the gang raping of women in Germany, the massacre of over 100 people at the Bataclan in Paris, the constant assault and raping of women in Sweden (now making Sweden the rape capital of Europe)

Why has this happened?  Europe has steadily allowed into its "open-minded" culture millions of colonists with an ideology of slavery and murder.  It finds it's home in the religion of Islam.  Yes, I know full well that there are "pro-democratic" voices among Muslims who want no part of Sharia.  Sadly, those voices are few and far between, and often violently silenced.  What happened to Europe?  Why did they let this happen?

Western Europe, by and large, slowly bought into a mindset.  A mindset that surrenders our natural rights out of fear of what others perceive about us.  Some may call this "political correctness".  Whatever.  But it is the idea that I should give up my right to free speech, freedom of religion, freedom of conscience, freedom to peacefully assemble....in order to make other supposedly aggrieved minorities happy.  I owe them something because of supposed injustices of the past.  Therefore, I will not say or do anything that might offend them....

Even if it means that my silence or inaction may empower evil people to commit heinous acts.  My silence, inaction, apathy, paralysis....is more virtuous than stopping people with a murderous agenda.

And that it why western Europe is paralyzed against Islamist terrorism.  They are afraid...afraid of being seen as bigots or islamophobes or whatever.  That concerns them more than attacking the root of the problem and protecting their people.

Sunday, May 28, 2017, 04:10 PM

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Nations That Do Not Fight
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

Europe has been invaded, colonized, and attacked by savages who call themselves jihadists.  Their goal is the enslavement of the world in submission to Sharia.  They immigrate, refuse to assimilate to European custom or laws, intimidate others to "respect" their tyrannical beliefs, and then gang rape and murder their way across France, Germany, Sweden, Belgium, and the United Kingdom.  The jihadists, several times a year now, run over crowds or gun them down, or blow them up.  And each time the governments of western Europe (and the US) scramble to find who else was in the plot...AFTER the murder has been accomplished.

And then the media joins in and worries that there might be...just maybe...an anti-Islamic "backlash".  And the leaders of Germany, France, the UK, and others are worried that the US might....just might pull out of the Paris Climate Change Accords signed by President Obama. They certainly seem to be more concerned about fictitious "climate change" than the very real, blood-thirsty threat of jihadism that is actually slaughtering their own people right now!

Meanwhile, as they fret over climate change and "islamophobia", little English girls are blown up at a concert in Manchester; others are horribly maimed for life. But we mustn't get mad at the jihadists and actually have a unified effort to stop them from infiltrating our countries , raping and murdering our citizens, or imposing Sharia in our courts.  Why, someone just might accuse us of being racists or something.

What happened to western Europe?  (You should note that several European nations have NO problem with Islamic terrorists.  Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic are a few that not allowed in ANY Syrian refugees.  Amazingly they have no jihadists either.) But why doesn't France or Sweden or Belgium or the UK become pro-active?  Why don't they see the problem, declare war on jihadism, and uproot and exile every single person who believes in imposing Sharia on their citizens?  Why is western Europe (and to an extent the US as well) so paralyzed and "content" to live with terrorism? 

Friday, May 26, 2017, 09:39 PM

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Introducing, Dr. Ryan Reeves
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

You know I am a "history-nut".  I read books about Medieval history or the history of World War II or the history of ancient Mesopotamia just for fun.  Well, I gotta tell ya...I have just discovered the GREATEST youtube channel I have ever seen.  Go to youtube and look up "Ryan Reeves".  There you will find dozens and dozens and dozens of lessons on....wait for it... ancient, Medieval, and Renaissance church history!!  I know, it's too good to be true, isn't it??  I mean, a veritable smorgasbord of the very finest in lectures about the Council of Chalcedon, Constantine, Martin Luther and Calvin (tons of info on them), Thomas Aquinas, Augustine, Ambrose and Jerome, the Great Schism of 1054 (no way!) and even a whole series dissecting the works of G.K.Chesterton, Tolkien, and CS Lewis (yes way!!!).

Crazy ain't it?  I have seriously spent the last two weeks watching at least two, maybe three of these videos each and every day.  Seriously, Dr. Reeves is Associate Professor of Historical Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and Dean of their Jacksonville campus.  He earned is PhD in historical theology from Cambridge University.  Lest anyone think, "Oh my gosh, watch a 30 minute lecture on King Henry VIII and the Tudors of England???  How boring!"  Wait just a second.  This guy is really good.  The videos are illustrated with beautiful paintings and good notes, and Dr. Reeves definitely teaches with a commanding grasp of each subject, good humor, and good application.  Church history, tragically, simply is not taught in most American pulpits, and consequently our congregations are often very anemic theologically. 

I dare you to watch just one.  Some of them are 90 seconds, some are about 8 minutes, but the "prime rib" lectures are usually 30 minutes long.  You will be riveted.... and you'll learn good stuff too!!! Want to know what John Wycliffe actually believed, how the Medieval church used Aristotle, or just what in the world the Council of Nicea was about (and you should know!), watch these videos!  You won't regret it!

 

 

 

Saturday, May 13, 2017, 04:07 PM

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A Prayer From the Medieval World
By Dr. Jeff Sanders

A few years ago a friend of mine who is Roman Catholic gave me a bookmark to put in my Bible (I have umpteen dozen bookmarks stuffed in various Bibles I use.) This bookmark has a prayer written by St. Francis of Assisi.  The marker says he would pray this before a crucifix.  Though I am not Catholic, and I do not pray before a crucifix, I think the words of this remarkable man from the Middle Ages summarize very nicely the attitude of many hearts today:

"Most high glorious God, enlighten the darkness of my heart,

And give me, Lord, a correct faith,

A certain hope,

A perfect charity,

Sense and knowledge,

So that I may carry out

Your holy and true command."

In Jesus' holy name we pray, 

Amen.

 

Friday, April 28, 2017, 10:21 PM

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Past Posts

Western Europe's Deadly Paralysis
05/28/17
Nations That Do Not Fight
05/26/17
Introducing, Dr. Ryan Reeves
05/13/17
A Prayer From the Medieval World
04/28/17
The History Erasers
04/27/17
Giovanni Francesco Bernardone
04/25/17
Savonarola and Revival
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The Philadelphia Museum of Art
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National Geographic, The Little Ice Age, and Climate Change
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