Living the Christian Life
Here’s another thought from R.C. Sproul — this time on what it means when we ask God to Give Us Our Daily Bread.
Here’s a good one for you — it’s a ten (10) question quiz to see what you know about Islam as a way of seeing if you are equipped to explain your faith to a Muslim. I learned a number of new things…
On the Culture Front
Most folks know that I root for the Pittsburgh Steelers. With the NFL season about to kickoff for real, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette did an interesting piece on QB Ben Rothlisberger and it touches on the importance of the Christian faith in his life. Things did not always go smoothly early in his career and he was accused of, though never charged with, some serious stuff. What do we do when people in the spotlight seriously mess up — do we give them room to repent and change — or do we always paint them with the brush of innuendo regarding their past? Football fan or not, this piece might give you pause.
This Day in Church History
Asceticism is a term used to describe a lifestyle intentionally characterized by abstinence from worldly pleasures – often for the purpose of pursuing spiritual goals. Such actions as fasting, abstinence or “giving up something for Lent” are simple examples of this within parts of the Christian church. Beginning about the third century AD there was an early movement connected to Christendom of hermits, ascetics and monks who lived mainly in the Scetes desert of Egypt and who became known as the Desert Fathers. By 356 AD thousands of monks and nuns had been drawn to this desert life, so many in fact that Athanasius of Alexandria wrote that the “desert had become a city.” One of the strangest, and best known, of these monks was Simeon Stylites the Elder or Saint Simeon to those in the Coptic Orthodox Church (he is also commemorated by the Eastern Orthodox, Eastern Catholic and Roman Catholic Churches). He became famous for a severe form of asceticism. In order to get away from the ever increasing number of people who came to him for prayers and advice thus interrupting his spiritual contemplations, it seems that he choose to live out his life on a pillar. At first it was little more than nine feet tall, but as it was replaced by others the final pillar was more than fifty feet off the ground with a platform on the top which was about a square meter in size (roughly 3 ft by 3 ft). He is said to have spent 47 years living on these pillars with supplies delivered to him by village boys climbing up to the top. Today marks the anniversary of his death on September 2, 459 AD, at the age of 71. In a modern twist to his story, last May a Russian air strike destroyed the Syrian monastery dedicated to him along with the “remains of the original pillar” on which he spent his life some 1600 years ago.