Thinking Out Loud

March 18, 2018

St. Patrick Was Yesterday | 10 Other Irish Saints You Should Know Today

Filed under: Christianity — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:09 am

The Lord took pity on me thousands upon thousands of times, because he saw within me that I was prepared, but that I was ignorant of what to do in view of my situation; because many were trying to prevent this mission. They were talking among themselves behind my back, and saying: ‘Why is this fellow throwing himself into danger among enemies who know not God?’ Not from malice, but having no liking for it; likewise, as I myself can testify, they perceived my rusticity. And I was not quick to recognize the grace that was then in me; I now know that I should have done so earlier.

Because we already ran a short bio previously, The 411 on 3/17, I thought take the day after to debrief and delve a little deeper. The video is a piece called The Hymn of St. Patrick, though there are a few different compositions that use this title.

st-patrickThe quotation that opened this article is from WikiQuote as is the one which follows, from an English translation of by John Skinner in The Confession of St. Patrick (1998)

Therefore be amazed, you great and small who fear God, and you men of God, eloquent speakers, listen and contemplate. Who was it summoned me, a fool, from the midst of those who appear wise and learned in the law and powerful in rhetoric and in all things? Me, truly wretched in this world, he inspired before others that I could be — if I would — such a one who, with fear and reverence, and faithfully, without complaint, would come to the people to whom the love of Christ brought me and gave me in my lifetime, if I should be worthy, to serve them truly and with humility.

From StPatricksDay.com, Patrick wasn’t the only Irish saint. And there’s a day set aside on the calendar for these as well. Think how much more green beer the pubs and bars could sell if they knew their Irish saints better. You’re thinking we’re a day late with this, but you’ll keep in file for 364 days, right?

Furthermore, with a little help from Wikipedia, you can pick one from the list below and be an expert on Brigid of Kildare, or Columbanus, or Oliver Plunket, canonized as recently as 1975 and therefore the first new Irish saint in 700 years. (Except the one whom another Wikipedia page states was canonized in 1903, but then Saint Keven is listed as living from 498 to 618 which means he was 120 when he died but strangely there’s no mention of this long life in the write-up itself.)

Anyway, you’ve got less than two months because the next feast day listed here is coming up soon, on May 16th.

Ten Other Major Irish Saints

Ireland, which was once known as the land of saints and scholars, has bred numerous saints, many of whom left their native country to Christianize the rest of Europe in the same fashion as St. Patrick.

Here are but a few:

  1. St. Aidan
    Feast day: Aug. 31
    The founder of a great center of Celtic Christianity.
  2. St. Brendan
    Feast day: May 16
    Patron of boatmen, sailors, travelers, and whales.
  3. St. Brigid
    Feast day: Feb. 1
    Patron of babies, blacksmiths, cows and dairy workers, Ireland, midwives, poets, sailors, scholars, and travelers.
  4. St. Columba
    Feast day: June 9
    Patron of bookbinders, Ireland, poets, and Scotland
  5. St. Columban
    Feast day: Nov. 23
    It is no wonder that this saint’s emblem is the bear, as he seems to have had a knack for causing trouble.
  6. St. Ita
    Feast day: Jan. 15
    The revered teacher of St. Brendan.
  7. St. Kevin
    Feast day: June 3
    Patron of blackbirds, the archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland, and Glendalough, Ireland.
  8. St. Kieran
    Feast day: Sept. 9
    A visionary who founded a great Irish monastery.
  9. St. Malachy
    Feast day: Nov. 3
    The first Irish saint to be canonized by a pope, in 1199.
  10. St. Oliver Plunket
    Feast day: July 11
    The last Catholic martyr to die at Tyburn, he was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975.

The fun continues at the same website, where you can continue with 50 St. Patrick Facts, about both the man, and the day.

October 4, 2015

What Is a Saint?

Eric Metaxas, in the introduction to the chapter on Saint Maria of Paris, in the new book Seven Women and the Secrets of Their Greatness (Nelson Books).

Seven Women and the Secret of their Greatness - Eric Metaxas[S]he was a poet who swam among the literary elites of St. Petersburg; then she managed her family’s award-winning wine estate on the Black Sea — and became the mayor of the town there. When the Russian Revolution made life impossible, she moved to Paris and became a nun. Finally, even as a nun she confounds our expectations: she smoked and drank. She did not live in a monastery but considered the whole world her monastery. She married twice, divorced twice, and had three children by two different men. Yet for all of this woman’s dramatically unorthodox behavior, the Orthodox Church recognizes her as a saint. Can we be blamed for being confused about this extraordinary woman?

In truth, it is precisely because of all these things that she commands our attention. Her life was messy and complicated, as most of ours are messy and complicated. By breaking every mold in which we would put her, she shows forth the beauty and the full-throated reality of the Christian life in a way that few in history have done.


Many of us are from religious traditions that do not confer sainthood, so the very notion is foreign to us. However scripture reminds us:

Col 1:12 Giving thanks to the Father, who has qualified us to share in the inheritance of the saints in Light.

Eph 2:19 So then you are no longer strangers and aliens, but you are fellow citizens with the saints, and are of God’s household.

The definition varies among denominations, but God is looking for people who live “set apart” to Him and for Him.  Even in the messiness of your life, you can live as such a saint.


The seven women featured in the book are: Joan of Arc, Susanna Wesley, Hannah More, Maria Skobtsova, Corrie ten Boom, Mother Teresa, and Rosa Parks

March 17, 2014

Patrick, a Saint

Filed under: Uncategorized — Tags: , , , — paulthinkingoutloud @ 7:35 am

The Lord took pity on me thousands upon thousands of times, because he saw within me that I was prepared, but that I was ignorant of what to do in view of my situation; because many were trying to prevent this mission. They were talking among themselves behind my back, and saying: ‘Why is this fellow throwing himself into danger among enemies who know not God?’ Not from malice, but having no liking for it; likewise, as I myself can testify, they perceived my rusticity. And I was not quick to recognize the grace that was then in me; I now know that I should have done so earlier.

Because we already ran a short bio two years ago, The 411 on 3/17, I thought we’d delve a little deeper this year. The video is a piece called The Hymn of St. Patrick, though there are a few different compositions that use this title.

st-patrickThe quotation that opened this article is from WikiQuote as is the one which follows, from an English translation of by John Skinner in The Confession of St. Patrick (1998)

Therefore be amazed, you great and small who fear God, and you men of God, eloquent speakers, listen and contemplate. Who was it summoned me, a fool, from the midst of those who appear wise and learned in the law and powerful in rhetoric and in all things? Me, truly wretched in this world, he inspired before others that I could be — if I would — such a one who, with fear and reverence, and faithfully, without complaint, would come to the people to whom the love of Christ brought me and gave me in my lifetime, if I should be worthy, to serve them truly and with humility.

From StPatricksDay.com, Patrick wasn’t the only Irish saint:

Ten Other Major Irish Saints

Ireland, which was once known as the land of saints and scholars, has bred numerous saints, many of whom left their native country to Christianize the rest of Europe in the same fashion as St. Patrick.

Here are but a few:

  1. St. Aidan
    Feast day: Aug. 31
    The founder of a great center of Celtic Christianity.
  2. St. Brendan
    Feast day: May 16
    Patron of boatmen, sailors, travelers, and whales.
  3. St. Brigid
    Feast day: Feb. 1
    Patron of babies, blacksmiths, cows and dairy workers, Ireland, midwives, poets, sailors, scholars, and travelers.
  4. St. Columba
    Feast day: June 9
    Patron of bookbinders, Ireland, poets, and Scotland
  5. St. Columban
    Feast day: Nov. 23
    It is no wonder that this saint’s emblem is the bear, as he seems to have had a knack for causing trouble.
  6. St. Ita
    Feast day: Jan. 15
    The revered teacher of St. Brendan.
  7. St. Kevin
    Feast day: June 3
    Patron of blackbirds, the archdiocese of Dublin, Ireland, and Glendalough, Ireland.
  8. St. Kieran
    Feast day: Sept. 9
    A visionary who founded a great Irish monastery.
  9. St. Malachy
    Feast day: Nov. 3
    The first Irish saint to be canonized by a pope, in 1199.
  10. St. Oliver Plunket
    Feast day: July 11
    The last Catholic martyr to die at Tyburn, he was canonized by Pope Paul VI in 1975.   

The fun continues at the same website, where you can continue with 50 St. Patrick Facts, about both the man, and the day.

February 16, 2012

Jews for Jesus: Ministry Life on the Frontlines

For this writer, a sidebar to the Jesus Movement of the early 1970s was what might best be termed the Messianic Movement. As a young Christian, I remember hearing the middle-eastern-flavored music of the groups Lamb and Liberated Wailing Wall, and as someone trying to find relevant resources to communicate the Christian worldview, I was intrigued by a series of rather crudely drawn tri-folded 8 1/2 X 11 tract-substitutes called ‘broadsides’ which tended to be reflective of current events and trends.

The common thread between the music and the literature was an organization called Jews for Jesus. But it turned out there were many groups involved in evangelism to the Jewish community where I lived.  In later years I would attend a Friday night service in Toronto as part of a congregation whose worship style was not much different than the synagogue I’d passed a mile down the road, but whose belief in Jesus Christ as the Messiah constituted a great divide.  I would later learn the difference between Messianic Jews (the type of service I’d attended) and Hebrew Christians (whose worship style was more like any given Baptist group on a Sunday morning.)

But when Jews for Jesus came to Toronto and held a major rally in a Toronto high school, I knew I had to be there. 

It turned out I was not the only type of person who wanted to attend. The event was met with protests by the Jewish Defence League. Shouts of “Jews don’t switch” greeted attendees, and once the event itself got underway, it was constantly interrupted by high-pitched whistling that may have come from human or mechanical sources, or both.

Unfortunately, I’d made the mistake of inviting my parents to join me, and in all their years of attendance at church and evangelistic meetings, they had never had to deal with counter-protests, and their discomfort throughout the entire meeting was evident; though I think we were all a bit on edge that night.

Flash forward several decades: When an opportunity to review a new biography of Moishe Rosen, the founder of Jews for Jesus, I was not to let the opportunity pass by.  The book Called to Controversy: The Unlikely Story of Moishe Rosen and the Founding of Jews for Jesus is written by his daughter, Ruth Rosen with the intimacy and passion that only an immediate family member can bring, and published by Thomas Nelson.

Like so many others, Moishe Rosen and his wife experience estrangement from their families when they ‘come out’ as believers in Yeshua and begin attending a local Baptist church.  But the calling to ministry takes place over a number of years, and Rosen actually serves 17 years with another mission before spinning JFJ off as a separate entity.

Early chapters of the book highlight something my wife and I felt after twice attending Missionfest: While this type of ministry is unique, there are in fact dozens of organizations tripping over themselves trying to reach the Jewish community with the good news of Jesus. The zeal is common to all, but the methodology often differs greatly.

The book also presents the challenges a Christian leader faces when their vision places them as leader of a team. With my previously mentioned acquaintance with the ministry, I always viewed Rosen’s greatest strength as frontline evangelism, but the book shows him struggling with administration, staff recruitment and training and organizational politics.

While the Bible promises that all who endeavor to live Godly lives in Christ will face persecution, this multiplies many times over when the stated goal of the mission is to convert people steeped in a belief system so very foreign to Christianity, yet joined by a common book (the ‘first covenant’ of our Christian scriptures) and history.  I actually learned a term I had not encountered before: The word “antimissionaries” describing those bent on preventing groups like JFJ from delivering their message.

I very much enjoyed reading Called to Controversy, though some background familiarity with this type of ministry is somewhat necessary to fully appreciate Moishe’s story, since some details are narrated but not fully explained. 

Despite the opposition, Moishe Rosen believed that doing ministry should be fun. Yes, fun. He was fully energized by what he did and all that Jews for Jesus accomplished and could accomplish in the future. While Ruth Rosen does not hide her father’s faults and foibles, there is no denying is qualification as a great 20th century Christian leader.

Shalom.

Thanks to Book Sneeze, a program of Thomas Nelson Publishers for a print copy of Called to Controversy.

Here’s a link to a video of vintage (1973) Liberated Wailing Wall performing Blessed Be the Lord. While the group Lamb wasn’t directly a part of JFJ, their music was better known than LWW among ‘goyim’ like myself. This is their song The Sacrifice Lamb.

May 28, 2011

What Modern Worship Has Done to Church History

On March 27th, 2009, I took the unusual step of posting an item on this blog which linked to a contemporary song having its basis in the biography of Mona Mahmudnizhad, a young woman martyr in the history of the Baha’i faith.    For the past week or so, the song and story have come back to me, and they continue to haunt me.  I feel that we’ve lost the channel by which to communicate to our next generation the stories of the past.  By creating one particular genre of music, we’re denying the power of music to accomplish other goals.

A movie commemorates John Newton, but what of Wycliffe?   John Calvin gets daily space in the blogosphere, but what of Athanasius?  Oswald Chambers’ devotional book is read by millions, but what of Thomas Chambers?  C. S. Lewis is beloved by children, but who has heard of G. K Chesterson? What of Don Richardson’s story as told in Peace Child or the prayer saga of Brother Lawrence?  Or what of doctrine?  The recent “rapture weekend” discussions frequently quoted the Larry Norman song, “I Wish We’d All Been Ready;” but are songs like that being written today? …And more to the point, have we lost the ability to use our music in non-worship settings?   That was what was on my mind two years ago when I wrote this…

With the entire cast of Christian musicians currently preoccupied with writing vertical worship music, it does the beg the question, who will tell our stories? What aspects of our faith is not being transmitted to the next generation due to our sidelining of music with narrative or didactic lyrics?

mona_mahmudnizhadWhat got me thinking about this was a YouTube viewing of a song by Canadian musician Doug Cameron, Mona With The Children, which tells the story of a young Baha’i girl, Mona Mahmudnizhad, who was one of ten women martyred in Iran for teaching her faith to children. Her heroic story is inspiring on so many levels. It is hard to just dismiss the strength of her conviction just because our beliefs are different. But more important is my longing for a Christian equivalent to this type of music. Sadly, there isn’t much out there.

Kids that form Christian bands believe that they are bound lyrically to what they sing in church and at youth group. It was not always this way. I love modern worship, but I believe we are severely limiting ourselves. As Christians, we need to the huge resources of our “Christian music industry” to praise God and to teach and tell stories to the next generation of personal salvation and heroes of our faith.

 

 

May 23, 2010

Movie to Tell the Keith Green Story

A very small handful of blogs have picked up on this story from Monday (5/17) which appeared — as far as I can tell — only at the Los Angeles Daily News.   As I type this, the link has been broken, so I’m going to import some of this from other bloggers who were able to grab the story before the link became unstable…

First from Arts and Faith:

Nearly 30 years after Christian-rock pioneer Keith Green died in a plane crash, his widow and a Hollywood producer have teamed up to bring his story to the big screen in the hope of introducing a new generation to his music. . . .

Melody Green is working with producer Mike Leahy to make a movie version of her book “No Compromise: The Life Story of Keith Green.”

Leahy has been involved with a number of Hollywood projects over the past 20 years, including “The Prophecy” starring Christopher Walken and “Infinity” directed by Matthew Broderick. But this is the first project for the production company he formed with his wife, Lori, to make films with a spiritual or social message.

They hope to start shooting later this year, and release the film in 2011. . . .

The blog To Be Free fills in more of the missing online article:

One of several Christian rock musicians who lived in the San Fernando Valley in the 1970s, Keith and his wife, Melody, wrote numerous hit songs, but also formed a seven-home community in Woodland Hills where they cared for people in need.

“The stuff he did was breaking all the rules,” said Melody, now an author, composer and speaker who leads Last Days Ministries out of Kansas City, Mo.

“He showed up in flip-flops, blue jeans and suspenders and really kind of revolutionized the music industry by giving away his music for free, loving God, really loving people and telling Christians, `Hey, we’ve got to do what we say we believe.”‘

It turns out however, that one blogger had this story first at the blog, Our Sovereign Joy.   That entry is a link to the Last Days Ministries website; the organization Keith started that Melody Green continues.   There we read:

Shortly after the plane crash, I knew someday there would be a movie about Keith.  I’ve waited for over 25 years for the Lord’s timing — for God to bring producers with the right hearts, the vision and expertise to take Keith’s story to the big screen.

I always had a specific vision for the movie… just as I did when I wrote Keith’s story in No Compromise.  I want people to join Keith in his searching years and then track with us together on our journey to faith.  It must be authentic — and connect to both the heart and the spirit.

The Screenplay is being written right now – so please pray for it specifically!  For the story line, the events shown, and the power of God to be woven into it.

Every film that is taken from a book is much more condensed than the book, so everyone involved needs great and specific guidance…

…This movie is a God-sized job that needs to be bathed in prayer… for wisdom, anointing, divine connections, favor in the industry, the funding that is needed, and much more.

I also need prayer personally, as I know this will be both an exciting and emotionally overwhelming project.  I’m already feeling the weight of it…

Continue reading Melody’s letter here… (click on “current prayer needs” under Keith’s picture)

This is a story we’ll continue tracking.   Years later, there is no denying the great influence of Keith Green’s life and music.   Even this week, as part of a two-hour reconnect with a friend who does worship seminars for churches, I asked the question, “I wonder what Keith Green would think of today’s modern worship industry?”

This movie will no doubt impact many lives, and taking Melody’s suggestion — we should all be praying both for the movie to be a worthy reflection of Keith’s life, but also praying about the role we can play in helping to promote it, especially to a younger generation who never lived through the year’s of Keith Green’s influence.

Do you have a Keith Green story to tell?   Click on the comment link and share your story.

Photo: Keith and Melody as new Christians.  The book No Compromise was reprinted in 2008 by Thomas Nelson.

UPDATE:   Be sure to read a more recent story on this blog describing the 28/28/28 memorial.

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