St. Augustine Movie

'Human life without knowledge of history is nothing other than a perpetual childhood, nay, a permanent obscurity and darkness'. -Philipp Melanchthon

Our friends at University Catholic (fka Vandy Catholic) just let us know about a great opportunity to deepen our knowledge of the history of the church. Let us know if you are interested in helping to publicize the event. See the announcement below.

'Dear Fellow Non-Registered Group Leaders,

I hope that you are doing well and that the year is off to a great start for each of your groups.  I am writing to you to invite you to help sponsor and participate in a great event that University Catholic (formerly known as Vanderbilt Catholic) is planning this semester.  This Fall there is a new movie coming out about the life of St. Augustine based on his own writings called Restless Heart, and on Saturday, November 3 at 1 pm we will be showing this movie in Sarratt Cinema.  St. Augustine's story is one that I think many Vanderbilt students can identify with, and I think it will be a great opportunity to engage students with the message of the Gospel through this movie.

Here is a trailer for the movie as well as more info about it.

If you would like to help us with this event, we would love to have your help with getting people to come to the event and publicizing it as well as helping with some of the costs of bringing this showing of the movie to Vanderbilt.  I think it would be awesome if we could get a number of different groups sponsoring the event so that it really would be an event for all Christians on campus rather than just one or two groups.

So, if you think your group would be interested in helping sponsor this event please let me know.  And if not, you are still welcome to come out to see the movie, and I hope to see you there!

In Christ,
PJ Jedlovec
University Catholic President'




Festival of St. Francis


All praise be yours, my Lord, through our Sister
Mother Earth, who sustains us and governs us,
and produces various fruits with colored flowers
and herbs. -Francis of Assisi, 'Canticle of the Sun'


This Saturday, September 29, from 3-6 p.m., Church of the Redeemer will host its second annual Festival of St. Francis in Sevier Park in Nashville's 12 South neighborhood, just southeast of Vanderbilt's campus. Francis famously preached the gospel of Christ to the whole creation, to the elements and the animals as much as to human beings, and so Francis has become in the Catholic tradition the patron saint of the animals. More broadly in the Christian tradition, the Festival of St. Francis includes the blessing of the animals to honor Francis' care for the whole creation. If you have pets whom you would like to receive a blessing, Redeemer encourages you to bring them. But even if you don't have a pet (I don't), there will be a ton of free food, crafts, and other fun stuff for adults and children alike. The event is free. Details here.


Stage Adaptation of C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce


'There are only two kinds of people in the end: those who say to God, "Thy will be done," and those to whom God says, in the end, "Thy will be done." All that are in Hell, choose it. Without that self-choice there could be no Hell. No soul that seriously and constantly desires joy will ever miss it. Those who seek find. Those who knock it is opened'. -George MacDonald in C.S. Lewis's The Great Divorce

Tomorrow night, Friday Sept. 21, there is a great opportunity to see a one-man stage adaptation by Anthony Lawton of C.S. Lewis's classic reflection on heaven and hell, The Great Divorce, at Ensworth High School, 7401 Hwy. 100, Nashville (Bellevue), TN 37221, beginning at 7 p.m. Brought to you by the Catholic Medical Association. Details for the event below:

'Anthony Lawton will make you laugh.  He will make you think.  He will also make you examine your own soul as he portrays the rationalizations and self-deceptions used to refuse Heaven. 

'Anthony’s masterful performance combines with his faithful adaptation of Lewis’s The Great Divorce to produce an evening of spiritual insight and challenge.  Using a wide range of dialects—from Cockney to American Midwestern to Scottish—Anthony Lawton brings to life over a dozen characters in his one-man stage adaptation of Lewis’s classic.

'“Now this is storytelling,” says the Philadelphia Inquirer.

'This production was chosen to be performed at the C. S. Lewis Foundation Conference held in Oxford and Cambridge England (called The Oxbridge Lewis Conference)'. 


One act, ~80 minutes, no intermission, short time of Q&A with Mr. Lawton after the performance


Doors open at 6:30 pm, show starts at 7:00 pm


Plenty of free parking.  Enter the main campus at 7401 Hwy 100- Park either in the front circle or drive straight back to parking lot at the rear of campus.


The theatre is situated near the front of campus.  Its entrance faces the main quad.


$10 donation at the door per person (to be a charitable gift for Haiti)


Wes Ely, MD, Professor of Medicine, wes.ely[at], 615-936-2795 (office) on behalf of the Nashville Guild of the Catholic Medical Association



Stephen Trafton's 'Encountering Philippians'

Stephen Trafton will be performing a dramatic reading of Paul's letter to the Philippians at The Family of God at Woodmont Hills on Sunday, September 23 at 7 p.m. in the East Wing, Room 205. Trafton has performed on Broadway in Les Miserables and has toured nationally with Phantom of the Opera. He works for Fellowship of the Performing Arts in New York, a production company responsible for Screwtape on Stage, an adaptation for the stage of C.S. Lewis's beloved Screwtape Letters. You are invited to 'step into the world of first-century Christians and experince the letter to the Philippian church through an evening of imaginative storytelling and audience interaction, culminating in a dramatic protroyal of one of Paul's most beloved letters'. There is no cover charge. See the advertisement for the event here.   


The Old Testament as Christian Scripture

The Bible is a composite work. The individual books that compose it came into being over centuries and were slowly drawn together into our collection of sacred Scripture. There were other books, some of which the Bible makes reference to, which were not preserved. As Christians, we confess that this process of canonical formation was providentially ordained and inspired by the Holy Spirit, such that the books we have now and only these books contain the words of life that Paul describes as 'useful for teaching and instruction' (2 Tim. 3:16). The word ‘canon’ that describes this collection of books is the Greek word that means 'measuring rod' or 'rule', which indicates that it is by these books that teaching that purports to be Christian is to be judged.

Another important fact to note is that early Christians operated for at least a generation without ready access to any of the books that we now think of as the New Testament. The 'Bible' for early Christians was by and large what we now think of as the Old Testament, in Hebrew to some degree, but more often in its translations into Aramaic and Greek. These writings of Israel for early Christians were the texts that bore witness to Jesus Christ by speaking prophetically and typologically about him. That these texts were seen as prophetic means that they predicted the coming of the Messiah, the anointed one or King of Israel who would restore Israel's fortunes. As we will see, Jesus did restore Israel's fortunes, but in a way that first century Jews did not expect and which they could not see until the Spirit made them see (John 14). That they functioned typologically means that signal events in Israel's history recorded in Scripture prefigured in an embodied and evocative but imperfect way features of the ministry of Jesus, such that Jesus was seen by post-Pentecostal (Acts 2) followers of 'the way' (an early name for the Christians) as the fulfillment of the whole of Israel's history.

Irenaeus of Lyons, Wikipedia Commons

In the language of the third century church father Irenaeus, Jesus ‘recapitulates’ or relives the whole of Israel's history, and by fulfilling what was lacking in that history, sanctifies and perfects it. The historian Jaroslav Pelikan described this recapitulation of Israel's history in Christ as a historical 'spiral' in which creation, once broken, is reconciled and restored to God in Christ. In the resurrection of Christ, in which Jesus is victorious over sin, death, and the devil, the unholy trinity that seeks to undermine the work of the holy Trinity, Christ shows us the end that God intended for humanity in its creation – likeness to and communion with the Triune God.

'The curve of the incarnation thus repeats the pattern of the creation, so that what was lost after the fall from the original creation might be recovered the next time around. The spiral of history moves into a new stage that surrounds and thus repeats the old; but when it does, it shows that God patterned the old turn after that which was to come. Now man can show that he has the image of God, and now he can regain the lost similitude of God'.


The transition of the Jewish scriptures to what we now think of as the Old Testament was a product of this Christ-centered way of reading that text. The New Testament of Christian scripture reads the Old Testament as the source in which the meaning of Christ's life, death and resurrection is to contemplated and discovered. This mode of reading is unapologetically 'spiritual' in the sense that it sees the events the text is describing as signs that prefigure and point to the deeper reality of Christ.  In the resurrection narratives in Luke, for example, Jesus encounters the disciples on the road to Emmaus and reveals the Christological scope of the Old Testament to them:

17 He asked them, “What are you discussing together as you walk along?”

They stood still, their faces downcast. 18 One of them, named Cleopas, asked him, “Are you the only one visiting Jerusalem who does not know the things that have happened there in these days?”

19 “What things?” he asked.

“About Jesus of Nazareth,” they replied. “He was a prophet, powerful in word and deed before God and all the people. 20 The chief priests and our rulers handed him over to be sentenced to death, and they crucified him; 21 but we had hoped that he was the one who was going to redeem Israel. And what is more, it is the third day since all this took place. 22 In addition, some of our women amazed us. They went to the tomb early this morning 23 but didn’t find his body. They came and told us that they had seen a vision of angels, who said he was alive. 24 Then some of our companions went to the tomb and found it just as the women had said, but they did not see Jesus.”

25 He said to them, “How foolish you are, and how slow to believe all that the prophets have spoken! 26 Did not the Messiah have to suffer these things and then enter his glory?” 27 And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.


Benjamin West, 'The Brazen Serpent', Wikipedia Commons

One criteria in fact for the selection of the texts that became the New Testament was whether they bore this Christological relationship with the Old Testament. The heretic Marcion, for instance, denied that the Old Testament was a product of the same God as the God of Jesus, and it was Marcion's creation of a canon that severed the link between the Jewish scriptures and the Christians that stimulated the church to demarcate the limits of its own canon and to codify the appropriate way of reading the texts of sacred scripture. This mode of reading the Old Testament will be basis for the rest of our posts on the meaning of the gospel.