Saturday, March 08, 2008
Saturday, March 01, 2008
Or you should be able to listen to it online here:
Early Christian History
Medieval and Reformation Christianity
There are several things I love about this podcast. Dr. Burch takes a potentially tedious topic and breaks it down so it's very easy to connect with on a personal level. His style is also lots of fun to listen to. He's got this fun mad-professor thing going on the keeps you engaged. Finally, I've felt his insights are quite profound. His discussion about the Creation may be the single best brief commentary I've heard on the subject.
Beyond the virtuous qualities of the podcast itself, I'm going to take this chance to soapbox about some LDS cultural attitudes towards church history. Most LDS members I know feel guilty enough about not getting to know the standard works as much as they would like to, let alone studying LDS church history.
Why then am I recommending that they add another 1800 years of history to study on top of all that? The answer is multi-faceted. First, the history of Christianity is in many ways the history of the LDS church. We claim to have the same organization that existed in the primitive church yet, in general, few LDS take the time to understand how that primitive organization came to be and how it fought to survive. Learning how the early apostles established the faith and began their missionary work holds valuable lessons for how we as disciples should seek to establish homes and congregations devoted to God and spread the gospel around us.
Second, despite the assumptions some LDS members have about the great apostasy, in many respects was a time when great men and women actively and sincerely sought to know and fulfill God's will for them. During those 1800 years, these disciples confronted tough questions about what it means to be faithful and how we should approach our relationships with God and others. Their answers to those questions are both though-provoking and inspiring and just as applicable today.
Third, it's clear that there were periods of corruption and abuse during those 1800 years. Rather than neglecting these times, the patterns in the Book of Mormon suggest that we learn from those errors and fortify against committing them anew in our own lives. In other words, learning what CAUSED apostasy is valuable in that it helps us learn how to PREVENT apostasy.
The great thing about podcasts is that you can download them and let them play while you clean, fold laundry, do dishes or (if you have an ipod) exercise. My study of non-LDS Christianity has reinvigorated my study of LDS doctrine and history and I hope it does the same for you. Thanks for letting me rant... :)