Although golf was originally restricted to wealthy, overweight Protestants, today it's open to anybody who owns hideous clothing.
- Dave Barry
Ha ha, I just thought that quote was funny on iGoogle this morning, although it really has nothing to do with my thoughts today except for that word "Protestant".
I have been watching The Tudors on my Netflix for a few weeks now. Even though I feel like I know the story of King Henry VIII quite well, it has been very interesting to see how they choose to dramatize certain things and which parts of the story they choose and all that. It is also cool because they must have money enough to hire good actors, because people like Sam Neill, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and Jeremy Northam all play part in the royal court, giving it a little more star power than your average TV program.
Jeremy Northam, in fact, plays Sir Thomas More, a great name in church history, and a man of very sensitive scruples trying to survive in the royal court and keep his integrity as a man of God. He sees that his beloved Catholic Church is crumbling in England before his very eyes and uses his newfound power as Chancellor of the Realm to try and quash Reformers he sees as heretics. He gets to the point where he is so frantic against Martin Luther, Reformers, and the fact that the King of England is considering major reform of his own, that Sir Thomas More begins to burn the heretics. He doesn't go crazy or anything, but in the season finale, when the King asks him how many he's burnt, More replies, "Six. But all according to law. And all well done."
Stick with me here, I'm trying for more than a synopsis...I do have a point! One of the heretics that More decided to burn was a man called Mister Fish. He had written a pamphlet stating that (horror!) the Holy Scriptures should be available to every person in their own native tongue, and that Christ had appointed us all to a royal priesthood, and therefore we had no need of priests on the Earth. This is basic Protestant stuff. But Mister Fish was BURNED at the stake for writing such a thing. BURNED!! He went to his death with Catholic priests uttering Latin prayers towards him, and when asked to recant of his heresy, he instead starts boldly praying The Shepherd's Psalm IN ENGLISH as he is engulfed in flames.
I thought about that today as I read my Bible in Greek, but then was able to read it again out loud in English, which of course I can readily understand. I often think about people in China who have died for possession of one page of the Holy Bible...one page which lead them to Christ and eternal life and which they probably treasured above all other things. Someone translated it into their Chinese dialect, and that is not heresy anymore. I don't often think about the people who were burned at the stake and thrown out of the Holy Catholic Church for paving the way for things like that.
Doesn't it make you want to kinda hug your Bible a little bit? Is that sacrilegious? I don't really know. It makes me appreciate all the more the Reformers who stood up in a dangerous time to things that were revealed to them to be wrong. They gave us the Bible in our own language, and the belief that we are a holy priesthood and that we are all saints. They even gave us the right to wear hideous clothes and play golf and have Dave Barry make jokes about us...because without the blood of the martyrs, what sort of Church would we be?