He probably would have pronounced it "Cal-ee-fone-ya" too.

It was a dark day for John Calvin.   We had the equivalent of John Calvin fest 2009 (Bolger was lecturing on Calvin and the Reformed tradition) in class last Wednesday and none of the Presbytarians decided to represent.  What was the excuse for their absence?  Well, Wednesday class attendance was low due to the pre-Thanksgiving exodus.  And, as it turned out, of the 1/4 or so of class that showed up, none were Presbyterian.  Of all the insults to dear ol’ Cal, his own peeps don’t show up because they are off celebrating the survival of a bunch of church folk who were trying to get away from the state.  Nuts.  (Please see my apology and correction in the blog above for 11/30.)
As it turned out, Calvin practically wrote the vows and performed the ceremony for the Protestant wedding of the church and state.  Calvin, I learned, wrote the Institutes as a response to the existing marriage of church and state.  Not only was he calling, like Luther, for reform in the practices of the church, but Calvin was creating a coinciding reform for civic society.  Church and state were so intimately intertwined in the 16th century that reforming the church really meant one had to reform the state.  So he did, starting with Geneva.  Perhaps the Presbyterians in my class already knew this and therefor had no qualms of conscience about being absent.  I’ve only just recently started dabbling in Presbyterianism myself, so I really couldn’t say.  

Overall, I was thrilled to get this broad overview about Calvin and what all he was responding to, and a little bit of a picture of why Presbyterians  do what they do.  I love historical contexts!  I love learning stories and seeing how those stories connect to today.  Whacky business.

 

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