General Introduction
– Hey, it’s Spring Break (for some of us)
– Good news!
– Grubbs apologizes for our hiatus
– Why we’re better than the other podcasts
– What’s on the blog?
– How can you hear Nathan preach?
Casserole X

Hebrew Seclusion and Separation
– Abra(ha)m leaves the city
– Livestock kings
– New Testament echoes
– Seclusion as means to an end
– Eat your vegetables!
– Christ thrown everything off balance

The Fruits of Asceticism
– The individual soul
– The theology of seclusion
– How monks saved civilization
– Examples and prayer
– The strange anti-modernism of Julian of Norwich
– A New Kind of Divine Suffering
– Community in seclusion

Why Do Protestants Hate Monasteries?
– Luther’s theology of marriage
– From monks to children
– Milton’s libel
– Rich monks, foodie nuns, and lecherous friars

– The Levitical dietary restrictions
– The Nazirites
– The food code in the New Testament
– Sacred fasts

Why Emulate Those Crazy, Crazy Saints?
– Martin Luther King as ascetic
– Maybe we’re the crazy ones
– Stained-glass windows
– What would Dr. Drew say to St. Jerome?
– Hair shirts
– Intentional celibacy

Why Do Puritans Hate Sex So Much?
– They sure had a lot of children!
– The third use of the law
– Is Al Gore really any better?
– The Puritan family

What’s the Value?
– And: Are we giving anything up for Lent?
– Repression and the world as moral standard
– Monkhood as differénce
– Swimming against the current
– The real value of suffering
– How not to do Lent
– Is natural good?

Chaucer, Geoffrey. The Canterbury Tales. Ed. V.A. Kolve and Glending Olson. New York: Norton, 2005.

Dostoevsky, Fyodor. The Brothers Karamazov. Trans. Constance Garnett. New York: Norton, 1976.

Julian of Norwich. Revelations of Divine Love. New York: Penguin, 1982.

King, Martin Luther, Jr. “Letter from a Birmingham Jail.” I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World. Ed. James M. Washington. 83-100.

Milton, John. Areopagitica. The Major Works. Ed. Stephen Orgel and Jonathan Goldberg. New York: Oxford UP, 1991. 236-273.

8 thoughts on “The Christian Humanist, Episode 42: Asceticism”
  1. Wait!
    It’s Spring Break and you decide NOW is the time for an episode on Asceticism?
    Do I detect the shades of Calvinism darkening the issue?


  2. To be fair, the episode was SUPPOSED to come out the day before Ash Wednesday, which would have been much more appropriate. 😉

  3. Congratulations on the new position, Michael!

    If you ever wander north into Saskatchewan, come say hi to us at Briercrest.

    Regarding current views of self-control, see the psychological research of Roy Baumeister ( ). There’s actually a resurgence in interest in self-control and resisting temptation in certain academic circles.

  4. Why, thank you, Charles. Ditto if you ever make it south to the Twin Cities.

    I actually came close to applying for an open position at Briercrest this year, but my wife told me she was unwilling to live in a place that cold. It was hard enough talking her into Minnesota.

    And don’t worry about my name. I am used to misspelling and mispronunciation.

  5. First off, congrats Michial, I am quite jealous as I suffer in my lay-humanist status:) Two, to all of you, I thoroughly enjoyed the new episode. Being influenced by Eastern christianity myself, I am definitely interested in exploring the ancients and Medieval monastics and mystics. It would be have been even cooler to explore the christian mysticism a bit more, but then again that could be a whole epidsode by itself (recommendation:)) I also remember your comment about Paul thinking that the end of the world was near, the reader definitely gets that sense from his epistles. That being said, how does that affect your view of inspiration in regards to Pauls’s error being present in the text? Just curious.

    chris winn

  6. I loved the part about how Daniel and the boys ate their vegtables. I would love to hear a whole episode on this sort of folk theology…in other words “Crazy things I learned in Sunday School.”

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