Introduction to The Institutes (and a little skunking)

I spent the week, during odd and short moments when I could sneak off alone, reading the various introductions to a couple of different editions of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion, and have also skimmed over a couple of brief biographies of Calvin.  It’s been extra busy  this week, and once I had to lock myself into the powder bath room off my office so I could read undisturbed beginning at 5:30am.    I hid my running shoes so people might assume I had gone off on the trail, and I got an hour out of that little ruse.
Anyhow,  it’s all so very intriguing to me to see how the direction of Calvin’s  life changed and how he developed as a force for Christ as he responded rightly to the circumstances around him.  I am so encouraged and inspired by his struggles and his tireless labors in the face of sorrow and trials and adversity.

He was born into a pious Catholic family, and according to the Catholic websites and one kind of old and dogeared article from an old Catholic Encyclopedia, he was dutifully trained up by his mother to be a good Catholic.  And so these publications ask, basically, “What in the world happened to our boy?”  There is a suggestion that he developed a mental imbalance which manifested itself for the first time when he experienced what  he called his “conversion” as a very young man…..at which time he broke all ties with the Catholic church.

After this,  as French Protestants, among whom were  his own friends,  were being arrested and burned daily, Calvin was writing this treatise on Biblical Christian faith.    The idea in view was that anyone craving  a deeper understanding of true biblical  teachings might find them in his book.   There was nothing of the sort  available to them in the church.

What a bold and beautiful living out of the faith that is!  I love reading this book, and knowing why he put it on paper.  He gladly risked the dangers which were so pervasive  in Europe during the 1530s and ’40s, as he knew that he must stand and make the teachings of Christ plain for every man.

I am so thankful it’s still available to read, and as I have read some of this background material, it’s clear that it’s important for all believers to develop some degree of a similar ability to articulate our faith to whomever we may encounter, and we need to be particularly noisy in doing this when there appears to be persecution of the faithful going on all around us.

I was so much looking forward to putting this post together, and I wrote something up ahead of time and had to save it as a document because our internet was out for a time.  Then when I went to find it, it was all scrambled and full of what looked like cartoon character profanity….tell me you know what that looks like.  I thought, Oh….God is sovereign and would prefer that I write a different post on this, perhaps.

So I did.  And then I went to work a bit on this website, but as I am from the wrong generation and am at all times stumbling in the dark on this business of doing tricky stuff on a computer, somehow I lost post #2….it had to do with trying to cut and paste and change the font.

So that was all on Friday, then our weekend was a bit special with many many extra people, perhaps I had a total of 20 extras around my table from Friday to Sunday.

So this post was left until today.
And stuff was going on as it always does on Monday, so an hour ago I sat down to write here.  I put my little doggies outside for the last “visit” of the evening and turned my attention to this little project.  And as I settled into the chair……just at that moment,  both of my dogs were skunked right outside the dining room door.  Since all our windows are open, the aroma made a beeline for the interior of the house.  And of course,  the entire family was immediately pounding down the stairs to inform me that there seemed to be a skunk in the house upstairs.

The reason this happened is clear.  It’s because I said to someone here this morning “Can you believe the dogs haven’t been skunked even ONCE this spring!”    As the words left my mouth, I knew I should have just kept quiet.

3 thoughts on “Introduction to The Institutes (and a little skunking)

  1. You have remarkable abilities to cover wide swaths of subject matter in one swoop! From Calvin’s nascent faith to the probability of dogs being skunked per spring. Amazing as always, Missy! 😉

  2. I laughed out loud as I imagined you hiding your running shoes and locking yourself in the powder room, Missy! That’s commitment! :)

    And I agree with Lori — you’re amazing!

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