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What happens when a “Christian” empire declines? The grandfather of Catholic theology, Augustine of Hippo realized after the sack of Rome by the Visogoths that surrender to one’s enemies might mean a people’s salvation. In his multi-book apologetic, City of God, Augustine examines the historical fact of so many Roman citizens being spared by supposedly vicious pagan barbarians. The truth was the barbarians were not pagans, they were Donatist Christians. According to Augustine, these Donatist Christians respected the age old practice of sanctuary in churches for those fleeing violence. Rome had collapsed but Christianity had endured. It’s knowledge, teaching, and practices were saved by monastics living in the deserts and other lonely places of the land.

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All the devastation, the butchering, the plundering, the conflagration, and all the anguish were in accord with the general practice of war. All of Rome had totally surrendered. The barbarian savagery had a gentle nature. The large basilisks chosen, set aside. Filled with people, spared by the enemy. No one taken away into captivity. All of Rome had totally surrendered. Everything was stolen or burned to the ground. No one who hid in the churches were injured. No one lost their lives for the sake of a few jewels. How long? Will you hide yourself forever? How long? Will your wrath burn like fire? You have renounced your covenant. You have defiled the crown into the dust. I will punish their sins with a rod and their iniquities with flogging but I will not take away my love from them or ever forsake my faithfulness. The barbarians will burn down your house, your bank, your supermarket, and police station. But they have not yet burned down the home of Palestinian children.

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from The Rise and Fall of Christendom, released October 23, 2014

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the Gospel of Barn Owl Hamilton, Ontario

Since releasing three albums as the Toronto band Barn Owl, songwriter Jared Both has regrouped in Hamilton as a electro garage rock project. Now the Gospel of Barn Owl, the band continues its critique of Constantinianism with experiments combining electronics and dub effects with fuzz guitars and analog synthesizers. ... more

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