5 Influential Christian Leaders of the Medieval Period

Anselm of Canterbury

Italian-born, Anselm was a Benedictine monk and philosopher of great renowned and influence in the 11th century AD.   His life ended while holding the office of Archbishop of Canterbury in the first decade of the 12th century.  He is recognized as the father of Scholasticism, a philosophical movement that married theology and rational thought that emphasized the internal, logical consistency of the Christian faith through reasoned arguments and the presentation of succinct truth claims.  This school of thoughts was the model of learning in the first universities that were began to be established throughout the Holy Roman Empire during Anselm’s life.  A prolific writer of numerous dialogues and treaties, Anselm offered much to the theological discussion of his day, but his most recognized teachings are his satisfaction theory of atonement and his argument for the existence of God from reason alone, now known as the ontological argument.  The satisfaction theory for atonement stressed that Christ’s honor in his obedience to death won our salvation.  This theory’s emphasis was shifted by the reformers of the 16th century to the penal substitutionary theory of atonement that stressed that Jesus’ death was the penalty we deserved, instead of the honor that we cannot give.  His ontological argument shows the existence of God from reason alone, arguing that if it is possible for God to exist, then it follows logically that he does exist.  There are numerous premises in his argument that demonstrate God’s existence, forcing the atheist to demonstrate that it is impossible for God to exist in order to hold his position logically. Anselm’s influence and work in Scholasticism certainly helped pave the way for the reformers work in analyzing and systematizing the doctrines of the Bible, as well as helped pave the way for modern day Christian apologetics.

Peter Lombard 

Peter was born in Lombard, a place in northwestern Italy, near the dawn of the 12th century AD.  He became a professor of theology in Notre Dame in 1135 and was later ordained as priest and became the bishop of Paris in 1159, a year before he died.  His most important work of historical significance is his four book commentary series, Sentences.  It was a compendium of commentaries from Church fathers on Scripture and various theological topics.  Many commentaries were also written on Peter’s commentary.  Sentences became the quintessential theological textbook of the medieval ages and was studied and quoted by such giants as Aquinas, William of Ockham, Martin Luther, and John Calvin, that came after Peter Lombard.

Bernard of Clairvaux

Bernard of Clairvaux was a French abbot of the 12th century AD (1090-1153).  Clairvaux was the name of a monastery Bernard founded in 1115, one of as many as 300 monasteries he is credited with founding. He constantly operated on a high level of church and worldly activities, penning the structure and code of the Knights Templar, being called upon to settle the dispute over who should be the succeeding pope after the death of Pope Honorius II, as well as having a major hand in influencing and rallying the Second Crusade.  His work was influential in the Reformation, and it is said that he was an early reformer himself, since Bernard spoke against the growing predisposition to rituals and the numerous sacraments within the Church.  He also has written statements that reformers later used to support the doctrines of imputed righteousness and salvation by faith alone apart from human merit.  Interestingly enough though, the Roman Catholic Church also quoted Bernard during the theological scuffles of the Reformation, because Bernard also supported the selling of indulgences and viewed Mary as the co-redeemer with Christ.  For modern day Christians, we most likely know of Bernard of Clairvaux through his epic hymn, “Oh Sacred Head Now Wounded.”

Francis of Assisi

Francis was an Italian who lived from 1181 to 1226.  He is most known for his Franciscan Order, which is technically three orders; the Friars Minor, the Order of Poor Ladies (or Clares), and the Order of Brothers and Sisters of Penance.  The Franciscans who followed his order were known for their path of poverty; and with their chosen poverty they served those that were poor and sick.  The goal for Francis was the emulation of Jesus’ life – living as Christ lived.  He was through and through a Roman Catholic, though today he is still revered by Protestants that find Francis of Assisi’s life of self-denial and service to others as an ideal example of what it means to loving one’s neighbor.

John Duns Scotus

John Duns Scotus is placed alongside Thomas Aquinus and William of Ockham as one of the master philosopher-theologians of the High Middle Ages.  He lived from 1266-1308, born in Scotland. Duns Scotus was a Franciscan.  By John Duns Scotus’ day Lombard’s Sentences was a launching pad for presenting one’s own thoughts or answers to problems and questions.  Dun Scotus’ commentary on Lombard’s work is entitled, Ordinatio, and it contains the philosophical views that Duns Scotus is most known for: univocity of being, formal distinction, and his metaphysical arguments for the existence of God.  Of importance for Roman Catholicism, Duns Scotus formulated and defended the doctrine of the Immaculate Conception, that teaches that Mary was born preserved from all stain of Original Sin.  This is now accepted doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church that even teaches today that Mary never died due to her never sinning at all in her life.

Old Testament Verses For Jews To See Jesus In Their Hebrew Scriptures

Night of Broken GlassI received the following linear presentation of verses from Pastor Kevin Parviz of the LC-MS congregation, Chai v’Shalom, in a small class-style discussion/presentation.  The verses were presented as they would arise within the natural flow of conversation about God with a Jew.  The premise if it can be setup in advance is that the Christian is known to be a Christian by the Jew and that the Christian agrees to only talk about God with the Jew using the Old Testament Scriptures without mentioning Jesus.  For the sake of getting better hits from Google searches, I used the name Old Testament in the title of this blog post, but in the conversation the Christian should use the term, Hebrew Scriptures (Tanakh).  The concept with this approach is that Jews won’t listen to talk about Jesus being God and they do find their texts authoritative (at least to some degree).

Starting Off Point

Many Jews have rejected God; they don’t even believe him.  Why?

The Holocaust.  If he’s real, or cares, he would have prevented such tragedy against his people.

Enter Isaiah 59:1-2:

“Behold, the LORD’S hand is not so short
That it cannot save;
Nor is His ear so dull
That it cannot hear.

But your iniquities have made a separation between you and your God,
And your sins have hidden His face from you so that He does not hear.”

The answer then is clear.  God can save.  But the reason there is a barrier between God and his people is their sins.

Jews usually don’t think they are sinners though – heck most of us don’t think along these lines.  We generally think we are good people, and we justify ourselves, which is what Jews will likely do after hearing this verse.  Think about it.  Most of us aren’t criminals!  Most of us haven’t had to go to prison.  In the realm of civil righteousness, we are typically good.

Regardless of sin, are you going to die?

Jews today often consider death to be the result of entropy, but that is not what the Prophets say.  The Prophets say it’s more than just natural decay.

Enter Ezekiel 18:1-4:

“The word of the Lord came to me:“What do you people mean by quoting this proverb about the land of Israel:

“‘The parents eat sour grapes, and the children’s teeth are set on edge’?

“As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, you will no longer quote this proverb in Israel. For everyone belongs to me, the parent as well as the child—both alike belong to me. The one who sins is the one who will die.”

This verse clearly states that God holds each individual responsible, so quit blaming your mom.  You will die because of your personal, actual sin.

So, what happens to you after you die?

Most Jews will say, “Nothing.”  You no longer exist.

If this is the case, then why do they do what they do as Jews, especially for the Orthodox?

The answer is to be remembered… they live on through the memory of the Jewish community.  How long does this last though?  Maybe four generations at best.  So this is far from eternal.

Enter Daniel 12:2

The prophet says that after death we all will be “awakened.”  The righteous to everlasting life and the wicked to everlasting contempt.

If this is true, how will you be judged?

Most Jews will say… probably I’ll be good.

Enter Isaiah 64:6

“All of us have become like one who is unclean, and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags; we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away.”

Even our best is wretched.  And we will all die and our sins will remove us from the earth. We all fade to black.

At this point however, the Jew will likely point out if they are thinking it through, that Daniel said that some are righteous.

The answer then is that if our best is still sinful, this must mean that those that are righteous must have been forgiven and that those who are wicked, must have not been forgiven.

How are we forgiven?

Enter Leviticus 17:10-11

“And any man from the house of Israel, or from the aliens who sojourn among them, who eats any blood, I will set My face against that person who eats blood and will cut him off from among his people.‘For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it to you on the altar to make atonement for your souls; for it is the blood by reason of the life that makes atonement.”

The answer is atonement.

The Jews will then point to their Day of Atonement.  Since they no longer have the priesthood or the temple, the instructions for the Day of Atonement in Leviticus 16 cannot be followed, but Jews today fast on this day and pray for forgiveness.

But fasting and prayers are deeds, and Isaiah says that even our good deeds are like filthy rags.

Nowhere in the prophets does it say that our good deeds merit us forgiveness of sins.

Enter Jeremiah 31:31-34

“Behold, days are coming,” declares the LORD, “when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah, not like the covenant which I made with their fathers in the day I took them by the hand to bring them out of the land of Egypt, My covenant which they broke, although I was a husband to them,” declares the LORD. “But this is the covenant which I will make with the house of Israel after those days,” declares the LORD, “I will put My law within them and on their heart I will write it; and I will be their God, and they shall be My people. “They will not teach again, each man his neighbor and each man his brother, saying, ‘Know the LORD,’ for they will all know Me, from the least of them to the greatest of them,” declares the LORD, “for I will forgive their iniquity, and their sin I will remember no more.”

Here we see that the new covenant God will make will replace the Mosaic covenant.  We just read from the Mosaic covenant in Leviticus 17.  Even in Jeremiah’s time, the Jews broke that covenant.  Now, Jews don’t even have a temple.

Enter Isaiah 52:13-53:12

Once you read this, they will say it is about Jesus!

They invoked the name of Jesus, not you.

In this passage you find the forgiveness of sins come through the “Suffering Servant” of the Lord who bears the iniquities of all people.

The Jew will likely not have an immediate conversion at this point, but it’s recommended to give them a list of these verses to read over to verify by reading them in context.  This will likely be the first time they’ve heard these verses.  Like most American homes who have many Bibles that are never opened and read, the same is for many Jewish homes that have Hebrew Scriptures.  The Jew who first encounters these verses will likely want to read more and talk more and take time to consider the message of forgiveness from God that was just received from the Hebrew Scriptures.

Augustine – The Church in the World

Excerpts from Augustine’s The City of God, taken from New Advent:

Book 18, Chapter 49

“In this wicked world, in these evil days, when the Church measures her future loftiness by her present humility, and is exercised by goading fears, tormenting sorrows, disquieting labors, and dangerous temptations, when she soberly rejoices, rejoicing only in hope, there are many reprobate mingled with the good, and both are gathered together by the gospel as in a drag net; (Matthew 13:47-50) and in this world, as in a sea, both swim enclosed without distinction in the net, until it is brought ashore, when the wicked must be separated from the good, that in the good, as in His temple, God may be all in all.”

Book 18, Chapter 51

“Thus in this world, in these evil days, not only from the time of the bodily presence of Christ and His apostles, but even from that of Abel, whom first his wicked brother slew because he was righteous, (1 John 3:12) and thenceforth even to the end of this world, the Church has gone forward on pilgrimage amid the persecutions of the world and the consolations of God.”

Quotes in my analysis below of these two brief excerpts come from the translation found in Readings in Christian Thought edited by Hugh T. Kerr.

Christians Thrown to the Lions.jpg

Augustine of Hippo stands as one of the greatest theologians of all time.  His works are still appealed to as an authority in both Roman Catholic and Protestant tradition on numerous and diverse subjects across two-hundred and thirty-two works.  From Augustine’s Confessions, we learn of his conversion from paganism to Christianity after living a life of grandiose sinful indulgences in his thirties.  Born in 354 AD, he lived through the roughly last fifty years of the Roman Empire’s existence, the first half being a pagan, and the second half being a Christian.  Augustine lived roughly another quarter of a century after the fall of Rome in 410 AD.  His mother was a Christian and his father was a pagan until his deathbed. This life experience deposits him into an advantageous position of first-hand familiarity with the mind of both the pagan and Christian, in a world where Christianity is the religion of the State and in which it is not.  After the fall of Rome, Christians received the blame for the end of the Roman Empire and the calamity and suffering that followed.  To comfort Christians, as well as to defend against such blame, Augustine wrote The City of God, drawing from his well-spring of knowledge of the inner workings of both the pagan and Christian worldviews as he wrote, to demonstrate the tension, even battle, between the kingdoms of man that continually rise and fall and the eternal kingdom of God that forever stands.

In the above excerpt from The City of God, Augustine writes with the purpose to remind Christians that the world is not their friend.  Despite the appearance of it for a time when Constantine Christianized the Roman Empire, the days are evil, and Augustine argues that this is to the Church’s benefit, because Augustine writes, “through the lowliness she now endures is winning the sublime station she is to have in heaven.” He justifies this position with two key points: a summary of Paul’s words in Romans 5 on the fruit born through suffering and an appeal to the historical suffering of God’s righteous people.  Like Paul, Augustine argues that suffering produces a deep-seated joy in the hope to come and a willingness to wait out the evil days until Christ separates his own from the children of the devil.  To keep the Church from getting too near sighted, thinking their current plight is unique to them, he reminds them that the apostles and the Church fathers suffered before Constantine made Christianity the religion of the State and that in fact God’s people have always agonized under the oppression of evil men, tracing all the way back to the beginning of man, when righteous Abel was murdered by his wicked brother, Cain.  Augustine concludes that as it was in the beginning with Abel, it will continue to be until the end of this age.

Underlying the purpose of his writing to remind his Christian readers that cities of men inevitably fall but God’s city will always remain is the question, “What then shall we do?”  With the evidence and reasoning Augustine provided, the answer appears to be nothing but a single answer – what Jesus said to the seven churches of Revelation – “Stand firm until the end.”  This single answer is to give the Christian the necessary knowledge to live in sight of better things to come, to not be attached to the world that certainly will end in fire and destruction at Christ’s return – to pull one’s head out of the “now” and to hope in the “not yet” reality of the City of God.  There are of course many activities the Christian can be pursuing in this world of woe: loving God, serving one’s neighbor, helping the poor and widowed, comforting those who mourn, being a voice for the voiceless, speaking the Gospel to all in his life, and etc., but the knowledge gleaned from Augustine’s answer is that none of these activities will put an end to suffering.  They might lead to a relative life of ease if the work of the Church through the Gospel and the Sacraments wins over the State as what had occurred with Constantine and Rome, but such peace won’t last, because it’s only given when the City of Man adopts the veneer of the City of God.

I thought this small, two paragraph excerpt from The City of God provided great insight for today’s Church in America (potentially the West as a whole, but particularly the American Church).  From personal experience, I have heard many, Americans and non-Americans, express the notion that America was founded on Christian values and liberties, going so far to say that America is a “Christian nation.”  Many of these same people argue that America has fallen from these traditional Christian values, often times using the term, “Post-Christian,” to describe the nation.  I read an article a few years ago by a LC-MS pastor about the shift Christians have experienced in America from being a people of “privilege” due to their religious majority to now being a people “unprivilege.”  In many ways, the City of God veneer has stripped away from the City of Man in America, and the Church is now seen as a resistance, a stumbling block to the progress the City of Man wants to make in the realms of sexual identity and activity, abortion on demand, religious syncretism, socialized programs that put more trust and power in the City of Man than in God and the love of one’s neighbor to help out in times of need, and even science because of the common Christian rejection of Darwinian Evolution.  Augustine reminds us too – this is nothing new.  It’s always been.

In America, we have excesses in material wealth and luxuries in comfort that many in the world cannot even comprehend.  Our extravagances can lead us to be attached to this world, to love the City of Man, in a way that others with less wealth might not be tempted to cling.  I lived one summer in a Mexican town that had no running water, no washer and dryers, no water heaters, now showers, just outhouses, no pavement, just dirt.  It’s common for Americans to come back from such locales and say, “But they were so happy.”  That was my experience too.  They weren’t so attached to the City of Man, and many of the people I interacted with were members of the City of God.  Their hope was in the life to come; not having their best life now.  Augustine’s writing was a wake-up call for me; to not grow fat and lazy; hard times will come.  His use of Abel being slain by his ungodly brother is what shook me.  I have read that historical narrative to be an example of the damaging effects of sin in the world; not the pitting of war between God’s people and the devil’s as Augustine framed it.  It reminded me that there is a war between two cities raging on and that I really should adjust and align myself not so much as an American-Christian, seeking to Make America Christian Again, but as a Christian who is a wayfarer in this world of woe, awaiting my Lord to bring me home.

3 Forms of the Word of God

The word of God comes to us in three forms: the personal word, the spoken word, and the written word. This article will explain what each form is and what God accomplishes through each form of the word.

Luther pionting to Jesus

Jesus of Nazareth claimed to be God and that his exemplary life, his miracles, his teachings, his death, burial, and resurrection all serve as credentials to verify” those claims. Jesus also affirmed the accepted text of Scripture among his people, the Jews, to contain eternal life and proclaimed that their words testify about him.  He also promised that when he returned to his Father in heaven, he would send the Spirit of Truth to his apostles who would remind them of everything he had taught them.  Because Jesus of Nazareth is God in the flesh, we can trust that he knows best what words, spoken or written, accurately reveal who he is, what he expects of humanity, and what he has done for us – what words are from him and what words are ultimately his words of revelation.  This is why the Church has trusted Jesus at his word, recognizing that the Bible (the Hebrew Scriptures of Jesus’ day and the New Testament texts that originated from within the apostolic circle) is God’s written word of divine revelation – written so that we might believe Jesus is the Son of God and that by believing in him we might have life in his name.

What I have described is wholly unique to Christianity.  In no other religion has God become a human being to personally speak to his creation and save his people from death.  Jesus, the Son of God, sent by God the Father, born of the virgin Mary, was God’s deputy.  He was given authority to speak on his Father’s behalf (authorization) and he spoke all that he had received from his Father to speak (superintendence).  If people saw Jesus, they saw the Father, if they heard Jesus, they heard the Father, because Jesus is the personal word of God.  With his words, Jesus spoke the truth of God and proclaimed the forgiveness of sins in his ministry of reconciliation to restore creation back into a right relationship with God.

The ministry of reconciliation continued with Jesus’ apostles, who he deputized to teach everything he had taught them.  As stated previously, Jesus promised that the Spirit of Truth would remind them of everything he had taught them.  This means that we can trust that the words they spoke were all that Jesus had taught them and that the words they proclaimed were true and forgave sins, just as Jesus’ words were and did.  The Apostles were therefore speaking the word of God. The apostles deputized other believers into this ministry of reconciliation, giving the Church the authority to teach what Jesus taught according to the witness they gave and to forgive sins in continuity with the proclamation of the Gospel (good news of Jesus Christ) they declared.

From within the apostolic circle, arose certain written texts that were typically written at the request of those who heard the apostolic message and wanted their words in writing, to preserve the teachings of the apostles, or to serve as reminders of what was spoken in person.  Because these texts were the written form of what the apostle’s spoke on the authority of Jesus, the personal word of God, and because they arose from within the apostolic circle (either from apostles themselves or people who wrote based on the directly received spoken word of the apostles), the Church came to recognize these texts to be the definitive versions of the apostolic proclamations in written form. The collection of these texts is the New Testament Canon; this written form of God’s word is the revelation of God that guides and norms the Church’s spoken proclamations of God’s word today.

In summary, three forms of God’s word have been presented: the personal word of God, the spoken word of God, and the written word of God.  The personal word of God is Jesus as God’s word to us.  The spoken word of God is the proclamation of God’s word to us through the prophets, apostles, pastors, teachers – all Christians – in preaching, evangelism, and through the mutual conversation and consolation of the brethren.  This form of God’s word is the “means of grace” word; it is the spoken form that has “causative authority” to create faith, as Scripture clearly states that faith comes from hearing.  In that last sentence, the function of the written form of God’s word was at work.  Scripture has “normative authority” to be the rule and guiding principle for all of God’s spoken word and it is the definitive standard by which all teachers’ and preachers’ words are to be judged.  Put another way, the written form of God’s word is the norming norm and the spoken form of God’s word is the normed norm.

In conclusion, these three forms are to be distinguished, but not separated.  Jesus is the personal word that gave the apostles the words they spoke and later wrote.  In the 21st century, we read the revelation of God in the written form, which serves the spoken word that proclaims God’s commands and promises, which delivers the personal word – all for our salvation and the restoration of God’s creation.

Credit: This article is largely based on class notes from Professor Nafzger’s lecture entitled, “The Word of the God of Word” given on Sept. 24th, 2018 at Concordia Seminary and the class discussion of the lecture on Sept. 27th, especially the use of the deputizing language and the descriptions of the type of of authority attributed to the spoken and written form of God’s word.

5 Biographical Summaries of Early Church Fathers


Polycarp of Smyrna

Polycarp lived through the second half of the first century AD and the first half of the second century.  From a statement he is recorded to have made at his martyrdom, it is assumed that Polycarp was baptized as a child and didn’t have a moment in his life where he did not know the Lord.   He had great influence in the early Christian Church, largely because he was a disciple of the Apostle John.  His apostolic connection helped land him the Bishop office of Smyrna, and it also placed him in a very important role of preserving the orthodox teachings of the Apostles, which he did with tenacity.  It is reported that he called Marcion out to his face in Rome, calling him “the first born of Satan.”  He also pulled believers away from Gnosticism.  His willingness to die as a 2nd generation Church Father was another way in which he carried on like the apostles (all except John that is).  Today his writings only have survived through a letter he wrote to the Philippians, which is an important text for the modern church since it is one of the earliest writings we have from Christendom outside of the Biblical texts.

Irenaeus of Lyons

Irenaeus was born in Smyrna in the first half of the second century AD and he lived to see the close of that century.  Having been a student of Polycarp in his youth, becoming the Bishop of Lyons late in his life, he carried on a chain of successive leadership tracing back to the apostles.  In fact, Irenaeus prescribed such connection to apostolic succession for all bishops, stressing that they all taught what the apostles had received from Christ and passed on to followers such as his teacher, Polycarp.  It is on this authority that he spoke against the Gnostics who claimed to have a knowledge from outside of direct revelation from Jesus.  His refutation of the Gnostics, in particular the flavor of Gnosticism that derived from the followers of Valentinus, has been preserved in his work Against Heresies.  It is from this work that the modern Church had the most information about Gnosticism before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls.  His writings also prove helpful to demonstrate the early formation of the New Testament Canon, since Irenaeus’s writings provide the first record of acknowledging a four-fold Gospel in Church writing and he references every text of the New Testament, except 3 John, in Against Heresies.  He may, or may not have died as a martyr.


Jerome, AKA Eusebius Hieronymus, was born in Stridon just prior to the middle of the fourth century AD, dying around 420 AD.  In is lifetime he practiced monasticism as a desert hermit, was ordained a priest, served as a secretary to Pope Damascus, and helped found a monastery in Bethlehem.  Jerome was a prolific translator, translating numerous sermons and commentaries of Church Father Origen, for instance.  His greatest and most long-lasting impact on the Church was his translation of the Vulgate (Latin) Bible.  His translation work, in particular on revisions of the Septuagint (Greek version of the New Testament) led him to the understanding that the only inspired text of the Bible is that of the original text.  In addition to his translations, he added much to the Church’s collection of exegetical commentaries as well as throwing his hat into to the arguments of doctrinal discussion in his day concerning the value of virginity compared to marriage, the ever-virgin state of Mary, the value of asceticism, defending the use of the work of Origen, and writing against Pelagianism (though Jerome was likely a synergist himself).

The Cappadocian Fathers

Arius was an early fourth century priest who taught that Jesus was not eternal.  He taught that Jesus was a created being.  To formulate a catholic response to the teachings of Arius was the main reason Emperor Constantine I called the Council of Nicaea in 325 AD.  This council rejected Arius’ teachings (Arianism) and formulated the Nicene Creed as a proper Trinitarian statement, which adopted the term “of one substance” to refer to describe the oneness in divinity that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit all shared.  After the council, not every church bishop kept to Nicene Creed and fell back to Arianism.  Soon after the Nicene Creed, Gregory of Nazianzus, Basil of Caesarea, and Basil’s brother, Gregory of Nyssa, were born.  All three were from Cappadocia and they were friends and worked together to advance and cement the formed language of the Trinity that God exists as three persons in one essence.  Their preaching and writing was significant in putting an end to Arianism in the fourth century and was crucial in the Council of Constantinople in 381 that re-affirmed the Nicene Creed.  Together these three men are known as the Cappadocian Fathers.

John Chrysostom

John Chrysostom (347–407 AD) was born John in Syrian Antioch.  He was appointed as the Bishop of Constantinople in 398. Chrysostomos means “golden-mouth” and is added to his given name as a result of his powerful sermons.  His homilies focused on living the crucified life and railed against the excesses and sinful indulgences of his day that were woefully present in the upper-echelon of the secular world and even the Church. Many loved his proclamations, but those on high did not appreciate his pointed applications at them, so he was deposed from this position and then sent into exile where he died.  Around 600 of his homilies survive today.