Thursday, September 29, 2005
-- Hugo Black
Tuesday, September 27, 2005
Monday, September 26, 2005
Catholic-Lutheran Document on Apostolicity Is Near
Ontario Christian (?) School
A 14-year-old student was expelled from a Christian school because her parents are lesbians, the school's superintendent said in a letter: "Your family does not meet the policies of admission," Superintendent Leonard Stob wrote to Tina Clark, the girl's biological mother. He stated that school policy requires that at least one parent may not engage in practices "immoral or inconsistent with a positive Christian life style, such as cohabitating without marriage or in a homosexual relationship." Read more ...
There is one lawgiver and judge who is able to save and to destroy. So who, then, are you to judge your neighbor?
-- James 4:12 NRSV
Sunday, September 25, 2005
Flooding in India
One family's struggle . . .
Saturday, September 24, 2005
The Battle for God
Friday, September 23, 2005
The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey today announced that it is seeking to participate as a friend-of-the-court in the case of a second-grade student who was barred from singing a religious song in a voluntary, after-school talent show.
"There is a distinction between speech by a school and speech by individual students," said ACLU of New Jersey cooperating attorney Jennifer Klear in New York City. "The Constitution protects a student's individual right to express herself, including the right to express herself religiously."Read more ...
"The Purpose Driven Life"
What's his secret for church growth? Small groups.
Why is he popular? He understands small group psychology, whether of lay people or pastors.
How sound is his theology? Malcolm Gladwell writes:
Warren's God is not awesome or angry and does not stand in judgment of human sin. He's genial and mellow.
"Warren's God 'wants to be your best friend,' and this means, in turn, that God's most daunting property, the exercise of eternal judgment, is strategically downsized," the critic Chris Lehmann writes, echoing a common complaint:
When Warren turns his utility-minded feel-speak upon the symbolic iconography of the faith, the results are offensively bathetic: "When Jesus stretched his arms wide on the cross, he was saying, 'I love you this much.'" But God needs to be at a greater remove than a group hug.
Yes, Warren is popular. Yes, his followers do a lot of good works. But at what cost? Where is sin? Where is repentance? Where is salvation from eternal punishment? Where is our true freedom in Christ?
Thursday, September 22, 2005
Status of religion
Science is not omnicompetent. 'Our physical senses are not the only senses we have.'No one has ever seen a thought. No one has ever seen a feeling. Yet our thoughts and feelings are where we primarily live our lives.
Religion is everywhere, except in the intelligentsia, the people who rule our country, and in the media.
The mainline churches have surrendered too much to modern secularism. The language they preserve -- but the fire isn't in their souls.
Liberal Christianity has turned religion into mere morality, leaving churches with nothing to offer their members except rallying cries to be good. ... The authority of religion has waned along with the mystery of the sacred.
Tuesday, September 20, 2005
Are churches/monasteries granting sanctuary to criminals?
The Holy See says it has offered no type of refuge to the suspected Croatian war criminal Ante Gotovina. In fact, the Holy See is waiting for the United Nations' chief prosecutor for the former Yugoslavia to give it information so that it can aid in the search for Gotovina, said Vatican spokesman Joaquín Navarro Valls. Read more ...
Gay rights in the Anglican church
The Anglican Church of Nigeria has deleted from its Constitution all references to "the See of Canterbury," the British "mother" church that links Anglican churches worldwide. Read more ...
Monday, September 19, 2005
"Love means never having to say you're sorry."
-- Judy Gruen
Was Katrina an act of God?
-- Bishop Carlton D. Pearson of Higher Dimensions Ministries in Tulsa, Okla., commenting on his belief that Hurricane Katrina was not an act of God.
Palm in the pulpit
Sunday, September 18, 2005
Update from Pr. David re hurricane relief
Our church council has decided on the following strategy: help those that we know with specific needs within our congregation or our extended family. We met this noon after morning worship and have identified three families with virtually nothing left after the hurricane and one family with maybe a salvageable shell of a house. Remember that many people had been advised to take out no flood insurance by their mortgage agents because "it hadn't flooded there for 500 years." Bottom line: many of the refugee/evacuee households have literally nothing and insurance will not cover and resources are limited. Three of these homes are located in Louisiana and one in Alabama.
Zion has allocated a grant of $1000 to each of these four families that we know specifically about. We have allocated an additional $1000 to a church we have had a relationship with for perhaps 80 years located near the Gulf in extreme southern Mobile County--the damage there is as bad as in Mississippi. Prior to this we provided a couple hundred dollars worth of socks to a local nursing home impacted by folks being placed there from Mississippi.
Here's our situation. These dollars will be appreciated when received, but the need is so big and the resources so little. Would you or your church consider taking on support of a family for 6 months or a year. The economy is in a shambles--business and jobs will not generate income for at least the mid-term in most cases. Mobile County just west of our county of Baldwin declared EVERYONE ELIGIBLE FOR FOODSTAMPS REGARDLESS OF SO-CALLED INCOME within the last couple days. The need is great. If we could provide any income stream to these families it would help so much. During the Vietnam and Hmong refugee days many of our congregations supported a refugee family for a year or so--I think the time has come again. Our focus is on these four families, but if God should choose to bless this idea with additional funds, we can probably find dozens in similar situations.
We would be happy to team with you and connect you with a specific family or receive funds and relay them to a specific family for support. How long? I just don't know, but I think we are looking maybe longer than a year, but a commitment of even 6 months at this time will accomplish much for the name of Christ. If you can help us, would you get back to me ASAP.
--Pastor Dave, Zion Lutheran Church, Silverhill, AL
Saturday, September 17, 2005
There are two types of secrets: those that one or two people know, but never tell; and those that everyone knows, but no one wants to talk about.
In light of the recent vote of the national assembly of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Orlando effectively continuing the ban on full incorporation of homosexuals in the ELCA, it becomes obvious that the church is still terrified of its dirty little secret, the one everyone knows but no one wants to talk about.
Since the Reformation, the Protestant wing of Christianity has sought, above all else, to do away with human accoutrements to religion, and instead pare it down to the basics intoned by Martin Luther, namely sola gratia, sola fides, sola scriptura -- grace alone, faith alone, scripture alone.
At the essence of the homosexuality debate that has gripped several Protestant denominations, most recently the ELCA, is this notion of "scripture alone," or "word alone."Word alone" means simply this: Do what the Bible says, and nothing less.
In the last few years a vocal group of Lutheran scholars and pastors has taken "Word Alone" as its moniker, committing itself to defending the ELCA against anti-scriptural movements, such as efforts to offer marriage to gay couples and to ordain practicing homosexuals. If we simply follow the Bible, they contend, the debate would be over. For the Bible is clear in saying that homosexuality is a sin.
And in fact, they're right. The Bible states this three times, none more clearly than in Leviticus 20:13a, "If a man lies with a man as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination ..."
But there is one small problem with "word alone" thinking, a problem that has metastasized into the one big Lutheran secret. The problem is that there are no truly "word alone" people in the ELCA, or any other Christian denomination. Plenty of people claim to be Bible-based, literal interpreters of scripture, or "word alone" Bible readers, but none truly is.
It is a problem and secret seen never more plainly than in this homosexuality debate. See, Leviticus 20:13a is not the whole story.
There is a Leviticus 20:13b. This second half of the verse reads, "...and they shall both be put to death. Their blood is on their heads." Within the same verse there is a second Biblical mandate. Not only is homosexuality a sin, but it demands death for the perpetrators.
The great Lutheran secret is that there is a whole lot that the Bible says that no one wants to acknowledge. We Lutherans claim to follow scripture exactly, but then pick and choose to meet our fancy.
If we, or any Protestant denomination, truly follow God's "word alone," if we are to claim any measure of Biblical integrity, we would be required to demand not only the condemnation but also the execution of all homosexuals.
But it wouldn't stop there. The Bible explicitly states that no less than 35 different acts are capital crimes. The list includes incorrigible children, working on the Sabbath, premarital sex, adultery, worshipping a God of another religion and blasphemy, as well as a few others a bit more blue.
The great Lutheran secret is that no one is reading the Bible literally, for imagine the carnage. Despite "word alone" claims within conservative factions, every Christian alive picks and chooses what is to be his or her canon of scripture, in part because it long ago fell out of vogue to kill people for Biblical reasons.
In truth, "word alone" has become nothing more than a watered-down euphemism for "conservative yet culturally acceptable Christianity."
Modern sensibility requires some measure of picking-and-choosing. However, the crime is committed when those claiming strict Biblical adherence then portray themselves as not picking and choosing, setting up the very hypocrisy that scripture condemns as one of the most grievous of all sins.
The heart-wrenching struggles of the ELCA will only abate when we Lutherans have the courage to discuss our secret openly and honestly. Until we admit that we deny as much scripture as we embrace, we will continue to fight among ourselves unnecessarily, and continue to be seen as the hypocrites that we are.
Friday, September 16, 2005
More on the pledge
More on the Inquisition
For another view on how to serve gays in the church, read more ...
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Return of the Inquisition?
Wednesday, September 14, 2005
Another quote from Judge Roberts
Pledge of Allegiance unconstitutional
Supreme Court nomination hearings
When you talk about your personal views and, as they may relate to your own faith, would you say that your views are the same as those expressed by John Kennedy when he was a candidate, when he spoke to the Greater Houston Ministerial Association in September of 1960, quote, "I do not speak for my church on public matters and the church does not speak for me," close quote?
I agree with that, Senator. Yes.
Tuesday, September 13, 2005
-- Rabbi Tzvi Hersh Weinreb, executive vice president of the Orthodox Union, lamenting the destruction of former Jewish synagogues by Palestinians in the Gaza Strip. The synagogues were abandoned when Israel forcibly removed all its citizens from the Gaza settlements.
Sunday, September 11, 2005
Friday, September 09, 2005
Morality ringtones for your cell phone
Thursday, September 08, 2005
How to run a church
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
Are you ready to clean up your life?
See to it that no one takes you captive through philosophy and empty deceit, according to human tradition, according to the elemental spirits of the universe, and not according to Christ.
-- Col. 2:8
Sunday, September 04, 2005
Conflicting messare from churches re Katrina
Friday, September 02, 2005
Hurricane update from Alabama
Thursday, September 01, 2005
India flood aid
Keep these folks in your prayers!