Thursday, July 30, 2009

Walking the Walk

A quote sent by a friend, Chris E.:

The matter is quite simple. The Bible is very easy to understand. But we as Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand we are obliged to act accordingly. Take any words in the New Testament and forget everything except pledging yourself to act accordingly. My God, you will say, if I do that my whole life will be ruined.
- Søren Kierkegaard,Danish philosopher, theologian, and ethicist (1813-1855)

VBS production

Thanks again to everyone who made Bible School such a wonderful week! And thanks to all the families who brought their kids for the breakfast and production!

On Meditation

More from Dietrich Bonhoeffer:

Repeatedly, there will be times when we feel a great spiritual dryness and apathy, an aversion, even an inability to meditate. We dare not be balked by such experiences. Above all, we must not allow them to keep us from adhering to our meditation period with great patience and fidelity.

It is, therefore, not good for us to take too seriously the many untoward experiences we have with ourselves in meditation. It is here that our old vanity and our illicit claims upon God may creep in by a pious detour, as if it were our right to have nothing but elevating and fruitful experiences, and as if the discovery of our own inner poverty were quite below our dignity.

From Life Together, "The Day Alone", pp 83-84.

Home Gathering, 7/25

Thanks to Jess & Joyce for hosting!

Youth to Knoebel's

Thanks to the adults who went along on Monday's trip, and to Gary for the pics. A wonderful time!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Life Together

On reconciliation:
"Let not the sun go down upon your wrath" (Ephesians 4:26). It is a decisive rule of every Christian fellowship that every dissension that the day has brought must be healed in the evening. It is perilous for the Christian to lie down to sleep with an unreconciled heart.

On "the day alone":
Many people seek fellowship because they are afraid to be alone. . . . They are generally disappointed.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Life Together
from an underground seminary during the Nazi years

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

ReImagining Evangelism

From a fantastic book by that title by Rick Richardson:

One morning I was going through the line to get my coffee and chocolate-chip muffin. Raoul rang me up at the cash register. He and I had talked before. He had been intrigued when I told him what I do: "I hang out on campuses with spiritually interested people who are turned off by the organized church and by dogma." Today he asked again how it was going.

Another worker, Jenny, toasting a cinnamon-raisin bagel, overheard Raoul . . . . Jenny was intrigued. From twenty feet away, with five people waiting to pay for their bagels and coffee, Jenny called out, "What was that? What do you do?"

I told her (and the five other people waiting) what I had told Raoul. She wanted to know how it was going. I explained, "I find a lot of people today who are spiritually interested but find the church kind of boring and irrelevant and religion kind of a turnoff. But they really want help on the spiritual journey from guides who won't judge them but will really care."

Jenny started to hyperventilate. "That's me! Where can I find people like that?" . . .


Welcome Tyler John, baptized Sunday during the 11:15 service, along with parents Jesse & Kim, siblings Jesse & Kaitlyn, and presenter Skip.

Home Gathering, #1

We had our first Home Gathering at Denny & Shirley's last Friday. It was wonderful! Thanks to them for the hospitality, to Gary and Doug for providing leadership, and to all who came. Lots of opportunities to sign up and participate, so contact Gary to do so! It is also a perfect opportunity to bring a friend.

Monday, July 13, 2009

More from Augustine

Fits the themes from Hebrews (our recent Sunday message focus):

For as man, [Jesus] is mediator, but as the Word, he is in no middle place, since he is equal to God, and God with God, and together one God. . . .

For us, he is before you [God the Father] both victor and victim, and therefore victor for the reason that he is victim. For us, before you, he is both priest and sacrifice, and therefore priest because sacrifice, making us your sons instead of servants, by being born of you, and by becoming servants to us.

Confessions, 10.43.68-69

Saturday, July 4, 2009

Happy 233rd!

A happy 233rd birthday to the USA, amid all the other festivities ... Serena beats Venus in the Wimbleton Sister Slam, Lance rides again in the first day of the Tour de France, and Robin and I remember the 20th anniversary of our engagement (July 1 1989).
Some specific thanks to God that our nation values individual civil liberties, that those who protest (and I passed a few protesters on the way back from the beach today) our government are not arrested or killed. Our freedoms of expression and religion are incredible gifts, ones that I am very glad were added to the Constitution in the Bill of Rights. But our 233rd anniversary is not for the Constitution but for the Declaration of Independence. Abraham Lincoln recognized that the Declaration was the first document and that its values (particularly the self-evident truth that "all men are created equal") helped to interpret the Constitution (which at that time did not include slaves among "created equal").
So, I am also thankful for the vision of our founders that continues to shape our history, and to those who risk their lives for these self-evident truths. (Pics are from the Lincoln and WWII memorial, with the Washington Monument in the background, in DC)