Monday, July 27, 2009

Scot McKnight

I'm not writing anything today so I refer you to Scot McKnight's Blog today. He references some great stuff you may enjoy reading.

I'll be back at another time.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Confessions Of A Bookworm Conclusion..I promise

Well, here I am again. Me and my library. I left you hanging in the stream of Catholicism. Perhaps one of my greatest dreams is to see once more the church as one church. It would please our Lord to no end to see us united in Christ. I know that is a pipe dream, but still, it's what Jesus would want. One in Christ, one in faith, one in communion. I lamented the passing of Fr. Richard John Neuhaus earlier this year. Fr. Neuhaus was the former editor of First Things magazine, a very heady philosophical and theological journal that was praised by Protestants and Catholics alike. I urge you to read this magazine regularly as it represents the best of religious commentary for the entire church. Fr. Neuhaus teamed with Chuck Colson to promote dialogue between Catholics and Protestants with the hope of breaking down the walls between us. I feel this an essential goal and must be continued. I'm don't know if anyone can fill Fr. Neuhaus' shoes, at least at this point in time. He was a giant among giants.

The Catholic church is a splintered church. Thanks to my study, I probably understand it more now than the majority of the average Protestant church attendee. And, from the questions I often hear on Catholic Answers, I think I know more than the average Catholic. I'm appalled at the ignorance of the average Catholic. (I'm also appalled at the lack of scriptural knowledge by many Protestants as well). As I've said, there is a major splintering within the Catholic church.

On the other hand, there is a handful of wonderful people that are bringing new life back into the Catholic church. You may call them reformers. By the admission of many Catholics themselves, the church is at one of it's lowest points in history. But these reformers, who hold true to the "mother church" have recognized their own shortcomings and are breathing new life back into the church. These people have had the "born again" experience. They shudder at that phrase. For them, they'd call it repentance and "conversion of heart."
Read these folks. And oh, by the way, forget anything you read in news media regarding anything regarding the Catholic church, or any Protestant church as well. The media simply are liars and only tell half truths. Sorry, but after years of study, that's my conclusion. You'll never get the whole truth out of the secular media.

So whenever you read anything in the secular media, go and get the whole story. You can trust some of these sites.
USCCB.org (Be careful on this as the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops is riddled with bad priests)

Those are just a few. Check out the links on my blog. I've tried to be careful to list the best of the trustworthy Catholic sites.

I spent a lot of time on my Catholic section because that is where the bulk of my renewal has been taking place in the last few years. My faith has been strengthened, and as many of you can attest, I've become bolder in my witness. That brings me to my last section of my library. After several years of burying myself in the dry dust of church history and Catholicism, I pulled my head out of the sand, shook the dust out of what was left of my hair, washed my glasses and was confronted with a new world.

My old evangelical world didn't look the same. New terms confronted me. I had spent so many years of intense study, I'd not paid a whole lot attention to the changes taking place in the evangelical world. Boy, did I get a wake up call. New words like Post-modern, Emergence, Emergent Churches, New Reformation, Process Theology, Seeker Friendly, and on and on. I found an evangelical world that seemed to have lost its way and abandoned its moorings. Doctrine and theology had taken a back seat to an experiential, what ever feels good religion. Our churches went from houses of worship to auditoriums of entertainment. Hallowed halls to basketball stadiums.

It is an everyone for himself movement anymore. No one knows for sure where we are going. Confusion seems to reign. Or at least it seems to me. Tolerance has replaced discipline. Free thinking has replaced obedience. Psychology has provided the basis for scripture exposition. The old ways seem to have been proven inefficient and everyone is struggling to find what works.

In the meantime, the world goes on it's merry way to hell. Oh, there are a few who have awakened to some of the major deficiencies of our church. Peace and justice has emerged into the vocabulary of the evangelical church. It's about time. Jesus' main talks dealt with peace and justice. He is more concerned about how we relate to the poor and disadvantaged than how marvelous our worship services are conducted.

Forgive me for saying this, but the Catholic church has recognized this for centuries. It's greatest ministry has been to the poor and disenfranchised. It's just they forget how to emphasize the fullness of repentance and conversion. So now my library reflects this. I have books from many of the emergent writers. As a result, my library, at present looks a little confused. Just as I am with what is going on in my evangelical world.

But by the grace of God, there is one book left I haven't mentioned in this overly long blog subject. And that is my Bible. It has been the rock and foundation of all I've read. Which Bible? You ask. The Bible of history. I've come to accept the Bible that has was canonized by the early church councils. It includes the Deuterocanonicals. (pass the smelling salts to my Protestant brethren and sisterns) (misspelling on purpose)
Don't get excited. Remember, the Bible of the reformers included those books. They weren't removed from our Bibles until, under pressure from the reformed Protestants, they were removed in the middle 1800's by a bible publisher. I don't hold them in high esteem like the Roman Catholics. I'm more in line with the Orthodox Church that sees the Deuterocononicals as a little less inspired than the rest of the scriptural books. And they add more than the Roman Catholics with other books as well. At best, they are inspired in the sense they convey some spiritual truth, but not fully inspired at the rest of the books of the Bible. They are rich in history and tradition from which we gain enormous understanding of the inter-testament period.

In conclusion, the Bible has and will remain my most trusted source of teaching and learning. I'm gradually learning Lectio-divina which is simply reading, reflecting and praying the word into my heart. I'm not proficient at it yet, but am learning. My favorite versions are the English Standard Version (ESV) which the those of the reformed faith seem to love. The New International Version (NIV) for understanding, the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) Catholic Version. Yes..even the gender inclusive version. Don't get me going on that silly argument. And I even like The Message bible. When you understand it was written for Eugene Peterson's kids so that they could relate in everyday language the general principles of the Bible, it is very good.

Well, that's my library and my life. I know I've painted myself into a corner. There are not many of my friends who share my belief or discoveries. It is controversial and will be misunderstood. But one of my gifts is an ability to see both sides of an issue. That is not popular with many people. We live in a polarized society. And as Christians are more and more marginalized, the more we become defensive with our own belief systems.
I hope to avoid that so that should the opportunity ever arise, I will be ready to share Christ to anyone who asks the reason for what I believe.

God bless you all and thank you for taking the time to read my rambling and poorly expressed thoughts. And apologies to Scott Mcknight for breaking every literary rule in the book.



Confessions Of A Bookworm Part 3

This will be my last installment of my "Confessions." In the first two installments, I described how one could follow my life's story by looking at my library. Last week I ended with my baptism into studying the Catholic faith. Let me explain for my Protestant friends who may be shuddering right now.
I had mentioned that I had discovered the three book set by Phyllis Tickle, The Divine Hours. Those books introduced me to liturgical praying. This is simply praying, chanting and singing the ancient prayers of the church in a formal, structured, and historical manner of praying. For me, it was the thing that began to bring a spark back into my prayer life.

And then a major event happened. My job took a sudden turn when after many years of working in Sunnyvale, my company split into two locations. One section moved to South San Jose and the other to Sacramento, California. Guess where I was sent to? I spent the next four years commuting to Sacramento from Sunnyvale, a suburb of San Jose. (Suburb of San Francisco for you City elitists) For me, this was my exile into the desert. It was, if I may draw an analogy, my Babylonian exile.

I look back on it now and see it was my reformation period. God had to break me down again to bring me up. My spiritual life was tumbling. That may come as a surprise to some of you that are close to me. But I can cover things up pretty well. I would drive up to Sacramento early Monday morning, work ten hour days, and drive home on Thursday's. Every other Thursday, I'd have to rush home, gobble my dinner and then my wife and I would hustle off to our small group meeting for our church. So by the end of the week I was exhausted.

My spiritual life went totally dry. And my work life showed it. In many ways I was the proverbial double minded man, unstable in all my ways. I was up by 3:15 in the morning, at work by 5:00 AM. I was off by 3:30 and in bed by 7:30. I became totally discouraged. But, something happened in those down times.
I kept reading. And when that little lady in the Catholic Bookstore introduced me to some Catholic books, something happened.

Let me back up. There was a Catholic radio station in the Sacramento area, KSMH that actually peaked my interest. Immaculate Heart Radio has stations all over the west now including one in San Francisco, KSFB. I couldn't stand the Protestant station that played some of the dumbest programming I'd ever heard. I began listening to Catholic Answers, a question and answer program out of San Diego. Folks, these guys are good and for real. You don't have to agree with all they say, but you can't deny these folks are born again Christians.
Anyway, that led me to this little bookstore. I bought a couple of books and I was hooked.

I had never read such powerful and profound stuff. It was all new to me and at the same time very confusing. I was a very anti-Catholic person. But I was discovered these writers I was reading were solid. I ended up buying the Magnificat prayer book each month. The Magnificat is a great little guide to daily prayer. In ten or 15 minutes I could pray a hymn, an Old Testament passage, a Psalm, a New Testament passage and a Gospel passage. Included were little homilies (messages for you Protestants) and a description of the life of one of the Saints for that day.

After a year or so I decided that I needed to buy a Catholic Catechism. These Catholics are terrible communicators. The Catechism is the foundational beliefs of the Catholic church. It is an extraordinary book. I recommend it if you are going to have a loving relationship with Catholics. Catholicism is very dense. What is plain to them is gobbledygook to the average Protestant. They speak an entirely different language. If you are ever going to understand them, you need to understand what they mean when they say something like, learn to adore the Sacred Heart. I found out that they weren't worshipping a literal heart, but that the Sacred Heart is simply a symbol of the sacrificial love of God. So when you hear them speaking of the Sacred Heart, think sacrificial love and you'll get the meaning.

And so I started gathering books. I learned that the Catholics are terrible communicators. It's no wonder 75 percent of Catholics don't attend mass. They couldn't teach their way out of a paper bag. With few exceptions, most of what you read is so out of touch with how we communicate daily, it becomes meaningless. A part of the problem is that so much is translated from other languages, like Latin, German and French. The sentence structure is stilted and very formal. The translators are so concerned with interpreting the exact meaning that they ignore how people communicate. It becomes dry dusty prose.

But for me, there is water beneath the desert sands of dryness. God took me into a study that has gone on for nearly ten years. It's taken me that long to really begin to understand how Catholics think. I wanted to think like a Catholic so that I could understand them. Now let me bring you to my library. I now have a collection of some of the best books of today's Catholic church. Has it brought me to consider swimming the Tiber and joining the Catholic Church?

In a short answer, NO. I've spent too many years in foundational study of the Bible to be swayed that easily. Why? I simply can't accept the exclusiveness of the Catholic church. I'll go more into that on another blog, suffice it to say, the Eucharist which is at the heart and core of the Catholic Church, in practice today, violates the universality of the gospel as I see it. I don't deny Christ in the Eucharist. He's omniscient and is present at all times in the Eucharist. But to deny anyone who belongs to Christ from the table of the Lord is simply wrong.

Well, this post has become too long. So, I lied, I guess when I said I'd wind this up. I'll do a part 4 in a few moments to give you a break. I'll discuss where my library stands today. Or should I say, how does my library today reflect my present spiritual walk?

To be concluded in my next post.


Sunday, July 19, 2009

Confessions Of A Bookworm Part 2

I was looking at my bookshelf this morning and mused, "My progress in life can be seen in the books on my shelf."
First, there's the college years. Those years where I began to first collect books. I still have some of my old textbooks and I still refer to them from time to time. After all, who can ignore men like Tasker, Mounce, A.T. Robinson, and Baxter. Books from my Christian and Missionary Alliance days authored by the likes of A.B. Simpson, A. W. Tozer, T.J. McCrossen, and one of my most loved professors, Don Kenyon.

Then there were the years of great preachers that I embraced. The Metropolitan Tabernacle Series by C.H. Spurgeon. Nobody could preach like Spurgeon and he became one of my favorites. But then there was a short span in the 60's and early 70's where I explored the new Charismatic movement. I still have some of those books, but threw away most of them. They were like drinking froth on a carbonated drink. Lots of bubbles and popping and noise, but little of substance.

Expository Preaching caught my eye again and I gathered books by Chuck Swindoll. I must have almost all of his booklets he gave out on his radio program. I loved the guy. He could make scriptures talk and walk. His grace filled books laid a firm foundation that has kept me steady all these years through many hard trials, especially in those years recovering from divorce.

Oh yes, I have books dealing with divorce too. But back then, there wasn't much so they were of little help. It was scripture and great books that brought me through the hard years of rebuilding. Those rebuilding years can be seen by all the books and sermons I gathered from the pens of Ron Ritchie and Ray Stedman in those Body Life years of the late 70's and and 80's.

As my theological vision widened so did my library. I continued to collect books from all sides of the theological spectrum. I went from Pre-Tribulationism to Post-Tribulationism to A-Millenarianism to Pan-Millenarianism. Oh...you don't know what Pan-Millenarianism is? That means I just leave it to God to decide how he comes and it will all PAN out.

Then I got rocked theologically. Actually, I went into a spiritual desert. For several years, I felt a great dryness. I picked up a series of books by Phyllis Tickle called the Divine Hours and became intrigued with praying liturgical prayers. Then my pastor recommended in one of his books a book by Scott McKnight. It was called the Jesus Prayer. That led me to many other books, mostly Catholic. For the first time in my life, I studied books by Catholic authors of all types. A little Catholic bookstore owner in Roseville, California introduced me to books by Scott Hahn, then Mike Aquilina and many other modern day authors as well as early Christian authors. I found myself agreeing with Cardinal Henry Newmann that the deeper you go in history, the more you cease to become Protestant.

I soon learned Catholics speak an entirely different language than Protestants. I knew for me to understand them correctly, I'd better learn to study what they mean rather than what they say on the surface. Many Catholic books use terms we are familiar with but mean something totally different than what we think they are saying. I'll go into that more in another blog entry. Suffice it to say, I discovered they have a lot more in common with Protestants than you think. They also have some dead bones that need eliminating in my opinion. But that is not for this article.

I'll leave you with my spiritual journey in books. I hope this isn't boring to you. It was interesting to me to see that I could chart my spiritual journey by just looking at my library. That's it for now. I hope you stick with me to the end.

See you in Part 3. Maybe next week.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Confessions Of A Bookworm Part 1

I'm back. It seems I only have time to blog on the weekends right now. So today, I'll throw out some wandering thoughts and then you can respond. Maybe you have some confessions too.

O.K. Here goes. I have a confession to make. I'm a bookworm. Yup..one of those bookish bores. I'd rather have my nose in a book than be in a crowded room full of people. I sometimes wonder if I love my books more than people. Hah. I have a wall full of books, read and unread or partially read. But, I'm proud to say, mostly read.
It all started in my pre-school years. If there's anything positive I've gain from my childhood, it's a love for books. My mother started me off prior to first grade. I never attended kindergarden. The little two room school house in the coal mining town of Mahan, West Virginia only had grades 1 - 6. Everyone from grades 1-4 were in one room and grades 5 & 6 were in the other room.

I began reading on my own in the first grade. And get this parents, my first sex education book was shared with me by my mom in the first grade. Wise woman. She knew what trouble I'd probably get into if I wasn't grounded properly. Lot of good it did me! But, I digress.

Reading became a passion for me. Along came TV in the 1950's and my book reading took a dip. But I never lost my hunger for learning. Our first set of Colliers Encyclopedias in 1953 or 1954 opened the world to me. Oh, and along with that came a ten book set of Lincoln's Letters, and several classic novels, Aesop's Fables and other children's stories. My folks, who are in their late 80's still have those letters of Abraham Lincoln and I drool at the opportunity to crack them open again when I inherit them. I'll never forget having to cut some of the pages of those books because the publisher failed to trim the pages properly.

So reading was a passion early on. I went into debt buying books over the years. Thankfully, my wife who is my total opposite has cured me of that. I don't buy anything I can't pay off right away anymore. Unless it's major like my computer that I had to buy after my laptop went belly before I could save for a new one. After all, today, being without a computer is just a major inconvenience in todays world where you have to be in contact with your job and everyone else in this world. At least I convinced myself of that fact. Besides, I'm paying it off much earlier than expected due to large payments.

Back to my long bookish story. Books are my second love. My wife being my first. Unless you count God, of course. I love the feel of a book in my hand, the smell of the pages and the thoughts that spring from those dead words. Which is remarkable because I tend to be rather flighty. I have a short attention span. My mind wanders easily. I'll often suddenly discover I've read several pages and I can't remember a thing I read because something I read earlier sent me off into another stream of thought totally unrelated to what I was reading.
So I have to go back and pickup where I left off. Sigh...such is the case of one with ADHD. (Well, I don't know for sure about that last statement, but I forget why I wrote it.)

Reading opened my mind up to new worlds. New ideas. It kept me up with current thought. It also locked me in one path as well. I'll explain more, maybe next week or when I have more time. Reading can lock you into a closed system or release you to explore uncharted territories. Stay tuned. I hope I can unlock some of your doors to explore new ideas. (yeah..it could include a Kindle for you techno freaks.)


Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Best You Can Be

Last night, Jonathan Sanchez, pitcher for the San Francisco Giants threw a no-hitter. For me, nothing beats the thrill of a no-hitter in sports. The tension in the ninth inning of a no-hitter can't be paralleled in any other sport. Will he do it? Will the batter spoil the no-hitter at the last minute? I can remember a few games where the pitcher had a no-hitter going into the ninth, with two down only to have it spoiled by a fluke single or a home run. And I'm sure we've all seen how a pitcher can pitch a no-hitter and still lose the game.

No-hitters are tough. There are so many variables. And, despite the fact it's the pitcher who gets the glory, it takes a team. Let's start with the catcher. He's the field general. He's the one calling the pitches or taking direction from the bench. He's the one that goes out to the mound to calm down a pitcher when he starts getting wild or when an error is made. So give credit to the catcher as well.
And what about the coaching? Sanchez was having trouble this year. He was blowing games, getting hit all over the place. He had potential, but wasn't living up to that potential. So Dave Rigetti took him out of the rotation and banished him to the bull pen. Talks of trade rumors filled the air. But Rags had a job to do. His job was to get inside of Jonathan's head, correct his mechanics and get him back on the field. And he did his job. Among other things, he had Sanchez slow down his lower body, bring his leg in higher and closer to his body.
So when Randy Johnson went on the disabled list for an injury, Sanchez was inserted back into the rotation.
And as we can see it paid off.

But what about those guys behind him? Did they have any part in the game? Of course! They are the ones who made the great stops, timely throws and for once, batted in the runs. And who can forget that ninth inning when Edgar Renteria made that great throw from deep in the hole to put out Luis Rodriguez. And how about that great catch in Center by Aaron Rowland to steal a home run or an extra base hit from Edgar Gonzales?
You see, for a no-hitter to happen, it doesn't all depend on the pitcher. It is a team effort. Oh..did I mention strategy? A game plan. Credit the manager, Bruce Bochy. He put all the pieces into play.

So what? So, it's just a game. But you know. That's life as well. And that's what being a follower of Christ is all about too. O.K....stay with me. Don't go away. (at least the one or two of you that stumble over my blog in the dead of night by accident.)

How many Christians do you know who say, I don't need the church. I can worship Jesus on my own anywhere. I don't need to depend on a gathering of hypocrites to worship God. I don't need (you fill in the blank).
Or do you? You see, becoming all we can be in Christ is not just a personal relationship with God. It's not just Jesus and Me. Or the Father and me. Or, to put it in other terms I've seen, papa and me.

Are you becoming all you were created to be? Are you the best You possible? God made each one of us for a purpose. He made all of us as individuals with individual talents, gifts and features. We are all different and individual. There is no one else like you. But, in Christ, we become something else. We become a member of a living, breathing organism called, the Body of Christ. The Church. Yes, Christ is our head. He works in us to conform us to himself. He wants to establish a relationship of love with himself. But, he's called us to a Body as well.

For my hand to be the best hand possible, it depends on the arm, blood vessels, blood, heart, muscles, brain. All are interrelated. The brain sends out signals to direct the hand to pick up a glass. The hand doesn't do the moving. It's the arm that brings that hand over to the glass, at the direction of the brain. But the hand doesn't pick up the glass. The fingers must do their part. They must embrace the glass. But the nerves must do their part. If the glass is hot, the nerves immediately transmit the message back up through the fingers, the hand the arm and ultimately, the brain. The brain immediately sends out the message, pull back!!

tThat's just a simplified version of what happens in a body. The same thing happens in the Body of Christ. If one part of the body is hurting, it affects the entire body. Just stub your toe sometime in the middle of the night and tell me the whole body doesn't react. I've got a couple of odd shaped toes that remind me daily of what happened that night.

For us to become all we can be, we need the manager, Christ, to give us the game plan. He did that with his life and the scriptures that have come down to us. We need the pitching coach, a spiritual director, using the old term. Someone who can hold us accountable. How many of us have someone we can go to for support or someone we respect who can come running out to us on the mound to calm us down or give some needed instruction? I think this is one of the greatest needs in the church. It's one that is largely ignored and forgotten. Find someone you trust to hold you accountable and who will help you become a better Christian. Don't spend time with those who complain and are negative all the time. Develop a relationship with an honest, positive friend who will stand with you through thick and thin.

We need those players in our lives who can save us at the last minute. Who will lift our spirits when we are down or tired and weak. A healthy body of believers such as a small group can be those team members who will support you and help you become all you can be in Christ. Do you belong to a small group like that? This is what I think has made our church, Menlo Park Presbyterian, build a reputation as a church of love. A huge number of our members are in small groups that match various interests and needs.

So you see, even baseball can be a lesson for us. We need each other to become all we can be. But I have one more point. For there to be a no-hitter, it takes the pitcher being on his game. The pitcher takes all his resources given to him, his physical strength, gifts, abilities, along with his support team and must pitch with the goal in mind of putting out that next batter. And in the Christian life, in order for the body to win; in order for the Church of Christ to become all it can me; it requires us to embrace the church, the body, reach out to team members, love them, (I didn't say much about team camaraderie) in order to build the body to become all IT can be.

You see, the church is not "Exclusive". Our communion must be inclusive. Our fellowship must be inclusive. All of us are involved in making us more complete in this life. Yes, in heaven, I'm seen as complete. But heaven has come down here. We are to live out the kingdom on this earth. And that involves each other. God is only uplifted by both adoration of him and living to serve him through others. May God help us to become all we can be by our relationship with both him and others.

Yeah....maybe not a perfect game, but a no-hitter and a win.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Transitioning

Well, after over a week away from my blog I thought I'd better update it. After my tongue in cheek, so to speak, message last time I thought I'd better get back on track.

I'm transitioning. I don't know what I'm transitioning to, but I know changes are coming. One of the things I promised God and myself was that I would not get stuck into a rut or one way of doing things. I've spent nearly 10 years now studying theology, primarily Catholic theology, because I have so many Catholic friends. I wanted to be able to speak their language and even think in their thought patterns. Along the way, I've gained a great deal of appreciation for the faith, history and dedication of those in the Catholic Church. They are not the bride of Anti-Christ as many Protestants accuse them to be.

However, I've also concluded that there are many things in Catholic teaching that I just can't accept. Not so much the theology. Once I understood the "stock language" I realized they believe pretty much the same things I've been taught in my Protestant heritage. I think what really has kept me from accepting the Catholic concepts hook, line and sinker have been many of the "rubrics", the rules that actually become slavish to absurdity at times. But I respect those who live by them.

Now to my transitions. Like I said, I have been embedded in my thological studies and personal piety for too long. I've reach a point where I have to unleash the dam or else I will stagnate. Once of the things I've learned along the way is if there is not praxis, no transferring of my faith to involve the lives of others, I actually start moving in reverse. Or it seems that way. Because I'm no longer moving forward and am stuck in one way of doing things, the world and the church start passing me by.

My first clue was my resistance to new ways of doing things. You could chalk that up to the fact I'm reaching what is lovingly called "senior citizen." The older we get, the less flexible we become. Thankfully, I've had a good church that has constantly kept me from growing into a log. So, like it or not, I'm going to transition in order to go where God is moving. I don't understand it all yet, but I'm willing to learn. After all, I know I have gifts that can be used for God and he has the power to make them effective in new and exciting ways.

Some of us at Menlo Park Presbyterian Church have signed on to a new descipleship program that welds the best of theology, psychology and technology. It's called Monvee. A number of churches across the country are signed up to this new emphasis that could give a whole new meaning to "making desciples." Research the above link and you will get better idea.

My blog will become less oriented to theological statements and more to explorations into areas of new ways of teaching old concepts that the church has believed for centuries.
So join me in this journey of faith as I try to keep from being a fuddy duddy senior, but one alive and ever growing into a vibrant relationship with God through others.

Subject change...
While I was in San Diego last weekend, Rev. Frank Vanderzwan, our pastor to seniors, gave a message on God, Our Comforter. If you ever want to hear a great message on how God comforts us and uses us to comfort others, I encourage you to listen to or watch his message at the MPPC website. You will be blessed. Just check out the message on Comfort.

That's it for today. Please forgive me for my late postings. My days seem to be more and more filled with activities. Stay tuned for...transitions.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Polemical Flatulation

Polemical Flatulation. Doesn't that just roll across your tongue and pass across your lips? I wish I could take credit for it, but once again, it's a phrase I borrowed. I think my thoughts are always a condensation of someone elses. My friend Dave Armstrong used that phrase on his blog and it just seemed such a great description of a lot of the hot air that passes for information on the web. How many times have you read someone railing against someone else on a forum with what seems to be highly intelligent arguments, but you know in your mind of minds, they haven't a clue where they got the idea in the first place. You know when someone who has no background in ancient languages and history is just filling the void with air bisquits by quoting every writer they've ever read, usually from one single slant of philosophy or religion.

Now, we all do this. I confess, I'm a professional at gathering information from others to use in my stuff. I admit to not being an authority on much of anything. At least I admit it. Many of these gas bags would much rather throw around their degrees even though their background is nowhere near the subject being discussed. We call these people, "Know-it-alls."

These folks can be very dangerous. On the internet, I'd call them the "Silent-but-deadly" polemicists. You can't hear them, but their printed and unspoken words speak loudly and can destroy others. They are ready to "drop a bomb" on the first person that says something they disagree with. The net calls these folks "flamers". These colonic calliopes will blast a poor person into oblivian just to prove they are the biggest and baddest cheese on the forum.

I saw one of these in action on one of the posts recently where an earnest Anglican Priest had gone swimming in the Tiber to become a Roman Catholic. The blast from the bottom dwellers was deafening. I've never seen such unChristian rhetoric in my life. It wasn't because these people were trying to save this man from self destruction on the steps of the Vatican. It seemed they were more interested in stumbling over themselves to destroy a good man who had made a long thought out decision to throw everything he had ever worked for to pursue what God was calling him to do. You can disagree with his theology if you wish, but we Christians seem to have a bad habit of fouling the air every time someone goes against our theological house of cards.

I think it's time we change our diet and begin eating from the table of the Lord. Maybe we might find the world being attracted to the sweet incense of Christ in our lives. The essence of Love can cover a multitude of sin's rollers.