A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life

A Weblog Dedicated to the Discussion of the Christian Faith and 21st Century Life
I do not seek to understand that I may believe, but I believe in order to understand. For this also I believe, –that unless I believed, I should not understand.-- St. Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Hospice Nurse, Death, and God

from Larissa MacFarquhar:
Heather Meyerend is a hospice nurse who works in several neighborhoods in South Brooklyn--Sheepshead Bay, Mill Basin, Marine Park, Bensonhurst, Bay Ridge. She usually has between sixteen and twenty patients, and visits each at home once a week, sometimes more. Some patients die within days of her meeting them, but others she gets to know well, over many months. She sees her work as preparing a patient for the voyage he is about to take, and accompanying him partway down the road. She, like most hospice workers, feels that it is a privilege to spend time with the dying, to be allowed into a person’s life and a family's life when they are at their rawest and most vulnerable, and when they most need help. Some hospice workers believe that working with the dying is the closest you can get on earth to the presence of God.

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Sunday, January 22, 2017

The Faith of Our Founders: Series Links

The Faith of Our Founders #1: Introduction

The Faith of Our Founders #2: Deism

The Faith of Our Founders #3: George Washington

The Faith of Our Founders #4: John Adams

The Faith of Our Founders #5: Thomas Jefferson

The Faith of Our Founders #6: Benjamin Franklin

The Faith of Our Founders #7: James Madison

Scriptures and Prayer for the Third Sunday after the Epiphany

Old Testament: Isaiah 9:1-4

Psalter: Psalm 27:1, 4-9

Epistle: 1 Corinthians 1:10-18

Gospel: Matthew 4:12-23
Holy God, you gather the whole universe into your radiant presence and continually reveal your Son as our Savior. Bring healing to all wounds, make whole all that is broken, speak truth to all illusion, and shed light in every darkness, that all creation will see your glory and know your Christ. Amen.

Friday, January 20, 2017

The Politics of Witness: Series Links

1. The Politics of Witness: Introduction

2. The Politics of Witness: What It Is Not

3. The Politics of Witness: The Church as Nation

4. The Politics of Witness: The Christendom Addiction

5. The Politics of Witness: Surrendering to Christendom Is Not Inevitable

6. The Politics of Witness: A (Not So) Modest Proposal-- Final Post

John Wesley on Judgment

One of my frustrations is the number of Methodists on social media who think they are authorities on Wesleyanism when it is obvious by their comments that they are not.

Well, David F. Watson is an authority on John Wesley and all things Wesleyan. When he writes on Wesley, I read him. His post on Wesley and judgment is spot on. He begins his post,

Lately I've been working on a Wesleyan interpretation of Matthew, so I've been reading a lot of Wesley, particularly his thirteen discourses on the Sermon on the Mount. Going back through his corpus of sermons reminds me what great treasures they are, and how he always attempts to deal with theological issues in a practical and pastoral manner. In his sermon, "Upon our Lord's Sermon on the Mount, Discourse the Tenth," he deals with the issue of judging others, particularly with reference to Matthew 7:1-5.

His reflections on John Wesley and judgment are worth your time. The post is here.

Pray for All in Authority... That They May Leave Us Alone

1 Timothy 2:1-18

In Paul's first letter to Timothy, the apostle instructs the young pastor to pray for all in authority, "for kings and all who are in high positions." The character of such prayers are intercessory and thanksgiving in nature. Why are such prayers necessary? Because as Paul writes, God "desires everyone to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth" (v. 4).

Thursday, January 19, 2017

The Politics of Witness: A (Not So) Modest Proposal-- Final Post

I have referred to this as a (not so) modest proposal because what I suggest is, I think, very basic. But given the permeating nature of Christendom in the church, it is a proposal that will be difficult to embrace. This proposal is a sketch. I am not laying out anything in detail; I put it forth for further discussion.

First, I propose that the politics of witness will only work if the church at large and Christians as individuals live a simpler lifestyle. Materialism has all but destroyed the church's ability to witness politically in this world. It is not so much that the church lacks resources to fulfill its mission in this world, as it has too much of its resources tied up in things that will, as Jesus himself said, "rot away" (Matthew 6:19). Churches are dumping resources into old run-down buildings, and individual Christians are in just as much debt as the average American. The problem is not that we lack financial resources; it's rather that they are tied up as a result of greed and an indistinguishable way of life. We cannot witness to the world by doing good to those of the household of faith if we cannot afford to assist those of the household of faith. Individual congregations need to live simply in order to take care of their sisters and brothers in need.