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)

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Unhitching the Old Testament from the Christian Faith: Did the Jerusalem Council Reject the Old Testament?

The Jerusalem Council and its aftermath recounted by Luke in Acts 15:1-41, was a pivotal moment in the Book of Acts and Luke rightly places it as a turning point in the story of the first Christians. But what exactly is the background that puts the council in context? What was at stake? What was the issue? How was the dispute resolved? Did the apostles and other leaders unhitch themselves from their ancestral faith to accommodate the Gentiles? Did they accept some new revelation not previous given to God's people in Israel's sacred Scriptures, which we Christians refer to as the Old Testament? Let's take each question in turn.

Sunday, May 20, 2018

Scriptures and Prayer for the Day of Pentecost

First Reading: Acts 2:1-21 or Ezekiel 37:1-14

Psalter: Psalm 104:24-34, 35b

Epistle: Romans 8:22-27 or Acts 2:1-21

Gospel: John 15:26-27; 16:4b-15
Empowering God, you gave the church the abiding presence of your Holy Spirit. Look upon your church today and hear our petitions. Grant that, gathered and directed by your Spirit,we may confess Christ as Lord and combine our diverse gifts with a singular passion to continue his mission in this world until we join in your eternal praise. Amen.

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Six Things That Make Life on Earth Possible

from National Geographic:
Earth is well equipped as a planet and ideally placed in our solar system and galaxy to support life as we know it. The product of some 4.6 billion years of cosmic construction, our planet is flush with life thanks to a fortuitous set of conditions.

1. Our location is far from many hazards

2. Our sun is a stable and long-lasting star

3. We're at just the right distance from the sun.

4. We have to right stuff to host a dynamic core.

5. We have a big moon to stabilize our axial wobble

6. We have an ozone layer to block harmful rays.
The details of each can be read here.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Does Repentance Mean Feeling Sorry for Our Sins?

It should not be a surprise in our emotivist culture that repentance is defined as a feeling. I grew up with hearing in the church that repentance is remorse, feeling sorry for one's sins. And it may be the case that such an understanding of repentance might be a rudimentary and very partial understanding of repentance offered to five-year-olds, but when one looks more closely at the New Testament, repentance is much different animal indeed. Matthew Bates in his must-read book, Salvation By Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King writes, "Our own cultural experiences might lead us to think that 'repent' means to turn away from private sins such as adultery, greed, and exploitation."

Sunday, May 13, 2018

Scriptures and Prayer for the Seventh Sunday of Easter

Old Testament: Acts 1:15-17, 21-26

Psalter: Psalm 1

Epistle: 1 John 5:9-13

Gospel: John 17:6-19
Gracious God, in the resurrection of your Son Jesus Christ, you have given us eternal life and glorified your name in all the world. Refresh our souls with the living streams of your truth, that in our unity, your joy may be complete. Amen.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Unhitching the Old Testament from the Christian Faith: The Interpretive Implications

Megachurch pastor, Andy Stanley has caused quite the stir in a recent sermon on Acts 15 arguing that the Jerusalem Council in 49 A.D., which Luke recounts in Acts 15:1-21, gives the twenty-first century church permission to "unhitch... from the worldview, value system, and regulations of the Jewish scriptures." (The Christian Post carried the story here.)

Truth Is Stranger Than Fiction: Crash Creates Chocolate Conundrum

A sticky mess: liquid chocolate spills onto Polish highway

From Associated Press
May 09, 2018 5:53 AM EST

WARSAW, Poland (AP) — A tractor-trailer has overturned on a Polish highway, spilling tons of liquid chocolate that are solidifying into a huge sticky mess.

The private broadcaster TVN24 showed images of an overturned truck surrounded by brown chocolate covering six lanes on the A2 motorway, blocking traffic in both directions.

Rescue officials said the liquid chocolate was solidifying as it cooled and would require large amounts of hot water to clear away.

Senior brigadier Bogdan Kowalski with the fire brigade of Slupca, a town in western Poland, said, "the cooling chocolate is worse than snow."

TVN24 reported from the site of the accident that the driver was taken to a hospital with a broken arm. The accident occurred in the morning when there was little traffic and nobody else was hurt.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Scriptures and Prayer for the Ascension of the Lord

Old Testament: Acts 1:1-11

Psalter: Psalm 47 or Psalm 93

Epistle: Ephesians 1:15-23

Gospel: Luke 24:44-53
Precious love, your ascended Son promised the gift of holy power. Send your Spirit of revelation and wisdom, that in the blessed freedom of hope, we may witness to the grace of forgiveness and sing songs of joy with the peoples of earth to the One who makes us one body. Amen.