See the essay at http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2003/007/1.30.html
The cover story of this month's Christianity Today caught my eye- Suburban Spirituality. "What a curious notion", I thought. Is spirituality something that can be relegated to place? In a sense, the sacredness of space is something that can aid in focusing our minds on the good, the true and the beautiful. But to limit ourselves by allowing place to dictate our relationship with God is surely what Jesus spoke against in his discourse with the Samaritan woman at the well. But that's not what the essay is about.
Quoting mystics, sociologists, and literary figures , David Goetz wends his way through a description of the foibles of suburban life as he lives and views it. I could not begin to relate even though I live in suburbia myself. I was amazed at the disconnect I felt from the lifestyle that was described, and wondered if there was anything authentically Christian about life in the burbs as he portrayed it.
We hear of experience in the "poky" little church and learn that genuine spiritual progress doesn't happen without a long-term attachment to a poky local church. While I am against flightiness, the cure is developing a true servant spirit that does not look to the church for "feeding" the soul. I think the case is overstated when the author contends "but the maddening frustration that prompts someone to leave one church for another may be the precise thing that holds great potential for spiritual progress‹if one stays."
I agree that the places where God has built the most spiritual "muscle" in my life have been in places of spiritual resistance.But there are many reasons for leaving a local church for another more Biblical one. I won't ennumerate them here. Flightiness is an indicator that one is not there for the right reasons to start with and that mentality smells like smoke and is from the pit of hell.
The author describes the notion of dead drift:
"Mending is one of the key activities in
effective fly-fishing. The current, uneven across any given stretch of
river, pulls the line unevenly, eventually pulling at the fly under the
water. The fly-fisher must periodically flip only the line that lies on
the surface (tossing it either forward or back, depending on how the line
bows), thus creating slack so the fly beneath can continue to ride naturally
with the current. The better one is at mending, the better the results.
There is a fundamental flaw in this illustration. Fly fishing is ultimately an activity of deception. The successful fly fisherman attempts to master and utilize the accoutrements of the sport to mimic the natural action of a real fly in order to fool the fish into accepting the fake as real. the fly fisherman strives for imitation, not authenticity. Indeed many in the church of suburbia have mastered the nuances of the suburban spirituality around them so effectively that they DO have a well developed spirituality- but does that really have anything to do with Jesus? I am not ultimately interested in either spirituality ir religion. The scriptures reveal the alternative- living, moving and breathing In Christ in whatsoever you do- eating, drinking, working...
The title of the article promised answers to offer solutions to the problems of suburban spirituality but ends up recouinting the symptoms without offering anything practical. It remains abstract as revelaed below:
"A spiritual life lived well is a life lived in the thickness‹in the space beyond and including the three-dimensional form of the moment. But it's this fatness or richness of life that we often obviate by striving to advance in our career, move to the bigger house, get our student a soccer scholarship, make sure our kids get in the tag program. "The higher goal of spiritual living is not to amass a wealth of information, but to face sacred moments," Abraham Heschel writes in The Sabbath. "[I]t is not a thing that lends significance to a moment; it is a moment that lends significance to things." "
No, it is not. the only goal is to be conformed to the likeness of Christ apprehending the reality that we are crucified In Him- in the mundane as well ans in the transcendental. Evacuation is not the answer- immersion amd incarnation is. And that will make you look very different than what Goetz is decribing in the essay.
He recommends a solution- immerse yourself in the OT prophets to help wend yourself away from the oppressive secular culture that defines so many lives of those who name the name of Christ.
In honor of the birthday of Bob Keeshan we turned on the annoying doorbell sound thingy on our office door that plays what for all the world sounds like the first bars of the Captain Kangaroo theme. Read the guy's bio- a pretty amazing resume, I'd say.
The theme is from the original by British composer Edward White. Get the straight dope here. Wonder if the doorbell makers paid their royalties?
"This is a great chicken, a friendly chicken, a chicken that is ready for a relationship," No, it's not the San Diego Chicken or Foghorn Leghorn. Find out more.
Other big news: the national do not call list is online- but try getting in to it- it is swamped and I couldn't connect after several tries even as early as 6 AM this morning...If they'd charge ten bucks a head for processing we could eliminate the national debt.
OK you're ready now for some Cow Carnage at Fling the Cow.
June 25, 2003 What Evel Knievel is up to these days... and other esoterica...
The Vatican Museums went online Tuesday (June 24), making some of the world's most important art works available for the first time to users of desktop and laptop computers, palm pilots and mobile telephones.
Comment: The Vatican site is pretty but it sure is a pain to navigate- maybe it's intended to put flesh to Romans 5:3 "And not only so, but we glory in tribulations also: knowing that tribulation worketh patience; 4 And patience, experience; and experience, hope: " Maybe Jakob Nielsen can help. And see his article,In the Future, We'll All Be Harry Potter. There. I did it- mentioned Harry and the Pope in the same sentence.
25, 2003 Some Presbyterians: Jesus is True, But Not Necessary for Salvation
Nearly three-quarters of Presbyterians believe that the "absolute truth for humankind is in Jesus Christ," but fewer than half say that only Christians will be saved, according to a new church survey. The periodic poll of members of the Presbyterian Church (USA) found that 70 percent of members, 75 percent of elders, 71 percent of pastors and 55 percent of specialized clergy (such as chaplains) agreed that the "only absolute truth for humankind is in Jesus Christ." When asked if "only followers of Jesus Christ can be saved," 43 percent of parishioners, 50 percent of elders, 39 percent of clergy and 24 percent of specialized clergy agreed. The nature and role of Jesus in salvation has divided the church in recent years. A furor erupted in 2001 when one pastor rhetorically asked, "So, what's the big deal about Jesus?" and suggested there may be other avenues for salvation. A statement passed by the church's 2001 General Assembly affirmed salvation through Jesus but remained silent on the destiny of non-Christians. "Although we do not know the limits of God's grace and pray for the salvation of those who may come to know Christ, for us the assurance of salvation is found only in confessing Christ and trusting Him alone," the resolution said. In other findings, two-thirds of members and 80 percent of pastors and elders believe that "Jesus will return to earth some day," and 86 percent of members and 96 percent of pastors believe in life after death. While 93 percent of parishioners believe in heaven, only 78 percent believe in hell.
We sit in the pew where we always sit,
Garrison Keillor from "Lutheran Till I Die"
Check this link out.
The prominence of weblogs anticipates a larger revolution in the world of higher education, as Mary Harrsch notes in her Tools feature. For "bloggers," reaching an audience of peers is no longer a matter of putting a Web page in a digital bottle, crossing one's fingers, and casting it in the chaotic ocean of cyberspace. Thanks to advances in syndication technology, these writers can now have their daily thoughts and insights directly distributed as news feeds to other sites. Harrsch explains how RSS (rich site summary or "really simple syndication") makes this possible. Weblog application programs insert RSS tags, which are simple derivatives of the XML programming language, within the code of logged Web content; this format enables other users to incorporate such content within the template of their own virtual newspapers. By allowing multiple, dynamic currents of information to be periodically monitored at a single site, RSS syndication promotes the timely exchange of current research, insights, and best practices among educators throughout the globe. If you've been looking for the new "killer app," Harrsch suggests, you need to look no further.
Ive encountered the discussion on several occasions
and it is noteworthy that there is an unhealthy disregard in the church
at large for the subordinated role the Holy Spirit enjoys in the Godhead.
I am somewhat uncomfortable in directing praise directly to the Spirit
but rather through Him to the Glory of the Triune GOD. Indeed in many
services the Holy Spirit is mentioned time and again and the name of Jesus
is ignored. I am pretty sure this grieves the Holy Spirit, as it is His
nature that the Father and Son be glorified. But it is also wrong to think
of the persons of the Godhead as separate beings. This separation of the
Holy Spirit in some Charismatic churches has been one of the reasons for
of Oneness Theology and the resurgence of modalism.
An argument might go: If God is worthy of Worship
then the Holy Spirit is worthy of worship. So in one sense it's
a no-brainer. However the issue is not so simple, since the work of the
Holy Spirit requires that He draw attention to, illuminates and teaches
us of God. His work is to glorify Christ (John 7:18) The subordination
of the Spirit is a present reality. However this subordination does not
necessarily mean we are to rob Him of the love that is due. He IS the
Spirit of God and the Spirit of Christ.
Isaiah 6:3 "And one cried to another and said:
'Holy, holy, holy is the LORD of hosts; The whole earth is full of His
I like the NASB better:
Matthew 28:19 "Go therefore and make disciples
of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the
Son and of the Holy Spirit,"
So then does the subordinate roles of Christ and the Spirit to the Father necessarily impact how we EXPRESS and DECLARE our praise? If you come to any conclusion, please let me know.
June 23, 2003 We're Baack!
One of my jobs I was not particularly looking forward to on my trip to see my Mom was to get rid of 4 skunks (not skinks) that have moved in to a brush pile. Gratefully the turkey vultures were at work on the course du jour when I got here- an answered prayer...God takes care of me. That'll make a good "praise" to share this week!
Vulture wins WWF Smackdown!
Had an encounter with a healing poison this past week- My dermatologist has been trating a wart on my index finger that had been interfering with my guitar artistry :-) Anyway the liquid nitrogen hadn't sufficed in three tries so he went with Blister Beetle juice instead. (Guess it's the heel that wounds:-))
So with a little cantharidin painted on it I received a nice big blister/burn within minutes and it almost totally removed the wart over the next week. That made me think of the processes of pain and healing- that sometimes we must cause pain to heal problems- like a surgeon wielding a scalpel, he makes the incision to remove a cancer, An orthopedist may need to break a misshapen bone for it to set properly. In God's economy, short term sacrifice is most often needed to insure long term gain. Actually that notion attains even in fallen economies.
It also made me wonder how marvelous God's works are- Can anyone tell me how such a creature could possibly evolve? Only God's unique creation could yield a creature that carries in its own body such a toxin that destroys tissue so quickly that it causes a bird that tries to eat it to drop it within milliseconds thus securing its survival.
The House of Israel lived safely within its portals when death passed over the land. they were hiding behind the blood of the Lamb. So you too hide yourselves in the wounds of Christ.
Look on the Lamb and consider:
It's been said that the only man made thing in heaven are the scars on the glorified body of Christ.
Went to drop off a video I rented at the Shop'n'Save and noticed an article posted by the camera/film department about the virtues of printing your digital photos.They were making the case that so much of the history of the space age is lost due to the evolution of file formats, and problems with incompatibility between software and hardware. Here's an article that echoes the concern. The external links there are particularly interesting. So I think I will print our my blog each week.
Don't get me wrong- I like the searchability of so much of what I have and indexing existing hard copies is a lifesaver. So I will go with a both/and approach and disseminate the family archives etc to others in hopes of preserving the past....and the future.
I didn't make it to Borders or anywhere else to pick up a copy of the latest Harry Potter offering. I'll wait until the crowds die down as Iwon't be reading much this week anyway.
From the personal weblog of Anthony Foster @http://anthonyfoster.com/blog/