Tuesday, August 31, 2010

when we don't get it

Job just doesn't get it.  He continues to rail against God in his self-pity and misery: "But I wold speak to the Almighty, and I desire to argue my case with God" (Job 13:3).

That is, Job wants to justify himself before God.  His desire to stand before this vision of the grand umpire of the world and plead his case.  Not even the brightest law students (that's for you Jesse) could ever hope to conjure up an argument that could defeat the mysteries of the loving God. 

And that's why Job doesn't get it.  It isn't about him and the inconsequential arguments that he manages to create.  Rather, it's about the great humility of life in God.

F.D. Maurice put it this way when speaking of life in the Trinity:

"My great desire has been to show that we are dwelling in a Mystery deeper than any of our plummets can fathom, - a Mystery of Love.  Our prayers are not measured by our conceptions; they do not spring from us.  He who knows us teaches us what we should pray for, and how to pray."

Job eventually learns this lesson.  Will we?

Monday, August 30, 2010

man, wife, and a death rattle

Two nights ago, we celebrated the joining together of Mitch Mitchell and Sara Triana.  It was a delightful wedding, marked by joy and love.  Their families were excited, their friends were happy.  This indeed was a celebratory moment in the life of the clergyman.

But then today I saw a man on his death bed.  He was, what I call, breathing with the death rattle.  He is an old man; frail, weak, weathered by the tempests of life.  His caregivers were just that, caring.  They truly loved and cared for this man.  But he is near death, much nearer to us than that Great Divide.

And so how does the clergyman respond?  How can we celebrate one moment and mourn the next? 

I find my rest, solace, and comfort in the Daily Office.  And today, of all days when I really need it, the book of Acts served up some great stuff.  It is today that we read that it was in the ancient city of Antioch that we, followers of the Way, were first called "Christians." 

This is the name that billions live and die by.  This is the name that identifies, marks, sifts out.  This is the name that I profess.  And what is more, this is the name that gives me the strength to celebrate, to mourn, to laugh, to cry, to pray, and to live.

Friday, August 27, 2010

abba cadabra

Let's talk about magic.  That's right, good old Harry Potter style, wizardry.  We usually figure that magic works along these lines:

1. We want something special to happen, so we
2. ask a special person to say a special formula to make sure it happens the way we want it to happen.

Over the centuries, skeptics have claimed that our celebration of the Holy Eucharist is essentially a piece of elaborate magic.  The priest has to say certain words over certain things at just the right time, and then poof! the bread and wine becomes holy.

The scary thing about this idea is that many in our church hold this opinion too.  If the cup isn't in the right place, or if the lid is on the flagon of wine, then the Holy Spirit wasn't able to get in and do his work.  That mindset actually takes away from the power of the Eucharist because it's become a magical formula rather than a mysterious rite.

William Temple has this to say:

"Guard[ing] against the other danger - that of attributing to physical reception of the Sacrament any magical efficacy.  The "Real Presence" in the Eucharist is a fact, but it is not unique.  The Word of God is everywhere present and active.  No words can exaggerate the reverence due to that divinely appointed means of grace; but it is very easy to confine our reverence when we ought to extend it, and to concentrate it only on this focal manifestation of the divine Presence, instead of seeking that Presence and Activity also in the Church, which itself is called the Body of Christ, and in all the world which came to be through Him.

"So soon as the Sacrament is isolated it becomes in greater or less degree magical."

Thursday, August 26, 2010

truth, Job, and pain

We're heading back into the book of Job for some insight on pain, suffering, and tragedy...

One of Job's friends claims that God doesn't bend the rules of justice.  It's a pretty tough world he claims: if you break the rules, God will punish you; but if you follow the rules, God will reward you. 

When I worked as chaplain at Children's Medical Center in Dallas, I ran into Job's friend all the time.  If their child was sick with a terminal illness, they would pray harder, hoping that God would reward them for their faith.  If the child died, they thought somebody must have sinned or done something wrong to deserve God's wrath.

This is then expanded to the world stage.  We hear all sorts of people saying that God sent Hurricane Katrina to New Orleans because it was sinful.  Or that terrible diseases like AIDS afflict gays and lesbians because they are sinful.

This cannot be the case.  Humans do suffer in our tragic world precisely because of the fact that they are humans.  Tragedy is not necessarily dependent on any particular deed humanity may or may not have done.  Wicked and evil people go untouched.  The scales of justice don't operate at all times or in all places. 

What can Christians say in response to those dying children in Dallas, those starving people in Pakistan, or the devastated city of New Orleans?  Let us pray.  Let us pray in remembrance that God is known to have suffered and share with us in the pain of being human.  Let us pray that where wrongs can be righted, we have the strength and courage to do so.  Let us pray that when life totally and utterly sucks, we recognize the fact that yes, indeed, life sucks.  Let us pray.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Book Review Wednesday!

It's Wednesday, so it's Book Review Day! 

I'm reading this book that is hot off the presses: "Ecclesiastical History" by Eusebius of Caesarea.  It's only 1,700 years old.  This is what academics call "fresh scholarship."

I'm reading Eusebius because he was one of the first church historians.  Writing in the 4th century, his goal was to produce a written record of all the events that had taken place in the Christian faith from the time of Jesus to the time of his life.  Modern historians constantly refer to Eusebius in their efforts to reconstruct the early history of the faith.

One of the more interesting parts of "Ecclesiastical History" is Eusebius' description of the Holy Scriptures.  He goes through and names what books should be considered part of the Holy Scriptures for Christians.  That's right, even into the 4th century the early church was still discussing what should be in and what should be out.

So what should be in?  The four gospels, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John all make the varsity squad; they're in.  Eusebius mentions some of the other gospels (Thomas, Peter, etc.) but says that nobody really believes what they say.  The letters of Paul (Romans, Galatians, Corinthians, etc.) make the cut.  So does 1 John and 1 Peter.  Interestingly, 2 and 3 John are looked down upon, and so is 2 Peter.  Jude is barely given any credit.  James is called into question.  (I have to make one editorial comment: Both the fundamentalists who say the Bible is the inerrant word of God and the cynics who say the Church covered up the other gospels should read Eusebius).

What I find fascinating is the Book of Revelation.  Eusebius says that the church could go either way on Revelation.  It's weird, he says, but it's also got some good stuff.  Eusebius records that half the church is for it, and the other half against it.  Go figure.

All of this is to say that the Bible wasn't leather-bound and printed with red letter ten years after Jesus died and rose again.  The Holy Scriptures have a history that is wrought with intrigue, debate, and prayer.

Friday, August 20, 2010

my sister, Job, and me

In the Bible, the story of Job is incredibly strange.  The introduction to the book describes how God and Satan (the Adversary or the Accuser) place a bet on whether Job will forsake God or not.  The Accuser is given freedom to destroy Job's family, livelihood, and even desecrate his body with sores and disease.  Yet, through all of this, Job refuses to curse God.  The introduction to this book concludes with a heart-wrenching scene where three of Job's friends silently sit in the ashes with this broken man for seven days and seven nights.  Silence in the face of despair.

When I was first diagnosed with diabetes, I put myself in Job's position.  I had been afflicted with this malady for no apparent reason.  My world was falling apart around me.  All I wanted was for my friends to sit with me, in silence, and let me mourn the death of my old self.

Just two days ago my sister was diagnosed with Crohn's disease.  Again, an inexplicable disease has struck my family and has brought us again to the precipice of human frailty and death.  Today, I put myself in the shoes of Job's friends - silent, mournful, sitting in the ashes of a life that was.

All of the words I learned in seminary melt like wax in the face of tragedy and despair.  I cannot stand in a pulpit and make it right; I cannot pray a certain formula to make the Crohn's go away.  All I can do is sit in the ashes, and look death in the face.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

ingredients for a good baptism

The reading from Acts today is the famous story about Philip encountering the Ethiopian eunuch on the wilderness road.  After Philip, a deacon, explains to him a difficult passage from Isaiah about the lamb that is led to its shearers but remains mute, the eunuch expresses a profound desire to be baptized.

"Look!  Here is water, what is to prevent me from being baptized?"  Well, nothing really.  So Philip and the eunuch hop out of the chariot and proceed to perform one of the most ancient rituals of the Christian faith.

From this reading, I can discern three necessary ingredients for baptism.

1. Water: not only the most essential of resources on the planet earth, but the very thing which makes us clean.  This cleanliness is not only physical, but manifest itself spiritually.  There has been controversy about how much water is needed.  Come on, that's a silly argument.  That's like saying "How loud do I have to sing for God to hear?" 

2. Someone to baptize you: That's right, you can't baptize yourself.  There have to be at least two.  Two makes a community, a fellowship of believers.  This is the model for the entire Christian life.  There's no such thing as a Lone Ranger Christian.

3. The Holy Spirit: From the passage, we can discern that the Holy Spirit is present at the baptism of the Ethiopian eunuch.  That means that we are not baptizing people into a community solely composed of humans.  Rather, they are being baptized into a community of people who are led and inspired by God.

One final note: baptism is the sacrament which any person in the faith can perform.  The Book of Common Prayer has a rubric for emergency baptisms.  So if you were ever to come across somebody who is on the verge of death, and desperately desires to be baptized, go ahead and do it.  "Look!  Here is water, what is to prevent me from being baptized?"

Well, nothing really.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

that's some sweet lemonade

Divine providence is one of those doctrines that usually flips people out.  Simply put, providence means that God works things out for the good.  So, despite the bad situations that we may find ourselves in, the doctrine of providence helps us think that God's goodness will help us out.  Theologians usually start splitting hairs between "general" and "special" providence; for instance, did God really help me find that parking space at the entrance to HEB?

Putting that aside, the passage from Acts scheduled for today is a prime example of God's providence.  Stephen, traditionally known as the first Christian martyr, is stoned to death in Jerusalem because of his witness to the risen Jesus.  The other followers of Christ, because of their fear, leave Jerusalem and disperse all over the Mediterranean world. 

It would be easy to think of these followers as no followers at all.  When the going gets tough, how is it that they left?  But God used their fear and their departure for the good: As the followers of Jesus spread out over the ancient Mediterranean basin, they took with them their faith and their conviction of the good news.  That is, God made some great lemonade out of some pretty sour lemons.  God took the fear and anxiety of the disciples in Jerusalem, added a little bit of the Holy Spirit, and managed to make evangelists that spread faith in Jesus to the ends of the earth.  In some sense, it was because of that fear that you and I are Christians today. 

That's some pretty good lemonade.

Monday, August 16, 2010

the woman at the well

In one of the most curious scenes of John's gospel, Jesus gets into a theological, political, and nutritional discussion with a Samaritan woman at Joseph's well.  Their conversation covers the ancestral heritage of Israel and Judah, the proper place to worship, salvation, and some kind of aquatic therapy that leaves one with their thirst forever slaked.

But, when measured up, these aren't the crazy things in the passage.  Yes, it's weird that a first century Jewish rabbi is speaking with a Samaritan woman.  Yes, it's strange that Jesus talks about a living water that won't leave you thirsty again.  Yes, it's odd that Jesus tells this woman about her history with men.  That stuff just wasn't supposed to happen. 

But really outlandish part of this conversation is that a person is speaking face to face with God.

"I am he, the one who is speaking with you" (John 4:26).

This is the same "I am" when God tells Moses the divine name: "I am who I am" (Exodus 3:14).  This is the same "it is I" when the disciples see Jesus walking on the water (Matthew 14:27).

God divulges God's true personality time and again in the biblical narrative.  God is the fullness of being, the very One who gives being to all other beings.  We know who God is because God graciously lets us in on the divine secret, that God will show his loving face to those who want to see it.  Then, when confronted with the terrible and merciful personality of God, we find ourselves.  We are, simply because God is.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Last Sunday's Sermon

In lieu of a real post, here is last Sunday's sermon:

Proper 14, Year C
Luke 12:32-40

Purses Full of Truth

Open my lips O Lord, and my mouth shall proclaim your praise.

With 25 other bright-eyed, eager folks from across the country, I enrolled in the Virginia Theological Seminary in the fall of 2007. Armed with a history degree from the University of Texas, I walked into the seminary thinking that I knew everything. In my sneaky sort of way, I had gotten my hands on some reading lists so that I could get a head start on the mounds of books that I knew I was going to read.
Some of these books sound like the books one should read while in seminary – A History of the Episcopal Church, An Introduction to the New Testament, and The Philosophy of Religion. The boring, hum-drum sort of stuff. Now, some of them were a little bit more catchy, like From Jesus to Christianity or God’s War. But as I scanned this list of books, both ancient and modern, I did a double-take at one particular title: The God Delusion. The God Delusion? “What kind of seminary is this?” I thought to myself.

But like a good seminarian, I purchased the book for my theology class…and I read it. And you can still see it on my shelf today. It’s got a flashy cover and its title is in bold, black letters. The whole thing is just screaming skepticism! The author, Richard Dawkins, attempts to break down Christianity. He claims that the Bible cannot be true because it’s too fantastic. He claims that what we do in church is not worth our time. And he claims that even our most fleeting idea of heaven is a delusion, because heaven cannot be measured or observed.

And with Mr. Dawkins, our whole society is screaming skepticism. The God Delusion is not an isolated book, it is accompanied with a host of other titles ranging from God Is Not Great to Everything You Know About God is Wrong. They point at our Bible, especially like today’s gospel passage and claim that it’s too silly to be true. This whole thing about selling your possessions and making purses for yourself in heaven, well, they say, that sounds outlandish. Our skeptic friends think that since we can’t measure or observe heaven, it is futile to think that we can store up our treasures there. Our skeptic friends want us to believe that this whole Jesus thing is simply nonsense, and that we should give it up, and lead our lives based on cold reason and lifeless science. Our skeptic friends think that all of us who participate in the ancient rituals of the church could do a lot of better things with our time.

I cannot answer my skeptic and atheist friends with words. There is no way that I can go to the heavens, measure the holy city of God, and report back to Mr. Dawkins with its heighth, length, and width. But I can do something else. I can tell him a story. I can tell him a story about how outlandishly true Jesus’ words are - that where our treasure is, there will be our hearts also. And I can tell him how the ancient rituals of the church, the sharing of bread and wine, are true in that they encompass everything we do as Christians.
Two weeks ago, I went with five members of our youth group to downtown Houston on a mission trip. Diane, Jericha, Alex, John and Travis jumped right into our work projects. They fed breakfast to the homeless, they made sandwiches for recovering addicts, they handed out clothes to the needy and naked. These five saints of God sacrificed a week of their precious summer vacation to sleep on air mattresses. And they agreed wake up at ungodly hours to immerse themselves into the cycles of poverty, violence, and addiction that plague our nation’s cities. They gave up on the comforts of their own life, and gave themselves wholly to the work of comforting others.

With every sandwich given to an alcoholic, with every cup of orange juice handed out, with every ladle full of grits passed on, I witnessed these five make purses for themselves that do not wear out. They measured and cut the fabric for these purses by smiling to a mentally ill homeless man. They carefully stitched these purses by chopping vegetables and packing cupcakes for addicts.

At those moments, the Bible was more than just true, it was alive. Our skeptic friends would probably say these words about making treasure for ourselves in heaven is unsettling or fantastic. And you know what? I would agree with them. It was unsettling to see Jesus’ words come alive before my very eyes. It was fantastic to see five young saints of God abandoning their own desires in return for the welfare of others. These words of Jesus are so true, they are scary. The scariness of their truth lies in the fact that they encompass and envelop everything we do that is good in this world. If we would only open our eyes to see it, and not worry about measuring it, the truth of God’s word would leap off the page and into our hearts.

And then, as if this wasn’t good enough, the story of Holy Scripture would give meaning to our lives. Not measuring, not what our skeptic friends want, but meaning. When the scriptures live inside of our hearts, they have a way of coloring everything we say and everything we do in this world. The stories of the scriptures and the words of our liturgy are the stitches that hold our heavenly purses together.

John and Travis went about picking up dirty plates and cups, and they were acting as deacons. Alex was welcoming the homeless into that safe place, and she was acting as an usher. When Diane Collins was ladling out grits to the hungry and destitute, I asked her to think “The Body of Christ, the bread of heaven.” When Jericha Price was handing out orange juice amidst the rank body odor and foul language of the Houston homeless, I encouraged her to think “The Blood of Christ, the cup of salvation.”

When we let the scriptures and the liturgy encompass our lives, we no longer ask if they are true. Because, that’s the silly question. When we let the scriptures and the liturgy encompass our lives, we begin to think, breathe, pray with the words that give meaning to a world of confusion, like the world of downtown Houston, or the world of Waco north of the river. Unlike our skeptical society we don’t set out to measure the Bible, or take a barometer reading of the scriptures’ veracity. Instead, we measure our entire lives with the sacred words of scriptures. We look for the greater and truer meaning in these words. When we hear how God created the world in seven days, we shouldn’t ask how long ago that was. Rather, we ought thank God for the beauty of this world and for the splendor of his creation. When we hear the words, “sell your possessions, and give alms,” we shouldn’t ask, “now what pecentage of my income was Jesus talking about?” Rather, it means that every part of our lives has to be dedicated to Christ. When we hear about our purses full of unfailing treasures in heaven, we shouldn’t ask, “how big is heaven, and where is it?” Rather, we say “how do I stitch that purse out of the fabric of my life?”

Christianity is so true, that it’s downright scary. We don’t learn that lesson as bright-eyed seminarians. We don’t learn that lesson by years of studying the scriptures. It’s people like Diane, Jericha, Alex, John, and Travis that teach us that the words of Jesus are true. They teach us that what we do in church is full of meaning beyond our comprehension.

Mr. Dawkins and our skeptical society may never understand this. They will probably go on writing books with flashy titles trying to break down our pillars of faith. Their purses have long ago been eaten away by moths, and stolen by thieves. But our purses are still in the making. It’s time we sit down at the sewing machine called the word of the Lord, measuring, cutting, and sewing together the fabric of our lives into a heavenly purse, filling it with our unfailing treasure of love and charity. If you’re not quite sure how to make those stitches and cut that fabric, there are five saints in this church that have some experience, and whose purses are overflowing with beauty and truth.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

a sneak peek: Old Dudes with Beards

I will be teaching a class entitled "Old Dudes with Beards: A Five Week Dash Through Anglican Theology, History, and Prayer."  Here is the synopsis for the first session:

Part 1: An Unfortunately Brief Introduction

            I have some news that is exactly 476 years old – there is controversy within the Anglican Church.  For almost five full centuries (not just since 2003) the English Church and its branches around the world have been struggling to find common ground amidst religious upheaval and political turmoil.  Today, faithful Anglicans around the world use their best (and worst) rhetorical capabilities to prove their own undoubtedly correct position.  Many have pointed to the past and claimed that their ideas have a direct link to our Anglican heritage, but pointing to theology quickly descends into pointing at one another. 
            At St. Alban’s in Waco we are trying a different, and I pray, a holier approach.  By studying that peculiar thing called Anglicanism, we are putting together our identity as Episcopalians.  This course is entitled “Old Dudes with Beards: A Five Week Dash Through Anglican Theology, History, and Prayer.”  Our goal is to study our Anglican forefathers’ (and foremothers’) contributions to Christianity and to apply their thoughts and methods to our corporate and individual lives. 
            Our first class will cover three ideas that have been fundamental in the construction of Anglican theologies over the past five centuries.  First, various old dudes with beards are going to teach us about the ends and purposes of our belief.  For instance, Lancelot Andrewes famously wrote to his Catholic counterpart, “Christ said, ‘This is My Body.’ He did not say, ‘This is My Body in this way.’ We are in agreement with you as to the end; the whole controversy is as to the method.” 
Next, the people of St. Alban’s are going to investigate the time-honored phrase lex orandi lex credendi.  We are going to embark on a study of how that mysterious and ineffable substance and supplication, prayer, shapes what we believe as Christians.  As Anglicans we know that prayer is not an extended session of navel gazing.  Rather, prayer is ritual, action, and ancient narrative dramatically enacted in worship.
           The third and final idea that we receive from our Anglican heritage is an oft abused phrase, via media.  At St. Alban’s, by studying Anglican history, we want to discover what it means to be a middle way by borrowing from both sides of a controversy and emerging stronger.  Perhaps the old dudes with beards have something to teach us after all.

oh no, not again

I know, we see John 3:16 everywhere.  Football games, political rallies, bumper stickers.  Honestly, it gets on my nerves because it takes away from the power and the sweeping nature of the statement.

"For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life."

I think many of us don't catch what the object of God's love is.  God so loved the world.  Yes, God loves individuals, but he loves them as they are part of the whole created order.

This is where Christianity differs from other faiths that offer paths to individual salvation.  The Christian faith trusts in God as savior and redeemer of the entire cosmos.  Christians believe that everything in the universe will be redeemed.  This is not the individual's attainment of nirvana professed in Buddhism or the achievement of moksha in Hinduism.  This is not even the salvation from Jesus as "personal Lord and Savior."  The Gospel of John tells us that God cares for each one of us, but that God also loves the various parts of our solar system, God loves the extraordinary expanse of the Milky Way, God loves the stars that died billions of years ago and the stars that have not yet come into being, God loves the entirety of everything, as it was, is now, and will be.

We may feel tiny because of the vast expanse of God's love.  But, no matter how inconsequential we may seem, we are dear to God, because God loves the world.  And that love will conquer the death of things.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

since when was the Bible so mean?

Two summers ago, I served as a chaplain at Children's Hospital in Dallas.  I will never forget one particular conversation I had with the mother of a fourteen year old male patient.  It went something like this:

Jimmy: I think that your son would really enjoy the book of Judges.  It's got some great action in it.

Mother: Book of Judges?  Do they sell that at Barnes & Noble?

Jimmy: Actually, it's a book of the Bible.

Right now the Daily Office is taking us through that book that is not sold at Barnes & Noble, but is part of the Bible, Judges.  Yes, it's got some great action in it, perfect for fourteen year old boys.  But it's also quite mean.  There are accounts of child sacrifice, litmus tests for execution based on pronunciation of words, and just a whole bunch of bloodshed.  Yikes, when did the Bible get so mean?  Can we just forget about all that violent stuff and concentrate on Jesus?

Well, no, is the answer.  We have to recognize the tension that resides within the pages of our Bible.  We have to understand the fact that the dissonance we find in the Holy Scriptures is really just a mirror of our own lives.  There is peace and violence, justice and iniquity in the world.  The stories of scripture acknowledge that. 

The question shouldn't be "when did the Bible get so mean?"  But, "isn't that crazy that we have so much in common with the Bible?"

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Book Review Wednesday

Here's another installation of Jimmy Abbott's wide-read and erudite Wednesday book review!

Right now, I'm reading Herman Melville's "White Jacket," also known as "The World in a Man-of-War."  This is Melville's second greatest and second most popular work, falling in line behind "Moby-Dick."  Like his ultimate work about the infamous white whale, "White Jacket" is also set at sea during the middle of the 19th century.  Unlike "Moby-Dick," the man with the titular white jacket is aboard a U.S. naval frigate.

Few artists of the literary genre are gifted with keen insight into social problems: Melville is one such author.  Although his appeals are not subtle (he will often end a chapter making a directly appeal to the U.S. Congress) they are powerful and motivating.  He decries the unfair treatment of American sailors: their sleeping conditions, hours for eating, and most egregious of all, the brutal punishment meted out by uncompromising officers.  In this sense, Melville stands with Upton Sinclair of "The Jungle" and Arthur Miller of "The Crucible" as artistic critics of society.

And the great thing about "White Jacket" isn't the historical insights into the naval problems from two centuries ago.  The great thing about this novel is Melville's clear love for words and for the English language.  Puns lurk through every nook and cranny of this sea adventure aboard the USS Neversink.  Melville's bread and butter is biting humor coupled with articulate descriptions.  Fortunately, for the reader, his bread and butter is our delight.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

the light shines in the darkness

The Daily Office is now taking us on the wild ride through the Gospel of John.  It's frustrating, beautiful, poetic, and mysterious all at the same time.  Its glorious introduction contains these words: "What came to be in it [the Word] was Life, and the Life was the light of men, and the light shineth in the darkness, and the darkness did not absorb it."

Now, I know I'm cheating, but I"m going to offer a quote from William Temple on this passage:

"Image yourself standing alone on some headland in a dark night.  At the foot of the headland is a lighthouse or a beacon, not casting rays on every side, but throwing one bar of light through the darkness.  It is some such image that St. John had before his mind.  The divine light shines through the darkness of the world, cleaving it, but neither dispelling it nor quenched by it.

"As we look forwards, we peer into darkness, and none can say with certainty what course the true progress of the future should follow.  But as we look back, the truth is marked by beacon-lights, which are the lives of saints and pioneers; and these in their turn are not originators of light, but rather reflectors which give light to us because themselves they are turned towards this source of light."

Be a mirror.  Reflect the divine light of Christ into this world of consuming darkness.

Monday, August 2, 2010

red scare

In the early 1950s, Senator McCarthy was known for his vicious and unrelenting attacks on communists, leftists, and other "subversives" in the United States government and other organizations.  (Critical responses of his actions included "The Crucible" and "Catch-22.")  Rather than fighting socialism and claiming that it was a dangerous degradation to the United States of American, perhaps he should have done a bit more investigating...

Now I am not advocating communism or socialism, just as I am not advocating capitalism.  I'm a deacon, not an economist.  But here's the thing, and this is straight from the Acts of the Apostles: "All who believed were together and had all things in common; they would sell their possessions and goods and distribute the proceeds to all, as any had need."

Yikes!  Perhaps Senator McCarthy should have started right here, in the Bible, in his crusade to rid America of socialism.