Saturday, July 28, 2007


Comic Art

I could get some de- bate as to whe- ther the char- ac- ter we are to looking at today is really "omnipotent" or not. He is Kang the Conqueror. A descendant of the Fantastic Four in some "alternative timeline" Kang is not so much powerful as he is strategic.

You see, Kang's real power comes from his plots and machinations which he executes throughout time. And because, under the Marvel Universe theory of time travel, whenever you alter time, you don't change history, you just create multiple timelines, there are countless Kangs throughout the timestreams that even work together.

If your brain does not hurt alreay, it probabaly ought to. Reading a Kang story often requires having a pen and paper nearby so you can track the players and the teams and the timelines. It makes reading Russian literature seem simple, Often the only way you can tell one Kang from the other is some extremely minor costume alteration, so you end up with notes like "Kang-A light purple accents -- Kang-B deep purple."

Which brings me to one of the more interesting aspects of this character - his look is so Jack Kirby and it has changed so little over the years. In an age when characters are constantly getting redesigned, this one never changes. You would think all those alternative Kangs would develop different sartorial tastes over the centuries, but no - here is purple and green boy variant 10,645 and counting.

I think Kang is a writer's dream because of the complex plotting, and ease of dilemma solving the whole time travel thing allows. I also think he is a reader's nightmare. Not too long ago I bought a graphic novel of one of the more complicated Kang storylines, one where he tried to unite all his disparate selves into one superpowerful ultra-Kang or some such nonsense. I had read the storyline years ago in its serialized form and thought the graphic novel might make it easier. I admit, it was easier to flip back a few pages to check something than it was to dig out older issues, but I also could only read in short bursts - it was just too busy a plot to swallow whole.

Despite my issues with this character, he is one of the most enduring of the Marvel Universe. And if you think it is complex now, we have only begun to consider this character in the Omnipotents series. He is going to be back in different forms and names! Might as well take some aspirin now - you're gonna need it.

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Friday, July 27, 2007



Jollyblogger took a long hard look at Christians and environmental stewardship drew quite the conclusion:
Christians should be the world's best environmentalists, but we need to begin with the right assumptions which are based on a right theology.
Don't forget good science David!

Christian environmentalism cannot be reduced to sloganeering. David points to the DDT disaster as an example of the slogan outweighing the facts. Climate change is another good one. The climate is changing, how much, the effects, and the casues are highly debatable. This raises enormous questions about what consitutes good stewardship of creation.

You see, stewardship is the key, further stewardship to what ends. Trying to end the proported anthropic casues of climate change would result in changing the entire economy of humanity, while coping with climate change would preserve that economy. Both paths will cause some human suffereing, one more than the other. Like DDT, the banning of which ended some human suffering, but created much more, what constitutes good stewardship is far from straightforward. The same is true for so many questions. The realtively low volume and mass, though very high toxicity, of waste from nuclear energy production vs. the enormous amounts, though lower toxicity, of waste from other forms of electrical production is one example. The same sorts of questions apply to the amounts and toxicity of waste from the production of electrical vehicles vs. standard vehicles when compared to the emission from the operations of both.

The point is it is never enough to simply say that we have to be good stewards of the planet. We have to put in the hard work of figuring out what that actually means.

That is why we are a church of many people, differently abled and gifted. In cases like those cited above, there is little the church can do other than its mission, create good Christians that are in positions to make the determinations about what is the best path. It is not incumbent upon the church to develop the expertise these decisions require, rather the church is to make the people that gain the exerptise. Those people when informed with the word of God and the values that that inculcates will then be able to determine what is the best stewardship.

Sloganeering is about institutions and feeling better. But it is a far cry from good stewardship.

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Friday Humor

Three Pastors in the South were having lunch in a diner. One said "You know, since summer started I've been having trouble with bats in my loft and attic at church. I've tried everything--noise, spray, cats--nothing seems to scare them away."

Another said "Yea, me too. I've got hundreds living in my belfry and in the narthex attic. I've even had the place fumigated and they won't go away."

The third said, "I baptized all mine and made them members of the church... Haven't seen one back since!"

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Thursday, July 26, 2007


On Humility

Mark Lauterbach wrote a couple of very interesting, and confessional, posts on humility. Here is the first and here the second. His conclusion:
Humility is not self-deprecation; it is not self-criticism. Humility is selflessness in the presence of others. It is esteeming others more important than myself. It is not looking out for myself, but for others.
Mark discusses how much this was an attribute of Christ and how little it is an attribute we hold up. Which raises a fascinating issue for me.

If the primary attribute of those in Christ is selflessness, then why is personal salvation the primary focus of most Christian activity? "I want to be saved." "I want to be mature." "I want to grow in Christ." "I want to develop into a Christian leader." Seems to me that true Christlikeness, measured in humility will produce a remarkable absence of that little tiny word "I."

"What would You have me do Lord?" and "How can I help you" are, I think, far better expressions of the Christian life that the examples I cited in the previous paragraph.

First a warning, then an application...

The warning. There is a tendency by some that I believe quite evil to play upon humility and tempt it to service of an institution instead of service to others. They are quite different things. The institution is a means of service to others, but they are not worthy of service of themselves.

The application. How do you blog? Is it for self-expression, or is for your audience? Further, if you are a successful blogger, how have you cultivated that success? Was it through endless self-promotion, or selfless service?

Sadly, I think most Christian blogging is one of the greatest exercises in narcissism yet foisted upon the church. We write about ourselves when we should be writing about Jesus and to others.

Let's vow to blog humbly.

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Illuminated Scripture

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Wednesday, July 25, 2007


Getting The Message Across

Back in May, Scotwise extensively quoted Charles Finney on "How to preach without converting anybody," and the opening paragraph of that quote may be one of the most succinct summations of what is wrong with 90% of what passes for preaching in this age I have ever read:
Preach on every doctrine that centers the attention on man rather than Jesus. Teach every doctrine that makes man the center of God's attention rather than God the center of man's devotion. Tell people only what God will do for them. Avoid preaching about the necessity of a radical change of heart, through the truth revealed to the heart by the agency of the Holy Spirit.
In 1975, I was a college freshman and it was a dark year in my life. Into the darkness came a long letter from my father. There in the conclusion were these words:
John, I don't tell you 'I love you' much because words are easy. I try to show my love through action so that you know it is real, and it is very real.
The wisdom in those words has guided my life since. Words are easy, but love and committment and action on those is not.

When we call people to Christianity, we do not call them to utter words, because frankly, that is too easy and we have no way on knowing the reality of those words in that person's life.

Because of the ventilator, my father could not speak for the last days of his life. But he was active and communicative. He held everyone's hand and squeezed them hard. He looked my mother in the eye with a passion I have never before witnessed. All this until Mom was back in Indidanapolis safe. Then it was just he and I and he looked at me one last time before he went to sleep only to die a few days later, as if to say, "My job is done, I got your mom home."

I told Mom about what happened after she left, and her reponse was, "That's just like him." For the rest of her life my mother will not have to worry if my father loved her because he could not say so in the end; he made it more evident than words could possibly convey.

What does the Lord know with such certainty about you? What do your actions demonstrate apart from your words. Do they demostrate an obsession with what God can do for you? Or, do they demostrate God as the 'center of your devotion'?

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Tuesday, July 24, 2007



Glenn Lucke points to iMonk on the parable of the prodigal son. Spencer borrows heavily fron Henri Nouwen as he explains the parable as an invitation to community, for the penetant (the prodigal), the church (the father's household), and the haughty, or priesthood (the older brother).

As I read Michael's post I see three essential points

iMonk's regular readers know that he battles some of the more problematic developments of evangelicalism regularly, and this is a prime example of that. We have become lousy at community in the church today. In fact, we design our churches now to allow people to come-and-go, to maintain autonomy instead of to give into genuine community.

Some of the is natural, much mischeif has occurred in the name of community - some purposefully manipulative, some well-intended, but extremely harmful. We tend to confuse the institution with the community and the result is often that the community is trampled by the institution. Why is this true? Why have we as the church lost the art of being community?

I would submit to you that this is true becasue as leaders we fail to follow the example of the father. We guard our communities instead of open them up. We push away instead of welcome. We demand instead of give. We look to the good of the institution/community instead of the good of those we welcome.

Let's look at the parable this way. The father gave up half his wealth to the prodigal. His bottom line took a huge hit when the guy left. It would be natural for him to then concentrate on rebuilding what he had lost. But when the prodigal returns, he does not welcome that prodigal to join his rebuilding efforts, he instead throws more money at him in the form of a welcome home party. He builds up the prodigal and worries not about his household. Why is that?

The father understands two very important things

  1. The father knows that in builkding up the prodigal he in fact builds up his household
  2. The father knows that he has infinite resources on tap.

Do we know these things? Based on most of the behavior I have eaperienced in the church we do not. Maybe it is time we learned them.

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Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, July 23, 2007


Not So Different

Writing at MMI, Earl Creps looks at the current state of spirituality in youth culture. Things don't sound too different to me than when I was "that age." The expressions may have changed, but the basic realities are remarkably similar. The post does contain this one absolute winner of a pull quote:
I concluded from Josh’s observation that at least some young adult spirituality is less of a static state of mind and more of a more of a floating experience of faith.
There are volumes in that statement, but I want to concentrate on one aspect. Why do you think the situation described exists as it does? Why would something that is supposed to form the core of our existence, when passed on to the next generation, be experienced by them like the latest fad? Why would the one permanent and unchangable thing is all existance appear transitory and effemoral?

I would submit to you that the answer to those questions is because that is what we are giving them. We cannot make genuine disciples unless we are first disciples ourselves - that's how it works. Cats cannot beget dogs, neither can the Church of Laodecia produce deep and abiding discipleship.

Why does the church always look to the external to get better when what we really need to do is some serious and deep self-evaluation? It's like treating an Alzheimer's patient with memory exercises. Unless we attack the illness that is rotting the brain, the exercises will slow the rate of decline, but the patient will die nonetheless.

Somehow I think Christ said it best
Luke 6:42 - Or how can you say to your brother, 'Brother, let me take out the speck that is in your eye,' when you yourself do not see the log that is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take out the speck that is in your brother's eye.
If we want a better world we have to start by making ourselves and our church better.

Where are you focusing today?

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Sunday, July 22, 2007


Here's To Twelve Marvelous Years!




Sermons and Lessons


Andrew Martin Fairbairn, Ex-Principal of Mansfield College, Oxford, England; born November 4, 1838, near Edinburgh, Scotland; educated universities of Edinburgh, Berlin, and at Evangelical Union Theological Academy, Glasgow; D.D., Edinburgh and Yale; LL.D., Aberdeen, and D.Litt., Oxford; minister Evangelical Union Congregational church, Bathgate, West Lothian, 1860-72; E. U. Congregational church, St. Paul’s Street, Aberdeen, 1872-77; principal of Airedale College, 1877-86; Mansfield College, Oxford, from its foundation, 1886; Muir lecturer, University of Edinburgh, 1878-82; Gifford lecturer, University of Aberdeen, 1882-84; Lyman Beecher lecturer, University of Yale, 1891,2; Haskell lecturer, 1898,9; author of “Studies in the Philosophy of Religion and History,” “Studies in the Life of Christ,” “The City of God,” “Religion in History and in Modern Life,” “Christ in Modern Theology,” “Christ in the Centuries,” “Catholicism, Roman and Anglican,” “The Philosophy of the Christian Religion,” etc.

Christ in Galilee

“Now after that John was put in prison, Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of
- Mark 1:14

“And he said unto them, Go ye into all the world, and preach the gospel to every creature. “ - Mark 16:15.

Of these texts, the one describes Christ’s acts in founding His kingdom, and the other states the commission He gave to the men who had as their duty and mission to extend and perpetuate the kingdom He had founded. There are two points from which these two acts may be viewed - the contemporary and the historical. If we try to see this act of founding as contemporaries, what visions will these simple words of Mark call up, “Jesus came into Galilee, preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God?” He will appear before us as a Jew, lowly born, humbly bred, without the manners of the court or the capital, without the learning of the school, or the culture of the college; a mere peasant, as it were, just like the unlettered workmen of Nazareth, or the toil-stained rustics of Galilee. He becomes a preacher, just as Amos the herdsman of Tekoah and multitudes more of His people had done, but He is flouted by the Pharisees, contradicted by the scribes, hated and persecuted by the priests. In a word, He is despised and rejected of the official guardians of religion, and heard gladly by the common people alone. The men He gathers round Him are, like Himself, without the delicate thought or the fastidious speech - not always accurate or pure - of the man of conscious culture, or the thorough knowledge of all that is superficial in man, which marks the person high in place and familiar with affairs. Now, what would men accustomed to a perspective given by those who are accounted pillars in Church and State think of this preacher and His rustic band? Pascal puts the matter far too mildly when he says Jesus Christ lived in such obscurity that the great historians of the world who are concerned with the affairs of State have hardly noticed Him. He who from the heavens watcheth the ways of men might well laugh in infinite irony as He heard the poet praise Caesar as divine, or the historian bid all eyes to behold the acts of Pilate, and blind as death to the deeds of Christ. If the historian had tried to notice and to describe Him, what would he have said? Something like this: “In those days one Jesus of Nazareth, a carpenter, began to preach, and gathered around Him certain ignorant fisher-folk after the manner of His kind, but all the people of repute held aloof, and the chief priest, with adroit and most excellent diplomacy, when this Jesus became troublesome, induced the procurator to crucify Him.” Had we depended on the historian of great deeds there would have been the limit of his vision, and it would mark the immensity of his ignorance and our own. Happily, eyes truer and keener of sight watched His coming, and by their help we can see the entrance into the world of the greatest person and the most creative truth, and the process by which they slowly penetrated the spirit of man, and worked his saving. It was Godlike that He should enter and begin in silent lowliness. All God’s great works are silent. They are not done amid rattle of drums and flare of trumpets. Light as it travels makes no noise, utters no sound to the ear. Creation is a silent process; nature rose under the Almighty hand without clang or clamor, or noises that distract and disturb. So, when Jesus came, being of God, His coming was lowly. The most common of all things known of men is birth; the most strange and wonderful of all the things that come to man is the child that is born; but the most marvelous of all births is the birth of Him that Herod stayed not to watch, and Rome did not know, but which all the after ages have turned back to regard as the supreme coming of God into man. And as the child came, so came the King, founding His kingdom by humble word, by lowly deed, by life among men; amid His own people, at the side of His own sea, in His own province of Galilee, He preached the gospel of the kingdom. When the moment came that His work was done, and He had to pass to the Father, His going was as silent as His coming, noted only by the men who loved Him; and that departure was no evening shading into darkest night; it is a day that can never set, but only be absorbed into the splendor of His own coming, the everlasting glory of His eternal home. The two texts put together will give us two distinct truths or messages, which yet are one. One is the personal min¬istry of Christ, the other is the apostolic minstry of His people as the continuation and realization of His own.

Starting with His personal ministry, there are three things growing out of this text that are notable: There is, first, the place where it is exercised - Galilee; there is, secondly, the men among whom it is exercised - the disciples, called from sea and boat; and there is, thirdly, the substance of His preaching - the gospel of the kingdom of God.

Note the place, Galilee, the circle of the Gentiles. Where would you have thought Jesus would go to found His kingdom, to begin His ministry? Why, of course, if He had been an astute man of the world, up there, at Jerusalem. There was the great temple of His people, there the ornate and ancient priesthood, there the extended and venerated worship, there the historical associations of His race and of its king. Was ever city so loved by men as was Jerusalem? Poets praised it; beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth was Mount Zion. The people had loved it; there Solomon had planted his temple; and there, amid poverty, pain and war, a few returned exiles had built another and still more gracious; there the people of God had known the siege of the heathen; there they had known the deliverance of the Most High. The great prophet of the exile had broken into immortal poetry in praise of that city where God dwelt, and toward which all nations should come. Athens may be the eye of Greece, illustrious in wisdom; Rome may be the synonym of imperial and ecclesiastical power; Mecca may speak of a prophet that conquered by the sword, and Bensres of one that rules as with a rod of iron millions of our race; but Jerusalem is preeminent as the city of faith, the birthplace of a religion whose very stones were dear to those that loved her. There, then, it might have seemed, Jesus would begin to exercise His ministry. There were rabbis to listen to Him, there were priests to support Him, there were scribes to report Him; all around it seemed the firm soil for His work; but nay, though He knew that a prophet must perish in Jerusalem, the ministry that was to be fruitful for all time must be exercised elsewhere. He would not throw His soul into the midst of conflict, while conflict would have soiled the serenity of His soul. He would not seek the men bound to fashion and form and place, He would seek those that would gather around Him, ready to be made by His work. He did not need to nurse human sin; left to itself it would breed passion, create jealousy, make the awful hour of His agony and the awful majesty of His cross. But He had to seek love, nurse it and cultivate it, and gather it to His bosom, and bear it there. He wanted the silence that was nurture, He wanted the obscurity that was growth, He wanted the cloistered security of nature, as it were, where His own loved people would learn to know and would learn to love Him, and be made fit to be preachers to all ages and models for all time. Though of humble birth, scorned by the proud of blood and culture, He had the supernal wisdom, and saw in the quiet of His own province the ministry that could be a well of truth and grace.

Then there is the second point, the men among whom His ministry is exercised. Here, again, you would have imagined that wisdom would have gone in search of the priests and the scribes, and the great men of culture and of training. Nature, once it is formed, is very hard to reform, and the danger of getting hold of a man of great ancestral rights is that he will adhere to the rights till they become great human wrongs. These men with their fashions of robe and garment, these men with their positions and postures, with their incense and altars - what had they in common with Him who wanted not things, but men?

But, on the other hand, see how easily and completely the unformed can be formed by Him who knows how to make them. These disciples had the simplicity of children; they were malleable, they were soft in His plastic hand; He could take them and He could make them, and when they were made they would be the men He desired. And note one wondrous thing! The people, the common people, as proud men say, are apt to fanaticism; they love the intense passion after small things that we call by that unkindly name. But no men ever became less fanatics, more perfectly human enthusiasts than the simple men Jesus formed. Fanaticism is zeal for trifles, enthusiasm is zeal for humanity. Fanaticism is external, is the devotion of a spirit thrown over upon, as it were, a ceremony or a rite; enthusiasm is the concentration, complete and absolute, of a spirit, of all that is ethical and spiritual and good for men. Fanaticism guards the altar, or the alb, or the outer decoration; enthusiasm seeks to recreate the inner and the ideal man of men. Fanaticism marked the priests of Jerusalem; enthusiasm marked the apostles in Galilee. Fanaticism guards a city and keeps it sacred; enthusiasm takes a religion and makes it universal. The one guards what it will not part with, for it is its strength; the other spreads what it lives by, for it is its glory. So Christ created enthusiasts, and left the fanatics to build and possess the city and die by the hands of Rome.

But along with this wondrous power to make out of the common the great enthusiasm of humanity lies another. Did you ever think or feel what a wondrous pathos there is in the speechlessness of the common people? Think how, through long generations, they have remained at home with thoughts in them they can not speak, with ideals before them they can not explain, with the whole inarticulate world passionate for birth. There is a wondrous pathos in the inarticulate multitude. But yet, when the inarticulate finds speech what speech it is! All the world is dumb till one bright day a William Shakespeare is born, and thereafter she is immortal and silent nevermore. The Vale of Annan is a name until one day Thomas Carlyle lives and his great Galloway voice goes wandering through the ages. Tinkers are but people to be shunned; their speech is not the speech of the parlor or of the lecture-room. One day a John Bunyan lives and brings into being a “Pilgrim’s Progress” and a “City of Mansoul” that remain things of beauty and joys forever. Give to the inarticulate the moment of speech, and there bursts into being all that nature made, that art may follow after but can never overtake or create.

So Jesus, out of the bosom of the inarticulate, forth from the midst of the pathetically dumb, calls these men, fashions them, forms them, preaches to them, makes within them the kingdom of God to live; and lo! it lives, and their eloquence, their speech, immortal as His own, changes and saves the world.

As to the substance of His preaching - He came preaching the gospel of the kingdom of God. The time He came was the time fulfilled; then the long waiting was at an end. Now was the great moment of deliverance and of speech; and this gospel of the kingdom spoke of God whose kingdom it was, and such a God! No harsh, severe fate, no blind, almighty will, no narrow, exclusive sovereign; but that gracious, infinite King, who, reigning in the heavens, reigned over all men, and sought to make in all men His reign supreme. As is the Gods, so is the realm. It is inner, “for the kingdom of heaven is within you.” It is outer, for the kingdom of God is around you. It is present, for it is here. It is coming ever more progressively as the ages go on. In this realm there rules a Lord, and the Lord that rules is love; in it there are relations, and the relation Godward is at once that of subject and son, and the relation manward is at once that of Savior and brother. Within this kingdom man knows blessedness, and into it he can enter on two great conditions - he must repent, and he must believe. Let him try to come in with his sin, and for him there is no entrance; let him try to enter out of love of profit and power, without faith, and for him it has no being. It is large enough to embrace the world, yet so small, so exclusive, that the men it embraces are men who love righteousness and have faith. This kingdom he preaches, so that men everywhere may hear, and tho they stand in outer relations where they did, they are new men, and all their world is new.

Compare this kingdom and the gospel con¬cerning it with other kindred messages. Compare the society and the kingdom of Jesus with, say, a great pagan ideal, the ideal that lives partly in the “Republic” and partly in the laws of Plato. No more splendid discipline for the fashioning of intellect has ever been made by man than these books of ancient Plato; never a more impracticable dream— incapable of realization, and, were it capable, disastrous in its very being - was ever dreamt by man. Christ’s is an ideal and a reality. It is not for the closet, but for the city and 1~he mart. Men everywhere must be within it, and if they are within it, are new. Then there stands a realized religious ideal in what is known and named as Buddhism. With all its wealth of ethical ideal, the Buddhistic nation is marked by two things - a complete separation of the initiated disciple from the world and the duties that most ameliorate its hard and painful lot; and secondly, by an estimate of life that is the child of despair, hatred of being, rather than a love of men. There is an infinite difference between pity for human suffering and love for human souls. Never has the pity for human suffering been more nobly exprest than in Buddha; nowhere, save in Christ, have you the consuming, passionate, saving love of souls. The difference is infinite. You may so pity suffering that you hate life, for in living, men endure pain; but if you love souls, then you hate sin, you hate sorrow, you hate whatever adds to the element of life the ingredient of pain. In Christ you have, therefore, these two things - direct, immediate, face to face, interpenetrated being, saved society, a world to be saved, and you have a saved society penetrated and possest by the passion to save - the love that can redeem.

I pass on from the Master and His personal mission to the apostolic mission as the continuation of the Master’s. Here I want especially to observe that the method He followed His disciples were to follow, what He did and was they were to do and be. He was a preacher, they were to be preachers; His message was the gospel of God, their message was to be the same gospel. Now, if men are to accomplish the work they are sent to do by Christ, it must be in the method and the spirit, by the gospel and the mission Jesus gave and Jesus is.

If we take our stand on history as it has been fulfilled up to this present moment, what strikes us? Why, this; the marvelous success of Christ’s plan. If He had gone to Jerusalem, think you Christianity would have ever been anything else than redrest Judaism? Think you, had He called men who regarded Him from above downward, as a lesson to be used rather than obeyed, that He would have been anything else than a lost name in history? See, ‘y following the plan He took what has been accomplished! Here are we, sections and representatives of the people who use the English tongue. In this kingdom, away with our kin beyond the sea, in America, in our colonies, well-nigh 120,000,000 of men use our tongue and hold our faith. Over on the Continent, of Europe 200,000,000 of men have the same faith, disguised in varied forms. Where lies the movement and the mind of the world? With these people, made by these people. They everywhere constitute the very heart and the very spirit of man. Take, as a type, out of the great multitude this very city, London, the immensest, most populous, richest, poorest, the most ubiquitous city, in a sense, in all the experience of man; her energies run to the uttermost parts of the earth; her eyes are everywhere; where wealth is to be found, there some of her myriad hands are groping; where money is wanting, there some one or several of her myriad money¬lenders are prepared to offer for sale; wher¬ever there is man there is the feeling of this great city, and she seeks ever to draw toward herself from all parts of the world, to en¬large, to enrich, and to impoverish. What now stands in this great city for all .that is ameliorating, progressive, orderly, potent in good? Let any stranger come up her ancient river, and high, overtopping all her towers and palaces, rises the lofty dome of St. Paul‘s. Is it under the dome where your men coin their money? Is it from that. lordly peak they look for markets throughout the world? Nay! There, amid all their warehouses, reign¬ing over all their daily interests, stands a symbol of their faith. Higher up the river lie the ashes of our most illustrious dead, shadowed and consecrated by the name of the Crucified. Why are they there, but to express this: the faith of our people is the most sa¬cred thing our people have? They love to enshrine the names they love in a symbol of their faith. Pass through the streets, and mark, in places where they are needed huge hospitals rise. There, in the crowded ward where lie the suffering and the sick, moving with a soft foot, and speaking with a gentle voice, so excellent a thing in women, are those who are sd to heal and to help the suffering. There the knife of the surgeon has ceased from its cruel power of slaying, and turned into a beneficent minister of health and life; there the physician seeks to battle with grim disease and make the sound body for the sound mind to dwell in. Pass on, and you will see in every street a building consecrated to sacred use. There lives a man given up to the service of men, with the message meant for their healing, with a word meant for their saving, to be a man who is a man of God amid men and of men. Here there are books to be read, and social societies to publish and to disperse them; there are societies to shelter the innocent, prosecute the guilty; to reach out to the poor, to ameliorate the lot of the sad; societies designed to heal every ill flesh is heir to, to breathe health into sickness, to create purity in guilt, to surround helpless infancy with the strong hands of gracious protection. And if you ask what is the main¬spring of all these, giving them purpose, giv¬ing them power, what man dare to say other than this, “They are the creation of the Christ that preached the gospel in Galilee, and the creation of men who preach His gospel in the England of today.”

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