Saturday, December 27, 2008


Comic Art


Brandon Peterson

Carlos Pacheo

Tariq Hassan

Cameron Stewart

Mark Gruenwald

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Friday, December 26, 2008


Still Celebrating

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Friday Humor

Three Irishmen, Paddy, Sean and Shamus, having left the pub a wee bit late one night, found themselves on the road which led past the old graveyard.

"Come have a look over here," says Paddy, "it's Michael O'Grady's grave, God bless his soul. He lived to the ripe old age of 87. Good blood, those O'Grady's!"

"That's nothing," says Sean. "Here's one named Patrick O'Toole, it says here that he was 95 when he died. Aye, those O'Tooles are a hardy bunch, they are!"

Just then, Shamus yells out, "Forget him, here's a fella that lived to be 145 years old!"

"What was his name?" ask Paddy & Sean.

Shamus stumbles around a bit, awkwardly lights a match to see what else is written on the stone marker, and exclaims, "Miles, to Dublin!"

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Thursday, December 25, 2008


Christmas Scripture

Luke 2:1-20

And it came to pass in those days, that there went out a decree from Caesar Augustus, that all the world should be taxed. (And this taxing was first made when Cyrenius was governor of Syria.) And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city.

And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) To be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child.

And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn.

And there were in the same country shepherds abiding in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And, lo, the angel of the Lord came upon them, and the glory of the Lord shone round about them: and they were sore afraid. And the angel said unto them, Fear not: for, behold, I bring you good tidings of great joy, which shall be to all people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Saviour, which is Christ the Lord. And this shall be a sign unto you; Ye shall find the babe wrapped in swaddling clothes, lying in a manger. And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God, and saying, Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men.

And it came to pass, as the angels were gone away from them into heaven, the shepherds said one to another, Let us now go even unto Bethlehem, and see this thing which is come to pass, which the Lord hath made known unto us. And they came with haste, and found Mary, and Joseph, and the babe lying in a manger.

And when they had seen it, they made known abroad the saying which was told them concerning this child. And all they that heard it wondered at those things which were told them by the shepherds. But Mary kept all these things, and pondered them in her heart. And the shepherds returned, glorifying and praising God for all the things that they had heard and seen, as it was told unto them. (KJV)

Isa 9:6-7 - For a child will be born to us, a son will be given to us; and the government will rest on His shoulders; and His name will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Eternal Father, Prince of Peace. There will be no end to the increase of {His} government or of peace, On the throne of David and over his kingdom, to establish it and to uphold it with justice and righteousness from then on and forevermore. The zeal of the LORD of hosts will accomplish this. (NAS)

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Christmas Greetings From The Blogotionals

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Wednesday, December 24, 2008


Christmas Eve Greetings!

For the third year running...
Merry Christmas From A Few Of My Friends

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Tuesday, December 23, 2008


We, Like Sheep...

...keep using the same phrases, it was passed around a while back, and I picked it up from Kruse Kronicle. What is it you ask? "Ten Most Annoying Presby-Phrases." Frankly, I think they are "Evangiphrases" Check 'em out:
  1. Intentional
  2. Live into
  3. Fellowship, the verb
  4. If the way be clear
  5. A new thing
  6. Unpack
  7. Jesus, we just
  8. Gift, the verb
  9. I feel that the Jesus I know would...
  10. Missional

Mostly these things are just faddish and show a lack of thought. "Jesus we just..." I find particularly annoying. When I hear Christ's name thrown around in public prayer like it was a punctuation mark, I feel a little irritating tingle up my spine with each utterance. Think about it, if someone were in conversation with you and they said your name to you in every second or third sentence....

But one is actually problematic. "I feel that the Jesus I know would..." Translated that means I hereby claim to speak directly with the voice of God. Oh yeah, and by the way, while making that already extraordinary claim, I am going to warp that Jesus into someone that conforms to me. Nah, there is no problem in that one!

Why do we say these things? What is it about us that lets us fall so readily into these patterns? Well, it is the same thing that has me falling into habits in relationships with people. Those people become part of the woodwork and we deal with them through rote instead of actual communication.

Can we afford to do that with our God? Only, I think, at our peril.

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Kitty Kartoons - Christmas Edition

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Monday, December 22, 2008


Heck Of A Question

MMI quotes Sally Morgenthaler about sacred spaces:
Yet, as many devotees of the burgeoning "spiritual-not-religious" denomination will tell you, they left the hallowed halls of organized faith because their religion was killing them - either softly or bluntly - and it was a matter of soul survival to leave. Certainly, there are those who do find a life-changing connection to God in their houses of faith. They discover meaning, experience awakening and redemption, and the impetus for following Jesus by doing good in the world. But to say that all those who remain within religion's walls feel alive would be a lie. Christian denominations, in particular, seem to be suffering a vast soul-drain. Many church-goers confess a profound inner numbness, yet have simply accepted their inability to feel as the cost of being right about God. What a tragedy. We have a religion of God as concept, not as Person; a religion of the disconnected cerebellum; of mind, not body. Enchantment? Not likely, when we have made unholy any synapse that would enliven us to the God With Us and consequently, to God's world, So Very Much With Us. As Advent approaches, how dare we sing O Come, O Come Emmanuel. An embodied God, human, bloodied, and wailing a newborn's cry? Hardly. The Church's current bent is more, The God-Not-With-Us. No wonder people are leaving, to save what is left of their souls.


In short, how are you encountering the Advent God, the "God With Us" outside of the four walls of church? How are you becoming more present to your world, to sacred space, allowing the Creator, Redeemer, Sanctifier to re-enchant your faith and life? From one soul-survivor to another, I'd love to know.
Boy, I have to agree with the whole "church stifles spirituality" thing. I also have to wholeheartedly agree with the idea of going "out" to discover so much of God.

But I do not take this as a call to revolution, rather I take this as a call to improve how we do church. Have you ever tried to wonder what a church that was not soul-stifling would look like? How would it be different than church now?

Of course, the answers to those questions are very, very complex. But let me just lay this one idea on you. At one point, Sally says:
As religious "professionals", we may wring our hands at their amateur, unguided attempts.
Is church even supposed to be "professional?"

Try this on for size - Is there such a thing as a "professional" family? They come in so many shapes and sizes and many work that don't fit the mold we think is best.

Maybe church would be better if it were a little more familial. That translates into "messy" - but maybe it would work.

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Sunday, December 21, 2008


Pray for Jollyblogger!

David Wayne has cancer. Pray for him - PRAY FOR HIS FAMILY - Pray for his church - Pray for his medical team.

Matt 18:19 - "Again I say to you, that if two of you agree on earth about anything that they may ask, it shall be done for them by My Father who is in heaven.

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Sermons and Lessons


Walter Rauschenbusch, professor of church history Rochester Theological Seminary 1902-1918; born Rochester, N. Y., October 4, 1861; graduated with first honors in classical gymnasium, Gutersloh, Germany, 1883; University of Rochester, 1884; graduated from Rochester Theological Seminary, 1886, D.D.; studied abroad 1891,2, 1907,8; ordained to the Baptist ministry, 1886; author of “Christianity and the Social Crisis.”


“I have yet many things to say unto you, but ye can not bear them now. Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he shall guide you into all the truth.” - John 16:12-13.

We all have our unspoken thoughts. Some are thoughts so envious, mean, or despairing that we are ashamed to utter them. Some are thoughts so righteous, brave, and far-reaching that we are afraid to express them for fear of social consequences. Jesus had no Bluebeard‘s chamber to lock up, nor was He afraid of the prophet ‘s martyrdom. His silences, like His words, were prompted by love and pedagogic wisdom.

I have many things to say, but ye can not bear them now.” His pupils were not yet out of fractions, and He was not going to burden them with quadratic equations. In regard to the truth, too, His yoke was easy and His burden light.

Some of His thoughts were so sad that they would have bruised His friends with grief. All great minds have a subsoil of profound melancholy. Jesus saw the cross from afar, gaunt and threatening, first as a possibility, finally as a certainty, but it was a long time before He told His friends that His career was not to end in a triumphal march and royal enthronement, but in apparent failure and an outlaw’s death. One of His most pathetic words, through which we catch a glimpse of His continued spiritual sufferings, is this: “When the Son of man comes, shall he find faith on earth? “ But if He foresaw this, He did not tell His friends that after nineteen hundred years only a fraction of humanity would own Him king, and that only a fraction of that fraction would be serious about it.

There were other thoughts so radical and far-reaching that they would have unsettled the foundations of faith for His followers. He did not tell them that the Jewish nation would be superseded and the kingdom given to the Gentiles. He did not tell them outright that the temple and its worship and all the ceremonial ritual of their ancestral religion were to be laid away like the kindergarten material of childhood. There are plain indi¬cations that He knew and that His mind was working more and more consciously in that direction, but He did not force these ideas upon His followers.

But while Jesus had His silences, like every reserved mind and like every wise teacher, He looked forward to the time when the truths withheld would be revealed. “When the Spirit of truth is come, he shall guide you into all the truth.” One of the finest facts about Judaism and about Christianity is that both are unfinished religions. The Old Testament does not claim that the revelation of God is completed; on the contrary, the air of expectancy is through it all: a new prophet like Moses, a greater king than David, a new covenant of the Spirit written in the hearts of men, a fuller outpouring of the Spirit, a perfect reign of God were to come. In the same way in the New Testament every face is turned to the better future. Christianity at the outset was quite as much a religion of hope as a religion of love. But if you consider how prone the great leaders, and especially the great system-makers, are to think they know it all, the more does this spiritual modesty, this unquenchable hopefulness, this sense of the inexhaustible resources of God, seem proof that the Christian religion really was illuminated by the light of God.

We know that the expectation of Jesus came to pass. Nothing is more remarkable about the beginnings of the Church than the capacity for growth inherent in its leaders. This crude human material from Galilee was transformed by an inward power that lifted them beyond themselves and turned fishermen into apostles and initiators of a new spiritual era. They had three propulsive forces upon them: a great aim, a real human brotherhood, and the mysterious Spirit of God within. I believe in the Spirit of God. When He brooded over the waters, He turned chaos into form and beauty, and when He broods over a human soul, the creative force is present which works miracles on human nature. Other men merely rearrange what is already present in human life. The rare men who listen to the inner voice, whose vision is clarified by conscious contact with God, and whose will is hardened to the steel-edge by leaning back on the Eternal - they introduce new forces into the stale world. The individuals and the religious bodies who have trusted to the mystic enlightenment have usually been distrusted and derided by their contemporaries, but somehow the subsequent progress of religion and of morality swings over into the track marked out by these pioneers who followed God and not tradition. They have often anticipated the social evolution of mankind by centuries. There is no teacher like the Spirit.

Jesus said the Spirit “shall take of mine and shall declare it unto you.” Truths which Jesus had foreshadowed, suggestions which He had thrown out, corollaries which He had left unformulated, would stand out and loom up as great compelling truths. The spring only quickens the seeds dropped by autumn. The Spirit came like a shower of rain on the seeds that lay dormant in the tropical dust and they woke to life. Every truth contains new truth for a mind stimulated by outward occasion and inward impulse, just as every leaf of the calla lily is a sheath from which the next leaf grows. Our new psychology has shown that the human memory is a vast storehouse of unassimilated information and impressions. The observations made in our childhood, the chance utterances made by our teachers, which seemed so irrelevant or even foolish when we heard them - there they lie. By and by comes some great change in our life, some great impulse of human love or divine aspiration, and the sleeping seeds of truth awaken and take root. Great masses of truth in the New Testament were practically useless to the Church for centuries, and then the Spirit and the occasion met, and they sprang to life. Paul’s thought about the uselessness of the law and the power of faith to justify was unintelligible for the Middle Ages, but it became vivid and vital when the aroused Church of the Reformation was stripping off the inherited legalism of medieval religion. The social contents of the Bible have been lying unrecognized and the social purpose of Jesus was slighted or denied, till the modern world be¬an to agonize over the social problems and the Spirit summoned our generation imperiously to carry into effect the holy will of Christ. Thus the Spirit unfolds and quickens the historical heritage left by Christ in the individual, in the Church, and in humanity, and the unbearable truths become bearable and dear.

Would it be possible to divine what the unspoken thoughts of Jesus were? Could we work back now into the inner recesses of His mind? If the subsequent teachings of the Spirit have really thus unfolded the germinal truths that lay locked in His mind, it might be possible to trace them back to Him; especially if some passing utterance of His showed that He harbored the thought. The undertaking is venturesome, but even if our exploration ends in” Perhaps,” it will carry some reward.

Almost the first great advance step which the Church took, was the recognition of the universal mission of Christianity. The Jewish disciples set out by assuming as a matter of course that salvation was for the Jews, and that heathen could share in it only by becoming Jews. The book of Acts is a bright account of the triumphal transition from Jerusalem to Rome. But from the letters of Paul we learn the dark background of obstinate orthodoxy and pious intrigue which resisted this process at every step. It took the best fighting strength of one of the world’s great fighters to beat down the national barriers and let Christianity out on its world-wide career. Now, I take it that this was one of the truths germinating in the mind of Jesus and unfolded by the Spirit. So far as I remember He nowhere expressly announced it except in one saying ascribed to the time after His resurrection. But his mind was working in that direction. When He met the Roman centurion and saw his spiritual susceptibility, He at once had a vision of heathen coming from East and West to share in the Messianic table round. He emphasized the fact that the one leper who had moral refinement enough to come back and thank Him was a Samaritan, and when He wanted to hold up a model of brotherly kindness, He picked out an heretical alien and set him in lurid contrast to the religious pillars of His own nation. With a mind so little bound by national prejudices and so swift to recognize human worth in outsiders, there were surely daring and hopeful glances across the wall of partition into the vast fields of humanity outside of His nation.

A second truth into which the Spirit had to lead the Church was the great law of development. The common Jewish expectation was that the kingdom of the Messiah would come in suddenly. It was all fixed up and ready in heaven, and some day they would open their eyes and say: “ Lo, there it is… The early Christians shared this catastrophic hope and all their doctrinal thought, their preaching, their moral endeavor and church discipline centered about the great consummation when the Lord should return. It would have shattered their faith if they had known that nineteen centuries would run on without a break. Jesus on the other hand had comprehended the law of spiritual evolution. His parables discouraged the theory of catastrophe and insisted that growth takes time and will not be hurried. But He had to wrap that disappointing truth into parabolic form or they would have resented and repudiated it. The Spirit has had to lead the Church into this truth, and it has not yet comprehended it fully. In its conception of conversion for the individual, and in its outlook for social regeneration the rank and file of the Church have not yet outgrown the youthful hopes of brilliant suddenness.

A third truth which was familiar to Jesus and veiled to His disciples was the pure spirituality of the new religion. All primitive religions were so embedded in traditional forms that form and essence were indistinguishable for most of the worshipers. To the rabbis and Pharisees Jesus seemed to be undermining religion itself when He neglected the ritual fastings and washings. Jesus nowhere called His disciples out of Judaism. He did not tell them to cease the observance of the old rites. Yet He was emancipated from the old forms Himself. He scarcely mentions the temple, the center of religion. He foretold the time when all questions of holy places would be antiquated. He treated the Sabbath from a totally new point of view. The whole business of clean and unclean food He regarded as irrelevant and without religious basis. Forms of prayer were of great moment to His countrymen; Jesus taught only one prayer and the distinguishing characteristic of that is its utter simplicity and directness. To strip religion of all forms and make it purely a matter of love to God and man was so immense an innovation that we have hardly come in sight of it yet. But wherever the tuition of the Spirit can be discerned in the past, we see humanity veering in that direction so far as the professional exponents of religion will permit, and to those who are following the leading of the Spirit, it is indisputably clear that Jesus is with them in it.

Thus we have tried in three instances to divine the unspoken thoughts of Jesus by working back from the later development of the Church to the inner mind of Jesus. Whether we have been successful or not, it is impossible to escape a sense of the affectionate patience of Jesus in giving them only what they could hear. He was a superb teacher, because He loved superbly. Nor can we escape a feeling of our own dullness and slowness. Singly and collectively we have bickered about trivialities and heroically resisted everything that might by chance make Christians of us. We have all been guilty of keeping back the progress of truth. The progress has been so slow that it takes only a fit of melancholy to make a man doubt if there has been any real progress at all. But against our moral stupidity Christ sets his unwavering determination to have us learn. If not today, then tomorrow. Without haste and without rest the great Teacher is urging us on. Learn we must, for some day we are to see God. But for anyone to whom spiritual education is no longer the unwilling task of a slave, but to whom truth is the glad sunlight of the soul, this saying of Jesus opens an endless vista of truth, an ever expanding horizon, mystery after mystery coming out of the grayness of the dawn and breaking into glory.

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