Saturday, June 29, 2013


Comic Art


 Aleski Bridot

Brandon Peterson

Gabriele Dell'Otto

Leonel Castellani

Mike Deodato Jr. 

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Friday, June 28, 2013


Good Signposts

A Place for the God Hungry lists signs of immaturity:
  1. Immature people accept no personal responsibility for their behavior. They will always have a justification for the way they act.
  2. Immature people manipulate others into giving them what they want. They will say and do anything to curry favor with others.
  3. Immature people will not talk with people directly. They play passive-aggressive games. They will smile at you in the hallway and sabotage you five minutes later.
  4. Immature people demand that the group they are in yield to them. They, after all, are used to others yielding to the least mature in the group.
  5. Immature people do not keep their commitments. They follow their urges rather than their principles.
I find that extraordinarily insightful. In sum, maturity is learning to consider the other. But I think they may need expansion a bit.

I know many people today that constantly think about someone else - many of them mothers thinking about their children. But they do not listen to their children nor to they consider their children as anything more than a means to an end for themselves. Their children are a fulfillment of their desires and not independent individuals. Now, I don;t say that to pick on mothers, I say that to illustrate that maturity is about more than merely thinking about the other. It is about granting the other their independence - understanding that the other does not exist merely to benefit, or not, your world.

Maturity then is about a perspective that is outside of one;s own immediate experience and senses.
We live in a world where the subjective is increasingly glorified. "I like...," "I want...." We want iPads because they are cool when there are similar computing devices doing virtually the same thing at a fraction of the cost.

I thought this one from that post was outstanding:
Unfortunately, immature men and women impact other people. They tend to be indecisive, anxiously looking for the path of least resistance.
"The path of least resistance" may define immaturity. I wonder what the church would look like today if we asked ourselves what is best rather than what "works," which, let's face it, is closely related to least resistance. And shouldn't the church be the place that promotes maturity?


Friday Entertainment

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Thursday, June 27, 2013


Liturgy and Song

A guest post @ iMonk by Colleen Reiss Vermeulen looks at music and sacrament in worship:
How often do we in ministry think, “I’d be tempted to incorporate more historical Christian liturgies or more services of the Lord’s Supper in our Sunday worship, but…I don’t think the congregation would get into it, they’d think it was boring or inaccessible.” John Wesley’s eighteenth-century revival in worship and sacrament points us towards a more coherent vision, revealing that it’s not just about changing the texts of a service, finding the right music, or creating the right atmosphere. It’s all these elements, and more, working together. It’s not just the music and it’s not just the order of service—it’s both, reinforcing each other in a cycle of preparation to worship the Lord and reception of His graces in communal worship.

His hymns pertaining to the Lord’s Supper (most written by his brother, Charles) are a “blend of orthodoxy and evangelism,” says church historian John Bowmer. They were undoubtedly in the High Church tradition and “accused, very unjustly, of displaying Roman Catholic tendencies,” but written for full participation of the assembly. The hymns were not merely a way to form Methodists in orthodox doctrine, but also an instrument for connecting the assembly with the liturgical celebration, as many hymns were essentially “choral settings of parts of the Communion service.”

Hymn-singing was also a way of fostering reverence and attentiveness to prayer and sacrament during the Lord’s Supper. One of Wesley’s preachers advocated for “singing during the Communion of the people” because “as it is the fittest time to ask the most ordinary to receive grace, every moment ought to be improved to the best advantage.” He believed that “continual praying and singing would prevent the wanderings of many, who are not convinced of sin deeply enough, or influenced by grace strongly enough, to mourn and pray without interruption, if they are left to themselves.” The questions driving every reform and decision are “Does this authentically flow from and connect the assembly to the whole of the service?”
 By not choosing music based on “relevance,” and instead viewing music as inseparable from the service in form and function, Wesley’s celebrations of the Lord’s Supper got noticed. They were packed and crowded with Christians, new and old. Through their hymns Wesley’s followers, as Bowmer writes, “transformed was a piece of uninspiring ritual into a lively means of grace, a ‘Gospel Feast.’” Supported by music, the Lord’s Supper did, by its own intrinsic qualities, become a very powerful agent in the revival; it was not simply attended as a duty, but as a joyful meeting with the “crucified, risen and ascended Lord, at the place where He bestowed grace and power.” What a vision! An inspiring reminder that the songs we sing in church aren’t just a decorative addition or a way to use up time. Music must flow from our form of worship, as an intrinsic outpouring of our celebrations of word and sacrament. And when it does, it has the power to inspire, revive, and call the entire assembly to a deeper encounter with the Lord.

Powerful stuff, just some points;;
  • Music is not about expressing purely praise, but expressing the full message of the church
  • music is not about expressing feeling, but expanding liturgy.
  • Liturgy and sacrament lead, not music - it aids these things.
  • While evangelism may happen in the context of the service, it s not the purpose of the service, but the by-product
  • The church has been here before.


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Wednesday, June 26, 2013


On Lonliness

Jon Bloom @ DG writes of loneliness:
Sometimes we feel alone in the world. Jesus understands this feeling. In a very human sense, he was alone.

Imagine what living in this world was like for Jesus. He was without sin (Hebrews 4:15). That might sound like a pleasant problem to deal with. I don’t think so. I think it was tormenting. Peter described sinful Lot’s experience in Sodom as being tormented day after day by the “lawless deeds that he saw and heard” (2 Peter 2:8). How much worse was it for sinless Jesus living in a world of sin?

Imagine what his childhood was like. He would have been odd, sticking out morally like a sore thumb, never quite fitting in with any group, even his own family.


But Jesus’s loneliness reached its apex the moment he became sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21) on the cross and was “forsaken” by his Father (Matthew 27:46). First he was estranged by sinlessness and then from being sin. Jesus knew supreme rejection and loneliness.

Which makes him perfectly suited to understand yours. He is a high priest who can sympathize with this weakness (Hebrews 4:15).

For some reason this whole thing leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Do I believe Jesus understands and can share int he loneliness I feel? Yes, of course I do. Do I take comfort in that? Again, yes? But casting Christ's loneliness in terms of his moral perfection and then is experience on the cross is not something I can share in. I am neither morally perfect nor have I had the weight of the sin of all mankind placed on my shoulders.

This seems written with a view of Christ totally as some theological object, whose humanity was at best a guise. It casts the simple insecurity that one feels when everyone is too busy to spend time with you (often the root of loneliness, it is simply a matter of temporal realities) as somehow sinful. Do we honestly think that a morally perfect life is without simple emotional negativity? I don't.

It is true that some emotional overreaction is an illness and results from sin, but not all of it. Clearly Eve felt jealousy for the tempter to even have the leverage to tempt her, so not all negative emotion is a result of sin.

Jesus felt lonely because we all feel lonely fro time-to-time. I am not sure the perfect Christian life will fix that - just make us better capable of coping with it.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013


That Whole Pot/Kettle Thing

David Mathis @ DG continues banging on Catholics. We looked at a post he did earlier on this and this is another one. In this case he is pointing out the Vatican II did not turn Catholics into Protestants, even if it did "make things better." - gee, there is a shock.
You know, I could not help but think about this:
Matt 7:3-5 - "Why do you look at the speck that is in your brother's eye, but do not notice the log that is in your own eye? Or how can you say to your brother, 'Let me take the speck out of your eye,' and behold, the log is in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the log out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to take the speck out of your brother's eye.
The line between disagree and judge is a fine on, and I think Mathis has crossed it with these posts on Catholicism. It is truly unbecoming of a web site that has come to be so important and from which I draw a great deal of learning and inspiration.

Like Mr. Mathis, I disagree with some Catholic thought, but they remain my Christian brethren. Mr. Mathis seems to think otherwise, and is quite graceless in his declarations of that assessment. Yes, I disagree with Mr. Mathis assessment, but I condemn his gracelessness.


Kitty Kartoons

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Monday, June 24, 2013


Real Praise

I know, I know, we did this Friday just past, but it bears repeating. Mark Roberts:
Was this the core purpose of my life? Would my life have been more glorifying to God if I quit everything else I had been doing so I could spend all of my waking hours singing praise to him? I have sometimes heard preachers and read Christian writers who envision the ultimate Christian life in these terms. They equate living for the praise of God's glory with the activities of so-called worship services. Everything that happens outside of the sanctuary is of secondary value.

But this is not the meaning of Ephesians 1:11. As we'll see later in the letter, there is one verse about singing to God (5:19). But there are dozens of verses about how we are to live each day. This ratio does not suggest that singing praise is insignificant. But it does remind us that we are exist for the praise of God's glory. We are called and privileged to glorify God, not just in singing and praying, not just in doing things we identify as "spiritual," but also in every part of life, in every action, every thought, every feeling. Just think of how different your life might be if you began to think of glorifying God as the core purpose of everything.
Again I say, "Amen and Amen."

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