Archive for the ‘Food for thought’ Category

Post Christian Pastor

The Globe and Mail’s Michael Valpy has written an article about a United Church pastor who is “post Christian”.

That triumphal barnburner of an Easter hymn, Jesus Christ Has Risen Today – Hallelujah, this morning will rock the walls of Toronto’s West Hill United Church as it will in most Christian churches across the country.

But at West Hill on the faith’s holiest day, it will be done with a huge difference. The words “Jesus Christ” will be excised from what the congregation sings and replaced with “Glorious hope.”

Thus, it will be hope that is declared to be resurrected – an expression of renewal of optimism and the human spirit – but not Jesus, contrary to Christianity’s central tenet about the return to life on Easter morning of the crucified divine son of God.

Generally speaking, no divine anybody makes an appearance in West Hill’s Sunday service liturgy.

I really have to wonder what exactly it is that makes this congregation Christian, then…

Like Bishop Holloway, Ms. Vosper does not want to dress up the theological detritus – her words – of the past two millennia with new language in the hope of making it more palatable. She wants to get rid of it, and build on its ashes a new spiritual movement that will have relevance in a tight-knit global world under threat of human destruction.

Would that be “God’s word written” that she wants to get rid of?  How can we be Christians if we give no credence to God’s revelation?

[Ms. Vosper] says there’s been virtually a consensus among scholars for the past 30 years that the Bible is not some divine emanation – or in [her] acronym, TAWOGFAT, The Authoritative Word of God For All Time – but a human project filled with contradictions and the conflicting worldviews and political perspectives of its authors.

All I can say about that is that she can’t be very widely read.  Here’s the nub of the issue, though:

She wants salvation redefined to mean new life through removing the causes of suffering in the world. She wants the church to define resurrection as “starting over,” “new chances.” She wants an end to the image of God as an intervening all-powerful authority who must be appeased to avoid divine wrath; rather she would have congregations work together as communities to define God – or god – according to their own worked-out definitions of what is holy and sacred. She wants the eucharist – the symbolic eating and drinking of Jesus’s body and blood to make the congregation part of Jesus’s body – to be instead a symbolic experience of community love.

I have to wonder if this woman has even read the New Testament.  She seems to have no real concept of God’s love, or who Jesus really is.  How do you work out a definition of what is holy and sacred without divine guidance?  What she is advocating is remaking God in man’s own image.  At least she is being honest about it.  I really wonder why she just doesn’t resign her United Church orders and go get ordained in the Unitarian Church.  This is what Unitarians have been doing for decades, after all.

This really breaks my heart.  It’s not really that she and her congregation have tried Christianity and found it wanting;  they haven’t really tried authentic Christianity.  So sad.

Possessions

We had an Easter egg hunt at church today. My youngest, who just turned three, had a hard time waiting for the end of the service (because, of course, he had spotted some of the eggs). When he was finally allowed to collect the eggs, he grabbed as many as his little hands could hold, and refused to eat them. He just clutched them until they started to melt, and I could not convince him that he would ruin them if he didn’t eat them soon.

It made me think.  Is that how God sees us, with our fancy toys and money?  Clutching as much as our little hands can hold, and not seeing the good we could do, if only we loosened our grasp a little?

R.I.P. Larry Norman

4/8/47 – 2/24/08

Farewell, Larry Norman

Can’t think of a good title.

I’ve been reading through a devotional bible for the last few months (year?) or so.  Today I was reading in Ezekiel and Hebrews:

 Ez 44:3 and following — Only the ruler himself may sit in the gateway to eat a meal in the presence of the Lord….Not even a foreigner living among the people of Israel may enter [the temple].

And yet, we all get to go to the communion rail and eat a meal in the presence of the Lord every week – and every single person who has given his/her life to Jesus is a temple for the Holy Spirit.

 Heb:9:25 and following:  The high priest enters the Most Holy Place once every year with blood that is not his own….but Christ came only once and for all time at just the right time to take away all sin by sacrificing himself.

v19 and following — So, brothers and sisters, we are completely free to enter the Most Holy Place without fear because of the blood of Jesus’ death.  We can enter through a new and living way that Jesus opened for us.  It leads through the curtain – Christ’s body.

The Communion Rail By Bob Bennett

(You can find a clip here.  Click on “music” in the sidebar and scroll down to The View From Here)

Iron and marble, wood and stone
Craftsman’s chisel, hammer and nail
All the straight lines form our gath’ring place
At the Altar of God, at the Communion Rail

And the powerful and common, we all come alike
With our faith so weak and our souls so frail
To dine upon the promises of Christ the Lamb
Kept safe for His sheep at the Communion Rail

I can’t help but watch this blessed parade
Of strangers and neighbors, we all fall and fail
We come to have our lives made new again
And to return our thanks at the Communion Rail

And a great cloud of witnesses surrounds us out of time
We will follow their footsteps beyond this earthly veil
We will all join together at the Supper of the Lamb
And we glimpse that shining time
At the Communion Rail

We will follow their footsteps beyond this earthly veil
And we glimpse that shining time now
At the Communion Rail

I read this today:

Matthew

43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

… and it started me thinking, especially “and if you greet only your own people”.  I’m a stay at home mum, and most of my social life involves church friends.  When I first became a Christian, I drifted away from my non Christian friends.  I can think of one close friend who isn’t a committed Christian.  I don’t think the standard “spend the first five minutes after church talking to somebody you don’t know” really cuts it here – yet I don’t have a work outside the home life, and am really quite insulated by what I suppose I should call the Christian subculture.  That’s not how we are supposed to be living, is it?

Christian Community

A wonderful post here.

Netiquette?

There is a letter to the editor in the online edition of a certain Anglican newspaper that I am fairly itching to blog about. I haven’t done it, because I am not sure it is appropriate. It is a letter written to a print publication that was put up on their website. If I am writing about somebody’s blog, I can link to the blog, and the person who I am rebutting has an opportunity to read what I write and comment. The author of the letter would have no way of knowing that I am rebutting his letter. (I have written to the paper in question, but given their track record on Essentials, I’ll eat these pixils if they publish it).

So, is it fair game to write about the letter? Is it fair game to write an open letter to the paper in question, linking back to the letters to the editor page (especially if they don’t publish my letter)?

 

Tag Cloud