Thursday, May 29, 2008
Chapter 11. Concerning Teachers, Apostles, and Prophets.
Whosoever, therefore, comes and teaches you all these things that have been said before, receive him. But if the teacher himself turns and teaches another doctrine to the destruction of this, hear him not. But if he teaches so as to increase righteousness and the knowledge of the Lord, receive him as the Lord. But concerning the apostles and prophets, act according to the decree of the Gospel. Let every apostle who comes to you be received as the Lord. But he shall not remain more than one day; or two days, if there's a need. But if he remains three days, he is a false prophet. And when the apostle goes away, let him take nothing but bread until he lodges. If he asks for money, he is a false prophet. And every prophet who speaks in the Spirit you shall neither try nor judge; for every sin shall be forgiven, but this sin shall not be forgiven. But not every one who speaks in the Spirit is a prophet; but only if he holds the ways of the Lord. Therefore from their ways shall the false prophet and the prophet be known. And every prophet who orders a meal in the Spirit does not eat it, unless he is indeed a false prophet. And every prophet who teaches the truth, but does not do what he teaches, is a false prophet. And every prophet, proved true, working unto the mystery of the Church in the world, yet not teaching others to do what he himself does, shall not be judged among you, for with God he has his judgment; for so did also the ancient prophets. But whoever says in the Spirit, Give me money, or something else, you shall not listen to him. But if he tells you to give for others' sake who are in need, let no one judge him.
Chapter 16. Watchfulness; the Coming of the Lord. Watch for your life's sake. Let not your lamps be quenched, nor your loins unloosed; but be ready, for you know not the hour in which our Lord will come. But come together often, seeking the things which are befitting to your souls: for the whole time of your faith will not profit you, if you are not made perfect in the last time. For in the last days false prophets and corrupters shall be multiplied, and the sheep shall be turned into wolves, and love shall be turned into hate; for when lawlessness increases, they shall hate and persecute and betray one another, and then shall appear the world-deceiver as Son of God, and shall do signs and wonders, and the earth shall be delivered into his hands, and he shall do iniquitous things which have never yet come to pass since the beginning. Then shall the creation of men come into the fire of trial, and many shall be made to stumble and shall perish; but those who endure in their faith shall be saved from under the curse itself. And then shall appear the signs of the truth: first, the sign of an outspreading in heaven, then the sign of the sound of the trumpet. And third, the resurrection of the dead -- yet not of all, but as it is said: "The Lord shall come and all His saints with Him." Then shall the world see the Lord coming upon the clouds of heaven.
Tuesday, May 27, 2008
Even I can see that indeed carbon dioxide is increasing in the atmosphere. That much I can grasp. Now about the implications in the environment and the science of the predictions and the policy that might flow from all this I am less sure.
A second thing to notice is the idea that biotechnology may develop carbon eating trees in the future to dramatically decrease that carbon output:
At this point I return to the Keeling graph, which demonstrates the strong coupling between atmosphere and plants. The wiggles in the graph show us that every carbon dioxide molecule in the atmosphere is incorporated in a plant within a time of the order of twelve years. Therefore, if we can control what the plants do with the carbon, the fate of the carbon in the atmosphere is in our hands. That is what Nordhaus meant when he mentioned "genetically engineered carbon-eating trees" as a low-cost backstop to global warming. The science and technology of genetic engineering are not yet ripe for large-scale use. We do not understand the language of the genome well enough to read and write it fluently. But the science is advancing rapidly, and the technology of reading and writing genomes is advancing even more rapidly. I consider it likely that we shall have "genetically engineered carbon-eating trees" within twenty years, and almost certainly within fifty years.
Carbon-eating trees could convert most of the carbon that they absorb from the atmosphere into some chemically stable form and bury it underground. Or they could convert the carbon into liquid fuels and other useful chemicals. Biotechnology is enormously powerful, capable of burying or transforming any molecule of carbon dioxide that comes into its grasp. Keeling's wiggles prove that a big fraction of the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere comes within the grasp of biotechnology every decade. If one quarter of the world's forests were replanted with carbon-eating varieties of the same species, the forests would be preserved as ecological resources and as habitats for wildlife, and the carbon dioxide in the atmosphere would be reduced by half in about fifty years.
A last note is this analysis of the dogmatic intransigence of some in the environmental movement and how the author regards environmentalism as a new religion:
All the books that I have seen about the science and economics of global warming, including the two books under review, miss the main point. The main point is religious rather than scientific. There is a worldwide secular religion which we may call environmentalism, holding that we are stewards of the earth, that despoiling the planet with waste products of our luxurious living is a sin, and that the path of righteousness is to live as frugally as possible. The ethics of environmentalism are being taught to children in kindergartens, schools, and colleges all over the world.
Environmentalism has replaced socialism as the leading secular religion. And the ethics of environmentalism are fundamentally sound. Scientists and economists can agree with Buddhist monks and Christian activists that ruthless destruction of natural habitats is evil and careful preservation of birds and butterflies is good. The worldwide community of environmentalists—most of whom are not scientists—holds the moral high ground, and is guiding human societies toward a hopeful future. Environmentalism, as a religion of hope and respect for nature, is here to stay. This is a religion that we can all share, whether or not we believe that global warming is harmful.
Unfortunately, some members of the environmental movement have also adopted as an article of faith the be-lief that global warming is the greatest threat to the ecology of our planet. That is one reason why the arguments about global warming have become bitter and passionate. Much of the public has come to believe that anyone who is skeptical about the dangers of global warming is an enemy of the environment. The skeptics now have the difficult task of convincing the public that the opposite is true. Many of the skeptics are passionate environmentalists. They are horrified to see the obsession with global warming distracting public attention from what they see as more serious and more immediate dangers to the planet, including problems of nuclear weaponry, environmental degradation, and social injustice. Whether they turn out to be right or wrong, their arguments on these issues deserve to be heard.
Sunday, May 25, 2008
Wednesday, May 21, 2008
I have been listening to an astonishing collection of early American Gospel music, Goodbye Babylon, a 4 cd set.
It is truly incredible. If you like American music, country, bluegrass, rock and roll, folk, you'll love this. If you are at all interested in American social or religious history it is also a must.
Here are a couple of comments from reviews and the CD set itself:
In February 1999 a college radio disc jockey named Lance Ledbetter set out on a mission to compile rare and essential recordings of vintage religious music. Four and a half years later the result of this journey was released as a box set called Goodbye, Babylon. The set consists of five CDs featuring 135 Songs (1902-1960) and one CD featuring 25 Sermons (1926-1941). Accompanying the CDs is a 200 page book with Bible verses, complete lyric transcriptions, and notes for each recording. All of the components is reverently packed with raw cotton and housed in a deluxe 8" x 11" x 2.5" cedar box.
These are not mass marketed professional recordings, these are old obscure recordings of preachers, fire-and-brimstone gospel, blues, country, jug-band, and sacred-harp tunes from the first three or four decades of the last century.
I wish I could share a tune or two but alas, copyrights! You can listen to samples here at the official site.
I will share some of the names of the performers and songs, worth a read all by itself:
Da Costa Woltz's Southern Broadcasters "Are You Washed in the Blood of the Lamb"
Roosevelt Graves and Brother "Woke up this Morning (with My Mind on Jesus)"
Brother Claude Ely "There Ain't No Grave Gonna Hold My Body Down"
Elder Curry and His Congregation "Memphis Flu"
Sister O. M. Terrell "The Bible's Right"
Virginia Dandies "God's Getting Worried"
Empire Jubilee Quartet "Get Right Church"
Rosie Hibler and Family "Move, Members, Move"
Mother McCollum "Jesus is My Air-O-Plane"
Sam Jones "I've Got Salvation"
Blind Alfred Reed "I Mean to Live for Jesus"
Heavenly Gospel Singers "When Was Jesus Born"
Blue Sky Boys "Come to the Savior"
Dorothy Melton "I Want Jesus to Walk with Me"
Laura Henton "He's Coming Soon"
Okeh - Atlanta Sacred Harp Singers "Return Again"
Blind Gary Davis "I am the True Vine"
Bela Lam and His Greene County Singers "Sweet Story of Old"
Elder Harris "I'll Lead a Christian Life"
Famous Blue Jay Singers "I'm Leaning on the Lord"
Blind Willie Harris "Where He Leads Me I Will Follow"
Luther Magby "Jesus is Getting us Ready"
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
All believers are like poor Lazarus; and every believer is a true Lazarus, for he is of the same faith, mind and will, as Lazarus. For we all must, like Lazarus, trust in God, surrender ourselves to him to work in us according to his own good pleasure, and be ready to serve all men. And although we all do not suffer from such sores and poverty, yet the same mind and will must be in us that were in Lazarus—cheerfully to bear such things, wherever God wills it. Abraham had the mind and will to bear what Lazarus did. Therefore he recognized Lazarus as one of his own and received him into his bosom.
Thanks to Historic Lectionary.
Monday, May 19, 2008
The Uneasy Priest is correct.
The website Garfield minus Garfield is truly amazing.
As the site itself explains:
Who would have guessed that when you remove Garfield from the Garfield comic strips, the result is an even better comic about schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and the empty desperation of modern life? Friends, meet Jon Arbuckle. Let’s laugh and learn with him on a journey deep into the tortured mind of an isolated young everyman as he fights a losing battle against loneliness in a quiet American suburb.
Sunday, May 18, 2008
The LA Times has a short piece about an art exhibition at the Getty Museum entitled "Imagining Christ". When one reads such a title, one has a sense of foreboding, wondering what sort of outrage in the name of art might be perpetrated upon our Lord.
However, this article was a pleasant surprise. It pointed to an exhibition centered on a 16th century prayer book of Cardinal Albrecht of Brandenburg done by Flemish illuminator Simon Bening.
The article leads to a website of the exhibition which has some wonderful examples of the art in the prayer book. It is definitely worth a look and a read. The site has audio, images as well as text.
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Now those who thus live, and are partakers in such virtue, are alone able to give glory to God, and this it is which essentially constitutes a feast and a holiday. For the feast does not consist in pleasant intercourse at meals, nor splendourof clothing, nor days of leisure, but in the acknowledgment of God, and the offering of thanksgiving and of praise to Him. Now this belongs to the saints alone, who live in Christ; for it is written, ‘The dead shall not praise Thee, O Lord, neither all those who go down into silence; but we who live will bless the Lord, from henceforth even for ever.’ So was it with Hezekiah, who was delivered from death, and therefore praised God, saying, ‘Those who are in hades cannot praise Thee; the dead cannot bless Thee; but the living shall bless Thee, as I also do.’
For to praise and bless God belongs to those only who live in Christ, and by means of this they go up to the feast; for the Passover is not of the Gentiles, nor of those who are yet Jews in the flesh; but of those who acknowledge the truth in Christ, as he declares who was sent to proclaim such a feast; ‘Our Passover, Christ, is sacrificed.
Athanasius , Festal Letter 7, 3
Nor did He then begin to be, but we began to have Him for our Lord. For upon this, God being good and Father of the Lord, in pity, and desiring to be known by all, makes His own Son put on Him a human body and become man, and be called Jesus, that in this body offering Himself for all, He might deliver all from false worship and corruption, and might Himself become of all Lord and King. His becoming therefore in this way Lord and King, this it is that Peter means by, ‘He hath made Him Lord,’ and ‘hath sent Christ;’ as much as to say, that the Father in making Him man (for to be made belongs to man), did not simply make Him man, but has made Him in order to His being Lord of all men, and to His hallowing all through the Anointing. For though the Word existing in the form of God took a servant’s form, yet the assumption of the flesh did not make a servant though, as he said the Word became a servant, as far as He was man. He says the same thing of the Word, who was by nature Lord; but rather, not only was it that emancipation of all humanity which takes place by the Word, but that very Word who was by nature Lord, and was then made man, hath by means of a servant’s form been made Lord of all and Christ, that is, in order to hallow all by the Spirit.
And as God, when ‘becoming a God and defence,’ and saying, ‘I will be a God to them,’ does not then become God more than before, nor then begins to become God, but, what He ever is, that He then becomes to those who need Him, when it pleaseth Him, so Christ also being by nature Lord and King everlasting, does not become Lord more than He was at the time He is sent forth, nor then begins to be Lord and King, but what He is ever, that He then is made according to the flesh; and, having redeemed all, He becomes thereby again Lord of quick and dead. For Him henceforth do all things serve, and this is David’s meaning in the Psalm, ‘The Lord said unto my Lord, Sit Thou on My right hand, until I make Thine enemies Thy footstool.’
Athanasius , Against the Arians, 1,15, 14.
Thursday, May 15, 2008
For he was born a son,
and led as a lamb,
and slaughtered as a sheep,
and buried as a man,
and rose from the dead as God,
being God by his nature and a man
He is all things.
He is law, in that he judges.
He is word, in that he teaches.
He is grace, in that he saves.
He is father, in that he begets.
He is son, in that his is begotten.
He is sheep, in that he suffers.
He is human, in that he is buried.
He is God, in that he is raised up.
This is Jesus the Christ,
to whom be the glory forever and forever. Amen.
On Pascha, 8-10
For of His becoming Incarnate we were the object, and for our salvation He dealt so lovingly as to appear and be born even in a human body.
Thus, then, God has made man, and willed that he should abide in incorruption; but men, having despised and rejected the contemplation of God, and devised and contrived evil for themselves (as was said in the former treatise), received the condemnation of death with which they had been threatened; and from thenceforth no longer remained as they were made, but were being corrupted according to their devices; and death had the mastery over them as king.
Athanasius, On the Incarnation, 1, 2-4.
Wednesday, May 14, 2008
Augustine, On Christian Doctrine, 1.4.4
Monday, May 12, 2008
Here is one bit:
This is one reason I thank God for the liturgy. The liturgy does not target any age or cultural subgroup. It does not even target this century…. Instead, the liturgy draws us into worship that transcends our time and place. Its earliest forms took shape in ancient Israel, and its subsequent development occurred in a variety of cultures and subcultures—Greco-Roman, North African, German, Frankish, Anglo-Saxon, and so on. It has been prayed meaningfully by bakers, housewives, tailors, teachers, philosophers, priests, monks, kings, and slaves. As such, it has not been shaped to meet a particular group’s needs. It seeks only to enable people—people in general—to see God.
Saturday, May 10, 2008
God is serious about his name—which is why he took the trouble to reveal it to us in Christ. To create an alternative according to our cultural sensibilities is at best parody and at worst idolatry, even if it is constructed from the good metaphors God has given us. Most idols, after all, are created from God's good gifts.
Friday, May 09, 2008
Throughout history and in every culture, people have, in a wide variety of ways, recalled this dream, even without having had any contact with the Jesus story. They've expressed this dream through myths and legends. We in modern Western culture sometimes respond to unbelievable stories by saying, "Oh, that is just a myth." Myth and legend are for most people equivalent to untrue. (Hence the visceral fear some modern Christians have about conceding that anything in the Bible may be myth.) But, as the great mythologist Joseph Campbell has noted, there is a much more profound sense in which myths and legends can be very true. At their best, myths and legends express our innermost sense of reality, our deepest longings, the obstacles we face in pursuing these longings, and our hope that somehow, someday, these longings will be satisfied.'
Gregory Boyd and Paul Eddy, Lord or Legend , p. 148
Monday, May 05, 2008
Touchstone (subscribe here ... not for my very few articles but for everything they publish ... very worthwhile) itself won the best journal award for the fourth year in a row. I am pleased to be able to write for them.
Friday, May 02, 2008
Here is a bit:
During the past school year, TV evangelist Richard Roberts, son of school founder Oral Roberts, resigned as president after being accused of misspending university funds to live in style. Also, it was disclosed that the school was more than $50 million in debt.
Among other things, Roberts and his wife were accused of spending school money on shopping sprees, home improvements and a stable of horses for their daughters. They are also alleged to have sent a daughter and her friends on a Bahamas vacation aboard a university jet.
Projected enrollment for the fall semester could be 150 students fewer than the 3,166 who attended last fall, interim President Ralph Fagin said in an interview last week. Two university employees who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the situation said they have been told a much higher figure: around 400.
That would amount to a startling drop of almost 13 percent.
Thursday, May 01, 2008
We just do it. The Church makes Christians and the Church makes pastors. The Church does this because God has instructed Her to do so. Sometimes it seems like a feast and sometimes it seems like a famine. Sometimes our sinful flesh mistakes a famine for a feast or attempts to pretend it is a feast when it is not or tries to measure God's love by the trappings of success. But we keep on regardless of results and despite our sin. We keep on even when we seem to fail, when there is no "growth," and in the midst of persecution. We keep on because we trust the Lord to provide and have nothing to prove, nothing to earn, so we keep baptizing, and we keep teaching, and we keep ordaining, and if it should be that there are too many pastors or too many pulpits or too many children in Sunday School or too many teachers or too much money in the bank or too many bills, sobeit. Our vision is skewed. How in the world would we, whose cups overflow, know what is too much or too little of anything?