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Showing posts from December, 2009

Os Guinness on evangelicalism

This is good -- an interview with Os Guinness... " Where have all the evangelicals gone ?" He concludes part 1 with ... So the collapse of the Religious Right has not led to the rise of a more responsible position, except for the minority, but to something which is horrendous. The trouble is, if this goes on, it will tarnish the church for a generation and that’s the tragedy. I put it even deeper. If you look at Europe, Europe is the most secular continent in the world because of reactions to corrupt state/church powers in the past. America never had that problem because of the genius of the First Amendment until the rise of the Religious Right and the culture wars, and you can see that in the educated classes, a steadily rising equivalent of the European repudiation of religion climaxing in the new atheist. We have created the monster we dislike, and it’s our fault. When asked what the greatest problem facing evangelicals today, he answers, The biggest problem is not specifi

evangelicalism over the next decade

I've been contemplating Michael Spencer's blogs on the future of evangelical churches in America ( iMonk blog ). His three articles on his predicted collapse of evangelicalism are found here . It is important, I believe, to read all three articles. I find myself in agreement with much he has to say. Here are a few quotes... The determination to follow in the methodological steps of numerically successful churches will be greater than ever. The result will be, in the main, a departure from doctrine to more and more emphasis on relevance, motivation and personal success….with the result being churches further compromised and weakened in their ability to pass on the faith. ... For some time, we’ve been at a point that the decision to visit a particular evangelical church contained a fairly high risk of not hearing the Biblical Gospel. That experience will be multiplied and expanded in the years to come. Core beliefs will become less and less normative and necessary in evangelic

God given

Christmas means gifts. In the wide, wheeling universe There has been only one-- One gift once given, One infinite, eternal, perfect joy-- One baby boy. (Elizabeth Rooney)

O Simplicitas! (the folly of the Lord)

An angel came to me And I was unprepared To be what God was using. Mother I was to be. A moment I despaired, Thought briefly of refusing. The angel knew I heard. According to God's Word I bowed to this strange choosing. A palace should have been The birthplace of a king (I had no way of knowing). We went to Bethlehem; It was so strange a thing. The wind was cold, and blowing, My cloak was old, and thin. They turned us from the inn; The town was overflowing. God's Word, a child so small, Who still must learn to speak, Lay in humiliation. Joseph stood, strong and tall. The beasts were warm and meek And moved with hesitation. The Child born in a stall? I understood it: all. Kings came in adoration. Perhaps it was absurd: A stable set apart, The sleepy cattle lowing; And the incarnate Word Resting against my heart. My joy was overflowing. The shepherds came, adored The folly of the Lord, Wiser than all men's knowing. (Madeleine L'Engle)

like every newborn

"The Lord is King, and hath put on glorious apparel; the Lord hath put on his apparel, and girded himself with strength." (Psalm 93:1) Like every newborn, he has come from very far. His eyes are closed against the brilliance of the star. So glorious is he, he goes to this immoderate length To show his love for us, discarding power and strength. Girded for war, humility his mighty dress, He moves into the battle wholly weaponless. (--Madeleine L'Engle, A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation )

Judah's Lion

Where does the lion, Judah's golden lion walk? Stealthy under star by winter night his soft paws stalk. Out on lonely hills a cold wind howls and darkness scowls; Shepherds shiver -- danger in the dark! --some wild beast prowls. Suddenly up springs a light; a voice rings like a bell: "Joy, O men of Judah! Come and see! Noel! Noel!" Where lies Judah's longed-for lion? "Come and see the sight! Fear not--your golden one is couched among the lambs tonight." (--Keith Patman, from A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation )

too much to ask

it seemed too much to ask of one small virgin that she should stake shame against the will of God. all she had to hold to were those soft, inward flutterings and the remembered sting of a brief junction--spirit with flesh. who would think it more than a dream wish? an implausible, laughable defence. and it seems much too much to ask me to be part of the different thing-- God's shocking, unorthodox, unheard of Thing to further heaven's hopes and summon God's glory. (--Luci Shaw, A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation )


A friend sent me Luci Shaw's poem, "Mary's Song", and I posted it on the blog. We remembered we had that poem and others in a book entitled, A Widening Light: Poems on the Incarnation, Luci Shaw, ed. We enjoyed reading through them today. I plan to post some of these poems between now and Christmas. Here is one called "snow" by Keith Patman: Was it a cold awakening Christmas morning In a wooden trough, In spite of straw and swaddling clothes and angel songs? That was not to be the last time You'd be laid upon the wood. (There were Herods, Judases from the start Among the stars and shepherds). And did they smile, those simple folk, And kiss your tiny hands and weep delight? They'd touch those hands again someday, Believing you through cracks and scars. Then oh! the million Christmas mornings When you'd lie, a babe again, Beneath a million million trees And hear the countless tongues chanting your name. And oh! the white snow on

Mary's Song, a poem

Blue homespun and the bend of my breast keep warm this small hot naked star fallen to my arms. (Rest . . . you who have had so far to come.) Now nearness satisfies the body of God sweetly. Quiet he lies whose vigor hurled a universe. He sleeps whose eyelids have not closed before. His breath (so slight it seems no breath at all) once ruffled the dark deeps to sprout a world. Charmed by doves’ voices, the whisper of straw, he dreams, hearing no music from his other spheres. Breath, mouth, ears, eyes he is curtailed who overflowed all skies, all years. Older than eternity, now he is new. Now native to earth as I am, nailed to my poor planet, caught that I might be free, blind in my womb to know my darkness ended, brought to this birth for me to be new-born, and for him to see me mended I must see him torn. [by Luci Shaw, from A Widening Light: Poems of the Incarnation , 1984]

only he can fulfill the promises

I'm enjoying Colin Smith's advent blog . He's taken several days to cover the biblical theology of the OT, the narrative of redemption promised. It's definitely not your typical advent meditations. But in so doing he shows the story line behind the incarnation, and thus the reason for the season: In the blog this week, we have looked at the broad sweep of God’s promise. * To create people in His image. * To deliver His people from evil. * To bring people from every nation into His blessing. * To reconcile people to Himself through the sacrifice offered for our sins. * To establish the Kingdom of His Son forever. * To cause His people to walk in His ways, and now, * To give new life from the grave. Those who question the uniqueness of Jesus underestimate the promises of God. Who else could accomplish what God has promised? God makes promises so great that only God Himself can deliver them. So God took human flesh. The Creator entered His

essentials, non-essentials, chart included

Michael Patton has written an interesting article on essentials and non-essentials in Christian doctrine. And with a chart, that's a bonus! These lines aren't infallibly drawn. But this is a good introduction to a subject that many Christians should think through.

Saying "Merry Christmas" 33 ways...

Afrikaans - 'n Geseende Kersfees en 'n voorspoedige Nuwejaar Afrikander - Een Plesierige Kerfees Albanian -- Gezuar Krishtlindje Arabic - I'D MIILAD SAID OUA SANA SAIDA Armenian - Shenoraavor Nor Dari yev Pari Gaghand Azeri - Tezze Iliniz Yahsi Olsun Basque - Zorionstsu Eguberri. Zoriontsu Urte Berri On Bengali - Bodo Din Shubh Lamona Bohemian - Vesele Vanoce Breton - Nedeleg laouen na bloavezh mat Bulgarian - Tchestita Koleda; Tchestito Rojdestvo Hristovo Celtic Nadolig Llawen a Blwyddyn Newydd Dda=13=DF Chinese - (Mandarin) Kung His Hsin Nien bing Chu Shen Tan (Catonese) Gun Tso Sun Tan'Gung Haw Sun (Hong Kong) Kung Ho Hsin Hsi. Ching Chi Shen Tan Cornish - Nadelik looan na looan blethen noweth Cree - Mitho Makosi Kesikansi Croatian - Sretan Bozic Czech - Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce a stastny Novy Rok Danish - Gladelig Jul Dutch - Vrolijk Kerstfeest en een Gelukkig Nieuwjaar! English - Merry Christmas Esperanto - Gajan Kristnaskon Estonian - Roomsaid Joulu Puhi Farsi -