Thursday, September 27, 2012


Still reading - and enjoying - MacCulloch's huge work: Christianity...the first 3000 years. (Penguin)

Fascinating snapshots of the development of faith and practice in the church.

For instance...on page 555 he links assumptions that, at the time (1200-1300), seemed to fit well:
      1. God demands action from a sinner to prove he has repented
      2. Christ's merits are infinite since he is part of the Godhead...and there are merits from the saints, and Mary that together, form a "treasury of merit."
      3. The pope would be criminal not to provide for the dispensing of those merits to those in need.
      4. Merits can be granted to the faithful (even the departed ones) to shorten their time in purgatory.
      5. That grant is an indulgence.  (The "earliest dated piece of English printing" is an indulgence -1476.)
      6. Lots of money was involved..."indulgences were as ubiquitous as the modern lottery ticket."

All of that changes when you see that assumption #1 is in itself wrong...along with lots of the others in this list.

God's demands for action have nothing to do with us proving we have repented....but we are called to a new life that demonstrates that we indeed have become new creatures in Christ.

We are forgiven freely by the sufficient work of Christ in death and resurrection, and on the basis of faith alone. That is the clear reading of His Word.  (Indeed, it was the practice of indulgences that put much fuel on Martin Luther's fire and brought on the Reformation and protestantism.)

Indulgences....are they still around? Yes.  In different form, yes.  In more primitive cultures, yes.  In our  "Christian" culture?  Yes.

It can happen when the Bible (in our daily, actual living) is less than the sufficient guide to faith and practice.

May we stand in faith entirely....and turn from that which lessens Christ's call to action in our lives.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Salt and light.

Jesus said:
"You are are before others, so they may see..."
  Matthew 5:13-16.

One of my grandsons is getting pretty salty...and pretty full of light.

His name, Carson.
Age 6.
First grade in a public school class of 25.
Teacher: Mrs.V.

Yesterday, Mrs. V phoned our daughter, Jess, at the end of the school day saying, "I need to let you know what happened today."

  With that, this story unfolded.

Mrs. V has a friend whose daughter was taken to a Denver hospital, and Mrs. V was asking the class to make greeting cards for her.

She gave them two requests:
 1. put your name on the card and
 2. put a "happy thought" on the card.

Before they did this work she asked them to share with everyone their happy thought.

And so, happy thoughts tumbled out into the room...trips to Disneyland, toys, and more....till they got to Carson.

He paused in thought, putting his fingers over his lips and then said: "My happy thought is I pray that she gets better."

When the happy thoughts were all shared,  Mrs. V then asked the children to go ahead and make their cards.  She then collected them and read them herself when the day was over...and discovered that all the children had written Carson's happy thought as theirs.

And so it was time to call Jess.  "Carson gets it." she said.  "And he is having a great impact on my class."

Salt and light.  Everyone needs it.  Even a six-year-old can be it.

Thanks Carson.  You've shown us how.

Thursday, September 13, 2012


We flew one week ago to the great NorthWest...Seattle, in specific.

 My sister Judy and her husband Peter met us at the airport and we began a most delightful week with them, returning late last night to Colorado Springs.

We drove south by Tacoma and then headed north up the peninsula, overnighting in Sequim.

Multiple ferry rides, boat rides and trips along forrest roads.  Fish and chips, blueberries and blackberries...and a rather indulgent amount of ice cream marked the fine food we ate.  Walks along beaches, and among the immense firs of Cathedral Grove and many docks in awe of the boats moored there. Seals, gulls, jays and jelly fish.  And fun exploring the many faces of Powell River - north up the coast from Vancouver - and the place of Peter and Judy's residence.

And Mts. Ranier, Baker and more were at their snowy best.

What a wonderful week! We have been greatly blessed!

Peter and Judy....among the finest hosts we know.

Tender, long hugs as we said farewell.

Thoughts already of how we could do this again. of God's most gracious gifts.

"Offer hospitality to one another....(it is) grace in one of its various forms."  I Peter 4:9-10

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

"If.." and the turmoil around us

Just read another piece on the web....citing facts and numbers to show that Michelle Obama was greatly misleading in her speech last night.  Portraying themselves as living near the edge, while all the time having great finances, privilege and in recent years, huge political incomes and benefits.

Not sure I have ever sensed the political scene to be so full of unfounded, undefended, polarizing and defaming material.  Both sides.

And the moral/religious issues are huge....Islam, the debt, same sex "marriage," Israel, big government, Obamacare, Mormonism....and more.  Not sure I have ever seen this much on the table at once.

Where is the voice that with God's endorsement, calls a nation to God?  Where is a Billy Graham?

Where is the unified action that galvanizes the church to respond spiritually?

Where is the leadership that rises up and says, "no" to the moral decay all around us?

And at times I that what the hurricanes, and fires, and weather change is all about?

Am I just a bit too Old Testament?  or old time?  or inflexible?" least this is all getting to me.

 Last night I wrote down this short list of what I (as I am) can do....

  1. Pray -  the "if" in the blog title today is from II Chron 7:14 - and it is just as true right now as it ever has been....and perhaps more needed now than ever in time.
    Are there watches being called for....seasons of fasting, repenting, and prayer?
    Is it not true that what we need is God.....not Obama or Romney or anyone else?
  Pray for voices of justice and truth to rise.  Pray for righteousness to exalt this nation. Pray for those in high places who fear God, to be equipped and empowered to be like a Daniel.
  Pray for pastors and those who lead fellowships to be given wisdom and courage to act.

 2. Vote - and urge others to do so.  Never been more critical in my sense than right now.

 3. Do what the Spirit gives you to do...through alerts, things you see and hear, that call you to some form of action - like I have, as stated at the start of this blog.

 4. Do not be afraid to stand for truth....and do so in love.  Truth as defined by scripture. "Your word is truth." Speak the truth, and be led by the Spirit to discern what isn't so.

This is truly a critical hour.

Only by responding to the
 "if My people humble themselves and pray, and seek my face and turn from their wicked way"
....can we hope to bring forth the "then I will hear from heaven, forgive their sin and heal their land."

God, send your Spirit in power upon us all.