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This was sent to me by a friend on Facebook the other day. Classic!!!

…you believe that Sacraments are to be administered, not passed around.

… you hold the doctrine that whatever is worth doing is worth overdoing.

…you think of the Wippel’s catalog as liturgical porn.

…you get more exercise genuflecting, kneeling, and prostrating than running, jogging, or walking.

…most of the volumes in your library have been out of print for over a century.

… the primary causes of your violating the Tenth Commandment are found on the pages of Wippell’s.

…You’d consider going over to Rome if it didn’t mean giving up being catholic.

…on hearing the parable of the Good Samaritan, you wonder what the priest and the Levite were wearing.

…on Easter morning in your parish, the men at the altar wear more lace than the women in the congregation.

…you believe that the current controversies over the Bishopric of Jerusalem,the Open Pulpit Canon, the ordination of women, the new Prayer Book, and the Bishop of New Hampshire can be settled amicably but that the Alcuin Club and the Society of SS. Peter & Paul may need separate provinces.

…you believe that ‘old-time religion’ was what we had before Pius XII started mucking around with Holy Week.

….you’ll fight to the death for the 1928 Prayer Book, provided it’s never actually used.

…you are willing to receive a visitation from your bishop, but would go to the barricades to  keep cassock-albs out of your parish.

… you think that “Almy” is French for Methodist.

…you think that “On Eagles’ Wings” is where Low Churchmen read the epistle.

…you have trouble breathing if there’s not enough incense at Mass.

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(First let me say I am not proclaiming anyone is going to hell here for disagreeing with me. This is simply my view of what I see right now in culture.)

In order for us to have the proper perspective on Abortion we must first begin with the proper perspective on sex and birth control.

Birth Control is not something I ever gave much thought to till lately. We have been on a journey in my family. My wife, 3 girls, and I recently left our Reformed Presbyterian Church and have gone back home to the Anglican Church. I say home because while neither my wife nor I were raised in the Anglican tradition but we became a family in it. So we have become exposed once again to truly Orthodox and Catholic views of sex, family, and worship. And let me say that the Protestant world used to be very close to those ideas yet have in the past 100 years or so has not just run but galloped away from them.

Up until the advent of the pill and somewhere in the 1940’s-1960’s Protestants agreed with Roman Catholics and the Orthodox Church that birth control was a sin. This change in protestantism coincides most alarmingly in my opinion with the increase of women in the work place, the sexual revolution, the onset of the Gay/Lesbian agenda, free love, swingers, and of course the change from men being creators and workers to mere consumers (a point that Brett McKay makes very well in his Art of Manliness Blog). Of course in the period leading up to this you have in American and Europe in particular the rise of the Eugenics movement. A view and movement that sought the eradication of all who were not fit to procreate and participate in society by being productive and functioning according to the decided norms of the time. This movement played fatefully into the hands of the Nazi’s in Germany and now is being touted again by the Planned Parenthood crowd of today. And we wonder why our country is struggling with so many issues today…

One view of this movement in protestant circles to accept birth control is that it is the movement of Modernism and social releventism into the Church. You see neither of these ideas (birth control or population control) are based in Biblical Principles. Both are instead based on Evolution and completly secular ideas of man being the lord of the realm and not God. In Genesis God commands Adam and Eve to be fruitful and multiply. Never has He said that we could over populate the earth or that we may destroy it. God has reserved the right of opening and closing the womb for himself. Not us. These ideas of population control fly in the face of the traditional Augustinian views of God’s soveriegnty.

If we as a society and as a Church (truly the body of Christ) accept birth control we accept sex as a past time. As a non binding socially acceptable event between two consenting people. Sex is meant to be the enacting of our love and sharing of ourselves in the most intimate of moments with the one God has chosen for us to spend our life with. When Christ tells us that whatever we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven this includes marriage. Christ obviously thought enough of the institution of marriage to perform His first miracle at a wedding feast. He continues this teaching thru all of the Gospels and even into the book of Revelation. The Wedding Feast is probably one of the most recognizable analogies and with it Christ being the Bride Groom and the Church being the bride. The Old Testament is also filled with the image of Israel being a harlot and cheating wife. If this is important enough for Him to make those connections then sex and marriage are important enough for us to spend a great deal of time understanding and figuring out the proper biblical view.

Two of the most obvious to me examples of God’s hand in procreation and His desire for us to participate with Him in creation are Abraham and Sarah in the Old Testament and in the New Testament Zechariah and Elizabeth. Now both of these stories are about elderly men and women we are told being blessed with children late in their lives. So what do they have to do with Birth Control???

When this topic comes up most protestants today and most Christians point towards the verses in Genesis about Onan (Gen 38:8). To me those are the weakest points in this particular instance. Onan is punished BECAUSE he refused to do what he was commanded. Not because of Birth Control. So let’s just leave those verses where they are and move past them. To me the prime example of what we should be discussing here are the two couples I mentioned above. God is the opener and closer of the womb.

In Genesis 20:18 he closes the wombs of the household of Abimelech. Psalm 127:3 “Lo, children are an heritage of the LORD: and the fruit of the womb is his reward.” Both Abraham and Zechariah are rewarded late in life with children. Both of whom go on to do great things for the Lord. God kept them from bearing children until He needed them to. It was in God’s time. Not theirs that they brought forth life. If these cases are used as prime examples God will give us the children He desires us to have.

Clearly this is a difficult and complex issue. One that is unfortunately now tied up in the realm of sexual freedom, choice, abortion, and the modern view of mankind as an animal. A base creature to whose base and selfish needs we cater to on a daily basis. In no way do I mean to say here that you should not use yoru God given brain and intelligence here. In cases of death and extreme health issues I can certainly see the need for birth control but like everything we cannot take the extremes as case law here. The norm is what I am trying to explore and explain.

The Internet Monk passed away this week. In tribute to one of the best bloggers on Christian related topics I have posted below my favorite I believe of his articles. You can find the link right below to his site. Please visit, enjoy, and learn. Enjoy.

http://www.internetmonk.com/articles/W/weird.html

Signs

I’m weary of weird Christians

by Michael Spencer

So they said to him, “Then what sign do you do, that we may see and believe you? What work do you perform?” John 6:30

So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?” Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.” John 2:18-19

And he sighed deeply in his spirit and said, “Why does this generation seek a sign? Truly, I say to you, no sign will be given to this generation.” Mark 8:12

I’m tired of weird Christians.

I am tired of hearing people I work with say that God is talking to them like He talked to Moses at the burning bush or like He talked to Abraham. I’m weary of people saying God speaks directly to them about mundane matters of reasonable human choice, so that their choices of toothpaste and wallpaper are actually God’s choices, and therefore I need to just shut up and keep all my opinions to myself until I can appreciate spiritual things. I’m tired of people acting as if the normal Christian life is hearing a voice in your head telling you things other people can’t possible know, thus allowing you a decided advantage.

I mean, if all this were really happening, wouldn’t these people be picking better stocks?

I’m weary of immature college students and high school kids going on and on about what God is saying to them as if they were up there with the authors of scripture. I’ve had it with Christian musicians acting as if every lyric they write is a message directly from God and free from the possibility of mediocrity or poor taste. I now hear preachers who preface their sermons with an appropriate selection from CCM, rather than with scripture. I mean, is there really that much of a difference?

I’m burned out on Christians telling me about the next big thing God is going to do, as if they really know. I’m tired of Christians predicting the future and being consistently, continually wrong, but acting like they weren’t wrong. If you said that on New Year’s Eve the east coast was going to fall into the ocean because of divine judgment and it didn’t happen, you were wrong. Really, badly, embarrassingly wrong. So why can’t you act like you are wrong? Why am I so sure you will have more absurd predictions next Sunday?

I’m worn out on people doing weird things that aren’t in the Bible and saying it’s the “leading of the Spirit.” Falling over. Acting drunk. Jumping around like a wasp went down your dress. I’m tired of turning on the TV or the radio and hearing Christians making more noise than a riot at a mental hospital. I’m out of patience with Christian spirituality equaling some form of clown college graduation.

I’m seriously fatigued from constantly hearing reality explained as spiritual warfare between angels, Christians, demons, and various conspiracies. The drama of blaming everything from illness to bad credit to all your bad choices on the devil is getting old. I’m tired of people being delivered from demons when their problem is their own rebellion, stupidity, meanness, and determination to get their own way.

I’m tired of God being the bag man for everything ever done by some guy who didn’t want to answer questions about right and wrong. I’m tired of God directing people to do things that, uh…actually are not all that ethical or are just plain evil. I’m tired of having to tell my kids that “Yes, so and so said God told them to do it, but that’s not what Jesus should do or you should do.” I’m annoyed at the attention weirdo Christians get, and the obligation I supposedly have to love them anyway.

Let me use some bad language: “Normal.” Dare I bring up that word? Isn’t the Christian life a constantly supernatural life? A frequently miracle-filled life? A life of divine direction, healing, and signs? A life where you (the Christian) know all kinds of things that ORDINARY people don’t know?. A life where you (the Christian) are in on the future, in on the prophecies, under the ministry of anointed prophets who are plugged into the big plan? A life that is a battleground of constant demonic assault? Aren’t Christians supposed to have supernatural knowledge of Kung Fu, and be able to hang in the air and…….well, maybe not.

Isn’t the Christian life the “Victorious” life? The “Purpose Driven” life? The “Spirit Filled” life? The life with Christ living in you and through you? It’s not a normal life, and it’s not ordinary. Right? Do I get an “amen?”

Or maybe you are like me. You are an ordinary Christian living an ordinary life. You don’t hear voices, see visions, or believe you are under constant attack by demonic forces. You may have some experiences that you call supernatural or miraculous, but they are the exception, not the rule. When you pray for people, things usually don’t change; you change. You have no authoritative insight into what is going to happen in the future. You suspect that if you were filled with the Spirit, you would love God and people more, and do the right thing more often. You’d be more like Jesus. You wouldn’t be running around in circles pointing out angels on the roof. The fruit of the Spirit would make you a person others would want to be around, not someone who would frighten animals and small children.

A Disclaimer, A Principle, and An Observation

Before the tomatoes start hitting the screen, I should open a window and let some air in.

I believe there are some really strange things that happened in the Bible. I don’t doubt any of them. I believe in Satan, demons, and angels. I believe God speaks to people in any way He chooses. I have experienced God’s direction in my life in a way that can only be explained as “God spoke to me.” I don’t hesitate to say it. But this happened once in my life. Miracles are real, and prayer in scripture is an invitation to ask God to do what only God can do in any way He chooses.

I accept without question that some very Spirit-filled people come off as weird in the Bible, in history, and today. I have no argument with anyone over the reality of spiritual gifts or spiritual experience.  The Christian does have victory, power, purpose and revelation, all as gifts from God. I do not automatically write off any claim of spiritual experience that is different from my own.

My point is not to trash anyone who believes in any of these things. Not at all. My point is that “normal” Christian experience is increasingly seen as “bad” or “abnormal,” while weirdness is increasingly seen as “normal” and proof that a person is really “spiritual.” This shift has enormous implications for Christianity in its essence, its witness, and its experience in the lives of believers.

The principle that I would like to put forward is this: The supernatural character of Christian truth and experience does not remove the basic, normal, human experience of Christians. If “normal” humanity is eclipsed, Christianity ceases to be Biblical, truthful or helpful.

In some ways, I think we are being presented with a spiritual dichotomy similar to the Roman Catholic division between those in “holy orders” and your regular Christian in the pew. Protestantism refuted this view, and strongly reasserted the Biblical doctrine of the priesthood of all believers. But now Pentecostal/Charismatic spirituality has brought evangelicalism to a similar situation–a division between the spiritual elite with their “supernaturalism” and the ordinary Christian who doesn’t hear voices and see visions.

Now, that we are all calmed down, let me be very matter-of-fact. In my experience, Christians who go very far down this road of a “hyper-spiritual” experience rapidly become less useful in the service of Christ. Some become quite useless, even a hindrance and a detriment. Let me entertain you with three stories to  illustrate–not prove–my point. All three are about individuals who were highly involved in hearing God’s voice, experiencing personal spiritual warfare, seeking miraculous experiences in daily life, and getting words of prophetic insight about personal and world events. I won’t overdo that description of each person. We’ll assume it for the moment.

John, Matt and the Band

“John” came to work for us as a teacher and coach. He was a remarkably gifted guy, particularly in anything that involved people. He was a natural conversationalist, and had real skill in motivation and relationship-building. Before long, we had placed John in an administrative position where he could tell possible donors about our ministry. I had high hopes for John.

John was, however, one of the people I am discussing. Before long, it became apparent that John was pretty uncomfortable with the fact that our ministry wasn’t casting out demons from students. His frustration grew. One day, over lunch, he told me that he was going to leave and find a ministry that would really “pray for” the students. John’s comment struck me as stupid and arrogant, because our ministry depends on and practices prayer. It’s just not the sort of prayer that John was advocating, prayer that really amounted to diagnosing problems as demon possession and ordering the appropriate demon around. I’ve never had much appreciation for people who identified straightforward problems as being evil spirits. It’s not a matter of doubt on my part. It’s a matter of being helpful to the person. John could have been helpful, but he wanted something else.

He left, which was his pattern. He’s been from church to church, ministry to ministry, always pushing for more and more supernaturalism. And if you don’t want to go his way, you’re not going with God. In the meantime, a really talented guy is not putting his gifts to work.

“Matt” and I worked closely together during a good period of spiritual renewal in our ministry. We worked well together because Matt had a maturity and an appreciation for other Christians that I admire to this day. During the time we worked together, our ministry saw a lot of “harvest time:” good numbers, lots of professions of faith, many public testimonies of Christian experience. It was a good time. It could have been better, but I was pleased with what God was doing with our students. Matt was as well, but he wanted more.

In fact, it turned out that Matt and several other Charismatics wanted to see a LOT more than we were seeing. They wanted tongues. They wanted people falling on the floor. They wanted exorcisms. They wanted–according to Matt–“vomiting” of evil spirits. They wanted things to get “out of control”–in the Spirit, of course. Matt and company got more excited the more “Pentecostal” any meeting became. Of course, there is a considerable difference between enjoying the evidence of the Spirit’s work and determining what kind of supernatural demonstrations we have to see next. Matt rejoiced in the present with hopes it would lead to a real “breakthrough.” I thought we already had one.

Before long, Matt moved on, unhappy that our ministry was not as “open to the Spirit” as we should be. I couldn’t help but wonder: Were we not open, or was Matt simply unable to accept the freedom of the Lord to stop short of the whole menu of spiritual gymnastics that he determined we had to see? Today Matt isn’t in ministry at all, but hanging out with other people on the same supernatural fast track. Is this really what Christian service is all about? It seemed more like some kind of Pentecostal peer pressure.

One more story. A few months ago I brought in a very talented Christian band for a concert. They played great music with good lyrics. Then the leader of the group decided he needed to preach. For 45 minutes he went on and on about how anyone here could do miracles if he had enough faith. He talked about God telling him what to do in every decision. (All he had to do was go to church and lay on the floor till God spoke.) He said he’d seen lots of instant healings at their concerts. Then the big one. His goal was to raise the dead. Everyone could raise the dead if they just had enough faith. (Of course we had some kind of an invitation to verify these good intentions.)

Here was a guy who seemed normal, and in half an hour convinced most everyone in the room that he was nuts. And non-Christians in the room were justified in deciding this fellow was a loon. Giving glory and credit to God didn’t matter nearly as much as impressing all of us with how “out there” he could be, and with the fact that we all ought to be “out there” as well.

I could tell these stories all day. The co-worker who had a real gift for evangelizing students, but eventually began making personal prophecies over all of them, including saying the world would end before they all turned twenty.  The African student who told the whole school that because I didn’t speak in tongues or get slain in the Spirit, I wasn’t a true minister of God. The woman who wandered my neighborhood praying “against” the various demons that God had revealed to her were influencing our neighborhood. The intelligent young man paralyzed with fear of making any decision without a sign from God.

What is going on here?

Lord, Give Us A Sign

In a previous article about religious fanaticism, I told about the theory that Islamist fanatics were overcompensating for what they saw as the “absence” of Allah on the stage of history. I said that religious fanatics may tend to think this way. Thinking about this later, I remember a story I’ve heard many times about John Wimber. Seems that when the founder of the Vineyard movement became a Christian, he expected to see the miracles of the Gospels happening today. He asked a pastor, “When do you do the stuff?” “The stuff? What do you mean?” “The miracles. The healings. You know, the stuff Jesus did.” It’s a good story, and I think it gets at something vital in this discussion.

If you read the Bible you are, of course, struck by the presence of supernatural events. Many of these events, like the Exodus and the Resurrection, are central events in the drama of redemption. The Gospels record many miracles by Jesus, and tell us there were many more. Yet what place do miracles really play in the Bible? There are large portions of the Bible without much more than an occasional message from God to a prophet. Miracles are, actually, the exception and not the rule. I frequently point this out to skeptics who ask why the miracles in the Bible aren’t happening today. If the Bible is read honestly, there were actually very few miracles over the course of history, and most of those were completely unknown to anyone except a handful of people.

When you look at the characters of the Bible there are many supernatural experiences, but have we properly put these in context? For instance, how often did God speak to Abraham? My friends tend to think it was common. In fact, it was rare. Very rare. Abraham’s encounters with God were often years apart. While Moses is described as a person to whom God spoke face to face, we ought to remember THAT WAS MOSES. His burning bush experience isn’t there to say that every person is going to have a similar experience.

Jesus performed many miracles, but he clearly taught that these miracles were “signs of the Kingdom” and were authenticating signs pointing to who he was. When skeptics demanded of him “signs” that would prove who he was, he bluntly said they’d had all the signs they were going to get, and to look at the resurrection if they wanted a real sign. Yet Jesus actually lived a remarkably normal life. He didn’t heal everyone he met. He wasn’t weird. He didn’t run a three ring circus of miracles. His miracles and exorcisms stood out as unusual, and therefore as authentic.

The disciples also did some authenticating miracles, but even a beginning Bible student can see that the number and size of supernatural goings-on decreases enormously after the ministry of Jesus. By the time of the epistles, the kind of miracles and supernaturalism we find in Exodus or Luke is long gone. Certainly there are gifts, answered prayers, and a sense of God’s power in the church. But Christians lead normal lives. There doesn’t seem to be any idea in the New Testament that every day is a burning bush, a face-to-face conversation with God, or a series of demonic assaults repelled by special prophecies and prayers.

If I am right, then the tide of weirdness that has rolled over me amounts to insisting that God provide a “sign” to true believers. It’s exactly as John Wimber said–it’s the “stuff” they did in the New Testament, pushed through the grid of Christian history and theology, and finally interpreted by modern believers determined to show that the God of the Bible is still in business. It’s a way of saying, “This is true, and we are going to prove it by living out all those miracles again today.”

We’ve been Fleeced!

I think my first encounter with this weirdness was the whole business of “putting out a fleece.” For those of you who didn’t grow up so immersed in fundamentalism that you know what I am talking about, it basically amounts to getting God to give you a sign of your own choosing. A common version of the “Fleece” method might involve, let’s say, whether to marry a particular guy who has proposed. The fleece might be, “If God wants me to marry Bill, he (Bill) will call me on Saturday morning and ask if I would like to go on a picnic.” This sort of little test was considered harmless when I was a young Christian, but take a moment to look at what’s really going on.

It’s demanding a sign. It’s being able to say “God told me!” At its root, is the desire to know that the God of the Bible is still speaking and acting now, and doing in my life what he did for Moses and Abraham.

So what is Benny Hinn doing when he tells the crowd that the people on the floor are being healed? What are some of my co-workers saying when they repeatedly say God is directing their lives with audible messages? What is happening when a Christian claims that a dream, vision, or prophecy has told him the future? In all these cases, God has proven Himself. He’s given a sign that he is around and is still doing business.

I won’t hesitate to say that I believe the vast majority of this exaggerated emphasis on supernatural experience is self-delusion. I don’t believe God is talking to these people. I don’t believe the prophecies are real. I don’t believe the miracle stories are true. While I am willing to accept that God can do as He chooses without my permission, I think we don’t accomplish anything by taking the route of accepting everything without critical judgment. We have to say what is really going on.

I think the appeal of this kind of experience is far more intense than we might imagine. It is promising a personal experience that proves God is real. My late friend Pat had two heart transplants. During the first, he had a vision of the cross that was immensely real. The experience banished all his doubts and made him a bold–and sometimes annoyingly intense–Christian. I didn’t have the experience. Pat did, and it made him run on a higher level than I did. The supernaturalists want that experience on a daily basis. While I don’t believe Pat was self-deluded, I can’t say the same about most of these people.

“Normal” Christians are living without these “signs.” They are living by faith in what the Bible says, and not looking to their experience to be a daily demonstration of God’s still being around and in the miracle business. In comparison to those who live with daily miracles and prophecies, these normal Christians may have experiences that seem dull or even absent. It is no wonder that many “normal” Christians struggle with feelings of resentment, envy, or anger toward those Christians who claim constant miracles and manifestations of God’s power. Part of my own weariness is from years of feeling second-class and left out of “real” Christian experience. Then I was angry at myself for faking it in an attempt to fit in. Now I’m tired of playing this game, and disturbed by what I see as the misrepresentation of the Gospel, and an insensitivity to the effects of weirdness on those in and out of the church.

How Long Will This Go On?

So before we all grow wearier of the topic than I am of the weirdness itself, what can we say?

I’ll start by saying that the Bible’s emphasis on walking by faith rather than by a constant diet of supernatural experiences needs to be understood clearly. I am constantly reminded that the weirdness has registered with many people as Biblical Christianity. We have to say that the Bible is a supernatural book, and God works in our world as He chooses, but faith is nurtured on the Word of God, and on what God has already done in Jesus. The weirdness looks at the events in the Bible as the first inning, and we are now playing out the game. In actuality, the Bible records the entire game and Christ wins! We are living out that victory now. The point is not the next big thing, but what God has done for us in Jesus Christ. Always, being centered on the Gospel and on Christ himself is what we must strive to offer in response to the chaos currently gripping the church.

Further, I think we have to reclaim the fact that God wants us to use our minds to think and make reasonable choices. The Christian life is not a throwing out of the mind, but this is a primary tenet of weirdness. I don’t just mean anti-intellectualism. I mean a rejection of a reasonable, human use of the mind. This glorifies God. Our prayer for guidance and truth from God should be fervent, but we should fervently say that God’s Word of Truth usually comes to our minds through the normal methods. Nothing distresses me more about this entire business than the message to young people that their minds should be ignored and some esoteric, gnostic method of “hearing from God” should lead us in making life’s important decisions.

How should we view our weird Christian friends? That is a complicated question. Given that I have said they are seeking signs contrary to scripture and are deluding themselves and others, you might be surprised when I say I think we should be generous in forgiving and tolerating much of this behavior. Many of our hyper-spiritual friends are sincerely hungry for God. They are following what they believe is a path that will remove their doubts and bring the power of the Spirit into their lives. All of us ought to desire genuine Holy Spirit power, and a true experience of God. I don’t criticize my weird friends for wanting to have a life full of God!

I have to stop, however, when we reach the point of asking what is the source of true experience, what is the nature of that experience, and what are the results of a genuine experience? Jonathan Edwards, who I criticized in a previous piece for leaving the door open for fanaticism, wrote a book that can’t be improved on: The Religious Affections. Charismatics often quote it. Few have read it. We need to hand out a lot of copies. With a generous–perhaps overly generous at times–heart, Edwards puts his head into the scriptures and shows what makes up true religious experience. His words are plain and true:

It is by the mixture of counterfeit religion with true, not discerned and distinguished, that the devil has had his greatest advantage against the cause and kingdom of Christ all along hitherto. It is by this means, principally, that he has prevailed against all revivings of religion that ever have been since the first founding of the Christian church.

Discernment is what we most owe to our weirder brothers and sisters. Not condemnation or rejection, but discernment and simple truth. We need to know our Bibles, and be able to point out the truth of the Gospel. Our lives need to be shaped by Christ, and display evidence of the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification and renewing our minds and characters. Even those who have given themselves over fully to every kind of weirdness are usually well aware of their own need of what is real. Many solid Reformed Christians spent a sojourn in this camp, and starved to death while everyone pretended there was a feast.

Bishop Ryle put it plainly: “Feelings in religion are worse than worthless, unless they are accompanied by practice.” Many of our sincerely deluded brothers and sisters know this, and are afraid of what this must mean. It will do them good to see in us genuine experience and a true, substantial working out of what Christ has done for and in us.

Michael@internetmonk.com

Today

Today has become on of my favorite days of the week. Not because it is Friday or the end of the work week. I am self employed. Lots of Fridays I don’t work. Lots of Saturdays I do. No today is special because at our new church we celebrate the Stations of the Cross every Friday during Lent.

A relief of the Stations at Notre-Dame-des-Champs, Avranches.

Now for those of you who may get whip lash right now… Yes I and my family now attend a church that celebrates not only Lent BUT the Stations of the Cross (pssstttt ALL OF THEM too!). Yes this is quite a change. It is a welcome change. One that needs no explanation from me other than we are home.

The practice of the Stations of the Cross goes back to at least the time of Constantine and his mother’s pilgrimage to the Holy Land. It has changed throughout time and at one point in history there was somewhere around 35 stations http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Way_of_the_cross . The modern version (14 stations) is a few hundred years old. And yes the service varies depending on whether you are Anglican, AMiA, Orthodox, Catholic, Reformed Anglican, Episcopal, or Anglican Catholic. The best way to understand them is in my opinion to watch the movie Passion of the Christ by Mel Gibson. He uses the traditional Roman Catholic Stations to set up his movie. My wife and I watched that again two weeks ago. It made this service come alive even more in our minds.

Even if you wish to take out the stations that some reformers (modern ones) have issue with this is still a practice worth attending and in fact making a part of our liturgical lives. To many who attend churches with no liturgical calender, who do not celebrate Lent, Easter, Christmas, Pentecost, Ascension Day, all of those great Holy Days this is a “silly papal notion” to quote one person I was talking to lately. However for those who condemn this as superstition or papal practices how many times do you experience and remember the Crucifixion of Christ in your year? How many times do you relive the awful notion that we stood in judgment of God incarnate? How many times a year do you remember the awful torment that our Savior endured because of His love for us? The Man of Sorrows is deformed, beaten, naked, on the cross for us. Thru God’s love of us we are redeemed. Made whole. Christ thru His Cross redeemed the world (please that does not mean universal salvation or universal sanctification) the fulfillment of John 3:16.

There is value in reliving the moments of our Saviour’s life. Learn from them. Experience them. Let them move you in the beauty of His love for us. Yes this is a change for me. Yes there are things I am accepting with a humble heart that I do not yet understand. Yes I am changed and humbled after every service.

My point here is not to throw stones at expositional preaching, non-liturgucal calender churches, or the Totally Reformed movement. My point here is to only say that we should in fact take time out of our lives to remember what our Savior did for us. As a Church.

Christ has died.

Christ has risen.

Christ will come again!

St. Stephen's Altar during Stations of the Cross

Good works

13 But we ought always to give thanks to God for you, brothers beloved by the Lord, because God chose you as the firstfruits [4] to be saved, through sanctification by the Spirit and belief in the truth. 14 To this he called you through our gospel, so that you may obtain the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ. 15 So then, brothers, stand firm and hold to the traditions that you were taught by us, either by our spoken word or by our letter.

16 Now may our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God our Father, who loved us and gave us eternal comfort and good hope through grace, 17 comfort your hearts and establish them in every good work and word.

2 Thesslonians Chapter 2

I find it extremely interesting that as I study more and more lately the one thing I keep coming up with is this. Works matter. Tradition matters. So Church as a whole matters in the life of Christians. Truly thru Church we participate in the Body of Christ. What traditions are we passing on to our children? To the next generation? We are teaching them now how to be Christians so which type of Christian are we teaching them to be?

The reason this seems to be glaring to me right now is this. Doctrine without love is useless.  Faith without works is dead.

James 2

14 What good is it, my brothers, if someone says he has faith but does not have works? Can that faith save him? 15 If a brother or sister is poorly clothed and lacking in daily food, 16 and one of you says to them, “Go in peace, be warmed and filled,” without giving them the things needed for the body, what good [2] is that? 17 So also faith by itself, if it does not have works, is dead.

Yet today many of us seemed far more preoccupied with condemning Arminians, Calvinists, Dispensationalists, Catholics, Orthodox, or anyone else who does not hold to our 27 point litmus test that WE believe you must meet in order to be a Christian.

The Great Commandment Matthew 22

34 But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. 35 And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. 36 “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” 37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. 40 On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.”

Now where in there does it say “love your neighbor ONLY if he is a Calvinist”? Or where does it say in there “don’t worry about the people in Haiti they deserved what they got”? What is commanded of us there? To first love God with all our heart then to love our neighbors as ourselves. Truth is we deserve the eartquake JUST as much as Haiti did. However what are you doing to help? What are we doing as a Church to be there. To help people who have no hope?

In the first century Christians became known for their charity for caring for and adopting the kids on the outskirts of town who were abandoned to die there by their pagan parents. Today I am afraid we are more identified by our willingness to condemn each other based on an idea of what one verse may or may not say.

Is it our job to stand for Truth? Yes. Is it our job to as the Church to hold the Light up to the world? Yes. Without doubt. How do we do it? By loving those the world forgot. The orphans in Haiti cared for by the small Anglican Catholic orphanage on the outskirts of Port Au Prince don’t really care if you are Calvinist or Arminian. They need our help. The mother hiding her child from slavers in Sudan does not care if you are Baptist. Our hearts must break and cry out for these people. Or we have become like the world and care not.

O GOD, heavenly Father, whose gift it is that the rain doth fall, and the earth bring forth her increase; Behold, we beseech thee, the afflictions of thy people; increase the fruits of the earth by thy heavenly benediction; and grant that the scarcity and dearth, which we now most justly suffer for our sins, may, through thy goodness, be mercifully turned into plenty; for the love of Jesus Christ our Lord, to whom, with thee and the Holy Ghost, be all honour and glory, now and for ever. Amen.


Christ be with me, Christ within me,

Christ behind me, Christ before me,

Christ beside me, Christ to win me,

Christ to comfort and restore me.

Christ beneath me, Christ above me,

Christ in quiet, Christ in Danger,

Christ in the hearts of all that love me,

Christ be with me this day.

We must remember that without Christ we are doomed to walk in darkness throughout our days. Christ is the way, the truth, and the light. No man comes to the Father BUT through Him. And as Christians we must remember that it is our brothers and sisters we sin against when we speak immodestly and act in an indecent manner. Our Christian family that we must care for in the same sense as your own earthly brothers and sisters.

The cancer awareness situation seems to have only gotten worse. I guess since it was pointed out as sinful those who are mirred in such sin and have apparently been turned over to it by God continue to make it worse.

In the latest news it is using hairstyles to insinuate certain intimate acts that is being posted.

Now I have seen only a few of the ladies I know continue on into this because a lot of the ones I knew were disgusted that the Breast Cancer people had nothing to do with the last stunt. I find it amusing that so many were manipulated probably by some teenage boy with a hormone issue.

I will not sit here and call into question each and everyone who has done this. But I will ask this. How much do you really care about anyone other than yourself? At what point are you willing to say that nothing is worth loosing your image as a Godly woman and worse causing your brothers and sisters to struggle with sin on your account?

Think on the women who have gone before you? Lady Jane Grey, St. Hilda of Whitby, Martha, and Mary. Would our Blessed Lady have acted in such a manner? Then why is it ok for you to?

1 Corinthians 7: 4. The wife’s body does not belong to her alone but also to her husband. In the same way, the husband’s body does not belong to him alone but also to his wife.

Yes I am writing a blog entry in regards to women’s undergarments. WHY? You ask… Well yesterday I noticed a lot of the ladies I know posting colors on their facebook status. Apparently this was a stunt organized by a cancer awareness group in regards to Breast Cancer research. Now if you are me the immediate question to ask is: What in the world has someone’s undies got to do with breast cancer research?

Apparently I was not the only one but one of a few rather that had this same thought. The lack of ladies taking this same thought process is what is astounding to me but what absolutely shocked me was the statements some made. Some preacher’s wives and some otherwise “Godly” women who not only supported this but quite frankly got real angry about those of us calling the practice into question. Several began to wail hysterically about how important cancer research is and etc. Now I have yet to see anyone arguing against cancer research. On the contrary my only point is that is it important enough to prostitute yourself out for it? Because when you willingly share that information in an avenue such as Facebook you are indeed providing men and women with information that you not only do not know you may not even know what they look like or if they are even honest about who they are.

According to the verse above we are not our own. We belong to our spouses. I would have serious issue with my wife doing this and she would have a very serious problem with me doing it. In fact she gets a bit irrate when people make comments about my kilt and what may or may not be underneath it. It is right for us both to jealously guard each other. I love and care for her. I want my wife to be respected as the Godly woman and mother she is. Not viewed as a sex object.

To sum this up I would ask all of you who may have done this to simply think about it. Think how your husbands must feel. Think how you would feel if the shoe was on the other foot. And also think of this. You are just encouraging the views that you so furiously complain about in regards to Playboy, Maxim, Sports Illustrated Swim Suit, etc…