Saturday, December 26, 2009
If'n you're interested, here are some pics from our recent vacation in Mexico. It was a real blessing to read, relax and revel in the beauty of Los Cabos, BCS. As they say, "A good time was had by all." So very glad to be a card-carrying member of a religion where you don't get what you deserve.
Tuesday, December 22, 2009
Monday, December 07, 2009
"Just as in the Middle Ages, women, excluded from the governance of the church by clericalism, had turned to visions to establish a charismatic authority for themselves, now women, excluded from government, commerce, and education, turned to the church, which allowed them to exercise their abilities and to gain some power and respect.
The clergy, ignored by men, turned their attention to women. Frances Trollope observed this phenomenon in America, but her observations can be generalized. Men's crudity of manners led them to neglect women and prefer coarse male company. The only exception to this male neglect of women was the clergy: "It is from the clergy only that the women of America receive that sort of attention which is so dearly valued by every female heart throughout the world." Trollope was both fascinated and horrified by the emotionalism of the American religion of the revival and the campground. She ascribed part of the interest in revivals to the lack of other amusements….Americans tended to let the emotional excitement of their religion lead to more carnal excitement…. Among American young men it is a matter of folklore that a revival is an excellent place to pick up a young woman; but apparently not even the prospect of sexually excited women was enough to get men interested in church."
(Leon J. Podles, The Church Impotent)
“During the First Great Awakening, which began in 1797, women continued to dominate church life: Ministers wrote that converts were usually young, most often between the ages of fifteen and twenty-five, either single or married but without children, and predominantly female.
Such revivals invariably began with women. They were initiated by the conversion of a young woman or of a group of young women, and often the efforts of such women were opposed by men, es¬pecially young men, who, according to the accounts of ministers, often ridiculed converts, refused to attend church meetings, and conspired to break up revivals in progress. Family men, fathers and husbands, wanted to have nothing to do with these revivals, and though they tried to prevent their wives or daughters from attending church, they were eventually brought into the church them¬selves by these women. Such pressure sometimes worked, but did not win the long-term affection of men for the church. Female zeal later found outlets in such crusades as the temperance movement, in which female church members allied with ministers to conquer male vices, to the continued annoyance of men, who chafed under the reins of the alliance of women and the clergy...
Throughout the nineteenth century the temperance movement aimed to protect women from the vicious pleasures of men. Ministers and women worked together against men, especially young men: "It was often as a covert crusade to salvage not the alcoholic but the woman at his mercy. The drunkard, usually a male, destroys by his debauches himself and his saintly wife, mother, daughter, or sister who loves him and would draw him from the saloon to the fireside." Women took over the leadership of family prayers; men were obviously unsuitable.”
(Leon J. Podles, The Church Impotent)
"Despite the constant complaints of feminists about the patriarchal tendencies of Christianity, men are largely absent from the Christian churches of the modern Western world. Women go to church, men go to football games."
"To be Christian, for the mid-Victorians, was to lack the exuberant physical masculinity of the normal boy, to be weak, to be helpless, to be a victim. In other words, the religious man was like the Victorian ideal of woman, who was supposed to suffer from mysterious complaints, to be unable to engage in vigorous activity, and to find sex distasteful. C. H. Spurgeon complained that "There has got abroad a notion, somehow, that if you become a Christian you must sink your manliness and turn milksop..."
(Leon J. Podles, The Church Impotent)
While it is true that every individual must personally place their faith in Jesus Christ for salvation, it is equally true that we are profoundly affected by the faith of others. In Matthew 9, Jesus saw the faith of four friends who bore their paralyzed friend to the feet of Jesus, and pronounced forgiveness to the paralytic on the basis of "their" faith.
In community, those who are strong in their faith bear those who are weak in their faith through their various trials and temptations. In evangelism the faithful trust in God's promise to save the lost long before the lost even recognize their need for such. In other words, there are potent collateral effects of faith. John Calvin says this in his commentary on Matthew 9:
“Now, as Christ granted to their faith the favor which he bestowed on the paralytic, a question is usually raised on this passage how far do men derive advantage from the faith of others? And, first, it is certain, that the faith of Abraham was of advantage to his posterity, when he embraced the free covenant offered to him and to his seed. We must hold a similar belief with regard to all believers, that, by their faith, the grace of God is extended to their children and their children’s children even before they are born. The same thing takes place in infants, who are not yet of such an age as to be capable of faith. With regard to adults, on the other hand, who have no faith of their own, (whether they be strangers, or allied by blood,) the faith of others can have nothing more than an indirect influence in promoting the eternal salvation of their souls. As the prayers, by which we ask that God will turn unbelievers to repentance, are not without advantage, our faith is evidently of such advantage to them, that they do not arrive at salvation, till they have been made partakers of the same faith with us in answer to our prayers. But where there is a mutual agreement in faith, it is well known that they promote the salvation of each other. It is also beyond all question, that earthly blessings are often, for the sake of the godly, bestowed on unbelievers.”
All this is good news indeed. But all these lesser collateral effects of faith should point us to the ultimate collateral effect of faith: The Faith of Jesus Christ. As Paul wrote to the Galatians:
Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified. (Galatians 2:16)
Hallelujah, what a Savior!
Saturday, December 05, 2009
The Big, Hairy Beast
You were a friend to those inside our home,
and the fear of all outside.
You were the reason the UPS,
and the mailman hated us.
You devoured raw chicken and
gave it back to the green grass.
You barked at bicycles
and howled at music and song.
You listened politely to our every word,
though I doubt you understood much.
You roared like justice,
and slobbered like peace.
Bent and broken by age at last,
you came one last time when I called.
I remembered the holes you once dug
in the bushes by the fence,
as I scratched behind your ears
and whispered my farewell.
Only one hole remains to remind me,
but I have no dirt to fill it in.
You can check out more of Jason's musings at The Super Salad