Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Bad Joke

Shawna, over at Mystics, Poets and Fools (a grouping to which I belong in one capacity or another) http://mysticspoetsandfools.blogspot.com/ has embarked on a necessary course of action, one that will be long and painful, but eventually uplifting to her, her Meeting and many people who have lived in shadow for years. She is asking her Meeting to follow her discernment that same sex relationships are not sin. Tough parlay in a Conservative Meeting, though probably not as tough as in an Evengelical one.

Anyway, I was reminded of a recent exchange with a conservative Christian friend when we were talking about gay relationships and i expressed the view that we should really study what the precise meaning of the various words used in scriptural references, both literally and in social context. I expressed the idea that I have that God's proscriptions, when analyzed are about what is helpful to people in their relationships with others as well as within themselves, and that nothing is prohibited without specific such reasons. He expressed the idea that sometines God just says somethinbg is wrong, and that's the end of it.

I told him the old joke about the guy who had a really hard time his whole adult life. I mean, if it could go wrong for him it did and he suffered reverses that would drive some insane for years. Finally, after such a series, he looked at his life and decided to end it. As he was standing on the bridge railling, as people will, he looked up to the sky and said, "Why me, God? Why do these things always happen to me?"
The sky clouded over and the thunder rolled and a voice came out of the clouds, saying in slightly puzzled tones, "Something about your face just ticks_me_off."


My friend was not laughing.

After a moment, he said to me, "I think even indicating that God would act like that borders on blasphemy."

"Yes," I said, "Precisely."

I don't think he changed his mind.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

Labor-saving bloggers

I love the conversation in the blogosphere, and one of its aspects is really wonderful: sometimes somebody else says what is on your mind and you don't have to. The other day, Cat, from Quaker Pagan Reflections commented that I had written down what she had been struggling to express. That's great....mostly. I mean that it is good that the thought could be voiced and be a help in conversation, though In some ways I wish I had shut up and waited until Cat got it done as she does a much better job of writing.
I just had that experience form the other end, as I had in my notebook, the beginnings of a post that was waiting for me to find a way to express what I wanted to say. Then George Amoss at The Postmodern Quaker posted this:
Wow. WAY better than I could have said it.
But that's the nature of the conversation, and the movement of the Spirit that i believe is right in the middle of it.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

"New Covenant"

The establishment of Law as basis for relationship with God was a major shift in perception in the ancient world, which had largely viewed the gods in highly anthropomorphic perceptions, acting on whims and emotions having only to do with their personal desires. For a fascinating study of a primitive mind working out such a projection, I recommend Browning's Caliban upon Setebos. To say that these are the things that please or displease God put the relationship on a much more secure footing. It should be no surprise that there are two major threads to these "Laws:" those which made for an orderly society, and those which established the priveleges and practices of the priestly class, who by some coincidence were the ones teaching the "Law."

Hebrew thought before Jesus was tending in the direction that it was really those social perceptions that were important to God and not the system of sacrifices and minor ordinances so important to the priests. Jesus' ministry and teaching was simply an extension of that, and a paradign shift from the importance of law for responsibility and order to the idea that the spirit that animated the idea of law, the concern for others as members of a whole society, is what is important in relating to God: fulfilling "law" as opposed to abolishing it.

When we operate in love, there is, for instance, no requirement for a law against murder. And, as noted, the law's requirement not to murder is really superficial in comparison to love's requirement that we not maintain anger against our brother. Therefore there are no "laws" that are a requirement, though such things may be set up for easy reference, each is subject to review as to whether it promotes a Way of love within our society. As Paul said in 1 Cor 10:23, " All things are lawful, but not all things are profitable. All things are lawful, but not all things edify." This is essentially the "New Covenant" prophesied by Jeremiah in which God's "laws" would be written on the hearts of those who operate in love. Our actions as well as our words will come from the abundance of our hearts.

Clearly the original disciples remained a part of the Jewish religion, and saw no conflict, though the attitude toward the priestly class and offices must have been quite different. That changed when Peter and Paul in particular started sharing the gospel with those who were not Jewish and the question arose as to whether those converts needed to convert to the Jewish faith, or only to the Way that Jesus taught, which was not confined to a faith tradition. The decision of the council was that they were not so required and their faith was able to operate outside of a religious tradition.

Unfortunately, the followers of the Way were not appreciated by orthodox Jews, particularly the leadership, and the whole group, Jew and gentile, began to have to operate outside a religious tradition until a new "clergy" or priesthood established itself and started constructing a religion around the Way taught and exemplified by Jesus. They didn't do so good.

One of the most interesting constructs has been the perception of "Atonement," and that perception is one of the cornerstones of the new "religion." The idea that Jesus somehow took away our culpability for failings when He was crucified is an essential part of the perception of Jesus as the founder and foundation of that system. How that worked is another problem entirely. There is a great (and short) review of some of the explanations that have been offered over the years, along with their attendant problems, in section II-the end of: http://www.quaker.org/quest/issue-9-gulley-01.htm and it is well worth a study.

My main point is that, with such a weak link as a foundational element, it has to be difficult to support the validity of the "religion" constructed with it. We have to wonder just how far past James' definition of "true religion" in James 1:27 we should depend on constructs and doctrines of men, and seriously examine the elements used in that construction.

However, for those who see beyond 2,000 years of that "religion" to the Way, it is indeed a "New Covenant" and consciousness concerning our relationship to God, our fellow humans and our world.

Friday, August 21, 2009


I'm walking again.

Sounds like a major breakthrough, huh? Well, all I mean is that protesting muscles have recovered enough that I felt like taking a substantial walk yesterday: about 3 miles round trip to the grocery store.

The family backpacking trip was a great success.... even better than the year before. This was largely because we were not quite so innocent as our first trip. I briefly mentioned our first trip based on my nephew Daron's nostalgia, but let me fill in a little detail: he remembered the trip from the standpoint of an early teen, and the hike was the least of his concerns.

A quarter of a century makes a difference. The fact is that there are three ratings for hiking in the guides: easy, moderate and difficult. They missed "brutal." Kids don't notice stuff like that.

Last year we set out early afternoon with light hearts and heavy packs (well, 40 pounds seems pretty hefty after awhile on the trail, and my sister's 28 was no slouch) early in the afternoon, expecting to have supper at our destination. Wrong. About 2/3 of the way up we pooped out and made camp in a nice little meadow not all that long before dark. The next day we ate lunch on the trail before our destination. NEVER trust childhood memories.

But we really did enjoy the trip (as well as the results of our cardio-vascular stress testing) SO, we planned a trip for this year. We chose a less difficult hike. My sister and I even checked it out earlier in the Summer with light packs for a day trip. Not too bad

THIS year we set out before lunch, ate on the trail and were at our destination in plenty of time for supper. Good planning, huh? The trail was a good mix, with a moderate start, a long easy section and three relatively short difficult sections spaced out with short easy sections. It was all we wanted to do for sure, but not a killer by any means. I will say that one of the teens asked what the last "difficult" section was like, and I told her that it was about like the previous section.
Her response was, "Good," and I didn't even hit her for that.

We spent about 5 days in all and had a ball. My only regret was that I only brought enough to make one breakfast of biscuits, but they were a hit. I did do one more climb on the way back with a light pack just so I could see a cirque we had not visited. It was great. We got back to where the rest of the family remained in a sort of base camp... tired, but happy.

"Base camp." NOT a good idea if your focus is "backpacking." You see, there are no lounge chairs on the mountain. You do NOT pack a six-pack of Bud UP the mountain.

NEXT year we are thinking Base Camp with day trips and maybe an overnighter or two.

I think I see a pattern about energy expended emerging here.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

A Modern Council of the Church

My spiritual language is "Christian." For me, the "Way of Life" is embodied in the life and ministry of Jesus and is stated in essence in the "new commandment" in which Jesus calls us to love one another just as He loved us. Ask any Christian what the heart of the Gospel is and most likely they will agree that it is "The Sermon on the Mount" as reported in Matthew 5-6. Ask them what the heart of that "sermon" is and they will be likely to say "The Beatitudes." I disagree

For me, the heart of the message is found in Matt 5:43 to the end of the chapter, which is essentially about loving our enemies, stating that God loves everyone and we should try to be more like God. To my mind Jesus was just picking the most glaring example of where to expand our consciousness of relationship, and the idea applies equally to anyone who is different from us in any way. I doubt that very many would disagree on that part.

That's it in a nutshell. Anything else is about how to acquire a heartfelt appreciation of that principle and then apply it, or it is about personal perceptions of our relationship to God.

It is clear that the first followers of the Way that Jesus embodied remained in the Jewish religion. They continued to meet in the Temple court and used Jewish practices such as water baptism. Until Peter and Paul expanded the horizons of the fellowship. Then a huge question arose as to what was required of a follower of Christ; was a convert required to convert to the Jewish religion?

The council of the Church at Jerusalem recounted in Acts is a fascinating study, but the result hinges on one perception: the report by Peter and Paul that the Spirit manifested in gentiles without the need for them to do what was necessary to come under the covenant with Abraham and with Moses as representative of the Hebrew nation. The Way is not dependent on at least that particular religion.

Within the diverse Society of Friends there is currently a question about whether a profession of faith in Jesus as the mediator between God and man is necessary for membership in that Society, an organization that has always professed to follow the Way embodied by Jesus. The more theologically liberal elements of the Society have pretty much decided for inclusiveness for any who wish to join and work together to make the basic element of the Way work in our lives and our relationship with others. The more theologically conservative are adamantly opposed to any but professed "Christians" becoming members.

"The Doctrine of the Light" was from near the beginning of the Society a foundational element of Quaker perception, though I understand some elements of the Society have relatively recently repudiated it. That doctrine states essentially that God speaks to everyone in the world and an appeal to "that of God" in a person may bear fruit in causing that person to come nearer into alignment with the Way. There have been various perceptions of how that works, but exposition of the doctrine by Barclay and expressions of the kinship of those who work for an increase of love as active principle in the world regardless of religion by such as William Penn indicate that the perception was that one need not know the name of Jesus to work in the Way.

I think we need to examine the direction perceptions were moving even before the Ministry of Jesus in such prophecies as that of Jeremiah in which he indicated that there would be a new covenant in which God's precepts would be "written on the heart" of the people. I think that means that actions would be the natural result of the attitude of love held by those who have come close to God AS love. The statement in Hosea 6:6, "For I desire mercy, not sacrifice, and acknowledgment of God rather than burnt offerings," seems to me to be a clear direction that love of God is to be practiced in relating to others as opposed to simply religious observances. And the same thing is true of Micah 6:8

What IS "The Religious Society of Friends?" That is the question we have to answer when we ask whether it is a community based on a religious perception of Jesus AS "the" Christ, or on following the Way that we have said God makes available to all men through the light Christians see as the light of Christ. This is the choice that faces the Society as some face it and others choose to ignore. I love Jesus for what I see Him as having done for us, and relating to the Divine in the Light of the message and the person of Jesus is a source of joy to me, but that love and joy in no way precludes fellowship with those who live in love and have different perceptions.

To me the question hinges on whether the Spirit can be seen to be operating (as at least some early Friends said it does) within the framework of other religious structures or philosophical perceptions which can be seen as vehicles for the Light insofar as they really do express the same way that Jesus said His disciples would be recognized: by their love. If the Spirit is to be our "guide" as stated by Jesus, can that Spirit be seen at work in members of the Society who do not share religious perceptions with the Christians who have historically made up the majority of the Society?

I have seen it working. End of question for me, it only remains to see how we can work out the details of living together in the Light.

So, if it's that simple, what's the problem?

Perhaps it's the weight of 2,000 years of catering to the propensity of humans to make a religion, a set of forms around the conduct of our life. Veneration of the messenger is a natural response, especially when the message is so much embodied in the ministry or life of the messenger, but is it appropriate to make that veneration a requirement for participation in a Society based on the message? Is our language to be restricted to one description of how the Spirit moves? Is "renewal" to be merely a matter of getting back to earlier forms rather than expanding our perceptions to see what the root of our faith rests in?
I hope not.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Backpacking Biscuits


It's my Dad's fault.

He was the one who decided that my parents should take up backpacking when they were in their 50's. Not that my Mom was not game.... one of my great teen memories was of her attempts to learn to water ski. She could get on top of the water, but somehow her legs just would not straighten and so she would drag half around the lake getting a terrific spanking as her bu.... uh, derriere dragged in the water. She was grimly determined to do it and have fun if it killed her. Backpacking would not have been her idea, but she did it and was good at it.

So, we all got into it. One of my nephew Daron's fondest memories was of a backpacking trip with my Dad and my nephew Tom......... SO, after a hiatus of some years, he got us to go backpacking as a group again last year. My Sister, Bobette, Daron and his kids, and me. It was fun. Honest. And we are getting ready to go again. Tom and his kids will join us this year, as will Jim, Tom's brother.

On that trip I tried the old boy scout trick of roasting biscuit dough on a stick over a campfire.
I was never a boy scout. There had to be a reason, and my results with biscuit making may indicate some of them.

BUT, I do love biscuits and the idea of biscuits on a backpacking trip is just so compelling. AND my later experience with a Dutch oven in camp were really encouraging. So, why not do that on a backpacking trip? Uh, no way am I gonna lug a dutch oven up a mountain. But why not do some experimenting with those lightweight aluminum throw away pans and see what can be done, right?

THIS is why a grown man was baking biscuits in a make-shift dutch oven over a campfire in his driveway at 7 o'clock in the morning.

It was my Dad's fault.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Dutch ovens really work!

I love cast iron cookware. I dunno, maybe it's just the straightforward heavy duty utility of the stuff. I mean, a lot of it is as plain as a mud fence. I don't really know what is available now, 'cause I buy mine at junque shoppes, but there have been some interesting things made for cooking, from little bitty frying pans to huge ones, griddles, sauce pans, tea kettles, muffin pans.
Hey, one of my favorites is a special pan for baking individual serving cornbread in which the cornbread is molded to look like half an ear of corn. Top that!. I've even got a waffle iron made for the top of wood ranges with the round lid over the firebox removed. The iron itself hinges at the end away from the handles and the hinge turns into a ball which then neatly fits into a socket in the holder which looks kinda like an upside down saucepan with no bottom. the side of the iron by the handles is a sort of roller when it is closed, and that fits neatly into a slot in the holder. This is to allow the waffle iron to be turned over without removing it from the holder..... neat, huh? Hey, I wonder if I could make waffles over the grill on a campfire...... Anyway, the utinsil that impresses me most is the dutch oven, that relatively shallow pot with a bail and a lid that covers the edges of the pot itself. This is important because to use the dutch oven you move the coals of your campfire and set the oven down on a shallow bed of coals and cover the lid with more coals and you don't want ashes getting inside the oven. This allows the heat to come down on top of whatever you are baking just like a..a.. well, an oven. Kewl. I picked up one at some yard sale or whatever and it only needed a little cleaning up, so I scoured that puppy out and baked the proper glaze into the cooking surface so stuff wouldn't stick and took it camping this weekend. I made biscuits. I'm no baker, and really not much of a camp cook, but how hard could it be? Anyway, it's more fun to approach new stuff with the attitude that "When all else fails, read the destructions." Did you see Lonesome Dove? Remember the scene where Gus is up way early with his coffee and is making biscuits in a dutch oven? He brushes off the coals and ashes carefully and lifts the lid and there are these beautiful fluffy golden brown sourdough biscuits. Wow! I make drop biscuits from Bisquick. I'm just not that ambitious. So I carefully let the fire build a bed of coals while drinking my camp coffee, and I put the drop biscuits into the dutch oven, covered it and properly got it bedded and covered with burning coals. NOw, normally, I make biscuits in a toater oven and you can see the things through the glass door. Cast iron lids aren't that easy to see through, so I did it by guess and by golly. I decided that the time was long enough before carefully removing the coals, brushing off the ashes and lifting the lid. The time was long enough. Dutch ovens are also great for making charcoal.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Slackers in the vineyard

Before I retired, I used to say that I got my last job so I wouldn't have to work. It is true that I enjoyed almost everything about that job and it really wasn't one of those things that make "work" a "four letter word." I was thinking about that along with Jesus parable about the man who hired workers for his vineyard, hiring some early, then later, etc. (Matt 20:1-16) It strikes me that, like the workers who were first in the vineyard, there is an attitude among Christians of sort of "doing all the work," maybe even of "suffering for the cause" that makes it seem just a little unfair that those who have not done so much should receive the same reward as those who have served so long, and let's not even consider those who never lifted a finger in this life. This makes it a little tough to swallow the idea that God just might eventually allow everyone to come into a relationship in love. Now, I really believe that when Jesus said, "I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly" (John 10:10) He meant now, not in some future beyond death. I see it in the joy of living in God's love and in sharing that love. I have not really suffered, but I have had enough reverses to know that even in trouble, it is not so much what happens as how we deal with it that really matters, and God's love gives us tools to deal with problems and even suffering in positive ways. I'm not saying that suffering is good, but that, if it's going to come it is far better to have and use those "tools" than to turn bitter and self pitying. So, "working in the vineyard" is, in its own way, a reward in itself. By me, to those who come late, let them have an extra measure of God's love, they did without it so much longer than I did.

Sunday, July 12, 2009


Amazing Grace is currently one of my favorite movies. I sometimes wonder where I would have stood on the issues during that restless period. I mean, it seems so obvious now, but there were a lot of people who were involved in shipping and support industries, and many pulpits taught that slavery was right based on many different perceptions of Biblical teaching, not the least of which was that there was absolutely no condemnation of the practice to be found in the Bible. Besides, cheap sugar is a really desirable thing, isn't it? I like to think that i would have been one of the people who supported the long long drive to outlaw the slave trade in spite of the fact that it would do real financial hardship to me.
Or I fantasize that I was a slave holding Quaker at the beginning of Woolman's long ministry when the movement of the spirit to convince Friends that slavery is wrong was just starting to reach its "stride." Would I consider that treating my slaves with compassion as urged by Paul was the only requirement of my Christian duty? Or would I recognize that the very concept of owning another person was impossible in the light of equality in God's sight? I like to think that I would have seen that and had the courage of my convictions to face my neighbors' anger and outright persecution both for the way I had treated my slaves and for the decision to set them free as so many were forced to give up home and a whole lifestyle and move from the South just to ensure that their freed slaves were allowed to keep their freedom.
And I dream that there is a similar movement of the Spirit going on today to help us realize that people should not be marginalized and persecuted for sexual needs and perceptions which are simply within the range of human diversity and no threat or harm to the great majority who happen to be closer to the center of that range. I like to think that I would be able to see that and to try to find ways to communicate that perception in love in the face of scorn and prejudice and even Biblical perceptions that inform so many of those churches which seem to be more concerned with law and letter than with spirit. I have to wonder what it would look like for even those groups to really apply the message of God's unconditional love and Jesus' urging that we be like God in that even though they may have reservations about conduct they don't understand and think is wrong.
Fantasies........ I wonder.*

*I just signed on to Hystery's post on the same subject entered about 10 hours before mine: http://hystery.blogspot.com/2009/07/john-woolman-gay-rights-and-quakers.html
Great minds think alike? I wish I could claim that, but the timing is interesting.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

The Boredom Factor

So, there I was... at the first "coffee and Connections meeting of our youth for the Summer. This is a strictly voluntary group to meet and maintain while Wednesday night youth activities are suspended for the Summer, and the youth pastor forgot his lesson plan for a little devotional. As it happened, I was carrying a copy of Peggy Parson's book So, There I Was... which I was planning to give to my mentoree at cost. SO.... I informed the kids that the youthworker's contract, page 65, Section 23, paragraph 64, subparagraph g specifically required that "meetings of the youth shall each and severally maintain a minimum boredom factor of 10%." I told them that I was therefore obligated to read a passage to them about spiritual discipline. Groans. A couple of heads hit the table. Dauntlessly, I turned to the first chapter and started reading. Ears twitched when I read, "I am mildly allergic to the entire concept of discipline. It smacks of work." Heads popped up when I read, "It is the Discipline of Spiritual Adventure." I freely admit that I skipped part of the description of that spiritual discipline as youth work really is the fine art of balancing what kids need to know and what they will hold still for, and I have high hopes that they will come back to that, but I read the example, using my best Texas drawl for "Our Lady of Junction," and pronouncing "deaf" quite properly as "deef."

The youth pastor later informed me that the boredom factor for that meeting was woefully inadequate. This is NOT my fault, it's Peggys.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Truth Project: Community and involvement

At LAST! My coverage of the series comes full circle, and Del presents essentially what I originally stated was the essence of a "Christian worldview:" God loves everyone, we should try to be like God in this. Perhaps the best illustration is the interview with the tattoo artist who has been quoted throughout the series and who has presented views hostile to standard perceptions of Christian values. Del states that everyone has a story and learn about the background of this person who suffered childhood abuse and a very difficult life but whose answer to "What breaks your heart?" is a list of very human, very much shared pain in his life. Del makes a very good point about how we all tend to treat those who are different, and makes the point personal. He also calls for us to "study, understand and engage the culture."
A point I think needs further development is that such a study and understanding to be effective should not be from a basis of hostility to cultural phenomena, but with questions concerning how effective they are in helping us live lives of value. Conspicuously absent from consideration is our response to the marginalization of the gay community and how that would fit into a "Christian worldview." Well, that one would be a hot potato these days, and might just take a whole series on its own.

SO...... what conclusion do I draw on the effeciveness and value of the series? Production values are great and the topics covered are engaging and useful to consider, but the whole production is seriously flawed by a politically conservative mindset and a VERY narrow perception of God's revelation to us. Both attributes continue the confrontational style and polarization of perceptions that have made high profile evangelical leadership over the last half century or so an epic FAIL, something younger evangelicals seem to be learning as nearly a third of them responded to Obama's call for constructive dialogue in our last election.
If your group is considering presenting this series, I would recommend that topics for discussion be presented at the beginning of each "tour" rather than just leaving discussion open to responses not considered in depth.
I note that Del is following up this seroies with one directed towards youth. This one will be well worth checking into.

Monday, July 6, 2009

The Truth Project: Labor

Del tries to tell us that labor is good, and he makes a good case but leaves out such scriptural references as Gen 3:17 "painful toil." Aside from Del's one-sided presentation, there is a lot to be said for work as fulfillment of a need for purpose and the satisfaction of doing a job well should be part of every Christian experience. Del's best point is that both the employer and the employee should be elated at having a Christian in the other role simply because a Christian would do his best both in the work and in seeing that the work is appropriate, challenging and properly compensated. Though it was not couched exactly in those terms, the point was also made that the last penny of profit should not be the main thrust of business, but social responsibility. My only objection is that Del stresses his perception of "ownership rights" without any real justification and does not really investigate implications of "stewardship" in this regard. I see a little problem with "who is in control" here that needs to be developed in discussion. Del's presentation on "gleaning" was somewhat ludicrous with the idea of letting poor people sweep up the sawdust in a furniture shop and sell the sawdust for their reward, and he says that it is the responsibility of the private sector to provide such work for the poor and not the government, but that's to be expected, noted and dismissed as simply not happening, whether desirable or not.
All in all, a well done presentation.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Truth Project: The American Experiment

What better time to write about the noble vision of government extolled in this "tour" than the holiday celebrating the launching of the government later refined to that "experiment?"
At the beginning of the lesson, Del states that he is not going to "cast stones" at unbelievers, presumably for throwing the noble plan off track...... good thing. But then he flings one at "liberals" in our education system who "hate America," using the "big lie" technique of simply stating it without analysis, just one blatant example of the political bias that pervades the series. Del goes into quite a bit of detail about how education in the colonies and early states was founded on religion........and morality. True enough, but Del seems to think that morality follows from religion just because it teaches it, and history shows us that nominally religious societies may perform the most blatant abuses of religion. This whole line of thought looks like a red herring to me. This country lost any claim to moral leadership when greed developed the horrible abuses of slavery and the exploitation of the poor in the industrial North; the same sort of predatory business plans that drive Microsoft and Walmart just to name two of the most blatant. I don't see Del addressing this issue at all. Wow, I just took time out to see what I could find on the 'net about this and here is an interesting sentence: "It seems to me that the emphasis in these quotes (about religion and morality) is not necessarily on Christianity, but on fostering virtue." This from http://ehritzema.wordpress.com/2009/06/06/truth-project-10-the-american-experiment-stepping-stones-my-thoughts/ as part of an extensive review of The Truth Project, and clearly one I will want to check out more completely. The whole point of my review is that Del places blame for failure of any "vision" for America squarely where it does NOT belong, and does not accept responsibility as representative of religious instruction for the failure of mainstream Christianity to teach and hold its members accountable for a living faith demonstrably working in our lives.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Attendance: the spiritual discipline

Peggy Senger Parsons' (http://sillypoorgospel.blogspot.com/) new book is out! Ordering information in the June 6th blog (You need this book. If you doubt me, read a few of the "So, there I was.." blogs from the archives).

The second story is about the spiritual discipline of attendance, or paying attention on two levels, and I wish to talk about an instance (all too rare for me) where I was able to participate in a sort of double play. While our team was in Baja we were able to visit a Campesino facility to play with the children. I would like you to note that these places are the ones OUR campesinos leave in order to improve their lives by coming here. All the kids were beautiful, and lively and happy to see us..... except one. A boy about 10, and he was miserable, refused all the advances the other kids made to him and was not coming near our team members. I happened to come face to face with him about 10 feet away and smiled and greeted him. For a moment his eyes seemed to light, but then he was having none of it. I sat down on a bench nearby to enjoy the play, a viejo a little too tired for the piggy back rides and activity involved in a field of energy that would have powered a city it seemed to me. In a short while, our young miserable came and sat beside me and leaned up against me. I just acknowledged his presence and shared my bench with him. It turned out that he had a bad cough, and I, unfortunately, shared that too for the time, though I was nowhere near as miserable as he was. After awhile he wandered off and I watched the kids, greeting, smiling and refusing piggy back rides. Shortly, I became aware of two small boys a little distance away who were squaring off and I decided quickly to meddle. As I got closer I saw the look of fear and of grim determination to put up the best fight he knew how on the face of one boy. As I got near enough, that boy was the one closest and I scooped him up, turning him practically upside down in the process, and took him back to my bench. God alone knows what he thought was happening to him, but I tried to let him see my smile. I sat him on my lap at the bench and hugged him briefly, hoping to let him know that he was not going to be punished and he was free to go or stay. He stayed. I don't know whether I did right or not, but i do know that my miserable friend came back, smiled, patted me once and sat down beside me again. The other little boy came by, trying to torment the boy on my lap, and when i would not let him do so punched and kicked me, refusing attempts to show friendliness to him. This went on for a little while, and awhile after that the boy on my lap left. Another young lady whgo spoke Spanish appreciated the quietness on our bench and sat with us, conversing wth my friend and closing that language gap. Before we left, my friend was smiling and telling his friends how we had scratched his back for him.
I guess part of my reason for telling you this is that I need you to help me pray. Not so much for all the beautiful children, though they could sure use it. Nor for the boy on my lap; I think he has a lot going for him even in his situation. Not even for my friend with the cough, though it was a bad cough. But for the little boy who seemed to know no way to relate but in anger and dominance; he has a hard, hard life to live.

Return and a question

I am back from Baja and I have a question. While we were visiting the orphanage in Vicente Guerrero ( http://www.ffhm.org/landing_pages/16,3.html ) we learned that their fire department had been dispatched to a house that burned very near the house we had built last year, and that two of the five children had died in the fire and two more were in intensive care. The fire started because of a candle burning in a window and catching the curtains on fire, something that hapopens all too often. As it happens, one of our team members had spent a great deal of time and effort working on solar energy collection and utilization for our house this year and for the one we built last year, but the systems are fairly extensive and expensive. We did have some small units that collected energy during the day and could then be use inside at night for awhile, and one of our team administrators asked about them for use by a family he wanted to help. It occurred to me that a great deal of good could be done by finding or designing a unit that would use a solar collector to run a smoke detector that distinguished between cooking smoke and woodsmoke and at least one light. Even just a light would help a lot by reducing the risks of candle or lantern use. I asked Roger about this and he is going to be looking into it, but I am soliciting any knowledge or advice from anyone else who may have knowledge. Expect updates on what we find out and maybe hints about how we can all put such information and resources to work.
In His Love,

Thursday, June 18, 2009


I'm just back from 3 days with my sister and her husband in the Marble Mountain Wilderness area of Northern California. What a beautiful world we live in!
Now I'm ready for a ten day luxury vacation to beautiful Baja California! We leave tomorrow morning at 6:30 (THIS is luxury?) Well, hey, the whole trip only costs $400 so I guess a little early rising isn't TOO bad.
We finished "The Truth Project" last night, and it may well have been the best session; a call to action actually not tingedwith political bias.
I'm not sure I'm quite ready to write up the last three tours before I leave, so at least some will have to wait.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

"The Truth Project" The State

THIS one is raw, kiddies, from start to finish. Del starts by comparing the State to a gang of robbers taking away half the farm recently inherited by some kids, but they do it with taxes. Interestingly enough, he ends by saying that the (State) is the agent of God for carrying out the duties of the state, and for that reason we are to pay taxes. I guess I got lost. We may argue that taxes are unfair, but it sure doesn't look like the "Christian worldview" would see the state as robbers. Del tells the story of Ahab, Jezebel and the vineyard she obtained for him by using the power of the state to murder the owner and confiscate the property for Ahab's personal use. Was it Louis xvii who said that he was the state? Is it true that the king IS the state, or is he the agent and head of the state, but not to be identified AS the state? Can "the State" steal, or is it individuals misusing the power of the state for their personal purposes that was the problem? Is that something we see today, and is that confined to non-Christians, or does it seem to be carried out primarily by those professing to BE "Christian?" What was the public so upset about recently in the insurance bailout crisis? I think the State is often much more concerned about taking back what has been "legally stolen" than it is with doing the stealing itself.The second part of the presentation was concernend with "separation of the spheres," and an elaborate story of King Uzziah I think it was. making a sacrifice in the temple against the express commands of God as to who was to do so. Del says this was about blurring the spheres, and maybe it is, though I don't think that is primarily what it was about. Let that go. The main point Del is making is that the State gets too big for its britches and tries to rule in all of the spheres and therefore is out of control. I think arguments could be made that the State needs to interfere is some measure with all the "spheres" in order to insure that it performs those obligations required of it. Perhaps not, but Del's argument that the State should not be telling us "What marriage should look like" seems fairly ridiculous when his parent organization is spending tremendous effort to get the state to declare that marriage is between a man and a woman. What's wrong with this picture? Del even said that we require more government when we are not internally governed and that has most clearly been shown to be the case when unregulated business (read greed) puts the whole economy in dire jeapordy. I totally agree with Del: I would LOVE to see far less government, but not until such government is no longer required and I don't see that happening in the near future. Del ends by saying that we have the opportunity to participate in deciding how our government is to be run and that we will vote in accordance of his picture of the proper place of government, but I gotta tellya kids, don't vote thinking that we have reached the point where it really is NOT needed.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

"The Truth Project" Union with God

Unio Mystica is the focus of this "tour" and it is almost entirely well handled from short study on union between man and wife to a fairly intense study of the union between God and man. One of the elements of the union of God and man discussed is the nature and extent of the change this makes in a man, but no mention of the application of this union in guidance by the Spirit for the individual's life, apart from an indication that he will be more willing to follow the "rules." To me this seems like a glaring, if not unexpected shortcoming.
Del goes on to an exposition of teaching on the desired unity of the church with it's many members, each with particular abilities and....... ooops, Del uses the word "roles" and I would prefer to see "jobs," or "duties," or best of all, "functions." Why? Because "role" seems to me to emphasize structure as opposed to the stuff that needs to be done, and emphasizing structure seems to me to tend toward valuing one function over others. Maybe I'm nit-picking, and the point is made that there are several things that we are to do for "one another."
Del then goes on to ask what keeps us from unity and proceeds to discuss what he calls a "hunger for significance" that is part of how God made us, explaining the need for approval or esteem by men as a misdirection or even a perversion of this need. This is seen in Jesus' teaching about people who do things "to be seen of men" and how that is all the reward they will receive. I think this is an area that those in leadership positions need to be particularly careful about. The ultimate perversion is jealousy of the esteem in which others are held, viz. Saul's jealousy of David. Del doesn't use the term, but I see the difference as a need to be of value as opposed to a desire to be recognized, but the point is well made that "God has made us for Himself and our hearts are restless until we find our rest in Him."
A few points for development in discussion, but overall an outstanding lesson.

Friday, June 12, 2009

"The Truth Project" Sociology

Here I find myself in nearly total agreement with the presentation.... ok, one cavil and a coupla points that I think should have been developed that were not. BUT I would say that this is the best "tour" in the series except that the next one is even better, and we still have one lesson to go in our class.
First, the cavil: Del reads from Genesis that it is not good for man to be alone and asks whether that is a judgement of quality or a moral judgement. He then develops from his speculative theme of Gods "nature" reflected in His "system" that God is a relationship and being alone is contrary to God's nature and therefore it is a moral judgement. He emphasizes marriage and family and the inference is that it is immoral not to be married. He didn't check with Paul.
For further development: Del notes that "submission" is a recurring theme and simply states that it is good and not the jaundiced perception we hold in society. I would like to suggest that there is a lot more to the social use of "subission" in the New Testament than society normally thinks of, and that it is based on a sort of contract situation. I like the Weymouth translation of Ephesians 5:21; " and submit to one another out of reverence for Christ," and my point is that, if the "submission" spoken of is like that viewed normally, then how could I submit to one who is busy submitting to me? SO, we look at other exhortations to "submit" and find that they are accompanied with the point that the one being submitted to has the best interests of the one submitting very much at heart; husbands, elders, leaders or whomever. I was talking with a pastor whom I greatly respect in a class, and I asked about the Quaker practice of "eldering." She said that there were a few people she would grant that she would just do it if they said to back off. Of course that practice must be done in love and consideration for the best interests of the party being eldered. I submit* that it is no virtue to "submit" when one knows darn well that the "authority" has its own program and not the interest of the one supposed to "submit."
The second point is closely related and that is that the nature of authority bears a heavy responsibility to be sure that the leadership or authority is handled for God's purposes and in the best interest of the people being led, not for the leaders purposes or as an exercise of power.

*ok, really bad pun. I'm ashamed

Thursday, June 11, 2009

"The Truth Project" History according to whom?

I should take the time to reiterate that a focus on constructive criticism should not be taken as denigrating the whole program, but at the very least bring up subjects that should be included in discussion during and about the series.
The Isaac Group http://www.planetisaac.com/2009/02/truth-project-part-5-history.html discussed inconsistencies and/or misrepresentations of factual information by Del in this section, noting that with a title like "The Truth Project," the producers should hold and be held to an extraordinary standard of truth. The whole idea and even the presentation of this section is good, though slanted toward a conservative perception, and we need to be aware of the fact that presentation of history is selective by its very nature; you can't tell all the factors involved in any one event. The problem for Del is that this is a very "post-modern" perception. Doggone it we need metanarratives. Unfortunately for Del, the way it works, for example, is that you have a metanarrative about the brave pioneers who wrested a great nation from the wilderness, and then someone like Dee Brown comes along and points out that in the course of that wresting the Native Americans were treated despicably, to the dishonor of those brave pioneers. "Revisionist History." Del defines "revisionist history" as something like reconstructing the past with things that are not true, or at least selecting for a determined slant. In fact, Del uses the technique in presenting a selected part of the statement by Marjorie Agosin on the allegations of lying by Rigoberta Menchu.* The term is better defined: "Historical revisionism is the reexamination and reviewing of the stories told as history, with an eye to updating them with more recently discovered, more unbiased, or more accurate information."
Broadly, it is the approach that history as it has been traditionally told may not be entirely accurate and may be subject to review http://www.knowledgerush.com/kr/encyclopedia/Revisionist_history/
Del's is a fairly common error, at least among those who wish to indicate that any change to orthodox presentations of history are fallacious, but it is not valid. What Del is talking about is "didactic revisionism."
The good side presented in the "tour" is the idea that people who have a sense of purpose, who view themselves as "stepping stones" for others bring a lot of energy to their vision. True, and valuable, but they need to be sure that their actions are as noble as their purpose. "Stepping stones" is a great self-perception as long as they don't use other people as doormats on their way.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

"The Truth Project" Science

This is where I came in..... Well, I came in on the second section and have not watched the first, since I feel no need to catch up on bad science. Aside from pointing out that Del conflates evolution and abiogenesis (the beginning of life) and makes arguments about abiogenesis, which is at a very iffy stage of development, stand for arguments about both. For those interested in the science aspect I would suggest logging on to http://www.blog.beyondthefirmament.com/2007/05/31/the-truth-project/ and for those interested in a few capsule videos about why evolution IS good science, check out http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gUu5hBp1AU8&feature=related
My concern is entirely different: that all the hooraw is in support of a failed doctrine. Yes, indeed kiddies, I am talking about inerrancy, and especially the idea within that failed doctrine that Genesis should be read as history or it has no value. Even if inerrancy is true that approach to Genesis is not required or even very fruitful, and there are other forms of literature where Genesis shines as metaphorical explanation of the human condition. But back to inerrancy, which I am not even denying is true: What I AM doing is stating that as a doctrine it does far more harm than good. Why? Because it places the emphasis, the burden for guidance on the Bible instead of on the Spirit we were promised. The point is that while we emphasize inerrancy there will always be those who, in the words of Jesus, "search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life." (John 5:39-40) Once again the question arises as to why, using the Bible as guide, we have thousands of different denominations, some of which are very Bereans for searching scripture with a fine toothed comb.
Now I have mentioned that scripture describes itself as "useful" and can be seen as a great tool.... for the Spirit to use in our guidance. I would also like to mention that "the church" is described as " the pillar and foundation of the truth" (1Tim 3:15). Now I see "Sola Scriptura" as an overreaction to the abuse of the latter idea by the Roman Church, which made the deliberate error of defining "the church" as the government they had put into place and making their edicts sole authority. The more valid description is the literal translations of the Greek "eklesia" which means those called out. The assumption of course is that it is those called out of the world to follow Christ and the church has been described as those who have gone before us as well as those currently following Christ, so that we should take into account their description of the leading of the Spirit from the New Testament to the current time. There may be a question as to what materiels from the past are Spirit led, and examination according to the fruit of the Spirit is necessary. We also have the members of our current body of Christ who can help us determine whether our leadings are of God, and Quakers have developed a set of "tools" for doing so that are well worth looking into. Last, but not least is our informed reason. We are warned against relying on reason alone and/or on the wisdom of men, but the use of reason is assumed when any rational presentation is made. Therefore, we have for guidance the Spirit and three tools for use by the Spirit. My plea is that we use the structure outlined for us IN scripture and not just scripture for guidance.

In His Love,

Monday, June 8, 2009

The Truth Project 4: Theology

The main thrust of this section is about God revealing Himself to man, and Del concentrates almost entirely on scripture and the revelation there. I don't see Del as Sola Scriptura in a hard line sense, but I think he comes close. For one thing, he seems to confuse "the Word" with the Bible, reading "scripture" whenever he sees "word"...... except John 1:1 (not mentioned) where it would be a little off to think it could read, "In the beginning was the Bible and the Bible was with God and...." if you see what I mean. My point is that scripture is a part of the revelation of God's Word, but it is not "the Word." Del even cites John 5:39-40 "39 You search the Scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; it is these that testify about Me; 40 and you are unwilling to come to Me so that you may have life." But he does not apply what the meaning of a relationship with Christ or putting on the mind of Christ means as far as guidance, and does not approach the fact that Jesus promised a "comforter" for our guide. This is fairly common for those who require concrete authority; something written in stone. I always think of someone with that kind of requirement as asking God to show how to live in a way that brings him close to God. God says, "I will give you a guide," and the guy says, "Hold on, you don't mean this 'Holy Spirit' do you? 'Cause I have heard about this 'Spirit;' He tells you to turn left without warning or explanation and never gives a description of the complete route." God says, "Well, yes, that's what I had in mind," and the guy says, "Tellya what, I've got this set of directions worked up from letters by people who have gone that way some time back, how about if I just use that?" God says, "Well, if that's what YOU want, but I have to tell you that a LOT of people have missed the path that way." Please note that the famous citation from Paul to Timothy describes scripture as "useful." Think of them as a tool for the Spirit, but not as our "guide." We say that interpretation of scripture requires the Spirit, but we don't seem to start with the Spirit when we need guidance.

One thing that Del did explain well, and a new thought to me, was that God as a "Jealous God" is not jealous as we normally think of jealousy, but hates anything that stands between us and a relationship with Him. That would include ANYthing that we make into an idol.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Truth Project: Anthropology

In the study of Anthropology, Del makes the Calvinist emphasis error of saying that man is "evil," and opposing it to the humanist idea that man is basically good. This is another instance where the "us versus them" mindset makes talking to concerned, but not convinced people just that much harder. No one likes to think of himself as "evil," and yet we all know that we've got our problems. If we mute the hyperbole to something like "basically self-interested," I think we have something we can all relate to. I also think it might help point out the reason many of us professed Christians carry some "logs in our own eyes." People to whom we talk will recognize the conflict between our self-interest and our need to operate within society and maintain meaningful relationships. Del notes that "fallen man" still carries the image of God, so I think what I am talking about is tempering the rhetoric and making it more accessable both for those who do not share our faith and for us within the faith in relating the ideas to our own lives. I really did like Del's point that "redeemed man," one who has chosen to follow Christ, still carries the "sin nature" in the same way that "fallen man" still carries the image of God. There are some "Holiness" perceptions which say that the Spirit should wipe away the "old man" so that we no longer have the desire to sin, but I think it is dangerous to count on it. That may say more about me than it does about the doctrine, but I'd say that the "new man" is more about a new direction than about a new nature. My biggest problem with the "tour," though, was what looks to me like a complete misrepresentation of Maslow's "Hierarchy of Needs," in which Del indicates that Maslow claims that "self actualization" is what is most important to man. It is easy to see how Del could make this egregious error, since the term "hierarchy" is used and that indicates the most important at the top. On the other hand, Del is using the same foundational image for the whole series, in which the most important perception is the basis for the rest. Maslow clearly indicates that the "lower" needs must be met before "higher" needs are considered. I think the "us and them" outlook has betrayed Del into the failure to see value in any perceptions that are not based on scripture. As to scripture and self-actualization, isn't the point of "losing ourselves in order to find ourselves" that we find our greatest "self-actualization" in conforming to God?I guess my main objection here is that Del's presentation fails to give us the basis for dealing with secular humanism and enlightened self interest as really viable foundations for human interaction.

In His Love,

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Tour 2, Philosophy and Ethics

Last night, our study group had a most exhillerating discussion! But it was on "The American Experiment" and I gotta catch up on the series......... so wait.
The basis of the tour is Col 2:8 concerning being taken captive by philosophy and vain deception. One point that needs clarification is that philosophy will often confirm principles that are part of the experience in Christ, so we should not do the "us and them" thing here either, just be grounded in the values we learn in the Spirit and the fruit of that Spirit. Del does mention the point made by, I believe he said Augustine, that true religion and true philosophy must ultimately reach the same point.
Del gets off on the wrong foot in that regard with a presentation of Carl Sagan stating that the cosmos is all there is, was or will be. Del takes this as saying that there is no God and uses the box analogy as a presentation of the physical universe. The problem is that, as I read it, Sagan is defining "cosmos" which would include whatever exists, putting any god or such matter of "spirit" inside his "box." That's ok, the analogy works for naturism, which is essentially saying that there is no god, and that is an element of some human philosophy, it's just that the application of "the box" analogy is more limited than Del would allow.
There are presentations of various schools of philosophy which are less than accurate, but not altogether unrecognizable until Del gets to "Post Modernism," which is less a philosophy than an attitude. Del says that Post modern thought claims that there is no truth, that everything is relative. Likely there are post modern thinkers that state such a thing, but I doubt we would find concensus on that. There would be concensus on the idea that it is not all that easy to get to. In fact, my perception of Post Modern thought is that it could be summed up by saying "It just ain't that easy." Ecology, with all its nuances may well be the ultimate post modern discipline. To apply that principle to Del's line of thought would go something like this: you say the Bible is "truth," but using that basis we have thousands of different warring denominations claiming to be the only ones who are teaching that "truth." What gives?
I think the point needs to be made that it is not a question of empirical "truth" or "right doctrine," but of following the "guide" Jesus promised, the fruit of which is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self control. If a philosophy leads to that, it is a good "point."

Monday, June 1, 2009

"The Truth Project," Tour 1

In the introduction Del Tackett says that the goal is to transform us through an encounter with God, and the transformation should make us a world changer. That is a worthy purpose when most of us are somewhat less than avid in our application of our beliefs in our lives and in our contacts with others. I would like to have seen something about "be the change you want to see," but a spark is struck here.
The first "tour" is about the question, "What is Truth." Del starts by asking why Jesus came to earth, and for his purpose will accept only the answer given in one verse, "to testify to the truth." Good answer. Not the only one though, and I kind of see a tone being set in which the lesson is held to a narrow scope, but Del only has 45 minutes to get his point across, so let that go. The basis for the series of "tours" is set when Del says that there is no area of life in which God has not spoken, therefore making "revealed truth" the focus. The theme of the series is also set as Del indicates that "the world" has set itself up against the truth of God, making it a case of them against us. I have some serious trouble with that since "us" is nowhere near monolithic on some of the issues covered, but I guess that would be explained by indicating that those who don't toe the line are not really "believers." Truth is defined as that which corresponds to reality. Fine. The problem is that there are sometimes disconnects between "revealed truth" and "observed truth," and Del does not note in any way that there can be any reaction to that disconnect other than refusing to acknowledge "observed truth." The possibility that observed truth is "reality" makes it imperative that we be in a position to acknowledge that our understanding of "revealed truth" is in error, somewhat in the manner of the adjustments made to the church's teaching after Galileo. The idea that "now we see in a glass darkly" appears to be anathema to Del's worldview as he appears to be in the business of absolutes. There is a lot to be said about "the world" setting itself up against the things of God, but it isn't as clear cut as Del would have it...... on either side.

In His Love,

Saturday, May 30, 2009


I love snowpeas. Especially fresh from the garden, and eating a few while picking is not cheating.... it's experiencing. Lately, I've been playing with a dish featuring the green veggie du jour: I start steaming chopped onion, after a little while I add diced potato and then, after another little while the green veggie. I add a dash of cayenne for zip, and pepper just because, and then, when the veggie is just Chinesed* I put it in a bowl, add olive oil and stir.
Gardening is great!

*A term I picked up from somewhere that describes the way veggies are cooked in Chinese style; just past raw when the texture and flavor is changed, but the life is not cooked out of them.

Thursday, May 28, 2009

"The Truth Project" Project: Toward a critical analysis

I attend an Evangelical Friends Meeting, though I am far more "Quaker" than evangelical. I am happy in my church family and rarely do any difficulties arise, largely because I don't think that the proceedural conclusions reached by the earlier Quakers were the only answers to the concerns they were addressing. Occasionally, something will come up that causes some uneasiness for me, and one arose very recently: our Wednesday night adult study group took up "The Truth Project," sponsored by Focus on the Family. The idea of that project is to provide "a Christian worldview." My first reactions was, "'Christian worldview?' That's easy, read Matt 5:43 to the end of the chapter, which basically says that God loves everyone and we should try to be like God." No problem and no need for an elaborate program, right? All we need to do is figure out how to apply that worldview to our lives. I didn't think it was that simple to Dobson and crew. That little voice said, "Nate, you need to check this out." I guess I was nervous because, whatever good he has done and is doing, James Dobson has become a voice for conservative political Christianity. You may think that's fine. I don't. I don't think it is the business of Christians to try to make the kingdom of God into a kingdom of this world by legislating purely religious perceptions, partly because I don't want to live under Sharia under whatever particular perception of God gains political power.
SO.... I did what checking I could do online, but I still went to the youth group meetings on Wednesday night where I have been a sponsor for years. Ok, I was hedging, but I checked, right? Aside from factual checking such as titles of different lessons, I found a few commentors that seemed hostile to the program among a sea of comments indicating that it was the best thing since sliced bread. Then, as I casually kept track of what was going on, checking in from time to time, I ran into Del Tacket's tax day blog http://deltackett.com/2009/04/15/tax-day-who-is-carrying-all-the-bricks/ in which the "tour guide" for the studies of "The Truth Project" complains about the comparative tax loads of different people, relating it to how many bricks each is required to carry. Right off the bat I thought that this did not sound like it was coming from a "Christian worldview." Why? To start with our attitude toward possessions is that we are stewards of what belongs to God, and somewhere Paul said something about our governments being instituted by God and acting as His agents to maintain order, and that paying taxes were part of the program. Second, I remembered a little lesson in economics that Jesus gave in which He indicated that the number of bricks (I don't recall Him using that wording, but, you know) was not the point, but how many bricks the contributor had in the first place. We call that lesson the parable of the widow's mite. "Nate," that little voice said to me, "This sounds more like a politically conservative worldview, and I don't think this is what a Christian worldview should be teaching, you better attend the sessions and see what is going on." So I started, a little late, but highly interested, and I asked to use the dvd's already covered to catch up. Over the next little while, I hope to cover what I have found and am finding. I am not hostile to the program as a whole, and I find a LOT of good there, but it is laced with some VERY questionable materiel. I doubt seriously that my little musings will affect the program or participation in it, but I gotta put out the information that I see, let God use it for His purposes or allow it to fall by the wayside.
This seems to be a pretty big project for my little blog, and it's not all that interesting to many Quakers in any case, and I SURE don't want my blogging to be all about this kinda stuff, but it's one of the things heavy on my heart right now.

In His Love,

Friday, May 22, 2009

What am I DOing?

So, I'm minimally competent technologically and adrift on the sea of the world wide web. I've been having a wonderful time giving bloggers a bad time and posting on message boards after a fairly extensive trip into chatrooms. So why stick my neck out and blog on my own? How risky is it? Who's gonna pay any attention to me? (With THAT thought, maybe the risk element isn't that great after all). Well, occasionally things come up that I want to talk about and I don't really have an appropriate vehicle to do so. Therefore I launch this bird and see how it flies.

My concerns, at least to start, will deal with faith and community, primarily in a Quaker setting, with special interest in convergence, renewal and youth ministry.