Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Merry Christmas 2014

Here are a few of my favourite Christmas carols. May your Christmas day and season be blessed.

Sussex Carol


On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
On Christmas night all Christians sing
To hear the news the angels bring
News of great joy, news of great mirth
News of our merciful King's birth

Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad
Then why should men on earth be so sad
Since our Redeemer made us glad
When from our sin He set us free
All for to gain our liberty

When sin departs before His grace
Then life and health come in its place
When sin departs before His grace
Then life and health come in its place
Angels and men with joy may sing
All for to see the newborn King

All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night
All out of darkness we have light
Which made the angels sing this night
Glory to God and peace to men
Now and forever more, amen

Songwriters
English Traditional

Good King Wenceslas

I found the anime in this video quite charming.



Good King Wenceslas looked out
on the feast of Stephen,
when the snow lay round about,
deep and crisp and even.
Brightly shown the moon that night,
though the frost was cruel,
when a poor man came in sight,
gathering winter fuel.

Hither, page, and stand by me.
If thou know it telling:
yonder peasant, who is he?
Where and what his dwelling?
Sire, he lives a good league hence,
underneath the mountain,
right against the forest fence
by Saint Agnes fountain.

Bring me flesh, and bring me wine.
Bring me pine logs hither.
Thou and I will see him dine
when we bear them thither.
Page and monarch, forth they went,
forth they went together
through the rude wind's wild lament
and the bitter weather.

Sire, the night is darker now,
and the wind blows stronger.
Fails my heart, I know not how -
I can go no longer.
Mark my footsteps my good page,
tread thou in them boldly:
Thou shalt find the winter's rage
freeze thy blood less coldly.

In his master's step he trod,
where the snow lay dented.
Heat was in the very sod
which the saint had printed.
Therefore, Christian men, be sure,
wealth or rank possessing,
ye who now will bless the poor
shall yourselves find blessing

Love Came Down at Christmas


Love came down at Christmas
Love all lovely, love divine
Love was born at Christmas
Star and angels gave the sign.

Worship we the Godhead
Love incarnate, love divine
Worship we our Jesus
But wherewith for sacred sign?

Love shall be our token
Love shall be yours and love be mine
Love to God and to all men
Love for plea and gift and sign...

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Evolving

That's a loaded term in some circles, I know. For many years, evolution, along with creation and the origins of things was something that concerned me greatly. My first thoughts regarding such things came about in second grade. I'd obviously, either in school or television, learned about dinosaur fossils and couldn't reconcile that knowledge with the creation stories in Genesis. I searched in earnest in my teens and twenties, then came children and other theological issues, so I gave it a rest, not believing in a strict six day creation, but still trying to figure out what place scripture held and how to interpret them.

The faith tradition I grew up in basically revolved around the Bible and the doctrines that tradition had developed around it. It became a law book and proof text, so that is how I understood the Bible. I'm very grateful for the teaching I received, particularly in my Sunday school classes at the Blue Starr Church of Christ. Unfortunately, regarding the Bible as a law book meant missing really important things, such as Jesus and all he means. It's not that Jesus wasn't important, but he wasn't as important as having the right doctrines and understanding. That makes for a weak saviour, not an all powerful one. I realize now that the faith translated to me was a form of gnosticism. Certainly this wasn't intentional, but as with all things, we humans skew what is meant for good.

So now, at the older age I am, I have experienced the Christian life in communities of the Church of Christ, Episcopalian, Anglican, Lutheran, and now Church of the Brethren, and I've learned good things from them all. One might think I'm simply fickle, and there may be a bit to that, though in fact there have been times I've probably stayed too long in a faith community to ensure that wasn't part of my motivation. I actually have to experience a lot of pain to make so significant a move.

As is probably obvious, my views of both scripture and the church have changed, or to use the loaded term, evolved. It's been an incredible process and I imagine it will continue to be, though at times it has been quite painful and frightening. What I hope is to fiercely hold to what is true without belittling what I have reached past and without fearing what may come.  Peter Enns posted a meditation by Richard Rohr not long ago. In it he says:
You have to learn from each stage, and yet you can’t completely throw out previous stages, as most people unfortunately do. In fact, a fully mature person appropriately draws upon all earlier stages. “Transcend and include” is Ken Wilber’s clever aphorism here. Most people immensely overreact against their earlier stages of development, and earlier stages of history, instead of still honoring them and making use of them (e.g. liberal, educated Christians who would be humiliated to join in an enthusiastic “Jesus song” with their Evangelical brothers and sisters even though they would intellectually claim to believe in Jesus, or adults who can no longer play, or rational people who completely dismiss the good of the non-rational).
 The journey is continuing. In fact, my Sunday school class will be reading Scot McKnight's book, The Blue Parakeet, and a theological reading group I'm part of will be reading Peter Enn's new book, The Bible Tells Me So. It will be interesting to see where this may lead, especially now that I'm no longer afraid, (at least not much), because my faith is in the one faithful one, and not my own understanding of him.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

Returning

After over a year long sabbatical, I am returning to blogging. For a while, I thought I'd start fresh and create a new blog, but I've decided otherwise. Whether or not that was a good decision, we'll soon see! Some of my perspectives have changed and I'm sure that will come through in what I write and in the links I share, but isn't that to be expected?

I hope you will continue to enjoy this site if you have in the past. Welcome back. If you are new, I hope you will find ideas and thoughts of interest and worth. Welcome. Please use the comments section and keep the conversation going.

Pax