FrJody.com

Musings of an Anglican/Episcopal Priest

Month: January 2004

Old Testament Homily

Current mood: Okay-2 blah

The following is a homily I wrote for my Old Testament II course. The assignment was a hypothetical situation, so some of the oddity can be explained by that.

Old Testament II

Jody Howard

“My son, do not despise the Lord’s discipline or be weary of his reproof, for the Lord reproves him whom he loves, as a father the son in whom he delights.” (Prov. 3:11-12 ESV)

Discipline, correction, responsibility; these are not popular terms. We too often lack discipline, resent correction and avoid responsibility. In fact, we are always more eager to accuse another of failing than we are to be disciplined, corrected or called on our own lack of responsibility. I see some of you squirming now; I know I am. I do not enjoy being corrected or having my failings discussed, brought into the light of day–partly because they are so numerous. Yet, I know that this is necessary for me to grow as a person and as a Christian. Perfection cannot be improved upon; so if I deceive myself into believing or even acting as if I am, then I will stagnate. My life and my faith will no longer be dynamic or vibrant; I will truly be dead. (Throw some dirt on me, stick a fork in me, I’m done!)

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Josh Joplin Lyrics

Current mood: Silly quixotic

Current music: Josh Joplin Group – Superstar

Miguel sits at the corner store with skin like terra cotta pottery

Waiting for a bus, a bus

With a hat like Billy Jack’s, a smile like Freddie Prinz

He comes and he goes with the dust

Looking out his window world as the desert skies open up and introduce

The stars that dance in space

But he falls fast asleep with a dream that he keeps

Underneath his pillow case

CHORUS

Carry me whoever you are

I’m waiting with masses for the rites of passage

wishing on a superstar

Stacy adds to her billfold and slides down a brass pole

For free drinks and a bigger tip

Posing from a good home that haunts when she’s all alone

She sheds what she cannot strip

CHORUS

Show us the Way, show us the way

Cause we want to be loved and we want to be saved

And we all want to be ok, and we all want to be ok

But we don’t have the means to pay

And I don’t have the means to pay

CHORUS

Miguel sits at the corner store smoking on a cigarette

He bummed off a punk in gangsta hood

Stacy takes a drag and puts her hands on his back

And they walk like they’re Holly wood

CHORUS

A Verse for the Church

“Woe to the shepherds who destroy and scatter the sheep of my pasture!” declares the Lord. Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, concerning the shepherds who care for my people: “You have scattered my flock and have driven them away, and you have not attended to them. Behold, I will attend to you for your evil deeds, declares the Lord.” (Jer. 23:1-2)

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Everybody Needs them

Confused Current mood: contemplative

Current music: Foo Fighters: This is a call

We all need heros:

The lesson repeatedly cast by those close to Todd Beamer is that life is short and should be spent working to serve others rather than pursuing worldly ends. In the past few decades, American Evangelicals have been increasingly energized and creative as they have risen to this very challenge. But as Evangelicals are slowly discovering, active engagement in the world is fraught with dangers, difficulties, and ethical quandaries, as the efforts of Doug MacMillan and Lisa Beamer poignantly illustrate.

The New Pantagruel: About Jonathan Edwards

Current mood: awake

Current music: Firewater – I Still Love You, Judas

Another good commentary from New Pantagruel, this time related to Jonathan Edwards:

Unlike contemporary conservative or “paleo-orthodox” Calvinists in the Anglo-Scottish tradition, Skillen rejects Edwards’ covenantal theology. Skillen argues, as does Noll in America’s God: From Jonathan Edwards to Abraham Lincoln, that “Puritan” covenantalism (Skillen declines to call it “Calvinist”) has led Evangelicals to a private religious pietism as the covenanted people: “Individuals ‘getting right with God’ is more important than the maturation of the church as the visible community of God’s people.” If this does not lead to sheer withdrawal from the national public, Skillen says, it leads to the conflation of the state with the church:

{Read it all}

More dead folk

Current mood: contemplative

Current music: Various Artists – White Freightliner Blues

I wasn’t aware of it but Neil Postman went over to the majority in October. I’ve read several of postman’s essays and I think his voice was one that was–and still is–very important to our culture. The New Pantagruel has a very interesting tribute authored by Read Mercer Schuchardt, one of Postman’s former students.

While Neil was not himself religious, he was nevertheless a friend to religion, and to those who were believers. Like so many things, he was surprisingly good at contributing to those fields in which he was not a specialist. His Jewish background, race, and overall mensch-ness allowed Dr. Postman to particularly enjoy the irony of being most widely read and revered in, of all places, Germany. This was but one of many implicit ways that he taught his students to value the position of the outsider as the one who could best see in and through the semantic environments created by media and technology. He wore as a badge of honor the fact that he never once published a scholarly (refereed) article, while at the same time he was quoted by all those who were published in the official journals. He saw, as most communication departments historically have seen, that the real motivation behind studying communication media and its effects was to prevent another holocaust.

{Read it all}

Another Postman Article

Current mood: cheerful

Current music: Various Artists – Highway Kind

Another one. . .

Another article relating to Postman’s demise.

With the circus that was the California recall election dominating the news this week, the death of author and media critic Neil Postman didn’t get the attention it deserved. But that wouldn’t have surprised Postman one bit. He wrote one of the great books of media criticism of our time, “Amusing Ourselves to Death: Public Discourse in the Age of Show Business,” which even when it was published in 1985 all but predicted Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Hollywood-style gubernatorial campaign and the media frenzy that would accompany it. Postman understood better than anyone that television has inextricably changed the nature of debate, and that in politics entertainment now reigns supreme.

{Read it all}

R.I.P

Current mood: content

Current music: Taj Mahal – Ooh Poo Pah Doo

R.I.P

Rest in peace? Some people don’t think they will if they let the Mormons posthumously baptize them. There’re some words of reason from Rabbi Shmuley Boteach:

I could not care less if the Mormons baptize me after I’m dead. It won’t affect me. I’ll always be a Jew–in this life and the next. If this is part of Mormon practice and belief, and they do it in the privacy of their own ritual, and it doesn’t affect me in the slightest, why should I care? People’s beliefs are their own business. It’s how they treat others that is everyone’s business. What I care about is how much the Mormons support Israel today, not what they do with Jewish souls in what they regard as the afterlife.

Far from being my sentiment alone, this is a pivotal Jewish teaching: “It is the action [and not dogma] which is most important.”

{Read it all}

Comments from a friend

I thought this comments from a friend in the Presbyterian Church USA were particularly insightful and could (sadly) describe the state of affairs in many of the old-line protestant denominations. I asked him what the state of affiars were in the PCUSA and this is a portion of his response. Quite good I think. . .

Overall, things remain relatively quiet in the PCUSA, with no firestorms on the immediate horizon. Longterm? Well, I don’t think the longterm looks all that promising. We still have a latent split in the denomination, with “conservatives” who know who they hate but not what they believe (remember, they have a “relationship,” not a religion) on one side, on the other, we have the liberals, who don’t know anything.

sound familiar anyone?

One side is convinced the church is bleeding to death because we aren’t tolerant enough, the other is blithely convinced that we can pack the pews again if only we can assure people that they’ll never have to sit beside a gay man at church. And, off in the dark corners, whispering as ghosts from the past, we traditionalists sit muttering “Get a doctrine, they will come. ‘Everyone welcome’ is not a doctrine. ‘God hates fags’ is not a doctrine. If we believe in nothing, why should anyone feel invited to believe with us?”

That is perhaps the best synopsis I’ve read yet. . . why indeed, if all we do is argue over nothing. Where is the substance, where is the Gospel? We’ve been over-run by self-helpist new-agers and anti-intellectual bible-bangers–where are the traditionalists, where, my Anglican friends, is the Via Media. . . I feel, as Dr. Ephraim Radner pointed out, that the votes in MN have taken away the “space” to think, to judge, to reflect and most importantly to act as the Church. We are factionalized, we are ill informed and lack an interest in not only our denominational histories, but in even in Christianity. I’d wager one could teach a free course on Christianity and a free course on any number of other faiths, especially eastern or New Age and there would be more interest from the people in the pews for the latter than there would be for the former. Where is the teaching ministerium? Perhaps it is right that our Presbyterian Brothers and sisters have resisted the slide longer than we, since they have traditionally placed a greater emphasis on this ministry, but it is something Christendom needs to reclaim, particularly in the post-Christian, Post-Industrial, post-post west.

A little clarity from Everclear

Current mood: cheerful

Current music: Ralph Stanley: Joking Henry

a little clarity from Everclear

I was listening to some music the other day after read Galations and thought about this passage when the song was playing:

“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:2, ESV)

EVERYTHING TO EVERYONE

You put yourself in stupid places.

Yes, I think you know it’s true.

Situations where it’s easy to look down on you.

Think you like to be the victim.

Think you like to be in pain.

I think you make yourself the victim

Almost every single day.

You do what you do.

You say what you say.

You try to be everything to everyone.

You know all the right people.

You play all the right games.

You always try to be everything to everyone.

Yeah, you do it again.

You always do it again.

You say they taught you how to read and write.

Yeah, they taught you how to count.

I say they taught you how to buy and sell

Your own body by the pound.

I think you like to be the simple toy.

I think you love to play the clown.

I think you are blind to the fact that

The hand you hold is the hand that holds you down.

You do what you do.

Yeah, you say what you say.

You try to be everything to everyone.

You know all the right people.

You play all the right games.

You always try to be everything to everyone.

Spin around and fall down.

Do it again.

Yeah, you stumble and you fall.

Yeah, why won’t you ever learn?

Spin around and fall down.

Do it again.

Yeah, you stumble and you fall.

I wonder if you’ll ever learn.

Yeah, why won’t you ever learn?

Come on, do that stupid dance for me.

Ooh, yeah.

You do what they tell you to.

You say what they say.

You try to be everything to everyone.

Yeah, you jump through the big hoops.

You play all the right games.

You try to be everything to everyone.

Spin around and fall down.

Do it again.

You stumble and you fall.

Yeah, you do it again.

Spin around and fall down.

Do it again.

You stumble and you fall.

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