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Archive for November, 2008

Weekly Meanderings

I’ve been out of town or with family the last two weekends, but I’m back now and glad to say…here’s some stuff I came across this week (and the weeks before)…

1. Ben Witherington’s post on Calvinism and certainty and John Piper
2. Most blogged NT scripture
3. Scot McKnight reviews “Losing God: Clinging to Faith Through Doubt and Depression
4. Tony Jones blesses gay marriage and ordination
5. This is a Hitler/Emergent Village/inside humor amalgam of weirdness…but it’s funny if you know all the main players in the emerging church.
6. Obama and anti-intellectualism
7. Is there a social upheaveal-zombie movie index
8. Guitar Hero and the music industry
9. Onion powered iPod (seriously)
10. The civil war in four minutes
11. Saturn moon plumes may contain water
12. Tony Romo is a nice guy
13. Rock, Chalk, Jayhawk, KU!
14. Game of the week!

Have a great weekend!

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The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with weary feet,
Until it joins some larger way,
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.

Roads go ever ever on,
Over rock and under tree,
By caves where never sun has shone,
By streams that never find the sea;
Over snow by winter sown,
And through the merry flowers of June,
Over grass and over stone,
And under mountains of the moon.

Roads go ever ever on
Under cloud and under star,
Yet feet that wandering have gone
Turn at last to home afar.
Eyes that fire and sword have seen
And horror in the halls of stone
Look at last on meadows green
And trees and hills they long have known.

The Road goes ever on and on
Out from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
Let others follow it who can!
Let them a journey new begin,
But I at last with weary feet
Will turn towards the lighted inn,
My evening-rest and sleep to meet.

He used often to say there was only one Road; that it was like a great river: its springs were at every doorstep, and every path was its tributary. “It’s a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door,” he used to say. “You step into the Road, and if you don’t keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to. Do you realize that this is the very path that goes through Mirkwood, and that if you let it, it might take you to the Lonely Mountain or even worse places?” He used to say that on the path outside the front door at Bag End, especially after he had been out for a long walk.

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Sometimes it seems as though life is an endless series of traditions. Every nation, culture, tribe and family engages in a wide variety of traditional and ritualistic behavior. These traditions are passed from generation to generation. Often the original meaning of the tradition is lost and the ritual may change over time, but there is something about repeating a familiar act that is comforting to each of us.

When I was a boy growing up, one of my family’s thanksgiving traditions was to sit around the television on thanksgiving eve and watch “The Mouse and the Mayflower.” This short cartoon told the story of the pilgrim’s crossing the Atlantic Ocean on the ship Mayflower all through the eyes of a small mouse. I am not going to argue the historical accuracy of the cartoon, but I mention it because approximately one third of the way into the movie the pilgrims sing a song called, “Elbow Room.” This song spoke specifically about the cramped quarters on the ship, but it also spoke metaphorically about the pilgrim’s hope to find a space in the New World where they could be free to follow their spiritual leadings. As we study how religion was imported into the American colonies in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries, it becomes apparent that many people and people groups came to the colonies in search of “elbow room.” (more…)

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Purring by Coleman Barks

The internet says science is not sure
how cats purr, probably
a vibration of the whole larynx,
unlike what we do when we talk.

Less likely, a blood vessel
moving across the chest wall.

As a child I tried to make every cat I met
purr. That was one of the early miracles,
the stroking to perfection.

Here is something I have never heard:
a feline purrs in two conditions,
when deeply content and when
mortally wounded, to calm themselves,
readying for the death-opening.

The low frequency evidently helps
to strengthen bones and heal
damaged organs.

Say poetry is a human purr,
vessel mooring in the chest,
a closed-mouthed refuge, the feel
of a glide through dying.

One winter morning on a sunny chair,
inside this only body,
a far-off inboard motorboat
sings the empty room, urrrrrrrhhhh
urrrrrrrhhhhh
urrrrrrrhhhh

“Purring” by Coleman Barks from Winter Sky: New and Selected Poems, 1968–2008. © University of Georgia Press, 2008.

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Facilitating Growth: Acts 2

The focus of today’s message stems from the second half of Acts 2:47. Luke writes, “And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.” We’re going to look a little closer at this passage later, but I want you to focus for a few minutes on that one sentence: the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

How many people has the Lord added to our number today? Anyone? No one that I know of. How many has the Lord added to our number in the last week or even the last month? In the last year how many have been added to the number of saved here at this church? Maybe twenty? Maybe ten? Maybe five? Maybe one?

I don’t know the answer to that question; I’m new here at this church. But for the early church Luke writes that the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved. I would suggest to you that we need to allow the Lord to add to our number, and if we are effective followers of Christ then that addition should and could occur daily. (more…)

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Two roads diverged in a yellow wood,
And sorry I could not travel both
And be one traveler, long I stood
And looked down one as far as I could
To where it bent in the undergrowth;

Then took the other, as just as fair,
And having perhaps the better claim,
Because it was grassy and wanted wear;
Though as for that the passing there
Had worn them really about the same,

And both that morning equally lay,
In leaves no step had trodden black.
Oh, I kept the first for another day!
Yet knowing how way leads on to way,
I doubted if I should ever come back.

I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I —
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference.

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Protestant Christianity was a great influence on the United States in the early and mid nineteenth century. However, it could also be truly said that the United States of the early and mid nineteenth century was a great influence on Protestant Christianity. Over the thirty years before the civil war, both pro and anti slavery groups attempted to use their religion to support their views on slavery. Abolitionists turned to the Biblical passages which spoke of all followers of Christ as brothers; supporters of slavery turned to the passages which required slaves to obey their masters. It was a time when Christianity did not so much shape the morals of society as the society shaped the morals of Christianity. (more…)

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