Archive for May, 2012

Is Mormonism Ridiculous?

May 30, 2012

Think of this post as a sin offering in response to my gross negligence in regular posting here. The simultaneous roles of teacher and student have got me all bogged down, so here is a provocative item on another blog on one of my favorite subjects. It is very thoughtfully presented, despite the slightly outrageous headline. But, first a tid-bit.

… Discussion of Mormonism in the media tends to reveal the fundamentally unethical way that Americans think about religion, engaging in reductionism, decontextualization, and stereotyping.  It is not enough to suggest that all religious are equally silly (a point Bill Maher’s Religulous makes not in defense of religion, but against it).  This perspective represents a failure to understand religion at all.

Now, enjoy!

Is Mormonism Ridiculous?.

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Collect for Whitsunday, commonly called Pentecost

May 28, 2012

O GOD, who as at this time didst teach the hearts of thy faithful people, by sending* to them the light of thy Holy Spirit; Grant us by the same Spirit to have a right judgment in all things, and evermore to rejoice in his holy comfort; through the merits of Christ Jesus our Saviour, who liveth and reigneth with thee, in the unity of the same Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

Collect for the Ascension Day

May 16, 2012

GRANT, we beseech thee, Almighty God, that like as we do believe thy only-begotten Son our Lord Jesus Christ to have ascended into the heavens; so we may also in heart and mind thither ascend, and with him continually dwell, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Ghost, one God, world without end. Amen.

There are no self-made men (or women!)

May 14, 2012

The Rogation Days and Ascensiontide are among my favorite passages of the church year. The themes of divine providence, human dependence, and the goodness of creation are vivid in the liturgical readings. The Morning Prayer Old Testament lesson today (Monday) is Deuteronomy 8, one of my favorites.

Yes, it is the grumpy Old Testament God speaking. The one who provides familial homesteads for his people, protects immigrants, forbids vengeance, and demands severance pay for freed slaves. Yep, that is the grumpy, ill-tempered, mean God of the Old Testament.

In this passage, the chosen people’s 40-year trek through the wilderness is ending and Moses addresses the people as they prepare to cross into the land promised to the Abraham, Issac and Jacob. Here, Moses addresses the thorny question of human suffering.
 
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Collect for the Rogation Days, being the three days before Ascension Day

May 13, 2012

ALMIGHTY God, Lord of heaven and earth; We beseech thee to pour forth thy blessing upon this land, and to give us a fruitful season; that we, constantly receiving thy bounty, may evermore give thanks unto thee in thy holy Church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

 

Collect for the Fifth Sunday after Easter, commonly called Rogation Sunday

May 12, 2012

O LORD, from whom all good things do come; Grant to us thy humble servants, that by thy holy inspiration we may think those things that are good, and by thy merciful guiding may perform the same; through our Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.

The Rogation Days: Sinners in the hands of a benevolent God

May 12, 2012

Those who follow a liturgical calendar, as do Anglicans, enjoy the advantage of regularly encountering the great themes of the bible, the doctrines by which we live. The lectionaries (I follow, with a few personal modifications, the 1945 version of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer) provide a robust sample of scripture in the Sunday readings and the assigned passages for Morning and Evening Prayer.

You may be thinking that “Rogation” has something to do with male pattern baldness, but The word comes from the Latin verb rogare, meaning “to ask,” This practice almost certainly had its beginning with pagan practices connected with putting in a new crop. The Rogation Days are the Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday before Ascension Thursday (another one of my favorite Christian feasts). On these days, Christians fasted and the church held processions around parish jurisdictions while they sang and recited the Great Litany. It is a time of solemn supplication. Sounds pretty dreary, huh?
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North Carolina vote on “same sex marriage” raises secular and religious questions

May 8, 2012

Rev. William Barber has called out the media for asking the wrong questions about “same-sex marriage.” There is much to be said about this matter, so if you are going to begin reading, please stick with it to the end. I think Rev. Barber is correct to separate the secular constitutional issue from the religious arguments. Though one may oppose “same-sex marriage,” it is a dangerous thing to argue for a government policy based on religious doctrine. The government that supports a church today could very easily lock up all the members tomorrow. Read history.

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Collect for the fourth Sunday after Easter

May 6, 2012

O ALMIGHTY God, who alone canst order the unruly wills and affections of sinful men; Grant unto thy people, that they may love the thing which thou commandest, and desire that which thou dost promise; that so, among the sundry and manifold changes of the world, our hearts may surely there be fixed, where true joys are to be found; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Ben Witherington: Critical Thinking— What Is it and Why is it Important to Believers?

May 1, 2012

Ben Witherington’s Bible and Culture blog has commentary on critical thinking. It can get you in a lot of trouble, so read with caution.

… You will notice that ‘critical thinking’ often comes up in the context of persons trying to decide what to believe and what not to believe. Unfortunately, ‘critical thinking’ has sometimes gotten a bad name, especially in very conservative Protestant circles because it is associated with people negatively assessing or even criticizing the Bible. This is unfortunate on various grounds …

Critical Thinking— What Is it and Why is it Important to Believers?.