Archive for April, 2013

So Jason Collins is gay. No foolin’? A Christian response #jasoncollins #livingthegospel

April 30, 2013

A big name NBA  player says he is a homosexual and that is certainly a big deal. Major sports figures have, or are presumed to have, a certain aura that, once upon a time, would have made such self-identification impossible. It was such an important development that President Obama, a mere politician and fallen human being, got right on the phone to offer support and congratulations.

One thing for sure is that the ultra-religious and exceedingly pious people at Westboro Church in Wichita will not be pleased. Note that I did not include in the name of this fractious bunch of numbskulls the name of a historic denomination that has been so misused by this gang of crackpots masquerading as followers of Jesus.

As one who has a rather large group of Christian friends, I do not know anybody, a-n-y-b-o-d-y, that harbors such delirious and horrifying attitudes towards homosexuals. Some of my Christian friends are not exactly liberal softies either. We all know gay folks personally. They are our neighbors and children. Gay folks are no more, or less, messed up than the rest of us.
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My summer class, Introducing the Old Testament, is forming now

April 29, 2013

This will be a very busy summer. It looks as if I will, again, be both student and teacher. With God’s help, the plan is for me to take the final two remaining classes in my Master of Ministry program at the Anglican School of Ministry, which has recently relocated to Durham, North Carolina. I will be taking “The history and practice of spiritual formation” and “Sacramental Theology.” Please keep me in your prayers.

The lesson plans for this summer’s introduction to the Old Testament are already being completed. This class will focus on the Doctrine of Biblical Inspiration and the OT continuity with the NT. I am inserting a bit of material on biblical narrative, because I am a lover of the Hebrew Bible and its marvelous storytelling techniques. We will be talking about covenant and law. I find this contrast to be very similar to the NT discussion of soteriology (personal salvation) versus kingdom (cosmic restoration). We will compare and contrast various versions of the canon. Genesis and Ancient Near East thought has not been overlooked either. There is a lot in this class and the syllabus link is Syllabus CFM OT. You should probably know that there will be an Intro to the New Testament offered in the fall and these two offerings compliment each other perfectly. These continuing ed classes are being conducted by Christian Foundations for Ministry and the school catalog is at this link CFM Catalog.

This is an outstanding learning opportunity for lay leaders and anybody interested in learning more about God’s word written. The course will begin on the week of June 4 and run for 12 consecutive weeks (with one or two off along the way). Yes, people travel during summer, but don’t be troubled about missing a meeting or two because they are all recorded and available (exclusively) to members of the group. This is a continuing education course. Students will do some reading, but there are no exams or papers. This is not an academic course and no academic credits are awarded.

The class is based on an excellent workbook from the Trinity School of Ministry in Pittsburgh and is presented from an orthodox Anglican perspective, which holds a high view of scripture. Students from other traditions will be perfectly comfortable in this group. The meetings are available “live” online with a limited number of “seats” available. Yes, this is a meeting in which distance students may participate. The cost is $150.00 per student (that includes the workbook), and there is a couples discount available ($275 per couple). The enrollment deadline is May 24 (but I am able to offer some “grace” to late comers). You may drop me a line at I will send you a The very simple enrollment form is available online here, and there is no extra enrollment fee.

On Dimbleby’s black tie, and other reflections on Margret Thatcher’s funeral

April 18, 2013

This was composed for my “Lynch at Large” blog, but since it contains a fair amount of theological content, here is the text for your consideration.

Those Brits just have a certain propriety that shatters our unfortunate American cultural disconnect from the past and good customs. David Dimbleby drew some media coverage in the UK over the past week because of his decision to don a black necktie for the television broadcast. Awesome. I endorse black tires for funereal attire and even own such an item. When the need ever arises, I expect it to be displayed around my lifeless neck at the wake.

In England, an undertaker is still called an “undertaker. According to Dimbleby, the company in charge of the corpse has been in the undertaking business since 1789. These are very nicely dressed undertakers, although I do not expect morning coats at my own final services. Hell, I will be lucky to have a funeral, so let’s not lose any sleep over the small stuff.

You learn all sorts of things at a funeral. For example, what kind of middle name is “Hilda?” I bet Thatcher’s haters would have had some fun with that if they only knew. The good bishop pointed out correctly the difference between a memorial service and a funeral. Thatcher clearly wanted the latter, which ceremonially demonstrates our common fate, our common destination in the grave, our sorry human condition, the shared need of a savior, and the holy Christian hope of resurrection and eternal life. It was a complete delight to learn that Thatcher seems to have had an excellent theological handle on the Doctrine of the Church, and our relationship with one another and Jesus in his own mystical body.

Here is an important liturgical addendum. Prime Minister David Cameron’s New Testament reading from John 14 continued all the way through the final verse. The phrase sometimes omitted in high-profile Episcopal services concludes, “no man cometh unto the Father but by me.” It is exclusivist language concerning the Lord Jesus Christ. High marks for the liturgical powers that be for doing what should be done at any Anglican funeral under all circumstances.

None of that memorial service nonsense for old Lyncho, and “celebration in remembrance” is even worse. Have you seen the dreadful ads from a very shrewd local business seeking to discourage people from decent traditional funerals? These rites can be expensive, and I am sorry to see the development. My advice is to pre-arrange. Undertakers, -errrr funeral directors, are professional people who can handle that kind of thing. Let me add that, if I should be found worthy of a funeral, and if any of you should be disposed to spend part of your day on me, please dress appropriately; muted colors, coats and ties, skirts (and perhaps even hats) for the ladies. (No kilts. I hang with some pretty weird types.) For the love of all that is good and right, it is a funeral. Also, let there be a big old Anglican thumbs-up for black liturgical vestments and a deep sigh for the namby-pamby, wishy-washy, gishy-goshy, weaklings who have substituted white for the more traditional color of death. This modern innovation tends to the error of universalism and a false belief that everybody is ultimately delivered to wherever neo-pagans think nice people end up. That is certainly a serious lie and needs correction.

The BBC coverage was way above average. Something rather odd was built into the process and it provided an interesting moment. The professional undertakers discretely delivered the remains to a chapel near the beginning of the procession. Cameras were allowed inside for a private moment when clergy prayed over the coffin before the military bearers arrived. In another circumstance, the high ambient noise would have prevented one from hearing the noise associated with the lifting of the coffin and resting it on the young men’s shoulders. It is rather noisy and one hears all of the orders. It is not “left, right,” but “inside, outside.” I wonder why we in the USA generally do not see a casket carried on the shoulders?

Finally, the protesters are a silly lot and completely out-of-line. For the love of might, the woman is dead. On this day or all days, leave her alone. At the grave, we stand united in grief and fallen humanity. Christians stand united in “the sure and certain hope of the resurrection.” So be it.


A great price on Word Search 9 Teaching Library on CD ROM for Mac and PC

April 15, 2013

This shameless bit of commercialization is a one-time offer. I have the Word Search 9 Teaching Package available new “in the box” on CD ROM at a great price – $75. This software is used in the Master of Ministry courses at the Anglican School of Ministry. I can personally attest that it is very useful. The downloaded Teaching Library version is listed at $129. You save $54.00. (Note: when you see Word Search 10 offered for sale on the web site, the $29.00 price is an UPGRADE for customers who already own an existing package in version 9 to Word Search 10).

The teaching library is quite comprehensive. Here is a bit of what you get.

• 14 Bibles (the ability to view parallel translations is one of the best parts of this package).
• several commentaries
• a good set of maps
• Calvin’s Institutes, Hodges Systematic Theology, Finey’s Systematic Theology
• Josephus
• Strong’s Concordance
• Strong’s Talking Greek and Hebrew Dictionary
• Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary (good resource!)
• Teacher’s commentary

Here is the link. See for yourself.

If you want better bible study software, go price Logos. The great thing about Word Search is that the basic cost is low and you can buy other books that are frequently packaged in economical and practical bundles – meaning you save a ton of money on excellent ebooks. Those “extras” include a number from the Reformed perspective. In fact, I just happen to have inherited the IVP (InterVarsity Press) 5 volume New Testament Dictionary bundle. Right now, Word Search is selling this set for $149.00 (which is a fine value!), I will sell it for $100.00. What’s in it? Here is the link. This is top of the line material! See for yourself.

PC users will need Microsoft Windows XP. Vista or Windows 7, The program requires 600 MB of hard drive space available and a DVD-ROM drive. Mac folks (like me) must be running 10.5 or later with an Intel processor. You will likewise need at least 600 MB of hard drive space along with the DVD-ROM. The specs say that audio features are not supported on Macs, but I think they have fixed that in WS 10.

Interested? Drop me a note TODAY ( There are two copies left and I would be delighted to help you out!

Bishop Philip Jones and a spiritual tsunami

April 12, 2013

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Collect for the first Sunday after Easter

April 7, 2013

ALMIGHTY Father, who hast given thine only Son to die for our sins, and to rise again for our justification; Grant us so to put away the leaven of malice and wickedness, that we may always serve thee in pureness of living and truth; through the merits of the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

The Collect for Monday in Easter Week

April 1, 2013

O GOD, whose blessed Son did manifest himself to his disciples in the breaking of bread; Open, we pray thee, the eyes of our faith, that we may behold thee in all thy works; through the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.