Archive for the 'Uncategorized' Category

Lynch comments: Pope Francis: ‘Evolution Is Not Inconsistent With Creation’

October 28, 2014

It is a bit odd that the Pope has publicly gone on the record with the straight truth that everybody has known for around 200 years (maybe longer). This blog is not changing its name to “All Francis All the Time,” but he is the most influential churchman in the western church.

I would like to fine tune a point he was trying to make and I do not think he would object. He said that “God is not a magician.” Alright. That is close, but a little foggy. Theology requires precision, and I very often fall short.

I have a hard time getting the idea of God as “magician.” The magician performs by slight of hand and deception. Sometimes, as was the case in the Exodus account, they work with the demonic. Remember the snakes being eaten by Moses’ snakes? The magician analogy is shaky, at best.

Where we get all hung up is that it seems offensive for God to just let things develop when he certainly has almighty power to work his will instantly. The human mind imagines God walking impatiently back and forth, occasionally checking his watch, and wondering when creatures with backbones will finally crawl out of the ooz. We forget about God not existing in the material world and the limitations of time. In the infinite world of God, there is no time so a few billion years of evolution do not mean anything.

One more thing. You may be wondering if His Holiness is suggesting that God does not do miracles. Friends, I have no earthly idea. Let us hope and pray for the best. Here is a link to the story.

Pope Francis: ‘Evolution Is Not Inconsistent With The Notion Of Creation’.

 

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Francis, the not-so-nice, Pope #PopeFrancis #gaymarriage

October 24, 2014

The sacking of Cdl. Burke (former Archbishop of St. Louis) from the Roman court system ought to tell you something about the otherwise idealized Pontiff. Usually, one waits a few days or weeks in order to disguise one’s seething anger. I am sure that some of the participants in the Synod on the family had not reached home before the blade sliced Burke’s fleshy neck.

You people thinking about crossing over to Rome ought to give this some thought. Anglicans are disorganized to the point of embarrassment but you can still speak your mind. The Cardinal stands accused of standing up for the terrible doctrines. You know; the rigid and nitpickey rules that supposedly never change. Doctrine often gets in the way of what we think is right at the moment, and are we not the ultimate source of theological authority?

Burke scared the dog poop out of the moderates who never had an original thought in the first place. When the meetings start up again, Kasper and his crowd will have no opposition and Burke will be banned from speaking publicly. Just watch. Things are going to get very dull on EWTN. Christian marriage is a union between one man and one woman and may not be dissolved by divorce. That has nothing to do with gays.

Are gays to be welcomed into the church. Yes, indeed. All of us are sinners and needing repentance. Gay people are loved by God and the Christian Church, Christ’s body on earth, must provide constructive and respectful ministry. Disrespect and hurtful words are never to be directed at God’s beloved people.

No, I am not a Catholic, but I will tell you right now that what happens in Rome matters a lot to all human beings. The Roman Church, granting its many errors, has a powerful intellectual infrastructure that develops a modern understanding of ancient doctrine. We desperately need that institution which preserves theological tradition and Western culture.

Somewhere deep in the Vatican, Joe Ratzinger better be wearing out the knees of his pants begging God”s forgiveness for the seminal act that brought such a doctrinal weakling into office. This confusion will spill into the Protestant world making life harder for every observant Christian. Nonetheless, Jesus has promised to always be with us. Thank you Lord.

Evangelicals try to have it both ways #Houston5

October 20, 2014

My stance is entirely with the Houston, Texas ministers wrongly called to submit the texts of sermons to local government. Those writings are constitutionally protected in the same way as lawyer-client communications or information disclosed to a journalist. The historical record, dating back long before the nation’s founding, is very clear as are standing court decisions.

Nonetheless, I am having some problems with my argument, and the position of some conservative Christians. It is more than vexatious to sort our the case for a “wall of separation” between church and state. One of the major Christian groups is taking this position and there is a terrible gaping hole in the theory.

Evangelical Christians do not believe in a wall of separation between church and state. When they are calling the shots, the two operate in tandem and Christians have the upper hand. Stinking liberals and other social misfits can burn in the nether world. But now that the lesbians have taken over Houston city government, the Christian establishment rushes to build the very same wall they claim does not protect everybody else. Let me add that there have also been some folks touring the country promoting legislation that would allow government to interfere in the running of Islamic places of worship. Let us pray to the Good God in Heaven that none of those Houston lesbians decide to use Evangelical standards against the local clergy.

The American doctrine on religious liberty is mostly contained in two clauses of the First Amendment; the establishment clause and the provision for free exercise. The Houston ministers are protected from state meddling by the latter item. Christians of various types, Jews, Muslims, witches, pagans, and every other stripe of religious practitioner are kept safe by the former. Christians are under a divine command to make disciples of all nations and you can not very easily do that if Big Brother defines the nature of discipleship.

The Houston Five deserve our support, and we must all learn to think and speak more clearly when our rights are at stake.

 

 

Another cycle of the church year is almost here

November 24, 2013

This Sunday is the final week on the liturgical calendar. For Roman Catholics, and some others, this is Christ the King Sunday. When I was a child, this was celebrated a bit earlier in the fall and in Mobile there was a parade through downtown. We called it a “procession” All the grade schools, high schools, and bands marched along with groups from each parish. It was a gentle “in your face” for the majority Baptist population. They needed it.

The idea of taking a week in liturgical time came earlier in the 20th century and was a papal initiative. It was a much-needed corrective to rising tides of excessive nationalism. The thought was to remind Christians that Jesus Christ is our reigning King in heaven now, and soon coming King on earth, trumping all human governments and nations. That is such a good idea that I am almost persuaded to allow it in the private Anglican world in which only I have ever dwelt. I am not quite there, and today is the Sunday next before Advent. The Collect is one of the finest in the cycle of prayer and evokes quite an image.

STIR up, we beseech thee, O Lord, the wills of thy faithful people; that they, plenteously bringing forth the fruit of good works, may by thee be plenteously rewarded; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Cranky traditionalists like me plan their daily scripture readings and prayers around one of the many lectionaries. The American version of the 1928 Book of Common Prayer has two such arrangements; one from 1928 and the other from 1945. You can see both on the “Great Books” site.

My own reading program is typically based on the 1945, even though it has been rightly criticized for excluding passages dealing with anything unpleasant. It also makes a generous use of so-called apocryphal books. I correct this by looking ahead for the week and expanding the selections, where necessary. There are several fine Bible translations that include the necessary apocryphal books. The Church of England 1662 lectionary is good, as are many others. The Cradle of Prayer has texts and recordings for traditionalists (a bit dry for my taste but still useful).

If it is essential that you read the Daily Office (that’s what it is called) of Morning and Evening Prayer on your smartphone or other electronic device, The Mission of St. Claire has, so far as I can tell, the only game in town. Here is the link.  It is from the Episcopal Church (TEC). It is based on the 1979 Book of Common Prayer and has a little less Old Testament content and a tiny hint of politics . It’s still a good resource if you must load it on an electronic device.

Interested in Celtic practices? Try the Newumbria Community, I am really starting to like it! It includes a beautiful and short service for Compline (late evening) and other wonderful prayers and readings.

This blog contains two essays on the practical aspects of using the 1945 Daily Office Lectionary revision in the ’28 Book of Common Prayer. The Devotional use and specific instructions on how to use the 1945 lectionary may seem a little cumbersome at first, but the intention is to give you the use of a valuable spiritual tool and to take some of the mystery out of it.

This blog also features a four-part series of recorded lessons dealing with the church year. It is titled “Living in Sacred Time.” If you will search the contents (upper left hand column) you will be richly rewarded! The church calendar is a sound framework for the rythmn of prayer in a busy life.

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.

https://www.wordsearchbible.com/products/34530

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.

https://www.wordsearchbible.com/products/19925

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 (plynch@swbell.net). There are two copies left and I would be delighted to help you out!

Collect for the Thursday before Easter, commonly called Maundy Thursday

March 28, 2013

ALMIGHTY Father, whose dear Son, on the night before he suffered, did institute the Sacrament of his Body and Blood; Mercifully grant that we may thankfully receive the same in remembrance of him, who in these holy mysteries giveth us a pledge of life eternal; the same thy Son Jesus Christ our Lord, who now liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

A Prayer and Readings for Inauguration Day

January 21, 2013

Although the traditional American  Book of Common Prayer provides prayer and readings for Thanksgiving and Fourth of July, there is no such service for Inauguration Day. Here, are some collects taken from Evening Prayer and the “Prayers and Thanksgivings” section that might fill the gap.

A Prayer for The President of the United States, and all in Civil Authority.

ALMIGHTY God, whose kingdom is everlasting and power infinite; Have mercy upon this whole land; and so rule the hearts of thy servants THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, The Governor of this State, and all others in authority, that they, knowing whose ministers they are, may above all things seek thy honour and glory; and that we and all the People, duly considering whose authority they bear, may faithfully and obediently honour them, according to thy blessed Word and ordinance; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen.

For Our Country.

ALMIGHTY God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage; We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favour and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honourable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogancy, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy Name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth thy praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the day of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

A reading from Deuteronomy 17.

    “When you come to the land that the LORD your God is giving you, and you possess it and dwell in it and then say, ‘I will set a king over me, like all the nations that are around me,’ you may indeed set a king over you whom the LORD your God will choose. One from among your brothers you shall set as king over you. You may not put a foreigner over you, who is not your brother. Only he must not acquire many horses for himself or cause the people to return to Egypt in order to acquire many horses, since the LORD has said to you, ‘You shall never return that way again.’ And he shall not acquire many wives for himself, lest his heart turn away, nor shall he acquire for himself excessive silver and gold.
“And when he sits on the throne of his kingdom, he shall write for himself in a book a copy of this law, approved by the Levitical priests. And it shall be with him, and he shall read in it all the days of his life, that he may learn to fear the LORD his God by keeping all the words of this law and these statutes, and doing them, that his heart may not be lifted up above his brothers, and that he may not turn aside from the commandment, either to the right hand or to the left, so that he may continue long in his kingdom, he and his children, in Israel.
(Deuteronomy 17:14-20 ESV)

A reading from Romans 13.

    Let every person be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and those that exist have been instituted by God. Therefore whoever resists the authorities resists what God has appointed, and those who resist will incur judgment. For rulers are not a terror to good conduct, but to bad. Would you have no fear of the one who is in authority? Then do what is good, and you will receive his approval, for he is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword in vain. For he is the servant of God, an avenger who carries out God’s wrath on the wrongdoer. Therefore one must be in subjection, not only to avoid God’s wrath but also for the sake of conscience. For because of this you also pay taxes, for the authorities are ministers of God, attending to this very thing. Pay to all what is owed to them: taxes to whom taxes are owed, revenue to whom revenue is owed, respect to whom respect is owed, honor to whom honor is owed. (Romans 13:1-7 ESV)

Independence Day in the Prayer Book Tradition

July 3, 2012

The American 1928 Book of Common Prayer provides a Collect, Epistle and Gospel reading for Independence Day. This is in keeping with the prayerful observance of civil occasions in the Church of England. From this, we can safely suppose that the prayer book editors intended that God’s people might gather for Holy Communion to keep such an important event. This is no modern invention, nor did it arise from some perceived need to provide the proper “theatrics” in which one might plant a social message.(A search of the 1892 BCP Altar Service Book does not find a service for the Fourth, so this was likely  added in 1928.)

While the 1928 Prayer Book has numerous deficiencies, one may appreciate this section of liturgy since its editors are historically separated from the current political controversies. While considering the blessings of liberty announced on July 4, 1776, the editors selected an Old Testament passage as the Epistle reading. (The original biblical text came from the KJV, it is updated in more modern language here..)

For the LORD your God is God of gods and Lord of lords, the great, the mighty, and the awesome God, who is not partial and takes no bribe. He executes justice for the fatherless and the widow, and loves the sojourner, giving him food and clothing. Love the sojourner, therefore, for you were sojourners in the land of Egypt. You shall fear the LORD your God. You shall serve him and hold fast to him, and by his name you shall swear. He is your praise. He is your God, who has done for you these great and terrifying things that your eyes have seen. (Deut 10:17-21 ESV)

 
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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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Sitting around a courtyard fire with Peter

April 4, 2012

On some other late night, the courtyard fire at the High Priest’s house might have been comforting. Not that our kind had ever been welcomed by the temple rulers, but there is a certain healing quality to an evening breeze and an outdoor blaze. Not tonight. Suddenly, everything is upside down. Just a few hours ago, Jesus seemed to be on top of the world and ready to lead the revolt against those gloating, conceited Romans. He would have put those Sadducees and Pharisees in their places too.

But it is not so simple as that. There had been little signs, but none of us paid much attention. He was talking crazy talk. Going to the Father? Sending some sort of Helper? Now we are his friends, but wasn’t that always so? The crowds are wildly in love with Jesus, although that business of riding in on a donkey did seem rather odd. Jesus could be that way. He was different but he taught like nobody else. People just love him. Everybody is for Jesus.

No, I’m not from Galilee. Never met him in my life. You’re mistaken, I’m afraid.
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