Friday, February 21, 2014

The Toymaker loves his Broken Toys

From Saint Paul's letter to the Church in Corinth:
"Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends."

Friends, this it what its all about; we are loved by God beyond our comprehension.  This is the starting point.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Reverie before Work on a Thursday

The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.
Psalm 34:18

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Wednesday Thoughts -- Checking the pH level of your inkwell

The temperature will be approaching 60 today, here in Suburbia Majora, a reminder that the month could just as easily be called "Fluxuary" here in Virginia.  Or, I could wring my hands like the warmist church and cry "Global Warming!", but I both digress and snark.

The Catbird Seat in on its way back to getting up on plane after nearly a year's hiatus.  Though it may have appeared as either sloth or boredom on my part, the cobwebs were intentional.  Following a tumultuous period, I needed a time of focus and introspection; a time of self-examination and time of directional reorientation.  Both proved very necessary and very helpful.  Before returning to the keyboard, some timely thoughts began to brew up in my head that I hope may have been divinely inspired.  I hope these insights will be helpful guiding principles while sitting in the seat.  Too, some helpful insights have been called in from others.  Underground Pewster, your wisdom and wit are always timely, Thanks.

A seemingly odd thought popped into my mind (not that that's so unusual), that went something along the lines of "you need to check the pH level of your ink well.  I took High School Chemistry and College Biology so my knowledge of chemistry is at best, average.  At first go, the thought seemed just quirky, random and bordering on "B'wuh?". The thought stuck so I rolled it around and analyzed it.  pH is the measurement of acidity, normally in a liquid.  The pH scale spans from from liquids like battery acid up to liquids like ammonia or liquid chlorine.  We can see highly toxic and dangerous substances at both ends of this scale.  The more I considered it, it became clear that this thought pertained to the outpourings here on the blog.

Clearly, the streaming electrons that make up the 1's and 0's which ultimately form on the screen as text have no pH value.  Yet, it could easily be acidic or caustic in its content.  So, how about an alternative meaning for the abbreviation; pH could represent "potential for holiness", or "potential for helpfulness".  Or, maybe it just speaks about keeping a healthy balance to what pours out of the heart through the fingertips and onto the keyboard.

When you put thoughts and opinions out for public consumption, you put yourself in the cross hairs.  Any given reader will react to bloviations in ways unique to their own makeup.  I get this.  I will though, try to write with a feather pen not a sledgehammer. 


Saturday, February 15, 2014

Quod facit differentiam in anno

What a difference a year makes!  Today, my blood pressure was 124/72 with a pulse of 75.  This time last year, it was hovering at 170/108 with a pulse of 120.  Its an absolute truth that stress is a killer and I have to wonder if I'd still be here without the change of scenery.

A New Catechism -- Initial Thoughts

Its a cold, rainy Saturday morning here in Suburbia Majora, 33 Degrees and a hair's breadth away from icy roads and walkways...  The perfect time to reflect on some recent reading.

Earlier this month, I downloaded the draft of the Anglican Church in North America's (ACNA) new Catechism.  I'm still reading through it but I have to say that so far, I'm impressed.  Its clear that the the ACNA task force members put prayer, time, thought and energy into its creation.  I'm confident that the final version will be an excellent product.  In its current form, it is 72 pages with 345 questions along with three appendices.  Thorough may be an understatement.  Initially, a few things have stood out strongly in my mind.

There is an intentionality to this document and its view towards the Catechesis and I find this SO refreshing.  Historically, the instruction of new converts was a lengthy process, lasting up to two years.  Today, that process can be reduced to days, hours or even in situations where I've witnessed, minutes.  I'm not saying that we need to return to the multi-year long instruction, But I am saying that the Catechesis needs to be deliberate, and structured.  This is tantamount to "infant nutrition" for newborn believers.  Its lack may explain why we encounter so many in the church whose faith is anemic and stunted.  So, well done on this first critical point.

Another thing that has caught my attention is the Catechism's view towards Salvation.  I believe it strikes a healthy balance in instructing the Catechumen in the fact that we are saved both communally and individually.  I believe the 1979 Catechism missed this, leaning too much towards the communal aspect paired with baptismal regeneration.  This seemed almost reactionary towards the American Evangelical view of salvation which comes off looking like an individual sport where community is of little consequence.  The document seems to capture the truth that, though Christ's atonement was sufficient to save all of humanity, we as individual humans must turn to Christ in repentance that redemption may be appropriated.

These are just a few things that jumped off the page.  I'll have more thoughts in the coming days.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Sunset on Monday

Anyone with a nodding acquaintance with AA could probably cite their version of the "Serenity Prayer" from memory.  It is a very succinct prayer that states "God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change, The courage to change the things I can, And wisdom to know the difference."  This is a very truncated version of the actual prayer attributed to the American Theologian, Reinhold Niebuhr.  The prayer in its original form actually reads this way:
"God, give me grace to accept with serenity the things that cannot be changed, Courage to change the things which should be changed, and the Wisdom to distinguish the one from the other. Living one day at a time, Enjoying one moment at a time, Accepting hardship as a pathway to peace, Taking, as Jesus did, This sinful world as it is, Not as I would have it, Trusting that You will make all things right, If I surrender to Your will, So that I may be reasonably happy in this life, And supremely happy with You forever in the next."  Amen.
I've found this prayer to be far stronger than I've ever thought and have received great comfort in it today.

Sunday, February 09, 2014

Reverie on a Sunday Afternoon

From the back of the book...
"I turned around to see the voice that was speaking to me. And when I turned I saw seven golden lampstands, and among the lampstands was someone like a son of man,fn dressed in a robe reaching down to his feet and with a golden sash around his chest. The hair on his head was white like wool, as white as snow, and his eyes were like blazing fire. His feet were like bronze glowing in a furnace, and his voice was like the sound of rushing waters. In his right hand he held seven stars, and coming out of his mouth was a sharp, double-edged sword. His face was like the sun shining in all its brilliance. When I saw him, I fell at his feet as though dead. Then he placed his right hand on me and said: “Do not be afraid. I am the First and the Last. I am the Living One; I was dead, and now look, I am alive for ever and ever! And I hold the keys of death and Hades."  Rev 1:12-18

Thursday, February 06, 2014

Words from J.I. Packer

Years before answering the call to "Swim the Thames" and set off on the Canterbury Trail, I had the privilege to read works by some of our modern Anglican minds such as John Stott and J.I. Packer.  Stott has joined that mighty cloud of witnesses and is now watching us run the race.  J.I. Packer is still with us and every day that we have him here should be counted a blessing.

Packer has contributed greatly to the Catechism of the Anglican Church in North America, which is still in draft form.  Anecdotally, I've have heard that these were made on a manual typewriter.  I'm putting together my reflections on that document and will be posting them soon.

J.I. Packer has shared his thoughts on the importance of confronting heresy with Christianity Today Magazine.  You can find them here.

Wednesday, February 05, 2014

Back in the Seat

Pretty dusty around here, and its been quite some time since I've taken the time to aggravate the carpal nerves in my wrists.  

I'm on this morning to say that my self-imposed exile from the blogosphere has ended and  The Catbird Seat will soon be back in operation.

Let the Opinin' begin...