Back in October while in Montana with Eugene and my covenant brothers, I was kinda stunned in a serendipitous kinda way to learn part of his daily devotions often begin with prayers led by John Baillie's A Diary of Private Prayer (1949).
Always dating when I first open a book, I started, uh, using Baillie a month before my ordination back in April 1977.
Yeah, I know Baillie has done a lot more for him than me by reputation; but it was still kinda fun to learn...
As a Christian in that increasingly decreasingly small part of Christendom called the PCUSA, this laud caught my attention not too long ago: "I praise Thee that Thou hast caused me to be born in an age and in a land which have known His name."
True, I was born in an age and in a land that...
Today, uh, not so sure.
Any connection between Biblical Christianity and my "religious" franchise that seems so increasingly decreasingly determined to distance itself from Him along with America that seems even more increasingly decreasingly determined to distance itself from Him seems so increasingly decreasingly coincidental.
Or something like that.
Michael, my friend who manages Rain Dance Radio via www.live365.com/index.live, sent an interesting quote to me that kinda resonates with the preceding: "Someone walked into my old church and asked if it was religious cult? We replied, 'No, if this were a cult, there would be far more people here.'"
Kinda makes me think of...
Nope, not goin' there.
Jesus does weed 'em out before packin' 'em in.
Read the New Testament sometime for more on that.
And if you really wanna catch His drift(s) about religion gone wild and clergy gone apostate, check out Eugene's paraphrase/translation called The Message.
Do it the quick way.
Read the direct quotes of Jesus.
If Eugene had a red-letter edition, we could really save some time.
Moretheless, read what Jesus said about "religion" juxtaposed to a "relationship" with Him and how He felt about clergy and...
Obviously, lots of pewsitters and pulpiteers don't wanna go there.
It's hard to be authentic to Jesus when you're posing "religions" only coincidentally related to Him.
That's a preface to saying America is going down the toilet quicker than poop through a goose; and I'm not sensing anyone in the White House or who wanna get into it get it/Him.
Politically, economically, socially, and even religiously, America is in deepening do-do.
If you can't see that, you've got some real perception problems; meaning you're the kinda Doris Dayite who thinks the elephant in the room is only a mouse with glandular challenges.
Really, how many insults to God will He take before He's had it with our religious franchises and even country itself?
The Message: "Watch yourselves carefully so you don't get contaminated with Pharisee yeast, Pharisee phoniness...You can't hide behind a religious mask forever...Don't be bluffed into silence or insincerity by the threats of religious bullies. True, they can kill you, but then what can they do?...Stand up for Me...and the Son of Man will stand up for you...But if you pretend you don't know Me, do you think I'll defend you before God's angels?...If you're knowingly attacking God Himself, taking aim at the Holy Spirit, that won't be overlooked" (Luke 12).
Go back to the elephant in the room metaphor.
Illustration of what's coming.
Did you catch our weenie Supreme Court's decision not to look at what's going down in Forsyth County, North Carolina?
Essentially, the folks down there have a law that prohibits anybody from public prayers "from including references to Jesus Christ, or any other sectarian deity, as part of their prayers."
O.K., I'll admit I'm not real keen on school teachers leading prayers for my kids 'cause never know if she/he/it's a Christian, Mormon, Moonie, Muslim, New Ager, witch, or whatever.
But, c'mon, if you're gonna invite a religious dude/dudette to pray at your art show, Little League game, graduation, or something else, you gotta expect 'em to have the integrity to pray in public like they prayer in private or you won't be able to trust anything they say/pray/whatever.
Maybe that's why so many mainline clergy are...
Or, uh, just forget about it.
Yeah, just forget about it.
If you're not gonna honor Him, then, well, uh, you better watch out, you better not pout, you better not cry, I'm tellin' you why, ___ is comin' to...He knows if you've been...
Let me put it another way; and I may be wrong on this which I know will provoke folks to write and tell me so.
I think it's better to ignore Him in our public prayers than insult Him like they wanna do in Forsyth County.
BTW, our weenie Supreme Court decided not to review a lower court's decision to continue banning "sectarian" public prayers in favor of, I guess, prayers to someone somewhere somehow about something.
I guess they don't know/care about the, uh, real Supreme Court; and if I have to explain that to...
Truth is only the ignorantly "religious" but not true to their faith in a "religiously" pluralistic country that really doesn't give a damn about God anymore increasingly decreasingly in practice over theory don't know the God of Judaism and Christianity is different from the gods of Islam, Mormonism, et.al. with no apologies to Joel Osteen.
Besides, really, who is gonna stop ya from praying in public to your...?
Moreover, if I'm invited to pray in public and someone tells me to be dishonest to who I am in reference to who He is and not pray in His name, you can forget about it. I ain't doin' it. I can't get His warning out of my noodle: "Whoever acknowledges Me before men, I will also acknowledge him before My Father in heaven. But whoever disowns Me before men, I will disown him before My Father in heaven" (Matthew 10).
BTW, how do "Christian" critics of Tebow feel about that/Him?
Uh, not really.
Here's my prediction.
Uh, it's not really my prediction.
I'm just predicting what's been proclaimed more than predicted.
With secularism and anti-Biblical Judaism and Christianity increasingly decreasingly ruling contemporary America in every branch of government, the yeast of Forsyth County is gonna spread, infect, and mix into...
Let me put it simply.
Over and over and over again, the Hebrew Scriptures and New Testament warn, in effect. "Get back to God or it's gonna get a lot worse than it is right now!"
Help us, Jesus!
Yeah, that's it/Him.
That's how we can begin to turn around this...
Blessings and Love!
Two things we can see that are happening - 1. The great falling away as foretold in Timothy; and 2. The Outpouring of God's Spirit upon all flesh! Oh, this is Harvest Time, and so sad that so many are turning away just when it's time to gather in the Harvest!
While reading your blog about the NC thing I remembered my time as an Army chaplain – now 11 years retired (and my daughter-in-law who is serving, and another member of this Psby who is serving, and the other good chaplains.. oh, you know). The “policy” (maybe written now but unwritten before) was that when you had a MANDITORY formation you could have a prayer but it was incumbent upon the “prayer” to consider the “prayee(s)” and to do one’s best not to “offend” their faith through imposition. That was different from “voluntary” situations when the chaplain could be as specific as s/he chose about formulas and words used.
It led me to pray and not say “in Jesus’ name” on some occasions and to use that phrase in some others. I didn’t mind saying “in the name of life itself” or something else when the listener had to be there. How I spoke was based on my sensitivity and the situation.
My point is that I don’t know what a counties’ MANDATORY “formation” might look like. I suppose that there could be one… but I can’t imagine what it might look like other than an official meeting.
Don’t know what that might mean other than why in heaven’s name would a county care?
Oh, and I’m sure that the Supreme Court didn’t want to go anywhere near dealing with “mandatory” situations – whatever they may look like in a civilian setting. They’ve already had enough trouble in lower courts dealing with the whole Army chaplain thing already.
Rich, my brother!
There's too much common sense and honest-to-God integrity in your experience and thought.
Your faith encourages mine.
Blessings and Love!
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