Luther For the Dinner Table

Taken as a whole, we Christians are just like the natural human body, which, so long as it is on earth, is never entirely pure, neither internally nor externally. Inwardly it is impure, for there it is full of mucus, snot, ulcers, pus, excrement, filth, and stench. Outwardly it is mangy, scurfy, lousy, and scabby; has dripping, oozing eyes and ears; and the longer it lives, the less that is beautiful and pure remains. But we know that the Christian’s body shall become beautiful and pure in the next life, and much brighter and purer than the bright sun is now. — Martin Luther

You’re welcome.

You Don’t Have to Be ‘At Church’ Every Time the Door Is Open… But Do You Realize What You’re Missing When You Aren’t?

Because when you’re absent, you miss more than you gain.  Like Thomas.  The Gospel of John relates this exchange on the day Jesus rose from the dead after he appeared to the 10 (Judas was dead and Thomas was absent):

Now Thomas, one of the twelve, called the Twin, was not with them when Jesus came. So the other disciples told him, “We have seen the Lord.” But he said to them, “Unless I see in his hands the print of the nails, and place my finger in the mark of the nails, and place my hand in his side, I will not believe.”  Eight days later, his disciples were again in the house, and Thomas was with them. The doors were shut, but Jesus came and stood among them, and said, “Peace be with you.” Then he said to Thomas, “Put your finger here, and see my hands; and put out your hand, and place it in my side; do not be faithless, but believing.” Thomas answered him, “My Lord and my God!” Jesus said to him, “Have you believed because you have seen me? Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.  (Jn. 20:24-29)

Several things are worth noting here.  First, Thomas was absent and didn’t get to experience the first appearance of Jesus after he rose from the dead.  Absent from the gathering of disciples, one doesn’t have the privilege of experiencing God in a special way.  Second, Thomas fell into doubt because of his absence.  Doubt creeps in when we are unwilling to gather with others who believe.  The more we absent ourselves from worship with other believers, the more we open the door to doubt’s corrosive effects.  And third, Thomas got another chance.  Being absent once isn’t the end of the world.  You may well have another opportunity to encounter Christ in the community of faith if you avail yourself of the opportunity.

What you miss when you miss worship is Christ.  Is what you ‘gain’ by staying away more important then being with Him?

The Bee Stings The Stand Up Sermonizer

Or more precisely, the parson who babbles on about his views instead of preaching Scripture.

BATTLE CREEK, MI—Boldly taking up Scripture’s charge to preach the truth, shepherd his flock, and contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints, local pastor Timothy Foley kicked off a comprehensive new ten-week study Sunday of his own personal opinions, thoughts, and ideas on a whole range of issues.

Entitled “Nothing But The Truth,” the sermon series expositing Foley’s subjective feelings and points of view promises to be packed with lively illustrations, heartfelt stories, and important practical advice, all entirely based on Foley’s own personal experiences from 42 years of life and convincingly delivered as plain gospel truth.

“I haven’t been this excited about a sermon series in a long time. You won’t want to miss any of the next ten Sundays,” Foley reportedly told congregants. “We’re going to dive right into lots of issues—including lots and lots of gray areas—and I’m going to faithfully expound my abstract viewpoints as though they’re taken straight from the pages of the Bible.”

I know this guy.  Several times over.

Work in Finland

The Faculty of Theology (http://www.helsinki.fi/teol/tdk/english/) at the University of Helsinki is a non-denominational academic community. The Faculty educates experts in religious traditions, worldviews and values. Our mission is to offer best scholarly expertise in historical, conceptual, and cultural issues related to religion and theology. We are committed to conducting research into individual, cultural and social significance of religion in past and present in order to generate in-depth understanding of major changes in contemporary Europe and globally, such as multiculturalism, religious extremism, inter-faith dialogue, value pluralism and the future of welfare. The Faculty has received high marks in international research evaluations and exercises active cooperation with similar leading research institutes.

They have research positions available.  Go here for all the details and brush up on your Finnish!  Tervetuloa Suomi!!