Friday, January 09, 2009

AU's Audacity of Dopes

The atheists [erm...] freedom-preserving faithful at Americans United (against Churches oops, I keep doing that!) have issued a call to SC to ban an "I Believe" license plate.
[A] retired United Methodist minister served as lead plaintiff in Americans United’s lawsuit, Summers v. Adams, which asked the court to halt South Carolina from producing an auto tag favoring one religious group over others.

This plate, unlike those requested by private groups and organizations, originated in the South Carolina legislature and was passed by statute. The plate features a cross, a stained-glass window and the words “I Believe.” No other faith group has been offered a similar plate, let alone those who want a plate stating, “I Do Not Believe.”
Let's take a look at this link to SC DMV plates.
Secular Humanists of the Low Country Plate
Although Secular Humanist of the Low Country is a membership based organization the “In Reason We Trust” plate is available to all SC residents. The fee for the plate is $30.00 every two years in additional to the regular registration fee. As a non-profit organization, the Secular Humanists of the Low Country do not receive any portion of the funds generated from the license plate sales.
Call me crazy, but for the life of me that looks just like an “I Do Not Believe” license plate.

Plates promoting Fishing, Wildlife Conservation, Golf, NASCAR, Education, Home Ownership and even [gasp] the national motto of In God We Trust - all of these are okay. Same with any number of voluntary organizations like colleges, schools, Freemasons, etc. Heck...they even have one for squardancing and the Carolina Shag, the states official dance. Just don't have anything to do with the church.

They're also up in a dander about the Choose Life plate. (Doesn't that go hand in hand with the shag plate anyway?)
If the DMV chooses to appeal the decision, AU will be ready. The state already failed in its appeal defending a law allowing a “Choose Life” plate back in 2006. It’s astonishing, and a waste of taxpayer funds, that state officials would want to continue pushing this when it is clearly a violation of church-state separation, Khan said.
Absolutely right. It's a horrendous waste of taxpayer money to present a plate that raises money from voluntary contributors. (Willikers! Obama is going to make sure you can use that money to fund more abortions...sounds like a win to you dweebs.)

Let's get something straight. THE RIGHT TO LIFE IS A PROTECTION GRANTED BY NATURAL LAW AND GUARANTEED BY THE CONSTITUTION. Civilized countries know this. It's not a church-state issue.
“I wish our legislators would read the Constitution as avidly as they read public opinion polls,” Jones, a Unitarian minister, wrote in a column for The State, South Carolina’s largest newspaper (See “Illicit License.”)
Yeah, me too. Vide supra!
Summers and Knight, both Christian leaders, also saw the legislators’ decision to approve this plate as demeaning to the faith they cherish.

“They are taking a Christian symbol and using it for marketing and advertising purposes,” Summers said. “This is an abuse and misuse of the Christian cross.”
Okay, Summers. What should we do with people that take the Christian ministry and use that for agitating and political purposes?

Infectious Humor


ht - Dr. Paffenroth

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Richard John Neuhaus, 1936-2009

Today, Fr. Richard John Neuhaus, editor of First Things, has gone to his reward. He now lives in that perfect unity of the saints for which he struggled his whole life (leaving the Lutheran church and continuing his ministry in communion with the Bishop of Rome). I pray that he died in that full assurance of salvation that is his birthright (restored to the church by the efforts of Dr. Luther himself).

Ora pro eo.

Saints of God, come to his aid!
Come to meet him, angels of the Lord!

[Response] Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

May Christ, who called you, take you to himself;
may angels lead you to Abraham's side.

[Response] Receive his soul and present him/her to God the Most High.

Give him eternal rest, O Lord,
and may your light shine on him for ever.

[Response] Receive his soul and present him to God the Most High.

Let us Pray.

All-powerful and merciful God,
we commend to you,
Richard, your servant.
In your mercy and love,
blot out all the sins he has committed through human weakness.
In this world he has died: let him live with you for ever.

We ask this through Christ our Lord.

AMEN.

V/. Eternal rest grant unto him, O Lord.
R/. And let perpetual light shine upon him.

V/. May he rest in peace.

R/. Amen.

V/. May his soul and the souls of all the faithful departed,
through the mercy of God, rest in peace.

R/. Amen.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Crash and Learn

A 6 year old took his family's sedan and drove nearly six miles to get to school after he missed the bus. His parents - who've been charged with child endangerment and have lost custody of their son until further notice - were sleeping at the time.

[PS: Mom, thanks for getting me up in the mornings!]
WICOMICO CHURCH, VA
The boy, whose name wasn't released, missed the bus, took the keys to his family's 2005 Ford Taurus and drove nearly six miles toward school while his mother was asleep, police said.

He made at least two 90-degree turns, passed several cars and ran off the rural two-lane road several times before hitting an embankment and utility pole about a mile and a half from school.

The boy told police he learned to drive playing Grand Theft Auto and Monster Truck Jam video games.

"He was very intent on getting to school," said Northumberland County Sheriff Chuck Wilkins. "When he got out of the car, he started walking to school. He did not want to miss breakfast and PE."
What struck me about this story was the eagerness with which the child sought to get to school. I really wish him the best in his future endeavors. Hopefully he'll be insatiable enough to escape the fate of his parents.

Now, will somebody get that kid a PowerWheels or bike?

John Piper on Impreccatory Psalms



During seminary, I studied the Psalms with a professor whose dissertation was on them. She was great fun to work with because you could count on her to fly off the handle if you mentioned a NT appropriation of the Psalmic material. Yeah... studying Psalm 22 with her was a riot.

(To her credit, she wanted us to appreciate them as Jewish religious artifacts...but I'm a Daily Office pray-er, so I'm forced to take them as Christian Scripture!)

The impreccatory psalms were clearly the hardest for my classmates to deal with. Most of them retreated into either the old stock German critic reply (elucidated by Dr. Piper) or talked about how it was a cry for justice from [fill in the blank oppressed group]. I didn't win any friends by reminding folks that God has no problem getting his hate on.

But a worship professor gave me a new avenue on approaching tough stuff like this in the psalms: "If you're going to bitch and moan, you're better off doing it to God. At least He can actually do something about it."

The Psalms let us know that it's okay to be fully human toward God. He can take it - He might even transform it! The Incarnation lets us know that our humanity is no barrier to true union with the Godhead. So pray a psalm (or 2 or 3) today!

Tuesday, January 06, 2009

Free Christian Audiobooks

I hope that someone else finds this as helpful as I have. Redeem those hours spent exercising (but not exorcising) by listening to some really great Christian authors...for FREE! John Piper, Ravi Zacharias, Alistair Begg, N. T. Wright, and many more are regular contributors of free audio versions of their books.

Epiphany by T. S. Elliot

The dove descending breaks the air
With flame of incandescent terror
Of which the tongues declare
The one discharge from sin and error
The only hope, or else despair,
    Lies in the choice of pyre or pyre --
    To be redeemed from fire by fire.

Who then devised the torment? Love.
Love is the unfamiliar Name
Behind the hands that wove
The intolerable shirt of flame
Which human power cannot remove.
    We only live, only suspire
    Consumed by either fire or fire.

-- Quartet No. 4 "Little Gidding" from Four Quartets

Monday, January 05, 2009

Christmas Dinner

(I know...I'm a little behind with this. Take it up with my editor.)

This past year was my first Christmas as an Anglican vicar, so we chose a traditional English roast, Yorkshire Pudding, Brussel Sprouts, baked onions, and made our first Christmas Pudding (with Kentucky Bourbon sauce)!

Sunday, January 04, 2009

SONG FOR A NEW YEAR

SONG FOR A NEW YEAR

(Adapted by Fr. Chris Larimer from “Standing At the Portal” Fran­ces R. Ha­ver­gal, pub­lished in Un­der the Sur­face, 1874. Adaptation first used as a processional at St. Stephen Church on 2008-01-04)
Tune: St. Denio ("Immortal, Invisible God Only Wise") Meter: 11.11.11.11

Standing at the opening
Of the dawning year,
Bad news comes to greet us,
Commands us to fear.
Yet when we are silent
Comes our Savior’s voice,
Tender, strong and faithful,
Making us rejoice.

“I, the Lord, am with you,
So be not afraid;
I will help and strengthen
You, be not dismayed!
For I will uphold you
With My own right hand;
You’re precious and chosen
In My sight to stand.”

Jesus never fails us,
He will not forsake!
His eternal covenant
He’ll never break.
Resting on the promise,
What have we to fear?
God is all sufficient
For the coming year.