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Showing posts from October, 2021

Anglicanism: Reformed and Catholic

Today is Oct 31, celebrated by Protestants as Reformation Day.  It is the anniversary of the day that Martin Luther posted his 95 theses on the door of Wittenburg Church.  That event is said to be the start of the Protestant Reformation.  Luther, however, was not trying to start a movement in the Church.  He did not intend for his action to lead to the events that followed.  He was actually following a common practice.  If a professor at the university where he taught had a subject he wanted debated, he would go and post a set of theses on the subject for debate.  It's just that by that time, there was a lot debate throughout Germany going on about the subjects he covered, and there was the printing press.  Someone removed his 95 these, printed them, and one thing lead to another. The Reformation was, of course, a very complicated event that spread over many years.  The result was a split in Western Christendom between the Roman Catholics and those called Protestants, of which ther

Background to the English Reformation

 Lee Gatiss gives us a good lesson on the reforming work of men in England before Luther: 

Blind Bartimaeus and Prayer - Mk 10

You will recall from last week's gospel reading and sermon, that Jesus is walking to Jerusalem with his disciples to face his death.  He is already suffering the emotional stress of what he is to undergo, so much that he is walking ahead of everyone, which was unusual for him, causing them to be anxious about what is going on.  Because of the route he has taken, he is headed for Jericho, so he can approach Jerusalem from the East along the Jericho road.  However many disciples may have been with him, by the time they get to Jericho, a crowd is gathering to go up to the city, for it is time for the Passover.   As was probably his custom, a poor blind man - according to Mark's rendition - was sitting along their route and as he heard the crowd coming, he overheard the mention of the name of Jesus, and he started to wonder if maybe Jesus was part of the crowd passing.  He would have heard of Jesus and his miraculous healing - even to the point of healing a man who had been born bl

St. Mark 10 for caregivers

     When it comes to our Gospel reading this morning and our ongoing observation of how Jesus is training the future apostles, those of us who are familiar with this story and with sermons on this story easily remember lessons about personal ambition, jealousy, and about how we should follow Jesus' example and live a life of service, in contrast to seeking people to serve us instead.  And all that is very valuable, very appropriate for this passage, and I'll touch on some of that.  However, this morning, you'll forgive me if I want to zero in on a particular situation that we all can face at some point in our lives: getting along with people we are trying to help, such as aging relatives in your family, or other people you can run into as a care-giver.  Trying to help people can sometimes be a huge challenge.  I suspect some of you immediately hearken back to your own experience in a situation like this and how difficult it can be.  Let's take a few minutes to look at

Mk 10:32-35 - Out of Touch with Jesus

 Working on my sermon this Sunday: So, while Jesus is already sensing the stress, the anxiety, that he would express in the garden of Gethsemane, the disciples were completely out of touch.  The clash is dramatic!  The clash itself is scary: Lord, is there any way I’m as out of touch with you as that?  How can I walk with you, if I can be so out of touch?   Yet he deigned to walk with them.  He is so longsuffering.  To take the position of willingness to recognize that I can be so out of touch is key; it’s the place of humility.  He’s willing to walk with us, even if we don’t know what we should know, as long as we are humble - like he is.

"Follow Me" - Qualifications

 The Bible is full of instruction about wealth and riches and it often warns about the special power they seem to have to turn us into idolators.  Jesus speaks of it in his important Sermon on the Mount: 19 “Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, 20 but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, ... 21 For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.  ... 24 ... You cannot serve God and money. The story of the rich young ruler is a real-life parable of this truth.  Here is a young man who is conscious of the fact that he lacks something in his heart; that somehow, even though he's been trying to be righteous, yet he knows he still has a spiritual need and that he is not assured of having eternal life.  And he feels this need so sharply, that he throws aside all social restraints of his class and religious standing, and falls down before Jesus, this man that all his peers disdain. And he does so, s

Profit from Desolation

From Austin Farrar's book, A Faith of Our Own (1960): It is by these desolating experiences that God teaches us to trust him, not ourselves.  The more emptied out we are, the more hope there is of our learning to be Christians.  Now is the very moment - there will never be a better - for us to put our trust in the God who makes something from nothing, who raises the dead.    (p. 114, img source:  The Next C.S. Lewis? A Note on Austin Farrer » Transpositions  )

Newman on Results of Science

 From John Henry Newman's Idea of the University (3, Section 2): The object of all science is truth;—the pure sciences proceed to their enunciations from principles which the intellect discerns by a natural light, and by a process recognized by natural reason; and the experimental sciences investigate facts by methods of analysis or by ingenious expedients, ultimately resolvable into instruments of thought equally native to the human mind. If then we may assume that there is an objective truth, and that the constitution of the human mind is in correspondence with it, and acts truly when it acts according to its own laws; if we may assume that God made us, and that what He made is good, and that no action from and according to nature can in itself be evil; it will follow that, so long as it is man who is the geometrician, or natural philosopher, or mechanic, or critic, no matter what man he be, Hindoo, Mahometan, or infidel, his conclusions within his own science, according to the

Jesus & the Biblical Family

  On Mark 10:2-16.  Bible quotes are ESV. We have a very important passage of scripture in our gospel today, to which we must pay attention.  It's important, on the surface at least, for 2 good reasons.  First of all, Jesus gets angry with his disciples!  That hardly ever happens!  We would do well to note why he was angry with them.  And the other reason is that Jesus affirms the biblical doctrine of holy matrimony and the ideal of the Christian family, which is so much under attack today, and has been for a long time.  While the world, under the influence of the prince of the power of the air, continues to do all it can to make peoples' lives at home miserable, we, the disciples of Jesus, who listen to what he teaches us here, need to celebrate, enjoy, and decidedly affirm the blessing of biblical marriage and family life, so we may fulfill our mission to be the salt and light of this world. So let's look at this passage.  Why does the subject of marriage come up?  It com