Thursday, June 28, 2007

Don't mess with me, I'm pregnant and its hot

I know I promised to write about more interesting things-like feminism and Women's Ordination, or anything this week. I shouldn't make promises. But instead of doing that I have seriously cleaned my house. Monday, Matt and I completely took apart the play room. We put three bags of toys in the attic (I don't have the energy to actually get rid of stuff, some day I'll have a garage sale) and took down the big ugly shelves and now we have a wide open completely blank empty room. Which meant that Tuesday, Wednesday and today I have redistributed the remaining toys and books into the children's rooms and into various cupboards. Anything that didn't have a proper place got put in the attic. I had intended to take pictures of all the rooms just to prove to you the actual level of cleanliness, but my camera is being picky, so you will just have to believe me that I'm telling the truth. Everything is clean and in order and I'm completely completely wiped out. Its been blazingly hot and all the cleaning and heat has put me in a foul and sinful mood. I have sinned against everyone I can think of, most of all my children and cats, who have wanted to come near and touch me in this ghastly heat (Aedan, of all things, is wearing a sweatshirt and sweat pants and socks to bed) and have been rebuffed in a deeply unchristian manner. I will repent of my sins in the morning, and trust God's mercy to carry me through until then. I'm in too bad of a mood to do it tonight. So, its 9:30, I'm going to get a large bowl of ice cream and I'm going to eat it in bed. And if anyone wants to argue with me about it, well, just try. I will try and get back to other more interesting things tomorrow.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

WO continues to rear its ugly head

So I've been laboring through the Women's Ordination thread on Stand Firm for the last two days. I'd seriously put it off because of my fatigue and the basic desire to avoid the issue for now. I don't want to get into the frey over there, however unfair it is to Matt to leave him all alone. For one thing, he's much more clear headed and intelligent than I am, and for another, there's nothing like a hysterical muddle headed woman priest mucking up a theological debate. I'm happy to let them wrestle it out.

I did want to say something about feminism, though. You might notice the Ladies Against Feminism link on the side, and a number of other highly conservative links. I don't agree with everything on these sites. In fact, my husband periodically exercises his headshipply authority and disallows me from reading these sites because I work myself into a froth over them.

It is bewitching, for me, and apparently for so many Continuing Anglicans, the idea that feminism, being a Bad Ting, can be got over by going back to those glorious days before it happened. Those good and honest days when women stayed home and cooked dinner and looked adoringly into the eyes of their husbands and made quilts and wore hats in church. In the good old days, it didn't occur to women to seek orders, it didn't occur to them to try and pray out loud in church, they wouldn't have run for vestry.

And now things are such a mess. Working women busy bodying themselves around, reading in church, distributing wine during communion. And of course me, preaching on occasion, making announcements, teaching Sunday School, organizing various ministries.

Thing is, I'm not a feminist. I think feminism, in its present strident form is a destroyer of many things-boys, homes, churches even, where men have run for cover and women unhappily run the show. Feminism, as so many 'isms' has shown itself essentially to be a lie. Any ideology that elevates the human being over God is doomed to fail.

But while I'm not a feminist, I can't go back to that premodern, pre enlightenment, prefeminist age of glory (if indeed it was an age of glory), any more than the church can really go back to preKantian theology. We can't go back, we have to find a way to fix the problem where it is now. Many women are creatively doing this, finding ways to stay home with children, making educated decisions about work and family life, trying to rebuild a place in a church that has been hollowed out and corrupted by the very ideology/theology that purported to help and serve them.

I don't have any solutions to this problem tonight. Its been a long day of church. But I hope to return to this thought in the days to come. This WO debate comes at a delicate and unhappy moment in the life of the church, when there are so many problems, and so many errors that sorting them out and finding their root causes is primary on everyone's mind. But reading through the thread and trying to stave off the headache caused thereby, I get the sense that, as with the communion itself, we have the choice to either fling ourselves into the past and bury the issue in the sand, or fling ourselves off a cliff into further error, or deal creatively, honestly, realistically and scripturally with what we have in hand.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Week in Review

This has been an unexpected blog post free week. I looked at the date and realized how many days have gone by since last Sunday, the same number as always between Sunday's, but they slipped through my fingers faster than I had time to notice.

Several things have happened this week.

First, I got my nursery cleaned out. Its now the bright cheery room it was meant to be, and the children can play in there again. I may now turn my attention to the play room and begin to sort and purge toys, trying to get back down to a manageable number.

Second, My mother celebrated her birthday, far away in Kenya where it is cool enough now to need to eat meals in front of the fireplace, so she tells me. I wish her a Happy and Glorious Birthday and thank God for her, and wish she was here. Emma and I will be making Strawberry Shortcake in honor of her tomorrow.

Third, I have collapsed under the weight of my own sin and inadequacy and have turned my eyes back onto Jesus, not realizing that I had taken them off and gone wandering into the Land of Anxiety. I had no idea how completely and totally exhausted I am physically, how dry I am spiritually, how depleted I am emotionally. I came unglued several times during the week and found myself complaining to God, echoing, even, the words of Amy Carmichael.

The son said, I am nothing. His Father said, Did I ever tell thee that thou wert something? The son said, But I do not feel fit for this that is given to me to do. His Father said, Canst thou not trust Me to make thee fit? The son said, But I am not successful. His Father said, At the end of the day will My word be, Come, thou good and successful servant? If only thou wilt walk humbly with thy God it will be, Come, thou good and faithful servant. The son said, But I do not care for what I have to do. His Father answered, At last thou hast touched the root of the matter. Did thy Saviour "care for" Calvary? Then the Eternal Spirit opened to him those terrible Scriptures which show Gethsemane and Calvary, till all his paltry "Buts" were shrivelled as withered leaves in the fire. And he saw Him whom he followed as He set His face like a flint; and he was utterly confounded and ashamed.
His thoughts said... His Father said...

I realized that all my praying lately has been a shouting complaint, and not really prayer, not simply and reasonably asking for those things I need, and being thankful for those things I have. Thursday evening I spent an hour with a young lady who is in a desperately sad place and in being with her, and bearing, for a few minutes, her burden with her and helping her to lay it at the cross, I was able to lay down my own as well. And so for the last few days I have been resting and tired. Which leads me to

Fourth, my exceptionally fabulous idea for Summer Sunday School. Matt insists on teaching adult ed through the summer (Well, he doesn't really insist, its just that everyone keeps coming and expecting a class, so he just keeps on teaching), and so summer after summer we have to scramble to think of something to occupy the children. I have resolutely set my face against Catechesis through the summer. The catechists need a break, the children need a difference of routine etc. etc. So This Year (instead of reading a Narnia book, bad Idea, or reading Judges and acting it out, Bad Idea, or pawning them off on some unsuspecting parishioner, Bad Idea) This Year, I went out and gathered all kinds of interesting things to put in boxes. This first week we will decorate and paint the boxes. And then each week after we will learn a verse and paint an object to go in the box, on subjects ranging from the Bible to the Cross, to Communion, to Evangelism, (all of which is meant to review the Solemn Communion experience). All by which I mean to achieve some level of continuity, some level of fun and mess, some level of scripture knowledge, and some way to get through the hour without being too hot and exhausted. My only difficulty now is coming up with some cool name for these boxes. I have until tomorrow morning at 9am.

And Fifth, I finished of Terry Pratchett's The Truth (lent to me by commenter 'R'-how are you? safely arrived? happy in love?). And, for your Saturday evening amusement, I offer you this tidbit from this fabulous novel:

'I never worry about that -ing stuff.'
'Never -ing give it a thought. I've got my potato.'
Then Mr. Tulip found that he'd walked a few feet alone, because Mr. Pin had stopped dead.
'Oh, yeah. Keep it on a string round my neck.'
Mr. Tulip tapped his huge chest.
'And that's religious?'
'Well, yeah. If you've got your potato when you die, everything will be okay.'...'Yep. You're allowed to come back and have another life.'...'We-ell, it's okay so long as you're really -ing sorry about it.'

Just so you know, I'm not leaving anything out by writing -ing. You've got to read the book, that's the way Mr. Tulip talks. So Funny.

And now, I must go to sleep, because in the morning I've got to three kids dressed and ready for church, do the bulletin insert for church, collect paints and boxes, and be out the door by 7:15. If I don't go to sleep now, I won't be able to cope tomorrow.
Good Night.
Oh, and all week long, for those of you who are longing for a theological fight, Matt's been debating the merits of Women's Ordination over on Stand Firm. I'm sure you can find the link and the article if you're interested. I just finished reading the second thread this evening and its given me a headache. Enjoy!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Sunday Conversations

On reviewing our knowledge of the Ten Commandments.
Matt: What's the shema?
Emma: The Lord your God, the Lord is....
Matt: yes?
Emma: Special. The Lord is special.

On the Way to the Church Picnic.
Anne: Did you remember your sermon?
Matt: I think so.
Emma: Are we there yet?
Anne: Yes, Emma, we're there. Are you having a good time running around?
Emma: Heh.
Aedan: I'm going to kill the bad guys with a sword.
Emma: or a gun.
Aedan: or a gun. I'm going to kill them and save the birds.
Matt: What birds?
Aedan: The black birds. I'm going to save them with my sword.
Emma: And the robbins eggs.
Aedan: Yeah, I'm going to save them.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

A little something about my Father

I would like to wish my Dad a completely happy and fabulous Father's Day. In honor of him I have made a rhubarb tart, from Nigella's How to Eat. And since Matt is so disciplined and thin, I'm going to eat it all by myself and think of all the debts I owe him, my father that is.

Out of curiosity, I googled his name (Robert Carlson) and organization (SIL) and came up with these highlights, a little light reading for a Saturday Evening:

Contributions to the Ethnologue
Lots of Information about Senefou
A Recent Paper

I must also say that it is partly my father's fault that we are having so many children we don't know what to do. He, my father, preached at our wedding and placed a series of blessings on us, the critical one (and obviously the one that stuck) being for us to have, a la Senefou, a dirty marriage. By which he desired that we would have so many children our house would never be clean and ordered. Some time I'm going to take pictures of the inside of our house and post them, just so you will know the chaos we live in and know who brought it upon us. Happy Father's Day.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Another Primate Steps Up

At 11:00pm last night, just as I was getting drowsy, Matt said, 'They're going to consecrate another bishop', and then went to sleep before I could find out what he was talking about. Of course this morning all became clear. And I must say, I'm completely delighted. And I will remain delighted, despite all the pessimism and complaining that abounds.

I'm delighted because essentially what's being created, on American soil, is a festive banquet for orthodox Anglicans.

First of all, there are orthodox believing Anglicans in America, just as there are around the world. And they are worshiping God and ordering their lives communally around truth and faithfulness. This truth and faithfulness has led to the organization and creation of various ecclesial structures-the Network, CANA, AMiA, 7th Convocation-each with their own flavor, focus, meatiness, and mission. This latest structure adds to the rich dimension and flavor of Anglicanism in North America.

I have only two other thoughts about this. First, that politically this is such a good move. It takes the heat off of Akinola and spreads it around the Anglican world-all these primates are stepping to pick up the pieces and take responsibility for orthodox believers when they, frankly, don't have to be bothered. Also, the ordaining of bishops for America provides much needed access to the episcopal office, and unity in being under Godly bishops. That they are doing this now is also so excellent. The sheer unmitigated insult of Rowan William's issuing invitations so soon, and to so many bishops who should be under a cloud, has clearly not gone by unnoticed. The premature issue of invitations is being wisely met with structural plans for orthodox Anglicans. There's no reason to wait around until some magic deadline. No more magic, no more deadlines. The global south is getting on with life.

Second, the continual broadening of an evangelically minded, African infused, unencumbered Anglican Christianity is a Good Thing. I don't at all share the pessimistic vision that Anglicans can't evangelize and grow. Why can't they? Christianity is growing everywhere else in the world. Of course, it won't grow if we don't try. It will become fragmented and divided if we don't cooperate.

How hard is it? Just go tell someone about Jesus and invite them to come to church. They might say no, they might say yes. Either way, keep asking. And there is no real impediment to a sensible purpose and vision to coorperate and worship together, other than insisitng over and over that it is impossible. It is not impossible. God is not that small. God is not that merciless. The church is supposed to grow. The church is supposed to seek unity. Otherwise, we wasting our time.

The global south understands this. And part of their work is waking all of us up to the real mission of the church. So far, I get the feeling we're being too snotty and snobbish to accept the lesson. We've wrecked everything else, we might as well buckle down and learn.

So, I say, Amen. Come consecrate some bishops and give us the kick we need. And let the world moan and wail in the face of something Actually Being Done.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007


I have a cat perched on my shoulder. I'm propped on the couch with various pillows carefully placed, trying to make my back feel bearable, and a large hot cat has come and draped himself on me so as to keep me from getting cool.

I have a deep dark confession to make. Last week I was so tired and stressed that whenever I was home and trying to have some peace and quiet, I got Drudge up and read the latest about Paris Hilton. It was the perfect distraction. For those of you who haven't been up on the latest, Paris Hilton is a socialite of some sort, and from what I've gathered up, she was caught driving a car after having drunk much too much, and then violated her parole and made the judge so angry that he sent her to jail. Paris dutifully checked in at the jail and it was fairly easy to find minute by minute speculations and updates about how she was doing. She was going to keep a journal. She was doing fine. She was doing horribly. And then after 3 days in jail the Sheriff released her due to "overcrowding" and some medical condition. Forthwith the angry judge got her back in court and sent her back to jail, where she now remains.

Wonderfully, after following this ridiculous story all week, I was able to continue to read article after article on my cell phone on the floor of the Events Center while waiting for the music and festivities to rev up during the Festival. Surprisingly, it is perfectly culturally acceptable to read stuff on your cell phone, even junk, but had I pulled out a book (which I did once but then put awkwardly away), it invites conversation and speculation about what you are reading and why. Of course, Of Course I could have been reading my bible, and ought to have been. But with the volume and the number of people and the level of exhaustion, I must say, Paris Hilton was just the ticket.

All that said, I feel very bad for Paris. This poor girl has been given everything she could possibly ask for and more, and the poor creature is resultingly unable to deal with adversity of any kind, let alone normal consequences for bad behavior. I've been praying that a capable, forthright and fairly pushy female chaplain will get a hold of her and tell her about Jesus. Don't know what the chances of that are, legally, but I'm going to pray for it anyway.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Summatious Thoughts

Its nearly 10:30. I'm perching my computer precariously on my round girth and growing increasingly hot. I am now too big to turn laps off in the corners of my kitchen, and to properly photocopy anything at church. I've been vaguely thinking over the weekend's events all day and trying to think what to write about them. And given that I'm still rather overly tired, I have only a few disjointed thoughts, and hopefully a fuller account later.

First, it occured to me very late last night, lying on the couch limply after the final festival meeting, that the only Event that has ever come off Perfectly and Flawlessly and Gloriously in my whole life (thus far) is my own wedding. Since being at Good Shepherd I have planned and prepared for a lot of events-4 Christmas Pageants, Five full years of Sunday Liturgical Worship, our Ordination, several weddings (other peoples) and Two Solemn Communions, plus a lot of others that I forget. This Festival was Two Years in the making and I played a small unimportant role. But as with all the others, save my wedding, the process of preparation was extremely important, and the Event, for me, takes some serious analysis to sort out what I think about it.

Second, God is good. Many many people came forward with a desire to know God and be embraced by him. I was down on the floor each night and Saturday morning as a supervisor, helping Councelors and making sure everyone had a pen and that kind of thing. The first night I was moved to see a very old man come forward. He could barely stand but did, through the prayer and then a long talk with a councellor. Sunday night I watched a teenage girl come forward while her father watched from his seat, clearly pleased. And many many others. I've been a Christian essentially my whole life, and I've never seen so many people publically desire to be Christian, all at once. To the depths of my being, I'm impressed.

Third, I'm an old foggy. Or, to put it another way, I'm an Anglican. Every evening on the way home from the Event's Center I searched the radio desperately for something classical and church like and was relieved and delighted to be back at Good Shepherd on Sunday morning, listening to the various hymns and music Micah so graciously and calmly led us in. I realized, half way through the weekend, that each event was essentially a church service, such as I have been used to growing up-an hour of music, an offering, a sermon, and altar call.

Fourth, I'm so grateful that God is bigger than me and that he let us participate in this whole process and let us serve and gave us the strength to do it. And I'm so grateful for the riches of his grace and mercy, among them: the pitch perfect rhubarb tart I made this afternoon (after being out of the kitchen for a whole week), three beautiful forgiviing children who were happy to have a normal day off after a week of chaos, some really glorious fruit from Wegmans (succulent cherries, grapes and four fat peaches), and a husband, who, though very tired, went outside and dug up a large flower bed so that we could finally lay in some flowers and hopefully see some color in the back yard this summer, and who also then grilled a rack of lamb to glory (marinated in garlic, olive oil, mustard, vinager, salt, fresh thyme and paprika).

So, on that note of gratitude and in the hope of future glories (I fully intend to make bread tomorrow after having taken a week off), I will post this and go to sleep. A thousand thanks for your prayers. God moved us all into place and did his work and there's more of it to do tomorrow. Good Night.

Friday, June 08, 2007

Odds and Ends

Anne, quashed between Emma and Aedan, 'Let's play the still quiet game. Be as still and quiet as possible.'
Emma is quiet but continues to wiggle.
Aedan is still but sings loudly, 'Precious jewels, precious jewels, he loves Cinderella. All the children, all the children, Cinderella, Cinderella.'
Nobody won.

The NYPENN Franklin Graham Festival is finally here and so posting will be erratic over the next three days, depending on what's going on and how much time I have. Matt has to be to each event three hours early, which leaves precious little time for coming home and doing anything.

Please pray for the NYPENN area and for many people to come and respond to the Gospel. And please pray that we won't drop the ball on those that do. And please, especially pray for me to have stamina and extra grace to stay the course. I'm generally short of breath and faint after standing more than a few minutes, and my blood sugar tends to fall very quickly leaving me a mess if I'm hungry. So I covet your prayers. I want to be able to do my job well and effectively and not miss anything exciting (but also still be alive when its all over). And it would probably be a good idea to pray for everyone else as well, who have far more important jobs and will be working very hard to make this come off well. Matt will be directing supervisor/counselling traffic at every event and I will be a regular supervisor. So that means we both have to know what's going on and be able to help people who need it. Thanks, in advance, for the prayers, and hopefully I'll be alive to tell you all about it.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


It looks very much like baby number four is a....Girl!
Which makes things very symetrical. I think this is God's special grace to us. Matt and I are always striving for symmetry, mostly spacially, but in many other ways as well.

In a fit of passion, early in our engagement Matt said, "that's why I fell in love with you."
"What? Why did you fall in love with me?"
"Because your face is so symmetrical."
I'm sure there are other reasons, but that one seems to come up more often. So, for the time being, things remain symetrically balanced, and we are completely delighted.


I've been trying to marshal my thoughts for several days about the state of the Anglican Communion. Mostly as a result of Matt's two latest articles on Stand Firm and the various ACI takes on what's been going on.

Several thoughts have come together for me. The first as a result of rereading Jonah with my Women's Bible Study. Like so many before, we were surprised by two things. First, Jonah's complete lack of compassion for the lost (not just the Ninevites but the ship's sailors) and two, his desire to be with God, worshiping in the Temple, while neglecting the fact that God is with him, where he is, even in the depths of sheol. And really, it is the overall unconcern and lack of compassion for the nations around Israel, as well as the neglect of God at home that brings Israel so much grief and ultimately leads to their loss of the temple and their inability to recognize its replacement in the person of Jesus Christ.

Which led me to consider (in the abstracted and scattered context of my daily life) the tension between the importance of the Temple, after all God did choose to live there and invest it with his presence, and on the omnipresence of God, he can be everywhere and is, and any attempt on our part to limit him will only bring about our own grief.

This general feeling was intensified after doing some supply work in some very small yoked parishes. I generally take these jobs when they come up (even though I never get called unless I'm pregnant) out of a desire to be helpful and wanting to take any opportunity to preach the gospel that arises. But preaching an 'everyone should come to Jesus and be saved, even those who are really nasty and depraved' sermon in these small Episcopal situations is really too little too late. The idea that Jesus is alive and well and loves them enough to die for them and bring them out of death into life, well, it seems the average Episcopalian is completely inoculated against this idea through a lifetime of half truth and 'tolerance'.

This last Sunday I came away from my service profoundly depressed and more firmly convinced than ever that the communion will not hold together. Don't misunderstand me, I wish that it would. I in no way wish or pray for a Communion wide split. But I don't see how it can be avoided. For one thing, I think the continued defiance and arrogance of the American church and Canterbury's refusal to deal theologically, mean that God is going to continue to frustrate our attempts to solve this in a conciliar fashion. I don't really know what God is doing but none of this can make him happy. And as long as we choose place over faithfulness, or own agenda over evangelism, well, it can't possibly look good.

On the other hand, God is provident and faithful and this will turn out the way he wants it to, in spite of our best efforts. In the meantime, I am grieved over my own sins and my continued membership and participation in such an unfaithful situation. I long for God to lead me out into a safer place.

Sunday, June 03, 2007

So we kicked off a new discipleship program this evening at Good Shepherd. And, you guessed it, twelve people showed up. Heh.

My unedited sermon for this morning

As many of you have noticed, I haven’t been out of seminary that long, maybe about 5 years. I’ve lost count. But my last year of school I got to go to a preaching seminar. Everyone attending had to write a sermon that was going to be preached, it couldn’t just be for the seminar. And of course, the next sermon I was slated to preach was on these texts, for Trinity Sunday, in a church I had never been to before. I was going there to spend a few weeks preaching every Sunday and basically getting some much needed ‘experience’. And of course, my hero in the preaching world, a priest out in Oregon, was at this seminar, and I was assigned to her group, and I had to preach to her about the Trinity. It was horrible. I didn’t sleep for about a month before hand, my palms sweated when I got up to talk, I nearly threw up. Horrible. I don’t recommend it as a fun thing to do, ever.

But I did ok. I preached ok, that is. And afterwards everyone gathered around to pick apart my sermon. My hero said, ‘well, Anne, that was very good. Some beautiful writing’, I had laid the scene of the upper room—the hot night, the enclosed space, the oil lamps adding more heat to an already breathless situation—it was almost like, she said, a beautifully painted canvas, except with a large piece of construction paper pasted on the middle. The construction paper was my careful theological explanation of the Trinity. I looked at my text and found the rough coarseness of the construction paper. It wasn’t even the same color—the painting was in muted and mellow and beautiful tones, and the construction paper was orange, or maybe hot pink. It just didn’t go.

But that’s usually what we end up with, any of us, when we try to wrap our minds and hearts around something like the Trinity. We have the canvas of our lives, in whatever state it’s in. Maybe some parts of it are beautifully worked out, symmetrical, it makes sense to the eye, it’s a pleasure to look at. And doubtless other parts of the canvass are a total mess, clearly under construction. You might have something sketched out but the final product is nowhere in view. And maybe the middle section is sort of clear, but the colors really need some perking up and the underlying sketch needs some redoing. But its you, you’re the canvas. And then, in an effort to be good and faithful, we apply various things to this canvas, trying to finish the picture—maybe a new routine, or some helpful book, or the advice of a friend, or a new relationship, OR, as is the case this morning, some theological or doctrinal point, like the dual natures of Christ (you know, that Jesus is fully God and fully Man, right? And that it has a practical application to your life? Well it does), or the locus of authority in the church (is it Scripture? Tradition? Both? How much of which?), or, in this case, The Trinity.

I have a lot of newly churched kids in my Sunday School Class. They’ve never heard of the Trinity before.
‘So,’ said one of my little girls, ‘Jesus is God.’
‘That’s right,’ I said.
‘And the Father is God.’
‘HmmHmm,’ I said.
‘Then who is the Holy Spirit?’
‘God’ I said.
‘So there are three Gods.’
‘No,’ I said, ‘One. Hear O child, the Lord your God, the Lord is One, and you shall love the Lord your God with every fiber of your being.’
‘I love Jesus,’ she said.
‘Good, excellent, and he loves you.’

Our brains began to feel tight in our skulls, the room, hot, rather like the upper room with Jesus, as the disciples are all trying to make sense of what he is saying.

‘So,’ Jesus, ‘you’re going away.’
‘That’s right’
‘Can we go with you?’
‘No, but I will send someone to comfort you, an Advocate.’ says Jesus.
‘Well, than at least show us the Father’
‘If you see me, you see the Father’
A ‘yeah, but’ is on everyone’s lips.

The temptation is to take this wildly foreign and difficult concept and put it up in the corner of the picture and forget about it while you go on with the rest of your canvas. Yeah, I believe in the Trinity. It has no practical application to anything, but there it is, apparently relevant.

Well, it is, even though it is very hard.
It matters because it’s about the nature and form and being of God. And if anything matters in our lives, anything at all, it should be God, right? He made you. He formed you. He has a plan and a purpose for you. And so his Nature and Being matter to your Nature and Being.

To begin with, God is One. There is perfect unity in God. We can say this out loud but we don’t even really know what it means, because we don’t even have unity in our own beings. Our minds and bodies and hearts are constantly at war with themselves. Take me for example. I have a lot on my mind. I would like, I have the will, to get up every day and clean my house, and cook interesting things, and connect with various people on the telephone, and be available to my children. If it was just my mind, my will, there would be no problem. BUT, my body is also involved. And it is at war with my mind and my will. My body says, No. You’re not getting up. I’m very tired and this extra convectionizing heating element says that its better to lie here and stay cool. And then my body, even though my mind says NO, my body says, let’s make a large chocolate cake and eat it very quietly in the kitchen with no lights on after everyone has gone to bed. My body and my mind are at war with each other. Now, of course, I have an excuse, but I know from experience, that even without the excuse, my body and mind are at war with each other. Add in the element of my heart, and you’ve got a real mess. So already within the human person, before you bring in extra human people, in the form of relationships and even just running into people at random, you have division, disunity.

That’s not the case with God. God is completely at unity with himself. One. The Son doesn’t say to the Father, I want to do this today, and the Father doesn’t say to the Son, no I want to do this. They are unified.

They are unified first in love. The are bound together perfectly in love. They love each other so much that each holds nothing back from the others. The Father gives himself completely to the Son, the Son completely to the Father, the Holy Spirit completely to the Father and the Son, the love overflows.

They are unified in purpose. They purposed to create, and they did. They purposed to save and redeem, and they did. They purpose to judge, and they will.

And they are unified in Being. God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, is One Being.
Three persons, three distinct recognizable persons—we know the face of Jesus from the Scriptures, we know the moving and work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts, minds and bodies, and we know the face of the Father in creation, in the scriptures, in our conscience, One Being.

Why is this hard?
Because you’re one person in one being.
And you’re one person in one being.
And I’m one’ person in one being, albeit divided and disunified against myself.

So God is One. And because God is One in love, purpose and being, but distinct in person, God is close. This is where the rubber meets the road for your daily life.
When the Philip, two chapters back in John, says to Jesus, ‘show us the Father and that will be enough for us’ he doesn’t understand that he is looking at the perfection of God, in Christ. That when you look at Jesus, when you love Jesus, when you surrender to Jesus and accept the work he has done on your behalf—the work of dying on the cross, of rising again, of ascending into heaven—when you accept that and surrender your heart and mind to him, you are not just In Christ, you are In the Father. At that moment the Holy Spirit comes to live in you, to renew, restore, strengthen and forgive you. At that moment you have free clear access to the Father, to communicate, to relate, to love, to know him. When you look at Jesus, you see the fullness of God the Father. You’re not missing anything, you’re not being gypped. When you believe in and confess Jesus as your Savior and Lord, you are brought into the fullness of God’s own life. That love that I talked about before—the overflowing love of the Father, Son and Spirit for each other—that love now pours into you, completely.

Your canvas, your life, is now no longer yours to paint and sort out on your own. You are In Christ. He becomes the painter, the sorter out. And when Jesus is the one who organizes and directs, you don’t end up with any disunified, unsightly construction paper pasted in the middle of your life. When Jesus is painting, everything comes together as a unified and beautiful whole.

But you have to be in Christ.

Now, I know it’s a shocking thought, but its possible to sit all your life in church and never fully submit to Christ and accept his sacrifice and his love. Its possible to sit in your pew, Sunday after Sunday and still call the shots and be the arranger of your life. But if that’s you, than you’re not experiencing the fullness of God, Father, Son and Holy Spirit. So, if you haven’t committed yourself fully to Christ today, do so. Ask him to come into your heart and make you new and clean. Ask him to forgive you of your sins. Ask him to give you the Holy Spirit. Ask him to pour out his love on you and in you.

And if you do this now or this is a new thing for you, let me know now, or at the altar rail, and I will help you pray, or pray for you, that’s what I’m here for.
Jesus loves you, very much. And he wants to give you everything he has. All you have to do is ask him.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Weekend Odds and Ends

Its a Saturday evening. And, as was yesterday, and the day before, it is very hot. Sultry. Just resign yourselves, I'm going to be providing exhaustive weather reports as the weather gets hotter. Was appalled to run into someone who felt that the temperature was 'just right'. There's no accounting for taste.

I'm going to try and get up and go pull some weeds in the front. And then try and finish a sermon for tomorrow. Matt and I both have to preach, him in one place, and me in another. If both our sermons are fabulous, I will post them. Matt is preaching on verse 2 of Acts 2 (he covered verse 1 last week), and I am going to muddle my way through the Trinity.

And just a couple thoughts from Emma:
"Aedan, that's not true. That's not my trueff."
My relativism radar flew up. But I think she meant to say that Aedan was not telling the truth and she was. Still, an interesting way to put it.

And then, in the store, trying on a swimsuit, yelling, as it were,
"Did God make this swimsuit to fit little girls?"
Me, whispering, "yes, and so did the manufacturer."
Emma, yelling, "WHY?"
Me, whispering, "because if it fits you, you'll buy it, and they'll make money."
Emma, yelling, "God?"
Me, whispering, "No, the manufacturer."
Emma, "Oh."