Monday, January 30, 2006

328 Chinook hymnody

A few posts back at my other, other blog I mentioned the "fun" of browsing the Yale Beinecke Library uncataloged database and trying to discover the keywords that might bring up some entries. I used "horse," "letters," "manuscript," "woman" (didn't get much, which may mean those were rushed right to cataloging), and today I tried "hymns." I thought perhaps that genre would languish in a Yale backlog. I found a first reading book for Chinook that included hymns. Interesting. So I Googled Chinook because the only chinooks I knew about were strong winds and helicopters. There apparently are still a few Chinook Indians in the Pacific Northwest, they helped Lewis and Clark, and their language became the lingua franca jargon of the area. So I peeked around and found some interesting bibliographies, and eventually came to "Early Canadiana Online" and found some wonderful Chinookiana full text, online.

Now to the point of this blog, which isn't about Indians in the Pacific Northwest. I'm a Lutheran and although I love singing camp songs at informal gatherings in the woods and after potlucks, and I can swing and sway and raise my hands, I'm less than thrilled to stare at an overhead screen on Sunday morning and sing ditties that repeat and repeat. Here's what they were writing in the 19th century about teaching the Chinook Indians Christian hymns:

"These hymns have grown out of Christian work among the Indians. They repeat often, because they are intended chiefly for Indians who cannot read, and hence must memorize them."


Cross posted at Collecting My Thoughts.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

The glory of the heavens

grabbed BenZ while stepping outside in his flip flops to take out the garbage one night. After viewing the magnificent stars he went back in to check out his astronomy textbook:

"So, when I got inside I ran to my textbook and counted 11 of 24 chapters and numerous uncounted passages that discussed a Secular explanation for the origin of our universe. Literally, well over 1/2 of the text was dedicated to origins. However, what percentage do our churches dedicate to origins? Why don't we hear about Genesis and the story of our Creator and His marvelous creation?"

You can read Ben at Worship Driven Missions.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

326 George Washington's Prayer for our Nation

I'd thought about saving this for February 22, but decided we need to hear or read this every day.

"Almighty God; We make our earnest prayer that Thou wilt keep the United States in Thy holy protection; that Thou wilt incline the hearts of the citizens to cultivate a spirit of subordination and obedience to government; and entertain a brotherly affection and love for one another and for their fellow citizens of the United States at large. And finally that Thou wilt most graciously be pleased to dispose us all to do justice, to love mercy, and to demean ourselves with that charity, humility, and pacific temper of mind which were the characteristics of the Divine Author of our blessed religion, and without a humble imitation of whose example in these things we can never hope to be a happy nation. Grant our supplication, we beseech Thee, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

This was in an e-mail circulating the internet about the called "God in Washington DC" or "Laus Deo" which are the words (Praise God) on the top of the Washington Monument (and there can be no building or monument higher). I haven't researched this, not even with Google, but thought it a good prayer for our country. Prayers of and for our nation by Presidents and statesmen will also be an interesting topic to research, don't you think?

Sunday, January 22, 2006

325 A paraphrase

Yesterday I heard some younger mothers discussing what to do about their pre-teen daughters listening to the currently popular music (degrading to women, bad language, violent and anti-everything). They were distressed and unhappy with the situation but seemed helpless to provide guidance for 9 and 10 year olds. "All their friends are allowed to listen to it, and they hear it at their homes, dance class, etc." When I expressed some surprise I was told "it isn't like the 50s." Think about this:

"Those who live according to the whims and likes of 10 year olds, have their minds lowered to that level; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." Romans 8:5 (my paraphrase)


"Those who immerse themselves in the values of Hollywood, have their minds lowered to the level of Desperate Housewives and MTV; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." Romans 8:5 (my paraphrase)


"Those who read only the current newspapers and blogs (regardless of their political slant) for knowledge of how we should live instead of reading Scripture, have their minds lowered to that level; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires." Romans 8:5 (my paraphrase)

Monday, January 16, 2006

324 Is it just me

or is this sentence trying too hard to be obtuse?

"Cornelius Van Til’s presuppositionalist apologetic has often been understood as a critical rejection of the classical apologetic of Old Princeton stalwart Benjamin B. Warfield in favor of the viewpoint of Dutch statesman/theologian Abraham Kuyper."

Anyway, it is at Reformata. He started nailing it to the door in October 2005.

Wednesday, January 11, 2006

323 Missionaries are Amazing

We're having a warm January after a cold December, but compared to Yakutsk, Russia, we have no concept of cold. I know nothing about this missionary family, but doesn't this photo just tell it all about devotion, obedience and following God to the ends of the earth?

This is Valentin and Liuba Nikonenko of Yakutsk, Russia.
Valentin is a leader and head of the department of Education at Association of Evangelical Churches of Yakutia. The website says it can get to -50 C in Yakutsk.

Monday, January 09, 2006

322 Peeking in the freebie box

Yesterday at the church library I looked in the free box--although I'd vowed not to. I came away with two fairly substantial books. Anne Graham Lotz' 2003 title, "My Heart's Cry," and "The art of reading scripture," an Eerdmans title, 2003. The Lotz book, in hard cover, I assume was withdrawn from the church library because several years ago the women's group used this and they may have bought multiple copies. She is Billy Graham's daughter and in my opinion, the best preacher in the whole family. The Eerdmans title is probably a donation, and the librarian didn't select it. It is a compilation of essays by scholars.

This morning I took the Eerdmans title to the coffee shop and enjoyed the essay, "Reading scripture in light of the Resurrection" by Richard B. Hays, pp. 216-238. It confirmed what I've often thought. We need to hear about the Resurrection all year long, not just at Easter. I think it may be the most under preached and under discussed topic in Christian churches.

"Many preachers and New Testament scholars are unwitting partisans of the Sadducees. Because they deny the truth of Scripture's proclamation that God raised Jesus from the dead--or waffle about it--they leave the church in a state of uncertainty, lacking confidence in its mission, knowing neither the Scriptures nor the power of God." I've never heard a better description of why so many Mainline protestant churches are struggling to find an audience and a message!

I haven't attended a liberal church in 30 years, and you probably haven't either if you're reading this blog. Yet I think we evangelicals don't hear this message often enough. He specifically points out three texts, John 2:13-22 with Psalm 69, the identification between the temple and Jesus' own body; Mark 12:18-27 where Jesus goes to the heart of God's self-revelation in the Old Testament; and Luke 24:13-35 where Jesus opens the scriptures to his followers after the resurrection and points them to the prophets.

Hays then goes on to list nine implications of reading Scripture in light of the Resurrection, and points out again that most New Testament scholars are not believers--but would be if they'd open their eyes and hearts to reading Scripture this way.

I love it when someone agrees with me, don't you?

Sunday, January 08, 2006

321 Obedience

Our Women of the Word (WOW) study this winter at Upper Arlington Lutheran Church (UALC) is Priscilla Shirer's "He Speaks to Me." This is a Lifeway publication, so if you are familiar with their DVD/video + workbook format (Beth Moore), you know the drill. I had to leave after the DVD yesterday to hang the quilt show, but I think Priscilla is a dynamic speaker. She fully engages with her audience. So far, her examples don't speak to me (about small children), but at 66, I'm not the target audience. However, this morning in preparing day 1 of week 1, I noticed on p. 10 this phrase: "obedience requires sacrifice," followed by her examples of serving family before her own desires, time with the Lord, not overeating, controlling spending and honoring her husband's authority. I'm not sure I agree--that this list could be called "sacrificial." Well, only in upper middle class America.

This is a list of joys, in my opinion. 1) She has a family to serve. So many don't. At my age, I know many widows. I visit nursing homes filled with people whose self-worth as Christians was built on serving others, and now are tasting the bitter fruit of no purpose to live. 2) She has a Bible to read and lives in a country where that is permitted and protected by law. So many don't. 3) She has enough food available that she can choose to overeat. So many don't, or may have only one or two staples to choose from. 4) She has a good income--a dual income in fact, which creates discretionary spending. So many don't. Their choices are all made for them--pay the minimum and hope the bill collectors don't call. 5) She has a husband who loves and protects her and enables her to have a Christian ministry. She is an African-American in a country where the marriage rate for blacks is 39%, down from 80% a hundred years ago.

Sacrifice? What do you think?

Friday, January 06, 2006

320 Postdenominational Christianity in the 21st Century

The title of the article I took to the coffee shop this morning is a mouthful: "Postdenominational Christianity in the twenty-first century," by Donald E. Miller, Annals, American Academy of Political and Social Science, 558, July 1998. I was sort of afraid this was going to be one of those "new paradigm," "seeker sensitive," "new reformation" dirges that are announcing in the death knell of liturgy, hymnal singing, and music that doesn't grow tumors in your ears.

And I was right, and it did confirm that the Lutheran (ELCA) church I attend is "postdenominational." However, the article was very reader-friendly and I think quite accurate from what I've seen at the webpages of the churches of other bloggers.
See if this doesn't sound like the successful churches you know (I've added a few white spaces to make it easier to read):

"The revolution that is transforming the Protestant landscape does not have to do with the content of Christianity so much as it does with the envelope in which is is placed. The gospel being preached is biblical and rooted in the first century, but the medium of presentation is contemporary and postmodern.

In the place of organs and choirs are bands and singers. The beloved eighteenth-century hymns of the mainline congregations have been replaced with melodies drawn from rock and roll, blues, jazz, and country-western.

The hierarchical structures of decision making, including denominational polity and layers of internal congregational bureaucracy, have been radically simplified to encourage members to act in response to the leading of the Holy Spirit as they initiate new programs and projects, rather than conform to top-down management plans. This revolution in style and organizational structure is a rebirth of the Protestant principle of the priesthood of all believers." p. 197

"The fastest growing churches in America are independent congregations that typically share the following characteristics:

They were started after the mid-1960s;

the majority of congregational members were born after 1945;

seminary training of clergy is optional;

worship is contemporary;

lay leadership is highly valued;

the churches have extensive small-group ministries;

clergy and congregants dress informally;

tolerance of different personal styles is prized;

pastors are understated, humble, and self-revealing;

bodily, rather than merely cognitive, participation in worship is the norm;

the gifts of the Holy Spirit are affirmed;

Bible-centered teaching predominates over topical sermonizing." p. 198

And here's the author's final thought--one well worth considering.

"The most vigorous movements do not rely on social science research but instead depend solely on their vision of God's claim on their lives. Indeed, when churches start hiring demographers to plot their spiritual course, then, most surely, one is witnessing the evolution of a movement into a more routinized state of its existence. p. 208

Thursday, January 05, 2006

319 Give this article to your church musicians

There was a brief item in USAToday on Jan. 5 that should have been in the headlines: "Years of exposure to loud noise increases the risk of developing a non-cancerous tumor that could cause hearing loss."

We have a service at our church call X-alt and the music is too loud for me to even walk through the fellowship hall when it is being performed. It attracks many young people, and even some oldsters--both groups probably having already lost some of their sensitivity to sound. At our contemporary service (down a few notches from X-alt) I used to leave because the percussion would affect my heart rate even though I was on medication.

The tumor is called acoustic neuroma, a benign, slow growing tumor that forms on the sheath of the eighth cranial nerve. This tumor can cause hearing loss, balance problems, and facial palsy. Seems a high price to pay for blasting your congregation at the noise level of a jet taking off or a chain saw in operation. I'm fairly certain this is not what the Psalmist had in mind with "make a joyful noise unto the Lord."

See American Journal of Epidemiology, December 15, 2005.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

My 2006 Stop List for Christians

1) Stop focusing on what the non-Christians, humanists, Wiccans, ACLUns are doing, and clean up your own house. Turning a blind eye to gambling, drinking, pornography, divorce, wife abuse, child abuse, abortion, sexual infidelity and political corruption doesn't help the cause of Jesus.

2) Stop following the mainstream culture in music, gadgetry, films, TV, etc. I can't tell a Christian pop "artist" from a secular one.

3) Stop supporting politicians who focus on religious minutae for political gain and look for ones who are Matthew 25 oriented. Whether or not the 10 commandments hang in the school lobby or Intelligent Design is taught in biology won't matter in the plank and splinter events.

4) Stop squabbling over Bible translations and give people the Holy Scriptures in their own language, whether that is Swahili, Swedish, Erdu or English. Just make sure it is an accurate translation and save the paraphrases for rainy days when you're bored.

5) Stop your inconsistencies about the death penalty. If you want people to take you seriously on abortion, don't support capital punishment.

6) Stop the mega-church trend before all cities and suburbs are left churchless. If you need more space, repopulate an urban church where you can have some influence.

7) Stop letting 20 year olds design your church web pages making them so flashy and bouncy that they are difficult to navigate and make the reader motion sick.

I'd like to round this off at ten, so if you have any to add, I'm open to a few more.

Monday, January 02, 2006

317 A prayer for the President

from the website of All Saints Anglican.

"A Prayer for The President of the United States, and all in Civil Authority.

O Lord, our heavenly Father, the high and mighty Ruler of the universe, who dost from thy throne behold all the dwellers upon earth; Most heartily we beseech thee, with thy favour to behold and bless thy servant THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and all others in authority; and so replenish them with the grace of thy Holy Spirit, that they may always incline to thy will, and walk in thy way. Endue them plenteously with heavenly gifts; grant them in health and prosperity long to live; and finally, after this life, to attain everlasting joy and felicity; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."

"A Prayer for The President of the United States, and all in Civil Authority [and governor].

Almighty God, whose kingdom is everlasting and power infinite; Have mercy upon this whole land; and so rule the hea rts of thy servants THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, The Governor of this State, and all others in authority, that they, knowing whose ministers they are, may above all things seek thy honour and glory; and that we and all the People, duly considering whose authority they bear, may faithfully and obediently honour them, according to thy blessed Word and ordinance; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who with thee and the Holy Ghost liveth and reigneth ever, one God, world without end. Amen."

316 What's private is also political

How many times have we heard or read that abortion should be private and not political? That's because the unborn in the minds of many are either property of the mother (but not the father), or a parasite living off the good graces of another.

Liberals are outraged by Alito's ruling that it was not an undue burden for a married woman to notify her husband that she was having an abortion. Now that notification didn't save the child's life, did it?

So the story of the antislavery saints of Ohio, "Beyond the River" by Ann Hagedorn reminds me a lot of the current "private vs. political" struggle.

"Their response was to tighten restraints, to raise the walls of confinement higher, to argue for laws to protect their human property, and eventually blame anti-slavery crusaders for fomenting revolt."

Anti-abortionists are painted as the personification of evil woman-haters by the pro-abortionist camp--and nothing Alito has done or stands for will ever be more important in their minds than abortion--not civil liberties, or the death penalty, or the 2nd amendment, or the 10 commandments in schools or Christmas trees in the public square. Just as in the early 19th century when slavery threatened the union, it has come down to one issue again in the early 21st century. And Christians are complicit now as then.

"Even though members of the church agreed with him [John Rankin, a Presbyterian minister] that the Bible was opposed to slavery, to say it publicly was a radical move, . . .never [to be] discussed from the pulpit." p. 31.

Cross posted at Collecting My Thoughts

Sunday, January 01, 2006

315 YouthWorker Journal

An interesting magazine was misdelivered to our home yesterday. Apparently, the label of one of my husband's journals stuck to the plastic wrapper of someone else's, because we found her label on the other side. We'll try to get it to the proper subscriber, but in the meanwhile I'm looking through it. I have an interest in magazines and serials and blog about my first issue collection at In The Beginning.

I remember when Mike Yaconelli was killed in an accident about two years ago, but since I have no connection with Christian youth ministry, I quickly forgot about what must have been a devastating blow to his family, friends, and co-workers at Youth Specialties.

As near as I can tell, YouthWorker Journal's editor, Will Penner, Youth Specialties and Salem Publishing/CCM Communications, the publisher of YWJ are parting company. I don't know exactly what this means for content or title (who owns that?) because Youth Worker Journal is produced by Youth Specialties. The associate publisher writes: "Youth workers need the hope that comes only from a personal and vibrant relationship with Jesus. We want to be a constant reminder of that hope." And Penner writes (both statements on pp. 70-71): "When I first got word that Youth Specialties would no longer be responsible for the editorial content in YouthWorker Journal . . ." He says they've tackled some tough issues, challenged a lot of people's thinking, and stepped on some toes. Mark Oestreicher, President of Youth Specialties, also has a farewell on the final page: "Youth Specialties wants to be both an encouragement and a prophetic voice. . .needs some rethinking. . .God calls us to constant change and evaluation, growth and revolution."

Yup. Prophesied and rethunk themselves right out of a job, and a nice magazine, apparently.