Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Top 10 Christian sites in Italy

Zondervan Publishing House publishes general travel guides called, "The Christian Travelers Guides" series. For Italy it suggests the top ten of many
    1. St. Peter's Basilica in the Vatican City
    2. Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
    3. Leonardo Da Vinci's Last Supper in Milan
    4. Holy Shroud in Turin
    5. Dome of the Florence Cathedral
    6. Piccolomini Library in Siena
    7. San Clement in Rome
    8. Santa Maria Dei Frari in Venice
    9. San Brizio Chapel in The Cathedral of Orvieto
    10. Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna
Blogging will be light while we enjoy our tour.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Save the Children

needs to get back to the business of well, saving children. I'm really disappointed to learn that it has jumped on the childhood obesity bandwagon. We absolutely do not need one more bloated government program for food that feeds farmers and bureaucrats! Read Junk Food Science. My husband and I sponsored and corresponded with a boy from Ecquador for many years. We hope we made a difference in his life (although one time I was watching a TV program on volcanoes and a man with that same name was killed).

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Are we watching the end?

I caught a few minutes of the Obama celebrations last night, as he is the presumed candidate of the Democrats. John McCain, the unconservative interloper candidate of the Republicans looks mighty weak and frail, both in thought, word and deed against a young man with no history of doing anything except smoozing with the Chicago machine and various "social justice" think tanks. He's propped up by Move on dot org, George Soros and ACORN, to say nothing of the tenured radicals of the 60s, at least those whose brains have survived the haze of drugs of their youth. I've never cared for Hillary Clinton, but over these past few months I found myself wishing that Thompson or Huckabee or Romney had shown even a fraction of her determination and drive. She out campaigned and out talked Obama at every point, but his machine was stronger than hers, although I don't see a spider's web width difference in their policies and plans.

So I turned to the book of Acts, because none of this is new, it's all there. Nations and leaders rise and fall in God's plan. I am not a dispensationalist; the fascination that some Christians have with the Left Behind series and picking a verse here and there to match up with the newspaper headlines leaves me--well, left out. But the one question I always have, since it only seems to be Americans who get into this, just where is the United States in all the prophecy of end times? Paul probably has the answer, Acts 17:26-31.

He's in Athens and he proclaims the Gospel to a group that might be compared to a lunch bunch sitting around in the Faculty Club at OSU philosophizing over politics, history and biology--most likely they've even bought into man-made global warming and chuckle over Bushisms (the stammering of Obama doesn't bother them). By their own behavior and publications they are admitting they haven't found God, just like the guys Paul encountered that day. Most won't listen to Paul who begins with the announcement that God created the universe, that he is Lord of heaven and earth that they have descended from Adam and they won't find him or serve him with their man made efforts.
    "From one man he made every nation of men, that they should inhabit the whole earth; and he determined the times set for them and the exact places where they should live. God did this so that men would seek him and perhaps reach out for him and find him, though he is not far from each one of us. For in him we live and move and have our being."(NIV)
If that's not clear enough, here it is in the New Living Translation, a paraphrase which reads like a sermon on the text:
    "From one man he created all the nations throughout the whole earth. He decided beforehand which should rise and fall, and he determined their boundaries. His purpose in all of this was that the nations should seek after God and perhaps feel their way toward him and find him--though he is not far from any one of us. For in him we live and move and exist." (NLT)
In short, God is in control; we aren't. And it appears we have frittered away our inheritance and are settling for a false messiah.

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Where cross the crowded ways of life

is an urban, gritty hymn, with a "social justice" theme. We sang it this morning in our traditional service, but it didn't seem to fit the sermon theme--Acts 24:10-27, Paul's encounter with his enemies and his imprisonment for the Gospel. You've all heard the tune, I'm sure. If not, sit back and enjoy this--it will come back to you.

There's a long list of humanity's problems in this hymn,
    cries of race and clan

    noisy selfish crowds

    wretchedness and need

    dark spaces of fear

    paths that lead to greed

    helpless children

    grieving women

    toiling men

    famished souls

    deep sorrow

    multitudes longing

    restless throngs
but no solution, no mention of Jesus by name, his miracles, his sermons, the cross, his death for our sin, the resurrection. No gospel. It's Jesus of the tender heart and compassionate face, with tears on our behalf. The writer, Frank Mason North, 1850-1935, offers the familiar "follow the Master" solution, "Till glorious from thy heaven above, Shall come the city of our God."

Except for the music this hymn wouldn't rouse a wild eyed poverty pimping Father Pfleger or a mild mannered conservative Lutheran.