Tuesday, October 27, 2009

A pile of stones

If you've been a member of UALC since the days of Pastor Luther Strommen, you might remember a pile of stones in front of the sanctuary. Here's a trip down memory lane.


We came to UALC as baby Christians. That's when the Pastor came to the home of visitors with a team of parishioners. My husband used to say, Pastor Strommen has a 3 point sermon: Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord, Jesus is Lord.

Steve Puffenberger explains: Pastor Strommen had received a call to go to another church, something he struggled deeply with. He presented the prospect of his leaving to staff, council and ultimately the congregation, with the challenge that if he stayed there would be a new commitment to following Jesus. The congregation agreed. The moment was commemorated by the building of a pile of stones that sat on the shelf beneath the cross (in the old sanctuary). In the year that followed some of the most remarkable ministries began happening. The Don Abdon seminar resulted in the "so preach teach and live" mission statement. William Vaswig brought the beginnings of healing prayer. There were other programs on evangelism born. The "New Day," as it was called, was pivotal in the spiritual lives of many.

Listen and pray.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Not to be offensive, but. . .

We're being encouraged to save on our utilities at our three locations. Years ago I was taught that constantly turning lights on and off didn't really save electricity. However, there's another reason not to turn out the lights at Lytham Road Ladies Rooms. At least during busy times like Sunday Morning, Thursday morning, weddings, funerals, etc. It turns off the ventilation. 'Nuf said?

But if that's not enough. The rooms have no windows, so they are pitch black when you enter. The ladies room in the back of the church is off a windowless hallway where some conscientious Christian has also turned out the lights. That's not very welcoming for visitors. And dangerous.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Get out now--nothing is going to change

I grew up in the Church of the Brethren, as did my parents, grandparents and great-grandparents (in 1888 there were several splits, but you get the idea). The church dates its beginning to 1708 when a group decided after much prayer and Bible study that they needed to re-baptize themselves--thus Anabaptist. It is one of the historic peace churches with strong ties to the Mennonites (and a lot of intermarriage). Each year it has an Annual Conference to discuss the business of being a church--a very tiny church, I might add. I attended one in 1949 with my grandparents in Ocean Grove, and one in Dayton in 1974. Some people go every year to see old friends. I think there are about 50,000 members--so it's not hard to run into someone you know. At the Newsletter of the Brethren Rival Fellowship (now 50 years old) a group that has attempted to return the group to its Biblical Anabaptist Pietist roots, I noticed this report on the 2009 Annual Conference.
    1. The 223rd recorded Annual Conference was held in San Diego, California, on June 26-30, 2009, with attendance at an unusual low of just slightly under 2,100 in attendance.

    2. The theme was, “The Old Has Gone, The New Has Come, All This Is From God.” It was based on 2 Corinthians 5, on becoming new creatures in Christ.

    3. While the theme emphasized the new things in Christ, the Conference spent most of its time dealing with what is becoming an increasingly old issue at Annual Conference–namely homosexuality.

    4. Last year’s Standing Committee had formed a statement of Confession and Commitment in response to the repeated requests that came to the Program and Arrangements Committee from BMC (Brethren Mennonite Council­a pro gay organization) to have a display area among the exhibits. This request has consistently been denied.

    5. The Standing Committee Statement essentially affirmed the 1983 decision on human sexuality and acknowledged the tension that exists in the denomination over this issue. The statement cautioned against the meanness that has been expressed at some levels and said this kind of activity must stop.

    6. This year a new item of business was received from the Northern Indiana District that raised the question, “Whether it is the will of the church that this language on same-sex covenantal relationships [in the 1983 Annual Conference decision] will continue to guide our journey together?” . . .
I think we know what the result of this struggle with the advocates from the LGBT group will be. I’m not sure why every denomination tries to reinvent the wheel on this. A tiny percentage of the group advocates for acceptence of their unbiblical life style; a larger group doesn't want to be mean or judgemental (because that would be unbiblical) and supports them; the majority waffle and wait (which is also unbiblical since there is an outline on how to handle this) and finally leave a weakened, gutted denomination. The solution might be to get out now so you can move ahead with the Lord’s work. Their sexuality statement goes back to 1983, and when I went back and looked at some of the archives, even 26 years ago teen-agers at the youth conferences were being told same sex attraction was OK and they should be working for “justice” for the gay community.

The ELCA task force statement to recognize and bless homosexual unions goes back to 1989, but only because ELCA was birthed in 1988 through a merger of two of the largest synods, the Lutheran Church in America, and the American Lutheran Church. The individual statements on sexuality from those groups probably predate 1989.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mix and match any number

The Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) has been sparing over its sexuality statement for 20 years (1989 the task force was formed), and in August 2009 the liberals won--by a tiny margin. The English in the document is so obscure you'd never get out of Writing 101 if you tried this at the college level. Now hundreds of Lutheran churches are leaving as soon as they can secure their buildings and pensions and work out the business relationships with new umbrella organizations through which they can continues missions, teaching and publication. As I have often pointed out to my clueless (and holier than thou) friends, it wasn't going to end with gay marriage, or ordaining gay pastors in "loving committed relationships." Polygamists and man-boy love advocates were waiting in line for us to lower the bar.

So I hate to say "I told you so," but I will. Obama's nominee Chai R. Feldblum, to the Equal Employment Opportunity Council, is a lesbian who believes any number, any mix and match, makes a family and a household. Read her story at InsideCatholic.com

Obama has flip flopped on so many issues, his backing off of marriage between a man and woman is no surprise.
    Feldblum's advocacy of the homosexual lifestyle is quite startling, given the fact that she teaches at a Catholic law school. As a matter of fact, she is seen in this video arguing not only that the government has a duty to promote homosexuality but also proclaiming, "Gay sex is morally good."

    Since President Obama nominated Feldblum on September 15, his outreach to the homosexual community has rapidly accelerated. His keynote speech to the Human Rights Campaign on October 11 contained all the positions advocated by his EEOC nominee: "You will see a time in which we as a nation finally recognize relationships between two men or two women as just as real and admirable as relationships between a man and a woman."

    Obama's declaration "to repeal the so-called Defense of Marriage Act and to pass the Domestic Partners Benefits and Obligations Act" reflects Feldblum's commitment to employ the power of government to encourage the growth of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender social units, thus presenting a direct challenge to traditional marriage."
My only question is what is this woman doing at a Catholic school? A question we soon won't be able to ask because it is hate speech to believe what God said in Genesis 1-2. Hate speech legislation isn't about protecting minorities from violence--that happens most in their own communities--it's about shutting up and outlawing anything you don't want to hear, including the truth.

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

The flu scare

Our church has installed a hand sanitizer outside the sanctuary and fellowship hall (where the X-Alt service meets). Also, bottles of hand sanitizer were available as we went up for communion, and each server used it.

But the soap in the Ladies Room is pink and the counter top is white--and horribly stained from the pink soap. Part of encouraging people to wash their hands is to have a well kept environment and attractive wash room. About a year ago I suggested that we purchase white soap, but nothing happened. I'll have to find out what channels or committees were used to get those hand sanitizers installed.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Blake Haxton begins at OSU

Blake Haxton's story is amazing. In the spring his legs were amputated to save him from necrotizing fasciitis (flesh eating bacteria); he was not expected to live. Although the Haxtons were not members of UALC, many days our whole community was praying for him and his family because teens in our community knew him through sports. His father has a journal at The Caring Bridge, and on Sept. 23 reported that Blake had entered OSU as a Freshman. The faith of the family has been an inspiration to all.

Interview with Blake's Dad.