Tag: Reformed tradition
“Living by Faith(fulness)”
the Biblical authors meant something different by “faith” than modernity’s notion of “believing things without proof”
Every church is a sociological reality. As such it is subject to the laws which determine the life of social groups with all their ambiguities. Paul Tillich  As far back as I can remember, I’ve had “sociological imagination.” One of my earliest childhood memories is sitting in our backyard thinking about my cousins, who…
Yesterday reminded me why I love the Presbyterians. We held our mandatory annual congregational meeting for 2021 yesterday. ASIDE: “Mandatory” says who? The Book of Order, the polity, “the way we do things around here,” the rules. When people talk about “organized religion,” this is exactly what they’re talking about, whether they know it or…
Twenty-fifth Sunday in Ordinary Time
Today in worship we ordained and installed church officers – deacons, and one elder, mostly folks who are filling out unexpired terms for people who have fallen ill or have had to resign their position due to the sudden eruption of family demands. Taking responsibility in any organization is demanding. If the organization is your…
Twenty-third Sunday in Ordinary Time
Because I am modern, I assume effects have causes. I assume sciatica has a cause. Our theory about the cause of D’s recent bout of sciatica is “stairs.” Specifically the stairs in Dayton, Ohio, at her family’s houses, that she spent a lot of time going up and down last Labor Day weekend. As the…
A Deeper Look at Romans
The August “special study” was the book of Romans. The curriculum ended up consisting of Preaching Romans: Four Perspectives, a really good book on the book of Romans. In spite of its title, Preaching Romans is not only a collection of sermons, although it does include several sermons, and all of them are interesting ones.…
Fifth Sunday of Easter
Some days at church are like this: The day is already good, even wonderful – and then it gets better. Some days at church are like this: I didn’t even know how much I needed to hear someone to say this, from the pulpit, even after all this time. Our class is always good, wonderful,…
Salvation by – Which Was That, Again?
A brief comment on some current reading: Here’s the way the author of a popular and, it appears, controversial “apologetic” text phrases Protestant Christianity’s understanding of salvation: Salvation comes by way of faith alone, through grace alone in Christ alone, to the glory of God alone! Thanks to the reformers, we Protestants are pretty much…
“Keep the Pastor Nominating Committee in Your Prayers”
A day or so ago, while looking for something else, I came across this “Prayer for the PNC.” Because Presbyterians like to do things “decently and in order,” we have a step-by-step process for seeking and calling a new pastor after the former pastor says “Yes!” to a new call to somewhere else. One of…
Proper or Ordinary?
The brand new PC(USA) Book of Common Worship (2018) calls the Sundays after Epiphany “Sundays after Epiphany,” and the Sundays after Pentecost “Propers.” (That is, it has entries for Proper 4, Proper 5, … Proper 28. Proper 28 falls on Sunday, November 13-19, the Sunday before Christ the King Sunday).
We celebrated Epiphany at our church this morning, although technically Epiphany was yesterday. It might have been particularly appropriate that our Bible study class was reading the first chapter of Daniel, since Daniel was presumably one of the kind of people who appear in Jerusalem on Epiphany: a magus, a “wise man,” “from the east.”…
Christian Doctrine (19)
Here are my summary notes for Shirley C. Guthrie, Jr., Christian Doctrine, Chapter 19, “What’s Going to Happen to Us? The Doctrine of the Christian Hope for the Future,” which is also (just in time for Christmas) the final chapter in this series: We know we are going to die, and everyone we know is…
Christian Doctrine (18)
These are my summary notes [and comments] on Chapter 18 of Shirley W. Guthrie, Jr.’s Christian Doctrine, “Living or Dead? The Doctrine of the Church”: Guthrie begins by observing how much people complain about the church. He agrees the church is “in trouble.” Church numbers are declining and church influence on individuals and society at…