Friday, January 26, 2007
Wednesday, January 24, 2007
Paul is known as an Apostle, though he is not one of the twelve that Jesus selected while he walked the earth. He is also known as the Apostle to the Gentiles. It is due mainly to Paul's ministry that the gospel of Christ spread among non-Jewish people groups. Many of the Apostles resisted this at first, until further convinced by revelations from Christ as well as conversations with Paul.
In some aspects, Christianity has become like the Judaism of apostolic times. It is a people group who see themselves as select or chosen. It is very much an "in" or "out" group. Non-Christians are considered "Gentiles" and inclusion is often regulated while membership is approved if certain criteria are met. Rather than circumcision, it might be "quit smoking", "no swearing", "no drinking", "not Catholic", "hold to an Evangelical theology", etc. Who will be the St. Paul's of our day?
Octave of Prayer for Christian Unity:
"Let us pray. O Lord Jesus Christ, who saidst unto Thine Apostles: Peace I leave you, My peace I give to you; regard not our sins, but the faith of Thy Church, and grant unto her that peace and unity which are agreeable to Thy Will; Who livest and reignest ever, one God, world without end. Amen."
Tuesday, January 23, 2007
Recently i stayed at a parsonage of a Church i am candidating at. It's a great little church and it may be where i begin pastoring. My wife and i were surprised when we discovered there were no power outlets in either bathroom. My wife said, "How do i dry and do my hair? i need an outlet near a mirror." That's when it dawned on me...the layout of the house was probably planned by a board of male elders some time before electric shavers became popular. If there were even one woman on the building committee, there would have been a power outlet in the bathroom. When women are left out of leadership, important details are often left out.
i have to believe that what motivates this stance is a sincere desire to remain true to scriptural interpretation. i do think it will be interesting to see how this debate continues in light of the surrounding societal changes that are occurring, especially if Hillary becomes the Commander in Chief and Bill the First Lad...Gentleman.
(Democratic response to Bush's State of the Union Address)
Tuesday, January 16, 2007
Thursday, January 11, 2007
The median household income in America is $43,000 a year, which of course is the combined income of two or more household workers, meaning most individual Americans are making under $22,000 a year. This means that those who would like to raise a family off of one income, allowing one of the parents to stay home with the kids, don't really have that option.
i'm all for the liberation of women, but i don't like how our capitalistic/consumerist society cashed in on this, making it necessary for the majority of families to have two full-time workers in order to make an average living. Those who choose to live off one income usually have to make some big sacrifices in living conditions.
Well, this minimum wage hike was well overdue, and it certainly won't mean that families will be liberated to live off of one income again, but it is at least a step in the right direction. i know there are some small businesses that will feel the pressure of this wage increase, and still i think that overall this is the best decision. Perhaps more tax breaks for small business and less for big industry would be a viable solution.
Of course some would rightly say that when big buisness is taxed they simply hike up the cost of their products so that consumers end up paying the extra taxes. So really it ends up being a sort of "back door" tax raise on the people. So i guess i don't have the anwer/solution. What do you think?
Saturday, January 06, 2007
Today is the day of Epiphany on the Christian calendar, where we celebrate the revelation of God through Jesus and the events leading up to and including his baptism by John in the Jordan. Here's some more from Wikipedia: Also check out this gallery from CNN
Epiphany (Greek: επιφάνεια, "the appearance; miraculous phenomenon") is a Christian feast intended to celebrate the 'shining forth' or revelation of God to mankind in human form, in the person of Jesus. The observance had its origins in the eastern Christian churches, and included the birth of Jesus; the visit of the Magi, or Wise Men (traditionally named Gaspar, Melchior and Balthasar) who arrived in Bethlehem; and all of Jesus' childhood events, up to his baptism in the Jordan by John the Baptist. The date of the feast was fixed on January 6. Ancient Liturgies speak of Illuminatio, Manifestatio, Declaratio (Lighting, Manifestation, Declaration); cf. St. Matthew's Gospel (iii, 13–17); St. Luke's (iii, 22); and St. John's (ii, 1–11); where the Baptism and Marriage at Cana are dwelt upon. The Christian Churches have traditionally also talked of a "Revelation to the Gentiles", where the term Gentile meant all non-Jewish peoples. The Biblical Magi represent the non-Jewish peoples of the world.
Thursday, January 04, 2007
It began, as grand ideas often do, over a dinner — risotto, artisan cheese and wine. What would it be like, 10 environmentally conscious friends wondered as they discussed the state of the planet, to go a year without buying anything new?
Twelve months later, the results from their experiment in anti-consumption for 2006 are in: Staying 100 percent true to the goal proved both harder and easier than those who signed on expected.
And while broken vacuum cleaners and malfunctioning cell phones posed challenges, some of the group's original members say the self-imposed shopping sabbatical was so liberating that they've resolved to do it for another year.
"It started in a lighthearted way, but it is very serious," said John Perry, 42, a father of two who works for a Silicon Valley technology company. "It is about being aware of the excesses of consumer culture and the fact we are drawing down our resources and making people miserable around the world."
The pledge they half-jokingly named The Compact, after the Mayflower pilgrims, spread to other cities through the Internet and an appearance on the "Today" show.
As it turned out, The Compact was modest as far as economic boycotts go. Several cities in the United States and Europe have communities of "freegans," people whose contempt for consumerism is so complete they eat food foraged from Dumpsters whenever possible, train hop and sleep in abandoned buildings on principle.
The San Francisco group, by contrast, exempted food, essential toiletries like toothpaste and shampoo, underwear and other purchases that fell under the categories of health and safety from their pledge.
But perhaps because its members included middle-class professionals who could afford to shop recreationally, their cause caught on. Nearly 3,000 people have joined a user group Perry set up on Yahoo so participants could swap goods and tips.
Besides thrift stores and garage sales, participants found a wealth of free or previously owned merchandise in online classifieds and sites where people post stuff they want to get rid of, such as http://www.freecycle.org and http://www.garbagescout.com.
After going through an initial period of retail withdrawal, discovering just how easy it was to score pretty much anything with a little time and effort was an eye-opener, according to participants.
Rachel Kesel, 26, who works as a dog walker, said she was astonished by how often the items she needed simply materialized — the friend who offered a bicycle seat when hers was stolen, the Apple store employees who fixed her laptop at no cost.
Similarly fortuitous timing happened often enough that group members came up with a name for it — "Compact Karma."
After postponing purchases such as a new wind breaker and a different stud for her pierced tongue — she couldn't bring herself to buy a used one — Kesel broke down only twice.
Once was when she was planning a trip to Israel and couldn't find a used guidebook that reflected current political realities. The other was after her commuter coffee cup suffered a fatal crack.
"I really found a lot of times there were things I thought I needed that I don't need that much," she said.
The pledge provided unexpected dividends as well, such as the joy of getting reacquainted with the local library and paying down credit cards. Gone, too, was the hangover of buyer's remorse.
Perry got satisfaction out of finding he had a knack for fixing things and how often manufacturers were willing to send replacement parts and manuals for products that had long since outlived their warranties.
"One of the byproducts of The Compact has been I have a completely different relationship with the things in my life. I appreciate the stuff I have more," he said. "I don't think I need to buy another pair of shoes until I'm entering Leisure World."
Over the holidays, Compact members gave homemade gifts or charitable donations in a recipients name instead of engaging in the usual Grinch-making shopping crush. Kate Boyd, 45, a set designer and high school drama teacher, visited a new downtown shopping mall and felt like she had just stepped off a flying saucer.
"It was all stuff that had nothing to do with me, yet for so many people that's how they spend their weekends," she said. "It's entertainment and it is the opposite of where I've been for a year."
Now that they know they can do it, Boyd, Kesel and Perry are ready to extend the pledge into 2007. But first, they plan to give themselves a one-day reprieve to stock up on essentials — windshield wipers, bicycle brakes and tongue studs.
On the Net: