28 October 2006

Good Press on a Bad Practice

Yesterday the Projo Editorial Board published an opinion piece against coal as the fuel of America. Also, this morning the NYTimes ran a piece on Christian activism against moutain top removal.

26 October 2006

Blog Addition for Game 4

Due to the rainout last night it appears the officals of Major League of Blogging are gonna let me submit Theology on Tap in the Burg into tonights lineup.

Mmmmmm Graham Cracker Cake

On Monday I turned the opposite of that particular date. The wife asked what I would like. One thing: A Graham Cracker Cake. My grandma used to make a graham cracker pie, but i have yet to retrieve the recipe. One day while reading the WV Gazette I found a recipe for a GCC, I thought I bet that is good. It is, lemme tell ya.
It has the texture of a good corn muffin, little bit more moist though. The whipped cream frosting doesnt sit well outside the refrig. I thought while finishing a piece the other day after lunch, what about a layer of ganache between the layers, hmmm. I think it would make a welcomed addition. Today for lunch I had a piece with some chocolate chips on the side, not too shabby.

here is the recipe:

12 full size graham crakers, crushed (1.75 cups)
.5 cups of flour
2.5 teaspoons baking powder
1.5 sticks of butter, softened
1 cup of sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mil

2.5 cups of chilled whipping cream
1/3 cups of confectioners' sugar, crushed graham crackers

preheat oven to 350
-combine first three ingred. in separate bowl
-cream butter and sugar in bowl.
add eggs one @ a time, mix in vanilla. beat in flour mixture.
-pour into two greased and floured 8 inch pans
-bake 25 minutes.
-cool in pans for 15 mins.
-remove to wire racks for cooling.

-beat cream
-add conf. sugar
-till soft peaks

place one layer of cake
spread some cream on top
then add second layer
frost with cream all over
add crushed g.c. to the top and serve.

upon finishing be sure to stick in the frig.

24 October 2006

Christians I Can Pray with, finally

Christians pray against Coal-Fired Plant.

Also check out the link for Front Porch, it is a great gathering blog of Appalachian Voices.

Sermon Goes Okay

Rev'd entered the historic pulpit of a new england Baptist Church on Sunday October 22 thinking he had an average sermon prepared on the Holy Spirit. About half way through what appeared to be an average sermon on Thursday (when he finished it) turned out to be a less than average on Sunday morning.

As the congregation exited the sanctuary the first person through said it was a nice sermon. A few persons later one gentlemen appreciated how Rev. tied in the birth of L. R. Baptist and the work of God's Spirit. But when Sunday dinner rolled around that evening at a congregant's house the truth was exposed: "that sermon stunk this morning." Rev. agreed and thought, just have to work harder next time.

Read for yourself and see what you think.

Planned Spontainiety

Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost
Romans 8:26-27 & John 14:15-17

In the four years of life here in New England I have noted the frequent irregularities in your speech pattern. On Friday I went to get a new chain for my chainsaw, the repairman said I would need a new bah in about a year, what? The other day I heard a husband call out to his wife Marianner, ah well. I know it swings both ways, y’all just kind of look at me when I say Woonsocket. Appalachians have their own way of speaking and y’all Yankees do too. We also have a different way of speaking about our religion.

New Englanders have traditionally talked about God, meaning God the Father, maker of heaven and earth. While my people speak a lot about Jesus. Both of us completely skip over the Holy Spirit, I guess we’ve left it for the west coasters. We really do ourselves a great disservice to our understanding and appreciation of God, the Holy Spirit.

We try as best as we can to wrap our heads around God the Creator, we can look around at the moon and stars and say God the Creator made all of this. We can even wrap our heads around Jesus, we can read the Beatitudes and say Jesus spoke those. But how do you refer to the Holy Spirit other than someone rolling around on the floor speaking a language you’ve never heard before?

This year Al Lawton has been snooping, digging and rooting around the history of this congregation. I want to lift the description those church planters left as they retold how this congregation came into in a letter to the Warren Association, “during the past winter and spring a very precious and extensive revival of religion was experienced in this place. As the fruits of this revival, on the 5th of last April a regular Baptist Church was formed…which consists of 24 members.”

There is something we can point to in reference to the Holy Spirit, the birth of this congregation.

God the Creator, for whatever reason, created heaven and earth. For whatever reason God in Jesus Christ freely came to fully experience the life of a human. For whatever reason God’s Spirit now constantly dwells among us. God didn’t take a nap after creating, God didn’t abandon us once Jesus went to be at the right hand of the Father, God came to be with us, to help us, to advocate and guide us on this pilgrimage.

God’s spirit inspires and breathes lives into churches and individuals. But we as Christians in no way possess a monopoly of God’s Spirit. God’s Spirit pops up in unusual places. Sometimes we find truth, head God’s voice and find meaning in the furthest points away from congregations. Sometimes the Church makes the most idiotic and craziest statements that seem like the last thing God’s Spirit would lead one to say.

We can sit around and wait for God’s Spirit to move us, to cause us to quake, or we can work like mad to create a hospitable and open place for the Spirit to live and inspire life in us. We plan for spontaneity. We prepare, prepare, prepare for the moments when God’s Spirit does move and become more real.

Why wait and prepare for moments of Spirit inspired spontaneity? We all want to experience life more fully. We are here, whether we acknowledge it or not, because we are seeking a moment of clarity, love and grace. We are seeking a God centered life. We want what those first disciples had. We wish to see the deeds of Jesus, to hear his words, to taste the bread and fish he prepared, to smell his goodness, and to touch those whom he healed. We want to move, just like his disciples from a bunch who rumble, bumble and stumble in the gospels they barely roll into the book of Acts, but by the second chapter they are boldly living and acting as real disciples. They emerge from behind locked doors as people with something to say, with words worth hearing. What happened to them that can happen to us?

Behind those locked doors the Resurrected Christ came and breathed on them and said to them, Receive the Holy Spirit. Receive my helper, your advocated and guide, receive Truth. With the aid of God’s Spirit they emerged from the locked doors and begin to freely live as God’s children.

We are searching for the realization of a life that the old hymn declares:

As the flow’r within the seed
As in the cone the tree
So, praise the God of truth and grace
His Spirit dwelleth in me.

Christ liveth in me,
Christ liveth in me
O what a salvation this.
That Christ liveth in me.

God didn’t create us, send his Son and his Spirit to make our lives a living hell and constantly break our hearts. God is a God who constantly gives, gives and keeps giving.

You want this life Spirit-filled and God-centered life. It is within your grasp. This life doesn’t cost anything. You don’t have to go on a silent journey to the Himalayas to find it. You only have to look within and find the indwelling Spirit, the image of God you were created in. Find the rich goodness of God in you. Look around and see the many ways God is reaching out to find you.

Sisters and Brothers believe, receive the Holy Spirit, the Spirit that help us pray, the Spirit that guides us to Truth, advocates for us and helps us in this life. Find and receive the Spirit indwelling in you.

God of Life and Truth,
Breath your spirit on us,
And give us the new life you so desire.
We are desperate for your words,
For your grace
And for your love.
In Christ’s name we pray

19 October 2006

The hagios Nuematah (phonetic I know)

This Sunday the sermon series turns to the Holy Spirit: I believe in the Holy Spirit, the holy catholic Church.

I always thought of the Holy Spirit as Prince Albert in the Can, stuff you always have around but rarely really use. But what a disservice not to recognize the life giving spirit of mission and truth for the church!

I havent begun to write the sermon yet, will in about an hour or so. I want to play upon the Trouble Maker in Job and the Advocate/Helper in John. And Church universal, not something I have stressed much in my time in the pulpit - I must have a strong sectarian streak in my dna.

The Honey House

Unlike the scene from The Secret Lives of Bees, my honey house is an area designated in the garage. I call it the Honey House for dramatic effect, #1 and #2 are too literal to get my metaphorical/playful use of language just yet.

I harvested the honey. How do you do that? Well you get the supers off the beehive, then take them inside. When you are ready you get your hot knife (a large flat knife that plugs in the wall) and cut the wax off the top of the comb. The bees store the wax for food in the comb then top it off with wax. Then you place the super frames in an extractor (I rent the hand cranked model from the RI Beekeepers) the honey is flung out by centrifigual force. At the bottom on the extractor is a spigot, open it up and the honey flows into a bucket (I buy the five gallon ones from Home Depot, on top of that put a nylon paint strainer) Let the honey, pollen and other bee related stuff flow through, then sterilize some jars and put store the honey.

How much this year? Dont know, about 2 gallons - it was a weak year for honey.

In just the past couple of days NPR has run three segments on beekeeping. Go here to check them out.

West Virginias in the news.
Bad news, Kevin Pittsnogle was reported this morning to be on the chopping block of the Boston Celtics.
Good News, furniture maker, James Probust has an item in the Personal Shopper section of House and Style in this morning NYTimes.

17 October 2006

Woke Up This Morning with...

I woke up this morning thinking it would be raining outside. But instead when I went out to get the newspapers I saw this instead.
Of course it is not a West Virginia sunrise, but it will do. But the goodness of the day didn't stop there. I opened up the NYTimes and found an article about the Worlds Strongest Man contest, the lead dude none other than Phil Pfister of Charleston, WV.

WV update, St. Albans is #2 in the AAA MSAC standings at 7-0. WVU is #4 in the nation at 7-0. Marshall cant buy a win, only win is over I-AA Hofstra, they are a lowly 1-6. Leaves are near peak.

16 October 2006

A Sermon from Sunday, no foolin'

Some Kind of Wonderful
October 15, 2006
I Corinthians 15:3-11 & Luke 24:1-12
text: “He is not here, but has risen.”
Apostles’ Creed teaching:
On the third day he rose again;
he ascended into heaven,
he is seated at the right hand of the Father,
and he will come again to judge the living and the dead.

Oh brother we are in for it now; words found in between the lines of the gospels, after Jesus was executed by means of crucifixion. We can easily imagine the first disciples saying to themselves the Roman officials and Jerusalem elite “got” Jesus, they will surely get us too.

On the first Easter morn some brave and courageous women ventured out behind locked and shut doors to prepare Jesus’ body for burial; women were the least likely to be apprehended by the authorities if they were caught – women also possess much more genuine bravery than men, they deliver babies, men watch and eat sandwiches.

The women arrived at the tomb and found it empty. Can you imagine the terrible sinking feeling, the ones who killed Jesus have took his body – again.

Jesus was crucified as an enemy of the state, he openly challenged Rome’s imperial rule of Palestine with his teachings, healings, work and way of life. Jesus called for his disciples to give allegiance to God and to God only. Jesus wasn’t the first and he wouldn’t be the last crucified person. Rome practiced a prime theatrical procedure known as crucifixion, a method that killed a human being not in a slow manner full of pain but also one that produced the maximum amount of shame and humiliation. The criminal was stripped naked, beaten the nailed to the cross just outside the entrance to the city. It was a bold proclamation, you mess with Rome and this is what happens to you. If that wasn’t enough once after a few days of public viewing the naked corpse was taken down and thrown into a ravine, left for the wild dogs.

We can trust the gospel accounts as accurate, with a firm brush of whitewashing. They told the story of God being killed, not an easy one to tell. If the gospel accounts are accurate then the spirit-broken disciples went to considerable lengths to bury and care for Jesus’ body. A sly way of reading the actions of Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus is to see them as buying off Pilate who let him retrieve the body. However they did it, the first disciples were able to retrieve the body and place it in a tomb. So imagine the terrible sinking feeling the women had when they arrived Easter morning only to find an empty tomb.

The tomb wasn’t totally empty, the gospels record that either one or two men were present in dazzling white clothes asking “Why are you looking for the Living One in a cemetery? He is not here, but raised up. Remember how he told you when you were still back in Galilee that he had to be handed over to sinners, be killed on a cross, and in three days rise up?” (The Message translation)

We cannot know for certainty beyond question what took place on that first Easter morn. No one was physically there to witness how Jesus was resurrected. We are all here this morning because of what took place on that odd, fearful, and amazing morning we call Easter. We are here because of a small fledging courage-troubled group of disciples were open to God’s new creative beginning. Without the experience of Easter, Christianity ceases to be a religion, without the Resurrection, we cease to be a community with 175 years of history.

We have explored the free acts and choices of God in Jesus Christ to fully become human, the free choice to fully suffer, the free choice to live with the reality that one day he would die, and the free choice to finally die. The free choices of God in Jesus Christ did not stop on Good Friday but continued on Easter. God in Jesus Christ came back, he returned.

Despite that we threw at him the worst of humanity. We denied him, we were silent when they accused him and we killed him. And yet God in Jesus Christ did not abandon us but freely chose to come back to us again in an act we can only label as some kind of wonderful; another awe producing continuation of Divine Love.

The Resurrected Christ came back with the comforting words, “peace be with you” and with the trusting words for us, “feed my sheep.” Think about this, The Resurrected Christ returns back to us, humanity and creation, and asks us to continue the movement he birthed. God in Jesus Christ trusts us, doubt-prone humans to continue the movement!

Instead of words of peace and trust I would expect God to thunder down some serious judgment upon us. I would expect God to pull another great flood where God wiped out all of creation for its waywardness.

The words of peace and trust from and the continuing presence of the Resurrected Christ did a number on those early disciples, as they do on us. The Resurrection of Jesus gave witness to the fact that not even the bounds of death can stop God’s movement here on this earth. The terror of the end of our existence could not stop the wrecking ball of God’s love for humanity and creation.

The great story of the Resurrection reveals how relentless and pursuant the Hound of Heaven is on our trail. God in Jesus Christ is seeking, by extreme measures to find us. God in Jesus Christ is seeking for us to live a free life; a life free of the fear death, free to see creative possibilities in the midst of death and dire straits, and free to practice disinterested love.

That’s right disinterested love. Most of the time we love because of what we can get out of it. We love others because we get loved back, we love because we get a warm meal, flannel sheets on the bed or to feel good about ourselves. God, luckily, doesn’t love this way. God loves didn’t stop with Good Friday, God love continued on Easter morning and everyday since. We are there to live a life of Resurrection loving not because what we get out of it but because it is the way, witness and example of God in Jesus Christ.

Brothers and Sisters may we believe that on the third day he rose again. May we find the courage to have our lives for the first time or for the 1000th changed by a resurrected God

Let us pray,

God of Resurrection and Disinterested Love,
may we look around at our lives
and discover all the ways you are reaching to us.
So that we may live lives
full of peace,
full of trust
and full of resurrection.

15 October 2006

Another Joyful Hike

On Saturday the Five of us piled into the minivan and headed to Diamond Hill Park for a hike. Diamond Hill is an old ski slope, long closed and now great sledding area. (It is right across the street from The Ice Cream Machine, they make Grape Nut Ice Cream. mmmmmm)
There are two ways up the mountain: straight up the main hill, or a
lazy way (ie. the old bunny slope). We went straight up. The wife chose to carry #3, I offered but she refused, no really.

Once we made it to the top the kids posed to show off their conquering feat.

On the way down they played in the sledding area. We thought it made for a great Little House on the Prairie picture.

13 October 2006

Timing is Everything

When I first arrived at good ole L. R. Baptist I had all kinds of
ideas for ministry. I wanted to get started right away, build a youth
group, build a labyrinth, begin a contemplative prayer group, start an
outreach program to folk 40 and under, incorporate some new music,
blah, blah, blah...

But I came to the sad realization that if I wanted all of the above I had to do them all myself. This Fall after four years at LRBC
things are finally starting to come together. With the prospect of
Sunday School in dire straits people flocked to help and rescued it,
they have called people to invite their kids and just started their own
children's church (here in the northeast it is quite common to havesunday school during worship, we used to but now we have a kids church then sunday school after that).

Last night the Pastoral Relations Committee met to discuss my income package, MMBB recommended a 4.3% CPI raise. (I was thrilled to find compensation guidelines for the Lutherans, UCC, Episcopal, Methodist and Presbyterians in RI via the internet - forget about the ABC-USA every getting something like that together).

The income discussion took about all of five minutes. We spent the
remaining 55 minutes discussing evangelism, outreach, advertising, etc.
It was anexhilarating discussion that I wanted to hold four years ago.
But there we were having the conversation we needed to had - timing is
everything. Our discussion has the potential to be a real church-wide
event and one that could produce significant results.

The NYTimes this week ran a piece about a rabbi who entered a 30 year contract with the congregation, I'm not ready to enter into that type of relationship but it would be an interesting idea to say to yourself this is where I'm gonna be for the next 30 years - a bloom where your platned idea.

12 October 2006

Preaching Harder than It Looks

Preaching Harder than It Looks
Bine Pluff, Arkansas
Published by Theobilly

Last night during revival at the Pleasant View Baptist Church the Rev. Frederick Sparks had to call on Deacon Don Gunoe for relief for a full four minutes until his "preaching cramps" subsided. This was not the first time Deacon Gunoe had to fill in for the injury proned Rev. Sparks, just last month Deacon Gunoe completed communion and delivered three benedictions.

Rev. Sparks, a great preacher when he is healthy, blames his cramps on the lack of proper air circulation in the sanctuary and brackish water in his drinking cup in the pulpit. But congregants have other opinions. Sister Marybeth Wiley thinks his cramps have to do with "all of that pork fat he chews on Sunday morning." While Brother James Wilbur surmises, "if he would just go in the pulpit with more than index cards and finish the sermon on Thursday I bet those cramps would miracously disappear." Whatever the root cause, Rev. Sparks has hired Susan Becklewith of Enhancement Sporting to be present during his preaching engagements over the next two months.

"It is often assumed that the pastoral life is nothing more than sitting on your rump, eating pie and gabbing with parishioners. There is a lot of truth to that," confessed Rev. Sparks. But, he added, "you try preaching with to all those sleepy and empty faces and see if that doesnt cause some kind of psychological cramping."

Creation Care

Last night's Moyers on America program on PBS asked the question Is
God Green?
I watched the show with some trepidation because I
read that part of the show would focus onMTR (Mountain Top Removal) in
West Virginia. It was with great delight to hear the enthusiasm
expressed by the evangelical community'snew found commitment for the
environment. I have always thought they would make better stewards of
the earth than most liberals. Why? Simple, a goal of evangelical
religion is the conversion of souls, people whodont have to worry about
the air they breathe, the water they drink and the earth their food
comes from are in a better spot to consider conversion, thus the an
imperative for environmental stewardship. Also, if the earth is a
better place to live and will be secure for future generations then
there will be future Christians. Simple logic if you ask me.

Moyers, when he produced NOW did a wonderful piece on MTR in WV. Click here to read the transcript.

Links worth exploring:

West Virginia Highlands Conservancy
Christians for the Mountains
Ohio Valley Environmental Council

Any of these organizations have great links and resources to inform you on the current mountain tragedy.

11 October 2006

Surprising Resources

This Fall I began a sermon series based on the Apostles' Creed. So far it has gone well. I try to spend a day or two a month up at the ANTS Library, they grant Ministers in Vicinity free access to their books (up to 10 books at one time). I generally keep the books several days after they are due and rationalize my fee payments as contributions to the life of the library (I should get a tax record for this) By the way, the NYTimes produced a great piece on clergy housing this morning.

I found two surprisingly useful books for preaching on the creed. Credo by Karl Barth and The School of Charity by Evelyn Underhill. I am finding these resources as genuine gold mines for thoughts and ideas.

My impetus for this series was a break from the lectionary and a time for some more forthright theological reflection in preaching. It has been a challenge seeing the good news in the statements, but very rewarding. This sermon series has given me the chance to preach on the Christian Year without the trappings of the season; meaning I can talk about Christ's birth in a manner free from the hoopla of Christmas, I will preach on resurrection this week without the pressure and oddness of Easter morning.

The series has also been a good method for teaching basic Christian beliefs to the congregation. I feel a teaching ministry is a good avenue for the living of these days.

10 October 2006

A Joyful Hike

This time of year arouses the need
to be in the woods. I used to use this time for adventuresome armed
hikes, aka hunting. But I'm not ready to take #1 and #2 on an armed
hike for some time. So we headed in the van and drove about 20 minutes
northward to Purgatory Chasm, the remains of the destruction caused by
a glacier melt around 30,000 years ago. The kids had a blast climbing
on the rocks, peeking in the holes and just being outdoors.

But the weekend wasn't finished, we needed a pumpkin.

We love going to the pick-your-own farms but this article in Slate I found a good corrective to this phenomena.

05 October 2006

Perhaps Games are Legit

I have always thought that most football games, from high school to
pro, have predetermined winners. Take the 1991 lost to Milton. We had a
10-7 lead with less than a minute to go and Milton was moving toward
the end zone. As the clock ran out and the whistled blew declaring an end to the game the Milton team snapped the ball, the quarterback
took the snap and handed it off to the fullback, the fullback ran
toward the line of scrimmage and was picked up by the halfback and the
tumbled into the end zone , scored the winning touchdown. The loss gave
us a 7-3 record and a dismal ranking for the playoffs. As the refs ran
off the field, a now medical doctor in South Carolina, ran parallel to
them with two middle fingers shouting expeltives to them. (That
doctor is now an outstanding member of his church, father of two girls
and I can imagine a fine doctor.)

But the events of last night when Marshall lost to UCF 22-23 made me reconsider the legitimacy of the sport. This was Marshall's first CUSA game of the year, nationally televised on ESPN2, Matthew McConaughey
on the sidelines, special viewing of the movie, We Are Marshall, at
halftime and the Budweiser Clydesdales you cant lose a game with all of that going on. But they did!

04 October 2006

Lincoln Residents Prepare for Serious Compunction

Lincoln Residents Prepare for Serious Compunction
by Theobilly
Published October 4, 2006

Lincoln, RI

The residents of Lincoln, RI, the small idyllic New England village, finally came down from a two week high when the members of the Ecumenical Ministers Union agreed to the aribitration proposal offered by Congregational Management. "I made more in the last two weeks than I did in all of last year." The comment from bartender/owner Richard Tucker of the Cold Mug pretty much summed up the senitments from the entertainment business community: "I made more in the last two weeks than I did in all of last year."

The two weeks of licentousness, debauchery, drunkeness, carousing, and dissensions all began when negociations between the two sides came to a stand still. The Union wouldn't accept the mandatory 35 hour work week and Management wouldn't grant a renewal of country club memberships for clergy. The stand-still brought a general strike on the evening of Saturday, September 23.

Parishoners woke up the following Sunday morning only to find churches closed and the Eucharist firmly locked in their respective sacristies. "We thought the absence of worship of word and sacrament on Sunday morning would really make them cave. I guess we grossly underestimated our people." said Rev. Eugene Moderatelyboring.

Upon finding the doors to the church locked and the absence of Confessions of Prayer the congregants of Lincoln, RI went on a sinning rampage. Everyone from the Town Administrator to the paperboy whopped it up for two weeks of, well...extreme fun, until the agreement was signed late last night. The E.M.U. agreed to a 32 hour week and C.M. agreed to pay for memberships but will not cover alcohol.

Reaction in the town was noticably depressed at the announcement. Right when it appeared the E.M.U. had lost the upper hand they gained with the promise of an all-town joint service of compunction this Sunday at 10:00am on the grounds of Chase Farm. Each minister but his/her hands on the Good Book vowing sermons of constancy.

In closing a comment from Rene Hall, "Vegas here I come."

Happy 145th Sir Walter

Today is the 145th Birthday of Walter Rauschenbusch.

I first heard of Rauschenbusch as an undergrad at Marshall in an American Intellectual History course taught by David Duke (not the lunatic Louisana politician). I stored the name away then heard about him again in a Philosophy of Religion course at BTSR. The class whetted my appetite so I checked out The Rauschebusch Reader, with an introductory essay by Fosdick. That wasn't enough. So I went to my theology prof. and asked to do an independent study but she wasnt all that interested/didnt think I was ready. So Chad and I went to Dr. Doug Ottati at UTS-PSCE across the street and asked if he would be interested, indeed he was. So for a semester we read all of Rauschenbusch's main works and discussed them at lunch and once over dinner. That was a great experience that changed my life.

But that class still didnt satisfy me. I wanted more. So I transferred to Colgate Rochester Divinity School (now Colgate Rochester Crozer Divinity School). There I went around town and found the home he grew up in, the home he lived in as an adult, I walked down East Ave (like he did) from his home to the original spot of Rochester Theological School, I worked in the American Baptist Historical Archives so I could browse his notebooks, sermons, articles, letters, pictures and all the other Rauschenbusch artifacts (all of this material will be moving to Mercer University). I also read for another independent study, more broadly on the Social Gospel movement with Dr. Chris Evans (the author of the latest and best Rauschenbusch biography).

Rauschenbusch for me at first was a saving grace, a reason to stay baptist. He was a bonafide theologian from the baptist tradition. He also fueled the desire for social justice.

Odd that now I not quite sure what to make of him. I still admire him and am thankful for his life and work. Now I admire him for his synthesis of thought and his ability to forge an indigenous American theology. That seems to be missing in today's stuff.

If you decided to pick up some Rauschenbusch's work you will find the clarity and relative ease it is to read. He wrote theology for a broad auidence and wanted folk to be able to read it.

His major works are:
The Righteousness of the Kingdom
Christianity and the Social Order
Christianizing the Social Order
A Theology for the Social Gospel
Prayers of the Social Awakening
Unto Me
Dare We Be Christians?
The Social Principles of Jesus

Why I am a Baptist (instructions for a $1 reprint)

Excellent Secondary Sources
The Kingdom Is Always but Coming: A Life of Walter Rauschenbusch by Chris Evans
A Gospel for the Social Awakening ed by Benjamin Mays
Walter Rauschenbusch: Selected Writings ed. by Winthrop Hudson

There are more but that is a good start.

Thank you brother Walter.

Interesting familial ties: WR is the grandfather of Richard Rorty. WR's ggrandson is Paul Rauschenbusch, chaplain at Princeton University.

Couple of Church Related Links:
Rauschenbusch Center
Rauschenbusch Metro Ministries

Even Brian McLaren loves him

03 October 2006


The sun is haning around less this time of year, there is a chill in the air and the leaves are changing, thus nature announces time for changes. So I switch from cereal to oats, pilsner to oktoberfest, thin to flannel sheets and more meat than vegetables.

02 October 2006

In Need of a Worship Class

As my second and final year at BTSR came to a close in 1998 those who were graduating held a special chapel service. Those leading the service asked that those attending were to find someone who was special to them and go up and serve each other communion. Two by two folk went up and received communion. As the crowd wound down my best friend and I looked at each other, and without words said oh yeah. We went forward took communion, then with our backs to the "congregation" gave each other a hey Ace, then found our seat. (A hey Ace, recall the SNL cartoon Ace and Gary the Ambigiously Gay Duo, after the two did a good deed Ace would grab Gary's behind and say nice hey Ace, Ace would do the same to Gary.) Some found our action quite hilarious, upon finding our seat the preaching professor (now the dean at Gardner-Webb Divinity School) laughingly suggested that we get into a worship class.

In some ways I agreed with him. I love the give and take of liturgy and order of worship. I collect hymnals, special service plans and worship bulletins like churches collect coffee mugs. This Sunday was World Communion Sunday.

We have experimented with different forms of communion, the regular sit down and be served, intinction, and the form from yesterday: folk come up, tear a piece of bread, then take a cup from the tray, sit down and then we all take together. It was okay. Some liked it, some didnt.

My problem concerns the very act of communion, that it be a communal event and not strictly a private act. I am not sure any of the methods, either the ones here or elsewhere commuincate that. I feel the only way would be to have an actual meal, communal and festive. Need for a Worship class indeed.