You Cry Out Archives

Old Testament and Independence Day

Here’s my thought for the fourth, I’ve written such on my blog in previous years, but there are new readers here so … From the book of Ruth chapter 1 we have:

And she said, “See, your sister-in-law has gone back to her people and to her gods; return after your sister-in-law.” But Ruth said, “Do not urge me to leave you or to return from following you. For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” And when Naomi saw that she was determined to go with her, she said no more.

The poetic plea of Ruth’s, “For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God. Where you die I will die, and there will I be buried. May the Lord do so to me and more also if anything but death parts me from you.” seems to me not far from the patriotic declamation of Captain Hale, “I regret I have but one life to give for my country.”

When one transposes the sentiment Ruth expresses for Naomi and love of one’s country I think there are strong parallels here. Patriotism is about roots, about earth, about home and hearth at it’s core. It is also at it’s heart, a parochial plea. It is exclusive. I love my country (and not yours). This is my land where I and my family will dwell.

I’m curious, does that jibe with you’re notion of patriotism?

Of Princes and Conversion

When we read of the early church, there are accounts of entire nations converting to Christianity because their King or Prince converted. Our impression today is that this paints a very poor picture of the religious faith of those common people who converted on the “mere” say-so of their sovereign.

However, one might turn that around especially in our independent democratic age. For it might say more about what it truly means to have a King and Lord than about their personal devotion. As the Christians are a people lauding Christ as Lord … that lesson is one that might be taken more to heart.

Carnival Announcement

The 12th Carnival of Christian Reconciliation will be held my home blog at Pseudo-Polymath.
For submission guidelines see this post. The carnival submission will be due by Midnight EST Friday June 20th, although technically I’ll probably do most of the work putting the carnival together over the weekend so the real “cut-off” will be some undetermined time on Sunday. It might be important to note that this carnival accepts multiple entries from each person. See the details on posting guidelines at the above link. The Question/Topic-of-the-Month for this month is:

In St. John Cassian’s Conferences Abba Moses teaches that our thoughts come from three sources, the Holy Spirit, Satan, or ourselves. He then teaches discernment is perhaps the most important Christian virtue, to separate those three in our minds and subsequently our actions. Our Church has split from one into so very many over the almost two millennia since Christ’s resurrection. Some have suggested that perhaps the prevalence and predominance of division in our church is a sign that it is God’s will that the Church be divided. But is this so?

In analogy to Abba Moses’ instruction, one might propose that the origins of any one of these divisions arises from the work or activities of the Spirit, Satan, or Man. One would expect that the latter two are the ones which, if one supports ecumenical movement, should be the ones we actively oppose. How should we discern the difference between these, if indeed that is even a thing we should attempt? Is the motive behind the division a thing which we should discern as we try to heal that same division?  Is such a discernment (or claims to the same) today even useful?

Baptism in Babylon

Henry Neufeld, at the Participatory Bible Blog,

I want to briefly point to something that we often miss in Bible study and theology in the western church–corporate identity. We are very individualistic, and that makes it hard to see when some form of corporate identity is in play.

This turns up in certain views of the Baptism of the Holy Spirit. Many view the baptism as a single event for the church on Pentecost, into which the individual believer is incorporated when he or she becomes a part of God’s people, normally through baptism. The separate baptism is a more individual idea. (I think there can be some accommodation between these views; I simply want to point out the corporate identity inherent in at least one of them.)

Paul says in Romans 6:3-4:

Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death? Therefore we have been buried with him by baptism into death, so that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, so we too might walk in newness of life. (NRSV, cf. 2 Corinthians 4:10-12)

Again, our baptism incorporates us into God’s people, and by this means we have a part in the death and resurrection of Jesus.
Individualization of faith and church, as exemplified in the above or the notion of cafeteria Christianity is not a stranger to the American faith experience. I’d like to follow this notion of corporate connectedness and some consequences … below the fold. Read the rest of this entry

There and Back Again

I have not tried anything remotely like this on this blog yet. Likely I won’t do it often. Let me know waddya think. So, with a little trepidation …

Once upon a time, a young man was selected from those in his parish to go on a mission. He was excited and had some nervousness in the months prior to leaving, and used every waking moment to prepare for his departure. He read some on the customs and languages of the place he was to go. But, as he was assured that he would have excellent guides he mostly worried about his studies and his faith. When he was at worship he tried to remember all of the parts of worship and liturgy. He tried to imagine for everything that he saw, did and observed, that if he was asked he might be called to remember why a thing was done and why it was so. Therefore he asked questions of everyone incessantly and constantly trying to make sure he had it all right. Then came the momentous day.

He was to leave. Departure and his journey passed in a confusing frantic blur, mixed with delay, and dark quiet airline seats and awareness that the sounds and smells and people around him were becoming less and less like those which he was familiar.

For the land in which he was going, people of his faith were rare and unknown. He would indeed be a stranger in a land of strange and unknown customs, patterns and practices. Accordingly, at all times he regarded himself as an ambassador of his faith. That his every fleeting contact, every action would be a chance to connect with these strangers, to show by his love, his charity, his presence what sort of faith and people he represented. At first every act he performed, he did somewhat self-consciously reflecting that each act would be observed, perhaps critically, by strange unloving, judgmental eyes. Those eyes, trying to discern by his actions what sort of man he was … and thereby what sort of a people those of his faith were. Eventually, the self-consciousness faded somewhat as many of his actions and responses became more habitual. But that didn’t help at all. For it really didn’t get easier, those things which became habit exposed all the other things which he was forgetting or didn’t learn as well as he should have during his prior frantic, inadequate, and continuing, but now more careful, study.

Then came the time to return.

How was he changed by his trip? Why did he even have to leave for that change to take place? Why don’t we all always treat our every action as if we are that man representing Christ and his Church here in this strange land here on the hard lonely side of the eschaton?

Random Musings

  • For a guy who has essayed on the violence of categorization … Mr Schraub sure depends on it, with Black Conservative, Black Liberal, (how about Black Jew?), Black (or is it not racially linked) paleo-conservative and so … to note a few categories. Personally I find categories of that sort less than useful when discussing individuals for rarely do they actually line with the “bins” like they should. Once I was “two letters of WASP”, being White and Protestant, now I am down to only one, “White”, but for me, I find the notion “White” and “Black” so filled with internal inconsistencies that the categories are next to useless … so why use them?
  • Jonathan Rowe at Positive Liberty wonders “Can One Be a Good Christian and a Good American?”. I think this is a better question than his discussion of the topic envisions. I think his quoted notation, that “I would simply note that Americanism and Christianity are not the same thing; Christianity is compatible with American style republican government because Christianity is compatible with almost any form of government, even and especially tyrannical government that is hostile to Christians (indeed, the very government in which Christianity was born!).” I think this misses the point, from a Christian standpoint. With respect to tyranny, Christianity may allow one to submit more to incursions on one’s “rights” (whatever they might be), but it never allows one to participate. I think the early Church notion, following Rowan Williams description, that a Christian must be a “resident alien” in his land held in tension with “render unto Caesar” and what that entails in a Republic is the essential tension … not ideas of tyranny and submission.
  • Recent postings on Mr Obama’s plate offering to Trinity, one wonders at the paucity of his gifts. This seems endemic of the Left who find charity to be the job of government. There are suggestions that his donations have picked up in recent years as he’s noted the negative political effects small charitable donations hurt Gore and Clinton.

    In 2002, the year before Obama launched his campaign for U.S. Senate, the Obamas reported income of $259,394, ranking them in the top 2 percent of U.S. households, according to Census Bureau statistics. That year the Obamas claimed $1,050 in deductions for gifts to charity, or 0.4 percent of their income. The average U.S. household totaled $1,872 in gifts to charity in 2002, according to the Center on Philanthropy at Indiana University.

    Gifts to help for the Tsunami and New Orleans seem conspicuously lacking as well. I don’t tithe yet, as my fears of two college tuition bills looming 5-6 years away keep me from doing that as yet. But … Mr Obama’s income seems above noticing such bumps when compared to mine … which is not 6 figures.

  • One thing to note on the Wright/Obama thing, which is in Mr Obama’s favor. I have sat in pews listening to politically slanted sermons I didn’t agree with. For example, I highly value N.T. Wright’s theological writings … but his political statements seem naive to me. Furthermore, when we speak of Rev. Wright as Mr Obama’s spiritual adviser … the question arises … what is meant by this term? Spiritual adviser brings to mind ideas of the Orthodox staretz. It’s pretty clear that isn’t the relationship. Does Trinity even hold to a Sacrament of Confession? I doubt it. It’s also clear however, Mr Obama wasn’t unknown or just a random anonymous pew sitter from Wright’s point of view in this large mega-church. So the issue is likely muddy. Here is one, somewhat cynical take, from the opposite side of the aisle (at least the first half of it). That sort of idea,rings more true, for me, in that Mr Obama to me via his spin/message of “hope and change” notwithstanding offers a fairly vanilla middle of the road liberal package of proposals. To call the “ordinary” package “change” brings to mind a certain amount of cynicism that comes with an ease of with manipulating meaning. Mr Obama’s response seemed Clinton-esque in the careful wording, “I never heard” … left “but was certainly aware of it all along” on the table and unspoken. I wonder if the linked piece also gives credence recent display of Biblical exegetical ignorance given lately about Romans and the Beatitudes?

You Cry Out – Super Tuesday II Edition

It’s the day of the Clinton Firewall ™.  Will she or won’t she (win TX & OH, stay in the race)?

Can Huckabee pull an upset in the Lone Star State?  (Well, no, but feel free to comment anyway.)

Thus begins the open thread.

You Cry Out – Super Tuesday Edition

An open thread for this biggest of days in this weirdest of presidential primary seasons. Discuss why you voted for whom you did or give us your analysis of the poll results as they are now or as they come in.

You Cry Out

Happy New Year from all of us here. We’re still getting back to business after the holidays. In the meantime, I figured it was a good time to let you post your thoughts on anything going on in the news: Pakistan, Iowa Caucuses, Presidential Election, NFL playoffs, New Year’s Resolutions or whatever else is on your mind. So join in and we’ll chat about it.

You Cry Out

Steroids in baseball, Rick Warren’s side of the story, Putin as Prime Minister, Christmas traditions, and/or whatever else you want to talk about. Christmas break’s a-comin’, and it may get quite around the blog, so here you can start your own conversation.

You Cry Out

Thanksgiving is coming.  What are you thankful for?

That and other topics in this open thread.

You Cry Out

The thread is open.  Speak freely.  Talk amongst yourselves.

(Still no rain here in Georgia.)

You Cry Out

Thoughts on books you’ve read, the Republican debate, the baseball post-season, or whatever else. The open thread is officially open.

You Cry Out

The first of our open threads. We’ll start doing this weekly, but if we get enough conversation, we’ll try doing it more often.

Pick a topic, any topic (within legality and taste).

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