Get your rapture helmets ready!
Said by Eustace, on Derek Webb's board here
By now, many will have heard about the recent revelations concerning Mother Teresa of Calcutta's crisis of faith. The book version is now out, containing her private correspondence with her spiritual mentors, titled Come Be My Light. The caption quote to the TIME magazine article sums up Mother Teresa's spiritual testimony over the last 66 years of her life: "Jesus has a very special love for you. As for me, the silence and the emptiness is so great that I look and do not see, listen and do not hear."
I will not be surprised if some conservative Protestants respond almost with glee, mocking her spiritual darkness as a classic instance of the futility of salvation by works. This may be right, though any delight over it is both tasteless and callous; her testimony certainly is disheartening from an evangelical view of the Christian faith. But this is not what is on my mind concerning Mother Teresa. What most fascinates me is the eagerness of the Roman Catholic Church to publicize a testimony of spiritual despair and darkness from one of its leading heroines of recent years. Were Mother Teresa an evangelical missionary leader, such private writings would in all probability be supressed. But Rome cannot publish them quickly enough. This reality is very revealing, in my opinion, and worthy of reflection.
But, you ask, can a person be both a Muslim and a Christian? As I've said
before, if Jesus is to be believed, what leads to salvation is our loving God
with all our heart, mind and soul, and loving our neighbor as ourselves. Can a
Muslim do that? Sure. Can a Christian do that? Absolutely. So, if the question
is, can both Muslims and Christians be embraced by God's love and be granted
entry in to heaven, then my answer is YES. That might not be the question,
however. Now, there are many who profess to be Buddhist Christians or Taoist
Christians – most of what I've heard has to do with eastern religions – and in
the Orient, there seems to be little problem with a person holding complimentary
religious views. Maybe you read Life of Pi which was so popular a couple of
years ago. The main character ultimately embraced Hinduism, Islam, and
Christianity, causing his entire family heartburn. So embracing more than one
faith is not unheard of, and I suppose it works for some.
Accompanied by brass bands and thundering preachers, several hundred people
squeezed onto a narrow street in the District's Shaw neighborhood yesterday to
be baptized in the drenching shower of a fire hose.
Weeping and singing, they raised their hands as the water shot up and then
poured down on them in a glistening cascade. Ministers from the United House of
Prayer for All People, which held the service, exhorted them to repent their
sins and embrace the Holy Spirit.
"Oh my God, it feels good, it feels
good, it feels good," said Geraldine Howard, a 76-year-old bus driver, her white
skirt and blouse drenched, a visor and shower cap protecting her head. "I feel
truly blessed. God is good."
The service, in its 81st year, is an annual tradition for the church,
which has its national headquarters in the District. Yesterday's mass baptism
took place in front of the House of Prayer's flagship church, the gold-domed
"God's White House" at Sixth and M streets NW. The baptism service
symbolizes healing from sins and physical ailments and the believer's union with Jesus Christ.
With 1.5 million members and 140 branches across the country, the House
of Prayer is a church in the Pentecostal tradition, with its emotive style of
worship. Each House of Prayer church has a brass-and-drum band, which performs
an exuberant beat during its services.
Members say they believe in expressing their joy for the Lord.
"If you hold it too long, it will blow you up," said Apostle R.C.
Lattisaw, pastor of the House of Prayer's Alexandria church, one of six in the Washington area.
The tradition of the baptism by fire hose started in the late 1920s,
said Apostle H. Whitner, pastor of God's White House. "We used to use the Potomac River," he said, but the church's founder, Charles "Sweet
Daddy" Grace, decided to use a fire hose instead, "because a baptism involves
sprinkling," Whitner noted.
Baptism is customarily conducted using water and is associated with
John the Baptist, who baptized Jesus in the Jordan River. God's White House has
a baptismal pool for immersion baptisms, but church officials prefer to use a
fire hose. They hold outdoor services across the country during the
At yesterday's baptism, white-clad church members gathered in the
street in front of God's White House, with elderly members in wheelchairs. As
they awaited their leader, Bishop S.C. Madison -- "Sweet Daddy" Madison -- church leaders set up the fire hose on a raised
The House of Prayer has deep roots in Shaw, where it has had a
presence since the 1930s. It was among the first institutions to rebuild after
riots devastated the neighborhood in the 1960s, and it now owns a nursing home,
apartment buildings and single-family homes that it leases to hundreds of church
members at low cost. Its Saints Paradise Cafeteria, adjacent to God's White
House, has attracted Shaw residents and office workers for decades with its
hearty Southern-style food.
Although many Christian denominations view baptism as a one-time ritual
for entry into the faith, the House of Prayer permits multiple baptisms as a way
for members to periodically wash away their sins and heal physical ailments. For
many in the church, yesterday's baptism is an annual practice.
Damisha Matthews, 33, a federal budget analyst, said she comes every
year, "for the redemption of my sins," and brings her two daughters, Mia, 5, and
Aliya, 4. She also brings an empty jug to be filled with consecrated water that
she and family members will drink and rub on their bodies to help them heal when
they are ill.
When the 87-year-old Madison -- with shoulder-length gray hair and clad
in black vestments -- arrived yesterday, the crowd surged forward as he was
helped onto the stage.
"If you have sinned since last year, you need to get into the water and
be baptized," boomed Apostle H. Thompson, next to Madison. "If you have a
sickness and need to be healed, you need to get into the water and be
"You heard the preacher," Madison told the crowd. "If you want to go to
heaven, let the waters roll."
With that, the fire hose hissed on and, for 15 minutes, the water
tumbled down, the bands played, tears flowed and the healing began.
"All you've got to do is have faith and believe!" Thompson
Born December 24, 1884 in Waynesville, Missouri, E. M. Bartlett became one
of the founding fathers of Southern Gospel Music.
As a young man, he secured work with the Central Music Company
headquartered in Hartford, Arkansas. When that company relocated to Little Rock,
Bartlett partnered with J. A. McClung and David Moore in the founding of the
Hartford Music Company in 1918. Over the next few years, Bartlett and the
Hartford Company became extremely influential in the growing world of Southern
Gospel, founding the Hartford Musical Institute, publishing the monthly journal,
The Herald of Song, and sponsoring several traveling quartets. Among those
influenced directly by Bartlett's work was legendary songwriter Albert E.
Bartlett was himself an important composer of gospel songs. Among his
best-known contributions were "Victory in Jesus," "Everybody Will Be Happy Over
There," and "Just a Little While to Stay Here."
There are a couple lines that were thought provoking to us. "Then I repented of my sins and won the victory". The only reason that we repent of our sins is because of the work of God within us...and is the victory really won through our repentance?Victory in JesusI heard an old, old story,How a Savior came from glory,How He gave His life on CalvaryTo save a wretch like me;I heard about His groaning,Of His precious blood's atoning,Then I repented of my sins;And won the victory.Chorus:O victory in Jesus,My Savior, forever.He sought me and bought meWith His redeeming blood;He loved me ere I knew Him,And all my love is due Him,He plunged me to victory,Beneath the cleansing flood.I heard about His healing,Of His cleansing power revealing.How He made the lame to walk againAnd caused the blind to see;And then I cried, "Dear Jesus,Come and heal my broken spirit,"And somehow Jesus came and broughtTo me the victory.Chorus:I heard about a mansionHe has built for me in glory.And I heard about the streets of goldBeyond the crystal sea;About the angels singing,And the old redemption story,And some sweet dayI'll sing up thereThe song of victory.Chorus:
In concluding the chapter (and the book), it would be good to summarize its
major underlying assumption: the different modalities of Christian soul care are
unified by a radically theocentric agenda. The use of these modalities is
Christian to the extent that it aims at the glory of God as its highest end, by
fostering the counselee’s analogical performance of Christ’s life, death and
resurrection through a deepening and manifesting faith in Christ . . . We
concede one may use all of these modalities without any reference to God or
Christ—as secular therapists do (and some Christians). But God’s glory is at
stake in the therapy of our day, and his truth, goodness, beauty and power are
best displayed when his role in our soul healing is consciously acknowledged,
made explicit and relied on, and when his Scriptures are given the primary role
in guiding the development of distinctly Christian psychological research,
theory building and soul-care practice. To the extent our faith is explicit and
authentic in our work, we manifest our own conformity to Christ. As we, and
those with whom we work, more and more come to flourish in communion with the
triune God and with the rest of the church, we together become better signs of
the Divine Life. Such is our common calling, so that Christian soul care,
properly conceived, has a significant role to play in the end for which God
created the world. (p. 604).
Our unity is instead a unity of respect for the truth and for truth-in-practice, that sees in each other such a dogged commitment to God's word in both faith and practice that we want to be together promoting biblical Christianity, even (and especially) in the way we handle the points of principle on which we seriously disagree.
--Ligon Duncan TG4
by Heather Koerner
A few weeks ago I was sitting with a few fellow moms and running some article ideas by them while our kids played around our feet. My friends were being kind. To one idea, "Yeah, that sounds good." To another, "Sure, that could be interesting." And then I named off one more.
"So, I was also thinking about doing something like ... you know ... things you should do before you have kids so it's financially easier to stay at home later."
They hit the roof.
"Absolutely!" one cried, practically leaping off the couch. "That's the most important thing they need to know!"
"I sooo wish someone had told me that kind of stuff," the other agreed, emphatically nodding.
And so started a 45-minute conversation on "what I wish I had known back then." It was as if we all desperately wished we could send a letter back to our 20-something selves. We wanted to tell ourselves how important staying home with our kids means to us and how we needed to shape up financially to make it easier on our 30-something realities.
Unfortunately, not possible. But we can do the next best thing — we can send a letter to you. So, this is it. Our "top 10 things we wish someone had sat down and told us back then." May it bless you on your journey to motherhood.
Spurgeon: I'll quit cigars if it becomes excessive.
Parishioner: What's excessive?
Spurgeon: Two cigars at a time.
Um, John...are you excessive?
The Spurgeon Archive is a great resource. Here is a quote:
All the world knows that Mr. Spurgeon now and again enjoyed a cigar. Not a few caricatures represented him smoking a pipe, but he never used a pipe all the years I knew him. His shrewd reply to the gentleman who "had heard he smoked, but could not believe it to be true," and asked Mr. Spurgeon to satisfy him, is choice: "I cultivate my flowers and burn my weeds."
As video game enthusiasts all over this land of ours fire up their XBox
360's, and Playstation 3's to take their first shot at EA Sports Madden 08 one
of the greatest video game athletes of all time has to hear about two of his
co-defendants taking plea deals in a dog fighting case. Michael Vick has gone
from transcendent quarterback who could rush for 1,000 yards while flipping off
the hometown fans and giving Mexican hookers herpes, to public enemy #1 in the
eyes of NFL fans and non fans alike. Vick has been linked to the abuse and
murder of dogs which in the eyes of the general American public is the second
worst crime you could commit behind rape of a child. Had Michael Vick been smart
he would have just jumped behind the wheel of a car and run someone over - he
probably wouldn't even have missed training camp.
The hypocrisy of the National Football League, it's players and the
individuals who are paid to cover it knows no bounds. Mike Vick's teammate in
Atlanta the very popular Warrick Dunn told reporters that he hoped Vick didn't
return to the Falcons this season. I realize that what Dunn was trying to say
was that he hoped the circus surrounding Vick stayed away from the Falcons
because as a team led by Joey Harrington they have enough to deal with. The
press has been all over Vick from the beginning to the point where if you didn't
actually look for the facts of the case you'd think Vick was the main source of
dog fighting in the United States.
My major problem though comes from a comment Jim Brown made when he claimed
that Mike Vick would not play NFL football ever again - and there seems to be a
pretty big group of people who agree with that sentiment. At this point in time
I'd like to remind you all of Leonard Little. I realize that at this point it
seems like old hat but can we at least remember that Susan Gutweiler lost her
life because Little decided to get behind the wheel of his car after a birthday
party.Forget about dogs - I like them as much as the next guy but Little killed
a human being. He received 90 days in jail, 1000 hours of community services and
four years of probation in 1998 because he killed someone. Did Little lose his
spot in the NFL? Of course not - in fact I have seen people during Sunday pre
game shows wearing #91 St. Louis Rams jerseys. I repeat: Leonard Little KILLED
someones mother, someones wife, someones daughter and not only did he not fail
to play another snap in the NFL - he has actually gained in popularity.
The insanity of the situation doesn't end there though - because Leonard
Little was arrested again six years later for driving under the influence. The
same man who six years prior had killed a human being was arrested again for
drunk driving and was he then thrown out of the NFL? Actually he signed an
extension with the St. Louis Rams. He was rewarded by the team he played for the
same season he was arrested for the second time of drunk driving.
But Michael Vick will never play another snap in the NFL because of the
abuse of animals. Unfortunately for Vick he had two huge factors playing against
him - the first was that he's a superstar athlete and whatever he did/does is
magnified compared to what a lowly defensive lineman like Little does. The
second problem that Vick runs into is what we already dealt with, that frankly
society treats the abuse of animals worse then the abuse of humans.
So let that be a lesson to all you aspiring professional athletes out there
- if you've got a choice between hooking a pit bull up to a rape stand, or
running over a middle aged woman. You're better career move would be taking a
couple shots of tequila, drinking a whiskey sour and jumping behind the wheel of
the car as you drive 90 miles per hour through a mall parking lot. Just make
sure that nobody is walking their dog in that parking lot though because heaven
forbid Lassie gets side swiped as your car bounces over the corpse of Lassie's
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee;
Let the water and the blood,
From Thy wounded side which flowed,
Be of sin the double cure;
Save from wrath and make me pure.
Not the labor of my handsCan fulfill Thy law’s demands;
Could my zeal no respite know,
Could my tears forever flow,
All for sin could not atone;
Thou must save, and Thou alone
Nothing in my hand I bring,
Simply to the cross I cling;
Naked, come to Thee for dress;
Helpless look to Thee for grace;
Foul, I to the fountain fly;
Wash me, Savior, or I die.
While I draw this fleeting breath,
When mine eyes shall close in death
,[originally When my eye-strings break in death]
When I soar to worlds unknown,
See Thee on Thy judgment throne,
Rock of Ages, cleft for me,
Let me hide myself in Thee.
*Do you plan ahead to maximize your fruitfulness each day, or do you simply let life happen?
*Do you make choices based on Scripture or on what feels good at the
*Do you strategize to use your talents to bless your family and
church, or do you emply them primarily for your own personal fulfillment?
*Do you evaluate every opportunity in light of biblical priorities, or do
you do whatever it takes to get ahead?
"Look carefully then how you walk, not as unwise but as wise, making the best use of the time, because the days are evil." -Ephesians 5:15-16
1. Research and locate both your nearest farmers' market and other nearby markets. In order to get screaming deals at the farmers' market, you first need to find it. Generally, farmers' markets run from early spring to late fall, but depending on where you live, your local market may be open a shorter time period or may be open year-round. Some markets are open daily during the season, while others are open only one or two days a week, most likely on weekends. If there are several markets in your area, you should visit all of them to find the best selection and best deals.
2. Learn more about the farms and farmers that attend the markets. Although not true for every market, there is a general rule that those selling agricultural products at the market are the very same people who grow or produce the items you are purchasing. Getting to know the producers / salespeople is your first step in building a lasting relationship with them and enjoying the great deals that can come from such a relationship.
3. Come to the market with a flexible palate. Often it is the case that common items (e.g. carrots, potatoes, and onions) are more expensive at the market than at conventional grocery stores. However, seasonal and specialty products that are outside of mainstream consumption (ethnic, heirloom, or rare vegetables, for example) can be purchased far below those prices demanded at the local supermarket. A flexible palate will not only introduce you to foods you never knew existed; you’ll also enjoy big savings.
4. Come to the market prepared to flatter. If there’s one way to a farmer's heart, it's talking food, especially talking about the food he or she grew. For instance, if you tell a vendor that you absolutely loved the way his or her heirloom Brandywine tomatoes complemented the basil you bought from him last week, there is a strong likelihood he or she will cut you a deal on your next purchase. The best reward to working all week in the field is to hear about how much a customer enjoyed eating the products a farmer grew. Farmers, like everyone else, appreciate compliments and knowing that their services make people happy.
5. Offer the farmers more than cash. Farmers are independent and sometimes unconventional. The nature of farming instills in nearly all farmers a strong desire and tendency for bartering. A farmer, like anyone else, specializes in a certain trade or skill. If you also have a skill or service that you can offer—website design, carpentry, tax preparation, etc.—a farmer may be willing to trade for your services. You may be able to get all your vegetables free during the summer in return for using your own skills to help your local farmer out.
6. When life gives you tomatoes, make tomato sauceAdd value to bulk purchases. Because most all vendors at farmers' markets grow seasonal products, there is often a large surplus of certain products at certain times. If you are willing to purchase large quantities of surplus items in peak season, you can add value to your purchase by saving seasonal food--by canning, freezing, or drying it, for example--for consumption out of season. For instance, the market price of raspberries is twice as much in winter as in summer. If you require a smoothie every morning, you can simply purchase large quantities in summer, freeze them, and enjoy savings as part of a complete breakfast. Make tomato gravy from those heirloom tomatoes, turn those beautiful onions into sweet onion marmalade, and dare to make pumpkin pie straight from the pumpkin.
7. Shop cooperatively with friends or family. You can save an incredible amount of money at the farmers' market if you buy in bulk. Consider going in with other people and purchase “cases” of food. Then, once you are home from the market, you can split up all the wonderful food just purchased at rock bottom prices!
8. Show up to the market on a regular basis, roughly 30 minutes prior to the close of market. Many of those who sell products at farmers' markets operate small farms and do not have the capability to store food for extended periods of time. After a long, hot summer day at the market, both the farmer and the produce are looking for a way to get home and cool down.
Come, Thou Fount of every blessing, tune my heart to sing Thy grace;
Streams of mercy, never ceasing, call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet, sung by flaming tongues above;
Praise the mount-I’m fixed upon it-mount of Thy redeeming love.
Here I raise mine Ebenezer; hither by Thy help I’m come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure, safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger, wand’ring from the fold of god;
He, to rescue me from danger, interposed His precious blood.
O to grace how great a debtor daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wand’ring heart to Thee;
Prone to wander, Lord I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it; seal it for Thy courts above.
Mary and Joseph disco down to Bethlehem
Fri Aug 10, 2007 5:45AM EDT
EDINBURGH (Reuters) - Joseph and Mary boogie on down to
Bethlehem with their loud-mouthed donkey in a disco version of the Nativity that
is pure kitsch.
If awards were handed out at the Edinburgh Fringe for camp
humor, then "Discotivity" would be a leading contender for top honors at the
world's largest and zaniest arts festival.
Michelle McManus, winner of the
reality TV talent show "Pop Idol", was understandably nervous about taking on
the part of the Virgin Mary in the boisterous production.
"I was very
apprehensive. I didn't want to get involved in anything sacrilegious. But the
script is hilarious," said the 27-year-old Scottish singer making her musical
Understated subtlety is not the show's strong point.
Herod, plotting the massacre of the innocents after the birth of Jesus, gyrates
to "Disco Inferno."
When Joseph and Mary find there is no room at the inn,
queue camp chorus of Village People offering the "YMCA" as alternative
As the couple puzzle over a name for their child, Mary goes
into labor, doubles up in pain and shouts "Jesus Christ!"
The musical, which
is to transfer to London after Edinburgh, was written by British journalist Toby
Rose. He said of the show that has a baby Jesus wheeled around stage in a
supermarket trolley: "It's all done in the best possible taste.
has loads of jokes but we like to think it is theologically sound. Its heart is
in the right place. We want people to come out thinking it was funny, not
McManus has had a checkered career since winning Pop Idol in 2003
with 6.5 million phone-in votes.
A number one hit single was swiftly followed
by an autobiography and an album. But when the second single only reached number
14 in the charts, the record company dropped her.
"They had always thought
the British public would see sense at the end of the day and not pick this big
fat cow as the winner," said McManus, cheerfully mocking her girth.
contrast is striking with "American Idol" contestants who produced Grammy winner
Kelly Clarkson, Country Music Award winner Carrie Underwood and Jennifer Hudson,
who failed to make the 2004 finals but won an Oscar for her performance in the
But McManus, whose career since Pop Idol has ranged from
radio presenter to TV comedy cameo roles, has no regrets about her 15 minutes of
fleeting fame: "What goes up must come down. It's longevity that's important to
No Christian can avoid theology. Every Christian is a theologian. Perhaps not a theologian in the technical or professional sense, but a theologian nevertheless. The issue for Christians is not whether we are going to be theologians but whether we are going to be good theologians or bad ones.