Thursday, October 25, 2007

The Problem with Protestants

This is a post I made on a thread over at ChristianWriters.Com -- thought it might make a good post here, all by itself.
That's the problem with Protestantism -- we've been conditioned to believe that the believer who doesn't believe like us is "wrong." Maybe gravely wrong. Every denomination (and non-denominational church) was founded because no other denomination or church was doing it totally "right" (in doctrine or practice or worship style or ... ) -- otherwise our denomination (or non-denominational church) would not have been necessary.

I think that this "everybody else is wrong" mentality cripples our fellowship -- we can't seem to get it in our head that it's OK for other believers to not be like us, and not "get" what we're about, and for us to not "get" them.

If we Christians want to make a mark on this world, we need to give our brothers and sisters who don't believe and practice and express like us the grace to not believe and practice and express like us. Maybe we could even bless them in their different belief and practice and expression. Now that would be a radical expression of love.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

From Thomas a Kempis

I don't beleive that life on this plane is promised to be "all good," as the modern slang goes. God's perspective is so much different that ours.

Jesus has many lovers of His heavenly kingdom, but few bearers of His cross.
He has many seekers of consolation, but few of tribulation.
He finds many companions at His feasting, but few at His fasting.
All desire to rejoice in Him; few are willing to endure anything for Him.
Many follow Jesus as far as the breaking of His bread, but few to the drinking of the cup of His passion.
Many reverence His miracles, but few will follow the shame of His cross.
Many love Jesus as long as no adversaries befall them.
Many praise and bless Him so long as they receive some consolation from Him.
But if Jesus hides Himself and leaves them but for a brief time, they begin to complain or become overly despondent in mind.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

A trinitarian prayer

The American evangelical movement is so new, we forget about the controversies of the early church. We take the doctrine of the Trinity for granted, but it was extremely controversial for a large chunk of our history. I remember this whenever I run across an ancient prayer that is specifically trintarian -- these are theological statements as they are petitions. This lovely one comes from our brothers and sisters, the Syrian Orthodox:
Glory to the Father, who has woven garments of glory for the resurrection.
Worship to the Son, who was clothed in them at his rising.
Thanksgiving to the Spirit, who keeps them for all the Saints.
One nature in three, to him be praise.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

From Jean-Pierre de Caussade

This is an interesting take on God's sovereignty. I am not sure that I could say these words myself, but I am intruged by them.

"All that happens to me becomes bread to nourish me, soap to cleanse me, fire to purify me, a chisel to carve heavenly features on me. Everything is a channel of grace for my needs. The very thing I sought everywhere else seeks me incessantly, and given itself to me by means of all created things."