A Refreshing Blend of the Old and New…

October 12, 2008

So this Sunday morning I opted for the early service at an Anglican church in an old neighborhood in Englewood and highly recommended by Susan and Doug (which means something is really going on there).

Filled with anticipation of what the morning might bring, I found the small church (in a building that formerly housed a Methodist church) and joined 20 others for worship and the Eucharist.  

The Old (as in not contemporary Evangelicalism):

Procession of the cross.  Vestments worn by the clergy. Sign of the cross. Short but meaningful and impacting liturgy.  Kneeling.  Older hymns.  Proceeding to the front for communion (wine not grape juice).  Standing during the reading of the Gospel passage. 

The New (depending on one’s perspective):

Contemporary songs capturing the heart of David for today’s generation.  Projectors with liturgy and lyrics.  Arms raised while singing and in prayer.  Comfy chairs.  Vocal prayers offered by almost everyone in attendance.  Blue jeans.

Whether it was the ancient story of God’s capturing David’s heart, or the contemporary rendition of redemption as related by the guest speaker.  Whether it was old hymn, ingrained in my being, or the contemporary beat and verbal expression of that same thanksgiving.  Whether it was the participation in the ancient ritual of the Eucharist, or the connection with many new faces and hearts as prayers were poured out.  Whether it was praying as Christ taught us to pray so long ago, or doing it while holding the hand of my new friend (relatively new friend) – or all of the experiences blended together.  Connected and rooted with with God’s people throughout the ages and stumbling through life today.  Like David before me and likely everyone in that room – I felt the pursuit of God and the grace and mercy that accompanies His relentless calling of us to the wedding feast.

…  my soul is restored, I will not fear, for the Lord is with me, my cup overflows, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever…


The Doctrine Dance

February 2, 2007

To doctrine or not to doctrine, that is the question. Does doctrine divide? If one does not learn about various doctrines of the Christian faith does that entail that she holds no doctrine what so ever?  Is there such as thing as neutral doctrine or do our words thoughts and actions betray a doctrine even if it is unconscious or unacknowledged?

Is seems to me that pondering doctrine from time to time is a good thing.  For the moment, I’ll refrain from making bombastic pronouncements over who’s doctrine is correct.  That is not the issue of this post.  Rather, I think we and I live a more impoverished Christian life when we neglect that which Paul admonished Timothy to be mindful of – our doctrine. (Yes, Paul also mentioned watching one’s life, but that seems to be trendy right now and not neglected like doctrine is).  By thinking through what the Bible says about who God is and working through how others have interpreted the Scripture I do not become one of the elite, educated Christians who is now closer to God because of my vast knowledge.  Nor does this engagement of the intellect qualify me for roles of authority in the church (For I might have developed much information while at the same time I cheat others in business and show disdain for family and neighbors).  Rather thinking about doctrine and recognizing that these truths, however imprecise and imperfectly articulated due to our lack of omniscience, make universal claims on my life and the entire world brings one into a direct contact with the reality of “I AM.”  I, we can’t walk away from those ponderings and switch, unchanged to another daily activity, like shoveling the snow or doing the dishes.  Encountering the “I AM,” even if the encounter begins with thoughts about our Creator is itself a transformational process.


I’ve been tagged…

January 17, 2007

Okay so I’ve officially been tagged. I suppose when a blogger gets tagged that entails throwing a large party. After all that is a bit like a debutante ball. Thought my ball may be the small type since I only got tagged once. But then again the tagger, Susan, has the heart of at least two people. So here it goes:

1) What’s the most fun work you’ve ever done, and why?

As a software developer I write code and I teach classes on programming in LabVIEW. One client actually paid me to teach a class in Sydney, Australia. It was fantastic. The engineers were increadibly bright, working on facinating projects and were wonderful hosts. I’m still amazed they actually paid me for the work/fun. (Actually, I love my work. To think that I get paid for something that is a blast is a real blessing.) Read the rest of this entry »


Blogging Break – part 2

August 6, 2006

This little road trip takes me to Houston in August.  Yes, at 9 pm in Dallas it was still 98 degrees!  Yuk.  I’ll be at my Mom’s where there is no internet.  I’ll be back in mid August.


Worldview Thinking – No Neutral Ground

July 31, 2006

Everyone has a worldview.  Each of us acts, thinks, and operates based on the framework through which we view the world.  James Sire in The Universe Next Door defines a worldview this way:

“A worldview is a commitment, a fundamental orientation of the heart, that can be expressed as a story or in a set of presuppositions (assumptions which may be true, partially true or entirely false) which we hold (consciously or subconsciously, consistently or inconsistently ) about the basic constitution of reality, and that provides the foundation on which we live and move and have our being” (p. 17).

 

 

Our worldview includes beliefs about the nature of the cosmos, the origins of humanity, solutions for the perceived problems in the world, the prospects of life after death and the nature of history (linear or cyclical). 

 

Some people may never investigate some of the deep questions about life, but that passive decision is itself shaped by a worldview that does not value thoughtful reflection about who we are and why we are here.  Some may avoid rigorous contemplation of life out of fear – fear that cherished beliefs about reality may crumble under tough scrutiny.  Others may be too busy to devote time to inspect the presuppositions that drive a hectic lifestyle.  Then there is the person who may be buried under a mountain of insecurity, lacking the confidence in her own ability to think and form opinions about the weighty issues in life.  Finally, one may suffer from the pinball syndrome in which one simply bounces from one pastime to the next, oblivious to the significance of the world outside his little fiefdom.  Many excuses abound, but none justify this non-action.  All should seek knowledge and truth about the world and oneself.  As Pascal stated, “One must know oneself.  Even if that does not help in finding truth, at least it helps in running one’s life, and nothing is more proper” (72/66).

 

Though no two people hold the exact same worldview, several general categories exist, such as Christian theism, naturalism and pantheism.  I hold to a Christian worldview (and defending that worldview is not the intent of this post, instead see “It’s Never a Bad Time To Recommend a Few Books” at Culture Watch) and that Christian worldview is not confined to determining my Sunday morning activities but informs every aspect of my life and lays claim to every corner of the universe, including both the seen and the unseen.   

 

However, I live in a pluralistic society and I need to accurately understand other worldviews such as naturalism and pantheism.  As I interact with other humans, the worldview that I hold influences others and in turn their beliefs and underlying worldview can affect my beliefs.  For instance, I recently attended my daughter’s Christian pre-school class to read a few books to them.  I chose a couple books from the public library that matched their theme for the week.  But when I previewed one book, it subtly communicated a message that was laced with pantheistic undertones.  Thus, when I read the book to the class, I changed the ending (and thank goodness three year olds can’t read)!!  Even something as subtle as an innocuous children’s story can influence how one understands the universe.

 

This lack of neutrality in culture was emphasized by Susan, at Philosophical Pastor, when she recently posted on the “myth” of secular culture.  Henry Van Til states, “Since religion is rooted in the heart, it is therefore totalitarian in nature. It does not so much consummate culture as give culture its foundation, and serves as the presupposition of every culture…A truly secular culture has never been found.”  At our core, we are religious creatures.  There is some ideal or some thing that has captured our heart and our actions and thoughts flow from the worship of this thing.

 

Religion and worldview are intertwined.  One may claim to be spiritual but not religious.  However, everyone holds a worldview (even if it is subconscious and inconsistent) that attempts to answer the monumentous questions about life that are addressed by the world’s religions.  One cannot be truly non-religious.  To say that one is not religious simply means that one does not participate in organized religion.   There is no neutral worldview nor can we craft a bubble of protection around our precious worldview hoping to insulate it and us from challenge and examination. 

 

My Christian worldview is not perfect and it is my joy and heart’s desire to have it reshaped and molded such that my thoughts and actions continue to become (despite many unintentional detours) more Christ like.  Through this transformation, God’s constant presence in my life takes on an almost tangible realness such that I can, like Paul, have joy in all circumstances.

 

Over the upcoming days and weeks I’ll continue to explore the specifics of the Christian worldview and incorporate a bit of theology and philosophy as well as comment on the pragmatic ramifications of one’s worldview.


Blogging Break

July 20, 2006

I am currently enjoying a restful vacation (as opposed to one of those vacations where you spend all day everyday in pursuit of all required tourist activities) in a delightful mountain valley.  Part of my vacation includes reading more and detaching my self from the computer monitor – so alas I won’t be posting until Monday or Tuesday.  Upcoming posts will likely involve the Christian worldview, spirituality and perhaps a few thoughts on politics.

 Cheers