Friday, June 27, 2008

Faith Trends

This just in from the Patriot Post:

A new survey by the Pew Forum on Religion & Public Life came up with
some interesting figures when asking whether people believe in God. The sad fact
is, the number among Christians was not 100 percent, but was anywhere from 99
percent for evangelical and black churches to 97 percent for Catholic and
Mainline Protestant churches. The numbers for other monotheistic religions were
even lower—83 percent of Jews believe in God compared to 92 percent of Muslims.

That left us wondering, isn’t the whole point of these religions that there
is a God? But even that’s not what left us completely puzzled. Among
self-described atheists, an astounding 21 percent actually believe there is a
God. Twelve percent believe in heaven and 10 percent pray at least once a week.
So, are these folks really atheists? Apparently, the next step is to set up a
church for God-believing atheists to gather for fellowship. Of course, if they
did that, other people might start to question their atheist, um, faith.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Morning Glories

Not even Solomon . . .

Common morning glory? What is common about this?

Nothing hails the summer dawn like those blue trumpets subtly wafting a wonderful, barely-there fragrance. When you’re lucky enough to discover the short-lived bloom and inhale its small vial of sweetness, the day is so much better. The morning is truly glorious when you see an entire fence draped with the marvelous things. Morning glories are anything but common. Their blossoms seize the brief, opportune window of time in the earth’s orbit, and then vanish. God snaps His fingers and the world breathes loveliness; blessed are those who have eyes to see. It was not enough that Adam and Eve should merely eat, drink and survive; God provided for the rejuvenation of our souls in His transcendent aesthetic.

“Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: And yet I say unto you, that even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. If God so clothe the grass of the field, which today is, and tomorrow is cast into the oven, shall He not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith?” Matthew 6:28-30

Brief Glory, or Glorious Brevity

Morning glory vine,
Vine of morning’s glory,
Glorious morning on the vine!
Petals of heaven,
Pieces of tumbled-down sky,
Drink heady sweetness of the morning
from the bugle-cup divine;
Sound the glories of the morning
from the trumpet on the vine!

Wine of morning yields to noon—
Phoebus’ chariot runs unchecked
Crushing all in its advance—
One chance
To be, to shine,
To shout such glory
In the narrow space of Soon.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Upgrading Church Music

"Many parishioners simply don't view what goes on in the church as 'the arts.'" This startling statement was uttered by my organ teacher, Sister MJ Wagner, of Elm Grove. Perhaps that's because the music used in the parish was low quality to begin with, and no one seemed motivated to improve on the status quo.

This new post from the New Liturgical Movement blog indicates a stirring among humble "church mice" such as myself to see the quality improved and uplifted as an offering worthy of the God we serve. Our efforts tell the world what we think of our God.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

The Whole Counsel of God

One of my favorite theological blogs, Pyromaniacs, has a great post today concerning hermeneutical principles by Dan Philips. We'd do well to heed his counsel.

Paul told the Ephesian elders, "I did not shrink from declaring to you the whole counsel of God" (Acts 20:27). But not all can truthfully make that claim. Early on in my Christian life, I was exposed to the deadly danger of taking a concept, phrase, saying, metaphor, or even truth, extracting it from the rest of the Bible, free-associating, and then erecting a structure on it. Read more . . .