October 23, 2017

Letter to Jesus 2: The Pharisee in the Mirror

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Dear Jesus,

How is it that the people who claim to follow you most closely bear such a marked resemblance to the ones you criticized most during your ministry?

  • People of the Book.
  • Separated from “sinners.”
  • Concerned for your glory.

We are devoted to studying the scriptures and parsing out their meaning and application to our lives.

We have a passion to be pure and holy and right.

We are so concerned about offending you and worried about the lifestyles of others that we are convinced offend you.

We listen to long sermons, attend Bible studies, and try to read our Bibles daily.

We attend church, gather in small groups, and spend the vast majority of our time with other Christians.

We pray for the state of our world and our nation, constantly lamenting how far they have strayed from you, fearing (or are we secretly longing for?) your judgment.

We hide your word in our hearts.

We walk not in the counsel of the ungodly. We do not stand in the way of sinners. We don’t sit in the seat of scoffers.

We have come out from among them and try our best not to touch what is unclean.

We go to Bible-believing, Bible-teaching churches.

We listen to Christian programs and Christian music. We attend Christian schools. We support Christian causes.

We raise our hands and close our eyes when we sing praise songs. We earnestly squinch our eyes when we pray and utter our “amens.”

But still…

Why do I get this feeling that we are missing you?

Why are we so afraid to burst this “bubble” in which we live?

Why do we avoid the world so much — the world you called good?

How is it that we can’t seem to even conceive of obeying some of your clearest instructions? Like “love your enemies” and “do not judge” and “make every effort to keep unity”?

How is it that we can rationalize some of the most hateful words and attitudes imaginable while being convinced that we are serving God?

Why do we leave some of the most obviously needed works of compassion to the “Samaritans”?

How is it that we can spot another’s sin a mile away but cannot see the Pharisee in the mirror?

 

Just wondering,

Chaplain Mike

Comments

  1. Christiane says:

    IF ‘we’, having hopelessly bonded with a political party, end up with a candidate for president whom “we” must support by saying ‘everyone sins’ and ‘we believe in forgiveness’;
    THEN our theatrical mask finally comes off and ‘we’ are revealed for having been cast-members in an alternate reality

    • senecagriggs says:

      I’m generally voting for the political party least likely to okay the killing of the unborn.
      *

      The political party, itself, is surely not a Godly entity, nor can I support their current candidate.

      • Lost in the furor of past statements and attitudes is concern for the least among us…the unborn.

        • There doesn’t seem to be a whole lot of concern for the already born either.

          • +1

          • +1

            Therein lies the rub. The death of innocents is justifiable as long as they’re outside the womb.

            A friend of mine gave what I thought was the best apologetic against Pro-Life that I’ve heard. To paraphrase, “You know, Rick, I’d be pro-life if you can, as a pro-lifer, guarantee me that you will personally be responsible for the welfare of that life after it’s born, especially if you’re insisting that the mom, probably single, who’s barely making ends meet, raise the child. That life you insist be born must be nourished by those who do the insisting.”

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            I am Pro-Life. However, I simply do not believe laws are an effective solutions because the data is rather clear – they are demonstrably ineffective in changing the number of abortions per capita.

            BTW, the number of abortions per capita is near an all time low.

            So whatever position a candidate takes on this issue is irrelevant to me; as a factor it is off-the-table. Reproductive Rights is in a basket of policies that just-don’t-matter, as the president [or whomever] can turn those knows either way and the impact will be negligible. It is silly to wage wars over negligible things

            I am far more concerned with failing infrastructure that poisons and endangers those who have been born. A problem we both know how to fix, and can fix.

          • “It takes a village…”

            Wait, no, that would require taxing people and literally stealing from their wallets to support that life.

            Let the church take are of them! …hold up, that requires tithing members, and the pastor really hasn’t been speaking out against those harlots having kids out of wedlock enough lately…

          • I don’t know.

            In my city Christians are the ones on the front line with the poor (providing low cost rental housing), the homeless (gospel mission), women at risk, drug addicts, down and out people in the core of the city. They do more than anyone else, including the government.

          • –> “They do more than anyone else, including the government.”

            The government is definitely NOT the solution…LOL…

          • –> “I am far more concerned with failing infrastructure that poisons and endangers those who have been born. A problem we both know how to fix, and can fix.”

            I think that was the point my friend was trying to make. Fix the failing infrastructure before you demand that at-risk women give birth to babies who’ll have very little hope.

          • Adam Tauno Williams says:

            > In my city Christians …They do more than anyone else, including the government.

            Respectfully, this is nearly impossible to believe. Government assistance – health care, food stamps, all manner of financial assistance – goes largely unseen. By the numbers NPOs cannot even come close – pull out the governmental support and they would collapse under the burden.

            That is even before we calculate in the value of an NPO’s tax exempt status.

          • Christiane says:

            The same political party that wants that single mom to have her baby, also votes against her being able to support her child with even the most fair of wages: equal pay for equal work.

            I don’t trust the party that demeans women in so many ways, and now affirms a ‘leader’ who shows them some NEW ways they hadn’t thought of yet . . . . although they say ALL men talk ‘like that’ in locker rooms, but that isn’t true, is it? There are still decent men in the world who have mothers and wives and sisters and daughters and who DON’T TALK THAT WAY. Talking ‘that way’ is not normal.

            Someone said that in this election, the unborn got lost. Well, I think the unborn, once born, never had a chance in Republican political circles anyway . . . . . the war on women was and is still full on, with no end in sight.

      • This is a massive tangent, Seneca, but since you started it I think you need some facts pointed out to you.

        HALF of all fertilized eggs miscarry before the mother knows she is pregnant.

        15-20% of all known pregnancies miscarry.

        So if you believe that life begins at conception, the God you worship has murdered more than half the human beings who have ever been brought into existence before they had a chance to leave the womb. He doesn’t sound very concerned about the unborn to me.

        • +1

        • Adam Tauno Williams says:

          Caffeine also increases the miscarriage rate – so all ardent pro-life women must stop consuming caffeine if they are sexually active. … You can carry these things to an absurd level – when far more heavily bearing influences are all around us.

        • Burro [Mule] says:

          It’s not the people who have done the heavy lifting necessary to make an informed decision, and have decided that the fetus is not a human being. I don’t think this is much more than 10% of those seeking abortion.

          It is the people, both male and female, who believe it is a human being and dispose of it anyway, because of convenience. That kind of cognitive dissonance has to go somewhere.

          • Burro [Mule] says:

            SottoVoce –

            All of us, as Hemingway noted, owe God a death anyway. I am more comfortable leaving the collection of that debt up to Him.

          • >> I am more comfortable leaving the collection of that debt up to Him.

            As, apparently, Hemingway was not. As for myself, I agree with you, for myself, at least today. As to my cat who plays hide and seek with the end of the trail, I wish I did not have this responsibility, but I do. Someone needs to pass a law against pain. Or invent a new pill.

        • senecagriggs says:

          Sotto, you brought up an interesting point. Does God not have the right to decide who is born and who is lost to miscarriage or other issues? Does He not dictate the days of a man’s life? Can anybody’s days be shortened without God allowing it?

          As to abortion, is it not the killing of the innocent by people who are not God?

          • No, he does not, because he gave up that right time and time again to us.

          • seneca griggs says:

            I would disagree Stuart. God has never given up His control over life and death. He has always been God omnipotent, will always be God omnipotent.

  2. Saint Seraphim of Sarov (+1833) said:

    “We condemn others only because we shun knowing ourselves. When we gaze at our own failings, we see such a swamp that nothing in another can equal it. That is why we turn away, and make much of the faults of others…”

    I am ashamed of the sins and failings I see in myself, so I can’t look at that in myself (because, how can I be loved?) but must condemn it in others.

    Fr Stephen has written much about this, as shame – not the toxic stuff that others pour on us, which is truly and completely wrong, but how we are ashamed of ourselves because of knowing ourselves to be “out of joint” with our true nature. Being able to bear a little of the inhumanness we see in ourselves – sitting with it and being honest about it before God – is actually healing. It’s the reality that the 4th and 5th Steps are pointing to. It’s why St Paul (or anyone gaining real holiness) can identify as “the chiefest of sinners.”

    St Therese of Liseux wrote:

    “If you are willing to bear serenely the trial of being displeasing to yourself, then you will be for Jesus a pleasant place of shelter.”

    This is very difficult, and hard to grasp when one’s theology doesn’t recognize or allow for the process of purification (learning to become human) – to grow into the likeness of Him in Whose Image we were made. When I first read it, it rang true in a very deep way for me, and the older I get, the more I am convinced of its truth.

    Dana
    Sorry to write and run – I’ll be away from the computer most of Thurs.

    • Being able to bear a little of the inhumanness we see in ourselves – sitting with it and being honest about it before God – is actually healing.

      The problem with so much of evangelical theology in this instance is that it insists on our only getting a quick glance at the swamp before we roll up our sleeves, drain it, and build a housing development on it. Which leaves many to wonder why their basements are dank and moldy and their foundations are sinking…

      • flatrocker says:

        >…why their basements are dank and moldy and their foundations are sinking…

        When the build cycle spans only a decade or two, the state of the foundation doesn’t really matter.

        • Headless Unicorn Guy says:

          Throw it up fast & cheap (particle board and styrofoam), sell it to the suckers, and then it’s their problem.

          (Yes, I’ve lived through three SoCal real-estate boom-and-busts; how ever can you tell?)

    • Yes Dana!

  3. Growing up as a child in the bubble – a very opaque one, I now often feel a lack of understanding of the world around me. My husband spent his childhood in the bubble, too. It was one of our deep longings was to rear our children out side of the bubble. Our children are now in college – 18 and 19. They have their own ideas, questions, and core beliefs that don’t perfectly equate to the ones I grew up being told were the only right way to go. They walk through the world – climbing gym where their posse knows them for their willingness to be supportive and give beta and where people tell them their problems because folks innately recognize compassion in them; they walk daily in a very competitive college environment where their integrity, ethics and character are measured by the hurdles faculty, staff, and student put up daily. In short we’re really comfortable with their love of the Father and the Christ-like maxims that are at their core without the bubble.

    One of the best things my husband and I have done recently has, by pure chance, better acclimated us to the real world (as opposed to what we had been told the WORLD(TM) was like). We offer college students dinner on Thursday nights. Of the 16 who regularly come: 2 are gay; 1 is bisexual; 3 suffered heavy abuse as children; 2 have suffered parental suicides in the past year; 7 are skeptical of the church/Jesus/God; 1 is a hard core atheist; 1 works with LGBTQ Latinos; 2 live together, unmarried; 1 is severely depressed; 4 have drinking issues (2 are underage); 2 are Christians – 1 mainstream and 1 Latin Mass Catholic, 1 is black, 2 are hispanic, and they represent 13 different states. We are not in the bubble any more.

    My husband has recommended that a young man considering the priesthood, come eat with us. My husband is the discernment process leader, and he recognizes the bubble in which this young man has grown accustomed – leading Bible studies, being in Bible studies, talking theology, serving at the church, friendships are similar folks – everything is homogeneous.

    My husband and I pray that we may just be the love of Christ, see the core human that God loves immeasurably, and quietly raise the cross of Christ “at a crossroad of politics so cosmopolitan that they had to write His title in Hebrew and in Latin and in Greek … and at the kind of place where cynics talk smut, and thieves curse, and soldiers gamble. Because that is where He died, and that is what He died about. And that is where Christ’s own ought to be, and that is what church people ought to be about.” (George Macleod)

    • Adam Tauno Williams says:

      > We are not in the bubble any more.

      Indeed. Congratulations, that group sounds a lot like the Actual America.

      What you are doing sounds great – and you are doing a wonderful service for that would-be priest.

    • Your “college student dinner Thursdays” sounds like Jesus eating with tax collectors. Nice!

    • I always appreciated those types of groups when I was in college. Though sometimes there was an ulterior motive to convert, the ones that just listened and helped were amazing.

  4. Ben Carmack says:

    Here’s another letter you might consider sending to Jesus.

    Dear Jesus,

    I thank thee that I am not like other men, particularly those close-minded Evangelicals! I read the New York Times twice a day, am concerned about the “correct” political issues, and have all requisite hatred in my heart for the “correct” bigots, namely, the aforementioned evangelicals.

    I thank thee also that I am not a Bible-thumping rube, but instead am enlightened by historical-critical scholarship that was in vogue 80 years ago. I don’t accept everything in Scripture as “literal” unlike those know-nothings! I know that the Bible contains different genres. None of the evangelical seminary profs I had at TEDS believed that! They thought the entire Bible was a giant truss ad! A cookbook! The rubes! How grateful I am that I am so much smarter than D.A. Carson and other such hate-filled, toothless, ignoramuses!

    I thank thee that I don’t get my moral compass from Scripture, or my instructions for living from the Psalms. Rather, I get my morays from the New York Times. I have the sophistication to twist Scripture so that it approves of monogamous gay relationships and of women playing the man and of man playing the woman–I thank thee that I learned that from the august scholars of the ELCA, who are obviously the Smartest Men Who Ever Existed. I thank thee that I work among men who know more than every other churchman of the last 2000 years!

    Finally, Lord, I thank thee for your grace which effectively eliminates any such notion of sin. Sin? Nobody’s a sinner and nobody needs salvation. Everyone is just A-OK with you, O Lord! Loving my neighbors means never ever correcting anything they do. The only people You aren’t OK with Lord, are those who preach the Law and call for men to repent. Martin Luther was such a vile man. I thank thee that I am not like that evil man, Martin Luther.

    Sincerely,

    Chaplain Mike
    The Real Pharisee

    • Ben, you may note that in my letter I used “we” and not “they. ”

      Or didn’t you pay any attention to that, simply assuming I was casting stones at others?

      The Pharisee in your letter is in your imagination.

      Well written, though!

      • Ben Carmack says:

        The pretentious tone is obviously directed at others not like you, Chaplain.

        You needn’t be so dense. I did read it. Unlike you, I understand how to read in context.

      • Your letter made me think of Nehemiah’s prayer of confession, using “we” to throw himself under the bus, too. Otherwise, confession doesn’t work.

        Nehemiah 1:
        “Lord, the God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and keep his commandments, 6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s family, have committed against you. 7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.

        8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations, 9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’

        10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand. 11 Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”

      • Burro [Mule] says:

        Ben brings up a valid point, CM. There are numerous ways out of the Evangelical Wilderness, as both the Pilgrim and Pliable wrestled their way out of the Slough of Despond, but only one went in the right direction.

        “The Bubble” used to be Christendom. There used to be a consensus. Maybe not everybody lived up to the high ideals, Hell, only one or two in each generation ever even came close, but there was a general agreement on what mattered in life, and how to ascertain truth.

        That consensus is dead and gone. There is part of me that wants to go play on Finn’s court; “appreciate” people in their multiform idiosyncrasies, like a living Gogol novel. But there is evil out there too, real evil, soul-dismembering evil, and it is not all coming from the remnants of “the Bubble”.

        I see one kind of evil on the network newscasts, a blurring, and blandening, of all distinctions between men so that what was once base has now become admirable, and what was once admirable has become an object of censure. I see another evil in my own heart, a longing for a clean-up squad, a Disinfection Agency for Western Civilization [what’s left of it]. I have always been one of whom our Lord spoke in the parable of the wheat and the tares who want to separate the two prematurely.

        It is not for nothing that AIDS has struck this generation. A disease that renders the body incapable of distinguishing between ‘me’ and ‘not-me’ is so metaphorical I’m surprised the lesson hasn’t been universally learned and applied. It wasn’t until my sister-in-law was stricken with lupus until I learned that the opposite was just as deadly. When your body attacks itself as an intruder, things don;t end well either.

        • The points you make don’t invalidate the ones I made, they merely give me material for a future letter to Jesus.

          Ben, on the other hand, does not accept that my lament about us being Pharisees comes from a genuine spirit. Perhaps he does not know that this has been my life for over 40 years, and the chains of my evangelical Pharasaism are not so easily broken. Perhaps he just thinks I’m stupid and can’t see that if he’s right I’m doing the very thing I’m condemning others for. If I had wanted to call others Pharisees and not include myself, this would have been a rant, no mirrors involved.

          • Burro [Mule] says:

            I think Pharisaism is probably OK as a way-station. That’s why it’s so common. Many prominent Pharisees went on to become Christians, and their doctrine was more binary-compatible with what Jesus taught than the Erastianism of the Sadducees, for example.

            The problem comes when Pharisaism becomes a long-term residence, and self-satisfaction takes the place of genuine repentance. But dayum! Real repentance is Hard Work, and I don’t think this inconvenient fact gets enough attention.

          • I think Pharisaism is probably OK as a way-station. That’s why it’s so common.

            I *don’t* think it’s an acceptable waystation, and I think one reason why it’s so common is that so many have decided it is the final destination.

            Real repentance is Hard Work, and I don’t think this inconvenient fact gets enough attention.

            ” When our Lord and Master Jesus Christ said, ‘Repent’ (Mt 4:17), He willed the entire life of believers to be one of repentance.” – Martin Luther, Thesis 1 of the 95 Theses

    • I think we’d all do well to just stick to the tax collector’s prayer as often as we can manage: “Lord have mercy on me, a sinner.” And human sin comes in more flavors than we could ever hope to count with some form of pride usually hanging out in the mix. Intellectual pride. Anti-intellectual pride. Self-righteous pride. Morally liberated pride. Pride in wealth. Pride in poverty. The pride of being accepted. The pride of the excluded outsider. The deluded, self-congratulating pride of the winner. And the wounded, excuse-ridden pride of the loser. The list could go on forever.
      Often I find that my worst enemy is that twisted thing inside me that insists on thinking of myself as being in the right — or, at least, being “righter” than the other guy. And every once in a while, I’ll dare to look in my rearview mirror to see all the people I’ve mowed down during my race for rightness.

      • Indeed. My resentment towards evangelicals is palpable. How ironic. Lord have mercy…

      • “Often I find that my worst enemy is that twisted thing inside me that insists on thinking of myself as being in the right — or, at least, being “righter” than the other guy.”

        Oh, how often am I this guy! And the sad thing is, I often know I’m this guy but it seems I can’t help myself. I seem to remember some guy named Paul writing about this very thing.

    • Ben, that does come precariously close to being a letter that reads ‘ I thank you Lord that I am not as Chaplain Mike…’

  5. To me it seems fairly obvious what the answer is to all these why questions– we are captive of our egos, individually and collectively. It is the human condition, the given that we are put on earth to overcome with the help of God, to be healed of this condition, to be saved, if you will. The Bible speaks of this in more religious language, which is easy to ignore, but it is being spoken plainly and openly today in contemporary language, and we still ignore it. The Bible speaks of the heart, the ego, as being desperately wicked. It’s more that the ego desperately wants to survive, and will do anything to avoid the sacrifice of self Jesus calls for, even go so far as to adopt a religious persona to keep from really picking up the cross. And why not, that’s how we got here thru countless ages of the battle for physical survival. Millions of years of animal instinct is not easy to overcome, but God’s love is stronger than our ego.

    So the real question here is why, having reached a point in the growth of understanding where it is known that we are not this egoistic role we have been given to play, why do we continue to play it 24/7 as if it were our real identity, fiercely resisting any hint that this is not who we are? The basic meaning of hypocrite is “actor”, and we are all hypocrites, acting out our various roles and personas, including pious religious believer, and ignoring our real identity as children of God and sparks of our Creator. It is understandable that people did this in previous times. We were younger then and the father of lies is really good at what he does. It’s past time to wake up and smell the coffee. We are not our ego.

    • –> “It is the human condition…”

      I think that’s why I appreciate secular music so much. Most of the songs I really enjoy speak to some element of the human condition. Don’t get me wrong, I like singing praises to the Lord, but I also like to hear what’s on the hearts and minds of the people outside the castle walls.

      • Dylan has just won the Nobel prize for literature.

        • Burro [Mule] says:

          That was a surprise, and deeply non-traditional.

          Maybe Neil Gaiman can win for Sandman next year. My tongue doesn’t go too far into my cheek to say that.

        • “Dylan has just won the Nobel prize for literature.”

          I’m rejoicing over that.

          But still grieving that Pete Seeger didn’t win the Nobel Peace Prize.

  6. I confess that yesterday I was not a neighbor to my neighbor. I avoided him, and oh….two minutes later the fire trucks and ambulance pull up to his house for his wife (not unusual). My internal excuse was, I’m sooo tired, just returned from traveling for a month, then kids all home for a whirlwind wknd…I’m exhausted, no space to even say ‘hi”‘. Tell me my heart was not wrenched as the emergency vehicles pulled up. No sirens, so I knew not a huge deal….but still.
    This is one reason, among many, why we left our baptist church, don’t ‘do’ bible studies anymore…there’s only the outside of the cup getting cleaned! The inside, no transformation/reformation. Clean up your act…but not your heart, thoughts, soul, mind, etc…..so over that entire list CM, that you bulleted. Thanks for the articulation.
    We love our Lutheran church and how it is involved in the community at large…and not just to win souls! We’ve always been in community organizations not necessarily Christian ones, cuz they know how to get in the trenches.
    I don’t live in the bubble anymore. Grew up in it….DONE. Raised our kids to not be on the bubble, and as EV says, they’re independent thinkers, love Jesus , but not necessarily think as we do…that’s fine. They know how to be In the world, and not of it. Not to shun others, but to love others. But ystdy I did.
    Jesus, forgive me. I didn’t love my neighbor as myself?

    • I can relate Charlie.
      In my job I often work 15 or more hours a day, and when I get home, all I feel like doing is vegetating for an hour or two in front of the TV and then crashing out. I”m not married and I don’t have any kids, so I’ve been able to live a life of utterly self-centered independence and emotionally impoverished solitude for several years now without hurting anyone else — that is until very recently. Three months ago I took on a housemate to help out with the bills — and as a kind of mentoring thing to help him get his life on some kind of functional track. You see, he’s a raging alcoholic — has been for decades — but he’s very recently decided to try to at least put on the brakes when it comes to drinking himself to death. I agreed to let him move in and help him as much as I can. Little did I realize that the toughest part of this arrangement was going to involve, not him overcoming his alcoholism, but me overcoming my own viscous independence and habitual selfishness. He’s needy, slobberingly sentimental (especially when he’s drunk), insecure to the point of paranoia, and he looks to me to be his best (and only) friend. All the while I am coming face to face with how ill-equipped I am to be anybody’s personal Jesus. I don’t know how this is all going to turn out, but I know I definitely need the Lord’s help and guidance on this one.

      • God bless you humanslug!

        I’ve taken on a few flatmates who were “in need” at some point, the latest being a young man from Arizona whom we met at a homeless cafe here in Basel. I usually have to fight myself to not let that initial warmth of kindness turn into impatience and sometimes (shamefully), a wee bit of contempt, the longer the guest stays. My husband reminds me that it’s all character building (for me). I tell him that it’s good practice (for us) to not be overly wedded to our possessions and material comforts. I used to do it a lot more when I was younger (say 10 years ago?), but now I do recognise the “need” for some measure of self-preservation and hold back from immediately offering the spare room /couch to just any random. Or maybe im just better at saying “no” now and recognising that i can’t help everyone. And yet…

        • God bless you right back, Grace.
          And you’re right, it’s easy for feelings of contempt to creep into this kind of relationship — particularly when you view yourself as the giver and the other person as the receiver of charity. But truth be told, my new housemate has helped me out a lot. I was struggling financially, and having someone to split the bills with has been a big boost. He keeps the house cleaner than I ever did by myself, and he has prodded me to address some long-neglected problems with my property. And, to be brutally honest, I suspect he would actually take a bullet for me, while I’m not so sure I could do the same for him.

  7. So much to think about here.
    Mainly, I’m trying to understand why there seems to be so much ugliness in the world lately and what my contribution to that may be.

    • I think a lot of it is resistance. I’m seeing in my own life that when i speak up, that when I call people to accountability, that when I resist the status quo…ugliness is the result. People get upset, angry, vengeful, and I often mirror it back.

      That’s what a lot of this is. People resentful they are being called out.

    • flatrocker says:

      From the Confiteor:
      I confess to almighty God,
      and to you, my brothers and sisters,
      that I have sinned through my own fault,
      in my thoughts and in my words,
      in what I have done, and in what I have failed to do….

      Such a fitting way to begin a worship gathering…with a little mirror time.

      Thanks Suzanne for that reminder.

  8. Thomas S Gay says:

    I don’t come here as much anymore. Funny how things work though. Just this week I’ve had a heavy dose of my own sinfulness. I don’t go there much anymore either. It was Chesterton talking about the eternal revolution that turned me back to repenting. He feels that reform must come from being fixed, and it must be a composite( artfully composed) and it needs watchfulness. It was the fixed that started me toward repentance. If I read, I’m inclined to go there. Very wishy, washy.
    The eternal revolution defined by Chesterton is the type where things can naturally get better. Like, ” Iv’e got to admit it’s getting better, getting better all the time”. Called the doctrine of progress philosophically. Chesterton says, “you may call it cosmic advance as much as you like; I call it what it is– The Fall”. I’m a happy human being, and world standards, a prosperous human being. Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy on me, a sinner.

  9. An interesting diversion in the looming election.

    Debate Duet
    http://www.luckytv.nl/time-of-my-life/