Day 24: A Random Thought 

I realized as I read my Bishop’s letter that it is entirely Kingdom focused. There’s a political neutrality to it that I can’t quite match. Other denominations may not have done it that way. But it is Pastoral for the portion of the Church in his care. 

I’m struggling with how I approach things in this setting here. My intent is for my writing to be for my fellow believers. However, viewing things through a theological/political grid comes rather naturally to me. 

I think I need to evaluate each piece as to whether I need to state the particular political grid if I bring in the political. Should I be striving for political neutrality? Things to ponder. 

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Day 23: Admitting Error

One of the main aspects of Anglicanism, and really all old order traditions, is the liturgy. We have a set practice, and in our particular case it is in the Book of Common Prayer (this is a link to Anglican Pastor for a good explanation of what that book is).

Every single Sunday, prior to the Celebration of the Eucharist (communion), we say prayers for the nations and then a confession of sin. We all say the same words together, led by the deacon:

Most merciful God, we confess that we have sinned against you in thought, word, and deed, by what we have done, and by what we have left undone. We have not loved you with our whole heart; we have not loved our neighbors as ourselves. We are truly sorry and we humbly repent, for the sake of your Son Jesus Christ, have mercy on us and forgive us; that we may delight in your will, and walk in your ways, to the glory of your Name. Amen.

It’s also part of morning daily devotion. It’s a serious prayer. But let me reword it a bit to draw out some the ways it challenges us, I hope it makes you think and analyze the various ways we all rebel against God:

Calling on the mercy of God. We acknowledge that we have erred against God in every way, through action and inaction. Our Love has been on ourselves and not You and definitely not on others. This was a major mistake and we submit ourselves to examination by Jesus Christ that we have turned from our errors please be merciful to us because of our rebellion. Please Pardon our sins. Our error is we think your will isn’t really delightful for us, help us see the unbridled joy of your plans, show us the ancient paths of wisdom, for the Greatness of your Beautiful Name. Amen. 

Soli Deo Gloria 

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Day 22: A Party

So, in a little bit, I’m heading to a friend’s house to enjoy some smoked meats. It’s his birthday and he can smoke ’em if he wants ’em. I might smoke a cigar too.

Anyway, it has been an interesting day. Went for a long walk this morning wearing flip-flops. Bad idea, rubbed my foot half raw. So, decided to grab some coffee at our local café. I ended up in a long conversation with a brother over a loss in his life. Also talked to an old brother in the faith about his ministry and the struggles of a small town church’s pastor.

Our conversation ended up being about community, about the many ways in which it has been eroded. The church in America didn’t suffer persecution from outside. Instead it was like a slow infestation of mold in the foundation. Like an acid bath to the undergirding of the Church. Hundreds of years of tradition and practice were swept away in the name of modern progress. Away with Liturgy! Away with weekly communion! Away with regular gatherings of believers! Away with Gospel! Away with regular prayer!

And to be honest, I’m not entirely sure I even know what good community looks like. Now, I did learn a lot about community by living in Guatemala with my wife’s family. So, I guess maybe that’s what a church community looks like? Except with brothers and sisters in Christ instead of blood relations. But I’m sure some of the strife of a family would come out there too. A little sanctification never hurt anybody.

Anyway, the friend (whose birthday it is) is also a brother in Christ and the leader of the small group I and my wife are in. Some of our group will be there, along with his friends and people from the ministry he is a part of. And it will be a little bit of community. Around a friend. A little bit of rebuilding. Brick by brick. One friend at a time. One brother and sister at a time. A little Nehemiah-ish? Hmmm, there’s a thought. 

Soli Deo Gloria 

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Day 21: A little poetry 

God of all the living

Son of man forgiving

Man keeps on sinning

Evil tries and tries 

Satan lies and lies

A Man he tries and tries

Without God impulsing

Sin within us still convulsing

All good our souls repulsing

Need we must to see

How broken useless are we

Without the Godhead one in three

    

(C) 2017 Richard Reeb

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Day 20: Into the home stretch 

Nearly three straight weeks of writing every day. Wow, wasn’t sure if I’d make it this far. I still have 10 posts to write, but I’m already thinking about what I want to do next. I’ve learned to create the space to do this post, so I shouldn’t let it go. 

So, what to do next? I’m thinking about working out some of the discipleship concepts I learned from Ken Hall and enrich them some. I really think the ancient traditions work much better with discipleship than the much drier modern methods. 

I am strongly of the opinion that our individualism seriously undermined the church. The pendulum swung from the community defining your existence to the individual defining it. I think the healthy balance is between the two. 

Like being called to ministry. You must be convinced of the call and the church needs to discern. We need to rebuild the community that has been torn down. And it begins with each believer. We must be integrated into the body. The gifts God has given us are for the benefit of the body. We aren’t an organization that has leaders and followers. We are all priests. We’re are all in the Royal Priesthood. But we each have distinct gifts, for building up the body. 

So I probably need some pencil and paper. This may be some work. Maybe a little strategic planning initially. I hope I don’t prove myself a liar.

Soli Deo Gloria 

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Day 19: Barely Beating the Buzzer

So it’s nearly midnight, so I need to get something up if I’m going to get 30 consecutive days. 

The Triple O Again

Orthodoxy, orthopraxy and orthopathy. This has been my regular thought for weeks now. Like I said in my post yesterday I’ve been ruminating on the pathy part. Right passion or right feelings. 

Love the Lord your God with all your heart, mind and soul. 

Love your neighbor as yourself

Love one another as I have loved you

Our culture, the world we live in here in the United States is one of self gratification. During lunch at a restaurant with my wife we overheard a conversation between two ladies who were obviously rather well to do. One was complaining that all he husband does during a vacation is drink. The other told her she needed to find her own “happy place”. It was the saddest conversation to listen to. Lives lived chasing happiness through material things. 

There was an obvious lack of love all around. Well, not exactly. There was a love of vacations, material possessions and personal happy places. I wanted to cry. It was so ostentatious and yet so sad. There didn’t seem to be any real love between anybody involved.  

I dare say everyone has either heard a conversation or been in one ourselves like it. 

“God is Love” we read in the book of John. The summary of the law, the first two quotes above are about love. Jesus’s final command is about love. Paul says “Do everything in Love.” 

Other focused. Talk about counter cultural. How does one really live like that? Where do we look for clues?

Jesus lived that life. Jesus lived that Love. 

But we can’t do it on our own. Only by, with and through Christ Jesus. By embracing His Love for us are we able to Love others as we should Love them, which is how Jesus loves us. 

Now I realize that the practice and the passion (orthopraxy and orthopathy) are tied up together there. But we are body and soul, we are incarnated beings. And therein lies the rub, to quote Hamlet. 

They are not separate things. Orthodoxy informs the orthopraxy which produces the orthopathy which feeds the orthopraxy more energy to keep receiving more orthodoxy. Whew. 

Practice and passion are tied up in a intricate Tango. Tear them apart and the beauty is gone. Examine them separately and they’re ethereal, lofty ideas that seem unattainable. But put them together and they dance with beauty and grace. Sublime passion and perfect practice. Dance Christian, dance. 

Soli Deo Gloria 

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Day 18: The Triple O

Father. Son. Holy Spirit. 

Scripture. Liturgy. Prayers. 

Orthodoxy, orthopraxy and orthopathy. 

Getting it right

Orthodoxy, orthopraxy and orthopathy can be defined generally as “Right doctrine, Right practice and Right feeling.” 

I have been thinking about this. Meditating on it. I think you see my Anglicanism with the reference to liturgy: the how of worship.  And the last four years in an ACNA Church has reminded me why I missed the Episcopal Church of my youth. The physicality of liturgical worship uses one’s body to worship in agreement with your mind and spirit. 

But the orthopathy has been a little different.  As prayer, fasting and the help of the Holy Spirit has driven certain sinful tendencies from me, specifically in my case anger, I was experiencing something unexpected: some serious procrastination.  

What I figured out was I used the anger to not only try to drive others, but to drive myself. So I’m praying for the right motivation. The right driver. The God ordained way of acting in a timely manner. 

I’m praying my way through it.  The post I’m still working on is part of this process.  I hope to have it done in the next few days. 

My sisters and brothers, stand firm in the faith, stay on your guard and do everything in Love. 

Soli Deo Gloria 

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Day 17: Short Post

Hey all. 

I started a post this morning, but I haven’t finished editing it. And based on past experience I was unhappy with my less than stellarly edited posts. They missed fully conveying what I wanted to say. Simply put, they weren’t clear enough. 

I’m pretty exhausted because I worked Saturday and then Sunday was busy because we were short a person for the Altar Guild. 

So I’m going to bed early. Stay orthodox my friends.  

Soli Deo Gloria

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Day 16: It’s All His

It’s Sunday morning. My church recently asked me to take over one of the support teams for the Sunday services: the Altar Guild. We make sure there’s bread, wine and juice for each service. We bake our own bread and have both a chalice and communion cups. We have around 800 to 1000 people between the two morning services, so it’s a few people to prep and clean as well as maintain the elements. It definitely uses my administrative gifts along with a little strategic thinking.  

We have a priest visiting who is in town to drop his daughter off at Wheaton College. He’s part of a small mission in Portland, Maine. It’s in the very heart of the most unchurched area in the United States. I had a chance to chat because he was using our spare vestments to get ready for the service. I think he used the word small at least twice to describe their mission/church plant. 

I then shared that we had not always been the size we are now. I wasn’t here for the growth to our current size, but I’ve heard the stories: we left the Episcopal Church because of their unfaithfulness to the faith once deposited. We wandered over the years. Some discord occurred, some infighting within leadership, another split. Then reconciliation, the building bridges between the faithful to God gifting us with the enormous former plastics factory for a building. 

I hope I encouraged him with a quick reference to Gideon. “But the Lord said to Gideon: “The people are yet too many.”

Our growth is the Lord’s. Our current numerical strength is the Lord’s. Our faithfulness is the Lord’s. The healings that occur here are the Lord’s. 

It’s. All. The. Lord’s. 

Soli Deo Gloria 

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Day 15: A Short One With An iTunes University Recommendation

I worked today to supervise overtime for my office. 

I recently downloaded some more lectures from iTunes University. I’ve listened to Ancient and modern church history.  A course on Ethics, on apologetics and almost done with the theology one. 

The theology one is a little tougher to listen to and do less strenuous brain activities at work. 

This one on Christ Centered Preaching from Dr. Tim Keller and Dr. Edmond Clowny is truly fantastic. 

So, I’m really enjoying it. Really, really, really liking it. So go check it out. Oh and Tim Keller likes to listen to an Anglican Priest in England. Our tribe rocks. 

Soli Deo Gloria 

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