Wednesday, June 28, 2006

More Thoughts From Louisville

Dave Stone drove home the unity point once again tonight at the North American Christian Convention. He suggested that we don't have to be aligned on every point of doctrine in order to find ways to serve together. The single mother who is in desperate need of a house isn't nearly as concerned about my doctrine lining up with my brothers as she is about the two by fours of her new home lining up with each other.

One quote that Stone said stuck with me: My experience is that God never blesses animosity." For all you BCC folks, please refer to yesterday's posting. Are we harboring any bitterness in our hearts? If so, how can we expect God to bless our efforts?

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

Lessons From Louisville

Tis the season for church conventions, and I’m attending one of ‘em. Having just returned from the opening session of the North American Christian Convention in Louisville, Kentucky, I sit in the Galt House Hotel pondering what I’ve just witnessed. Historic is not nearly a descriptive enough term.

Tonight David Faust, the President of this year’s convention, detailed a tragedy that took place in 1906. 100 years ago, beneath the seemingly calm surface of San Francisco, a sudden shift took place in the earth’s tectonic plates. The resulting earthquake measured 8.3 on the Richter scale and tore the city apart. Far more destructive than the quake, however, were the fires that raged through the city in its aftermath.

1906 saw another tragedy: the division of the Christian Church. Fault lines had been forming for decades, but it wasn’t until that fateful year that the split was formalized. In the 100 years since, there have been other schisms, other conflicts. Generations have come and gone, many without even realizing they have Christian siblings they’ve never met. Like the Hatfields and the McCoys, the original combatants have all died, and their great-great grandchildren don’t have an inkling as to what the original fight was even about.

Tonight was the beginning of what will, hopefully, be the end of that division. Thousands of believers from the churches of Christ and the Christian Churches met together for an amazing worship service. It was a wonderful beginning to what promises to be an inspired week.

As I mentioned, this isn’t the only church convention taking place. Last week the Episcopal Church in the United States met. On the agenda: the controversy surrounding the decision to ordain practicing homosexuals and lesbians as Bishops within that fellowship. The week before, the Presbyterian Church (USA) met. They voted to receive a policy paper on inclusive language in worship. If the paper becomes policy, Presbyterians might alternately begin referring to the Trinity as “Mother, Child and Womb.”

The convention I attended tonight had none of that. I am so pleased that our church doesn’t vote on doctrine, but rather expounds it. I am so glad that, when I attend the NACC, we’re not haggling over changes to a Book of Discipline, but rather preaching and teaching from the Books of the Bible.

Oh, we’re far from perfect as a church. Tonight’s message on unity drove that home. We don’t even have unity in our little town of Butler. We’ve got two Christian Churches with 100 feet of one another, and they’ve yet to hold a worship service together. We sing the same songs, share the same heritage, and serve the same Savior, but for some reason we’ve yet to share a loaf of bread and a cup of juice. We send our kids to the same church camp, support the same missionaries, and evangelize the same lost people. We reach across oceans to share the gospel with a pagan, but we won’t reach across Main Street to share communion with a brother.

It is time for that to change.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of the split in the Christian Church / churches of Christ. It has taken 100 years for us to come back together. Next year marks the 10th anniversary of the split between Butler Church of Christ and Christ’s Church at Butler. Will it take ninety more before our great-great grandchildren do what we have not yet summoned the courage to do?

I hope not.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

AOL Hell

Check out this post. This poor sap is trying to cancel his AOL account and runs into the "customer service rep" from hell.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Shut Up and Sing, Natalie

You've gotta hand it to Natalie Maines, lead singer for the Dixie Chicks. She may be a moron at mass marketing her product, but she is sticking to her guns. With the release of their new album, the Chicks are hoping to once again rule the country music stratosphere.

The problem is, they don't understand what people want to hear. We want to hear music, Natalie. In other words, shut up and sing. The tight harmonies, intricate accompaniment and winsome lyrics are the reasons I loved your first two albums. The rhetoric you continue to spew is the reason I won't buy your third.

The UK Telegraph reported recent comments by Maines:

"The entire country may disagree with me, but I don't understand the necessity for patriotism . . . . Why do you have to be a patriot? About what? This land is our land? Why? You can like where you live and like your life, but as for loving the whole country… I don't see why people care about patriotism."
That's the problem Ms. Maines. You don't see. You can own opinions enough to choke the entire liberal leaning CNN anchor team, but if you want to sell me a record, shut up and sing.

Of course, it probably doesn't matter to you that I'm not buying your CD. After all, millions of others will. You'll still make a killing, and billboard magazine will extol your weathering of "the Bush flap." But when you're playing to half-sold out arenas, or when your tour director informs you and the sisters that they've had to cancel dates (as they are talking of doing in INDY), I hope you'll begin to understand that you need to shut up and sing.

It's not illegal to express your opinions. It's just not smart. And the sooner you learn that the reason your trio sat atop Country's Mt. Olympus was the music, the better. I'm guessing you won't get it though. So enjoy your brief fame as singing political activists. It is probably about the last you're going to taste.

Why We Don't Vote on Stuff

Ever pray in the name of the "Mother, Child and Womb?" If you're at a Presbyterian worship service, you may soon have the opportunity.

I am glad I am part of the Restoration Movement. Begun in the early 19th century, this revival sought to rid Christians of extra-biblical practices. For example, we have no creed but Christ, no book but the Bible. We don't call ourselves by any name other than "Christian", or in some cases, "disciples".

You might be thinking, "So what? Why the big deal?"

It is a big deal if your church wants to rename the Trinity.

That's what a new policy paper written for the Presbyterian Church (USA) recommends. The denomination rightly recognizes that God is neither male or female in a human sense. God is spirit. But the paper goes to far in jettisoning Biblical language for God - Father, Son and Holy Spirit - for PC terms like "Lover, Beloved, Love." The "PC" folks in the PCUSA all got together earlier this week and voted that the church receive the special paper.

Our church doesn't vote on what we believe. We read about it in scripture. Where the scriptures speak, we speak; where the scripture is silent, we are silent. In essential doctrines, we have unity; in opinions we have liberty; in all things we show love.

Isn't that the way it ought to be?

God help the Presbyterians.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Bubba's Bucketmouth

Caleb caught a really nice largemouth bass yesterday. It was 20 inches long. I didn't have scales, but it felt like it was four pounds plus. He's a better fisherman than his old man, to be sure!

Friday, June 09, 2006

More Good Deals at Goodwill

Mrs. Frankly and I hit the Goodwill and the Salvation Army earlier this week. I love those places! It was half-price day at the SA. I walked away with four Cutter and Buck polo shirts for $8! They normally retail between $30-60. C&B are the best polos for one reason: their button holes are horizontal instead of vertical, so they stay buttoned. (It's all about the second button!)

Shopping at thrift stores is like panning for gold. You have to move a lot of gravel, but when you find a gleaming nugget, it is a great feeling. I have pretty much decided I will never pay retail again. Either its on the clearance rack, at the second-hand store, or I aint buyin' it.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

From the sick and twisted file . . .

The UK Mirror is reporting that a child born on 6/6/06 and weighing 6 lbs. 6 ounces was named by his parents (drumroll, please) Damien. Apparently mom and dad are big fans of The Omen. Sorry kid.

Oh . . . and mom was in labor for six days. That's just creepy.

Friday, June 02, 2006

In Praise of the Sour Cream Donut

Is there a finer food known to mankind
Than the favorite tasty donut of mine?
Its crunchy exterior covered with glaze
Propels me into a diabetic haze.
With milk, or with soda, or even with tea,
The sour cream donut my fav'rite shall be.
So bring on the donuts - one a day please,
For a donut a day keeps a pastor at ease.