Friday, 31 August 2012

More Friday Fun: Luther insulter

The Reformers exemplified speaking the "truth in love". Some examples:

You are a little pious prancer
You are poisonous, worthless gossips.
Blind moles!

To see some more examples, click the link below and get your dose of Luther's straight talking. [Health warning - don't click if you're easily offended]

Friday fun: Ebay magic

The image below was spotted on E-Bay... Talk about being connected!

Sunday, 26 August 2012

Transubstantiation? How silly!

If ever you've been tempted to believe or think that at The Eucharist/The Lord's Supper*/Holy Communion, the bread literally turns to Jesus' body and the wine literally turns into Jesus' blood, then here are some probing questions (in the form of a witty poem) from a  wise 16th century Augustinian monk:

If this we see be bread, how can it last,
So constantly consum’d, yet always here?
If this be God, then how can it appear
Bread to the eye, and seem bread to the taste?
If bread, why is it worshipp’d by the baker?
If God, can such a space a God comprise?
If bread, how is it, it confounds the wise?
If God, how is it that we eat our Maker?
If bread, what good can such a morsel do?
If God, how is it we divide it so?
If bread, such saving virtue could it give?
If God, how can I see and touch it thus?
If bread, how could it come from heav’n to us?
If God, how can I look at it and live?
(Luis de León, 1527-1591)

*my preferred term for this meal

Friday, 24 August 2012

Heaven without Christ?

"Oh, to think of heaven without Christ!  It is the same thing as thinking of hell. Heaven without Christ!  It is day without the sun, existing without life, feasting without food, seeing without light.  It involves a contradiction in terms. Heaven without Christ! Absurd. It is the sea without water, the earth without its fields, the heavens without their stars. There cannot be a heaven without Christ. He is the sum total of bliss, the fountain from which heaven flows, the element of which heaven is composed. Christ is heaven and heaven is Christ." 
C. H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Friday, 10 August 2012

Calvin & Bonhoeffer on speaking out

Calvin first:

A dog barks when his master is attacked. I would be a coward if I saw the truth of God attacked and yet would remain silent.

Next, Bonhoeffer:

Silence in the face of evil is itself evil. God will not hold us guiltless. Not to speak is to speak. Not to act is to act.

Simply put, Christians should not be ashamed of Christ and His wonderful, life-giving words

Minister's main job: beat every bush

The Puritans had a wonderful way with words. How's this for what they considered the minister's chief goal in preaching:
We must go with the stick of divine truth and beat every bush behind which a sinner hides, until like Adam who hid, he stands before God in his nakedness.
Better get that stick ready...

Wednesday, 8 August 2012

Wednesday fun: name affects fame

Ever doubted that a person’s name can have a significant influence on their life. See the display below which shows that one of the women in the 400m hurdles heats, stumbled and did not finish. Her name? Vania...

Monday, 6 August 2012

Only Capitalism can create this

Over 50 years ago, essayist Leonard Read used a pencil, to illustrate how millions of free individuals all driven by the quest to better the world (and better themselves) produced such an elegant item as the majestic pencil. The video below updates that illustration skilfully, to remind us in a simple and yet convincing way that only Capitalism/Free enterprise (and not the State) can create this...

Sunday, 5 August 2012

9 rules for preachers

Apparently these are originally from Luther. I like nos. 2, 6, 7 and 8 most.

First, a good preacher should be able to teach well, correctly and in an orderly fashion.

Second, he should have a good head on his shoulders.

Third, he should be eloquent.

Fourth, he should have a good voice.

Fifth, he should have a good memory.

Sixth, he should know when to stop.

Seventh, he should be constant and diligent about his affairs.

Eighth, he should invest body and life, possessions and honor in it.

Ninth, he should be willing to let everyone vex and hack away at him.

Friday, 3 August 2012

Shattered pride

Finally, look at Jesus. When He came among us, He was the only one to see clearly.  Being sinless He is the only human who has ever truly appreciated the human condition for what it is – depraved, distorted, dead.  And yet His response was not to fold His arms, shake His head and say “Shame on you.”  He opened His arms, bowed His head and said “Shame on me.”  It’s astonishing grace.  And it shatters our pride.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

God's Providence, wonderfully illustrated

In George Herbert's moving poem - The Windows - where he first asks a question and then answers it by pointing out that though we Christians are weak, poor and lowly, yet by God's Holy Word we are wonderfully transformed into beautiful kings and queens. May our lives be ever in tune with God's word, our consciences ring with the melodies of His Law.

THE WINDOWS (by George Herbert)

Lord, how can man preach thy eternal word?
    He is a brittle crazy glass;
Yet in thy temple thou dost him afford
    This glorious and transcendent place,
    To be a window, through thy grace.

But when thou dost anneal in glass thy story,
    Making thy life to shine within
The holy preachers, then the light and glory
    More reverend grows, and more doth win;
    Which else shows waterish, bleak, and thin.

Doctrine and life, colors and light, in one
    When they combine and mingle, bring
A strong regard and awe; but speech alone
    Doth vanish like a flaring thing,
    And in the ear, not conscience, ring.