Finding the New Testament Church by Fr Jon E. Braun
Coming off a couple of decades of heightened awareness of our need for a personal knowledge of Christ–notably evidenced through such phenomena as the Jesus Movement and the charismatic renewal–most thinking Christians are realizing something else is needed: the rediscovery of the historic Church. Often, in heated reaction to dated and dead Protestant liberalism, we would hear evangelical preachers in the late sixties and early seventies say, “All you need is Jesus!”
Finding the New Testament Church by Fr Jon E. Braun
“You have to shake it” with those words I got my first instructions on how to handle salad dressing that had oil and vinegar and other seasonings. You have to shake it up because the ingredients just don’t normally mix together. Their properties are so different that they just don’t combine naturally. You have to shake them together. But when you set the bottle down for a while, they separate all over…
The gradual shift in modern educational philosophy to a “self esteem” emphasis is nearly complete. From the math standards that discourage teachers from “correcting” incorrect answers to the ball fields where “we don’t keep score” so no one “feels” bad, this shift is now producing consequences of its own.
To be sure, this shift in philosophy is motivated by the best of intentions, but, as in many of our human endeavors, those unintended consequences usually “surprise” all of us. While attempting to “correct” what we see as a flaw, we make matters worse by creating even more problems in our constant social experimentation. The problem is the real consequences show up in real people’s lives. And then it shapes the entire society and enshrines these spiritual and emotional poverties as virtues!
We live in a cynical world, and the dangers of cynicism lie in the deadening effect of cynicism on hope and joy. There is nothing more hopeless and sad than a cynic who simply can’t allow himself to believe in something better.
The death of faith always comes after the loss of the vision of the ultimate goal of a life of faith. When someone abandons the promise of the end of all this hard work of faith, then all the hard work becomes either silly or useless. After all, things are hopeless, right?
Wrong! Things are only hopeless when I choose to abandon hope. Things are only hopeless when I choose to dismiss the promise of the One I say I trust!
You’ve met them before. They are the ones who aren’t the center of attention, but they recognize who should be the center of attention and introduce those folks to everyone else. These people seem to have the knack of recognizing who should lead, who should speak, and who should be the example for everyone else.
These folks are the ones who introduce the talented to one another. They are the sports scouts who see the talent in a young ball player; the talent scout who recognizes the acting gift in a young man in a high school play; the career recruiter who sees the potential for leadership in the 4 H team leader.
Yep, you’ve seen these folks or at least you’ve seen their work, even if you never knew their names.
Have you ever looked at your schedule and thought “Wow, how am I ever going to finish all this?” Yea, me too!
I sometimes wonder about all our “busyness.” Is mere abundance of activity really necessary, or are we doing so much to “hide” from something? Just looking at my own children’s schedule of dance practice, play dates, and social engagements makes me want to run and hide from all the deadlines, appointments, and “obligations.”
Today we hear that God judges the secrets of men by Christ Jesus. Romans 2:10-16 So Christ and His life will be the standard our secret, inner life will be judged by and measured. Is there anything more important to learn in this life than repentance? Lord Jesus Christ, Son of God, have mercy in me a sinner.
“Venti iced chai with soy please.” I pulled away from the drive-thru and pressed the straw to my lips before heading back out onto the highway.
Alas, another road trip. My mom had kindly and lovingly let my boys take her portable DVD players with us in the van. This, coupled with a binder of movies and three sets of headphones, has made a predictable improvement in the noise level and harmony inside our van. With the boys occupied with movies, I faded the radio to the front of the van and giddily pressed play to a list of podcasts silently waiting for ages in a folder on my iPhone.
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There is an old story about a monk who was bothered by the insults from his fellow brothers, so he went to the wise abbot and asked what he should do to overcome these feelings of hurt, resentment, and anger. The old man looked at the young monk and instructed him to go to the monastery cemetery and, every day for a week, insult each grave there. The young monk obeyed.
He arrived in the US with $26 in his pocket from an Eastern European country. In his native land, he sold music records (remember those!) to make ends meet. But he spent every penny he had to buy an old computer that costs as much as someone made in a year in his country. He then set about learning to write code for computer programs.
Yesterday he sold his fourth start-up company for several million dollars.