Saturday, February 26, 2011

Isn't this interesting?

Stumbled across these verses in Matthew:

The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David.”
But the leaders were indignant.
They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”
“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.’”

The Scripture that Jesus is quoting is Psalm 8:2.
Just thought it was interesting. Still thinking of the implications of infants being able to give praise. Is it instinctual? Or is "infants" in this verse referring to a child older than a newborn? As always, infant baptism is in the back of my mind...does this help the case for infant baptism? (I'm for it).

Friday, February 25, 2011

Need to get to higher ground. I wonder if this is how Noah's friends and contemporaries felt?

There is a areal flood watch here, for another couple hours.   This is what it looks like outside the living room window right now (or an hour ago).

Complex Dream

I had a dream that centered on three versions of the song "And Can It Be That I Should Gain."

Naturally, I had to see if I could find each version online to share here.  (This post is going to take forever because I wanted to locate and listen to each version).  Right after I post this blog ( this post?), I will post another showing a picture of our flash flood watch.  I wish the third version was a better quality sound/video/everything....but it was the only one I could find.  I was beginning to wonder if it only existed in my head!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

I Lent my meat/coffee/soda/sweets to Jesus, and he'll return them on Easter.

It's the time of year where I start to wonder what, if anything, I should give up for lent.  Last year, I gave up coffee.  Let me tell you, sitting at our table at an outdoor restaurant in Warsaw on Easter and drinking coffee was so sweet (though, I think it may've been sweet anyway, without giving it up for a million days (approximately how long Lent feels)).

Anyway.  I can see the value in it.  Not sure that I am going to give up coffee for Lent this year, but we'll see!

Last year, probably around halfway through Lent, I came across this, and thought it would be a good thing to consider for this year's Lent.

It's Isaiah 58, and it is basically saying that it is wrong to fast if you are fasting for the wrong reasons, or if your heart is not in the right place.  Or if you are fasting for yourself, or just to give the appearance of being close to God.  If you are fasting, but still being a jerk to people, it is not pleasing to the Lord.  If you are only going through the motions, it is not pleasing to the Lord.

So, how can we fast, and still be pleasing to the Lord?  Here is a list that I pulled out of the passage (the numbers on the side are not the verse numbers, just the list of actions found in Isaiah 58):

1.  Free those who are wrongly imprisoned;
2.  lighten the burden of those who work for you.
3.  Let the oppressed go free,
4.  and remove the chains that bind people.
5.  Share your food with the hungry,
6.  and give shelter to the homeless.
7.  Give clothes to those who need them,
8.  and do not hide from relatives who need your help.
9.  "Remove the heavy yoke of oppression.
10.  Stop pointing your finger and spreading vicious rumors!
11.  Feed the hungry,
12.  and help those in trouble.
13.  Some of you will rebuild the deserted ruins of your cities. Then you will be known as a rebuilder of walls
and a restorer of homes.
14. "Keep the Sabbath day holy.  Don't pursue your own interests on that day, but enjoy the Sabbath and speak of it with delight as the LORD's holy day.  Honor the Sabbath in everything you do on that day, and don't follow your own desires or talk idly.

So.  Still thinking about this...luckily I have a little bit of time left before Lent starts.  

Friday, February 18, 2011

My weekly Moorman Post

Maybe you've noticed that every Friday I post a quote or two (or three) from this book.  That is because Friday is the day that I do my church history homework.  Today is no different.

I just read this, and love it:

"But, behind personal and family quarrels, lay a growing desire for national solidarity and unity.  Men were beginning to dream dreams of a country where men would live together in freedom and unity, where trade and industry would flourish, and where religion and learning would advance together in the ways of wisdom and truth.  A new day was breaking; new opportunities were arising; ideas and customs which men had long accepted as natural were now beginning to look a little tarnished and out of date."
Page 138, on 15th Century England

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Soaking up wisdom. Trying to rid myself of jealousy and selfish ambition.

Sorry, no pictures. I have been incredibly....lazy and busy.  Both.

Anyway.  This is just the Scripture I need right now.  I've spaced it out for...ease of reading. And probably emphasis.  Who knows how different the formatting will look after I hit "publish post." It always does.


If you are wise 
          and understand God’s ways, 
prove it by living an honorable life, 
                  doing good works 
                                    with the humility 
                                                  that comes from wisdom. 

But if you are bitterly jealous 
          and there is selfish ambition 
                                         in your heart, 
don’t cover up the truth with boasting and lying. 

For jealousy 
       and selfishness 
       are not God’s kind of wisdom. 

Such things are earthly, 
                         and demonic. 

For wherever there is jealousy 
                                  and selfish ambition, 
       there you will find disorder 
                                     and evil of every kind.
But the wisdom 
             from above 
             is first of all pure. 
             It is also peace loving, 
             gentle at all times, 
             and willing to yield to others. 
             It is full of mercy 
             and good deeds. 
             It shows no favoritism 
             and is always sincere. 

And those who are peacemakers 
                               will plant seeds of peace 
                               and reap a harvest of righteousness.

James 3:13-18

Friday, February 11, 2011

One more...I just can't resist.

Sorry for so many posts where I'm talking about historical things.  I usually have a poor memory for these types of things, but if I post them here, there is a better chance that I will retain them.  Plus, they're so darn inspirational!

Here's another passage, from the same book as in the post below, on page 105.  When was the last time you went to a church and the sermon was "racy?" I mainly made some words bigger because it breaks the paragraph up a bit.

While the more learned friars were busy disputing in the schools of Oxford and Cambridge their brethren were busy preaching the Gospel in the towns and villages of England.  At this time a sermon was a rare event in most parish churches, most secular clergy having neither the ability nor the inclination to preach.  The friars, however, were trained preachers who quickly attracted large audiences. Racy, provocative, entertaining, informative, their sermons were packed with illustrations and stories taken from their own experiences or from the book of exempla which were compiled for their use.  It was no wonder that they were popular.  Contrasted with the formal and sometimes rather drab services which the parish churches on Sunday mornings, the pyrotechnics of the friars provided a welcome change.  Religion became more homely, more personal, more vital.   
In the universities and in the country lanes, in city slum and on the village green, in the castles of the rich and the hovels of the poor, everywhere the friars made their influence felt, and the country was the richer and the happier for the new hope and strength which were grafted into its spiritual life.

My regular friday inspiration

Today's inspiration comes from my usual book, this time from an early 13th century experiment in Christian discipleship.

On page 102-103 it says,

The returning army of crusaders had brought back strange heresies from the East which found a fertile soil among the discontented peasants and the growing populations in the towns.  But the Church could do little.  The secular clergy were far too ignorant, and the monks too remote and exclusive.  The situation demanded a new type of Christian minister who would be a 'regular' in the sense that he would be under discipline, and yet free to go among men wherever he could find an opportunity of witnessing by word and by example to the faith that was in him. 

I love.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Meditations on how working at Starbucks and living in a foreign country prepared me to attend an Anglican seminary, with specific thoughts toward chapel

Well, there is a paper that is due in less than 24 hours, and have I started it? No. Have I completed the reading necessary in order to write this paper? No.

That is why, obviously, I am compelled to write this blog post.  Procrastination is a disease that even I am not immune to.


A few years back, when interviewing at Starbucks, I knew that I liked coffee, but admitted that I had no clue how to make or describe one thing on the menu.  Apparently they liked my honesty (or, they saw someone whose mind wasn't polluted with ideas of how coffee is made, and they wanted to mold me), and soon (or after a while), they had trained me to know the language and customs and people of Starbucks.

I am aware that a lot of people avoid going to coffee shops, because, while they love coffee, they are confused by the elitist menu, the different words/sizes for small, medium, or large, and the fact that a gas-station cappuccino is nothing like a coffee shop cappuccino (so when you get a light, frothy drink you feel ripped off, even though that is what you ordered).  I understand that it can be daunting to go into a place not knowing how to describe what you want or being confused, and too proud to admit you need help.

But eventually, if you keep going...and you work up the courage to ask a question, you will find that most people who work at coffee shops are trained to answer your questions and to generally be helpful.  Going in with a friend who is familiar with coffee shops is also helpful.


A couple years ago, when we first moved to LT, the biggest adventure was going grocery shopping.  We had both been pretty good at grocery shopping in the States, so it could be frustrating or overwhelming at times to feel so incompetent at what was a simple task back home.  Not being able to read labels or packaging, guessing what you were getting based on the picture on the front, getting the right thing, but not knowing how to read the directions to prepare it, not knowing what would be readily (to us), local food....trying to find a suitable substitute for foods we couldn't find....doing the math to figure out how many american dollars we were spending...not being able to read the details of a sale sign, etc etc etc. However, after some time, we began to learn how to read Lithuanian, we began to realize which stores sold certain items, we learned the words for all sorts of herbs and spices, and soon going to the grocery store was just another normal thing.  Just had to learn the language, customs, and people of LT.  Of course, it helped to have a friend who was familiar with LT grocery stores to come with those first couple times.


This past Fall I started seminary full-time.  I love it. I love the classes, I love what we're reading, I love thinking and learning about theology, the Bible, Christianity, the history of it all, etc.  It is very challenging yes, for reasons that are obvious. I am a procrastinator who blogs when she should be writing a paper, for one.  For another, I'm not too inclined to remember all the exact details of the whos and whats of history (though I like the stories).  The biggest adjustment/culture shock/thing I just need to suck it up and get used to/stress has been being fully immersed in the Anglican style of worship.  Like being a coffee lover who is not familiar with Starbucks, I feel like I don't know what is going on half the time. I know Jesus, I know (some) of the songs, etc....but I'm not used to doing everything so scripted (ie, the Book of Common Prayer). I'm used to saying "large" instead of "venti."  I am not used to being so much involved in the service. I'm used to my gas-station cappuccino and now I am being served up something with familiar elements, but that I still haven't acquired a taste for.  I've been grocery shopping before, but I don't know how to understand everything that I'm reading/reciting (that is, if I'm on the same page as everyone).  Hopefully I've not lost you as I jump in and out of analogy.  I really want to like going to chapel, but I'm not there yet. I just don't feel like I've learned all the moves yet.  I don't know the language, customs, and people of the Anglican church.  Well, I do know some of the people.  They, like the people at Starbucks and in Lithuania are pretty nice.

So I don't sound like a total Debbie Downer, I will remind you that I grew to really like coffee shops and grocery shopping in Lithuania.  I will also list my top 3 things that I can appreciate about Anglican worship.

3.  One of my pet peeves of some churches are that they are way too seeker friendly.  Going to chapel reminds me of what it is like to be someone who is totally new, lost, and confused.  A little-seeker friendliness might not be so bad after all.  Anglican worship reminds me that we should probably not swing too far to either side of the seeker-friendly/member-friendly spectrum.  We need to nurture everyone in the church.  We've been attending a church on Sunday evenings that is an Anglican church plant.  Sometimes I like to think of it as Anglican 101.  That's a good thing.  It also helps that we were invited by friends who explained everything as it was happening during our first church service.

2.  I like that we read aloud things together as a congregation.  Scripture, prayers, declarations of faith, etc.  It is very participatory.

1.  Anglicans.  I do really like most every Anglican I've ever encountered.  Even if they worship in a way that I am not accustomed to, they love Jesus lots.


So, to conclude, I like coffee, Lithuania, and Anglicans.  But I'm not necessarily ready to become a card-carrying member.  Maybe a temporary resident :)

Tuesday, February 8, 2011


I'm not sure if I can really call it a retraction if I can't remember ever posting on this before, but I have no other title in mind.


For quite some time, it would bother me quite a bit when someone would say, "My thoughts go out to you." Or something like it, probably during a time of tragedy or a time when the person had obvious prayer requests.

My thought process was, why on earth would you send someone "good thoughts," what good would that do?  Probably the way other people feel when someone else says something like, "My prayers go out to you."

I should clarify right now that I still believe in the power and necessity of prayer, and I also really don't think that putting good thoughts out into the universe does much good (alone).

However, with more thought, I do know that it is nice to be thought of. It boosts morale.  It could maybe even have health benefits, who knows?  Often times, a good thought is not "good" until it is acted upon. What good is it if I am thinking of someone, but don't let them know that I am thinking of them?  What good is it if I have a good idea, but never do anything about it?

Thoughts of someone can also be a good reminder to pray for them.  So in essence, sometimes, when a person says, "I'm thinking of you" it could also mean (depending on who they are), "I'm praying for you."

Anyway.  I would like to retract the reaction of annoyance I feel whenever someone sends their thoughts out. It is nice to be thought of, from time to time.

Disclaimer. This post is not some kind of passive aggressive way to try to get others to think of me.  I am fortunate to say that I am not feeling "unthought of" as of late.  It is just something I've been thinking about lately.  To sum up:  I don't think that thinking of someone replaces praying for them....but it can be a nice reminder.

Friday, February 4, 2011

When Evangelism bites you in the butt (How Laura studies English church history)

Last week I learned that when the Vikings were raiding England in like, the 8th or 9th century, it was a bad time for England, but then England converted the Danes to Christianity (they took really well to it).  So everything was good.

Fast forward to this week's reading:

In the 10th century there was peace and progress in the land (England)...until an incompetent king took the throne, and the Vikings were inspired to renew their raids...but this time as Christians.

Here's my favorite quote:

    • “By 1060 the second Viking invasion had been so far successful that the Danish King, Cnut, had made himself master of England; but his victory was not, as might have appeared, a victory for paganism, for Cnut was a Christian. ... Cnut soon made his mark on England not as tyrant and oppressor but as the protector of the church.” (Page 53 of the same book a few posts ago)

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