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Tag: Faith

Hull it Out

In light of the Supreme Court’s decision establishing gay “marriage”– I remain mindful of Wolfhart Pannenberg’s response to my question 23 years ago, “What’s a Christian minister to do in a situation where almost no one agrees that Jesus is the Truth?” With fist raised, “Resist! Resist! Resist! Resist! Resist!” was his answer. I get tired, but that is still the right answer. The Church has always gone forward in the midst of storms and temptations. Why should our day be any different? “Hull it out.” “It is well with us, if we can ride out a storm at anchor; that is, lie still and expect, and surrender ourselves to God, and anchor in that confidence, till the storm blow over.…

Faith Absent Experience

“Blessed are those who have not seen and yet believe.” (John 20:29) Thomas is the patron saint of the sensual — that is, all of us. Experiences are a growth industry. Entertainment is one of the few sectors of the economy where the balance of payments still favors us over the Chinese. We could call it the Disneyfication of world culture. By logical extension, a church in my neighborhood offers “worship experiences” at 9 and 11. Another, like Starbucks, offers “modern”, “traditional”, and “mixed” or “blended” worship experiences — whatever spirituality niche you might occupy. It wouldn’t surprise me if their communion bread was banana nut muffins. Yum. If not, I could recommend that in the follow up survey. My Quaker…

Died Still Climbing

The Christian story is not one watershed experience (or two for Wesleyans) (or three for some Pentecostals) followed by coasting downhill to the grave. Father Angelus Shaughnessy tells a story of the monks (inventors of the St. Bernard rescue dog) who guard the dangerous St. Bernard Pass through the Alps between Italy and Switzerland. The monks once discovered a traveler frozen in the snow with one leg raised as though still climbing. With no other identification, the monks buried him, with the epitaph “died still climbing.” Often I hear this term of dismissal applied to churches, “it was all old people,” as though old people are useless and expendable. (The mentality that terminates unwanted life in the womb, should be…

Grace’s Supply

Counting mine, four generations of Sellecks have been Kansans. The prophet Isaiah’s great affirmations to Judah’s returning exiles have long resounded on the Great Plains. As a child, one of the brightest moments for me, in an otherwise austere small Quaker church existence, was when the Haviland Bible College choir visited us. They always marched in to a rousing rendition of “How Firm a Foundation”. It still moves me to think of it more than 50 years later. My great-great grandfather’s generation were among the first settlers of Emporia, Kansas. In 1912, one of those early settlers, M. (Kirkendall) Picket, reflected on the move to Emporia in 1862, 50 years earlier. They sold all their property in Van Buren County,…

From the Lips of Infants

  This little guy is five years old.  He was abandoned as a newborn at a police station in China.  He has spent his whole life in a Chinese orphanage. He has never spoken.  How then can I hear him ask, “Why are you not more grateful and joyful?” and, “Where is your faith?”