Monthly Archives: March 2010

Holy Week Scripture Readings

Holy Week Scripture Readings
Sunday: Mark 11:1-11
Monday: Mark 11:12-19
Tuesday: Mark 11:20-33
Wednesday: nothing recorded, but Mark 13 is a good one to read
Thursday: Mark 14
Friday: Mark 15
Saturday: Jesus’ Body in the tomb
Sunday: Mark 16:1-7

What Nazarenes Believe

One of the first questions people ask about a church is “What do you believe.”  Since I want our alvinnazarene.org website to actually minister and serve as an outreach for the church I made the effort some years ago to put pertinent portions of the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene on the site, under the subject of “Our Faith.”  According to the server logs those pages receive many hits as people search for “What do Nazarenes believe about….”

Recently, our beliefs concerning the Bible have come under scrutiny from a small, but vocal group, so I’ve referred people to our Articles of Faith.  People don’t have to agree with what Nazarenes believe about the Bible, but they ought to be honest enough to not pretend that some denominational leader or pastor is being something less than “Nazarene” for believing exactly what our Manual says.  To attack a Nazarene for believing about the Bible what Nazarenes have believed about the Bible since 1928 is either an indication that one is ignorant about what Nazarenes believe or is somewhat dishonest.  Anyway, you’ll find that information under Article IV here: http://www.alvinnazarene.org/articles-of-faith-faith.html

The main purpose of this post, though, is not to rehash all that tired old stuff.  Rather, as I worked through this section of the church website, updating the information to be sure it meshes with the new 2009-2013 version of the Manual I’m impressed with how complete and well thought out it is.  Our theology is a “thinking man’s theology” and it is no where more clear than in the statements of our Church Manual.

As I think about issues like “Human Sexuality” and “War and Military Service” I’m proud of both my heritage and of the current application of our faith.

You’ll find lots of thoughtful material on how Christians apply Biblical principles to life in the Manual of the Church of the Nazarene.

http://www.alvinnazarene.org/our-faith-mainmenu.html

The Battle for the Computer

Last week I commented that I thought I was getting over thinking about the excellence and wisdom my denomination showed in it’s approach to Bible inerrancy and related matters.  My parting shot was that maybe I’d soon follow up with some nice juicy computer problem to write about.

A couple of days later I went to the computer to check my email and had no internet connect.  The interesting thing is that just a few minutes earlier I’d received some new email on the computer.  Now, though, there was no internet.  I rebooted the modem, router, and then the computer.  Still no go.  I called my internet provider and the fellow (I think in India) walked me through the steps I already know.  When he instructed me to bypass the router I was reluctant because it’s hard to get to and, after all, it was all working just fine when the email came in just a bit earlier.  He insisted and I knew that if I wanted to get a trouble ticket going I had to cooperate.  To my surprise, taking the router out of the mix solved the problem.  I fiddled with things a bit longer and then headed out to Office Depot for a new router.  The wireless on this one is supposed to be 6 times faster.  I can’t tell any difference, but the new router fixed the problem.

However, as I was working on bypassing the router the cable I was using wasn’t long enough to reach my desktop.  No problem, I just grabbed my laptop which stays plugged in in the living room next to my favorite chair.  I unplugged it and plugged the modem into it.  As I said, the internet came right up, however, in about 5 minutes the computer started complaining that the battery was dying.   That seemed strange, it had been sitting there plugged in just a few minutes earlier.  A few tests later and I ended up ordering a replacement from Amazon.

Another strange thing happened with the laptop as I was working on the router problem.  I heard the hard drive running and running and running.  I knew what the problem was on that one because I dealt with it a couple of days earlier on the desktop.  No, it wasn’t a virus.  Rather, it was a little utility I run for checking email, Google Wave messages, etc.  There’s a bug or conflict related to it that causes it to go nuts and fill it’s error log file with gigabytes of errors.  I removed it from the desktop but had forgotten to remove it from the laptop.  Once it was removed and I found it’s log file which was buried deep in the file system the disk space problem was solved.

So there you have it.  I “hoped” for a juicy computer problem and ended up with three.

That’s three unless I tell you about my smartphone and Outlook having a fight creating hundreds of duplicate calendar entries.  That was another few hours of computing adventures.

Needless to say I haven’t thought a whole lot about the Battle for the Bible.  Instead, I’ve thought more about the Battle for the Computer

The sweet and brittle sides of holiness

Uncle Bud Robinson was, in his day, probably the best known Church of the Nazarene minister in the world. He was, without doubt, a one of a kind individual who was used of God in amazing ways.

He was especially known for his constant good humor and the ability to turn a phrase. In fact, his unique statements were repeated by pastors everywhere and when Uncle Buddy came to town, everyone looked forward to hearing him say some things that were already quite familiar to them.

One of his famous prayers was: “My prayer is now that the Lord will turn a hogshead of honey over in your soul and just let it ooze out between your ribs until you will be so sweet that every bumblebee and honeybee in the settlement will be abuzzing around your doorstep.”

Bud Robinson, himself, was especially known for his sweetness. To him, every biscuit he ate was the finest he’d ever tasted; every singer sang like an angel; every revival was the finest he’d ever experienced.

Uncle Buddy was before my time, so I have no first hand knowledge of him. However, when I read about him, certain people come to mind. These are folks I’ve known through the years who were “so sweet that every bumblebee and honeybee” buzzed around them.

Of course, I’ve seen the other side too. I’ve been around folks who were so brittle and sour that it was painful to be their friend and I sure didn’t want to be their enemy.

It seems to me that there’s a tipping point, even over here in the “holiness movement.” I think that everyone, sooner or later, realizes that not everything is going their way. In the church world, for instance, the new generation comes along and “they” don’t preach or sing like we used to. The times change but we don’t. Things aren’t done the way we know they should be done and we feel diminished and pushed out.

It’s at that point that we come to a fork in the road. Down one road is a sense of self-righteousness, judgment, and disappointment. It would be so easy to follow that path. After all, we’ve been on the road to Glory longer than they have. We’ve seen some things and learned some lessons that they ought to hear. When we feel ignored we’re tempted to feel hurt and angry. That’s the brittle side of holiness.

I’ve known some, though, who chose the “honey route.” It’s not that they tossed aside their values and convictions about things, because they haven’t. However, they’ve chosen to trust God with these disappointments.  They’ve decided to keep their eyes on Jesus and they’ve begun looking forward to heaven a bit more than they did before.  They’ve chosen to intentionally love people even when they don’t always agree with them.

The Heavenly Father looks at them and sees something of his beloved Son, Jesus in their spirit. Because they remain open hearted the Lord pours his love into them and, to borrow from Uncle Buddy, the honey fills them, oozes between their ribs and pours out over all who are around them.

In this changing world, we’re bound to sometimes be disappointed when things don’t go our way. Life has both good days and bad and can be both satisfying and disappointing. In all that, we holiness folk need to stand guard over our souls. Every time we’re pressured we must chose the “sweet route.”

When all the theology is set aside, the greatest witness for Jesus and heart holiness is an individual who has had, and maintains that “hogshead of honey” experience.

Playing ecclesiastical “Space Invaders”

Do you remember when the game “Space Invaders” first came out? I spent hours playing it on my Atari system. Rows of “aliens” marched back and forth across the screen while I shot at them, blowing them away for the sake of dear old planet earth.

The graphics weren’t much to look at in those days, but as I recall, the actual “invaders” could have been most anything. The only reason I thought of them as I did was the name of the game. They could have been leaves falling from the sky or a marching band so far as the graphics were concerned. However, it felt more reasonable to blast away at “space invaders” than it would have felt to blast away at, say, baby ducks following the mother duck to the pond!

I see a lot of “Space Invaders” being played in the church world. Folks take sides and then apply a convenient label to those with whom they disagree. Once we’ve done that, they’re no longer brothers and sisters in Christ. Instead they’re “liberals” or “traditionalists” or “emergents” or “fundamentalists.” In my circles, I’m told that what someone teaches is “Catholic” or “Calvinist.” Once the label is applied, we’re free to load up and take aim. After all, we’re no longer shooting at sons and daughters of our Heavenly Father. These are “invaders” and we’re trying to blow ‘em away in the Name of Jesus.

Meanwhile, the lost people, watching from a distance can’t make heads or tales of it all. To them a Christian is a Christian is a Christian and they can’t tell a Pentecostal from a Presbyterian. They don’t know much about the Bible, but somehow, they’ve decided that if there’s anything to this “following Jesus” business that the followers will at least love one another rather than try to destroy each other.

John 13:34-35 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this all men will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”