Friday, April 28, 2006

Called by the Grace of God

My Ordination (more pix):
And He said: “who will speak for the Lord?”
So, the Spirit of the Lord moved.
And I said: “Here am I; send me”
1 Timothy 4:14 is still enacted in the Presbyterian churches:

"Do not neglect the gift that is in you, which was given to you by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the eldership."

Poem of My Spiritual Journey:

Marching through the desert of reality, named sin;
God covered me in His righteousness.
For His Mercy Endures Forever.

Guiding me through the confusion of false paths,
He used calamity for my good.
For His Mercy Endures Forever.

Leading by the light of His countenance,
Jehovah’s Word illumined my soul,
Bringing His Spirit of Reformation
Reviving my parched heart,
He opened my eyes from shadows of truth,
Causing me to walk the old paths.
For His Mercy Endures Forever.

As a vine shaped by the Master’s Hand,
So Jehovah enlarged my soul
To be filled with Honey,
To be molded in Strength;
His Spirit watered my lips with coals of fire,
He sent His Angel over me.
For His Mercy Endures Forever.

Guiding me with His household servants,
He used the hoary head to mentor and many counsels
To direct my paths.
For His Mercy Endures Forever.

Marching through the valley of life,
God sends me into the Land and commands repentance
To bring life to the dead.
For His Mercy Endures Forever.

For Who can be saved unless they hear? And how can they hear unless one speaks? And who can speak unless one be sent? For He says: “Blessed are the feet of those who carry the Good News…”

Monday, April 24, 2006

Ministerius Tobeus: Not Yet Ordained

What am I? What should I be called?

I've passed my 8 written exams--from Theology and History to Greek & Hebrew, working until my brain was squeezed like a melon.
Then I submitted an exegesis paper and my theology paper (my 85 page M. Div thesis!)--surely my brain was as empty as outer space.

But Presbytery was not finished with me yet! I still had the oral floor exam: 1 1/2 hours running the entire gauntlet of theology--including pastoral questions--asked randomly from any member of the body.

So, it is all done. 3.5 years, 115 credits and hundreds of pages later, seminary was finished. God sustained my wife and I through it all.

Before this point I was a licentiate--one allowed to preach as a means to moniter my progress but not a full-blow minister who leads worship, calls worship, presides over the sacraments, and announces the benidiction.

But I am not ordained yet. There has been no laying on of hands of the Presbytery (1 Tim. 4:14), so technically I am not a minister.

Then what am I?

A friend (wanting to show off what little Latin he knew) suggested, that since I am a minster-to-be: ministerus tobeus!

Sounds pretty neat, eh? But then I find there is an official name for this nebulous state of being. I am called an ordinand.

Pretty dull, eh? I'll stick the the former, Presbytery can call me the latter.

But Lord willing this will be moot Friday night!


Saturday, April 22, 2006

Will Earth Day Listen to Moore?

Recently, an astounding article in the Washington Post passed under the perceptive radar of the likes of 60 Minutes and the alphabet soup news-groups:

Patrick Moore, the founder of Greenpeace, the very one who equated nuclear energy with "nuclear holocaust," and defended every green-piece of legislation, has declared that

Nuclear power "just may be the energy source that can save our planet..."

Given the safety of such power plants, their cheap energy and lack of direct impact upon the environment, combined with the pollution of current fuel sources (think coal!), this plethora of data convinced Moore to see the light.


[The Week, April 28, 2006, p. 14]


Earth Day Hides the Facts About Trees & Cows

Ah, Earth Day. I'm sure the Druids are laughing all the way to the bank. When the here and now is all that you have, then "saving the Earth" becomes one's redemption.

Below are some data that will not be heard in the supposed public arena of debate. Scientists make these conclusions, but they appear to be a minority report--does that make them automatically wrong? In times past, the majority of scientists thought the atom was only made of electrons, neutrons and protons! Boy, who would have thought of quarks! It was a good thing that they did not run politics or the media back then!

Read on:

1) As an engineer I've had much training in the basic sciences. I was taught to think logically, to analyze the data, chart it and draw conclusions--to "connect the dots".

As a matter of fact, all Americans who took any science have gone through this process.

That is except for Earth Day enthusiasts. Using NASA data, has done a favor and "connected the dots" of Artic warming. For us and for the confused Greenies. The data covers from 1880 to 2004 and includes both poles and carbon dioxide readings--what more would we want?

One chart shows a "cooling trend" in the 40s-60s--the time my pastor was going to school. He remembers very fondly that the scientists were warning everyone of a coming ice-age! I would love to get my hands on those papers.

The chart is not exactly symmetrical since the y-axis moves from 2 C to -2.5 C. But everyone can see that the "warming trend" since the 60s is just under +1.5 C whereas in 1937 it hit +1.5 C in the Artic. As a matter of fact the temperature moved to almost -2 C in 1887.

At the end of the day, the question is whether there is enough data to sustain any kind of conclusion. Without records from hundreds of years ago (say 1750) it is hard to have a comparison. This is especially true if one follows the modern million-year theory of the earth or of mankind.

Read on!

2) Are your trees killing you?

The logic of some modern scientist will astound you!

3) How about your cows?

This is serious business, not only is mankind destroying the are the cows!
(The Week, Aug. 12, 2005, p. 6--this is not a conservative mag!).

"A California air-quality agency is blaming cows for the San Joaquin Valley's terrible smog problem. The flatulence and burping of the valley's 2.5 million cows produce 50 million pounds of organic compunds annually, officials say, far more pollution than is produced by cars. Diary farmers will now be required to install pollution-control technology, and may even have to alter the cows' diets to minimize their production of gas. 'We are talking about about a public health crisis,' said an attorney for a local advocacy group...'It's not funny to joke about cow burps....'"

[I'm always open to more juicy data--as long as it is from a common-news source and/or verifiable]

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Easter, Mel's Passion, & Confused Churches

It is quite bizzare, given that Evangelical are not Roman Catholic, that many churches celebrate Easter. It becomes a special day with special services and special speakers. All this in spite of their disavowed belief in special days, such as the Christian Sabbath!

Of course, to add injury to insult, many of these churches, besides watering their sermons down and shrink the preaching time, play that movie-worth-a-thousand-sermons, The Passion. The eye-gate trumps the foolishness of preaching!

Here are some quotes about the movie, putting my critique of churches into perspective.
The importance of the Word, especially preached is summarized here: The Passion for the Word.

The paper is certainly a minority report these days, but in the past Christians agreed. I pray that preaching will be important again.


Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Sleepless In Carson...ND?

(This short rendition of recent events is not to belittle anyone--for there are no hard feelings--but to illustrate the amazing love of God.)

Sleep--that evanescent dream, eluding those nervous souls deeply distreased.

I was such a soul. Missing sleep, never to rest. Or so I believed it so.

Needing rest for my oral floor exam, I anticipated a full night of deep REM. Complete shuteye. Some hibernation. A good visit with the sandman.

But God had others plans.

The first night after a long drive from Denver to Carson, ND, was tiring (nevermind that I did not drive). A graciously hospitable and lovely woman opened her house to many Presbytery delegates and their spouses--including my wife and myself.

After a tasty dinner and relaxing conversations we settled into the guest basement. Tired and nervous about the prospects of the upcoming exam, sleep did not come readily. Adding to this state of mind, the lack of sleeping experience outside my own domicile agitated the problem. As well as some good-old fashion snoring.

I woke up about four times that night.
Even so, the examination did not transpire the next day.
The suspense mounted, expanded and bore a hole through my head.

The upcoming Tuesday night brought a new meaning to insomnia...

Again, after tasty meals, talks with friends and joyful worship with fellow Christians we turned in for the night--after a long drive Monday, little sleep that night and a long Tuesday meeting, surely I would be exhausted, spent, dead tired, kaput. I needed my sleep for the inevitable foor exam that next morning. Without such rest I would surely buckle under. But it was not meant to be.

In my experience--stretching from friendly slumber parties and boy-scout retreats to basic training in the Air Force and dormatory living amongst various and sundry men--I have encountered a plethera of sleeping hazards, not the least of which included that most manly of nocturnal activities: snooring.

Now, naturally many of us have encountered this event and even heard stories of bad snorers. So have I. But even my experience on the flightline with F-16s firing their thrusters for takeoff could not prepare me for this.

While sleeping, some men gnaw at wood, others use saws, still others employ a chain-saw. Someone in that basement loaded dynamite around the log, stuffed more inside it, tied a series of M80s in chain-like fashion from the log into my room....and lite the fuse. One explosion after another rocked my nocturnal abode--both physical and mental.

Discovering the perpetrator--who resided on the other side of the basement--that old stalwart against snoring--the nose strip--was immediately employed.

It blew away like a feather atop an exploding geyser.

I used benadryl in anticipation--it's groggy embrace was cut through with a hot-knife.
I used ear-plungs--they were papier-mache protecting against the onslaught winds of a hurricane!

God was surely testing my patience. My wife could not stop laughing.
Sleep eluded me as surely as moral perfection slips from the hands of a sinner.

I needed prayer. So I prayed. And prayed some more.

That Wednesday morning it was time for the oral exam. Clamping my jaws shut against the increasing pressures of two-nights worth of yawns yearning to explode, I answered questions. And more questions. Correct answers drawn from the well of spiritual training and experience surfaced in my mind. The Spirit of God sustained me.

My prayers were answered.

I lost physical sleep those days in Carson.
Yet I was spiritually awake.