Musings of a Recovering Lutheran: October 2015
I heard the voice of the Lord, saying, 

Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?

Then said I, Here am I; send me.

Isaiah 6:8 (KJV)

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Today's verse

He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

Psalm 147:4 (KJV)

Saturday, October 24, 2015

Tanzanian election

This Sunday Tanzania will be holding its election:
It could be a tough weekend for Tanzania's ruling party. Its candidate for the presidency faces a formidable challenge from a former prime minister. 12 candidates are vying for the top job. Only one is a woman.
Pray for the people of Tanzania.

Reading list

The Johnstown Flood, by David McCullough.

Today's verse

Therefore I say unto you, Take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink; nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body than raiment? Behold the fowls of the air: for they sow not, neither do they reap, nor gather into barns; yet your heavenly Father feedeth them. Are ye not much better than they? Which of you by taking thought can add one cubit unto his stature? And why take ye thought for raiment? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow; they toil not, neither do they spin: and yet I say unto you, That even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these. Wherefore, if God so clothe the grass of the field, which to day is, and to morrow is cast into the oven, shall he not much more clothe you, O ye of little faith? Therefore take no thought, saying, What shall we eat? or, What shall we drink? or, Wherewithal shall we be clothed? (For after all these things do the Gentiles seek:) for your heavenly Father knoweth that ye have need of all these things. But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you. Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Matthew 6:25-34 (KJV)

Friday, October 23, 2015

Reading list

Out of the Silent Planet, by C.S. Lewis.

Today's verse

It is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in princes.

Psalm 118:9 (KJV)

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Gravel instead of the Bread of Life

Membership in the Episcopal Church has dropped below two million.

Key quote:

For the first time in 75 years, The Episcopal Church's total membership dipped below the two million member mark. TEC's just-released official 2014 stats show worldwide church membership standing at 1,956,042. The last time Episcopal Church membership was below two million was in 1939 when there were 1,996,434 Episcopalians.

At the close of World War II, the Episcopal Church had a high water mark of 7,894 congregations; following the war, with the glut of baby boomers, The Episcopal Church grew and and climbed over the three million mark in 1958 with 3,126,662 members. TEC's membership peaked in 1966 with a 3,429,153 baptized souls.

From 1967 until 2003, when gay Bishop Vicky Gene Robinson (IX New Hampshire) burst upon the scene, the Episcopal Church's membership ebbed and flowed -- up one year and down another. Once Bishop Robinson joined the House of Bishops, TEC's worldwide membership has steadily declined from 2,419,562 (2003) to 1,956,042 (2014), a loss of 463,520 souls in just a little more than a decade.

I am sure that defenders of the Episcopal Church respond that other denominations are losing members as well. But pointing out this broad loss of membership cutting across all denominations, while accurate, skirts a major issue raised back when the Episcopal Church began its very public self-immolation. Rejecting the Gospel in favor of trendy progressive positions was supposed to arrest this decline, or so we were told. What happened?

In his 1990 book Living in Sin? retired Episcopal Bishop John Shelby Spong made the claim that traditional Christian views on marriage and sexuality were driven by ignorance and misogyny. The Christian church could only be saved if it adapted to the prevailing culture and embraced behavior it once called sinful. Bishop Spong's book is an interesting mixture of Biblical illiteracy and wishful thinking, so perhaps it is not surprising that his prescription has failed.

Thanks to false teachers in the Episcopal Church such as Bishop Spong and Presiding Bishop Katherine Jefferts Schori the Episcopal Church traded the Bread of Life for a handful of gravel.

I believe the decline in Christianity in western nations is not because of a failure to adapt to modern progressive culture (sorry, Bishop Spong), but is actually the result of the culture's profoundly totalitarian nature. Modern progressivism has a pronounced hostility to any authority except its own and is willing to destroy those it deems Enemies of the People. The rise of the Twitter mob (McCarthyism on steroids), campus speech codes, so-called "hate crime" laws are ways this worldview is enforced. Are you reluctance to embrace the homosexual lifestyle? You must be a homophobe! Does feminism leave you uneasy or abortion make you squeamish? Obviously you hate women! Think Bruce Jenner is just an overexposed celebrity? Hater! The list of thoughtcrimes grows daily, and collaborating with the culture (as the Episcopal Church has done) will not spare you in the end.

This is a depressing point of view, but can anyone reasonably argue otherwise? And if it is correct what should Christians do?

Obviously, we cannot respond in kind. You cannot fight a Twitter mob with another Twitter mob, or craft "hate crime" laws that punish critics of Christianity, or any other type of retaliation. Only the devil wins that kind of battle.

Instead we must pray. Pray to God for forgiveness for own sins and the sins of our nation. Pray that we are spared the coming persecution, but even so pray that God's will be done.

Choose the Bread of Life. Accept no substitutes.

Today's verse

Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit.

Matthew 7:15-17 (KJV)

Monday, October 19, 2015

Update on Asia Bibi

Asia Bibi has been placed in isolation because of concerns for her safety.

Key quote:

Asia Bibi, a Christian woman on death row for blasphemy, has been put in isolation over fears of attacks by vigilantes enraged over a high-profile ruling in another blasphemy case that moderates said struck a blow against religious extremism.

Prison officials and rights activists said this week that they were concerned for Asia Bibi's life due to the security threat and her worsening health.

The move comes after "genuine" threats to her life were issued in the wake of a Supreme Court ruling that upheld the death sentence for Mumtaz Qadri, the killer of former Punjab governor Salman Taseer, who sought blasphemy law reform in a separate, high-profile case.

Read Asia Bibi's own words.

The online petition calling for mercy for Asia Bibi can still be found here.

For those who do not know who she is, here is the story about Asia Bibi's unjust imprisonment and death sentence for "blasphemy" against the Prophet Muhammad.

Please pray for Asia Bibi and her family. Also, please pray for those who are risking their lives to free her.

Today's verse

I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the Lord, which made heaven and earth.

Psalm 121:1-2 (KJV)

Sunday, October 18, 2015

Today's verse

If the Son therefore shall make you free, ye shall be free indeed.

John 8:36 (KJV)

Saturday, October 17, 2015

Game On Episode 1

Kendall Jones and her friend go gator hunting.

Reading list

Ullr Uprising, by H. Beam Piper.

Today's verse

The fear of the Lord is the beginning of knowledge: but fools despise wisdom and instruction.

Proverbs 1:7 (KJV)

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Today's verse

One man of you shall chase a thousand: for the Lord your God, he it is that fighteth for you, as he hath promised you.

Joshua 23:10 (KJV)

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Today's verse

And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.

Romans 12:2 (KJV)

Monday, October 12, 2015

Today's verse

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God?

Psalm 42:1-2 (KJV)

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Today's verse

Truly my soul waiteth upon God: from him cometh my salvation.

Psalm 62:1 (KJV)

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Reading list

Exceptional Americans 2: The Capitalists, by Don Surber.

Today's verse

Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.

Proverbs 27:6 (KJV)

Friday, October 09, 2015

Reading list

Lee and Longstreet at High Tide, by Helen D. Longstreet.

Today's verse

Bow thy heavens, O Lord, and come down: touch the mountains, and they shall smoke.

Psalm 144:5 (KJV)

Wednesday, October 07, 2015

Today's verse

As cold waters to a thirsty soul, so is good news from a far country.

Proverbs 25:25 (KJV)

Monday, October 05, 2015

Today's verse

Sing, O heavens; and be joyful, O earth; and break forth into singing, O mountains: for the Lord hath comforted his people, and will have mercy upon his afflicted.

Isaiah 49:13 (KJV)

Sunday, October 04, 2015

Today's verse

But there were false prophets also among the people, even as there shall be false teachers among you, who privily shall bring in damnable heresies, even denying the Lord that bought them, and bring upon themselves swift destruction.

2 Peter 2:1 (KJV)

Saturday, October 03, 2015

Today's verse

Seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.

Matthew 6:33 (KJV)

Friday, October 02, 2015

Today's verse

For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus; who gave himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time.

1 Timothy 2:5-6 (KJV)

Thursday, October 01, 2015

Today's verse

Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Except ye eat the flesh of the Son of man, and drink his blood, ye have no life in you.

John 6:53 (KJV)