My friends -- both of them -- have just read Evelyn Waugh's weird little short story, "The Man Who Liked Dickens" with the hope of understanding my latter day enthusiasm.Although I have absolutely no desire to become any kind of expert on Dickens' 14 great novels, I find, to my surprise, that I enjoy immensely an hour a day in his company.
I don't tell many people I quarterbacked my high school football team because I do not like the incredulous look that appears on their faces just before they laugh out loud.However, there are a few living witnesses, albeit with fading memories, who could testify to the fact that I never received the athletic glory I so richly deserved.
Through the years, I have said it before Presbyterian churches and governing bodies, I have written it in Presbyterian publications and I continue to believe that the ordained Presbyterian pastor is the front line, the cutting edge of our Presbyterian witness to the gospel of Jesus Christ.
In the May 14 OutlookWilliam Stacy Johnson presents a very helpful and learned reminder that the situation facing today's PC(USA) is very different from that which confronted the German church in the 1930's. Precisely because of those differences I would argue that any reasonable assessment of the contemporary confessing movement ought to have its primary focus on events taking place in 2001 rather than in 1934.
So far as I can remember, no young preacher has ever asked me for advice.This is a real shame because I have had spectacular success in the creation and implementation of bad ideas.A whole preaching generation could be improved by learning from me what to avoid.
The Christian faith -- certainly as we know it in the Reformed tradition -- is a faith of the community. While we make our individual professions of faith, we do so as we join the company of the faithful, the church of Jesus Christ. Parents may be the primary faith educators of their children, but it is the congregation that promises to guide and nurture the child by "word and deed, with love and prayer, encouraging the child to know and follow Christ and to be a faithful member of Christ's church."
Most scholars agree that after Paul's painful second visit to the Corinthians, during which he was bitterly attacked by someone about something, he left to cool off, then decided not to pay another visit right away and wrote a letter instead, the so-called letter of tears that is either lost or preserved only in fragments in what we now call second Corinthians.
Serious Christian education requires that we not simply teach the Bible, but that our understanding of the text always be open to refinement. For 40 years I taught my Middle Eastern students, "Keep your exegetical conclusions tentatively final." They have to be final in the sense that, as a disciple of Jesus Christ, I must live out my discipleship today. Obedience to my Lord cannot wait for me to read one more technical article in New Testament studies.
The occasion? Last week I was kicked out of Valley Hospice. It wasn't for moral turpitude or anything like that. I doubt if I will be brought before any presbytery committee or take up the PJC's precious time. It simply was the halfway point in their six-month program and I was too healthy. I don't really need the kind of crisis care in which they specialize. So why not save the last three months for the days I need them.
Easter is the great day for the church of Jesus Christ. There would be no gospel, no faith, no hope without the resurrection. Everything depends on God's raising Jesus from the dead, Jesus' ascension, his sitting at the right hand of the Father, his promised coming again. His resurrection is the guarantee of our own, and the gift of life after death to all to whom God chooses to give it.