Friday, May 09, 2008

The good news is...

So General Conference of the United Methodist Church met again this year. Of course primary on the agenda was the debate over full inclusion of homosexual persons into the clergy and life of the church. The good news is that the rules didn't change. We are so thankful that our rulebook is safe from the "liberal element" and the "homosexual agenda". We are so fortunate to have the Confessing Movement and the Insititute for Religion and Democracy to protect the Book of Discipline!

True, some might say that the people are more important than a canon law book.. Some misguided persons might say that souls are more important than legal code and that perhaps, IF homosexuality is a sin we should invest time in researching a healthy, rational, and sane treatment to provide healing. Perhaps something that is based on psychology as well as prayer and not based in theophostic heresies. However the Gospel teaches that the law is first and that people are second. That's why Jesus was such good friends with the Pharisees!

So I want to send my thanks to our modern day pharisees! Thank you all of you for keeping the Book of Discipline safe from this generation's outcasts! Well Done!

Tuesday, May 06, 2008

Daily Reading and Reflection- The Rule of Saint Benedict


Hence the Lord says in the Gospel,
"Whoever listens to these words of Mine and acts upon them,
I will liken to a wise person
who built a house on rock.
The floods came,
the winds blew and beat against that house,
and it did not fall,
because it had been founded on rock" (Matt. 7:24-25).

Having given us these assurances,
the Lord is waiting every day
for us to respond by our deeds to His holy admonitions.
And the days of this life are lengthened
and a truce granted us for this very reason,
that we may amend our evil ways.
As the Apostle says,
"Do you not know that God's patience is inviting you to repent" (Rom. 2:4)?
For the merciful Lord tells us,
"I desire not the death of the sinner,
but that the sinner should be converted and live" (Ezech. 33:11).

I love this interplay that Benedict seems to have between the promises of God and the deeds of the believer. A protestant might read this and say it is works righteousness but notice how he frames this. From God's promises, spring righteous acts, holiness, and transformation. It is as if, all of the Christian life is just a river of goodness flowing down from God. Notice that for Benedict, goodness in the Christian person is first initiated by God's assurances. That our lives are constantly lived in response to God rather than reaching up to God. For Benedict all the goodness of the monastic practice of faith as an act of harmony with God.