How to Think About Time

Time is short

We must rush, rush, rush, to get everything done you need to get done. You have limited resources, so you better get busy.

Time is a gift

Every day you wake is a day you did not have before. Relish in the day. Use it as a gift.

Time is borrowed

Today might be your last day. Live as if it is.

Time is not a commodity

You cannot spend time, waste time, use time. Don’t think of time at all. If you must, think of daylight and darkness.

Time is of my vocation

Instead of asking how you spend your time, what you are accomplishing or not, consider your vocation and ask yourself, “Is what I am doing my vocation, or something else?” Then you can adjust your actions to match.

Driving around town running errands for your spouse and kids and neighbor is not wasting time or distracting you from what you should be doing. It is vocation-work. It is God-pleasing, so do it with a happy heart.

Time is meaningless

Good luck with that.

Too Much Time on my Hands

We love you, Tommy.

Is This Your Jesus?

mormon-temple

Notice, no Cross on the spire

I’ve had a number of friends who were Mormons. They make excellent neighbors, as long as you don’t try to “out-neighbor” them. You will lose, every time. Think thank-you gifts for thank-you gifts, and you get the idea.

And yet, for their good morals and clean living and good neighborliness, they pose as Christians and we dare not consider them anything of the sort. Apprising Ministries (via Diekmann) has an excellent post on “The Jesus of Glen Beck,” written as a “spot the real Jesus” format. Here’s what the Mormon Jesus would say:

I am the Jesus Christ of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (the Mormons). My original Church went through a total apostasy and I took the Priesthood from the earth. In 1820 by one account—as there are nine different accounts—I appeared, with Heavenly Father, to Joseph Smith who would be the prophet to restore my Church. I told him that everything the historic Christian Church had taught was an abomination in my sight and that all who believe in those doctrines are corrupt. I am the spirit child who was born first to Heavenly Father, whose name is Elohim, and who has a body of flesh and bones as tangible as man’s.

Elohim was once a man who lived on the planet Kolob. He died and was resurrected by his father—after earning his way to godhood—as did his father before him, and so on back. Heavenly Father pro-created all of us through sexual relations with one of his celestial wives, and we are all his spirit children. I was born first; next was Lucifer, and then on down the line comes you. When the head of the gods—of which there are countless numbers—called a council of the gods I came up with a better plan of salvation than my brother Lucifer did. So I became the Savior for Heavenly Father’s children on earth. I was conceived for my earthly mission when Heavenly Father came down and had sexual relations with his daughter the Virgin Mary.

I sweat great drops of blood for your sins in the Garden of Gethsemane. Then on the cross I finished my work; and because of that atonement, all persons on this earth are going to be resurrected. And so now you have a chance to earn your way to becoming a god, just like me, by working the Gospel Principles taught by the Mormon Church. But be careful because my blood was not sufficient to cover some of your sins as my prophet Brigham Young once taught for me. He said, “There’s not a man or woman who violates the covenant made with their God that will not be required to pay that debt. The blood of Christ will never wipe that out. [And y]our own blood must atone for it.”

This is nothing short than the most detestable blasphemy, and sadly, it is supported from statements from Mormon teaching and doctrine. This description is not a smear campaign, “analysis” or any kind of interpretation. It is what Mormons teach about Jesus.

We can commend Mr. Beck for his beliefs, if we want; for his patriotism, to be sure; for his reformed life; but we dare not imagine that his religious beliefs are close to Christianity. Enjoy Mr. Beck as a neighbor, but do not be fooled. His God is far, far, different than the Triune God believed and confessed by the Prophets and Apostles and Martyrs.

Life Hurries On

Well, the kids are all off to school today. It was a little hairy, as Eldest started her freshmen year the the High School. A little scary for me too. She was embarrassed by my car. Admittedly, it is something of a beater these days.

Even the littlest starts school this afternoon, doing half day Pre-K. He is very excited. Last night he had to sign the internet use agreement, and he continually switched between his right and left hands.

Things are kicking up at church, too. Choirs start next week. Midweek on September 15. I’m planning another adult instruction class this Fall.

It is good that the routine begins again. Good for the kids to be in school and busier and learning. It’s bad how time flies. Wise Solomon agrees:

Vanity of vanities, says the Preacher, vanity of vanities! All is vanity. What does man gain by all the toil at which he toils under the sun?  A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever.  The sun rises, and the sun goes down, and hastens to the place where it rises.  The wind blows to the south and goes around to the north; around and around goes the wind, and on its circuits the wind returns.  All streams run to the sea, but the sea is not full; to the place where the streams flow, there they flow again.  All things are full of weariness; a man cannot utter it; the eye is not satisfied with seeing, nor the ear filled with hearing.  What has been is what will be, and what has been done is what will be done, and there is nothing new under the sun.  Is there a thing of which it is said, “See, this is new”? It has been already in the ages before us. (Ecclesiastes 1:2-10 ESV)

Our American sensibilities chafe at such thoughts. “Don’t Worry, Be Happy” and all. I suppose if we were Danish, all would be well.

But acknowledging tempus fugit, and “all men are grass” and the earthy grave is absolutely necessary for us in order to be Christians. For without the vanity, vanity of this life and certainty of a box in the ground, our Lord would have no recompense for us. He, too, would be meaningless.

Of course, for our unorthodox American Protestantism, He is. The Jesus of Evangelical Pop-Christianity has little to do besides making life no fun, or making the evangelists rich or something. He is a moral Jesus, who forgives the sins that we easily ignore and the rest do not consider sins at all. He is useless to the masses, for they are not bound by guilt, but rejoice in their crapulence*, and death and time and telos are taboo and “too depressing.”

We need our grim reaper standing over us, the human skulls in our hands, the pallor of death, the music of Pink Floyd and our Tom Waits with his stygian voice, the call of Solomon, even the Goths to remind us that no one gets out of here alive.

When we know this, then we are ready to hear about Resurrection.

_____

*1. Sickness caused by excessive eating or drinking; 2. Excessive indulgence; intemperance.from Late Latin crapulentus, very drunk, from Latin crapula, intoxication, from Greek kraipal.

Ten Years

Today marks my 10th anniversary in the Holy Ministry. I was ordained this day at University Lutheran Chapel in Tuscaloosa, Alabama..

Then as it was, then again it will be
An’ though the course may change sometimes
Rivers always reach the sea
Blind stars of fortune, each have several rays
On the wings of maybe, down in birds of prey
Kind of makes me feel sometimes, didn’t have to grow
But as the eagle leaves the nest, it’s got so far to go

Here’s the music to the song above. It doesn’t have anything to do with the Holy Ministry. I just like it.

Yes, They are with Us

Marjorie has started a little business managing property for a friend. He has given us five of his rentals to manage. Two of them are currently bringing in rent. Two are vacant, and one renter is on his way out. We remodeled one house this spring and are happy with the renters; they seem happy with the house as well.

The current house we’re working on is not a bad little home. Two bedrooms, one bath, a good-sized kitchen with two living areas. Central heat and air, a one-car garage and a large yard; much bigger than mine. The house is in pretty good shape, all things considered. But it’s on the east side of town–the low-rent district. It would fetch a few hundred more on this side. The neighborhood there is not too bad. The house across the street is well-maintained, as is the one to the West. Some of the houses need paint. Some are a little worse than that. But the street is quiet. There are far worse streets on that side of town.

Marjorie has been taking rental applications for the past few days, and we’ve met some interesting characters. Everybody seems very nice. Most have had some pretty hard luck. All of them are struggling just to get by. Making just above minimum wage doesn’t leave much after the rent is paid. Some of the applicants are single parents, others are a couple; none of them are married. Many are only surviving due to government checks.

“The poor you will always have with you,” Jesus said. And how right he was. But these days we don’t concern ourselves that much with them. The government checks keep them from starving. Or crime. Or rioting. We can say, “Get a job,” but the jobs they can get don’t pay the bills. Think of this: earning $10 and hour a full-time job pays $400/week. Take out 15% for taxes, and that leaves them with $1360 a month. $450 for rent, $250 for utilities, $400 for groceries, leaves only $260 a month for whatever else needs to be done. Put another way, I can get a mortgage if the payments are less than a third of my income. Preferably more like 25%. In the case of many renters, $450/mo rent is right at 33% of their income. That cuts things pretty tight. Impossible for a single mom with a child who needs daycare.

It is easy for, reading this on our laptops or smartphones, with the DVR recording our favorite HD shows in the background to ignore this sad reality. It is easy for you, viewing this from your hotel room, vacation lodge, or grandchildren’s house to think that the poor just need to work harder or something. It is easy for even the most elephantine Republican to think that “somebody” needs to do something about this plight.

Let’s assume that the government cannot or should not “do something.” It is then up to me and my Church. Realistically, a congregation can pool together and give assistance to one, maybe even two or three families–enough to allow them a decent home, a working vehicle and enough to pay for groceries and medicine. We have had a dozen or so applicants for this one house, though. And the street is full of people who are in obvious need of help…and the streets to the north and south and east and west.

We can throw our hands up and say it’s hopeless. The poor we will always have, after all. Or we can help, as we are able. Donate all we can to thrift stores, raise the alarm in our congregations, get to know the charities in your community and find out how you can help more directly.

Or turn a cold heart to them or hope and pray the government will do something.

At least pray for them. That’s a start. I will be.

Twitter-ish Thoughts

  • Should I be worried that all my thoughts are less than 140 characters?
  • Does taking Advil everyday mean I am getting old?
  • Will not complain about heat (repeat from waking to sleeping).
  • I am growing dependent on my Dragon Naturally Speaking. Sermon writing: so much easier.
  • The opposite is true as well: harder and harder to type out things I want to write.
  • The whole family is in Texas to see my parents and sister & cousins. I’m eating PB!!!
  • I will need to clean the kitchen thoroughly before Elli gets home.
  • Why can’t I blog good theological things anymore?
  • The Anne Rice novel I am reading is a thinly disguised CBA novel. Disguised by using the word “hell” on every other page.
  • Submission is not a dirty word.
  • I need to pick up the police report from when the lady rear-ended me and tried to run away. Thank you, Enid Police and witnesses!

What the Fathers Preached

Of the temple he goes on to say: my house is a house of prayer: but you have made it a den of thieves. For there is no doubt that those who remain sitting in the Temple to receive gifts, sought to do harm to those who gave them nothing. And so the house of prayer had become a den of thieves; for such men made clear that they were there in the Temple, prepared to injure physically those who did not give them gifts, and indeed to destroy spiritually those who gave them.

But because our Redeemer did not deny the works of his preaching, either to the unworthy or to the ungrateful, after he had upheld the authority of his teaching, casting out the perverse, he reveals to them gifts of his grace. For there is that: and he was teaching daily in the Temple. We have run through these things, touching briefly on the simple record of what happened.

Because we now know that Jerusalem was overthrown, and changed for the better by its overthrow, and since we know that thieves were driven from the Temple, and the Temple itself uprooted, we ought from these outward happenings draw, inwardly, a certain similitude, and from these ruined structures of stones learn to fear the destruction of our own inward life and conduct.

Seeing the city he wept over it, saying: if thou also had just known. He did this once; when he foretold the city would perish. In no way does our Redeemer cease from doing this, through his elect, when he sees that some have departed from a just life to evil way of living. And he weeps for those who know not why he weeps; for those who in Solomon’s words, are glad when they have done evil, and rejoice in the most wicked things (Proverbs 2:14). For if they but knew the hour of their own condemnation, which is close at hand, they would weep for themselves with the tears of the elect. Well do the words that follow apply to the soul that will perish: and that in this thy day the things that are for thy peace; but now they are hidden from thine eyes.

St Gregory the Great, from The Sunday Sermons of the Great Fathers (4 Volume Set)