Thursday, March 30, 2006

Patch Question

I saw this at pasty.com and am reposting it here in the hopes someone can assist Jimbob:

By Jim Bergren (Jimbob) on Saturday, March 25, 2006 - 10:27 pm:

Grace and peace and to you. I am hoping someone from the Old Apostolic Lutheran Church (or anyone that uses this device) might be able to answer my question or direct me in the right direction. The Lutheran church I attend in Brush Prairie, WA is wanting to expand our ministry to our elderly shut-ins who cannot come to worship services on Sundays. Members from the Old Apostolic Lutheran church in our area talk about something they have at their church called "The Patch". This allows members of their church to call a phone number on Sunday mornings and they are patched into the sound system so they can hear the service. Members of the Old Apostolic Church would love to share that they have this feature, but would love to not tell you exactly how it works, or who you could reach at their church to learn more about it. If anyone has knowledge on this Phone Patch and could let me know, I would be forever grateful....and so would our shut-ins who so badly want to be part of our worship services. Thank you and God bless. Jim Bergren, buydiscoverytoys@hotmail.com

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Exploring Biblical Truth and the Exodus

"Both read the Bible day and night, but thou read black where I read white." William Blake

First, I want to encourage any of you interested in the future of our society to read "The Spirit of Disobedience" by Curtis White in this months' Harper's Magazine. He draws on the tradition of Thoreau in calling us to "live Christ." I found it a powerful and disturbing essay, and am challenged to rethink my life.

Second, under Tipping Points there rose an interesting thread regarding the credibility of the Exodus/Passover, in which God is described as killing firsborn Eygyptian sons. "M" disagrees with my skepticism. I'm no Bible expert, but I'd like to explore the topic further and invite you all to join in.

The story was written down nearly 300 years after the events were supposed to have happened. That means it was shared in oral tradition for 12-14 generations before being written down. Remember the "telephone game"? One person whispers a phrase to another who whispers it to another and so on. Even getting the same words through five people is difficult. So what really happened and what was recorded, after 300 years of deletions and embellishments, are certainly different (unless you believe, a priori, that God predetermined all that, but there is no point in talking after such a premise, as ANYthing can happen and be attributed to God.)
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There is no physical evidence that the Exodus happened and much to suggest that it couldn't have, at least as told (the Red Sea would not have been en route, for example). But the very fact that this minority sect survived its many trials is remarkable. Huston Smith suggests that the Jews told this story out of just the kind of gratitude and humility that "M" expresses in her post. That they had survived seemed miraculous, and only Divine intervention could account for it. The story then served as a "founding myth," subject to the same kind of exaggeration and symbolizing we find in the founding myths of our own nation. Like all good stories, it has great characters, tension, and resolution.

In exploring the details of the story, Shelby Spong finds the killing of not only the firstborns sons but also the firstborn of the flocks "strange behavior for an evil human being . . . how much more evil would that be for God to do it?" The blood of the Paschal Lamb on the doorposts (I seem to remember Laestadius being quite vivid in his exegesis, perhaps because it resonated with Lappish rituals!) now seems, in context of the day, cultish magic.

But to the prescientific mind, magic gave logic to mysteries: plagues, floods, locusts, tempests, earthquakes, etc. were sent by God as rewards or punishments. Other than a few holdouts (i.e., Pat Robertson on Katrina), we no longer view weather or disease that way.

Aside from Biblical scholarship and others' points of view, I have to ask myself, what does this story mean to me today, a postmodern person in the 21st century? My mind cannot accept it as literally true. My experiences do not accord with the vision of God as violent and vindictive. Yet in its arc I find human suffering and yearning, deep gratitude and humility before the Great Mystery. This I recognize. This resonates. Here I find its truth.

Monday, March 20, 2006

FinnFest and Delurk

Dear readers, I can't tell you how much I appreciate this conversation we're having. I would love to meet you in person if you can make it to Astoria, Oregon in July for FinnFest. Follow the link above to the official site. The dates are July 26-30. If you can't make it for the whole weekend, perhaps we can plan a picnic at a local park for Saturday afternoon. Let me know your thoughts.

And hey, all you lurkers who haven't posted before: please delurk just to say hi. Suggest a topic if you'd like. There is no guarantee we will stick to the subject, but that's the fun of it.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Tipping Points

One day last week, leaving the pediatrician's office, the kids and I found that night had fallen. We gazed at the moon, a high thin crescent right out of a storybook. "A full moon!" exclaimed our 5-year old, always eager for delight. Her elder brother, always eager for facts, sighed dramatically. "I'm afraid that is NOT a full moon."

They looked to me to settle it, but I ignored them, enjoying the balmy air with its promise of spring. I opened the car and shooed them in. "It's a crescent moon. It's the kind of moon that has a face, or that you could go fishing off of," big brother lectured from the back seat, drawing his references from picture books.

We drove away in silence, and I thought the matter settled. But little sister had the last word.

"Well. It is TOO a full moon," she said at last. "We just can't SEE all of it."

This made us all laugh. How sage.

Troll has given us a good assignment, asking us to identify the tipping point that sent us out of Laestadius' orbit. I'm reposting excerpts here so it is easier to follow the thread.

Perhaps my own tipping point was at 16, sitting at the dining room table with an OALC preacher. My parents had arranged this meeting because of my increasingly vocal questioning of the church. (Looking back, the preacher must have been 65, but he seemed ancient and grave.) I asked him why God would create black people to abandon them to hell. He explained the curse of Ham, then insisted that at some point God gives each person -- every person on earth -- a chance to join the living Christianity. So blacks are cursed, but not if they live in Brush Prairie?! I'm sure I shook my head in disbelief and dismay. There followed five or ten minutes of admonitions to be wary of the Devil, to hold fast to what my dear, precious parents had taught me, not to question, to have a simple faith, like a child's, and so stupifyingly on.

I was offended. I knew my questions were legitimate, and I knew he was bullying me, trying to shame me. I'm sure it was clear that "my heart was hardened" when I left the table without "repenting" of my "intellectual pride." Looking back on that scene, the retired mechanic in his thick glasses and cheap blue suit, the feisty, vain honor student with her confirmation Bible at hand, I feel sorry for them both. She was exploring, and insisting on, her full humanity. He could not see it, as if it was a moon, shadowed.

Troll said...
Re: Scales of Belief
Tipping Points

Your negative kitchen experience got me thinking about tipping points. I am sure it added some weight to the disbelief side of your scale.

My experience was a steady adding to the disbelief side until a final event tipped the scales permenantly.

The final weight was a sermon in which the preacher said if we had any doubts that sin was forgiven. When asked about it afterwards he said he would forgive such a sin if I requested it.

It struck me as the height of arrogance.

Bingo! The scale tipped permanently.

The event was much like the TV commercial I previously mentioned hurling the axe and smashing the screen of brain-washed beliefs.

Others I have talked to about their change tell a more painful drawn out experience,back and forth ,shifting weights, which took years to complete.

It would be interesting to hear
other's journeys and trigger
points of disbelief if any. =

sisu said...
Dear Troll,
My experience has taken years, as I've mentioned earlier, and I went through a very long Dark Night of the Soul. However, one comment had great impact early on. Like you, it was my tipping point. I remember being told that no one in The World could love me like the Christians do. I was a teenager at that time and did not find the Christians very loving toward me. My several "worldly" friends were much more caring and compassionate. Bingo! My perception shifted and continued in that direction for years.
Troll, your identity intrigues me, and I like your thoughts and comments.

Anonymous said...
The beginnings of disbelief for me starting at confirmation. Listening to the preachers, with no formal training, say the following:

Why the men don't wear ties-because a farmer was wearing a tie while driving a tractor. He was a
Christian, but he did not wish to give up his tie. He got stuck somehow and almost got strangled to death. The farmer realized that he did not need the tie. He was being vain for wearing one.

My question-Why would he wear a tie farming?

Another one-Jesus said to "Love thy neighbor, but don't hang out with Catholic children because they gamble in their church.

My question-Does it say that in the bible?


I left at 18 years of age-as soon as I could.

God's Peace.