February 12th, 2005


Prolegomena to Church History

If I ever get around to writing my book on Church History (a project I have contemplated for years), the basic framework of it would be thus.

I would divide the two thousand years of Christianity into four broad Eras, of about 500 years apiece. This is not just to make it come out even; I think that the characteristics and goals of the Church have gone through four different phases, each of about that long duration. I suspect we are entering, or have entered, a fifth phase, but we have not been long enough into it to describe it.

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Cowardice on top of deceit

Sen. Mark Dayton, D-Minn. -- the guy who said that Condoleeza Rice lied to him repeatedly and outrageously -- has announced that he will not seek re-election in 2006, citing low poll numbers and fear of political attacks. He said,

I certainly was not looking forward to the likelihood that on Nov. 7, 2006, 99 percent of the people of Minnesota would think less well of me than they do now. There's no question the Republican strategy is to destroy you personally in order to defeat you politically.

I don't think the Republicans were going to have to work too hard to destroy Sen. Dayton -- he was doing a fine job all by himself, closing his office over the election for fear of terrorist attacks (he was the only politican to do so), sliming Condoleeza Rice on the Senate floor, and generally dropping outrageous foolery from his lips on every occasion. But let that go.

The real issue here is cowardice. It's fear of accountability. Sen. Dipstick makes over-the-top charges and then fears to present himself to his constituents -- one of the most liberal States in the Union -- for their verdict. And he blames the other side as he slinks out the door. What a creep.

Three Peaks Adventure

Well, tomorrow our Venturers should finally get their Three Peaks Adventure off the ground. It's our Orientation Meeting. Four youth and four adults are headed Memorial Day for a vigorous tour of the UK.

Touring the Highlands, climbing Ben Nevis, kilts and Haggis in Scotland.

Hadrian's wall, the Lake District, climbing Scafell Pike, medieval York in England.

Castles and climbing Snowdon in Wales.

Then it's back into England for Wesley sites in Bristol, Arthuriana at Glastonbury, Stonehenge, Oxford, and three days at the Baden-Powell House in London.

If I don't bust a gut or damage my brain getting it all put together, it should be a great trip!

Tomorrow, a special guest -- a British Methodist who works in our Conference Outdoor Ministries Division -- will be on hand to answer questions about the UK, how to act, what to look for . . .

Put this on your prayer lists, please.

Carmen Possum

This was one of my mother's favorite poems. The author is unknown. "Carmen" is Latin for a song, "Possum" is from "opossum," not Latin "possui" -- the Song of the Possum. This whole poem is written in the style known as "macaronic," a mixture of Latin and English. (When Yankee Doodle "stuck a feather in his hat and called it 'macaroni,'" that means he was attempting to show off by using Latin tags incorrectly.) The dog's description sounds a bit like our Sassafras.


The nox was lit by lux of Luna,
And 'twas a nox most opportuna
To catch a possum or a coona;
For nix was scattered o'er this mundus,
A shallow nix, et non profundus.
On sic a nox with canis unus,
Two boys went out to hunt for coonus.
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Another old favorite

Here's another old favorite, author unknown. It might be of interest to all my dieting friends.


Methuselah ate what he found on his plate,
And never, as people do now,
Did he note the amount of the calorie count;
He ate it because it was chow.
He wasn't disturbed as at dinner he sat,
Devouring a roast or a pie,
To think it was lacking in granular fat
Or a couple of vitamins shy.
He cheerfully chewed each species of food,
Unmindful of troubles or fears
Lest his health might be hurt
By some fancy dessert;
And he lived over nine hundred years.

You said it, Jesse!

In his 1988 Presidential campaign, Jesse Jackson talked about our trade deficit and economic situation in these terms: "We makin' what ain't nobody buyin'." (For the record, I thought he was the best campaigner in the Democratic field that year.)

But now comes the Democratic National Committee to choose a new Chair, and the winner, ladies and gentlemen, is . . . Howard Dean!

Sound of crickets in the night.

Jesse was right, and his advice is on target for the Democrats. Oh, Dean is a bright man, an aggressive campaigner, he understands the internet and money, but COME ON . . .

This is the guy who thought he could appeal to Southerners and conservatives by talking about Confederate flags in the back windows of pickup trucks. This is the guy whose deepest religious convictions are shown in quitting his congregation -- AND denomination -- in a huff after not getting his way over a bike path (and who said his favorite New Testament book was Job!). This is the guy who said, "I hate the Republicans and all they stand for." This is Mr. Lefty. This is the guy who couldn't beat John Kerry.

Forget the Republicans' glee. Why are the Democrats celebrating? Is it just the irresistible urge to stop and rubberneck at a traffic accident?