February 21st, 2005


Just loafing

kensaro posted this one:

Onion ring to rule them all,
Onion ring to find them.
Onion ring to bring them all,
and in the batter fry them.

Indiana, with its little rivers and twisty hills -- particularly around Whitehall, Owen County -- has always seemed so Shire-like to me. And, of course, Hoosiers have a passion for mushrooms as great as any hobbit's. 'Bout another month, and the morrels will be popping up. Wish I could find some out at Wilderstead.

Philmont introduced our Venturers (then Explorers) to Pemmican Bars. At which several of us immediately cried out: "Cram!"

BTW, Tolkien's lembas -- a natural type of the eucharist -- was baked from flour milled from grain grown under the special tutelage of the chief Elf-woman in the community. The Lady Galadriel supervised the whole process of planting, harvesting, milling, and baking of this special bread. And in addition to adding a eucharistic image to his work, Tolkien here manages to justify yet another Anglo-Saxon etymology, for "lord" and "lady" come ultimately from OE hlaford, hlaefdige, meaning "loaf-giver."

Learning how the other half lives

My best friend in Scouting, Bill Bogner, was a devout Roman Catholic. The first Protestant worship service he ever attended was at an Order of the Arrow conclave at Camp Louis Ernst.

The first night of this conclave, we stayed up all night playing euchre. Only got an hour or so's sleep. The second night, we went to bed late again. I woke up later, all damp and twisted in my sleeping bag. Finally, I thought, "I've gotta get out of this bag and straighten everything out." So I sat up and put my hand outside the bag, on the tent floor, and immediately woke completely up -- having plunged my hand into two inches of icy water.

It had been raining steadily, and had now flooded the entire tenting site. Bill had apparently tried to wake me, but there was no getting me up. So now I got dressed and trudged down to the dining hall where we played euchre the rest of the night. (This was the first campout where I had ever been driven from my campsite by weather. It was twenty years later that Kansas started my love-hate relationship with plains weather. But I digress.)

Anyway, Bill had gone with the other Catholics into town the night before for mass. But now, he had a sudden urge to see how the other half lived, so Sunday morning found him and me sitting through a boring-as-all-get-out Protestant chapel service conducted by an earnest young Baptist preacher. Said preacher was trying his best to connect with his young flock. I still remember his central illustration being about "Scout Troop Number One," of which Jesus Christ was the SPL (I still wince when I think of it).

I was trying to keep my weary head up to pay attention, because I felt sorry for this poor guy. Bill was sitting all alert, head cocked, taking it all in. Everybody else was slumped on the chapel seats, doodling in the dust and waiting for the service to drag itself to a conclusion. As we were leaving (finally), I turned to Bill and said, "Man, did you see how bored those kids were?"

Bill looked shocked. He said, "BORED? I thought they were meditating. If I don't pay attention in church, I get hit!"

The Old English Way of Evangelism, Part I

The Old English Way of Evangelism

Copyright 2004, by Arthur W. Collins

When I was a seminary student many years ago, I did a readings course in the evangelization of Northern Europe during the 5th-10th Centuries. I have always maintained that the second half-millennium of the Church's history (more or less) was its most productive in reaching new populations for Christ -- at least, until recent times. I was particularly interested in both the Irish and Anglo-Saxon Churches' achievements.

Thus it was with great anticipation that I began to read George Hunter's The Celtic Way of Evangelism. Dr. Hunter is one of the foremost missiologists and church growth gurus teaching and writing today.

Anticipation turned to disappointment, however, as I read the work. While his appreciation of the ancient Celtic Church is perceptive and his analysis of their technique is interesting, the book is marred by an incredibly sloppy approach to facts and a tendency to misread the record of the past in terms of present polemics.

Most distressing to me, though, was his dismissal of the Old English Church as a body with its own native genius and an evangelistic record of which it could be proud. This essay is offered to set the record straight and to show what we could learn today from the saints of that long-ago Church.

The Old English Way of Evangelism, Part II

(Copyright 2004 by Arthur W. Collins)

Critique of The Celtic Way of Evangelism

Hunter does a good job of presenting the attractive features of Celtic Christianity. And there is no disputing the amazing work of Patrick, Columba, and the Irish monastics. They penetrated pagan cultures, identified with them, and brought them thoroughly to Christ.

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The Old English Way of Evangelism, Part III

(Copyright 2004, by Arthur W. Collins)

Distinctive Patterns of the Old English Church

From the beginning, the Roman mission to the Anglo-Saxons was envisioned as an organization capable of great expansion. Gregory sent Augustine to Aethelberht of Kent armed with instructions to set up two Archbishoprics, each eventually to have twelve subsidiary bishops. This is a profound organizational commitment, when not a single sermon had yet been preached, nor a single baptism celebrated.

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The Old English Way of Evangelism, Part IV

(Copyright 2004, by Arthur W. Collins)

Contributions of the Old English Church to the Church today

If we were to adapt the methods of the Old English Church to the Church of today, we could make no better start than to begin with assumptions for growth. The original mission plan for the team entering what became England called for an expanding organization of bishops and parishes.

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