October 31st, 2007

by himself

Weekend plans

I'm headed over to the heel of the sock on Friday. Will assist siege in getting his car towed and an estimate produced. Will take said birthday boy to lunch or dinner (depending on when I get over there).

Am thinking about staying over Friday night so I can get work done at Wilderstead on Saturday. May be chilly, but there's stuff I've gotta do.
saxon cross

Reformation Day thoughts

It's fashionable these days to bash the Reformers, beginning with Martin Luther. Well, they had their quirks (don't we all). But if all one can give as a rebuttal to the Reformation is ad hominem stuff, then one is off the track. So, let me begin this where I think it matters.

The Church of the 16th Century was in desperate need of reforming. Lots of people said so, from all over the Christian spectrum. And they came so very close to actually reforming the Church without splitting it. But in the end, the papal party refused.

Indeed, the Reformation was a three-handed game (at least). Those who eventually became known as Protestant and many of those who stayed Catholic could have made common cause. But an older contest was still being played out: Popes vs. Councils. By a brilliant bit of triangulation, the papal party managed to make the issue Protestants vs. Catholics, and the conciliarists caved.

In order to do this, the Pope had to move the Roman Catholic Church at least as far in one way as the Protestants moved their Churches in the other. So to say that the Protestants either "left" or were "expelled" is less accurate than to say that all the pieces of the western Church moved away from each other, to the injury of all. And all the leaders of the various fragments bear responsibility for the division that resulted.

But -- was not the Church in need of reforming? Yes. And is it not still in need of reforming today? Oh, yes, indeed. The results achieved by the Reformers were a mixed bag, no doubt. The results achieved by reformers today will be much the same. But still, the Church is need of reforming.

So today we honor some of those who attempted to save the Church from itself. Some were perhaps too eager to tear off a piece and make it what they thought it should be; meanwhile, others tried long and hard to preserve the Church's unity while nevertheless cleaning it up. Sometimes there were no good choices and people who loved Christ and loved each other as brothers in Christ found themselves on opposite sides. But at least they tried to make the Church better, and were not content to turn a blind eye to corruption and scandal.

May their tribe increase.

For those who are interested

The following vows are excerpted from our current United Methodist liturgy for baptism, confirmation, renewal, and reception into membership.

We begin with a brief introduction and presentation of candidates. The comes

On behalf of the whole church, I ask you:
Do you renounce the spiritual forces of wickedness,
reject the evil powers of this world,
and repent of your sin?

I do.

Do you accept the freedom and power God gives you
to resist evil, injustice, and oppression
in whatever forms they present themselves?

I do.

Do you confess Jesus Christ as your Savior,
put your whole trust in his grace,
and promise to serve him as your Lord,
in union with the church which Christ has opened
to people of all ages, nations, and races?

I do.

Question to those speaking for candidates unable to answer for themselves. Then comes,

According to the grace given to you,
will you remain faithful members of Christ's holy church
and serve as Christ's representatives in the world?

I will.

Question to sponsors. Then the entire congregation reaffirms both their rejection of sin and commitment to Christ. That leads into the Apostles' Creed, if it hasn't been recited earlier in the service.

Thanksgiving over the Water and Baptism follows, if any are to baptized. Confirmation follows for those who were baptized at an earlier time. Then follows

As members of Christ's universal church,
will you be loyal to The United Methodist Church,
and do all in your power to stsrengthen its ministries.

I will.


As members of this congregation,
will you faithfully participate in its ministries
by your prayers, your presence,
your gifts, and your service?

I will.

The rite concludes with introducing the new members to the congregation, who welcome them.


When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock,
And you hear the kyouck and gobble of the struttin' turkey-cock,
And the clackin' of the guineys, an the cluckin' of the hens,
And the rooster's hallylooyer as he tiptoes on the fence;
O, it's then's the times a feller is a-feelin' at his best,
With the risin' sun to greet him from a night of peaceful rest,
As he leaves the house, bareheaded, and goes out to feed the stock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

They's something kindo' harty-like about the atmusfere
When the heat of summer's over and the coolin' fall is here --
Of course we miss the flowers, and the blossums on the trees,
And the mumble of the hummin'-birds and buzzin' of the bees;
But the air's so appetizin'; and the landscape through the haze
Of a crisp and sunny morning in the airly autumn days
Is a pictur' that no painter has the colorin' to mock --
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock.

The husky, rusty russel of the tossels of the corn,
And the raspin' of the tangled leaves, as golden as the morn;
the stubble in the furries -- kindo' lonesome-like, but still
A-preachin' sermons to us of the barns they growed to fill;
The strawstack in the medder, and the reaper in the shed;
The hosses in theyr stalls below -- the clover overhead! --
O, it sets my hart a-clickin' like the tickin' of a clock,
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!

Then your apples all is gethered, and the ones a feller keeps
Is poured around the celler-floor in red and yeller heaps;
And your cider-makin' 's over, and your wimmern-folks is through
With their mince and apple-butter, and theyr souse and saussage, too!...
I don't know how to tell it -- but ef sich a thing could be
As the Angels wantin' boardin', and they'd call around on me --
I'd want to 'commodate 'em -- all the whole-indurin' flock --
When the frost is on the punkin and the fodder's in the shock!
-- James Whitcomb Riley