April 25th, 2008


Sweet Pea

You're my sweet pea, sweet pie, pookie pie,
potpie, pick-up truck, four by four.
You're my six-pack, dance floor, hound dog,
doublewide trailer, and my back door.
You're my tree farm, huntin' camp, sunset,
fishin' trip, tight jeans, saddle sore.
You're my boat hitch, line dance, Achey Brakey,
boogie-woogie, hock a loogie, one and only, two by four.
So come on, pretty pudgy mama, and take my calloused hand.
We'll load up the Winnebago and drive across this land.
We'll take all the back roads from here to Yellowstone.
Stay at every Yogi Jellystone,
If you be my Good Sally, I'll be your Good Sam.

You're my corn pone, beauty queen, racetrack,
Valvoline, big screen, satellite dish.
You're my Cole slaw, gee gaw, golly gee,
fire wood, cowboy, casserole dish.
You're my bass boat, six gun, Slim-Jim, mud flap,
Mary Kay, honky tonk queen.
You're my cheap beer, work boot, chicken coop,
Scout Troop, engine hanging from my tree.
So come on, pretty pudgy mama, and take my calloused hand.
We'll load up the Winnebago and drive across this land.
We'll take all the back roads from here to Yellowstone.
Stay at every Yogi Jellystone,
If you be my Good Sally, I'll be your Good Sam.
-- Peter Bingen

Spring woods

I went walking yesterday at old Wapehani. The redbuds were out in force. It was a bittersweet day, as it always is to go walk among the ghosts of my boyhood. But spring returns as always, as the Beowulf poet points out:

. . . oþðæt oþer com
gear in geardas, swa nu gyt doð
þa ðe syngales sele bewitiað,
wuldortorhtan weder.

. . . until another year came to the homes of men, even as still they do, weathers glorious and bright that in endless succession observe the seasons.

Redbuds and Pines Redbuds and Pines

Click on pic to enlarge.

. . . but the laborers are few

I traveled up near Indy this evening to attend a meeting with my missionary friends, the Wertzes, from Tanzania. Their mission, Joy in the Harvest (www.joyintheharvest.com), is doing lots of good things. I've visited them there three times, and collinsmom and I are planning yet another trip to Tanzania, maybe for next summer.

I appreciate their burning desire to help the poor, of which Tanzania is well stocked. I appreciate their faithfulness to our Lord. I am glad to be associated with them. Their service is in the finest missionary tradition.

"Pray therefore the Lord of the Harvest," said Jesus, "to send out laborers into the harvest. For the harvest is plentiful, but the laborers are few." This pretty much sums up what I feel about the Church. I've been part of several LJ conversations recently in which I have felt my spiritual home disparaged by others. There's a time and a place for that, I suppose. But the most critical question of all is, who will go and preach the gospel and feed the hungry and all the rest of it?

The poor, the lame, the blind, the hungry, the naked, the oppressed, and all those who need Jesus (which is everybody, including you and me) do not always have the luxury to debate the ecclesiastical bona fides of those who are presenting them the gospel -- largely because there isn't anyone there presenting the gospel to them at all. The pockets of unchurched, unevangelized spiritual poverty in this country sometimes reach levels normally associated with countries like Tanzania.

And, sure, there are Churches whose theology or practices I don't care much for. There are bodies I think are heretical. And there's a time and place for critiquing such things; meanwhile, the lost are glad for anyone who throws them a rope and aren't much concerned about the ecclesiastical pedigree of the one throwing it.

I remember a line in one of our old editions of The Discipline, which I thought mere boilerplate when I read it, but which has stayed with me. One of the signs of the True Church, it said, is the ability to seek and save the lost. I think about that -- a lot.
his friend Jesus

Ecclesiastical turf wars

seraphimsigrist published a link today to an article about the role of the Russian Orthodox Church in Russia and about the place (or lack thereof) of Protestants and Pentecostals in Russia. Discussion got a little close to a line Bishop Seraphim didn't want to cross, so he froze the threads that were straying into the more-heat-and-less-light area.

Which is fair enough, and I'm not criticizing him. But I still want to explore the original idea, which is that many Russians see the presence of other Christian groups operating in their society as alien sects -- intruders funded by Western money. seraphimsigrist wondered whether Catholics in Brazil might feel the same way.

I suppose they do. That would be a natural way to feel. Who are these weirdos, they might well ask, to come into our country and do all these non-Russian or non-Brazilian or non-Whoever We Are kind of things. Very natural. And when Americans ever so gently criticize such an attitude, some people say that American standards of open expression, democracy, etc., are not in play. Russia (or Brazil, or Indonesia, or wherever) has the right to restrict alien expressions (as they define them).

Well, sauce for the goose, I say.Collapse )