September 22nd, 2014

his friend Jesus

Boggles the mind, doesn't it

We were discussing the absurd prices people are willing to pay for dogs yesterday. Which prompted this old memory. Call it an illustration of how fundamentalists use the Bible.

Now, I don't spend much energy criticizing fundamentalists. They're not a punching bag for me. I recognize them as good people, and the line separating them from evangelicals is, or can be, a thin one, while the line separating evangelicals from other orthodox believers is also very tenuous. All of us who believe in the authority of the Bible have much in common, and all of us stand in contrast to those who disparage the Bible's authority. But still.

Years ago, when I was pastoring a former UB congregation (they were still grumped about the '46 merger with the Evangelicals, and so didn't even think of themselves as former EUB within the UM universe), my next door neighbor, a widow, told me that her husband refused, on principle, to pay for a pet dog. Ever. Even from the pound, I asked? Even then. Why? Because the Bible says that it's an abomination to pay the price of a dog (cf. Deuteronomy 23:18). Irene, I said, that refers to male prostitutes in Canaanite fertility cults. She replied that even if I had told her husband that, it wouldn't have made a difference. The Bible says . . .

And that, for me, is the definition of fundamentalism. We aren't interested in what the Bible means, only in what it says.

Last week's sermon

Still trying to get caught up. Here is installment number two in the series.

Spiritual Disciplines: Prayer
1 Thessalonians 5:1-28

This is the second in our series of sermons on spiritual disciplines. Last week we talked about the discipline of worship; this wk we’re going to talk about prayer. And the same thing applies: in order to reap the benefit of a practice, you have to do it frequently enough so that the practice becomes a habit – where it’s ingrained in you, and you can do it without trying to remember what goes where and when to do what.Collapse )