Monday, May 11, 2009

Quotable Blog Quotes #8

Quotable Quotes From Around the Blogosphere

Gottesdienst Online
Pastor Larry Beane

Of course, the Christian life can't be accurately measured any more than grace can. You can no more judge how "successful" a congregation's evangelism is by conducting headcounts than you can tell which wafer has been consecrated and which one has not by observing both under a microscope. But such pragmatism and empiricism are the American way. McDonald's used to boast on their signs about how many burgers had been served (quantity), while no mention was made regarding how salutary the food was to the body (quality), or the faithfulness of the local franchise to the vision of the owner (fidelity to the mission).

...Instead of finding our identity in the ancient marble font filled with water and marked by the cross, we are moving more toward being branded with a disposable multicolored cardboard box containing super-sized junk food and bearing a Luther bobblehead. In other words, Ablaze exchanges the meat of the Gospel for an "unhappy meal" of grease, cheese, sugar, and cheap plastic trinkets marketed by appeals to the secular culture. All that's missing is changing the apostolic greeting from "The Lord be with you" to "Do you want fries with that?"

Father Hollywood
Pastor Larry Beane

The messed up cake reminded me of the botched ordination I attended in which the ordaining pastor simply read the words out of the book without regard to the parts that were rubrical instruction: "I ordain and consecrate you into the office of the holy ministry of the one holy catholic I. E. Christian and apostolic church," missing the point that he wasn't supposed to read the part in brackets: [i.e. Christian] - which is itself a silly rubric put in place to "clarify" to Lutherans that they are Lutherans. In the end, it wasn't really helpful - at least to the assistant district vice president who was conducting the ordination. One more argument against our synod's Dumbed Down Pastor Program (which for some reason is abbreviated SMP and not DDPP).

Weedon’s Blog
Pastor Wil Weedon

The reason most often behind folks not liking the liturgy, I suspect, is that they don't like the Word of God that is embodied therein; they sense in it something alien, foreign, even threatening. Best steer clear of it. MOST foreign is that it doesn't pander to what they like. In fact, it treats "what I like" as completely irrelevant and the impulse to demand "what I like" as something that needs to die.

Quicunque vult...
Deaconess Emily Carder

Deaconess Carder describes the wonder of her elementary school students regarding their beautifully renovated chancel:

On this day they were standing near the communion rail, entranced by every word coming from pastor’s mouth. They were asking questions, “What is that for?;” “What do we have that up there?”; “What does this symbol mean?”; and finally, the great catechetical question of God’s children,“What is this? ” Pastor was answering each one, making the link to Christ. They didn’t want to stop, and not merely because they wanted to miss Math classes. They wanted more of Jesus.

People can argue, as they did with Jesus (Mk 14:4-5), “These are hard times. Money is tough. Why do you spend it on luxury when it should be spent on the poor?” The answer is simple. It was spent on the poor. It was spent on the poor in spirit so that they might have more Jesus.

This is the highest reason we adorn churches. It is not for the sake of puffery, for making ourselves look grand. It is so the great catechetical question is asked, “What is this?” and it can be answered through Christ. Bread of heaven given; bread received.

That Lutheran Guy

Another thing that really takes me back [to times when things were different] is Luther's language. Luther had a lawyers gift for rhetorical flourish. Today he would be so politically incorrect and offensive he would require his own team of ACLU attorneys to keep him out of jail just for being himself. Luther would have a hard time with today's idolatrous worship of pluralism, tolerance and diversity. Luther was a warrior for truth and let the chips fall where they may. Since I read him in English translation, I wonder just how bowdlerized the English speaking pastors who translated these sermons rendered some of what he said. As Nicolas Cage's character Ben Gates said in National Treasure, "People don't talk that way anymore."

Outer Rim Territories
Seminarian Christopher Gillespie quoting Cantor Sean

…Maybe congregations don’t want their pastor to be their slave. Maybe congregations don’t want Christ to serve them? It seems clear to me that any pastor who insists on the historic liturgy, especially when they insist on the many ceremonies that accompany it, is willfully and intentionally asking to be shackled. To be bound and chained to Christ and His cross, and stripped of their own glory. They don vestments that hide themselves, showing only the Office they hold. They do not choose their own words, but instead speak only Christ’s Words. Their Benediction, Pax, and Verba are not their own, but are Christ’s. They may not speak their own comforting words, no matter how deeply they as individuals care for their parishioners. They speak only the comforting Words of Christ…

Weedon’s Blog
Pastor Wil Weedon

Yes, irritated. Today was our Spring SID Pastoral Conference. Among the things that I found irritating:

The Synod's CCM has apparently declared our SID convention resolution declining to participate into that money pit "Fan into Flame" as null and void.

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