Sunday, September 22, 2019

The Parable of the Shrewd Priest

This Sunday's Gospel reading is from Luke 16:1-13 in which we hear the parable of the shrewd manager. After you study Luke's text, bear with me as I tell the parable of the shrewd priest.

Then Jesus said to the disciples, ‘There was a rich man who had a manager, and charges were brought to him that this man was squandering his property. So he summoned him and said to him, “What is this that I hear about you? Give me an account of your management, because you cannot be my manager any longer.” Then the manager said to himself, “What will I do, now that my master is taking the position away from me? I am not strong enough to dig, and I am ashamed to beg. I have decided what to do so that, when I am dismissed as manager, people may welcome me into their homes.” So, summoning his master’s debtors one by one, he asked the first, “How much do you owe my master?” He answered, “A hundred jugs of olive oil.” He said to him, “Take your bill, sit down quickly, and make it fifty.” Then he asked another, “And how much do you owe?” He replied, “A hundred containers of wheat.” He said to him, “Take your bill and make it eighty.” And his master commended the dishonest manager because he had acted shrewdly; for the children of this age are more shrewd in dealing with their own generation than are the children of light. And I tell you, make friends for yourselves by means of dishonest wealth* so that when it is gone, they may welcome you into the eternal homes.
 ‘Whoever is faithful in a very little is faithful also in much; and whoever is dishonest in a very little is dishonest also in much. If then you have not been faithful with the dishonest wealth,* who will entrust to you the true riches? And if you have not been faithful with what belongs to another, who will give you what is your own? No slave can serve two masters; for a slave will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and wealth.’
So here is the parable of the shrewd priest.
There was a revisionist priest,and charges of heresy and apostasy had been raised by parishioners who had voted with their feet and left that priest's church. The Bishop learned of the charges and saw the parish rolls and the money pledged to the Diocese declining so he called in that priest. "I am defrocking you for you have led people astray and are costing me money!" The priest then said to himself, "What will I do now? I have no backbone so I cannot work construction, and I have too much education to flip burgers. I know what I'll do. I will go to those who left the church because of me and take back what I said. He went to the first one and asked, "What offended you?" He answered, "You said there was no Devil." The ex-priest said, "I was wrong. I have sinned against God and my neighbor." The ex-parishioner answered, "I forgive you." The former priest asked another, "What offended you?" The ex-parishioner answered him saying, "You said that people weren't meant to stay married for fifty years and that the church got it right when divorce was liberalized." The ex-priest said, "I was wrong. I have sinned against God and my neighbor." The ex-parishioner answered, "I forgive you."And so it went, on and on to countless others. And you know what? One of those people gave him a job!  
What a shrewd priest. I hope he really meant it.
No priest can serve two masters. You cannot serve God and revisionism.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Amazon.com Banning Books on Conversion Therapy, but Books Supporting Pedophilia Are Okay

The mainstream media (MSM) has been trying, and succeeding, in shaping society to fit the LGBTQetc agenda for quite some time. Modern day thought control limits one's exposure to films, books, even blogs that are considered anti-zeitgeist while maximizing exposure to all things pro-LGBTQetc. 

And now the MSM, through its Amazon affiliate, is also promoting perversions that most of us still believe to be perversions while banning Christian books that dare to claim that Jesus can heal unwanted sexual desires and/or behaviors.

From the Christian Post,

"Restored Hope Network Executive Director Anne Paulk and pastoral counselor Joe Dallas both saw their books removed from the retail giant. Amazon told some authors that their books, which detail how Jesus transformed their lives and sexual identities, were in 'violation of our content guidelines.'" 
"Among the books that remain available on the platform is an academic work titled Pedophilia and Adult-Child Sex: A Philosophical Analysis by Stephen Kershnar, which amounts to a defense of the sexual exploitation of children and calls into question its moral status..."

"...Paulk added Thursday: 'It is appalling that Amazon has banned books detailing how one struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction can overcome those feelings and steward his or her sexuality in a biblical fashion, while thinking nothing of selling books that celebrate the kind of deviancy Jeffrey Epstein was accused of.'"

"...Other books that Amazon has recently banned include: Growth into Manhood: Resuming the Journey by Alan Medinger; Achieving Heterosexuality: A Universal, Scientific, and Faith-Based Perspective by Marie Davidson; and Straight Talk about Homosexuality: The Other Side of Tolerance by Richard Cohen."
 Appalling is right.

Think about that the next time you buy anything from Amazon.com.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Luke 15:1-10

Once again Luke 15:1-10 rolls around on the lectionary cycle. I commented on this back in 2012 and I would like to repost my updated version of the parable of the good shepherd after you read Jesus' version,

Now all the tax-collectors and sinners were coming near to listen to him. And the Pharisees and the scribes were grumbling and saying, ‘This fellow welcomes sinners and eats with them.’
 So he told them this parable: ‘Which one of you, having a hundred sheep and losing one of them, does not leave the ninety-nine in the wilderness and go after the one that is lost until he finds it? When he has found it, he lays it on his shoulders and rejoices. And when he comes home, he calls together his friends and neighbours, saying to them, “Rejoice with me, for I have found my sheep that was lost.” Just so, I tell you, there will be more joy in heaven over one sinner who repents than over ninety-nine righteous people who need no repentance. ‘Or what woman having ten silver coins, if she loses one of them, does not light a lamp, sweep the house, and search carefully until she finds it? When she has found it, she calls together her friends and neighbours, saying, “Rejoice with me, for I have found the coin that I had lost.” Just so, I tell you, there is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner who repents.’
I know that the second sentence of this reading has been misused by revisionist preachers who like to teach their pewsitters that as Jesus loves and dines with sinners, he must not hate the sin as much as we neanderthals claim.

Modern people might have a problem with making an analogy between a lost sheep and "sinner." "Sinner" sounds so judgmental, and "Sin" itself has lost its meaning. You see, nowadays, the concept of "sin" is open to interpretation. The very notion of "Sin" is frequently brushed aside as another relic of the past. Even those who accept that there might be such a thing as generic "Sin" still try to re-classify specific behaviors that were previously held to be sinful into things that can first be considered an acceptable alternative lifestyle and later morph into something deserving of a blessing. With that in mind, let us see how the old parable might be rewritten to live into today's context.
You have in your flock many sheep. When you discover one missing, which one of you does not go out in search of the missing sheep? Which one of you, when you find that the lost sheep has discovered its authentic self as a pig, and is happiest when wallowing in mud, does not say, "Let me bring the rest of the flock here so that they too may wallow in the mud"? And when he has done so, he calls his neighbors, saying to them, "Rejoice with me, for I have found that sheep prefer to be pigs, and are happiest when they can wallow in the mire. Join us." Just so, that which was once considered sinful may now be considered blessed. (UP 7:11/12a)

I don't think my modern parable will hold up very well unless I add a follow up to the inevitable question, "Teacher explain this parable to us."
Do not do as this shepherd has done. For the owner of the sheep will come at sheep shearing time. Noticing that there are but few sheep in His pasture,  He sets out searching for the shepherd. Then the owner will find what appear to be pigs wallowing raucously in another man's sty and the lost shepherd watching over them. "They do look happy," the owner thinks, "But this is not the pure spring of water in which I had intended for them to bathe." And then He calls them, but because of their squeals of pleasure, they can not hear Him, and they can not follow His voice. He will then seek out the remnants of His flock that stayed in His pasture. I tell you, there will be more tears in heaven over the lost sheep and the lost shepherd than all the tears shed by man shed over all of time. (UP 7:11/12b) 
Sigh... this explanation will probably be rejected by various scholars as the work of some later redactor because they will cite modern studies that prove sheep really are happiest when you let them wallow in the mire.




“If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves
and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is
faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and
purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we
have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar and his
word has no place in our lives.” (1 John 1:8-10; NIV)

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Justin Welby, CJW (Climate Justice Warrior)

The Rebel Priest has an interesting interview with an Indian climatologist who details the errors of  Archbishop Justin Welby's climate change alarmism. Read the interview at The Rebel Priest's pages.

The Rebel Priest adds that the Archbishop is seen as shirking from his duties to "Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (Matthew 28:19),
"Archbishop Welby’s 'climate justice' lecture on September 3 at India’s most leftwing seminary was slammed by Indian Christians who saw it as a cop out from the real issue of widespread persecution facing the Indian church under the current Hindu fundamentalist regime of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and corruption in the Church of South India.
Welby was also lambasted for promoting religious relativism and pluralism by engaging in inter-faith dialogue rather than preaching the gospel of Jesus Christ."
I remember when Justin Welby was considered "evangelical".

If climates change, so can evangelicals I guess. 

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Starting With a Solid Foundation

In this Sunday's reading from Luke 14:25-33, Jesus puts some tough demands on the large number of would be followers that he had attracted.
Now large crowds were travelling with him; and he turned and said to them,  ‘Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and even life itself, cannot be my disciple.  Whoever does not carry the cross and follow me cannot be my disciple.  For which of you, intending to build a tower, does not first sit down and estimate the cost, to see whether he has enough to complete it?  Otherwise, when he has laid a foundation and is not able to finish, all who see it will begin to ridicule him,  saying, “This fellow began to build and was not able to finish.”  Or what king, going out to wage war against another king, will not sit down first and consider whether he is able with ten thousand to oppose the one who comes against him with twenty thousand?  If he cannot, then, while the other is still far away, he sends a delegation and asks for the terms of peace.  So therefore, none of you can become my disciple if you do not give up all your possessions.
Jesus had a plan. He had a Church to build. He needed a strong foundation. He demanded a lot out of his disciples.

Does your church have a plan? You had better start with the foundation. We had better expect to give up a lot of our tightly held possessions, preconceived notions, our time, and opinions and get down to the hard work of studying the Bible together in order to be that foundation. 


Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Denominational Decline: The Picture in Wales

The Church in Wales has bought into the LGBTQ formula for denominational decline. The statistics look eerily similar to those we have witnessed in most Episcopalian dioceses. The tables can be found over at the Ancient Briton blog.

To sum it up, the total number of congregants in Wales is dropping, and funerals outnumber baptisms. I saw this statistic played out in my Episcopal parish years ago. I believe the attrition will continue as long as false teachers occupy the pulpit, the Bishop's chair, the House of Bishops, and in Wales, the "Bench of Bishops".

Sunday, September 01, 2019

Cracked Cisterns Hold No Water

This Sunday's reading from Jeremiah 2:4-13 illustrates why he was such a pariah that he was thrown into a pit which some translate as a "cistern".

Hear the word of the Lord, O house of Jacob, and all the families of the house of Israel. Thus says the Lord:What wrong did your ancestors find in me   that they went far from me,and went after worthless things, and became worthless themselves?  They did not say, ‘Where is the Lord   who brought us up from the land of Egypt,who led us in the wilderness,   in a land of deserts and pits,in a land of drought and deep darkness,   in a land that no one passes through,   where no one lives?’  I brought you into a plentiful land   to eat its fruits and its good things.But when you entered you defiled my land,   and made my heritage an abomination.  The priests did not say, ‘Where is the Lord?’   Those who handle the law did not know me;the rulers* transgressed against me;   the prophets prophesied by Baal,   and went after things that do not profit.  Therefore once more I accuse you,says the Lord,   and I accuse your children’s children.  Cross to the coasts of Cyprus and look,   send to Kedar and examine with care;   see if there has ever been such a thing.  Has a nation changed its gods,   even though they are no gods?But my people have changed their glory   for something that does not profit.  Be appalled, O heavens, at this,   be shocked, be utterly desolate,says the Lord,  for my people have committed two evils:   they have forsaken me,the fountain of living water,   and dug out cisterns for themselves,cracked cisterns   that can hold no water. 
The imagery of a cracked cistern predates the "waterless clouds" of Jude 1:12 and idioms like "as worthless as a bucket that won't hold water".

Jerimiah would learn that the only thing a cracked cistern will hold is mire.

I would count those who try to silence the voice of Christianity, the proponents of a secular society, as builders of cracked cisterns, waterless clouds, and leaky buckets... worse than worthless.