Sunday, August 19, 2007

Discipline or the Lack Thereof

Today's sermon on "Discipline" was an example of lack of discipline. As I read ahead in our inaccurate bulletin, I saw in the New Testament readings lots of wonderful sermon opportunities. Paul's writing (Hebrews 12: 1-7, 11-14) on God disciplining those whom he loves, and "Endure trials for the sake of discipline" are true gems. Then In the Gospel reading I was hoping Charlie would expound on Luke (12:49-56) where Jesus exclaims that He has come not to bring peace to the earth but division! How more applicable to TEC can this be? I have to assume that Episcopal priests all over the country were quaking in their boots at how to preach this Sunday. This is the stuff we need to hear explained to us lowly pewsters. Instead we were treated to a literal wall spanking by the rector. I agree that our church's walls need repair, but I was afraid something might come crashing down when Charlie left the pulpit and gave the wall a whack in it's peeling panels. That's one way to start a renovation project! Then we had to endure a talk about money which Charlie admits he is not good at. As if to prove the point he claims some parishioners have not raised their giving in the 10 years he has been here.
Getting back to the title of this piece, one word "discipline" was taken out of the context of the scriptures and somehow transplanted into a sermon on our upcoming capital funds campaign. The lack of discipline I observed was the length of the sermon at 20 minutes ran well over the recommend 10-11 minutes. This is likely a consequence of not being disciplined enough to write the sermon down ahead of time.
The pewster's reporters had to help me as my brain goes on "vacare" after 12 minutes. They heard some strange things in the latter half of the sermon including something akin to "we are the government, and we are here to help you."
Please excuse me if I sound harsh, "but spare the rod and spoil the child."


  1. "we are the government, and we are here to help you."
    Sounds like the punch line to an old joke.

    But seriously folks...anyone who believes the government is there to help you has either not been paying attention...or has been smoking too much incense.

    Contrary to the popular idiom, there is no "middle ground". It's either black or white, right or wrong. Being anti-capitalist is the same as being pro-socialist, as these are the opposing economic ideas. Favoring abortion is the same as opposing innocent life. Being pro-government is the same as being anti-individual liberty and freedom.

    The erosion of essential principles and values means the erosion of America and a free sovereign nation of independent individuals able to pursue happiness free from government intrusions or legislated limitations. America is falling because our essential principles and values are falling. Those who seek a middle ground between right and wrong, good and evil, American and anti-American, are just as responsible for the fall of America as those who openly work in direct opposition to America.

    And then there was the smarmy comment about churches providing sanctuary to those who have willfully and egregiously violated our laws and customs by sneaking into the country by the back door. This is not a matter of Christian charity. It is a matter of a felonious assault on the rights and privileges of all US citizens. This isn't the first time I've heard a church leader stand up for the criminals who break our immigration laws. But it seems to me that the church is nothing if not steeped in a foundation of moral certitude. As Christians, we are expected to do the right thing...and obeying the law is a big part of that. People who willfully break the law in order to achieve their own selfish goals are hardly morally righteous. So how in God's name can a church leader possibly defend illegal immigrants?

    If you or I gave aid and comfort to a fugitive from justice, if we harbored such a fugitive or gave sanctuary, the police wouldn't think twice about arresting us.

  2. While I see your point, Cato, about middle ground on Gov't and capitalism, I fail to see the middle ground for abortion. I would like to hear how you explain it.

    I am confused at time with your commentary. It seem in this post you are asking for a serious sermon about some tough topic, but on the Lowell blog, you seem to support his "glazing over" the very serious topic of divorce. I hope my comment have not angered you or anyone. I am just desiring an open discussion. If I am offending you, please let me know and I will stop commenting on your site. My apologies if I offended.

    God Bless

  3. Lowell will be Lowell and you won't change him. But, bless his heart, he has a point when he refers to the Church as a place for those broken and cut off from church by divorce to be welcome. His parishioner sounded like a wounded soul in need of healing. Should that person be called a sinner and told to repent or is Lowell's accepting form of healing best? I assume that you would agree with me that true repentance and turning away from sin into a new life in Christ is what we would like to see happen when any of us sin. It is the repenting part and the sinning part that Episcopal priests seem to have trouble with. I have even heard from our local leaders that the confession of sins might be better off omitted from the Sunday Church service.
    When my ramblings are confused or contradictory it is probably because of my latent moderate leanings which Cato has been trying to correct.

  4. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  5. Should I delete the above comment? Looks like another blog spammer at work.

    Getting back to the subject of discipline, Sarah Hey in a piece over at recommended the following book at

  6. Delete it. If it's not a blog spammer, but merely someone who has been smoking too much incense, they won't notice its gone anyway.