ESV BCP Daily Office Lectionary

How’s that for acronyms? The English Standard Version (ESV) of the Bible has a fantastic tool for performing the daily office of the Book of Common Prayer (BCP). The ESV compiles the daily Bible readings: Psalms, OT, NT, Gospel – click this link. Not only that, if you use an RSS reader of some kind (I use Google Reader), you can subscribe to the RSS feed for this service and have it automatically show up every day! And that’s still not all! In Google Reader, the audio for the feed also shows up automatically, so I can click play and listen to the all of the day’s readings. I think this is way cool and I suggest it to you as a tool. The ESV site also has other reading plans if you’re not down with the BCP.

Catholic Inclusion ~ Catholic Exclusion

The logic of the Roman Catholic Church is that you are better off not ever hearing the gospel or knowing about the Church than you are in knowingly refusing to enter her. In other words, pagans who have not heard are better off than those who hear and do not join the Church. Current Catholic theology bumps up against universalism while at the same time magnifying the necessity of Rome for salvation, [as an aside, this is also the position of the Latter Day Saints, something I hope to write about soon].

The Catechism of the Catholic Church makes this astounding statement:

“The plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator, in the first place amongst whom are the Muslims; these profess to hold the faith of Abraham, and together with us they adore the one, merciful God, mankind’s judge on the last day.” (§841)

Also, if someone ‘through no fault of their own’ does not know of Christ and the Church, he is good to go. “Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and, moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience–those too may achieve eternal salvation.” (§847)

But if you have the misfortune of having heard about Christ and the Church and you stay outside, you’re in trouble:

“Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.” (§846)

Writing in the February, 2008 edition of First Things, the late Avery Cardinal Dulles confirms this line of thought:

“Piux IX and the Second Vatican Council taught that all who followed their conscience, with the help of the grace given to them, would be led to that faith that was necessary for them to be saved. During and after the council, Karl Rahner maintained that saving faith could be had without any definite belief in Christ or even in God…[but] In Christ’s Church, therefore, we have many aids to salvation and sanctification that are not available elsewhere.”

I take this view to be a dangerous delusion that provides false comfort to people in contradiction to what God has told us in the Scriptures. The Bible tells us, “For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.” We are told by Jesus that, “No one comes to the Father except through me.” Saint Peter says that “Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” Hopefully, the living Word of God will work its way in the Catholic Church and in time she will revert to her more ancient views on this subject.

Recent reads

The End of the Historical-Critical Method, Gerhard Maier

Angels in the Architecture, Jones, Wilson

The Last Tycoon, F. Scott Fitzgerald

Theses On Worship, James Jordan

The Best of the Public Square, Book Two, Richard John Neuhaus

The Cult of the Saints, Peter Brown

The Country Parson, George Herbert

Delete an Adobe Account

If you have an account with Adobe online and you want to delete it, you’ll find no instructions on how to do so. At least, I didn’t find any. So I asked about it, and here is how you do it:

Send an email to privacy-officer@adobe.com. In the email, include the following:

Customer First and Last Name:
Customer ID Number:  [if you know it]
Customer email address:
Customer request:

They should get it done within a week or so.

Close Distance

     Sometimes, the way things are seems very strange when you think about it. For example, imagine two buildings across the street from each other, both are offices of about the same size. These buildings house two different companies. Every day, people drive down the same street from different places and arrive at these same two locations. They work, talk, go to lunch, work some more and then drive home.

     Physically, you could walk across the street and enter the other building. You could go there and walk around, seeing what this building is like and talking to the people in the various cubes and offices. But in actuality, you can’t do that. It may be fenced in, or require a badge to enter, or have locks that keep you out.      More importantly, these two companies may be in completely different fields, so that you stand little chance of entering the other organization, even if you want to. The requirements of the organization across the street might be for completely different skills than you have. They might have age requirements that bar you from working there, or it might be the kind of organization that has sites all over the country and if you were to work for them, there would be no guarantee that you could work in the location across the street – you might end up in Alabama instead. And yet, you can look out your office window every day and see the folks over there walking to and from their cars or smoking a cigarette.

     I find this notion of physical proximity and relational distance to be extremely odd. It doesn’t seem natural that you should have no idea who the folks across the street are, what they do, or where they live. Sometimes this can be different offices inside the same building, which is just as odd. In the historical past that I imagine, I cannot conceive of people working on the same street and not knowing each other. The butcher and the tanner across the street from each other must have known each other back then – no?

     But this relational separation exists on many more levels than just that of the office. I don’t know much about most of my neighbors – where they work, their names, what they are like, etc. Frankly, the ones that I do know I sort of wish I didn’t, but that’s my problem. Churches might be on the same block, or in some close proximity to each other, and yet have absolutely no idea about each other – who the congregants are, how they worship, what they believe, how they serve the community. It’s as if spatial proximity means nothing in the modern age. This seems wrong and disordered somehow.

Assessing English Translations of the Qur’an

A review of translations through history. From the article:

Evidence of Muhammad’s familiarity with Judaism is present in the Qur’an. One verse suggests that his contemporaries accused him of having a Jewish teacher. When some Arabs challenged Muhammad’s claim to be a prophet based on his mortality, he suggested that they consult Jewish scholars about history. Early Muslims resorted to Jewish lore so heavily that they produced a genre of literature: the Isra’iliyat, loosely translated as the Judaic traditions.An oral tradition was even attributed to Muhammad wherein he supposedly said, “Relate from the people of Israel, and there is no objection,”thereby enabling Islamic scholars to cite precedents from Jewish scholarship.

A Microsoft Free Zone

Since we received our new Mac, I have determined to avoid Microsoft products at all costs. I think it is now totally possible to live without Word on a home computer. I can use Buzzword, Pages, Google Docs, and as a last resort, OpenOffice as alternatives to Microsoft’s products. There are enough options out there – many of them free – to knock the Empire out of its dominant position. Hurrah!

Poinsettia

I am trying to keep the Poinsettia that we got at Christmas alive. I’ve tried this before but I think I killed the plants from cutting off too many leaves. This time, I let the flowers and leaves naturally die off and have done nothing but water it. So far, so good. It’s been alive for over two months since we got it, and it looks ok, if lopsided.

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