Saturday, November 15, 2008

Saturday Coffee Stops

Christianity Today: The Song of Larks - John Stott

Perched on some conspicuous twig, with beak lifted high and throat vibrating violently, a bird will seem to sing its head off. Scripture even says, metaphorically speaking, that it is engaged with all nature in worship:

Praise the Lord from the earth, … wild animals and all cattle, small creatures and flying birds … Let them praise the name of the Lord (Psalm 148:7, 10, 13).

But of course this is a pure anthropomorphism. Singing birds have no idea what they are doing. And we must not copy them in this. Bishop John Jewel of Salisbury saw this clearly in his Second Book of Homilies (1571). In the homily entitled "Of Common Prayer and Sacraments" he wrote that we must sing "with the reason of man, not with the chattering of birds." To be sure, he continued, "ousels and popinjays and ravens and pies and other such like birds are taught by men to prate they know not what; but to sing with understanding is given by God's holy will to the nature of man."

We cannot sing with joy and gratitude to the Lord unless we sing with understanding.

More Coffee Poetry from

by Karen Suriano

coffee sniff the spying eyes of sunrise find
me stumbling bumbling to the kitchen blind
coherent thought is undermined
sleep slugs, grey matter intertwined
lurch on undaunted, the freezer is mined
of roasted nirvana for electric grind
scoop and measure the unrefined
then water, heat and bean combined
hiss and gurgleshout most unkind
but aroma kisses with peace of mind
before first sip, much was maligned
but after, my outlook is realigned

Time Magazine: My Spiritual Journey - Barack Obama

This link is for those of you who are frightened you might be accused of being a terrorist because you are seen handling a copy of Obama's book, The Audacity of Hope. Time Magazine excerpted the chapter on Faith and published it in full online.

In the black community, the lines between sinner and saved were more fluid; the sins of those who came to church were not so different from the sins of those who didn't, and so were as likely to be talked about with humor as with condemnation. You needed to come to church precisely because you were of this world, not apart from it; rich, poor, sinner, saved, you needed to embrace Christ precisely because you had sins to wash away--because you were human and needed an ally in your difficult journey, to make the peaks and valleys smooth and render all those crooked paths straight.

It was because of these newfound understandings--that religious commitment did not require me to suspend critical thinking, disengage from the battle for economic and social justice, or otherwise retreat from the world that I knew and loved--that I was finally able to walk down the aisle of Trinity United Church of Christ one day and be baptized. It came about as a choice and not an epiphany; the questions I had did not magically disappear. But kneeling beneath that cross on the South Side of Chicago, I felt God's spirit beckoning me. I submitted myself to His will, and dedicated myself to discovering His truth.

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