I, for one, am quite excited about the patriotic opportunity to pay even more for my individually-purchased health care. After all, the cost of progress ought to be the elimination of anyone who can’t afford progress. Or something like that.
Archive for May, 2013
What are the alternatives, though? Would you go for an option like this? If you knew up front what your costs would be for the visit This option makes a lot of sense for people who are basically healthy and only require intermittent health care. Employers could save a fortune on the premiums they pay on employees behalf – which many are passing on directly to their employees because of skyrocketing prices.
I’m seriously considering starting a recovery group for people who believe in God but have had awful experiences in congregations.
We’ve lived in California for six years now (as of July 4th). In that time, there have been lots of earthquakes, but only one that I’ve really noticed. That was several years ago in a large parking structure (the Disneyland parking structure, actually!). That time, the car rocked as though the kids were romping around in the back seat. I told them to calm down, then realized they weren’t in the car yet. We hurriedly left the parking structure.
With the release of the latest addition of the DSM-5, there is a growing concern that we are attempting to overly-regulate everyone into a very narrow band of behavior. Given the magical promises behind every new pill, and some of the close relationships between those who contribute to this manual and the pharmaceutical industry, there are big dollars at stake, and big opportunities. In the meantime, every eccentricity is looked at askance by parents and teachers and others who expect that there should be nothing unusual in anyone’s disposition or behavior.
Or more accurately unfairness at Disneyworld. For those of you who aren’t aware, it was revealed in the past couple of weeks that people with a lot of money are able to bypass the lines at Disneyworld by hiring disabled persons to accompany them on their trip to the Magic Kingdom. These disabled ‘guides’ benefit from the fact that Disneyworld allows disabled people to bring up to six family members (or guests – the article above simply says guests, but other articles seemed to imply they had to be family members) to a special entrance for the ride (or queue, for our international readers) that bypasses the normal line and often provides much faster access to the ride.
Date: June 2, 2013,
Second Sunday after Pentecost
1Kings 8:22-24, 27-29, 41-43; Psalm 96:1-9; Galatians 1:1-12; Luke
Notes: Following the festival Sundays of Pentecost
and Holy Trinity, we now enter Ordinary Time proper. Ordinary Time
consists of those Sundays in the Church year that are not festival
Sundays (Christmas, Easter) or part of special seasons (Advent,
Lent). Ordinary time began in the season of Epiphany this year, and
lasted three Sundays prior to Transfiguration Sunday and then the
beginning of Lent. Now we begin Ordinary Time again during the
season of Pentecost. Ordinary Time readings focus on Christ in the
life of the Church. The readings are no longer necessarily as
tightly bound together as they were in Advent, Christmas, Lent, and
Easter. The Gospel and the Old Testament will continue to be linked
together, but the Epistle reading will start being used to read
through contiguous blocks of Scripture.
1 Kings 8:22-24: While
the reading for today is somewhat chopped up, the purpose is to keep
the reading reasonably short while concentrating on the particular
theme of God’s presence in his house, and the mediating effect of
that presence for the entire world. In the season of Pentecost, this
selection leads us to consider that the power and presence of God
reside in his Church – wherever the Word is preached in fullness
and the Sacraments celebrated properly. As such, the Church is a
place of power and promise for the people of God who constitute it.
However this blessing is not limited to those of the Church, but
rather the Church should become the vessel through which the power of
God pours out in love to all of his creation.
This is an important notion for the
Church to maintain and remember – we are not opposed to those
outside the Church. They are not our enemies (though some may act
like it and even consider themselves enemies). The Church is to be
the place where these people are prayed for, and where the power of
God still reaches into their lives intentionally, as the Gospel
lesson highlights as well. We pray for the world, and we pray for
the blessing of God on the world, that the world might come to know
and worship God.
Psalm 96:1-9 : A psalm
of praise. Who is to sing this psalm? All the earth – meaning all
of creation – since all of creation is the Lord’s work. This
praise should be declared amidst all the nations of the earth, not
just God’s special nation Israel (or now, the Church). Since God is
at work in all places and situations, we can always point to the work
of God the Holy Spirit even in the lives of those who do not yet
believe in him or know him. They may think there are other gods
(vs.4-5), but they are mistaken. In declaring the works of God, the
confusion of the nations should be dispelled that they might praise
him properly. This is the proper response to an encounter with the
God who created all creation!
We move away from the Book of Acts in order to begin the ancient
practice of lectio
– extended, contiguous readings of Scripture. The purpose is not
necessarily to relate directly to the themes of the Old Testament and
Gospel readings (though sometimes this happens), but rather to
provide exposure to large sections of Scripture in whole. We’ll
spend six weeks reading through much of Galatians.
begins as he does almost all of his letters – by introducing
himself and stating his qualifications to be writing. He was not
merely designated an apostle by men (as though that were possible,
which Acts 1:23-26 demonstrates), but rather was directly called by
the resurrected Jesus Christ, referring to his conversion experience
on the road to Damascus (Acts 9). He then speaks a blessing
(vs.3-5), and then moves to his main concern in the letter – that
the Galatians are losing the true Gospel. Before dealing with this
issue, Paul makes it clear that there can only be one good news, one
Gospel. Anything else is an abomination which must be stamped out.
No human or spiritual entity that proclaims a Gospel other than
Christ crucified should be listened to – and this includes Paul
In the previous chapters of Luke, Jesus has called his disciples,
begun his ministry of teaching and working miracles – particularly
healing miracles. His teaching in the previous chapter focused on
the blessedness of those who love God, and the dangers of judging
But we all judge – it is part of what we do, and while a necessary
aspect of our humanity, it can be a damaging one. Moreover, the
biases and prejudices that affect our judgment may be transparent to
us: we don’t know they are there or how they affect us until they are
pointed out to us.
So it is that after teaching about not judging others and loving your
enemies (Luke 6:27ff), Jesus drives home his point in the healing of
the centurion’s servant. This centurion is well thought of in the
Jewish community, supporting it by building them a synagogue. But he
is not a Jew. He is a gentile, an outsider. Still, the Jews are
willing to acknowledge that this man’s support for the Jews ought to
merit his prayers being answered.
Jesus responds to this request for healing, and allows the trust of
this Gentile centurion to be instructional for God’s people. This
encounter with a favored Gentile is the first obvious miracle worked
for someone outside of the Jewish faith. It is a prelude to what
will follow later in the Chapter, where a sinful woman is healed.
But the implications are already clear – the blessings of God are
not only for the people of God. God loves all of his creation and
desires to heal it. He is more than willing and able to work his
power in the lives even of those who do not profess faith in him.
Our faith in a particular set of beliefs or doctrines is not what
enables the Holy Spirit to do something or not. God works where He
We as the people of God should always be placing ourselves in the
position of the Jewish leaders in this passage, advocating on behalf
of their Gentile neighbor, desiring to see God’s power poured out and
manifested. When we assert that we will not do this (or God cannot
do this) until a certain set of conditions are met, we are in error.
When we pray for the power of God in another person’s life, we are
praying that the Holy Spirit will be at work, and we know that the
Spirit’s ultimate purpose is to lead people to Jesus, who will point
them to the Father.
Pray for those in your life who do not know Jesus. Don’t just pray
that they come to faith, but pray for their struggles and sicknesses
and difficulties. Pray that by the Holy Spirit’s obvious activity in
their life, they will be brought to faith!
I was talking with a friend the other day who is job-hunting. There was a promising lead on a good position, but it fell through. In a conversation he had with another person, that person comforted him by telling him that it must not have been in God’s plan for him.
- I know what God’s plan is but you obviously don’t or you wouldn’t have even bothered trying for that job in the first place.
- Every misfortune is just preparation for something even better.
- We should never feel bad about anything because all of it is in God’s plan for us.
- Faithfulness gives us insider knowledge of what God is doing.
If you follow the Reading Ramblings entries here, you know that this coming Sunday is Holy Trinity Sunday. One Sunday a year we take time to consider the Trinitarian nature of the Biblical Christian faith. After spending the first six months of the Church liturgical year focused almost exclusively on the Son of God made man, we pause to draw our breaths and affirm that we are, still, Trinitarians. We profess a faith that tells us not just of God made man, but of God not made man.
Although things have been quiet here at the blog for a few days, there are rarely few days that are actually quiet. One never quite knows what will be said about oneself, or where, or by whom.