Short Takes….(updated sporadically and without any apparent reason…..)
21 January 2022: This is depressing, but I see it validated every Sunday. This governmental shutdown of out economy and society for COVID will go down in history as one of the dumbest public health interventions of all time…..
7 November 21. I have been a long time advocate for Lutherans to adopt a more formal period of The Catechuminate. This is a deliberate formation of folks who are not initiated by Baptism, have not ever been instructed in the faith and never experienced the Sacraments. I found this great site and want to share it with all of you. I pray you are as blessed by this as I am. Let’s talk!
By Kent Burreson on Nov 05, 2021 09:57 am
A Ritual Journey: Welcome of Inquirers to the Catechumenate
In the process of faith formation the stage of Inquiry leads into the stage of the Catechumenate (this term can be used to denote both the entire process of faith formation and more narrowly the second stage of the process). We’ll explore the stage of the Catechumenate more fully at a later time. The Inquirer crosses over from the stage of Inquiry into the stage of the Catechumenate through the rite of Welcome of Inquirers/Rite of Acceptance into the Order of Catechumens. In both the Lutheran Welcome to Christ and in the Roman Catholic RCIA this is a public rite usually conducted within a congregation’s regular worship time. It is a threshold crossing rite for the inquirer. They now change status/role (or order as the RCIA puts it) within the congregation’s life. As an Inquirer they were on the edges of baptismal life in the congregation, exploring what this baptismal life might mean. After their Welcome into the Catechumenate their status is much more public. The congregation promises to support them as they begin formally the journey toward baptismal initiation into the church and to lead them to fully know and follow Christ by faith. The Inquirers who are now becoming Catechumens, as Roman Catholic Ronald Lewinski says in his book, An Introduction to the RCIA, “make a public promise to follow the way of Jesus, and they commit themselves to the formation process that leads to the initiation sacraments” (33). The rite of Welcome to the Catechumenate is a threshold rite because it requires spiritual discernment, both on the part of the inquirer and on the part of the congregation, as to whether the inquirer is ready to make the commitment into the next step in following the Lord Jesus by faith supported by this assembly. It is a serious commitment. The rite ritualizes the embrace of that commitment. Here is the outline of the rite in Welcome to Christ and in the RCIA.
Welcome to Christ
Presentation of Inquirers
Hymn of Praise
Prayer of the Day
Reading and Responses
Hymn of the Day
Signing with the Cross
Presentation of a Bible
Prayer and Blessing of Catechumens
Dialogue with New Candidates
Candidates First Acceptance of the Gospel
Affirmation by the Sponsors and Assembly
Signing with the Cross on Forehead
Signing of the Senses
Invitation to the Service of the Word
Instruction on the Word
Readings and Responses
[Presentation of a Bible]
Intercessions for the Catechumens
Prayer over the Catechumens
Dismissal of the Catechumens
Prayers of the Church
In following weeks I will walk through some of the specific aspects of the Rite of Welcome. The most significant aspects of the rite are the presentation and dialogue with the candidates, the signing with the cross and of the senses, the presentation of a Bible, and the prayer and blessing of the candidates. Note that the RCIA presumes a gathering of the congregation, possibly at a Mass, but not necessarily on Sunday (as indicated by the omission of the entrance rite), whereas Welcome to Christ presumes that it takes place at a Sunday Divine Service. The goal of the rite is to transition the inquirers into a lifelong pattern of faith formation. As the blessing prayer of Welcome to Christ says:
Merciful and Most High God, creator and life-giver of all that is, you have called all people from darkness into light, from error into truth, from death into life. We ask you: grant grace to [names] and bless them. Raise them by your Spirit. Receive them by your Word. Form them by your hand. Bring them to the water of life and to the bread and cup of blessing, that with all your people they may bear witness to your grace and praise you forever through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.
A pattern of faith formation—raised by the Spirit, received by the Word, formed by God’s hand, brought to the water of life and the bread and cup of blessing.
Copyright © 2021 Forming Lutherans, All rights reserved.
Now and then I find someone, especially a “younger than me” someone I feel should be read and listened to. Ben Domenech is such a man. Please bookmark him and come back often, better yet, subscribe to his column “The Transom”.
I started getting this “Poured Over” and think you may enjoy reading it. If you do, please subscribe and tell them where you saw it…..no, I don’t get anything for doing this page….plus, I don’t drink coffee.
–––––– October 27, 2021 ––––––
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Holy Scripture is the highest authority for every believer, the standard of faith and the foundation for reform.”
Since Sudan’s authoritarian president was ousted by a popular uprising in 2019, Sudan has been led by a military-civilian power-sharing government. On Monday, the military decided it didn’t want to share anymore.
General Al-Burhan led a military coup, detaining Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok and other senior government officials.
This wasn’t unexpected as General Al-Burhan led a failed coup attempt just last month (...try, try, again and all that) but neither is it welcome. The U.S. quickly condemned the coup and suspended $700 million in aid, a significant blow to Sudan’s $25 billion economy. Within Sudan, clashes between protestors and the military have left at least 10 dead, though accurate reporting is difficult as the military has disabled internet and phone lines.
There may be good reasons to be worried/scared/feel hopeless about this day, month, or year. God does not promise good days; He promises a great eternity.
“On Christ, the solid Rock, I stand; All other ground is sinking sand.”
Edward Mote, 1863 (Scriptural basis: Heb 13:8, Matt 7:24, Psalm 18:2)
Tastes Good, Is Good
While Fred Flintstone may have been fun to watch, his vitamins were surprisingly un-nutritious. As with almost every children’s vitamin, Mr. Flintstone’s vitamin continues to be candy in disguise — filled with sugar, weird dyes, and other gummy junk growing kids should never eat.
Enter Hiya — the #1 fastest growing children’s vitamin, made with 12 organic fruits and vegetables and naturally sweetened with zero sugar and zero gummy junk… all with a taste kids love.
And it’s not just healthy (and yummy), Hiya is also eco-friendly, coming in a refillable glass bottle your kids can decorate! Get 50% off your first order with code POUROVER when you try it today.
TikTok Goes to Washington
The four apps ruining your screen time stats are in hot water this week.
Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube appeared before Congress, and the “Facebook Consortium” completed their initial review of Frances Haugen’s “Facebook Papers.”
Is “the Facebook Consortium” an Avengers knock-off?
The Facebook Consortium is made up of nearly two dozen media companies (and counting) who agreed to band together, review the Facebook Papers, and wait to publish their findings until this week.
Remind me again… what are the “Facebook Papers?”
Francis Haugan, a former Facebook employee, blew the whistle three weeks ago and accused the company of choosing “people over profit” in areas of mental health, COVID misinformation, hate speech, and even human trafficking. (Also, we think “Facebook Pages” was a missed pun opportunity.)
How has Facebook responded?
Nick Clegg, VP of Global Affairs, pointed to the massive efforts the company has taken to combat these issues, citing $13 billion spent and over 40,000 jobs dedicated to preserving users’ safety.
It’s also worth noting that, despite the bad press, Facebook’s business is doing excellently. Revenue is up 36% and user count is up 12% year-over-year.
What about the other time-suckers?
Congress summoned Snapchat, TikTok, and YouTube to be questioned over their impact on bullying and body image issues in children and the TikTok vandalism trendthat’s destroying schools.
Executives from all three companies defended the ways they protect kids online and vowed to share internal research related to their platforms’ influence on kids.
The world has different priorities than God does, and many eternally insignificant things (like new trends) are compelling for a season. Stay focused on Christ and Kingdom goals, and remember: compared to spending eternity with God, most things don’t matter.
“Do not be conformed to this age, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may discern what is the good, pleasing, and perfect will of God.”
Romans 12:2 (CSB)
IN OTHER BREWS...
An FDA advisory panel voted unanimously, with one abstention, to recommend Pfizer’s low-dose COVID vaccine for children ages 5-11. While children are at a much lower risk of severe cases, the advisors wanted to empower parents to decide for their kids. This was a non-binding advisory vote; authorization still requires votes by the FDA and CDC.
Blue Origin, Jeff Bezos’s side-hustle, announced plans to launch a 32,000 sq. ft. commercial space station called Orbital Reef between 2025 and 2030. Blue Origin described the reef as a “mixed-use business park” that could serve as a research lab, a film set, or even a space hotel.
The U.N.’s nuclear watchdog says it can no longer monitor Iran’s nuclear activityafter Tehran refused to repair cameras at a key facility. The Director-General of the U.N. agency says there’s currently no indication Iran is creating a nuclear bomb, but called the breakdown of diplomacy very concerning.
500 Colombian special forces and 22 helicopters captured cartel leader Dairo Antonio Úsuga in an event likened to the arrest of Pablo Escobar in 1993. Úsuga has been a long-time fixture of the U.S. DEA’s most-wanted list and stands accused of exporting hundreds of tonnes of cocaine into the States.
Sorry King Solomon, Forbes magazine says Elon Musk is likely the wealthiest person to ever walk the planet after Hertz placed an order for 100,000 Teslas. The massive purchase pushed Tesla’s market cap above $1 trillion and rocketed Elon’s net worth to over $255 billion (more than Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, and all the TPO writers… combined).
WHIPPED CREAM ON TOP
You want to go rock climbing stepping…?
What We’re Reading
The Soul of Desire*.
Dr. Curt Thompson has a unique perspective on, well, life. Drawing on his work in interpersonal neurobiology and clinical practice, he explains how we are all created with a desire to be known and make things of beauty.
Weaving together neuroscience and spiritual formation, you’ll walk away with a deeper understanding of who you are and be challenged to look towards Christ to fulfill your desire for beauty alongside Christian community.
What We’re Sipping On
Don Pablo Signature Blend*.
As someone who has been harshly criticized by friends for my tendency to buy store brand hazelnut coffee, I would hardly consider myself the best person to ask for coffee-related advice… but I believe I’ve seen the light.
I honestly love opening the bag and being hit with that fresh-roasted smell of Don Pablo’s Signature Blend and it’s definitely helped me be less of an embarrassment to my coffee-themed employer. 10/10 would recommend!
Use code TPO for 20%-off their Signature Blend.
Mitch Larson | Business Developmen
New study says almost 70% of "born-again Christians" believe Jesus is not the only way to God and if that's you I would like to have a quick word with you please
Oct 23rd, 2021 1:07 pm
First, the study:
Regarding born-again Christians, nearly two-thirds (63 percent) said they share their faith at least once a year.
When asked what prevents them from communicating their faith to unbelievers, close to 70 percent of born-again Christians say there are other ways to Heaven aside from turning to Christ for salvation.According to the survey, this response is known as pluralism, which states that "There are other ways besides my way, and I don't need to impose my way on others."
How are so many people self-identifying as "born-again Christians" and simultaneously not believing one of the most essential truths of the faith?
Born-again Christians believe that the Bible is the word of God, right?
So if you are one of these "born-again Christians" who does not believe in the exclusivity of Christ, here are a few plain pieces of Scripture for you to ponder:
Jesus said to him, "I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me." —John 14:6
"And there is salvation in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given among men by which we must be saved." — Acts 4:12
"For there is one God, and there is one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." —1 Tim 2:5
"For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Whoever believes in him is not condemned, but whoever does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only Son of God." —John 3:16-18
I mean, pretty straightforward.
How about a bit from the Westminster Confession of Faith:
The Son of God, the second person in the Trinity, being very and eternal God, of one substance, and equal with the Father, did, when the fullness of time was come, take upon Him man's nature, with all the essential properties and common infirmities thereof; yet without sin: being conceived by the power of the Holy Ghost, in the womb of the Virgin Mary, of her substance. So that two whole, perfect, and distinct natures, the Godhead and the manhood, were inseparably joined together in one person, without conversion, composition, or confusion. Which person is very God and very man, yet one Christ, the only mediator between God and man.
How can anyone have knowledge of Christ's eternal place in the Trinity, and why he came to live as a man, and what he accomplished on the cross, and still think there are or even can be other paths to Heaven and eternity with him?
Think about it!
Also now bless yourself with this vintage clip of the late, great R.C. Sproul (and please take a moment to appreciate how fire his suit is):
This is Christianity 101. It's not a small deal what you believe here. It's a big deal.