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Friday
Oct312014

Reformation Day Reading

Happy Reformation Day!

I'm so thankful for what the Reformers won for us through their many sacrifices. Every time we open our bibles written in our own language, we can thank the men who fought and died to have this book made available to the common man.

Today, I would like to direct you to three posts which focus on Reformation Day.

The first is a biographical sketch of Katherine Parr, the last wife of Henry VIII. Did you know of her religious sympathies? Read on to find out more of her. Diane has done her research for this one!

It's Rebecca's turn at Out of the Ordinary this morning, and she has written a post about of Jan Hus. We talk a lot about Luther and Calvin and Wycliffe, but Hus was a predecessor to the Reformers, and made contributions, too. 

In 2012, Christina Langella hosted an entire series about Women of the Reformation. You can check out the list of articles here.

All of this talk of church history always gets me excited to take down some volumes from my shelf. I hope to do that in the near future!

Thursday
Oct302014

Thankful Thursday

It's been an up and down week here. But I am thankful.

... for the safe return of my husband from a business trip. 

... for some improvement with my back. I hurt it on Monday morning, and it's been very painful. I've done a lot of nothing this week.

... for good progress with the student I'm tutoring. His mother is pleased, and that's encouraging. He's not a huge writing fan, but he's a nice kid, and I am enjoying working with him.

... for consistent friends. Consistency is an under-rated virtue. We always want the big and the bold. Give me consistent any day.

... for the promise of my parents coming for Christmas.

... for the fact the Christ has overcome the world, and that we can overcome it through him.

Wednesday
Oct292014

Calgon, take me away!

Do you remember that old commercial where the frazzled woman cries those words and ends the commercial soothing herself in Calgon's bubbly comfort? I have thought those words in recent days.

In light of sobering news stories that include terrorism, disease, and fear, it's easy to feel discouraged. And then to top it off, some of my social media feeds are nothing but a lot of poorly done debate about issues that will never be resolved, and just distract me from my real life. Do you ever just want something encouraging?

In the month of November, at Out of the Ordinary, we will be sharing nothing but gratitude. We all need to do that once in a while. Yes, those debates among the important people are necessary, but so are simple offerings of gratitude to God for even the littlest things. We ordinary theologians at Out of the Ordinary want to be encouraging in the month of November, so if you're looking for a bit of that, check out the details of our month of gratitude.

Tuesday
Oct282014

... if I say I believe this, then I must live like that ... 

Lloyd-Jones speaks about the New Testament method of teaching about holiness:

The living of the Christian life, according to the New Testament, is not primarily dependent upon some experience or some blessing which we have received. It is, rather, the outworking of the truth which we claim to believe. Now I suggest that that can never be repeated too frequently. Go through these New Testament epistles, and I think you will always find that that is their invariable method. The first half of most of these epistles is pure doctrine, a reminder to the people of what God has done to them and the exalted position in which they have been placed. And then the writer says, "Therefore ... "

This is the New Testament method. If I say I believe this, then I must live like that. There is no use in me saying I believe this unless I behave like that, and there are terrible warnings against not doing this. The New Testament teaching of holiness is always in terms of truth.

Monday
Oct272014

Size does not matter

On the weekend, I went with friends to a women's conference. The speaker, Mary Beth McGreevy came highly recommended by one of my friends. In years past, my friends and I have attended women's events, often featuring well-known speakers, only to come away disappointed. We were not disappointed on Saturday. 

It was not an elaborate conference, and that was refreshing. I've been on women's committees before, and been involved in the planning of a conference, and it's a huge task. Keeping things simple is a good idea. Rather than sitting in an auditorium, the intimate setting allowed us to sit at round tables that could hold 6-8 women. I am not sure how many women were there; perhaps 80 or so. But it was a perfect number, and I liked having a place to sit at to take notes.

The theme of the day was "In But Not of the World: Jesus' Prayer For His Own," and she took her three messages from John 17. She discussed the fact that the world is a foreign field, that it is a battlefield, and that it is a mission field. The messages were not geared toward how these affected us as women. There was nothing in anything she said which could not have been appreciated by a gentleman attending. She was intent on equipping us, not addressing an issue in terms of our gender alone. There are times to talk about gender, but too many women's conferences couch everything in terms of gender, and that often gives an incomplete picture.

In her last session, as she talked about how we are to address our culture as a mission field, she referred to Richard Neibuhr's Christ and Culture, and discussed the various options for addressing culture: separation, integration, and transformation. She spoke about how individuals can build bridges with those in the world as part of transforming the culture. She reminded us that the purpose of the church is to produce disciples, not legislate morality. She encouraged us to build relationships with people, to be respectful toward them, to listen to them; to earn the right to speak into their lives. 

McGreevy did not make this day about her. I have been to far too many women's events where the speaker has done nothing but adorn her personal life history with snippets of biblical truth here and there, rather than beginning with God. I had almost given up on women's events, but this was a good one. It was about God.

I think the ladies who organized this day have a lot to teach others about women's conferences. Focus on God. Keep it simple. Don't make it more about womanhood and less about God. Help women by equipping them with content that will spur Spirit-led decisions, not simply following lists or methods. By far the best content is that which can carry us into a myriad of life situations and circumstances.

This was a very small-scale event, but it was by far among the best I have ever attended. Size does not matter. I came away blessed, and I hope to return when they have another event.