Archive for May 30, 2013

A Lone Turtle   Leave a comment

On a rock in the Middle Oconee River

on a warm evening,

on a day when one does not shiver,

a lone turtle stood.

—–

There it remained,

for how long I do not know,

until it returned to the water,

its head below

the surface.

—–

Why did the turtle move?

Did it see us watching it from the land?

Or did it have another reason?

I want to understand.

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 30, 2013 COMMON ERA

The Call to Service   1 comment

Sépulture_la_Fayette

Above:  The Grave of the Marquis de LaFayette, Paris, France

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rom. 12, 1

1.  Here is mentioned as an incentive to action the mercies–goodness–of God.  He has blessed us through His providence and grace.  What more can He say [than] that He has said?  He will freely give us all things.

2.  We are expected to show our fellow servants the same spirit He has shown us as taught in the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant.  “Forgive us as we forgive.”

3.  We should so appreciate His goodness as to be glad to pass it on in His name.  If we really appreciate His goodness we will want to see others blessed with the same salvation.

Ungrateful men despise ingratitude in others.

4.  But nothing short of giving ourselves can fittingly show our gratitude.  “We are debtors,” owe Him all we are.  We have no right to reserve anything.

There is so much to be done.  We  should law ourselves out in service for humanity and in His service and in His name.  How the world needs those who have a passion for righteousness!

—–

Here, in a different color of ink from a later time, my great-grandfather added the following:

and who are mighty in prayer.

“LaFayette, we are here.”–Pershing at LaFayette’s grave in 1917

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

Spiritual Religion and Ritualism   8 comments

CPC_6811

Above:  Cathedral of St. Philip, Atlanta, Georgia, April 28, 2013

Image Source = Bill Monk, Episcopal Diocese of Atlanta

(https://plus.google.com/photos/114749828757741527421/albums/5872391793912748097/5872401616857022178?banner=pwa&pid=5872401616857022178&oid=114749828757741527421)

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

EDITOR’S NOTE:

My great-grandfather was an old-style Methodist.  I, on the other hand, am an unapologetic and ritualistic Episcopalian.  I have found that

emphasizing…the manner of religious ceremony

creates a holy environment inside which

genuine religious experience

finds a natural home.  In fact, all who adopt a particular pattern of regular worship–liturgy–emphasize the manner of religious ceremony.  My great-grandfather adopted a particular pattern of regular worship–one simpler than mine–but he did adopt a liturgy.  So, even if he did not recognize the fact that he was doing so, he was, so he was guilty of transgressing his own statement at the end of this post.

I have had some negative encounters with people–very conservative Southern Baptists, mainly–who mistake the simplicity of worship for the purity thereof.  But I agree with a Presbyterian college professor who wrote an article about worship in Presbyterian Survey magazine in the 1920s.  Mustiness, he wrote, is not the odor of sanctity.  (If I could find the precise citation on that!)

KENNETH RANDOLPH TAYLOR

MAY 30, 2013 COMMON ERA

THE FEAST OF SAINT EUSEBIUS OF CAESAREA, HISTORIAN AND ROMAN CATHOLIC BISHOP

THE FEAST OF APOLO KIVEBULAYA, ANGLICAN EVANGELIST

THE FEAST OF JOACHIM NEANDER, GERMAN REFORMED MINISTER AND HYMN WRITER

THE FEAST OF JOSEPHINE BUTLER, WORKER AMONG WOMEN

+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rom. 14, 17

1.  Difficult to appreciate small duties and still give proper emphasis to supreme questions.  Ritualism has attracted far too much attention.

2.  Christ’s kingdom is not eating and drinking–externals.  Man’s trouble first of all is an evil heart.  Jesus emphasized the need of the heart above conduct.  (Matt. 15, 8)  By birth & ritualism the Pharisees were the very best.  But He said:  “Ye are of the your father the devil.”  They made a fetish of externals.  Ritualism cannot change the heart; only the blood can.

3.  His kingdom is spiritual–within.

(a)  Righteousness–conformity to heart & life to the law of God–the heart rightly disposes toward God and man.

(b)  Peace with God & man and joy–a positive experience of heart-felt religion.

4.  How are these things realized, by eating and drinking?  Paul says:  In the Holy Spirit.”  The only divine agent used in the salvation of the lost.

5.  Hence appears the folly of emphasizing as some do the manner of religious ceremony, even baptism, and virtually saying only those are Christians who observe certain customs.  See 1 Cor. 13, 1-3 & 1 Jno. 3, 18.

The greatest thing is to have a genuine religious experience.  Walk by this rule.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

The Wages of Sin   2 comments

4a03836v

Above:  Whirlpool Rapids

Copyright Claimant = Detroit Publishing Co.

Image Source = Library of Congress

(http://www.loc.gov/pictures/item/det1994003455/PP/)

Reproduction Number = LC-D4-4069 B

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rom. 6, 23

1.  He that worketh receiveth wages.  Every course of conduct brings its return.  “Whatsoever one soweth that shall he reap.”

2.  Who yields himself to sin becomes thereby the bondslave of sin.  Rom. 6, 16

The power of Satan masters him and he pays a daily wage as he himself wills.

3.  The wages of sin is death:

(1)  Death of the body is the the result of sin.  Violent deaths increase.  Bloody & deceitful men shall not live out half their days.  Ps. 55, 23

(2)  Death of character–becoming finally a worthless being, insensible of all good.

(3)  Of sensibility of sin.  The first oath brought the blush quickly, but later one swear before anyone without shame.

(4)  Of the power of resistance.  God and friends cry stop; but sin puts one where he can’t stop.  The current in the rapids catches him and hurls him over the precipice and all is lost.

5.  Of the soul.  To sink into eternal night and suffer forever the pains of an unending ruin.  Eternal punishment where there is the weeping and the wailing and the gnashing of teeth.

Will you not stop now?

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

Good From All Things to the Christian   1 comment

Rom. 8, 28

1.  “For good.”  To be drawn nearer to Him, to become more like Him, to learn to love Him and trust Him more certainly is good.  Whatever furthers us in things divine is good.  We here look at results, not so much at process.

2.  “To those that love him.”  Those who trust and obey and submit to His will.  Important to fix this in our minds.  Not to those who rebel.

3.  “Work…for good.”  This is His will, His desire.  He seeks to accomplish it in us.

(1)  Temptations test our strength and give occasion to exercise it.  He gives added grace for every greater need.

(2)  In afflictions He will comfort us as we look to Him.  Thus the heart is softened and one learns to trust Him more.  “It is good for me that I have been afflicted.”  As our loved ones pass on before heaven becomes more real and dear to us.

(3)  Prosperity will, as we love Him, make us more grateful.  His goodness will inspire us to love Him more.

4.  Sometime we will understand that all has helped us toward our eternal home.  We are so much concerned with the process now [that] we may not see it till later; but after a while He will make it plain.  Then let us trust and obey. Be the way never so [illegible word].

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

The Witness of the Spirit   4 comments

Pentecost_(Kirillo-Belozersk)

Above:  Pentecost Icon

++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++

Rom. 8, 16

1.  Sin is real, man sees and feels it.  He needs rest in the assurance of deliverance.

2.  Foundation in scripture:

Rom. 5, 5 & 8, 15.

2 Cor. 1, 22 & 5, 5-6.

Gal. 4, 6.

Eph. 1, 13.

1 Jno. 3, 14 & 24.

1 Jno. 5, 6, 7, 10 & 19.

3.  Paul here speaks not of the indirect but of the direct testimony, which is the inner conviction or testimony of the Spirit that I am His child.  Not of eternal but of present salvation.

How [to] know it is his voice?  He wills I should know it is He.  His is a fatherly voice.  Another aid is the preceding experience.  Born not only once but constantly.  Have you it now?  This is supremely important?

4.  Indirect testimony

(1)  “By two or three witnesses” is law.  Hence both are given.

(2)  Man is conscious of this change.

(3)  It embodies the soul to do and dare.

5.  Be not satisfied without the direct witness.  It is for you.

Rest not without the fruits of the Spirit.  Thus be twice assured.

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT

We Are Debtors   2 comments

Rom. 8, 12

Their religious experience imposed a great debt, or obligation.

1.  Once they were slaves to sin–a hard master.  Lived to the flesh.  Were dead to righteousness.

2.  But the Spirit, coming into their lives, broke the power of sin, adopted them into the family of God, whereby they cry:  “Abba, Father.”  (No chattel slave, when adopted could say:  “Abba”).  They bear the family name.  This is a wonderful change in their relations and experience.

3.  This grace and change impose a great debt–obligation  by His favors.

(1)  Not to live after the flesh.  Must not disgrace their new name.  Never were obligated to Satan:  certainly now, that He has adopted us, and made all things new.

(2)  To walk in the Spirit.  Obey, follow Him.  Be inspired to act by Him, not by self-will.  “Be filled with the Spirit.”  Eph. 5, 18

GEORGE WASHINGTON BARRETT