Friday, October 27, 2006

Busy Busy Busy

I have been rather busy the past few weekends and I am still playing some catch up. I am thinking of things to write on, but I need to do a little research on it first. I wish all of you God's blessings.

Something to think about. Scholars have said in recent years that the sea the Israelites crossed when they left Egypt for the Exodous was miswritten as the "Red Sea" when it was the "Reed Sea" (think a swamp). However, Isaiah 51:10 says:

"Was it not you who dried up the sea,
the waters of the great deep,
who made a road in the depths of the sea
so that the redeemed might cross over?"

I thought it was interesting since it mentions "the deep." The "Reed Sea" isn't much deeper than about 2 meters (around 10 feet). I don't know if that qualifies as "great deep" in Hebrew. I don't know any Hebrew, but I think it would be interesting to compare some of these phrases with the actual word for the sea they crossed. I suspect it wasn't shallow like a "reed sea." Anyone out there with training in Hebrew willing to look this up?

Friday, October 06, 2006

Can I get a testimony?

These are words found more often in Baptist churches and rarely in Lutheran. However, this past weekend I visited my mom and my family went to her church, which is a WELS congregation. They are starting up some "new" thing where someone gets up at the end of the service and mentions how God has worked in their life. They didn't call it a "testimony" I don't think, but that is precisely what it is. On the surface, it might sound good. Some good, relevant comments from parishioners might be useful in providing reassurance to other communicants, right?

The part where this goes all wrong is, at the end, it becomes something that focuses on what we did for God... sacrificed a car, a house, a marriage, billions of dollars, etc. (and, oh yea, God made it work out ok) But the focus is still on self! What has God done for me? The fact I exist and am at church should say it all. Remember the parable of the rich man and the beggar? When the rich man asks for Moses to send the beggar to his brothers, the reply states (paraphrased) "If they don't believe the prophets, they won't believe someone who rises from the dead!" Why do we need "current" examples? Why won't the Bible fit this role? The reason, I think, goes to the fact that the Bible is, at this point, objective to us. We don't know anyone in there (other than Christ), we don't live in the area, and for the most part it exists outside of ourselves. However when your example is someone you know, it is easier to rationalize and justify, and even puff yourself up. These become pharasaical "sharing." This is a dangerous introduction. It would be far better to include an additional reading from the Bible, perhaps of one of its many examples, than it would be to have these subjective talks.

Has anyone else seen this? This was a first with a Lutheran church of any type. Thoughts are welcomed as I am still a bit puzzled and definitely concerned.