Reading the Church Fathers during Lent

Ash Wednesday is observed next Wednesday, Feb 6. iMonk has linked to a site that gives us readings from the Fathers for each day of Lent. Click here. I will be adopting this discipline for the Lent season. In my reading of the Fathers it is my observation that it was a full meal they prepared for the church – no ten easy steps, no user-friendly sermons, no ten minutes homilies. My impression is that they had a sense of guarding the deposit of truth entrusted to them, even as Paul encourages Timothy to guard the Gospel.

Idiot Sightings!!!


These sound true enough to me. I bet you could add your own.

We had to have the garage door repaired. The Sears repairman told us that one of our problems was that we did not have a “large” enough motor on the opener. I thought for a minute, and said that we had the largest one Sears made at that time, a 1/2 horsepower. He shook his head and said, “Lady, you need a 1/4 horsepower.” I responded that 1/2 was larger than 1/4. He said, “NO, it’s not. Four is larger than two.”
My daughter and I went through the McDonald ‘s take-out window and I gave the clerk a $5 bill. Our total was $4.25, so I also handed her a quarter. She said, “you gave me too much money.” I said, “Yes I know, but this way you can just give me a dollar bill back.” She sighed and went to get the manager who asked me to repeat my request. I did so, and he handed me back the quarter, and said “We’re sorry but they could not do that kind of thing.” The clerk then proceeded to give me back $1 and 75 cents in change.

Do not confuse the clerks at McD’s.
I live in a semi-rural area. We recently had a new neighbor call the local township administrative office to request the removal of the DEER CROSSING sign on our road. The reason: “Too many deer are being hit by cars out here! I don’t think this is a good place for them to be crossing anymore.”

From Kingman, KS
My daughter went to a local Taco Bell and ordered a taco. She asked the person behind the counter for “minimal lettuce.” He said he was sorry, but they only had iceburg lettuce.
From Kansas City

I was at the airport, checking in at the gate when an airport employee asked, “Has anyone put anything in your baggage without your knowledge?” To which I repl ied, “If it was without my knowledge, how would I know?” He smiled knowingly and nodded,
“That’s why we ask.”

Happened in Birmingham , Ala.

The stoplight on the corner buzzes when it’s safe to cross the street. I was crossing with an intellectuallychallenged coworker of mine. She asked if I knew what the buzzer was for. I explained that it signals blind people when the light is red. Appalled, she responded, “What on earth are blind people doing driving?!”

She was a probation officer in Wichita , KS

At a good-bye luncheon for an old and dear coworker. She was leaving the company due to “downsizing.” Our manager commented cheerf ully, “This is fun. We should do this more often.” Not another word was spoken. We all just looked at each other with that deer-in-the-headlights stare.

This was a lunch at Texas Instruments.
I work with an individual who plugged her power strip back into itself and for the sake of her life, couldn’t understand why her system would not turn on.

A deputy with the Dallas County Sheriffs office, no less.

When my husband and I arrived at an automobile dealership to pick up our car, we were told the keys had been locked in it. We went to the service department and found a mechanic working feverishly to unlock the driver’s side door. As I watched from the passenger side, I instinctively tried the door handle and discovered that it was unlocked. “Hey,” I announced to the technician, “its open!” His reply, “I know. I already got that side.”

This was at the Ford
dealership in Canton , Mississippi

Life After Church by Brian Sanders (IVP)

iMonk reviews this new book by Brian Sanders. The subject is volatile but IVP is a sophisticated publisher and wouldn’t let rants and raves hit the bookshelves. I will be picking up a copy.

This subject is coming up more and more in my conversations. (Yeh, I know some people think about leaving church altogether after one of my sermons but that’s not what I’m talking about).  The trends show that people leave the small church for the megachurch and then leave the megachurch…for what? They do not go back to the small church. The statistics indicate they are headed for the house church concept, back to liturgical worship or they stop altogether. Of course, this is true for the older church goer who has been around for a while and jumped through the hoops. Those in their twenties are thinking of not going through the hoops at all.

I think it is worthwhile to have this conversation. I sometimes wonder myself. I think about 70% of the things I do and provide as a pastor are generally things I don’t really need and most of the Christ-followers I know don’t either. We do them because some will come if we do them. In other words, those who don’t come call the shots in most churches (churches that genuinely care and are trying to reach people for Christ).

I am thinking of a list of things I don’t care much about when it comes to my personal journey. One, music. I can go to an RC church where the music is unsingable and come away an enriched as in a church where there is a mighty choir or a kicking praise band. I don’t really care one way or another. I am always surprised at how much people do.

Two, overblown children’s programs. I have been in ministry long enough to see several generations pass by. They haven’t invented a children’s program that can overcome the influence of a dysfunctional family. My life is filled up with those who went to the best of churches with the best of children’s programs and honestly I can’t really tell the difference between those who had this and those who did not. But I can tell the difference between those who had parents who nurtured their children in the faith and lived it out in the home and in the world. I believe in children’s programming, just not the Disneyland version.

Three, expositional preaching or topical preaching or whatever preaching. I believe that when a person stands up with a Bible in hand and demonstrates that their words and life are being shaped by the truth of the Bible and the honest attempt to work that out in life then people are brought near to God.

I have more, but maybe you have some to add. I think we would almost all agree that the North American church is being given so much more than it needs, and like people who have become obese from too much food, we need to shed a few pounds of church as usual.

Today’s Quote 1/28/08

 Hans Küng says,

“We are to preach metanoia(repentance). We must entice people from the world to God. We are not to shut ourselves off from the world in a spirit of asceticism, but to live in the everyday world, inspired by the radical obedience that is demanded by the love of God. The church must be reformed again and again, converted again and again each day, in order that it may fulfill its tasks.”