6/30/11

Bent's Old Fort 4th of July 2011

A press release from the National Park Service (see our WritingPlaces.com BoF image galleries here):

Celebrate the 4th with a Bang at Bent’s Old Fort

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site will commemorate our country’s birth
with a bang during an afternoon celebration on Monday, July 4. A cannon
firing at 12 noon will kick off the festivities.

“Bent’s Fort was known as a ‘cultural crossroads’ where U.S. citizens,
Native Americans and Hispanic peoples came together in business,” said
Chief of Interpretation Rick Wallner. “One visitor in the 1840s wrote of
hearing seven languages spoken within the fort walls.” To honor that
multicultural aspect, the fort’s 4th of July celebration will include
American, Native American and Hispanic traditions.

Besides cannon firings at 12 and 2 p.m., other scheduled events include the
Koshare Dancers interpreting Native American dances in the plaza at 1 p.m.;
a raffle at 2:15 of an 1846 flag that has flown over the fort ramparts; an
1840s frontier burial at 2:30; a debate on issues of the day in the dining
room at 3 p.m.; and a piƱata break in the plaza at 3:45. A final cannon
firing at 4:20 will signify the end of the celebration.

All during the afternoon demonstrations will be ongoing throughout the fort
including cooking in the kitchen, games in the billiards room, and traders
in the trade room.

Regular fees of $3 for adults (13 and over), $2 for children (ages 6-12),
free for children 5 and under and all National Park pass holders will apply
during this event. Visitors are advised to be mindful of the heat this
time of year and bring sun protection and water.

Bent’s Old Fort National Historic Site is located 8 miles east of La Junta
or 13 miles west of Las Animas on Colorado Highway 194. The site is open
from 8 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. daily through the summer. For more information,
go to the park website at www.nps.gov/beol or call (719) 383-5010.

6/1/11

Saving the Church with the True and Inerrant Word of God

Ian Morgan Cron has an article up on FoxNews.com: Five words that could save the church

An excerpt:

“…but I might be wrong.”

Pepper an impassioned debate with those five words with someone you’ve previously denounced as a heretic or traitor to the cause and an amazing thing happens.

It tells your “opponent” on the other side of the issue that you care more about the mutual pursuit of truth rather than in placing another check in your camp’s win column. It communicates that maintaining Christian unity despite your differences is more important to you than scoring points and dancing in your “opponent’s” end-zone.


What a concept.

I found it interesting, even though it isn't particularly deep or profound, because it ties in very well with another article recently read.

In the spring 2011 edition of "The Wesleyan Theological Journal", Mark K. Olson has written "The Stillness Controversy of 1740: Tradition Shaping Scripture Reading."

Way back then, The Brothers Wesley (John and Charles) were involved in what would become an entire theology, a denomination that would deeply affect the development of the United States, and which would lead to the further development of a number of splinter denominations. Wesley founded what was to become the "Methodist Movement", and the Methodist and other Wesleyan churches. Not bad for a somewhat disgruntled Anglican priest, especially considering that by the mid- to late-19th century, anyone who was anyone in the US was a Methodist. It was the power denomination. Adding a dash or two of Manifest Destiny to the mix didn't hurt, either, especially in tying up all the loose ends of the westward expansion.

The Wesleys, especially John, were scratchy fellows. There was no lack of ego there, despite a lot of wallowing in 'humility' or something passing for it.

John fell in with the Moravians. He was impressed with their piety and other dedications to the mission. But the Moravians were 'quietists,' a form of insistence or commitment to "intellectual stillness" and "internal passivity" in the development of one's relationship with God, and in the seeking of "Christian perfection."

"Quietism" has been declared a heresy by the Roman church, and John Wesley really didn't agree with the concept, either. I don't understand the conflict with "... be still and know that I am God ..." but then, I guess I'm probably one of those heretical heathens as well. It may have had something to do with assuming a certain Divine-ness that led to papal testiness over the matter.

In November 1739, a Moravian, Phillip Molther, visited Wesley's Fetter Lane Society, which was arguably the precursor to the "method" groups marking the development of Methodism.

Molther vapor-locked over what he found. New converts were moaning and groaning - being "demonstrative" - as they worshiped and expressed what they thought was faith. Molther was "... shocked by the displays of emotion in the meetings ...".

They weren't fully converted, because they were noisy. They weren't fully qualified ("justified" in the terms of the Moravians and Wesley) because if they were, they wouldn't be so ... noisy. Apparently making joyful noises unto the Lord just wasn't on for the Moravians. So the faith of the converts was questionable.

Wesley disagreed. And so A Great Dustup began, which led to a split between Wesley and the Moravians. All over their disagreement over someone else's approved level of faith. Apparently then, as now, you are required to have the approval of someone who is defined as an "expert." How one becomes an expert is dependent upon how one's interpretation of The Inerrant Word of God meets the approval of more expert experts. Which, come to think on it, doesn't say much for The Inerrant Word of God, does it? I mean, like, wowsers ... which version, whose interpretation, of The Inerrant Word of God is really like, you know ... inerrant? I mean, like, if all the experts professing to know when a heathen like me is, like, you know, "justified", in step with the One True View of The Inerrant Word of God ... if they are at each others' throats because they can't agree on what is "inerrant", then how can we mere heathens figure it out?

It all had to do, and has to do, with those so-called "faith traditions" that seem to drive the splits within denominations. In his essay, Olson discusses how "faith traditions" (I would call them "prejudices" and "ingrained preconceptions") drive how Scripture is interpreted. As he notes, each side in the Stillness Controversy selected passages that they felt supported their respective views. That other passages supported the opposition was of no consequence; those "heretics" obviously didn't know what they were talking about. Each side had The One True Version.

So Olson actually expands upon Cron's op-ed piece, though apparently with no complicity or collusion. Each author discusses the hate and discontent and intractability and self-centeredness, self-righteousness, that drives so many "Christian" activities. What's really interesting is that the incidents and attitudes they discuss are almost 300 years apart.

Well, at least they didn't start burning each other at the stake(s). That would have been most un-Christian, wouldn't it?

Not much seems to have changed, within the "Christian brotherhood."