Sunday, October 25, 2009

The Cat Sat on the Mat

While cleaning off my desk I came across the following item that a friend gave me sometime ago. I thought I'd post it so I could throw away the piece of paper it was written on. Though humorous, sadly, it is not far from the truth. I hope you enjoy it.

The Cat Sat on the Mat
How would Christians deal with "The cat sat on the mat" if it appeared in the Bible?

The Liberal theologians would point out that such a passage did not of course mean that the cat literally sat on the mat. Also cat and mat had different meanings in those days from today, and anyway, the text should he interpreted according to the customs and practices of the period.

This would lead to an immediate backlash from the Evangelicals. They would make an essential condition of faith that a real, physical, living cat, being a domestic pet of the Felix Domesticus species, and having a whiskered head and furry body, four legs and a tail, did physically place its whole body on a floor covering, designed for that purpose, and which is on the floor, but not of the floor. The expression "on the floor, but not of the floor" would be explained in a leaflet.

Meanwhile, the Catholics would have developed the Festival of the Sedentation of the Blessed Cat. This would teach that the cat was white and majestically reclined on a mat of gold thread before its assumption to the Great Cat Basket of heaven. This is commemorated by the singing of the Magnificat, lighting three candles, and ringing a bell five times.

This would cause a schism with the Orthodox Church which believes that tradition requires Holy Cats Day (as it is colloquially known), to be marked by lighting six candles, and ringing the bell four times This would be partly resolved by the Cuckoo Land Declaration, recognizing the traditional validity of each.

The charismatics would welcome the chance for the full experience of the feline presence. This to be shown by resting, on all four limbs, on the floor and meowing in the feline spirit. This would, naturally, only be possible following the singing, for some 30 minutes, of inspired songs such as O cat, cat, cat, come to our mat, mat, mat, Feline we enthrone you, we proclaim you as cat and When you scratch us, we know that you're here.

The house church elements might even agree in a common doctrine, after four pauses, in a statement of multiple clauses.

Eventually, in the Church of England, the House of Bishops would issue a statement on the Doctrine of the Feline Sedentation. It would explain that traditionally the text describes a domestic feline quadruped superjacent to an unattached covering on a fundamental surface. For determining its salvific and eschatological significations, we follow the heuristic analytical principles adopted in dealing with the Canine Fenestration Question (How much is that doggie in the window?) and the Affirmative Musaceous Paradox (Yes, we have no bananas). And so on for 210 pages, The General Synod would then commend this report as helpful resource material for clergy to explain to the man in the pew the difficult doctrine of "the cat sat on the mat."

And the Mormons would come up with an entire rite in the Temple of the Baptism of the Dead Cat on the Mat, and would find innumerable proofs in the Book of Mormon supporting the Cat and Mat, while spending millions of dollars on archeological research to find the Mat or the Cat's bones, ultimately proving it for themselves while the rest of the archeological world scoffed.

Author Unknown

I like the first general rule of Scripture interpretation: "When the plain sense makes perfect sense, seek no other sense."

The Tapestry of Life

"Your life is like a tapestry. When you focus on a single thread, be it perceived as good or bad, you miss the artistry of the whole. Step back... and behold the beauty of the big picture."

Romans 8:28 - A Paraphrase
"If you love God, as His child, you are called according to His divine purpose. He is weaving together every detail of your life to produce ultimate good and beauty."

Thursday, October 22, 2009

GoD and DoG

For God lovers who are also dog lovers. This is written, illustrated and sung by the wife of Don Francisco ("He's Alive!")

Friday, October 16, 2009

Friday, October 9, 2009

Brother Benjamin's Compline

This past weekend I completed a seven-weekend run of the Minnesota Renaissance Festival. I portray a character known as "Benjamin 'the Reformer' Ingham.” Benjamin is a pre-Reformation protestant preacher. In addition to singing ancient hymns, holding a Sunday morning Gathering of the Faithful and general conversing with people, I lead what I call Celtic Compline each evening at 6:00. I know, 6:00 is closer to the time of Vespers, but I went with “Celtic Compline” thinking that it would possibly create more interest, especially by adding the word “Celtic” to it.

Compline is the final “Prayer hour” of the day, usually said upon retiring for the night. Below is a complete list of the Prayer Hours (also know as the Liturgy of the Hours, the Daily Office or the Divine Office.)

Matins, also known as Vigils or Nocturns, are done during the night hours and are sometimes referred to as the Night Office
Lauds or Dawn Prayer (at Dawn)
Prime or Early Morning Prayer (First Hour = 6 a.m.)
Terce or Mid-Morning Prayer (Third Hour = 9 a.m.)
Sext or Midday Prayer (Sixth Hour = 12 noon)
None or Mid-Afternoon Prayer (Ninth Hour = 3 p.m.)
Vespers or Evening Prayer (at Dusk)
Compline or Night Prayer (before retiring)

For the most part I used the complines from a book called Celtic Daily Prayer from the Northumbria Prayer Community. In this book are seven different complines, one for each night of the week. At the conclusion of last year's Festival, one young man gave me a compline that he had penned. I was blessed that he named it after my festival character and that he incorporated a number of the themes that I preached in the morning Gatherings. I will share that one with you.

We usually open with the beautiful Irish hymn, “Be Thou My Vision,” after which we begin in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Some make the Sign of the Cross, some do not. Then we go into the main part of the compline, closing with the Lord's Prayer and the singing of the Doxology. This could also be used at the conclusion of prayer meetings, home fellowship groups, etc.

Key: bold type is read aloud together; the asterisk (*)denotes a change of reader. When there are more people than reading parts, the compline is repeated until all have had a chance to participate.

Brother Benjamin's Compline
by Anonymous

Blessed art Thou O God who created light, and gave us that light through Jesus whom you sent to us that we might receive it and become like it. And blessed be the Spirit that reminds us of Your light when our eyes fail to see it.

*Be Thou our vision, our guide, our support. Grant that we may always follow Your path and reflect Your light so others will follow.

Keep us, Lord, that we will not stumble.

*The darkness comes and the night is long; the shadows grow and overtake us; the storm clouds blot out the sun.

Be our Light, Lord, that we will not stumble.

*The path is narrow and we tend to stray.
We often choose our own way and make it easy to fall.

Make our path straight and wide
that we will not stumble.

* The evil one puts rocks before us and we dig pits for one another. Left to ourselves we would build walls.

Make level the road, Lord,
that we will not stumble

* The winters of our soul are long; the world is cold; the road is covered with ice. Snow, like our trials, piles up so we cannot go on.

Show us Your steps to follow, Lord,
that we will not stumble.

* Our spirit is willing, but only sometimes, and our legs are weak. We cannot walk this road alone for the pits are many and the rocks are large. We simply are not able.

Support us, Lord,so that when we do stumble, we will not fall.


Thy word is a lamp unto my feet
and a light unto my path.
Let me abide in Thee and Thou in me,
that I might be light in the world.