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Archive for May, 2008

Baptism

Today’s local paper, the ‘Lancashire Evening Post’ has the following letter from a reader:-

I am shocked that the church I have chosen to baptise my daughter at has told me I must prove that my partner is a Catholic.  I am very upset about this as I did not think there would be a problem.  I had the invites printed but now my daughter’s day is ruined.  My friends and family have used the church in question for baptisms, weddings and funerals without a problem.  I think it is totally unacceptable and I am left thinking is it because I am Protestant or not married.

The church is facing the axe as the numbers have dropped and I am left thinking is it any wonder when people are treated like this?

You should be ashamed of yourselves asking people to prove what religion they are.  Whatever happened to finding the truth in God?  I will not be stepping foot in the church again, that is for sure.

Has anyone else gone through this or are they allowed to discriminate against people?

I have no idea who this person is but I just wonder why he chose to have his child baptised at a church which, it would appear, he does not attend, since he seems to say that he is Protestant.  If his partner attends the church in question then what is the problem?   I suspect that neither he nor his partner attend church regularly, if at all, yet he comments on church attendance dropping.  I wonder what he understands the infant baptism service to be about.  The Catholic Church teaches that baptism is necessary to salvation.  The following article makes this very clear:-

http://www.turrisfortis.com/baptism.html 

He states in his letter that his friends and family use the church for baptisms, weddings and funerals.  So is that all the Church is for?  I am very sorry that he considers that he has been treated badly but if he has found for himself the “Truth in God” which he mentions then he should realise that he is as much in need of salvation as his daughter and as a Methodist I have to say that my faith is based on a salvation which is unconditional and available to all, whether protestant or catholic and whether baptised or not.

 

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Just for amusement – can anyone give me the connection between the photo at the head of this blog and Oliver Cromwell?

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I came across the following story recently claiming that the Apostle Paul was a midget.  This was soon followed by another story claiming that he wasn’t! 

I have to admit that I had always imagined that Paul would be an imposing character.  We have preconceived ideas of what certain characters should look like.  Could we cope with the idea of a Bishop who was a midget?  Or what about a paraplegic monarch? Somehow we cannot imagine how it would work but why not?  Is it because we consider such people as “disabled”.  I have a colleague who has a diploma for playing the keyboard, goes skiing to Switzerland, has done a parachute jump from 10,000 ft, kayaking, water skiing, bell ringing, I have sat as a passenger as he drove a car at 90mph down a disused runway – I could go on. He just happens to be blind.  Should I describe him as disabled – he is more able than I am in many respects. 

What constitutes ‘normal’ is not easily defined.  The average person has less than two legs. By the law of averages this is true, so am I above average because I have two legs?  Clearly this is an absurd argument but illustrates the difficulty.  Should we think in terms of normal, abnormal, disabled etc.  We are all made in the image of God, loved by Him and able to be used by Him, sometimes in very powerful ways as shown by St Paul. 

MILAN, Italy — An astounding discovery may reveal the physical stature — or lack of it — of one of Christianity’s greatest advocates.
A scroll and accompanying rock drawing found during an archaeological dig in Turkey “took our breath away” with its revelation about the Apostle Paul said Anje Shroecker, head of a research team from the University of Milan. “To put it bluntly, Paul was a midget,” Shroecker says.
   Shroecker and his team found the rock drawing and a set of scrolls buried at the rock’s base. The scrolls belonged to a poor farmer who kept a sporadic journal. He describes traveling to Ephesus to “see the great speaker, Paul, this follower of Jesus they call the Christ.” The writer was shocked when “a man no taller than a child entered the room, climbed onto a table and began to exhort us to good works, and to explain the gospel. I have depicted his size on this rock.”
   The scrolls and drawing date to 50 or 60 A.D., around the time of Paul’s second missionary journey.
   “The ‘tiny Paul theory’ appears valid,” says Theodore Nadler of Union Theological Seminary. “This diminutive stature solves the riddle of Paul’s affliction that he alluded to in Second Corinthians. It also makes his traversing of the Asian continent much more impressive, though we now believe he was carried at least part of the way, which is probably why his companions tended to abandon him.”
   They also speculate that Paul’s “short man’s complex” led him to persecute the church before his conversion, and that he was particularly angered by Peter and James who, the extra-biblical record suggests, stood much taller than average.
   “It must have been a very bitter pill for him to swallow, being a man who came only to Peter’s waist,” says Nadler. “Of course, now we know why Paul referred to himself as the least of the apostles. He really was.” •

ROME (AP) — Vatican archaeologists have unearthed a sarcophagus believed to contain the remains of the Apostle Paul that had been buried beneath Rome’s second largest basilica.The sarcophagus, which dates back to at least A.D. 390, has been the subject of an extended excavation that began in 2002 and was completed last month, the project’s head said this week.
“Our objective was to bring the remains of the tomb back to light for devotional reasons, so that it could be venerated and be visible,” said Giorgio Filippi, the Vatican archaeologist who headed the project at St. Paul Outside the Walls basilica.

The interior of the sarcophagus has not yet been explored, but Filippi didn’t rule out the possibility of doing so in the future.  There’s nothing about the size of the sarcophagus being unusual, so it appears he wasn’t a midget after all.

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Scam emails

Since setting up the Church website we seem to attract an assortment of scam emails.  They are invariably so outrageous and unbelievable that it is difficult to imagine anyone falling for them but perhaps they do.  Today’s rubbish was from Mrs Rose Martins Toyo.  I have, in the past, replied to one of these just to play along with the joker who sent it.  I found quite an amusing exchange of emails from someone who received scam from Mrs Toyo and , like me wanted to have some fun with it.  Here is the link to it. 

http://www.scamorama.com/vimes_toyo.html

 I must apologise for some of the language  which is not language I would use but if you can overlook that then I think it will amuse.

It may be that someone has received similar emails and is troubled by them or unsure what to do.  Here is a list of the most recent bogus names. My advice is do not open any attachments, do not give any details about yourself – better still do not reply at all, and most of all do not send any money or bank details.  In fact – if in any doubt just delete it. 

Mrs Rose Martins Toyo      rose_martins_001  @  yahoo.co.jp
Miss Mohammed Adija    mohammedadija  @  yahoo.co.in
Anne Bates     annebates_20  @  yahoo.cn
Kofi Nelson
Mark Smith      marksmith7778  @  yahoo.co.uk
Mary Saxon

The people perpetrating these scams need prayers and forgiveness.  Please pray that God will release them from their bondage to greed.  God loves them and is ready to forgive unconditionally.

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This morning I received an email which I found disturbing for a variety of reasons. 

http://www.online.church123.com/newlongtonmethodist/ganacia.htm

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Some years ago, whilst working at the Jobcentre I had a client who had the appearance of a vagrant, was somewhat unkempt and was greatly in need of a wash and clean clothes.  He was an Irish man, very politely spoken and always anxious for a lengthy chat.  Because of his general condition most of the staff would avoid him wherever possible.  He was actually not short of money and owned his own house but for some unknown reason preferred to live the life of a tramp, carrying his belongings in an old bag.  He came into the office one day and noticed that I was not dealing with anyone.  He came across and asked if it was alright to talk.  He then said that he knew of the passage in the Bible where Jesus said “In my Fathers House are many mansions……I go to prepare a place for you”.  “I have asked many people what it means”, he said, “but no-one can explain it to me”.  I thought for a moment then realised something which had not struck me before.  The whole idea of a mansion was not an appealing concept to him.  I don’t suppose he would have wanted to live in one if you had given it to him.  He had his own rather eccentric view of home.  I think the Holy Spirit must have put words into my mouth at that moment because I said to him – “Instead of the word Mansion put the word Home.  Your idea of home is different to mine and God has prepared a home for you in Heaven”   Suddenly his face lit up and tears started to run down his face.  “Now I understand” he said, and I think that he really did.  I imagine that he must have had some religious influence in his life at some time and still put his faith in the words of the Bible.  I am sure that he was also aware that his chosen lifestyle was unconventional and imagined heaven as a place for ‘normal’ people.

It made me very aware that we are all God’s children, whatever our lifestyle and God loves us and can use us just as we are. 

“Just as I am, poor, wretched, blind; sight, riches, healing of the mind, yea, all I need, in Thee to find, O Lamb of God, I come”

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Perceptions

I took some cut glass fruit dishes from the shelf and noticed a large red stain on the inside of one of them.  Feeling a little annoyed that it hadn’t been washed properly before being put away I separated it from the others and examined it.   The large red stain turned out to be a small speck which was being magnified by the glass and was removed by a quick flick with the tea towel.

Problems can often be like this.  When we calm down and examine the problem closely it sometimes turns out to be small and easily dealt with.  How often do we see things which have been magnified out of all proportion by the patterned glass of life through which we look.  Perhaps the saying “a problem shared is a problem halved” has to do with the fact that another person is looking through a different part of life’s glass and sees what we have missed.

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