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A New Milestone! We’ve exceeded 50,000 views!

Thanks to all of my readers for helping this blog reach the mark of 50,000 views!  As of this post, this blog has received over 50,000 views!  I am humbled by the dedication of my readership.  Thanks so much for all of your loyalty to this blog, it is very much appreciated, and I hope to continue providing material worthy of your interest and readership!

WordPress (the platform for this blog) sorts posts into “categories.”  These categories can be created by the blogger, and, because I have OCPD tendencies, I have ensured the categories are many, descriptive, and comprehensive.  This is somewhat unusual, but in light of the new milestone I have decided to list all of my blog categories below for you to peruse.  Please take a few minutes to browse through them as I am sure you can find something worth checking out!

Thanks again to all of my readers and enjoy!

Major collections:

Individual categories:

I May Have Found My New Political Party: The American Solidarity Party

Coming from a family of union tradesmen, I have always identified with and, when I got old enough, registered as, a Democrat.  Since high school, or maybe even middle school, I looked at President Harry Truman as someone who closely embodies my views toward politics and policy.  Despite being “socially conservative” (e.g.: pro-life and against the recent the recent social engineering of family, sexuality, and gender) I, for a variety of reasons, have never, and possibly could never, identify as a Republican.

Although I have identified as a Democrat for virtually my entire politically aware life, the party has, over the past 15 years or so, slowly moved away from where I am and where it has been historically.  Instead of advancing traditionally democratic principles, it has gone on to embrace a post-modern “progressive” worldview, become obsessed with identity politics and so-called “social justice warriors,” and abandoned its historic focus, even to the point of courting “Wall Street.”  Indeed, just this week, the official Chair of the Democratic National Committee Tom Perez, in an apparently aggressive attempt to narrow the democratic tent, made the bold and unprecedented statement that pro-life people have no place in the party and ought to leave it (see here).

As I am, apparently, no longer welcome in the party in which I have been registered for twenty-two years now, I have been thinking about alternatives and, suddenly and perhaps providentially, someone, without any provocation from me, introduced me to the American Solidarity Party (see here).

I took at look at its platform (see here) and some questions are answered here.  This party seems to lineup almost where I am politically.  I need to look into it more and do a little more investigation, but this party seems to be where the future of my political support will go.  As a practical matter, I live in Philadelphia, and, as the city is overwhelmingly Democratic (currently about 80%), the meaningful election votes are in the primaries as opposed to the general elections.  As a result, as long as I live in the City, I likely would not change my registration no matter how I personally identified as it would take away my vote in the meaningful City elections, yet this party may be my political focus otherwise in the coming years.

Easter Traditions are Not Pagan

The idea that typical Easter traditions – like bunnies, eggs, and even its name – all somehow derive from paganism is so common that it has become almost a truism.  The pagan source is either described as something the Christian Church coopted and Christianized or merely as something that has survived as a historical or cultural accident despite the influence of the Church in Western Civilization.

As it turns out, the assumption that Easter traditions are just pagan holdovers may, indeed, not be based on reality or historical facts but, rather, on unquestioned presumptions – a “conventional wisdom” if you will – based merely on the similarity between the traditions.

It appears, for one reason or another, scholars have recently taken another look at the origin of Easter traditions, and their findings have revealed that the conventional wisdom about their origin appears to be mistaken.

As an aside, a similar phenomenon has occurred regarding popular Christmas traditions, and it appears that the “conventional wisdom” that Christmas traditions are pagan is also being questioned and reevaluated (more on that here).

To this end, regarding Easter traditions, I highly suggest watching this video:

Story of Our Blessings: St. John’s Anglican Church, Churchville, PA

I am a longtime member of St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church.  My church has gone through a lot of transitions.  We left the Episcopal Church in faith back in 2000 and, since then, have been renting space in other churches and searching for a path and a home.  We joined the Anglican Church in North America and, after a nearly seventeen year sojourn, will finally have a permanent home on 1150 Bristol Road, Churchville, PA.

We are in the process of moving to this new building and renovating it so it can be an effective tool of ministry, worship, and evangelization.  If you feel called, we encourage you to support our efforts either through time or treasure.  Our costs are significant, but not insurmountable (especially with God’s help), so anything you can provide would be greatly appreciated.  I will be posting here from time to time to offer updates on our progress.

Here is a glimpse into the background of our story.  Please pray for us and our ministry:

“MAY THE STORY OF OUR BLESSINGS BE THE STORY OF OUR FUTURE”
ST. JOHN’S ANGLICAN CHURCH—OUR WALK WITH JESUS
FUTURE BLESSINGS FUND

HIS Story: (Who we are)
St John’s has undergone many drastic and sometimes painful changes as we have followed God’s plan for our church. We have been far from perfect but we have been faithful to the One who bought us with a price we could not pay.
Change is difficult and can only be seen clearly by looking back to move forward. God’s promise was with us in the past, is with us now, and have no fear, will be with us in the future if we continue to be faithful.

First Chapters:
Since 1970 – four (4) rectors, three (3) locations and an unwavering focus on Jesus as our Lord and Savior, Biblical truth, Biblical preaching and teaching, sacramental worship and love for the church family.
We have witnessed God growing us as his people with every new rector in each place of worship as our essentials remain unchanged.

Rev. Paul Lingle (Initial Planting)
-REC trained
-Low church
-Social church split between old wealth and young social climbers
-Solid Biblical preaching from the rector, Phillip Hughes and Ray Baker Sr.

Rev. Jim Hampson (Growth and Renewal)
-Converted liberal theologian
-Period of spiritual and physical growth
-Love of social became love of Christ
-Low church
-Fellowship groups and Bible studies, Christian daycare, youth group
-Issues with the Episcopal Bishop began

Rev. Phil Lyman (Leaving to follow Christ)
-Built on existing programs
-Move toward orthodoxy
-Dominated by getting congregation to safe pastures
-Closely walking with the Lord
-Left all for the sake of the Gospel

Rev. Mark Rudolph (Transition and new Godly promise)
-“Pruning” has taken place
-Congregation’s character strengthened
-Formalized St. Johns vision

New Chapter:
-Generous gift of 1150 Bristol Road, Churchville, PA made February, 2016
-Our permanent home’s location
-Renovation plans reflecting core essentials of our respectful, Anglican, liturgical traditional worship
-Positive add-ons welcoming families and fellowship
-Renewal

Future Blessings: What’s Our Next Chapter?
-Open your heart
-Prayerfully consider giving of your time, talents, and treasures
-Engage in fellowship activities
-Legacy for the next generation
-Become a participant in St. Johns’ future

St. John’s future story: How does the Lord want to bless through you?

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A New Milestone! We’ve exceeded 40,000 views!

Thanks to all of my readers for helping this blog reach the mark of 40,000 views!  As of this post, this blog has received over 40,000 views!  I am humbled by the dedication of my readership.  Thanks so much for all of your loyalty to this blog, it is very much appreciated, and I hope to continue providing material worthy of your interest and readership!

WordPress (the platform for this blog) sorts posts into “categories.”  These categories can be created by the blogger, and, because I have OCPD tendencies, I have ensured the categories are many, descriptive, and comprehensive.  This is somewhat unusual, but in light of the new milestone I have decided to list all of my blog categories below for you to peruse.  Please take a few minutes to browse through them as I am sure you can find something worth checking out!

Thanks again to all of my readers and enjoy!

Major collections:

Individual categories:

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all of my readers!  Thanks so much for taking the time to read my posts and, at times, providing some fiery debate over them.  It has been a lot of fun and I hope to keep it up over the next year.

I posted a little blurb a couple of years ago about the various days to celebrate over Christmas which you can read here.

As you go through this holiday season please remember why we have a holiday season, which is God who came to earth in human flesh as the fully human Jesus of Nazareth.  If Jesus never came, the Holiday Season as we know it simply would not exist; indeed the coming of Jesus was so momentous that it caused Western Civilization to restart our dating system back to “zero”.

Please be sure to give proper devotion and recognition this Holiday Season to Jesus the Savior of the World who came, and, through his life, death, and resurrection, defeated sin, death, and the devil.  Jesus, as it were, as the Christ-Child, leaves the gift of himself, which is eternal life and bliss with him, under the tree, if you will, in the homes of everyone in the world.  He will not open it for you and he will not force you to take it and if you do not accept it, the gift will never be conferred upon you.  So, please, as you consider the next year, please accept this gift that the Christ-Child leaves for you under your tree because Jesus went to his death to make sure you have it as it literally has eternal benefit and consequences; God could not give you any more than he has, which is all of himself for specifically you.

As a side note, I am sure you all have heard of Kris Kringle who people assume to refers to Santa Claus.  The fact is, German Christians, like all Christians, anticipate the arrival of the Christ-Child on Christmas morning.  In German “Christ Child” is translated as “Christkindl“.  When English speaking Christians heard German-speakers say “Christkindl”, they heard, in their English-speaking-brains, “Kris Kringle,” and assumed the German-speaking Christians meant Santa Claus (or Father Christmas, as it were).  So, yes, Kris Kingle will be coming this year, as it were, as we celebrate the coming of the Christ-Child every year!

Finally, I saw the little meme image below and I thought it was very funny.  For all those who think ‘”X-mas’ takes Christ out of Christmas”, please refer to this image.

MERRY CHRISTMAS!

 

Think Christmas Traditions Are Pagan? Think Again!

The idea that typical Christmas traditions – like Christmas Trees, Santa Claus, or even its date – all somehow derive from paganism is so common that it has become almost a truism.  The pagan source is either described as something the Christian Church coopted and Christianized or merely as something that has survived as a historical or cultural accident despite the influence of the Church in Western Civilization.

As it turns out, the assumption that Christmas traditions are just pagan holdovers may, indeed, not be based on reality or historical facts but, rather, on unquestioned presumptions – a “conventional wisdom” if you will – based merely on the similarity between the traditions.

It appears, for one reason or another, scholars have recently taken another look at the origin of Christmas traditions, and their findings have revealed that the conventional wisdom about their origin appears to be mistaken.

Instead of rehearsing the facts and arguments myself, I would suggest checking out this article (see here) and this article (see here).

In addition to the above articles, I highly suggest watching this video:

 

This additional video is primarily addressed to Christians who object to Christmas trees on biblical grounds:

Of course, then there is also this meme:
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Father K. Brewster Hastings: In Memoriam

I have known The Rev. K. Brewster Hastings for many years.  He was an Anglican Christian priest, the rector of Saint Anne’s Church in Abington, PA, and my pastor for the several years I spent as a parishioner there.  Tragically, after heart surgery to repair a heart valve, he passed away suddenly (see here) aged only 55.

Fr. Hastings was more that just my priest.  He was a novelist (see here).  He did my premarital counseling.  He preached the homily at my wedding.  We worked together on the Templeton Committee.  He was my friend.  We shared a similar sense of humor, love for serving the church, bookish interests in theology and philosophy, and a fashion sense that would fit in well in English academia.  We were allies fighting the good fight to preserve, protect, and advance traditional Anglicanism.

Although Fr. Hastings was my pastor and friend, he was even more than that.  I met Fr. Hastings as I was entering into adulthood and in the process of maturing my Christian faith accordingly.  God placed Fr. Hastings into my life at just the right moment.  Fr. Hastings understood me.  He could speak “my language.”  He was the perfect person for me who could speak God’s Word into my life in a way I could hear and accept at a time when I needed it.  I tend to intellectualize everything, including my faith, and while Fr. Hastings could meet me there, he also had a faith that was much deeper than simply intellectualized faith.  It was in this way Fr. Hastings could help me progress.  He could relate to intellectualizing faith, but also to moving it to the next level.

One of the areas of ministry Fr. Hastings focused upon was healing.  One of his gifts was his way of penetrating someone’s problems and drawing God out from them.  When I told him about my struggles – whether that was emotional struggles or struggles with friends and family or with my career or marriage or what have you – he could meet me there.  Not just meet me there, but able to fully invest himself and go with me, into the depths, and validate the struggles and being a conduit of God’s grace and mercy.  Fr. Hastings was loving, but that love was not simply soft and Milquetoast.  He could be stern and offer discipline or correction when needed, but it never seemed like a punishment.

Fr. Hastings’ prayers were powerful.  His faith was deep and penetrating.  He looked, of course, to the Bible, but also to the lives of the Saints through the centuries.  He always could find wisdom from the teaching of the Church to apply to one’s life.  Through his ministry, Fr. Hastings was instrumental in taking my faith to much deeper and more profound place.  He helped me learn to pray.  He helped me learn how to read the Bible more effectively.  He helped me understand that praying and theology and liturgy were more than just doing something spiritual and/or asking for things and/or knowing things.

One recent event sticks out for me.  Although I have not been a member of St. Anne’s for a number of years, I could still call Fr. Hastings when I needed him.  Two summers ago, for various reasons, I was experiencing a dark night of the soul as never before.  I sat on my deck at 9:00pm in the middle of the summer and called him and, as he always did, he spoke to me about whatever it was I needed to discuss.  For over an hour we spoke, prayed, and cried, and he helped me through it and, because he was a great pastor, was sure to follow up with me.  I will be forever thankful for him that night.

So, it is with a heavy heart that I say good bye to you Fr. Hastings, my good Father in God.  Thank you for your friendship.  Thank you for your teaching.  Thank you for helping me learn to pray and read the Bible and worship.  Thank you for helping take my faith from just knowing and doing and believing to a faith that is much deeper, profound, visceral, exposed, and vulnerable.  You have helped me know God in new and deeper ways.  You have forever changed my life.  I thank God for you and your blessing on my life is incalculable.  May God bless you, have mercy on you, have grace upon you, and usher you into your greater glory and heavenly reward due to, and found only in, God’s presence.

Requiesce in pace

On 8/24/16 I Spoke at a Continuing Legal Education Seminar Hosted by the National Business Institute

I am excited to announce that I had the great opportunity to lead (perhaps “teach”) a continuing legal education seminar hosted by the National Business Institute (see here).  The subject was “Advanced Family Law” and I had opportunity to speak on three topics in particular: Effectively Arguing Concept Issues, Advanced Child and Spousal Support Issues, and Ethics.  I was joined by James Rocco, Esquire, Kathleen Piperno, Esquire, and Jan C. Grossman, Esquire.

I have to admit that it was a nerve-wracking experience that took hours of work, especially knowing other lawyers were listening to me and relying on me for information to assist in their practices.  Now that it is over, I can look back and appreciate it and, I think, this experience has showed me what I did well and, more importantly, where I could improve if I am ever asked to do this again.  Despite the work and the nerves, I do hope I am asked again to lead a seminar, and I look forward to doing so.

In the meantime, although NBI put the materials I wrote into its official seminar book, all of the writing I did for this seminar ultimately belongs to me and I can reproduce it.  Over the the next few weeks I will be posting the materials I wrote for the seminar and I hope people can be edified by it!

A New Milestone! We’ve exceeded 30,000 views!

Thanks to all of my readers for helping this blog reach the mark of 30,000 views!  As of this post, this blog has received 30,198 views!  I am humbled by the dedication of my readership.  Thanks so much for all of your loyalty to this blog, it is very much appreciated, and I hope to continue providing material worthy of your interest and readership!

WordPress (the platform for this blog) sorts posts into “categories.”  These categories can be created by the blogger, and, because I have OCPD tendencies, I have ensured the categories are many, descriptive, and comprehensive.  This is somewhat unusual, but in light of the new milestone I have decided to list all of my blog categories below for you to peruse.  Please take a few minutes to browse through them as I am sure you can find something worth checking out!

Thanks again to all of my readers and enjoy!

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