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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Christmas Eve Grace

Our church had 2 Christmas eve services: one at 5:30 pm and the other at 11:00 pm. I was a chalice bearer at both services. Which meant I wore a vestment, meaning that my boys get worried that Dad is wearing a dress.

In the Episcopal Church the priest gives the host or bread to each person and is assisted by other clergy or lay people, who administer the cup of wine. Some people dip the host into the cup, which is called intinction, while others prefer to drink from the cup. We had 2 chalice bearers on Christmas eve and I was one of them.

In our church people come up to the communion rail at the altar and kneel if they are able. From my perspective, it's always interesting to see who comes to the rail and kneels next to each other. In my warped mind, it kind of seems like a slot machine.

Communion is an act of unity. It is God uniting us to Himself, as we participate in and partake of the body and blood of Jesus Christ.

On this Christmas eve, I was awed by seeing the God's grace at work. One family came to the rail together, Peter and his divorced wife BJ and their daughter — separate homes on this earth but one in Christ.

There was also my friend Andy's wife Margaret and his ex-wife, whose name I don't know, taking communion side by side with Andy and his ex's son Dillon. Essentially, here are warring factions, who are often not happy with each other but like it or not, one in Christ at the altar. When they kneel at the altar, they are on equal footing: both sinners shown grace and love by God without preference, and needing to be fed with the spiritual food of the most precious body and blood of our savior Jesus Christ.

The imagery was powerful for me this Christmas eve, as I was reminded once again of God's great love and sacrifice for me.

(The woman who won't take the cup from me because I am not a confirmed Episcopalian wasn't there. Thank God. She would have ruined it for me. Anyways, I don't have to be confirmed by Canterbury. I was baptized and confirmed by Rome.)

Charity Navigator

I was doing some research on the International Bible Society and American Bible Society. Organizations that rank charities give scathing evaluations of these groups. There is a Forbes.com article that shreds ABS to pieces.

I get tired of seeing Christian organizations groveling for money or endlessly mismanaging their finances and organization. Why isn't God supplying their need? (note the sarcasm).

How hard is it to carry out the mission of a Bible Society? Seriously. Your only goals are to translate the Bible into every known language, to make those translations free or as affordable as possible and to get them into the hands of every person on the globe.

That honestly can't be that hard. Especially if you are a group like ABS with nearly a half a billion dollars in investments — and that's the devalued figure after years of mismanagement!

Is this really rocket science? Hey ABS, here's an easy one — move out of Manhatten to a more affordable city and stop paying your president $300k+.

I think that anyone should be able to walk into any Christian church in America and be able to get a Bible on the spot, or have one that suits their particular needs (large print, braile, age appropriate, etc.) ordered for them cheaply and quickly. The Church of Jesus Christ, across the denominational spectrum, ought to have as a reputation of great renowned, their willingness to give away Bibles for free.

How hard would it be to convince even 60% of churches to have this as a goal? Certainly we're not all going to agree on tranalations, but could we agree on it as a goal? This should be an easy one.

With that in mind, ABS mismanages their company and IBS gets a low charity ranking also. How dumb is that? These groups ought to flourish ... but no ...

Tuesday, December 21, 2004


My poor blog has been ignored. Sorry.

It's been cold here this week. Yesterday wasn't above zero degrees with a low in the mid minus twenties. It was about 10 today.

Christmas tree is decorated today. Tomorrow my new digital camera arrives. I'll take a picture of the tree and post it. I bought a Konica Minolta DiMAGE Z2: 4 MP, 10X optical zoom, 4X digital zoom.

Have a great Christmas. May Jesus give you great peace as a present.

Saturday, December 04, 2004


this post has been removed. my sincere apologies to my friend in albany.