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Friday, September 29, 2006

The Great Episcopal Divorce

Over the past few years since the Episcopal Church has ordained a homosexual bishop there has been a lot of smack talked about schism or a church split, blah blah blah. It's old talk now. But I think it finally will happen. If you don't keep up on worldwide Anglican news some rather startling developments have come about:

VirtueOnline: RWANDA: Anglican conservatives urge U.S. break away

This is really the first time I've heard the African (and others) Anglican Bisshops come out directly and advocate for a split. Previously it has been alluded to or threatened but now it is out in the open publically that they advocate for a split within the Episcopal Church.

VirtueOnline: LONDON: "Anti-gay bishops vote to split the evangelical church in two"

Ruth Gledhill is the one to call them "anti-gay" Bishops, which just goes to show how little she understands this issue. To continue to link this division within the Episcopal Church and worldwide Anglican Communion to sexuality is just plain ignorance. I suppose since Ms. Gledhill is a journalist, she could be just trying to be inflammatory and sell more papers.

VirtueOnline: Observers respond to Kigali, Camp Allen statements

Here is a quote from a Via Media leader in this article:
"'No matter how many people might cheer for it, or believe their Christian faith to require it, it would be a church founded in large measure on the exclusion and rejection of a certain kind of human being -- a gay or lesbian human being -- and of anyone (and, indeed, an entire church) who sees Christ's face and faith in such persons,' he said. 'Can this truly be how we live out Christ's love in our time?'"
What he is saying is that the group within the Episcopal Church and Anglican Communion advocating for schism would be founding a new church on the basis of excluding a certain type of human being. And that is clearly where he is missing it.

Firstly, this would not be forming a new church. It would not be a "church founded in large measure on the exclusion and rejection of a certain kind of human being". No new church is being formed, unless if you consider as the Windsor Report does, the Episcopal Church choosing to walk apart as the forming of a new church.

Secondly, this move to reallign the church is not about sexuality. It is fundamentally about the Bible -- how it is interpreted, understood and applied to one's life. An issue of sexuality may have brought this reallignment to quicken but the rejection of certain persons and the issue of homosexuality is not the issue.

One day your children and mine might study church history in college and seminary. This seismic shift in the Anglican Communion that we are witnessing will take up a chapter or two. I no longer believe the Episcopal schism "might" happen. It will and it is much closer than I previously thought.

Bible Ministries

I love the Bible and ministries that give it away. Here are two more to add to my growing list:

National Bible Association
The National Bible Association promotes the reading of the Bible and has declared the week of Thanksgiving every year as National Bible Week. Their site has information about the Bible, who reads and National Bible Week.

National Bible Week:
November 19-26, 2006

Bible League - International Ministry Center
Information from their web site:

"The Bible League's ministry goes beyond providing the Scriptures people need. We make sure those Scriptures are used for evangelism, discipleship, and church growth. That's what makes the Bible League unique.

We work with local churches in more than 50 countries, teaching them to draw seekers into Bible studies. In 2005, Christians trained by the Bible League gathered 3,354,265 people into small group Bible studies.

We do not consider our mission completed until new

converts are enfolded into the fellowship of a church. Last year, 468,338 new Christians became church members as a result of our ministry.

In areas where there is no local church, we train Christians to establish new churches. In 2005, Christians trained by the Bible League established 5,521 new congregations in previously unreached communities."

Interestingly enough, the Bible League was voted by the Best Christian Workplaces Institute as one of the top 40 places to work in 2005.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Newzjunky.com :: Photo Gallery: Moose in Lewis County

Here's a great reason why Newzjunky is better than the print news: Photo gallery. They can have photo galleries (plural) every day, and yesterday's was a great one! Print media can't do that. They have limitations. These are great shots of a HUGE animal. Thanks Newzjunky.

WWNY: YMCA Member Receives Apology Over Breast-Feeding Incident

I just don't get it. What is possibly so "offensive" about breast-feeding -- and so offensive that one would complain about it? In the article the YMCA says they should have just encouraged the people with the complaints to go and speak to the mother directly instead of intervening. Wrong! They should have encouraged them to shut-up and get over it. We talk about our society being so sexually saturated and then I read stories like this and I'm amazed at how uptight we are.

Friday, September 22, 2006

Smiles for Miles in the News

Check out this article about my beloved friends the Lindholtz family and what it's like for Rick & Alicia's 9 y/o son Miles to have Type 1 Diabetes. They believe Diabetes will be cured in our lifetime and are having a benefit to raise funds for research. Bust out the wallet and be generous folks!

Thursday, September 21, 2006


I was initially upset that my two favorite TV shows were pit against each other in the 9 pm hour: Grey's Anatomy and CSI. However, since I live so close to Canada I can get their stations which have Grey's on at 8 pm and CSI at 9. Outstanding.

Pyro Marketing

Register and then log-in and a the entire book Pyro Marketing is available to you in PDF or MP3.

Also note the interesting comments in the right hand column about Rick Warren's attempt to interfere with the publishing of another book that mentioned PDL and his failure to work through Matt 18 despite being pursued by the publisher.

Nice Sale.com

A friend of a friend is launching Nice Sale.com, which appears to be a free classified ad site. There is a place to pre-register and my friend's church gets some cash if you sign up: Click on http://www.nicesale.com/login.asp, type in your name, email address and New Life Christian Church under the Organization. Apparently you won't be spammed but just receive an email alerting you to Nice Sale.com's launch.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Josh Hunt's Email: How Ideas Spread

This post is a copied from Josh Hunt's Teacher Tips email and deals with the spread of ideas. It's absolutely fascinating.

This summer's reading project has been on the topic of how ideas spread. Turns out, there has been a lot of research on this over the years, dating back to the 20s

The four best books on the topic are as follows. (Email me at josh@joshhunt.com if you know others).

* The Diffusion of Innovation, by Everett Rogers. This book is a classic textbook on the topic. It was originally published in the early 60s and has undergone five additions, The current addition has 512 pages. It reads like an academic book. Very thorough. Very dense.
* The Tipping Point, by Malcolm Gladwell. No doubt the most popular book in this category, and, deservedly so. It is a great read.
* Unleashing the Ideavirus, by Seth Godin. I think I have read nearly everything Seth Godin has written. This is a good one.
* PyroMarketing, by Greg Stielstra. Greg Stielstra has been involved in marketing over 750 books, including the best selling hardback of all time, the Purpose-Driven Life. I found this book, and the metaphor of fire most useful in understanding how ideas spread. There is a free download of the entire book in MP3 at www.pyromarketing.com

The study of how ideas spread dates back at least to 1928 when Bruce Ryan and Neal Gross studied the diffusion of a new corn seed developed by the scientist at the University of Iowa. The seed was clearly superior in every way--it was more resistant to disease, more resistant to drought, and it just flat produced more corn. And, anybody could see it. Drive by a field of corn planted with hybrid corn and you could immediately see the difference. The stalks were greener, healthier, and, in words that only farmers really understand, prettier than the non-hybrid corn.

This is one insight into how ideas spread. Better ideas spread better. It is much easier to sell a good idea than a bad one.

Easier, but, the good ideas don't always win out. Rogers sites a number of cases where the better idea did not win out. One was the idea of boiling water in rural Peruvian villages. This was a clearly better idea. It prevented disease. It saved lived. But, it didn't diffuse.

The QWERTY keyboard (the kind I am typing on now where the letters above my left hand spell out QWERTY) was developed to slow down typists in a day when mechanical typewriters tended to jam up when speedy typists would kick it into high gear. When electric typewriters came along, there were several attempts to introduce new keyboard arrangements that were proven to produce faster typing speeds. The idea was to get the keys you pressed most often in the "home" position and the keys you used the least often would be farthest away. This was a clearly better idea, but it didn't spread. Better ideas don't always spread. We still use the slower, QWERTY set up, even in a day when computers could keep up with typist at any speed. There is more to the diffusion of ideas than just having better ideas.

And, as superior as the hybrid seed was in Iowa, it took it a long time to spread. There was considerable effort on the part of scientists, extension agents and seed salesmen to sell the new seed. Still, five years into the introduction of the new seed, there were only a handful of farmers using it. Then, in 1934 it "tipped." Notice the following chart that displays the number of new hybrid seed users by year from 1928 - 1941.

Think about it. Five years of growing clearly superior seed before the idea began to take hold. How do you explain this? Five years of driving by corn fields that showed a marked and visible superiority and produced 20% more corn before the majority of farmers began to change. Five years before the idea spread. How do you explain that?

One explanation is this. The change came at a price. Although the seed was clearly superior, there was a catch. The hybrid seed would loose its "hybrid-ness" (don't ask me to explain it; I just pass along what I read) after one season. Thus, where the farmers had been just holding back some of their best seed to plant the following year, with the new seed, they had to buy new seed every year. It is not hard to see how the farmers might question the men selling this seed. "Who is this seed really benefiting?" they were bound to wonder. This leads to the second insight into how ideas spread:

Idea one: Better ideas spread better.
Idea two: Costly change inhibits the spread of new ideas.

The findings above were formalized into a model of diffusion that is communicated in the classic bell-shaped curve.

Note the curve is divided into five segments:

* Innovators--those who love risk. They love new. They love standing out from the crowd. They love new ideas because they are new, because they are unproven, because no one else is doing it.
* Early adopters love the new but they are slightly risk-averse. They need a little proof--not in the form or scientific data; they want to see some real-live proof from real live people. People like themselves. People they know and trust.
* Everybody else. For everyone else on the curve, risk is a bad word. They only like the new if it works; its newness has little to do with anything. It is all about whether the idea works. And the only proof that really satisfies them is social proof--that is, they want to see people they know and trust using the innovation. The farther you move through the innovation cycle, the more risk-averse people are, and the more proof they need. Laggards are people who don't have a cell phone yet, or are not using email. If you are reading this off a printed copy that someone gave you because you don't do the Internet yet, you just might be a laggard.

Literally thousands of studies of diffusion have been done and they all seem to follow this approximate pattern. These studies have revealed that the people in each of these categories are very different. Innovators and early adopters love (or at least like) change. Everybody else doesn't. Innovators and early adopters will listen to information from outsiders--scientific studies and advertising. Everyone else will only listen to their peers. Here is a seminal quote from Rogers summarizing a lifetime of study on how ideas spread:

Diffusion investigations show that most individuals do not evaluate an innovation on the basis of scientific studies of its consequences. Instead, most people depend mainly upon a subjective evaluation of an innovation that is conveyed to them from other individuals like themselves.

It is practically impossible for most people to adopt an idea because they read about its benefits or hear about it from anyone other than a trusted friend. They won't buy it because they see it in the store, see an advertisement or hear a sales pitch. They will only buy when a friend tells them about it.

Social proof

A great deal of research has also been done on the concept of social proof--the idea that most people follow the crowd.

* One researcher discovered that if he artificially increased the number of times a song was downloaded, that song was downloaded even more. People like to buy what everyone else is buying--that is why we pay attention to the best sellers lists.
* Candid Camera featured an episode called, "face the rear" where an unsuspecting man gets onto an empty elevator. Soon, the elevator begins to fill up. What the man doesn't know is that everyone in the elevator were part of the Candid Camera cast. They were all instructed to face the rear of the elevator when they boarded. After the fifth person faced the rear, the original man also faced the rear.
* One experiment featured a number of versions all centered around people coming into a doctor's office. Everyone in the waiting room waits quietly for a while, then gets up and does something bizarre. First, one at a time, they get up, grab a pencil, and break it. One by one, each person does this, until, you guessed it, the original man gets up and breaks a pencil as well.
* In a similar experiment, people in the doctor's office got up and tore off a page from a calendar. Sure enough, the original man gets up and tears off a page as well.
* In the most extreme example, people were instructed to sit quietly for a while, then stand up and undress down to their underwear. Unbelievably, the subject of the experiment does so as well.

Think about your own life. . .

* When did you start using a DVD player, when you saw it in a store? When you read technical reviews? When all your friends did? When you could no longer rent or buy VHS tapes?
* When did you start using email? When you read the specs or when a friend told you about it?
* If you were to move to a new town and were looking for a church, what would be more likely to persuade you, a billboard or the recommendation of a friend?

For most of us, the recommendation of a friend is far more likely to influence us than any kind of formal delivery system from the provider, technical report, advertising or salesman's pitch. In fact, it is almost impossible for most people to adopt an idea without the social proof of seeing some peers adopting the idea. Conversely, if nearly all our friends have a cell phone, use a DVD player or attend a certain church, we are very likely to at least consider doing so as well.

The odd thing is, it doesn't feel like this to us. If I asked you, "Do you make decisions based primarily on the merits of the issue at hand, weighing out the pros and cons for yourself, or do you just follow the crowd?" Most people will say they do not follow the crowd, they make independent, objective and thoughtful decisions. The research strongly suggests, however that most people are not reading the information about whether to try the new hybrid seed. They are looking at the farms around them and going with what they see.

The number of friends who tell us about an idea is huge. Remember the man in the Candid Camera episode did not turn around until five other people had turned around. It wasn't enough that just one or two people faced the rear. When he was the only one in a group of five that was facing the rear, he caved to the the pressure of social proof.
Implications for evangelism

This research on how ideas spread has profound implications on evangelism and helps to explain why the party-driven strategy modeled for us by Levi (Luke 5.29ff) is so effective. It is almost impossible for most people to accept an idea--in this case, the truth of the message of the gospel--if none of their friends have accepted the idea. And, if we can surround a person with a core of peers that have all accepted Christ, it becomes increasingly probable that they will accept Christ as well.

Of course, at the end of the day, each person must individually decide for God on their own. There are no grandchildren of God in heaven, as the saying goes. Everyone must decide for themselves. But, most people make that decision on the basis of what their friends do. For most people, it is almost impossible to adopt an idea except that a core of their friends have adopted it, and it is very easy to adopt an idea that all of their friends have adopted.

This is why we find in the Bible the concept of "oikos evangelism." Oikos means house or home or family or even a group of friends. Here is a quote from the Holman Bible Dictionary:

After the breakup of the Mycenaean communities the oikos or “household” was the basic unit of society. The “household” was more than a family. In addition to mother, father, and natural children, slaves won in war or raids were a part of the household. Persons called “retainers” joined the household. These are people who had for various reasons lost their former position in a household and were alone and without security in society. The household gave them a place to work and survive.—Holman Bible Dictionary

In Acts 16.31 We read, "They replied, "Believe in the Lord Jesus, and you will be saved--you and your household." The word translated household is oikos. Peter knew the power of social proof. He knew that people often came to Christ individually--but individuals who were connected as part of a group.

WIRED: Sex Drive Daily

The Bible doesn't say Christian couples can't enjoy sex or sex-tech.

I've said on this blog before, I think Christians should be the best skilled and most satisfied lovers in the world. God is the author of love and lovemaking. We as His people ought to be experts at both.

TorontoSun.com - Canada - B.C. couple's Christian sex shop offers a not-so-naughty catalogue of toys arguably approved by the Good Book

The Toronto Sun reports on another Christian organization, My Beloved's Garden, marketing marital aids to Christians, this time from Canada. This article also mentions the Book 22 site which seems to be a good one. I love the opening line of the article:

"If it's been awhile since you felt the power of God, then perhaps it's time to change your batteries."

Sexuality and the enjoyment thereof is becoming an extremely popular topic in Christian circles. Next thing you know the BCP is going to be updated with prayers for your sex life.

BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Proverbs 18

BibleGateway.com - Passage Lookup: Proverbs 18:22 "He who finds a wife finds a good thing and obtains favor from the LORD."

Isnt' that interesting? Just in finding a spouse, one obtains favor from the Lord.

Cornerstone Church Network

It seems that every mainline denomination has its faithful remnant that attempt hold to orthodox Christianity and connect with other churches with similar leanings. Here is the American Baptist Version: Cornerstone Church Network. Looks like this has a lot of potential.

Black River Drive-in Theatre

The Black River Drive-in Theatre has opened once again and is right near my house -- I could actually walk to it. I had heard they would only be playing "family" movies that were G or PG/13 but today I saw they had 2 R films playing. Apparently the rumors were not true.

ChaCha Search Inc.

Do you ChaCha? I haven't tried it yet, but it's yet another search engine trying to dethrone Google.

Whispers in the Loggia

I heard about this guy on NPR. He lives in his parents basement, spends his life on the cell phone and he's a news junky on all things Vatican and the Roman Catholic Church. It reminds me of early versions of the Drudge Report except on Vatican happenings.

New Fox Unit to Produce Christian Films - Los Angeles Times

Fox knows Christians have money to spend. They wouldn't do this if they weren't fairly certain that Christians were willing to part with their money and this would be a profitable venture.

Maybe it will be good for the proclamation of the Gospel if Christian themed films are mainstreamed into theaters. Some might say that is the case with Christian music.

Fox's willingness to venture into this area shows the amount of discretionary cash Christians apparently have. Christians spend great sums in Christian book and music industry, now they are going to spend it on moveis too. Yet many churches and Christian ministries are out there struggling for cash. I wonder what it would take to get a piece of that large discretionary income pie.

Certainly part of the issue is that many churches and ministries are struggling gain donations because they are largely ineffective and outmoded and the leadership doesn't recognize it. In other words, the donors do not perceive the charity as worthy of their dollar.

Another issue is the benefit gained. Apparently there are a lot of Christians who believe that they will get a larger benefit to their life from going to a movie than from making a donation at church or other charity. (And if that movie was preceded by a romantic dinner and followed with gettin' lucky, then I see their point.)

My guess is the biggest issue relates to the theological underpinnings they were taught regarding giving. Many churches are teaching tithing -- giving a straight 10% of one's gross or net income -- but also teaching that the other 90% is yours to live on and do whatever you want with. I'm not sure I agree with that second part.

Most churches would be flush with cash if all their people tithed and that's their goal. I think they -- we -- need to be taught that it's 100% God's. I think he'd like to have a little more influence as to where both the 10% and 90% go.

We just can't continue to spend more and more of our money on Christian movies, music, concerts, books, cruises, etc. and spend less and less on the eradication of world hunger and world evangelization.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


One might think this is from Lark News but it is not. This is an mp3 clip from a church advertising it's worship services. It sounds like a monster truck, professional wrestling or car sales ad. Give a listen and enjoy the laugh. Got to give them credit for creativity and willingness to think outside the box. And I'm impressed that they are clearly targeting the unchurched. It's laughable but impressive in its own rite ... er ... right.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

We're Marching to Zion

Sing with me ...

We're Marching to Zion

1. Come, we that love the Lord,
 and let our joys be known;
join in a song with sweet accord,
join in a song with sweet accord
and thus surround the throne,
and thus surround the throne.

We're marching to Zion,
beautiful, beautiful Zion;
we're marching upward to Zion,
the beautiful city of God.

2. Let those refuse to sing
who never knew our God;
but children of the heavenly King,
but children of the heavenly King
may speak their joys abroad,
may speak their joys abroad.

3. The hill of Zion yields
a thousand sacred sweets
before we reach the heavenly fields,
before we reach the heavenly fields,
or walk the golden streets,
or walk the golden streets.

4. Then let our songs abound,
and every tear be dry;
we're marching through Emmanuel's ground,
we're marching through Emmanuel's ground,
to fairer worlds on high,
to fairer worlds on high.

The News-Herald: Obituaries: Maria E. Kooy, Chardon, OH

I had the incredible privilege of being the pastor to Maria E. Kooy for over six years. Maria was adopted from Guatemala as a special needs child with spinabifida amongst other challenges. Despite the numerous challenges Maria was incredibly full of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, etc. She had gorgeous coal black hair, beautifully tan skin with a smile that could light up a stadium.

From her wheel chair she hugged everybody and often. When we were at the Cleveland Clinic for her frequent procedures, she was like a celebrity. Everyone knew and loved her there.

Maria's parents, Gary & Sandy, are some of the most godly people I know. Gary served on the Deacon Board and would go and pray in my office when I was preaching If anyone was touched by God when I preached it was because of Gary. Sandy served in the nursery and loved on all my children. I have missed them dearly over the past few years.

It was completely a privilege to serve the Kooy family, especially Maria. Peace to her memory.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


I'd like to welcome mazedandconfused to the list of Bloggers of Repute. His blog is brand new and lacks substance at the moment but I'm expecting big things from him as he is a fellow Arrow alum.

He says nice things about my preaching at his church. You can listen to my sermon. I had used the lectionary text for the day but reworked some old material to go with it. The sermon seemed to be a God ordained moment. Without any prior knowledge of the issues their church was facing, I apparently spoke directly to their congregational situation. Very kewl.

Limping Toward Canaan

Limping Toward Canaan has limped to Zion Covenant Church in Ellsworth, WI. I'm really super happy for Xorey and his new call. He's a great leader and one of the best thinkers I know.

Xorey is still an "irresponsible blog parent". His blog is pretty but lacking substance. I just looked at Zion's web page and they are irresponsible "web page parents" also — their page is not pretty and lacking in substance. Seems pastor and church will make a nice match.

I like the City-Data.com site. Here is the Ellsworth info. And here is the news from Ellsworth at topix.net. Of particular interest, Ellsworth has been proclaimed the Cheese Curd Capital of Wisconsin. Xorey will be fat and happy. Go get 'em tiger!

Pope: Don't work too hard

Pope: Don't work too hard: "'We have to guard ourselves, the saint observed, from the dangers of excessive activity, regardless of the office one holds, because too many concerns can often lead to hardness of heart,' the pope said.

'This warning is valid for every type of job, even those concerned with the government of the church,' he said."

Pope Benedict is quoting St. Bernard of Chiaravalle.

I still get amazed at how people affirm workaholism or excessive working especially amongst clergy. It's rampant. Actually, I think clergy are the biggest offenders. We idolize ourselves and think we're just indespensible. Too often we've robbed the laity of the privilege of serving and we've robbed our families of a father and husband.

I was with a couple of wise people yesterday, one being a pastor. We were talking about church planting and how to utilize a team approach. He's sold on the idea. He said, "If church planting means me being the one guy who bears the sole burden, working 60+ hours a week, never seeeing my family and being alienated and lonely I'm out." This guy is way younger and way smarter than me. He wants to be part of a team where everyone utilizes their gifts to plant.

As they chant in the Ukranian Catholic Church mass, "Wisdom! Let us be attentive!"

Thursday, September 07, 2006

A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future - Christianity Today Magazine

A Call to an Ancient Evangelical Future - Christianity Today Magazine: "Therefore, we call evangelicals to recover the historic substance of worship of Word and table and to attend to the Christian year, which marks time according to God's saving acts."

I've said something similar to that right here on this blog previously. There is something so powerful about orienting your sense of seasonal time around the life of Christ and the works of God. I've never tried to strictly observe the daily office and orient my entire day around the liturgy of the hours but some day I will.

Calvary Chapel: Mac Downloads

9/21/06 Apparently this link has gone defunct.

Mac users, check this out.

And you might be interested in: The Macintosh Online Bible

'Anger Leaves You Old And Out Of Breath' - UK News Headlines

Fascinating study about anger. What does the Scripture say about anger?

Ephesians 4:26 "Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger,"

Great Lakes Conference

Here is a little known site and probably only interesting to the very few who know anything about the Evangelical Covenant Church. It's the home page to the Great Lakes Conference. Check it out.


My personal preference is coffee from Cafe Kubal, especially Kenya AA. Matt rocks! But this is a pretty good deal: Gevalia. You get a coffee maker, stainless steel carafe, travel mugs and a pound of coffee for $25.

Saturday, September 02, 2006

10 am 9/1, 1st Baptist Church, 6025 New Hartford St., Wolcott, NY

I have a big speaking engagement this weekend at First Baptist Church in Wolcott, NY. Pastor Mike Mazzye has graciously and courageously invited me to preach in his pulpit. Probably not his best leadership move. Hopefully it won't cost him his job or any standing in the community. I'm sure some will doubt his salvation and sanity by the time I'm done harassing the people with the Word of God.

Let's check the lectionary texts for this coming Sunday, the 17th of Pentecost. This is an American Baptist Church and I'm not sure this is a lectionary driven church but it's always a good place to start one's preaching preparation:

Year B / II Green
Psalm 15
Deuteronomy 4:1-9
Ephesians 6:10-20

(please stand)
Celebrant: The Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ according to St. Mark.
People: Glory to you Lord Christ.

Mark 7:1-8,14-15,21-23 (ESV)
Now when the Pharisees gathered to him, with some of the scribes who had come from Jerusalem, 2 they saw that some of his disciples ate with hands that were defiled, that is, unwashed. 3 (For the Pharisees and all the Jews do not eat unless they wash their hands, holding to the tradition of the elders, 4 and when they come from the marketplace, they do not eat unless they wash. And there are many other traditions that they observe, such as the washing of cups and pots and copper vessels and dining couches.) 5 And the Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why do your disciples not walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat with defiled hands?" 6 And he said to them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written,

"'This people honors me with their lips,
but their heart is far from me;

7 in vain do they worship me,
teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'

8 You leave the commandment of God and hold to the tradition of men."

14 And he called the people to him again and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand: 15 There is nothing outside a person that by going into him can defile him, but the things that come out of a person are what defile him."

21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery, 22 coveting, wickedness, deceit, sensuality, envy, slander, pride, foolishness. 23 All these evil things come from within, and they defile a person."

Celebrant: The Gospel of the Lord.
People: Praise to you, Lord Christ.
(you may be seated)

"the grass whithers and the flower fades but the word of our Lord shall remain forever."