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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Genealogy Research in New York State

I have really enjoyed doing genealogy research over the past year.  I was born in Utica, NY and my families roots are from the Mohawk Valley: Utica, New Hartford, Rome, Florence, Augusta, Marshall, Oriskany, Whitesboro, etc. and originally from Wales, Ireland, Germany, Prussia, Bavaria and England.

I use Ancestry.com which is a huge help, but also rely heavily on FultonHistory.com, which is a PDF growing repository of scanned in newspapers from New York State.  It isn't the most user friendly site so I also search it on Google. 

You can do this for any site you want to search on Google:  In the Google Search box type the word 'site:' and then the website you want to search without the http://www.  For example this:  site:fultonhistory.com  searches only the fultonhistory.com site or site:theultrarev.blogspot.com searches only this blog.  After you type site:fultonhistory.com just add a space then search like you are normally using Google.

If you want some help getting started doing genealogy I strongly recommend Ancestry.com but if you would like some help especially with doing research here in upstate New York let me know.

I also just stumbled across this blog:
Upstate New York Genealogy Blog; UNYG Blog, New York Genealogy, New York Ancestors, NYS Family History |

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Random Anglican Links & Posts

VirtueOnline -- Classical Anglicanism and the Real Presence of Christ in Sacrament of Communion -- Do you really give thought to what's happening when you receive Holy Communion?  Obviously if you are a memorialist, then nothing is happening.  But if you are a sacramentalist, there are varieties of opinions about the locus of the presence of Christ and the timing of when He arrives and how long He stays.  The linked article gives a classical Anglican perspective.

Saint Andrews CNY's Blog -- Fr. Bob Hackendorf and a couple of his leaders have a started blogging.

Anglican School of Ministry-Little Rock -- A parish based Anglican theological school offering a certificate for course completion but also has connections with South African Theological Seminary and Trinity School for Ministry.

Anglican Initiative for Mission  --An AMiA based ministry for church planting.

Intercessors of the Lamb - Family Formation -- For some of you these links will be much too Catholic and for others it will be much too mystical/pentecostal.  But if you are interested in doing faith formation with children at home or in your parish you simply much take a look at these lessons and available PDF's.  The things I like about these is that they have a plan for discipleship and they don't see discipleship as just pouring knowledge or Bible stories into kids heads.  They want kids to know Christ and experience the presence of the Holy Spirit. And they believe that children should participate in spiritual disciplines like St. Ignatius' Examen, confession of sin, lectio divina or journaling.

And other sites with interesting Anglican children ministry and family faith formation links:
Living Faith Anglican Church
Young Anglicans Project helps rewrite the book on discipleship
The Young Anglicans Project

VirtueOnline -- FT. WORTH: Episcopal Studies program to adhere to views of national church:
"Stephanie Burke, a trustee at the Brite Divinity School and a member of All Saints Episcopal Church located in Fort Worth, said tension grew between the former Episcopalian Bishop of Fort Worth, Jack L. Iker, and the national Episcopal Church because of the national church's general acceptance of homosexuality and especially because of its ordainment of women.

'When he (Iker) was asked the question, 'Who would he take communion from?', he answered that if it was a gay priest, it was a valid communion but immoral,' Burke said. 'He told us if it was a female priest, it's completely invalid.'"
VirtueOnline -- LITTLE ROCK AR: Bishop-elect worries some Episcopalians  -- This article is old and certainly not every Episcopal priest has this guy's theology but take a look at this.  How does this guy even get to be a priest let along nominated to be bishop.  He eventually did NOT receive the consents necessary to become bishop but it wasn't a shutout either.
"The Rev. Kevin G. Thew Forrester denies that Satan exists. He doesn't believe God sent his only-begotten son to die for the sins of the world. He says that the Koran is sacred, he has taken a Buddhist middle name and he teaches that many paths lead to the divine.

As an Episcopal priest, Thew Forrester altered the denomination's prayer book, including its baptismal vows and the words of the Apostles' Creed."
Why even be part of a Christian religion if you don't buy it -- if you feel the need to alter the Apostles' Creed?  Move on!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

John Wesley Quote

I can't verify it, but this is supposedly a John Wesley quote to his early converts. I like the spirit of it:
"Do all the good you can, by all the means you can, in all the ways you can, in all the places you can, at all the times you can, to all the people you can, as long as ever you can. As for money, gain all you can without hurting anybody. With wisdom, save all you can. Then give all you can."
Can anyone verify this is authentic JW?

Monday, December 28, 2009

Godly Shoplifting?

Priest advises congregation to shoplift | Mail Online

Yep.  True story.  For people suffering through the economic down turn a Church of England priest advised his congregation to shoplift.  But not from the small family businesses.  Steal from large national chains because they will pass the losses on to other consumers -- an unusual form of socialism.

Don't worry about breaking one of the Ten Commandments.  God's love trumps them in certain situations.  [sarcasm dripping] Seriously?

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas

For to us a child is born,
to us a son is given;
and the government shall be upon his shoulder,
and his name shall be called
Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God,
Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.

FREE MP3'S -- Sermons and Lectures -- JP Moreland + more

Also: KingdomTriangle.com

So I've been reading Kingdom Triangle by Prof. JP Moreland, which led me to looking for some mp3's I have of him on my hard drive somewhere, which led me to looking out on the Internet to see what might be available for free, which led me to find out THERE IS A TON OF STUFF!!!

First, check out this site: Reforming My Mind: J. P. Moreland MP3 Sermons. A staggering list of links to mp3's, videos and YouTube videos. And not just of JP Moreland. Go searching around the site and you will see other well known scholars (many, if not mostly, of a Reformed bent) with link farms dedicated to them. Magnificent site for those of you who like listening to sermons and scholarly lectures as I do.

I also stumbled across this site: Audio on Apologetics (Updated 4/13/07). Though it's apparently outdated and has a number of names I was not familiar with, it is also a huge link farm dedicated to apologetics and includes notables such as Ravi Z, WL Craig, JP Moreland and others.

Watch here:   JP Moreland on Miracles at Lee Strobel's site.

And let me just say this about JP Moreland: He's smarter than you are, possibly smarter than you and I combined.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Being Like Jesus .... Well, sort of

I hear lots of talk from pastors and others about being like Jesus.  But none of them seem interested in performing the miraculous healings and other powerful signs.  They seem to be interested in is his oratory skills, wisdom and character but definitely not his power.  That causes some dissonance for me.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Find Help At The Land of The Ultra Rev

So why do I blog?  Well, ....  When I was little my dad used to say, "Steven, you just like to hear yourself talk."  There's probably some truth to that.  But probably at the core I really want to help people like you.

I am extremely concerned at the state of the church catholic in the US.  With every fiber of my being I am burdened for it to grow.  I believe that new church plants, new church campuses and new relevant, unusual, outside the box, even weird ministries are needed.  John Wesley said, "The world is my parish." and similarly I like to think, "New York State is my parish."  I love the expression of faith that is Anglican Mission in America and the Evangelical Covenant Church.

I believe that marriage is cornerstone to every culture in the human race and needs to be upheld, supported and celebrated -- especially marital relations. :)

I really, honestly, sincerely want you to grow deeper in your faith.  The vibrancy of your faith in Jesus Christ and your ability to live it out matters to me -- even though I may not have the slightest clue who you are and we are utter strangers.  You matter to me.  With great affection for you I want to encourage you to throw off all that hinders you from being everything that God created you to be and plunge head long into attempting great things for God with a vibrant faith that fuels reckless abandon for Him.

And sometimes I just want to entertain and humor you a little.

So I blog about all these things with hopes that it makes a difference somewhere.  Thanks for stopping by The Land of The Ultra Rev.  Peace be with you.

Check out the side bars of this blog to:

FIND A CHURCH in the Syracuse-Utica-Rome area. (left)  

FIND A JOB in CNY and beyond. (right)  


FIND LINKS to Self Help, Open Source Software, Beautiful Artwork, Ministry Resources and Marital Aids. (left) There's other stuff here as well. Enjoy.

Monday, December 21, 2009

BBC News - Unholy row over New Zealand Mary and Joseph billboard

BBC News - Unholy row over New Zealand Mary and Joseph billboard

Some religious people were offended by this billboard in New Zealand.  I'm not sure I really understood it.  Is it somehow suggesting that God was better in bed than Joseph, as if Mary had some ecstatic sexual experience with God?  That's funny?  If that is what is being suggested here is actually seems more stupid and than offensive.

I guess some were offended by the nature of Joseph being in bed with Mary as if they had relations, insinuating that Mary was not the perpetual virgin that some claim she was, thus besmirching her character.  I dunno.  Maybe that's offensive if you hold that view.

What about you?  Offensive?  Funny?

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Clergy Contribute To The Culture of Unbelief

VirtueOnline -- Clergy's Ethical Ratings Drop to 32-Year Low

50% of Americans rated the moral character of clergy high or extremely high.  That is down six points from last year.  It is not below the percentages during the height of the Roman Catholic priest scandal earlier in the decade.  Some speculate the decline is from several years of bad press while others are unsure for the reasons for the decline.  Regardless of the reason, belief in the moral caliber of clergy continue to decline.

Right now, I don't think America trusts the church.  If you do not think highly of the moral character of clergy, one might imagine that your trust in them is low also, leading to a low trust in the church as well.  Furthermore, for many people, clergy are the face of the church and are seen as representatives of God.  A lack of trust in them can contribute to a lack of trust in God.

How does the church win the trust of America?  If we really are interested in reaching "every man, woman and child" as we talk about here in Syracuse, they must trust us before they believe our message.  How will that happen?

What contributes to trust being built?  Constancy of character is one issue.  We trust those who we know will consistently act with good will towards us and towards those we love.  We trust those we believe have our best interests at heart -- people for whom we see they want wellness, greatness, health, happiness and goodness for us.  We believe those who we have a sense of being knowledgeable -- they are proven scholars and experts.  We trust people who are powerful but benevolent with their power.  We trust those who are honest -- even when honesty when it is neither popular nor convenient.  There is no "fine print" to read with those who are honest.  We readily believe those who are humble, not self seeking and forthright with their failings.  To be trustworthy, there is some how enough transparency between our public self and private self and they are found to be consistent and though not perfect generally decent.

I'm sure we would all love to say all these things are true of our clergy, our people and churches.  But it seems obvious to me that when the percentages of those who do not have a high view of the moral character of clergy grow and church attendance decreases along with it, there is a trust problem here.

I guess we can still revel in the fact that America trusts clergy more than Congress.  Only 9 percent of Americans have a high or very high view of them.  But if the church does not build trust with the community it serves, it may only be a little while until we are viewed like Congress.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Liverpool man donates truckload of gifts for church giveaway this morning | News from The Post-Standard -

This guys deserves some serious props -- Jon Nappa of Bruin Computers in Liverpool -- for donating $120k worth of toys to bless families in need.  Love it.  I use Bruin Computers all the time for recycling electronic goods.  They have several dumpsters on the side of their building where you can drop off electronic items for recycling for FREE 24/7.  That's been the final resting place of for a few of my Macs [moment of silence].
Liverpool man donates truckload of gifts for church giveaway this morning | News from The Post-Standard -: "Baldwinsville, NY -- When Word of Life Assembly of God Church leaders asked member Jon Nappa, if he could help a few families in need this Christmas season, Nappa answered the call in a big way.

Nappa, the owner of Bruin Computers in Liverpool who has often purchased electronics at wholesale prices, purchased 48 crates of surplus merchandise from Kmart and donated it to the church to give away.

“The crates are full of everything you see in the stores,” Nappa said. “Everything is new overstocked merchandise.”

The retail value of the merchandise is about $120,000. Nappa paid about $14,000 because he bought it a reduced rate.

The church in Baldwinsville is giving away clothes, toys and more to families in need from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. today. About 70 church volunteers helped to unload the pallets Friday night.

The giveaway is for anyone who needs help providing gifts this holiday season. The church is located at 12 E. Oneida St. in Baldwinsville. For more information, visit the church’s Web site.

Look for our coverage of the giveaway online Saturday and in Sunday's Post-Standard."

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Women in Ministry

I enjoyed reading this long, long list of women preachers in the Wesleyan stream over the past hundreds of years. Many of them accomplished great things for God and some here in my beloved New York State.

Wesleyan Arminian: Women Leaders in the Wesleyan Movements

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Public Reading of Scripture

Someone asked for a reposting of my rants on the public reading of Scripture:
The Land of The Ultra Rev: Evangelicals Unfaithful To The Word About The Word?

The Land of The Ultra Rev: Rant: Whatever Became of the Public Reading of Scripture?

1 Timothy 4:11 "Command and teach these things. 12 Don't let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity. 13 Until I come, devote yourself to the public reading of Scripture, to preaching and to teaching." (NIV)

One Thousand New Anglican Churches
Could We Have At Least A Couple Here in CNY?

Previously I blogged about the new Anglican structures in the US having a goal of planting 1000 new churches within the next 3 years.  An audacious goal indeed.  There is now a blog dedicated to promoting this task:

Anglican 1000

Planting new Anglican churches in upstate New York can't happen fast enough for me -- in fact I'm irritated at it's slow growth.  I believe there is a great future in CNY for Anglican churches that preach a biblical, relevant message with outstanding contemporary music (with a smattering of the traditional), strong children and family ministries and a well done, liturgical, eucharistic focused worship experience.

I still think central New York is primarily dechurched not unchurched and while traditionally that dechurched population has been mostly Roman Catholic it is increasingly evangelical too!  And all of those groups could be served well by an Anglican church with great music, liturgy, theology and ministry.

Right now in CNY if you want a weekly Eucharistic service with orthodox theology and contemporary music, you options are extremely limited with St. Andrews Anglican Church (AMIA) probably being your best choice.  I'll bet you can't name 5 others that might fit that description which is really disappointing for a metro area of nearly half a million people.

If the Anglicans are going to plant 1000 new churches in the US in the next five years, could we have 2 or 3 of them here in central New York?

Glowing Marriages Growing Apart

Glowing Together While Growing Apart-Part I -- The Pure Bed’s Blog

Glowing Together While Growing Apart-Part II -- The Pure Bed’s Blog

Glowing Together While Growing Apart-Part III -- The Pure Bed’s Blog

Advice from the Pure Bed blog for marriages that look 'Glowing' on the outside but on the inside are 'Growing Apart'.

One theme I keep hearing repeatedly in recent times is that couples need to have a plan, goal or vision for the marriage. The Pure Bed blog says, "Couples must be intentioned-minded and visionary about their relationship." I really like this thinking.

Monday, December 14, 2009

YouTube - Greg Boyd (Part 1 of 13)

There has been a growing interest and discussion regarding Open Theism.  One of the main proponents is Dr. Greg Boyd, Senior Pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, MN and President of Christus Victor Ministries.  To hear Boyd for yourself and learn about Open Theism check out this Part 1 of 13 videos available at YouTube.

YouTube - Greg Boyd (Part 1 of 13)

I'm not a proponent of Open Theism but Boyd has really forced me to learn about my own theological views of sovereignty, free will, the problem of evil, etc.

One growing annoyance I have is labeling all Arminians as Open Theists.  That's just not true, especially not true of Classical Arminians.

Friday, December 11, 2009

NEW Anglican Mission in America Church in Utica-Rome-New Hartford-Marcy-Oriskany-Oneida County, NY

Anglican Mission in Oneida County, NY

There is a group in Oneida County that would like to plant an Anglican Mission in America Church there. So far the group has only networked in the Rome area but would like to branch out and make more connections. Do you know anyone in the Utica-Rome area, anyone in Oneida County, that would be interested in being part of a church plant? Let me know.

By the way, I made that web site. It's cute.

The Syracuse Vineyard Church is Growing

Pastor of Children and Family Ministries

I saw at ChurchStaffing.com that the Syracuse Vineyard Church is looking for a Children and Family Pastor. Apparently, Adam Coates is leaving to start a church in Ashville, NC. Adam is a dynamite guy and he's going to do great.

The job description mentioned The Vineyard has grown 22% in the past year to 900 adults and children. THAT IS HUGE -- even bigger than a Billy Fuccillo car deal. What a great place!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Ultra Rev's Random Stuff Post

I see lot's of interesting news stories that I think will affect the church or the culture of faith, or that some how I think we should think about theologically.  I have almost 200 posts in draft form on a variety of these kinds of issues.  So here is a completely RANDOM post with links to a whole of bunch of news stories, sites, resources and other boring things.  Some, I'll comment on and others I won't.

Pastoral Care No More -- "It’s finally happening. A large percentage of highly effective pastors are dropping pastoral care from their agenda. Instead they are focusing on being the spiritual leader who sets the culture of the congregation and mentors the core leaders."  That's not going to go over well with a lot people.

Nation & World | Dogs have souls, but you already knew that | Seattle Times Newspaper -- A lot of people sincerely believe their pets have souls and they will be reunited with them in eternity.  Churches need to address the role of pets in family life and eternity.  There are a lot of people thinking about this, especially children.

Cooling Off in Summer Heat with Hot Peppers: Capsaicin in Hot Peppers Can Help Keep You Cool in Hot Weather | Suite101.com  -- I like hot peppers.

St. Joseph and Patrick Church in Utica, NY -- SJP is the parish of my mother's family. I've been doing some genealogy and I'll bet when I was born I was related to most of West Utica and they all went to SJP. If you are related in any way to a Schreck, Yost, or Hess the Utica area -- we're family.

Vermont bookstore thriving on experiment with self-publishing - The Boston Globe -- The 2009 version of the Guttenburg Press?  I keep wondering how a local church or consortium of churches or overseas mission agency could capitalize on this technology.

Wait for Sex and Marriage? Evangelicals Conflicted - ABC News -- It's getting tough for many young evangelicals as they are conflicted about sexual relations.  They want to wait until they are married to have sex yet feel like the culture -- both church and family -- are pushing them to put off marriage later and later. There are some who are now advocating for marrying young -- like I did.

A Guide to Choosing Colors for Your Brand -- Usability Post

Color Matters - Business, Marketing and Trends

I'll bet any of you who are familiar with camp Mission Meadows on Lake Chautauqua in New York, if I were to ask you what color do you think of it's fire engine red. Or more precisely, you think of Mission Meadows Red because that's what the paint store calls it. They have their own color. All buildings there are red.  I wonder how 'red' effects their ministry?

I don't think color is on the mind of many ministries.  Do we not know of it's value or importance?  Or do we believe that the Holy Spirit some how supersedes color so it's not necessary to deal with?

Many churches that follow the traditional church year utilize color in the vestments, paraments and other altarware and decorations.  But where else can we use color strategically? Our facilities (walls, carpets, outside, flowers), bulletin and other print pieces, multimedia choices, clothes of people on stage/altar/platform/in front, etc.

Do you ever think about your church's use of color and how it might effect the spiritual and emotional experience of the people?

Commentary: Bush Quietly Saved a Million African Lives: NCRegister -- A side of President Bush rarely mentioned, possibly even supressed.  This story is old now but it does show Pres. Bush as a little more complex.

GissiSim.com | 6 Ways how I let Twitter work for me -- Still a lot of church leaders out there resistant to Twitter.  Here's some encouragement.

Vatican official: Atheist theories 'absurd' - The Vatican - msnbc.com -- Whether it's calling out abortionists as murders or rebuking their own people for their lack of faithfulness, the Vatican is bold and doesn't worry about political correctness. While media and others are fawning over the recent publications and assertions of atheists, the Vatican calls them absurd. I don't always agree with them, but I sure admire the Vatican for taking bold positions on modern day issues. They at least attempt to lead.

Thousands of Pastors Pledge to Keep Sermons Purely Biblical  -- (Ultra Rev shakes his head in bewilderment)

ABC News: Saving Sin City: Hookers for Jesus Target Unlikely Flock -- The guys from XXXChurch.com take on Las Vegas.

Notes on Supralapsarianism and Infralapsarianism -- for the theologically bored.

The Official Flogging Molly Website -- Irish Music.  Not clean and pristine lyrically but it's kickin', high energy, fast, wonderful music.  Love some of it, some of it not so much.

More to come.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Anglican Mission In The Americas

The Anglican Mission In The Americas seriously upgraded their web site. The mancrush continues ....

Monday, December 07, 2009

The Marriage Course at Grace Covenant Church

Grace Covenant Church continues its offering of the Marriage Course. The Marriage Course is for good marriages and those who are struggling. Though it is faith based, you really don't have to have a church background to participate. It's for anybody who wants a good marriage.

Alyx and I took the course in the fall and really enjoyed it. They asked me what I thought and I said, "I like that it is guy friendly, meaning it's not too touchy feely, you don't have to "share" with people you don't know, they feed you good food and especially because it encourages sex."

The good people at Grace Covenant Church, located at Rt. 31 and Stearns Rd. in Clay, NY have been running the course repeatedly and literally hundreds of people have benefited from it.

Each evening starts with dinner, followed by a video message and then discussion about the video. There isn't any counseling and no one is expected to talk about their personal marital issues; however, there are couples there available to talk and encourage you. There is no arm twisting to attend the church, so it doesn't matter if you go to church elsewhere or not at all. It's like a community ed class. (But if you are looking for a church home Grace would be an excellent choice especially if you have teens or younger children!)

The course is free but you'll pay something for the workbook. There is no childcare provided, but if you want to attend and childcare is an issue call the church and ask for help: Grace Covenant Church, (315) 699-1551, ask for Pastor Bruce Baehr.

See the information below about the "Come and See Evening".  This is an opportunity to it check out with no obligation to attend the whole course.   Just come this one night. If you like it, come back for more, if you don't ... well, ... do something else good for your marriage.

The Marriage Course
How to build a healthy marriage that lasts a lifetime

Sunday, January 31, 2010 @ 5:00PM @ Grace Covenant Church
Are you interested in hearing more about The Marriage Course?  Plan on attending this dinner and hear from several couples that have been through the course.  A video will be shown giving insight into the course.

Sunday, February 21, 2010: 5:00-8:00 PM
7 sessions (February 21st-April 11th)

What is the Marriage Course?  The Marriage Course is a series of seven sessions designed to help any married couple strengthen their relationship.  It’s a great opportunity to spend time together as a couple looking at the important issues in your marriage.  The Marriage Course is practical and will help equip you with the tools needed to build a healthy marriage that lasts a lifetime.  Each week you are given the opportunity to enjoy a special meal together and listen to a talk. Then there is plenty of time to discuss the topic as a couple. There is no group work involved at any stage of the course.

Who is it for?  It is for any married couple that wants to work together at and invest in their marriage.  If you have a strong marriage this course will help you make it even stronger and will reinforce your good habits.  If on the other hand your marriage is in difficulty, the course will help provide you with practical tools to help you work through the issues. Some couples that are separated have used the course as a way of trying to get back together.  While the course is based on Christian principles couples are welcome with or without a church background. Many couples that are not churchgoers have enjoyed and benefited from the marriage course.

What’s Involved?
  • Dinner – The evening starts with a meal together.
  • Talk – Each evening a DVD is watched. 
  • Coffee, dessert and discussion time – Exercises for you to do together as a couple.
  • Homework – At the end of each session you will be given some homework to do together before the next session. It isn’t looked at by anyone else and is just for your own benefit to help you continue your discussion at home.
When is it offered?  The following Sunday evenings:
  • Jan 31 -- Come and See Dinner
  • Feb 21 -- Session 1
  • Feb 28 -- Session 2
  • Mar 7 -- Session 3
  • Mar 14 -- Session 4
  • Mar 21 -- Session 5
  • Mar 28 -- Session 6
  • Easter Break -- No class on April 4
  • Apr 11 -- Session 7
    Contact Bruce or Barbara Baehr if you have questions!
    Bruce: email
    Barbara: email
    Telephone: (315) 457-6157
    Grace Covenant Church: (315) 699-1551

    Look in the left hand side bar of this blog for MARITAL AIDS.  You'll be surprised at what you find.

    Friday, December 04, 2009

    The ClimateGate Media Outlet Blackout

    Day Fourteen and Counting

    The Media Research Center is claiming that the ABC, NBC and CBS have all ignored the scandal regarding scientific data and emails from scientists that show their willful intent to manipulate data in favor of their findings, which really no longer seem to be findings rather presuppositions.

    It's just another dagger in the heart of truth. We don't believe anything is true anymore. Quite frankly, I think rightly so.

    How many countless sales pitches have we heard the word FREE used in connection with something we have to purchase? We don't believe all the production descriptions online or in catalogs any more because they all exaggerate.

    We're rightly suspicious of every of every product review or recommendation posted online because so many are posted by people who are paid directly or indirectly by the product's company. Legislation is now being enacted regarding online product reviews.

    A common Facebook answer to Political Views is "They're all liars." We certainly no longer trust our politicians to represent our interests or views or believe them to tell the truth when they are campaigning.

    Tiger Woods was found out last week to not be truthful.  We don't trust any celebrity.

    And this ClimateGate scandal is just one of numerous ones where the major media outlets are selective about which stories they report on or selective about what information they use.

    Is it any wonder that people come to church and not believe what the preacher or Good Book has to say?

    Bottom line: People need to know and experience The Truth -- the person of Jesus Christ, who is the Way, the Truth and the Life. People need to know God and experience Him.

    No longer will churches get away with just talking about God and theology. People's ears are full of competing, mind boggling, unverifiable proclamations and truth claims. But their hearts are yearning to be full of an experience of God that brings them to their knees in repentance and in awe of His majesty, yet brings them to tears of an unfathomable, selfless, unconditional love of a noble Savior and King.

    Forget about telling people about Jesus. Introduce them to Him.

    I saw this yesterday at the Orthodox Church in America web site. It's part of their FAQ.

    Do you believe in the Bible?

    No. We believe in God! We do, however, believe the Bible to be God's inspired word a part of the Tradition of the Church. (II Thessalonians, 2:15) In fact, it was the Church which gave us the Bible as we know it today! (You didn't think it just fell from heaven as we have it, did you?)

    Thursday, December 03, 2009

    Bishop Tobin Take Patrick Kennedy to Task

    VirtueOnline: Michael J. McManus: Pro-Abortion Politicians Receive Communion?

    So the question keeps getting asked, "Well, Catholic pro-choice politicians have been receiving communion for decades.  Why are they picking on this guy?"   Some are calling it politically motivated.

    The real issue here isn't that they are denying Patrick Kennedy holy communion.  The real issue is that the church has not been consistent on the issue.  According to their own canons and theological beliefs, this is the stance they likely should have taken all along but have not.  So now they do it and appear inconstant.

    Why haven't they enforced this through the years?  Maybe that was politically motivated too.

    In the linked article the Bishop really takes Kennedy to task.  Here's one quote:
    "Rep. Kennedy defended himself: "The fact I disagree with the hierarchy on some issues does not make me any less of a Catholic."

    Bishop Tobin issued a tart public response: "Well, in fact, Congressman, in a way it does. Although I wouldn't choose those particular words, when someone rejects the teachings of the Church, especially on a grave matter, a life and death issue like abortion, it certainly does diminish their ecclesial communion, their unity with the Church."

    Christmas a Pagan Holiday

    Have I ever told you how tired I am of hearing from certain Christians about how Christmas and Easter are just the takeover of Pagan holidays and rituals? And, so what? What if they were? As it now stands, people all over the globe participate in these holidays -- and most of them very sincerely as an act of worship. Are they some how deceived and really worshiping a false god now because of supposed pagan origins of these holidays? Really? Come on now. Christians every where worship Jesus Christ on Christmas and Easter, rearrange their lives so to serve others and participate in the life of the church in special ways -- all because of Jesus, the real risen Jesus of the Bible, Lord and Savior of the world. Who cares if pagan holidays were co-opted. Get over it. If it's true it's just another great example of God taking the sinfulness of this world and redeeming it for his purposes and kingdom.

    Tuesday, December 01, 2009

    NEW CAFE in Livepool: Cafe at 407

    Welcome to the Cafe at 407!

    A new cafe has opened up in Liverpool: Cafe at 407.  It is a part of Ophelia's Place, a non-profit dedicated to helping people with eating disorders and their families.

    They have had a soft opening the past couple weeks but their official grand opening will be Saturday, Dec. 5.  Christopher Ames will be playing.

    Cafe at 407 is located at 407 Tulip Street in the village of Liverpool, NY.