On the responsibility of parents for their children before God

Reflections on Ephesians 6:1-9.

Some of the memories I have of childhood are from the primary Sunday school class. My mother was the teacher for most of what I can remember, though there were some other teachers in later years. I obviously benefited from what I was taught in those early classes, and I still draw on the knowledge that was imparted to me there.

One of the unique things about my childhood Sunday school class, perhaps not so unique when compared with many other classes of the time, was the flannel board. Do you remember the flannel board? I’m not sure if they are still in use these days in our high tech world when we seem to prefer moving pictures over anything else, but the flannel board seemed high tech in the ’70s and ’80s, at least to a small child. Continue reading

Foundations of ethics

“Ethics is the study of how humans ought to live as informed by the Bible and Christian convictions.” So wrote Stanley Grenz in his book The Moral Quest. This is the Christian view.

Both the Christian and the secularist draw on the ideas of the Greek philosophers in understanding ethics. Western thinking on the subject has been significantly influenced by Plato and Aristotle. Their teaching centered largely on virtuous living. Traditional philosophy of ethics is based on reason. Continue reading

The Pharisee and the publican

This, then, is a terrible, fearsome lesson concerning the Pharisee who, uncondemned before the world, is damned because of his haughtiness and disdain for other people. For where such pride, as described in our text, is present, there forgiveness of sins cannot be. It was pride that precipitated the noblest angel out of heaven; and the most excellent people on earth, Adam and Eve, were driven from Paradise when they became proud and wanted to be like God…..

Therefore, let everyone humble himself before God, be caring toward his neighbor and not despise him, serve and work faithfully to earn his living, eat and drink; let him take care not to become proud and puffed up, as he sees that he, too, has unclean hands. To these God gives his grace; but those who do not obey will be cast out. For God cannot endure pride, as Mary recounts in her hymn of praise, “He hath scattered the proud in the imagination of their hearts; he hath put down the mighty from their seats, and exalted them of low degree.”

–Dr. Martin Luther on Luke 18:9-14, the Gospel passage for the Eleventh Sunday after Trinity

The Pharisee and the Publican

Disentangling

A good deal of time has passed since I’ve written regularly. Most of my writing in the past few years has been technical or of mostly insignificant ideas.

This little note serves as notice that I’m beginning to disentangle. I’ll write about some of it here, and some of it will be remain private. As I disentangle, my writing should improve and lengthen and begin to grow substantive again, I pray.

I am disentangling.

The Church is not in despair

{1 Peter 2:11-17. John 16:16-22}

In the Name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost. Amen.

Accounting

lighthouseLast Monday being Tax Day, no doubt, you felt relief. Relief because you had already filed your tax return, because you mailed it off that day, or because you requested an extension for time to file. On the other hand, if you owed taxes with your return, perhaps you weren’t feeling relief so much as exasperation.

April 15th, or thereabouts, is the day we’ve learned to dread every year. We either dread it because our bookkeeping is behind and we know it will be a monumental task to get it all together; or we dread it because we’re afraid to see the last number on the return: will it be positive or negative?

We all know that this settling of accounts is coming around each year. The wise consider how their actions throughout the year will affect their tax liability. The foolish live in the moment, oblivious to how what they do now will impact their future.

My work in accounting has shown me that the field is aptly named. Sometimes, there is a daily accounting of the financial situation; at other times, there is a monthly or quarterly accounting, and there is always the annual accounting that follows the close of the fiscal year. In working with a lot of small businesses, I’ve learned that one of the principle reasons businesses fail is a lack of accounting. That is, the business fails because the owner goes along thinking all is well when he really has no clue; he hasn’t examined the books well enough to know whether he’s actually turning a profit. This man is often found driving a Mercedes while living with his wife and children in his mother’s basement.

How shall we live?

In the reading from St. Peter’s epistle appointed for today, we see the apostle admonishing the followers of Christ. He describes how Christians should walk uprightly, bringing honor to the Lord. He exhorts believers to embrace the disciplines of the Christian faith. He does so by expounding the virtues of the Christian life, the demands of the Christian life, the necessary behavior of the man committed to the cause of Christ. Continue reading