Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Three In June

I posted some time ago about a hard-working, young friend in Hollywood named Allison Mattox working on producing her first film, a short called Three In June.

She's finished it, and it will be screened at the Buffalo Independent Film Festival in October!

Link attached is the film's festival page listing screenings. Hers is described under the "BIFF: SHORTS: Before the Feature" beginning with "In 1960s rural Georgia..."

Congratulations, Allison!

Prayers for the People (23)

23. For Local Government

Almighty God, our heavenly father, send down upon those who hold office in this State the spirit of wisdom, charity, and justice; that with steadfast purpose they may faithfully serve in their offices to promote the well-being of all people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- The Book of Common Prayer, p 822

Monday, September 28, 2015

Bill Nye, the Logical-Fallacy Guy?

A short piece on abortion, embryology, and basic logic.

Bill Nye's Unscientific Tirade on Abortion

Prayers for the People (22)

22. For Sound Government

O Lord, our Governor, bless the leaders of this land, that we may be a people at peace among ourselves and a blessing to other nations of the earth.

To the President and members of the Cabinet, to Governors of States, Mayors of Cities, and to all in administrative authority, grant wisdom and grace in the exercise of their duties.

--The Book of Common Prayer, p. 821

[this is only part of the complete prayer]

Thursday, September 24, 2015

Prayers for the People (21)

21. For Courts of Justice

Almighty God, who sittest in the throne judging right: we humbly beseech thee to bless the courts of justice and the magistrates in all this land; and give unto them the spirit of wisdom and understanding, that they may discern the truth, and impartially administer the law in the fear of thee alone; through him who shall come to be our Judge, thy son our Savior Jesus Christ. Amen.

--The Book of Common Prayer, p 821

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Defending Unborn Infants from Predators

Women who survived abortions as infants testify before Congress in the links below:

Gianna Jessen

Melissa Ohden

I heard Ohden speak at an event last year and she was frank, truthful, and hopeful in the telling of her story.

One spiritual sub-story here is the lack of bitterness these women hold for those who abused them.

(A disclaimer: for these testimonies, I am linking to the site of a woman named Julie Roys who has published both of their testimonies, but I don't know her material otherwise so can't recommend the rest of her site.)

Listening to pro-abortion activists (cue Wendy Davis) feels like some kind of true-life "A Modest Proposal:" What to do with all these babies, coming from nowhere, mysteriously bestowed upon these autonomous women and men -- How will they be educated? How will they be fed and cared for? What to do, what to do here in our rich, populous, first-world nation? I have a proposal! Let's kill them all, and use their body parts for research! 

Prayers for the People (20)

20. For Congress or a State Legislature

O God, the fountain of wisdom, whose will is good and gracious, and whose law is truth: We beseech thee to guide and bless our Senators and Representatives in Congress assembled (or in the Legislature of this State, or Commonwealth), that they may enact such laws as shall please thee, to the glory of thy Name, and the welfare of this people; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- The Book of Common Prayer, p 821

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Stopping by Woods

...written and read by Robert Frost -- read when he was an older man.

Whose woods these are I think I know

Prayers for the People (19)

19. For the President of the United States and all in Civil Authority

O Lord our Governor, whose glory is in all the world: We commend this nation to thy merciful care, that, being guided by thy Providence, we may dwell secure in thy peace. Grant to the President of the United States, the Governor of this state [Texas], and to all in authority, wisdom and strength to know and to do thy will. Fill them with the love of truth and righteousness, and make them ever mindful of their calling to serve this people in thy fear; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who liveth and reigneth with thee and the Holy Spirit, one God, world without end. Amen.

-The Book of Common Prayer, p 820

Monday, September 21, 2015

Prayers for the People (18)

This series of prayers in The Book of Common Prayer focuses on national life.

Believers are told in 1 Timothy to pray for rulers and authorities over us. We know that God cares about the moral disposition of non-Israelite nations and the rulers of those nations (cf Ninevah, Gomorrah, Salem, any of the local tribes in the Levant God judged using Israel, et al) and so we can confidently pray for our own nation and also for our authorities and rulers.

In the democratic republic of America, the electorate are rulers, as well, so it makes sense to pray for the electorate in how they vote and in how they live, as well as our local, state, and national elected and appointed officials as they make and execute laws.

18. For our Country

Almighty God, who hast given us this good land for our heritage: We humbly beseech thee that we may always prove ourselves a people mindful of thy favor and glad to do thy will. Bless our land with honorable industry, sound learning, and pure manners. Save us from violence, discord, and confusion; from pride and arrogance, and from every evil way. Defend our liberties, and fashion into one united people the multitudes brought hither out of many kindreds and tongues. Endue with the spirit of wisdom those to whom in thy name we entrust the authority of government, that there may be justice and peace at home, and that, through obedience to thy law, we may show forth they praise among the nations of the earth. In the time of prosperity, fill our hearts with thankfulness, and in the time of trouble, suffer not our trust in thee to fail; all which we ask through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen. 

Friday, September 18, 2015

Prayers for the People (17)

The last in the series of prayers focused on the church in The Book of Common Prayer series beginning on page 814.

17. For Church Musicians and Artists

O God, whom saints and angels delight to worship in heaven; Be ever present with your servants who seek through art and music to perfect the praises offered by your people on earth; and grant to them even now glimpses of your beauty, and make them worthy at length to behold it unveiled for evermore; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen 

-The Book of Common Prayer, p 819

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Prayers for the People (16): Deep Wells and Bright Stars

Prayer 16 in The Book of Common Prayer is for those in monastic orders. To stay in keeping with my own tradition, I am going to, instead, post a prayer from The Valley of Vision, edited by Arthur Bennett.

The Valley of Vision is a collection and compilation of puritan prayers. This is the first prayer in the book

Lord, high and holy, meek and lowly

Thou who hast brought me to the valley of vision, 
where I live in the depths but see thee in the heights;
hemmed in by mountains of sin I behold thy glory.

Let me learn by paradox
that the way down is the way up,
that to be low is to be high,
that the broken heart is the healed heart,
that the contrite spirit is the rejoicing spirit,
that the repenting soul is the victorious soul,
that to have nothing is to possess all,
that to bear the cross is to wear the crown,
that to give is to receive,
that the valley is the place of vision.

Lord, in the daytime stars can be seen from the deepest wells,
and the deeper the wells the brighter thy stars shine;

Let me find thy light in my darkness,
thy life in my death,
thy joy in my sorrow,
thy grace in my sin,
thy riches in my poverty,
thy glory in my valley.

-- The Valley of Vision, Ed. Arthur Bennett, p xxiv-xxv

Farm to Table

Check out Cartermere Farms here in North Texas, owned and operated by a creative, enterprising family who also attend my son's university model school.

"You can go online and order from the farm and pick up at the farm between 3:30-5:30 on Friday. Www.cartermerefarms.com. We have eggs, honey, freshly milled grains, jalapeno jellies, prickly pears and basil. More to come from our fall crops soon."

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Prayers for the People (14 and 15)

The prayers in the series from The Book of Common Prayer (pages 814-835) continue for the church universal and local. I've adapted them at points to be relevant to a larger body of believers or to my own Presbyterian tradition, for instance using terms like "minister" instead of "bishop."

Looking forward: after prayer 17 the prayers move to a new topic: prayers for national life.

I am posting them in the order they appear and with the numbers designated by The Book of Common Prayer. I am going to include today's and tomorrow's as I am not sure how much computer time I will have tomorrow.

14. For the Unity of the Church

O God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, our only savior, the Prince of Peace: Give us grace seriously to lay to heart the great dangers we are in by our unhappy divisions; take away all hatred and prejudice, and whatever else may hinder us from godly union and concord; that, as there is but one Body and one Spirit, one hope of our calling, one Lord, one Faith, one Baptism, one God and Father of us all, so we may all be of one heart and of one soul, united in one holy bond of truth and peace, of faith and charity, and may with one mind and one mouth glorify thee; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

15. For those about to be Baptized 

O God, you prepared your disciples for the coming of the Spirit through the teaching of your Son Jesus Christ: Make the hearts and minds of your servants ready to receive the blessing of the Holy Spirit, that they may be filled with the strength of his presence; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer, p 818-819

Monday, September 14, 2015

Prayers for the People (13)

This prayer has to do with an election of a bishop, so I will paraphrase it to be a general prayer for new ministers:

13. Almighty God, giver of every good gift: Look graciously on your church, that we may receive a faithful pastor, who will care for your people and equip us for our ministries; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

--Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer p 818

Sunday, September 13, 2015

Prayers for the People (11 and 12)

11. For the Parish

Almighty and everliving God, ruler of all things in heaven and earth, hear our prayers for this parish family. Strengthen the faithful, arouse the careless, and restore the penitent. Grant us all things necessary for our common life, and bring us all to be on one heart and mind within your holy church; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

12. For a Church Convention or Meeting

Almighty and everliving God, source of all wisdom and understanding, be present with those who take counsel for the renewal and mission of your Church. Teach us in all things to seek first your honor and glory. Guide us to perceive what is right, and grant us the courage to pursue it and the grace to accomplish it; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-Adapted from The Book of Common of Prayer p 818

Friday, September 11, 2015

Mark Twain

The only footage of Mark Twain known to be in existence

"Thomas Edison once said, 'An average American loves his family. If he has any love left over for some other person, he generally selects Mark Twain.'"

"Cheerful Courage and Compassion"

Here's an article in The Gospel Coalition on InterVarsity's response to challenges:
An excerpt:
 "...because InterVarsity students did not see exaggerate their difficulties, they were better prepared to treat their opponents with respect and dignity. They overcame the temptation to resent the people who marginalized them. Even though they were taunted and shamed, accused of being intolerant bigots no better than white supremacists, they cheerfully served the people who maligned them. They brought water and doughnuts to LGBT groups protesting them. They took stands against LGBT bullying even while facing ideological bullies in university leadership. They prayed for their university leaders and found creative ways to support and strengthen the institutions that were bent on driving them out.
David French witnessed InterVarsity’s cheerful courage and compassion firsthand:
“With my own eyes I’ve seen young college students – kids who months before never imagined they’d be at the center of a national controversy – braving physical intimidation in deliberately darkened hallways, barred from entering campus hearing rooms to respectfully defend religious freedom. I’ve seen young women endure rape threats and death threats yet double down on their faith commitments and commitment to free speech for all. Young students have been subjected to Star Chamber-like proceedings in which furious campus administrators tried to hector them into doubting and denying their faith. And students have turned out by the hundreds, crowding campus buildings, to pray for their university and protest their unjust punishments.”
InterVarsity leaders challenged policies they believed were unwise or discriminatory, but whenever they lost, they submitted to the decisions and moved forward without campus recognition."

"Not Just the Pretty Babies"

...Indeed, if the pro-life movement were so shallow as to feel compassion only for theoretical, abstract, pretty babies, or so sentimental as to think eliminating abortion would provide a fuzzy blanket and a happy ending for every child, it would be of little use to children or society. Being pro-life is about far more than can be captured in a well-lit Facebook image. It is about avoiding the many tempting promises of barbarity. Both sides in the abortion debate are aware the world is full of things that ought not to be. Babies should not be ill, dependent on tubes for survival, exposed to drugs or alcohol in utero, born into poverty in crime-infested neighborhoods, or rejected by their biological families.
Barbarians respond to the world’s brokenness by doing what seems necessary to protect either themselves personally or their group as a whole.
...the solution is not to eliminate...these babies while they are most vulnerable. Doing so is to fall into the understandably human, but absolutely wrong, logic that was used by a group of third-grade boys in my classroom when they asked why, since the Middle East is always fighting and wants to hurt America, we don’t just nuke the whole region to end the problem.

Prayers for the People (9 and 10)

9. For Clergy and People

Almighty and everlasting God, from whom cometh every good and perfect gift: Send down upon our ministers, and other clergy, and upon the congregations committed to their charge, the healthful Spirit of thy grace; and, that they may truly please thee, pour upon them the continual dew of thy blessing. Grant this, O Lord, for the honor of our Advocate and Mediator, Jesus Christ. Amen

10. For the [Presbytery]

O God, by grace you have called using this [presbytery] to a goodly fellowship of faith. Bless our [ministers and elders] and all our people. Grant that your Word may be truly preached and truly heard, your Sacraments faithfully administered and faithfully received. By your Spirit, fashion our lives according to the example of your Son, and grant that we may show the power of your love to all among whom we live; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

-- Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer p 817

[References to Bishops and Dioceses changed to reflect Presbyterian governance.]

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Prayers for the People (8)

8. For the Mission of the Church

Everliving God, whose will it is that [all nations] should come to you through your Son Jesus Christ: Inspire our witness to him, that all may know the power of his forgiveness and the hope of his resurrection; who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, now and forever. Amen.

-- Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer pg 816-817

Stories Make You Smarter and More Empathetic

Reading fiction is good for you.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Prayers for the People (6 and 7)

Please excuse yesterday's Labor Day hiatus from posting these prayers in the series. I was caught up in busy family activities.

The context of prayer 6 is still the global one. For example, it might remind us that we can not only pray for ISIS to be vanquished, but for the members of ISIS to be led into the truth from hatred and prejudice.

After prayer 6, things shift to prayers for the church. Today I will include prayer 6 and prayer 7.

6. For our Enemies

O God, the Father of all, whose Son commanded us to love our enemies: Lead them and us from prejudice to truth; deliver them and us from hatred, cruelty, and revenge; and in your good time enable us all to stand reconciled before you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

The next 11 prayers after this are geared toward the church. You can apply these prayers not only to your local church body but to the church universal.

Since The Book of Common Prayer is an Anglican document, and I am a Presbyterian, I will alter those prayers to fit a wider body of Christians, for instance, using "minister" for "Bishop" (as the text, in fact, allows.) I also will replace the prayer for monastic orders with a different prayer.

I'm using "catholic" to mean "universal" and using a little "c."

7. For the Church

Gracious Father, we pray for thy holy [catholic church]. Fill it with all truth, in all truth with all peace. Where it is corrupt, purify it; where it is in error, direct it; where in anything it is amiss, reform it. Where it is right, strengthen it; where it is in want, provide for it; where it is divided, reunite it; for the sake of Jesus Christ thy Son our Savior.  Amen.

-Adapted from The Book of Common Prayer p 816

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Prayers for the People (5)

5. For Peace among the Nations

Almighty God our heavenly Father, guide the nations of the world in the way of justice and truth, and establish among them that peace which is the fruit of righteousness, that they may become the kingdom of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Eugene Volokh on Kim Davis Legal Situation

Wading through the Kim Davis (KY clerk who won't issue marriage licenses in her name) legal situation, here is Eugene Volokh in the Washington Post:

Kim Davis and the Law

Self Loathing at Evangelical Colleges

Succinct, honest, and thoughtful: from First Things:

Evangelical Colleges and Self Loathing

Prayers for the People (4)

4. For Peace

Eternal God, in whose perfect kingdom no sword is drawn but the sword of righteousness, no strength known but the strength of love: So mightily spread abroad your Spirit, that all people may gathered under the banner of the Prince of Peace, as children of one Father; to whom be dominion and glory, now and for ever. Amen.

-- The Book of Common Prayer, page 815

Friday, September 4, 2015

Prayers for the People (3)

Daily prayers taken from The Book of Common Prayer -- scroll below for earlier prayers.

3. For the Human Family

O God, you made us in your own image and redeemed us through Jesus you Son: Look with compassion on the [human family] ; take away the arrogance and hatred which infects our hearts; break down the walls that separate us; unite us in bonds of love; and work through our struggle and confusion to accomplish your purposes on earth; that, in your good time, all nations and races may serve you in harmony around your heavenly throne; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen

-- The Book of Common Prayer, page 815

Thursday, September 3, 2015

Prayers for the People (2)

Continuing my project to, each day, print the seventy prayers listed in The Book of Common Prayer. (Brackets [ ] indicate a place to insert personal or specific pleas.) Scroll down for prior prayers.

2. For All Sorts and Conditions of Men

O God, the creator and preserver of mankind, we humbly beseech thee for all sorts and conditions of men; that thou wouldst be pleased to make thy ways known unto them, thy saving health unto all nations. More especially we pray for thy holy Church universal [the believers everywhere]; that it may be so guided and governed by thy good Spirit, that all who profess and call themselves Christians may be led into the way of truth, and hold the faith in unity of spirit, in the bond of peace, and in righteousness of life. Finally, we commend to thy fatherly goodness all those who are in any ways afflicted or distressed in mind, body, or estate; [especially those Christians persecuted and suffering in the Middle East]; that it may please thee to comfort and relieve them according to their several necessities, giving them patience under their sufferings, and a happy issue out of all their afflictions. And this we beg for Jesus Christ's sake. Amen

-- The Book of Common Prayer, page 814-815 

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Prayers for the People

The Anglican Book of Common Prayer lists 70 prayers of supplication by topic (and many thanksgiving prayers by topic, as well). The prayers begin with a focus on the world, move to to a focus on the Church, then for the national conscience, and so on to prayers for family and personal life, even including some meal time prayers.

Here I will be posting the 70 prayers day by day, starting with the first prayer. 

1. For Joy In God's Creation

O heavenly Father, who hast filled the world with beauty: open our eyes to behold thy gracious hand in all thy works; that, rejoicing in thy whole creation, we may learn to serve thee with gladness; for the sake of whom all things were made, thy son Jesus Christ our Lord.