Filed under: Church wrongs, Uncategorized | Tags: churches, denominationalism, pastor, Scranton
Some of you have seen this sign on a TV show called ‘The Office’. My daughter watches the show, I do not. I tried, but I just do not get the humor, if there is any. There is far more drama, and even comedy in the reality that is Scranton. The City broke away from Wilkes-Barre a century ago at the hight of industrial Pennsylvania, and is a fascinating place. It is the home of two really quality, really Catholic, Universities, Scranton U. a Jesuit institution, and Marywood, founded by the Sisters of the Immaculate Heart of Mary. I am no expert, but that sounds about as Catholic as it gets.
Scranton is amazingly culturally diverse. King coal brought in labor from Europe in stages. The dates on the many churches give a guide to the waves of immigration. First the Irish, then the Italians, and when the coal companies had enough of those, they went to Western Europe to recruit. If there were one group they might unite, and that just would not do. Fortunately for the mine bosses , all these ethnic groups pretty much hated each other. We have Slovak, Polish, Czech, Italian , Irish, Russian , Greek , Hungarian, and plain old Catholic churches in this area. These groups never worshiped together, often fought in gangs, avoided intermarriage like the plague, and had their own language, customs, foods holidays and Saints. These were people who took their Catholicism seriously. The church was a major part of their lives, providing all social contact, education in the English language and trades, and giving political direction. Even today in Jessup, right outside Scranton, St. Ubaldo races the other Saints for honor, it is close on occasion, but Ubaldo always wins! Even when he fell of his perch one year and had to be hastily reassembled, he won!
Times are changing. Now there is intermarriage, a more homogenous culture, and a lot of empty churches. Bishop Martino became very unpopular by closing Catholic schools and churches. The diocese was broke, he said, do to a lessening of contributions and the payouts made to all the child abuse victims. As bad as things are, they get worse. Like this.
Filed under: Jesus, Uncategorized | Tags: addiction, Alcoholics Anonymos, church, Critical christians, love, pastor
There are times I would like to secede from the flock called Christian. Perhaps I could be known as a Jesusian, or a Yeshudist. It could be a genetic thing,
I do come from a long line of protestants, the people who have 1st Welsh Baptist, 2nd Welsh Baptist and Plain Old Baptist churches on corners of the same street, attended by relatives, some of whom still speak to each other. It could also be shame that motivates my desire for distance.
There is a segment of the church that shares all of my main theology. They and I could say the same creeds, read many of the same books, admire the same martyrs, sing the same hymns and serve the same Lord. You would think that these brothers and sisters and I would share the same ‘world view’ having very little variation in opinion or behavior. You would think. I do not mean the Phelps contingent, or snake dancers, or the Toronto blessing gang, they get written off as the crazy cousins with unfortunate tendencies that everybody hopes miss the reunion. I am talking about people who are just wrong, way wrong, and claim the rightness of God.
The spotlight falls today on that group of the righteous that hate Alcoholics Anonymous. They are not just critical, all groups and individuals could use some criticism, and AA is certainly not above criticism, these people are haters. I really never thought anyone could hate AA. Any group dedicated to getting people sober must have some redeeming qualities, but not to this group of Critictians, [my new word, they are a lot like Christians on the outside, but filled with a hollowness where the love is supposed to go] who go so far as to declare that a demon dictated the twelve steps.
There is a great way to reach out to a newly sober seeker! Tell her that the group that taught her a way to stay sober, and upon which she is leaning for support was started by the devil. I won’t put up a link to such nonsense, but a quick google will get you to all kind of sights like that. Do they have a picture, or a recording of said demon at work? No. They have inferred this because A A does not preach the Gospel in a way that they approve . It does not matter that A A does not preach the Gospel at all, the fact is that A A mentions God, and these people have the copy-write on all that is godly.
It would do my heart good to see these people apply the same standards in all of the different facets of their lives. If they were off the coast on a cruise in a storm, floundering, and the Coast Guard shows up to help they should say,”Away with you,you are not a Christian organization , God will save us!” It should not matter to them that the Coast Guard is not designed to preach the Gospel but to save lives, or even that some Coast Guard personnel are certainly good Christians, no, a blanket condemnation is in order.
If, God forbid, their home was to catch fire, do not send the fire department. Some of the firefighters are agnostic, [few], there may be an atheist with them, but almost certainly some will have a St. Florian medal, as they are good Catholics. “Away , go away let it burn, you pray to a saint, not to God through Jesus, leave you follower of the whore of Babylon!” It should not matter that the fire department exists to save lives and protect property, not spread the gospel, or that some of the members are fine Christians, they should be condemned!
Alcoholics Anonymous is not a Christian organization. It was not designed to spread the Gospel, it was designed to spread sobriety. It is in the same category as the Coast Guard or the Fire Department, a life saving service comprised of good, dedicated people of purpose. If I am in danger on the water or in a fire I will accept help from a Buddhist, Hindu, Muslim or Jane. I will them thank Jesus for their help and pray for their soul.
I wonder if the Critictians are willing to get up at 3 am. and go to a bar to get someone who has fallen, bring them home, watch them puke and love them the next day. It is easier to call the drunk a sinner and move away. It is no wonder why there are so few Baptists with overt drinking problems, we throw them out. A A provides a useful service, 24/7 world wide. Many in my church go to meetings. They know A A is not perfect, but then again neither is my church.
Thank God I am not an alcoholic! How horrible it must be to be compelled to drink, knowing full well the pain it will cause to self and loved ones! I am also not a T-totaler either, although I honestly can’t remember the last time I had a drink. I don’t drink because it just doesn’t fit into my life often, not because of moral conviction. I may have a beer this summer, but I thank God that many in my church will not, because one drink opens a floodgate for the alchoholic.
I am working on a guide to assist Pastors and Lay Leaders to work with people in recovery in AA. These people need a Savior! Telling them the life raft they cling to was made by Satan is not part of the program. Critictians make it impossible to bear witness to the Gospel of Christ by their very nature of condemnation. Please let me know your thoughts on AA, your concerns, your experiences.
John 3:17 “For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him.”
Are we here to condemn? Or to spread the news of His Salvation!
Filed under: History, roots of Willohroots | Tags: church, dayspring, pastor, preacher, SBC
Dayspring Bible Chapel does not readily fit in to any of the accepted categories. By that I mean, we’re not really an existing work as we have all new people, new name, we’re creating our own new traditions, but then again, we’re not a new start either. The branch that is Dayspring grew from the stump of something called the Wyoming Valley Baptist Church. Let me give you a quick history. In the seventies the SBC looked at a map and decided that Wilkes Barre, Pennsylvania, really needed a southern baptist work. Now the area had quite a few American Baptist churches and Independent Baptist churches, but was predominantly Roman Catholic with Methodist and Presbyterian presence. What church a person attended was by and large based upon his or her ancestry. Later european immigrants were RC, earlier English and German immigrants were not.
A tent revival was held and I’m told two hundred people walked the aisle. A church was needed to house these people so Wyoming Valley Baptist Church was formed. When the church’s temporary headquarters was leveled to put in a bypass a new building was sought for a permanent home. A fellow named Pacey ran a bar/shoe store on River Road in Plains. I find that an odd combination. Pacey was being charged by the stool (barstool) for his sewer hookup. He told the town fathers that he didn’t like that and for spite would sell his building to a religious organization that would not have to pay taxes just to teach them a lesson. He actually threatened to sell to a black religious organization but there were none in the market for a bar/shoe store at the time. The building was purchased and the SBC went to work.
I love how SBC churches work together when they have a mission, and the mission of destroying a bar, it seems, brought them great glee. They built a really nice meeting hall for approximately 100 people. They gave some donated bibles and hymnals from a church in Flordia that had upgraded, helped them call a pastor, prayed for them with loving hearts and turned them loose. While this was all done with the best of intentions, it didn’t work out. I can safely say that it didn’t work out because they went through twenty two pastors in twenty five years. What really had been built was a meat grinder for pastors, their families, and the believers who loved them. Put the latter into the mix, wait a little while, and watch the bleeding mangled mess that comes out the other side.
Now as all good southern baptists know, right next to the soverignty of God is the autonomy of the local church, so that when some mess like this exists the cure can only come from within. I admire the courage of the men who accepted the call to this work. I am forced to admire their courage else I would have to doubt their sanity. Through all of this a core group of “deacons” and key leaders hung in there. They prayed fervently that God would finally have mercy on them and send them a decent pastor instead of all the fellows they had put up with to date. That’s the origin.