JWB's comments, notes, prayers, quotations, etc. on Christianity.


last updated 4/16/2003


Our lives begin to end on that day when we become silent about things that matter. – MLK Jr.



1. My Credo (a work in process as long as I live)


Click here



2. Prayers


At the time of the giving of tithes:


God, you have so greatly loved us, long sought us, and mercifully redeemed us. Give us grace so that in everything we may yield ourselves, our wills and our works, a continual thank-offering to you; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.  (from Montview Blvd Presbyterian Church, Denver).


O Lord and Master of my life,
give me not a spirit of sloth,
vain curiosity, lust for power and idle talk.

But give to me, your servant,
a spirit of soberness,
humility, patience and love.

Yes, O Lord and King,
grant me to see my own faults,
and not to condemn my sister and brother,
for blessed are thou to the ages of ages.

-- St. Ephriam the Syrian, 305-373 C.E.

God of all the colors,

            we confess to you that our lives are too often monochromatic.

You present us with all the opportunities of the rainbow,

            and we restrict ourselves to safe neutrals.

We do not risk bright yellow love, or deep purple justice.

We keep our choices to a minimum

            preferring to stick with what we know.

Wrap your rainbow around us, O God, and liberate us.

Your love reminds us that we do not need to be afraid to take risks.

Let us be a rainbow people for you.         (Montview Blvd church bulletin, early 2003)



3. On Salvation


What, then, about people of other faiths? I am optimistic. It seems hardly likely that the God of love described in the New Testament would shun a human being of good will only on the grounds of an accident of birthplace and culture. Jesus did say "I am the way, etc." but he did NOT say, "You gotta be a Christian for me to accept you." Indeed, at another place in scripture, he speaks of "other sheep" in "other folds." I find the sermons of Dirk Ficca (easily accessed on the internet with a Google search) to be a useful discussion of this issue.


The literalist will quickly cite John 14:6 as a proof text, of course. But look at it in context – it is Jesus comforting Thomas. And it does not say “’only,” although that may be a valid interpretation. Even if “only” is added to one’s interpretation, it does NOT say anything at all about people of other faiths, people who lived before 33 A.D., people who never heard of Jesus the Christ, people who never understood the Christian message, etc. 


I take the text as a reminder that none of us has a road map – that the relationship with God/jesus it itself the way. Claiming a “Christian identity,” I can also claim a potential inclusivity. I testify to Christ, and at the same time, with the conviction that God is both compassionate and just have the hope that those outside the Christian faith will “make it” also, understanding well that God is God and I am not and that judgment is not in my job description.


4. On love

From page 52 of Hart's book, "What Does the Lord Require?" -- "Love is the central principle of Christian Ethics. We are to love one another as God loves us: blindly, unconditionally, selflessly, and passionately. We should treat people better than they deserve, dispense grace and mercy rather than strict justice, and return good for evil. This is not a rational form of love.... The paradigm for this kind of love is God's love....”


5. Hymns


A Hymne to God the Father – John Donne


Wilt thou forgive that sin where I begun,

Which is my sin though it were done before?

Wilt thou forgive those sins, through which I run,

And do run still, though still I do deplore?

When thou hast done, thou hast not done, for I have more.


Wilt thou forgive that sin by which I’ve won

Others to sin? And made my sin their door?

Wilt thou forgive that sin which I did shun

A year or two; but wallowed in, a score?

When thou hast done, thou hast not done, for I have more.


I have a sin of fear, that when I’ve spun

My last thread, I shall perish on the shore;

But swear by thyself, that at my death thy Son

shall shine as He shines now, and heretofore;

And having done that, thou hast done; I fear no more.



6. Philosophy and such


How is theology modeled? Four observational evidences:


1. Scripture

2. History and tradition

3. Testimonies of others, past and present

4. Personal experience


Evidences 1, 2 and 3 may be useful in bringing one to a position of being willing to consider the possibility of Christianity being true. And for some it may be enough to bring them into a saving faith. For others, evidence 4 is sometimes granted. In all of the above, it is God who does the pursuit, the wooing, the confirmation that a right choice has been made; that the commitment to Christ is valid.


The Christian and good works. What would we think of a person who says “I am an artist.” who has never created anything artistic in his life?

Christianity -- Not what one believes, but to whom we relate. A journey.


The church – reformed, and always reforming.


Christianity – I don’t understand it – but I know what it is about. It is not a checklist; not a transaction; not what we do. But it is who we are.


In life, in death, I belong to God.

The rest is just details.


John Burgeson (Burgy)

John 14:15-21 -- my favorite section of scripture

On biblical inerrancy

On the historicity of Jonah

On war


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