Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Indelible Grace, Worship Wars, etc...

Friday, November 23, 2007


Yesterday, the youth group I work with held a Thanksgiving breakfast and worship service at church. Everyone was able to participate and I think it went over well. Hopefully, this can be continued. Here's a sample of the liturgy..


Reflection: " be loved by God, not merely pitied, but delighted in as an artist delights in his work or a father in a son—it seems impossible, a weight or burden of glory which our thoughts can hardly sustain. But so it is."

- C.S. Lewis, “The Weight of Glory”


Responsive Call to Worship Psalm 136:1-9

LEADER: Give thanks to the LORD, for he is good.
PEOPLE: His love endures forever.

LEADER: Give thanks to the God of gods.
PEOPLE: His love endures forever.

LEADER: Give thanks to the Lord of lords:
PEOPLE: His love endures forever.

LEADER: To him who alone does great wonders,
PEOPLE: His love endures forever.

LEADER: Who by his understanding made the heavens,
PEOPLE: His love endures forever.

LEADER: Who spread out the earth upon the waters,
PEOPLE: His love endures forever.

LEADER: Who made the great lights—
PEOPLE: His love endures forever.

LEADER: The sun to govern the day,
PEOPLE: His love endures forever.

LEADER: The moon and stars to govern the night;

PEOPLE: His love endures forever.

Prayer of Invocation

† Hymn of Praise #38

I Will Call Upon the Lord

† Hymn of Adoration #8

Praise to the Lord, the Almighty (1st and 4th verses)

Corporate Profession of Thanksgiving

Almighty God, Father of all mercies, we your unworthy servants do give you most humble and hearty thanks for all your goodness and loving-kindness to us and to all men. We bless you for our creation, preservation, and all the blessings of this life; but above all for your infinite love in the redemption of the world by our Lord Jesus Christ; for the means of grace, and for the hope of glory. Amen

Prayer of Thanksgiving

Hymn of Praise #64

All Creatures of Our God and King (1st and 5th verses)

Hymn of Preparation #2

Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing

Thanksgiving Homily Bobby G. Griffith Jr.

Psalm 136

“His Love Endures Forever”

Give Thanks
I. For his Providence
The great God, Yahweh!
As Creator of all, He is King of all!
II. For His Protection
The story of Israel’s redemption
Our story too.
III. For His Provision

Accommodating Himself.
Inheritance we did not earn!
Our needs are met because of God
IV. For His Promise
Covenant Faithfulness

How does this Psalm shape our hearts?

The God of heaven and earth, the great Creator, Redeemer, has promised to be our God!
He has provided us salvation.
He has provided us deliverance!
He has pledged himself to us!
How can we not be thankful?

Closing Chorus #623

Gloria Patri

Benediction Amos 9:6/1 Thessalonians 5:16-18

May he who builds his lofty palace in the heavens and sets its foundation on the earth, who calls for the waters of the sea and pours them out over the face of the land, grant you an awareness of His love that you may be always joyful, praying continually and giving thanks in all circumstances. For this is the will of God for you. Amen.


Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Drive By Posting

The hardest thing about writing a historiographic essay on Carl McIntire is the lack of sources!

Our tree stands are clean and ready for deer season, which begins next Monday.

Having a week off helps since I need to write a 20 page paper, two 10 page papers, and a couple 5 page papers in the next ten days.

I cannot believe OU lost in Lubbock again, and the Steelers lost to the Jets!

Our Thanksgiving breakfast and worship service looks like it won't be a bust.

I think Regis Philben should have been in the top 10 all time TV personalities.

Rocky Balboa was a great movie. I need to see it again.

Our turtles aren't fighting. In fact, I think they were mating yesterday.

JR flushed a pheasant yesterday, and I took a crazy 80 yard shot and missed it.

I am buying one or two suits today, depending on what kind of deal I can get.

My dad's birthday is today. I need to call him to congratulate living as long as he has despite having a crane crush his back and jaw, having heart problems, having clots, and cutting off a couple fingers - all in different decades!

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Is it Thanksgiving yet?

I always thought public institutions of learning and higher learning had lots of breaks for every holiday imaginable. Well, I was wrong. Other than Labor Day, the only time off at WVU is Thanksgiving week, then the semester goes for another two weeks and finals week.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Book Review: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America

Under the Cope of Heaven: Religion, Society, and Politics in Colonial America by Patricia U. Bonomi, (New York: Oxford University Press, 1986) vii-291

Religion is a dominant theme in Colonial Studies. Often, however, it can seem the majority of Colonial religious works focus heavily on Puritan New England or the Great Awakening with little explanation of the broader context. Patricia Bonomi’s work stands in opposition to that. Under the Cope of Heaven is an attempt to explain the complexity of religion in the Colonial period and how through controversy, it shaped society and politics leading up to the American Revolution. Though the work is concerned with religion, it is more specifically focused on Protestant religious groups in the regions of the British Colonies.

Bonomi structures the book into two distinct parts: Religion and Society, and Religion and Politics. This structure affects content by organizing by themes rather than chronology. Each theme, whether on clergy or the “political awakening,” is broken into sub-themes based upon religious tradition. These sub-themes lend the work to not only a topical approach, but also add a regional dimension. This is extremely helpful because it takes a broader focus and gives crystallized insight into the sheer complexity of religion in Colonial America.

Complexity is a dominant theme throughout this work. In the first part, Bonomi continually stresses the diversity among Protestant groups in the Colonies. This diversity then leads to conflict between various groups. Bonomi contends that much of the conflict between religious groups was due to competition between groups, whether Baptist-Anglican conflict in Virginia, or Presbyterian-Congregational conflict in Connecticut. Though many touted the idea of religious liberty, they did not practice tolerance toward other groups.

Another route Bonomi takes to impress the importance of complexity is to explain the social context of clergy and churchgoers. Bonomi argues that many of the problems among religious groups were due to the lack of clergy among more structured groups such as Anglicans and Presbyterians. In addition to requirements for graduate degrees among these groups, many clergymen, especially Anglicans, did not want to come to the Colonies because of its remoteness and distance from England. Less structured groups, such as Baptists or Quakers, did not have education requirements and Bonomi shows the antagonistic interplay between these kinds of groups and structured groups as they quarreled over education, class, and economics.

After exploring the social context of Colonial religious life, Bonomi moves toward the relationship between religion and politics. The key event for Bonomi is the Great Awakening. This period of revival lasted from 1739-1745 and set a series of denominational conflicts which catapulted from the pulpit to the penny press to the Colonial legislatures. Key to this conflict was the Old Light-New Light controversy in the Presbyterian Church. Leaders such as Gilbert Tennent began promoting a pietistic view of life and challenged the rationalism and Scottish Common Sense beliefs of others. This also heightened a growing discontent with establishment oriented church government.

Bonomi contends these internal conflicts led to external conflicts. Religious groups began competing in the political arena, particularly in the Colonial legislatures. Whether Presbyterian-Quaker conflict in Pennsylvania or Anglican-Dissenter conflict in Virginia, Colonial Politics was ingrained with religion, and escalated tensions. Many began to fear an Anglican Bishop would be established in the Colonies. This, combined with the British exerting more perceived control, led to increased political rhetoric in sermons as themes of patriotism and liberty became common Sunday fare. These situations added with the Revolution set the course for an engrained sense of the importance of religion in American life.

Bonomi’s presentation of the complexity of religious life in Colonial America is compelling. She uses her sources in a convincing way that ties together themes such as struggle, deference, and class with the thread of religion to underscore the importance of her topic. Despite this persuasive presentation, there are a few shortcomings.

One glaring example is the exclusion or minimization of key movements and leaders. For instance, the short section covering gender and race did not delve into key abolitionist movements during the Colonial period. While it was refreshing to devote space to a few of the “positive” relationships between Colonial religious groups and African slaves, it would have been strengthened by mentioning efforts of abolitionist movements and leaders.

The most glaring minimization by Bonomi is the lack of information on Jonathan Edwards. Since Edwards is arguably the most studied religious leader during the Great Awakening, it seems odd that he is mentioned only four times. There was no reference to his famous sermon “Sinners in the Hands of an Angry God,” which many scholars would argue “begins” this period of revival. While Bonomi does an excellent job assessing the impact of the Awakening, she could have given readers better insight into this event by including more on Edwards.

Other groups which were downplayed in this work were the Moravians and Methodists, who were important, particularly in Georgia. There was one curious omission in the paragraph on Benjamin Franklin’s religious views. Bonomi minimizes Franklin’s Deism and places him in a more “Christian” mindset by referencing records, which show some of Franklin’s Christian sympathies. However, she ignored his affinity for attending revivals led by George Whitefield.

Despite the few shortcomings, this is an important book. Bonomi presents complex issues without attempting to simplify them. She places religion in its broader context to understand the intricate role it played socially and politically. This is supported by the thematic and regional organization of the material. While the book leads to the Revolution, it lacks teleology, which strengthens her argument that Colonial religion, society and politics share a multifaceted relationship with an impact felt even today.

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