Sunday, March 25, 2007

Sunday School: Armor of God; Breastplate of Righteousness


This week we look at the breastplate of righteousness in Ephesians 6:14.

When you think about it, the breastplate may be one of the most important pieces of a knight's armor. Certainly, if you are a police officer or a soldier fighting in Iraq, you don't go without your handy kevlar vest. Why? It protects you heart and vital organs- duh! You can survive a shot to your arm or leg, but if you're hit in the heart, "th th that's all, folks!"

Your heart is not only the very real center of your body, it also represents the very heart and core of your being- your hopes, beliefs, what you love most. But the key in the case of Spiritual warfare, is not relying on you're own righteousness, but instead, putting on Christ's righteousness instead. We looked up a lot of verses this morning to drive that home.

First, we saw how in Isaiah 59, especially verse 17, how God puts on His own righteousness when He gets ready to do battle. It made me think a little about Superman putting on his cape in a phone booth.

Then we read in Zechariah 3 about how Jesus )AKA "THE Angel of the Lord") took away the high priest Joshua's filthy clothes and replaced them with His clean ones. This was symbolic of how God removes our sin and dresses us with His righteousness. It's important to remember that "the Righteous shall live by faith" as it says in Habakkuk 2:4.

Philippians 3:8-9
and 1 Thesselonians 5:8 remind us that it is Jesus' righteousness, that we accuire simply by having faith in Him that protects us.

Finally, Proverbs 11:5 and Ephesians 4:22-24 tell us about some of the benefits to wearing God's righteousness, which include being able to resist the pull of temptation, as well as long life and honor. Best of all, when we wear it, we become new creatures.

Next week: look out Nike, we're strapping on footwear that will make us always ready. We're talkin' the Gospel of peace.

Me ka pule,
Ted

Monday, March 19, 2007

Habakkuk's Prayer

Last Sunday when I was studying Ephesians 6 for the Armor of God and some footnote somewhere led me to the book of Habakkuk, a minor prophet. Somewhere in there there's a reference to putting on righteousness, like the breastplate of righteousness. At any rate, while I was in there I found this beautiful prayer of praise.

Habakkuk 3

Habakkuk's Prayer
1 A prayer of Habakkuk the prophet. On shigionoth . [a]

2 LORD, I have heard of your fame;
I stand in awe of your deeds, O LORD.
Renew them in our day,
in our time make them known;
in wrath remember mercy.

3 God came from Teman,
the Holy One from Mount Paran.
Selah [b]
His glory covered the heavens
and his praise filled the earth.

4 His splendor was like the sunrise;
rays flashed from his hand,
where his power was hidden...

17 Though the fig tree does not bud
and there are no grapes on the vines,
though the olive crop fails
and the fields produce no food,
though there are no sheep in the pen
and no cattle in the stalls,

18 yet I will rejoice in the LORD,
I will be joyful in God my Savior.

19 The Sovereign LORD is my strength;
he makes my feet like the feet of a deer,
he enables me to go on the heights.
For the director of music. On my stringed instruments.

In Your name,
Amen

Got a chuckle out of this

Lest I get too far away from this blogs name sake.

Sunday, March 18, 2007

Mallory's Milieu

I went through and organized my pictures so that they make more sense. There are tons of things to look at on this site- political cartoons, photography, paintings, graphic design, book reviews, songs, videos and links- and... all four of my blogs in one central location.

Saturday, March 17, 2007

The Kingdom is big enough for you

The church in Auvers sur Oise, by Vincent Van Gogh.
Whenever I teach my Art students about Van Gogh, part of his biography includes that his father was a Reformed minister and he too wanted to become a pastor in the Church of the Netherlands. Even though he knew several language and was this total genius, I guess between having a temper and being a scatter brain they'd only let him be a vicar-level missionary to a coal mining town. Well, he was passionate about helping the poor and gave everything away and lived and worked with his parishioners more than he gave orthodox sermons, and he got fired- basically for living like Jesus did. He bared the scar for life. He embraced Buddhism instead of Christianity. Like many atheists and agnostics, he wasn't so much angry at God as wounded by Christians. The hidden secret about this beautiful painting is that we're looking at the back side of the church, as if it has turned it's back on us and is giving us the cold shoulder. The viewer is an outsider, alienated by the smug hypocrisy inside. Notice that there is no door.

We Christians need to make sure that we don't get between people and Christ.

Here are some lyrics from a kickass Christian/Lutheran "Speed-Wood" band called "Lost & Found:"


"THE KINGDOM'S BIG ENOUGH FOR YOU YOU WERE MADE TO BE HERE TOO THE KINGDOM'S BIG ENOUGH FOR YOU WHERE YOU ARE AS YOU ARE

So many people pushed away Ones that are loved told they can't stay The question is what would Jesus say?

God's own people close the door The loud and the angry take the floor We know what you fear But what are you for? Furthermore . . ."
Here is the actual church in Auvers sur Oise
And here is the back of our church in Charter Oak. Let's make sure we offer Jesus' love with OPEN arms and invite people INSIDE, through the front door.

St. Patty's Day funny

Whole Armor of God Study

Whole Armor of God Study: "by Paul Cook"

Here is an online devotion from "http://www.porn-free.org"," a website that helps people discover the truth about pornography and "sexual" addictions. While sex is a wonderful, God-given gift, it can be abused like a drug for a variety of reasons. Today, many people find themselves captive to addictive cycles of viewing pornography, masturbation, illicit sex, online affairs, prostitution, phone sex and other sexual activities. If you think you are addicted or know someone who is, this site may be helpful to you.

I was looking for recourses to help me teach our Sunday morning high school Bible Study on the Armor of God (tomorrow is the breastplate of righteousness)
, and this is one of the websites that I stumbled upon. Ironic consider most of the kinds of websites that one stumbles upon when you're just surfing! None of us is really immune, and have to use search filters or ask God's help to resist the temptation to explore those sites. If you're worried that the world, your flesh, and/or the Devil has got you trapped with pornography, this may be just the site you need. Even if you're not, check out their series on the full Armor of God and you'll come to our Bible Studies ready to share!

My home congregation

Our mission Statement is; "Sharing with open arms, the love of Christ."A few years ago when our pastor was retiring and we were facing first an interim and then Calling a new pastor, we formed a mission statement committee. As both our last church in California and the Lutheran high school where we taught had gone through the process of composing mission statements, I led a Bible study based on the 5 purposes in the popular book, "Purpose Driven Church." These are the mission and purpose statements that we recommended to the voters assembly, who approved them and added them to our constitution. There were several people, lots of prayer, and plenty of discussion and negotiation that led to these documents.

St. Patrick's Breastplate

The beautiful prayer of St. Patrick, popularly known as "St. Patrick's Breast-Plate", is supposed to have been composed by him in preparation for this victory over Paganism. The following is a literal translation from the old Irish text:

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of the Invocation of the Trinity:
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the Incarnation of Christ with His Baptism,
The virtue of His crucifixion with His burial,
The virtue of His Resurrection with His Ascension,
The virtue of His coming on the Judgement Day.

I bind to myself today
The virtue of the love of seraphim,
In the obedience of angels,
In the hope of resurrection unto reward,
In prayers of Patriarchs,
In predictions of Prophets,
In preaching of Apostles,
In faith of Confessors,
In purity of holy Virgins,
In deeds of righteous men.

I bind to myself today
The power of Heaven,
The light of the sun,
The brightness of the moon,
The splendour of fire,
The flashing of lightning,
The swiftness of wind,
The depth of sea,
The stability of earth,
The compactness of rocks.

I bind to myself today
God's Power to guide me,
God's Might to uphold me,
God's Wisdom to teach me,
God's Eye to watch over me,
God's Ear to hear me,
God's Word to give me speech,
God's Hand to guide me,
God's Way to lie before me,
God's Shield to shelter me,
God's Host to secure me,
Against the snares of demons,
Against the seductions of vices,
Against the lusts of nature,
Against everyone who meditates injury to me,
Whether far or near,
Whether few or with many.

I invoke today all these virtues
Against every hostile merciless power
Which may assail my body and my soul,
Against the incantations of false prophets,
Against the black laws of heathenism,
Against the false laws of heresy,
Against the deceits of idolatry,
Against the spells of women, and smiths, and druids,
Against every knowledge that binds the soul of man.

Christ, protect me today
Against every poison, against burning,
Against drowning, against death-wound,
That I may receive abundant reward.

Christ with me, Christ before me,
Christ behind me, Christ within me,
Christ beneath me, Christ above me,
Christ at my right, Christ at my left,
Christ in the fort,
Christ in the chariot seat,
Christ in the poop [deck],
Christ in the heart of everyone who thinks of me,
Christ in the mouth of everyone who speaks to me,
Christ in every eye that sees me,
Christ in every ear that hears me.

I bind to myself today
The strong virtue of an invocation of the Trinity,
I believe the Trinity in the Unity
The Creator of the Universe.

The story behind St. Patrick's Day

Religious leader loved enemies, prayed, taught, stood for grace
Charter Oak-Ute NEWSpaper — Schleswig Leader, Thursday,March 15, 2007 – Page 3

Once upon a time, in the ‘Dark Ages’ there was a Christian family living near the coast of Britain in an outpost of the dying Roman empire. This family included a young boy by the name of Patrick. Perhaps you’ve heard of him.

Legend has it that he was kidnapped by a band of barbarians, Celtic barbarians. Did you happen to see “Barbarians Week” on the History Channel? Great stuff. The Celts made some great swords, they beat iron into steel... but I digress.

The Celts, known for their pagan worship of tree spirits, took Patrick for a slave. Among his other duties, he was taught fishing and shepherding. During his long hours watching sheep, he spent a lot of time talking to God. Some people call that prayer.

It was an odd thing because he wasn’t mistreated too badly as a slave, as a matter of fact, he became very fond of the people he served and had compassion for them. How about that? Sounds crazy. Actually, it sounds a little bit like something Jesus once said, what was that? Oh yeah, “Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you.” (Matthew 5:44)
But the shepherd slave boy did miss his family. Legend has it that he promised God that he would become a priest if He let him somehow escaped.

Sure enough, (you knew where this was going, didn’t you?) sure enough, Patrick escaped and became a priest. Eventually he volunteered to return to the people who had kidnapped him and became the first serious Christian missionary to Ireland.

Now the legends say that Ireland was being plagued with snakes. In a story that was part Moses and part Pied Piper, Patrick was supposed to have led all the snakes into the sea.

Truth is never as exciting, but sometimes just as important as fiction. Geologists and biologists suspect that there never were snakes in Ireland to begin with, yet archaeologists have found lots of images of snakes there. Well, scholars have two thoughts on the snake thing.

One is that snakes and serpent-like dragons were used in much of pagan Celtic designs. The Celts had at one time dominated most of Europe and eventually settled in the British Isles, so they surely would’ve seen plenty of snakes beyond Ireland. At any rate, some historians think that Patrick’s evangelism was so successful and spreading the Word of Jesus, that he symbolically drove out the snakes by overcoming the ancient spirit and nature worship.
The other theory is that he drove the snakes out symbolically by teaching the truth and overcoming a popular heresy of his time, Pelagianism.

Pelagius was a monk, supposedly from Ireland, who taught that the human will, along with good deeds and self-denial, was enough to be considered righteous. He told his people that being good was all you needed for salvation. To him, the grace of God was just a booster; a help, but not necessarily essential. Pelagius didn’t believe in “original sin,” but thought that Adam had just set bad example, rather than condemning us all to perpetual state of selfishness and short-sightedness. He also thought that Christ’s good example showed us the path to salvation, not by His sacrifice on the cross, but through self control.

Because of the whole Adam and Eve being tempted by the serpent in the garden imagery, this false doctrine of Pelagianism was often represented by snakes.

Whether God miraculously used him to save Ireland from literal snakes or just from “snakes in the grass,” you can understand why Patrick became a national hero.

Perhaps his most important contribution was his helping people overcome their confusion about the Trinity. He used the shamrock, the three leafed clover, to explain how God is three persons, Father, Son and Holy Spirit, and yet only one being, only one God.

Patrick’s success at converting the Irish people to Christianity upset the Celtic Druid priests and chieftains. They had him arrested several times, but he escaped every time. He established monasteries and set up schools and churches all over the emerald isle.

After thirty years in ministry he retired to County Down, where died on March 17, 461 A.D. That day has been commemorated as St. Patrick’s Day ever since.
No historians have been able to find any evidence that Patrick himself ever tried green beer.

Ted Mallory lives in Charter Oak and teaches at Boyer Valley Schools in Dunlap. ‘Ted’s Column’ has appeared weekly in the Charter Oak-Ute NEWSpaper since 2002. You can read it weekly at http://tedscolumn.blogspot.com If you’d like to see any of Ted’s editorial cartoons bigger and brighter, you can visit http://tmal.multiply.com/photos/album/2

Enjoy these Irish recipes:

Curach (Irish honey-and-oatmeal cream)

2 oz Medium-grind oatmeal
10 fl oz Heavy cream
2 ts Runny honey
3 tb Whiskey
12 oz Raspberries

Toast the oatmeal on a cookie sheet under the broiler, or in a hot oven -- watch it carefully and stir it from time to time -- until it turns a pale golden color. Leave it to cool completely. Whip the cream until it holds its shape, stir in the honey and whiskey, then the cold toasted oatmeal. Layer the raspberries and the cream mixture in the glasses, saving a few of the berries for decoration on top. Serve slightly cool.

Steak and Guinness pie

1 kg Round steak
1 tb Flour
1 ts Brown sugar
1 tb Raisins (optional)
5 Onions
300 ml Guinness
8 Slices bacon
3 oz Lard
Chopped parsley

Place the meat in a casserole, peel and chop the onions, and fry until golden before adding them to the meat. Add the raisins (if wanted) and brown sugar, pour in the Guinness, cover tightly and simmer over a low heat or in a very moderate oven (325-350F) for 2 1/2 hours. Stir occasionally, and add a little more Guinness or water if the rich brown gravy gets too thick. Meanwhile, line a deep pie dish with half the pie crust: bake it blind: then add the Guinness/beef mixture from the casserole, cover with the top layer of pie crust, and bake until finished, probably about 10 more minutes.

Irish Coffee

1 1/2 oz Irish whiskey
8 oz Hot coffee
1 ts Creme de menthe
1 Maraschino cherry
Dessert topping
1 ts Brown sugar; or to taste

Pour Irish whiskey into a coffee mug. Fill with black coffee and brown sugar and stir until sugar is dissolved. Spray a generous amount of whipped dessert topping (the canned, pressurized topping is easiest to use) on top of the coffee. Trickle creme de menthe to form green stripes on the whipped topping and place the cherry on top. Serve immediately.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions

Concordia: The Lutheran Confessions

"The Blog of Concord" is an ongoing roundtable discussion of the Lutheran Confessions as contained in the Book of Concord.

I think that this is a terrific resource for anyone studying for Confirmation or if you're in a Lutheran Doctrines class at a Lutheran college.

The Book of Concord is a collection of confessions, including the Augsburg Confession and the Smalcald Articles in which Luther and other church reformers defended and explained their positions against accusations of heresy from Rome. Awesome stuff, than God for the doctrines and ideas expressed in it. And yes, you could say that it is what makes us Lutheran, just be careful to worship Jesus and rely on the Bible, don't make the mistake of worshiping out Lutheran heritage and assuming that the Book of Concord is inerrant, divinely-inspired Word of God on an equal level with the Bible. That would be treating it like the Book of Mormon or the Koran, calling it a second scripture, and that would be blaspheme and heresy. We Lutherans have to be careful that we don't become the same thing that our predecessors were preaching against- No offense to you Catholic readers, but "Suma Theologica" isn't God's pure Word either. Sola Fidelis, Solo Gratia, Sola Scriptura- faith alone, grace alone, SCRIPTURE alone was the motto of Luther and the other signers of the confessions.

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Truth and Love


"The world is too dangerous for anything but truth
and too small for anything but love."

Bright Sadness

"Bright Sadness is the true message and gift of Lent: ... the sadness of my exile, of the waste I have made of my life; the brightness of God's presence and forgiveness, the joy of the recovered desire for God, the peace of the recovered home. Such is the climate of Lenten worship; such is its first and general impact on my soul."
- Father Alexander Schmemann
Orthodox Church in America

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Bible Class

Dudes,

Just wanted to tell you that Dorothy has gone in for treatment and Pastor asked me to cover Sunday mornings for the foreseeable future, and of course nag you to attend. I understand last week because of Daylight Stupid time, I wanted to sleep in too, but it was hard to have class with just Tyler. And it would be even more great if you'd get Ambi and some other people to come too. Drag a friend, tell Travis, Ashley, Lindsay, and Alex at least.

We're taking a look at "The Full Armor of God" Ephesians 6:10-19. I promise I'll try everything I can to make it interesting, useful, and maybe even fun. Last week we talked about spirtual warefare and the first item of armor, "the belt of truth" You can catch -up by reading my blog entries about them on http://malloryprayer.blogspot.com

Hope to see you Sunday, 9:45 if you can haul your butts out of bed, 9:55 or so if that's too hard for ya.

Me ka pule,
Ted


_______________________________
Ted's cartoons, artworks, photos, and commentary at:
http://tmal.multiply.com

Pirate Prayers at:
http://malloryprayer.blogspot.com

"The gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." ~Garrison Keillor

Sunday School: Belt of truth

So, while we were studying the Full Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-19 the first piece of armor that we come upon is the belt of truth (verse 14). What is the belt of truth? Well, I kind of think that it has to do with integrity and transparency, it's really at the core of having character (no mistake that it covers your core, abs/waist/guts). You've hear the old adage, I think it was Mark Twain who said that if you're always honest you won't have as much to remember. There's a political maxim that says that the cover-up is always worse than the crime. That means that we all sin and make mistakes, and if you fess-up and take responsibility for your actions in the first place, you usually don't lose much credibility, people will still trust you, at least they'll regain trust in you sooner. Whereas if you keep in lying and trying to cover up what you did, you will trip yourself up, your enemy won't have to get you, you'll get yourself.

In a graphic novel I recently read, "Batman;Year One" by Frank Miller and David Mazzucchelli, Gotham Police Lieutenant James Gordon (eventually to become Co missioner Gordon) is under a lot of pressure trying to keep his new job, clean up corruption in his department and make time for his pregnant wife. He lets himself become close to a female detective to whom he's very attractive. They don't have sex, but they do let themselves get more involved than they should. They decide to cut it off and she gets a transfer to another city, but not before they're caught on film by Gordon's political enemies, who take advantage of his indiscretion to try to blackmail him into backing off of his investigations. I think Miller makes Gordon into a greater hero than Bruce Wayne and Batman. Gordon bites the bullet, he faces the music and confesses his adultery to his wife, who stand by him. Because he kept the belt of truth buckled, he and his wife weren't blind-sided when the accusations came by phone calls and press leaks. He was able to stand firm and (with a little help from the dark knight) he brought down the corrupt political machine and much of the organized crime establishment in Gotham City.

Now, I know that example is from a comic book, but the principle sticks. Without truth and integrity- including confession and admission of guilt and need for a savior, our enemies (the world, the flesh, and the devil) can take advantage of our weaknesses.

Here's a true story I shared with my Sunday School class last week- when I taught in L.A. our football team made the playoffs. Our game was up in a small oil town in the mountains of central California. Some of our kids were trash talking our opponents for being hicks. One of our players had to serve as water boy because his grades made him ineligible to play. He was so into the urban hip-hop thing, that he had a pair of pants that had to be ten sizes too big. Baggy was really in back then. Anyway, the poor guy forgot his belt. When he had to carry two carts of water jugs out onto the field, you can guess what happened. He didn't have three hands, so his pants fell and he tripped in the middle of the field, in front of the whole crowd.

If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness – 1 John 1:9.

Of course, the other truth is Jesus, He calls Himself the way, the truth and the life (John 14:6). Think of it like wearing BOTH a belt AND suspenders. Whether you're a soldier, a fireman, a mountain climber, a policeman, or a football player, you need to keep your pants on to be able to do your job, right? To stand firm against the assaults of Satan and evil spirits, the temptation of your own sinful nature, or the whims and rocks and rapids of this cruel world, wouldn't it be great to have some extra protection? Think if it like an athletic supporter or a big Depends diaper or however it helps, but just know that God's Truth helps you stand. If you KNOW the truth, you can be unflappable. As a parent I may not enjoy having my child throw a tantrum, but if I KNOW more than they do, if I KNOW that in the long run, the boundaries I set for them are best, they can't wear me down. As a teacher, if I understand that kids will always complain and that they need to do a particular assignment, I don't take it personally when they whine. If I'm James Gordon and I KNOW that my wife loves me and will hopefully forgive me and I KNOW that the drug dealing and bribe taking hurts more people than a kiss, then I can stand to have someone try to smear me. Just like if I KNOW that I'm not a poop-poo head, then sticks and stones can break my bones, but words can never hurt me. You have to KNOW that Jesus died for you, that Jesus rose again and lives for you. If you KNOW that God loves you no matter who you are or what you've done or been through... guess what? You can stand up under an awful lot.

Oh yeah, if you're honest- especially with yourself, let alone with God and other people- guess what else? You won't risk being a hypocrite either.
Next Sunday (March18), the Breastplate of Righteousness...






Sunday, March 11, 2007

Sunday School; Spiritual Warfare


So why do we even need this "Armor of God" that St. Paul talks about in Ephesians 6:10-19? What exactly is it that we have to "take our stand" against? Well, theologians have generally talked about three enemies of the soul- the World, the flesh, and the Devil.

What does that mean? Let's take them in reverse order: first the Devil. The Bible says that God created angels, His three archangels were Michael, in charge of guardians, Gabriel, in charge of messengers, and Lucifer, in charge of worshipers. Initially angels must have been granted free will, like humans. Lucifer became jealous both of God and of humans (the "crown" of God's creation). He and his angels waged war in Heaven and God kicked him out. He took his angels with him and this "fallen angel" became Satan and the demons. "Satan" or the devil are words that mean "the accuser." In the guise of the serpent, Satan tempted Adam and Eve to sin inn the garden of Eden, ever since he has constantly been trying to drive a wedge between God and man.

10Finally, be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11Put on the full armor of God so that you can take your stand against the devil's schemes. 12For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the powers of this dark world and against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms.

Some people thing that those "rulers, authorities, and powers" are various ranks or classifications of demons. I think of them a little like the "orks" in the Lord of the Rings movies, soldiers set up with responsibilities. Sound's scary, but it is important to remember that Satan is not God's equal. He is finite, he's not all-powerful, all-knowing, or all-present everywhere like God. Luther compared him to a dog on a chain, so long as you don't get closer than the length of that chain, you're safe.

Which brings us to the next enemy, our own flesh. A 1950's/60's comic strip character, Pogo the possum once said, "we have met the enemy, and he is us." Sometimes we are our own worst enemies. Because of our sinful nature (original sin), we are all selfish, short sighted, and immature- at least spiritually speaking. We don't love God with all our hearts and mind and strength, and we don't love our neighbors as ourselves. We're plagued with doubt, anger, jealousy, lust, gluttony, etc. etc. Most of the time Satan and demons don't have to do anything to us, but they may take advantage of our weaknesses. I like to think of them like mice, rats or roaches. If I have good hygiene habits and clean up, I probably won't have a problem with these scavengers, but if I let the trash pile up, guess who's coming to dinner? Likewise, it's not always so much like some demon tempts you into a given sin, so much as it is that you're inviting demons to trap you into a cycle once you open the door by indulging in something you know is wrong.

Finally there is the world. There are some Christians who are so hyper-legalistic, and a little bit paranoid, that they think that the whole world is always out to get us and steal us way from God. Well, here's the thing, the world isn't a conscious, sensate, maniacal, malevolent force, like Satan. The world is, not one thing, it's everything. The cosmos, the order of things, the holistic system of systems, and what is that system made up of? People. And what do we know about people? They all have a sinful nature, selfish and short sighted- everyone out for themselves. So yes, there is money, power, sex, drugs, material possessions, different religions, different philosophies, victories and defeats, all kinds of things that could separate us from God and from each other if we let them. But like TV or money, or the internet, there is a lot of bad out there, but there is a lot of good too. It's not "bad" exactly, in and of itself. A shark isn't evil when it eats you, it's just doing what sharks do- eat. But in this "dog-eat-dog" world, if I am the little fish, the big fish is my enemy.

So yeah, we could sure benefit from wearing God's armor. Keep visiting this blog, over the next 7 weeks I'll be talking about each piece of armor in Eph. 6

Sunday School

My first day back at High School Bible Study. We're going to be covering the Armor of God in Ephesians 6:10-19

Romans 13:12-14, Galatians 3:26-29 both talk about putting on the "armor of light" and "dressing yourself in Christ." So a couple of things we talked about were how all week long at school, the way people dress matches their social class or club or clique- nerds, preps, goths, punks, emos, jocks etc. Whereas on spirit day of homecoming, everybody wears school colors- you aren't geeks, dweebs, or motor-heads, you're all bulldogs (or bobcats in Charter Oak-Ute's case, or whatever your school is). When you're dressed in Christ, there is neither Jew nor Greek, slave nor free, male or female as Galatians 3:26-29 says, we're all the same, all equal what's more, God doesn't see all our faults or sins, He sees His Son. So, wearing the armor of God means that He sees us as his children.

Is armor important? Listen, as an Iraq vet how important their Kevlar vest is to them. One of the biggest problems that we've faced over their are that the HumVees troops drive were improperly armored or even not lined with armor at all- so when it drives over an IED, they're screwed.

One of the greatest things about God's armor is that it's easy to bare. In the movie A Knight's Tale, Heath Ledger's character damages his armor in a joust. His blacksmith comes up with a new process for refining iron into steel (in real life this was part of the industrial revolution, centuries later. Heath and his seconds are skeptical because the new armor is so thin, light, and allows the knight so much flexibility, but needless to say, super-fired steel is far stronger than anything else in medieval times. Like that, wearing God's armor is not only better for us than trying to get by with our own defenses, but it winds up being much easier too.

Saturday, March 10, 2007

GOD IS UP TO SOMETHING


GOD IS UP TO SOMETHING

By Bishop T. D. Jakes

"When you are DOWN to nothing ... God is UP to something"

Father, in the Name of Jesus, bless the one reading this in a special way. Open supernatural doors in their life today. Save and set free! Give them a double portion of your Spirit as we take back everything that the devil has stolen:

Emotional Health,

Physical Health,

Finances,

Relationships,

Children,

Jobs,

Homes,

Marriages.

I cancel every plot, plan and scheme the enemy has devised against them, in the MATCHLESS NAME OF JESUS. And I declare: NO WEAPON FORMED AGAINST THEM WILL PROSPER.

I speak LIFE into every dead situation. And, I thank you that nothing is over until YOU say it's over! I speak prophetically into their lives and to their >situations:

Their household is blessed;

Their health is blessed;

Their marriage is blessed;

Their finances are blessed;

Their jobs are blessed;

Their children are blessed;

Their grandchildren are blessed;

Their parents are blessed;

Their siblings are blessed;

Their ministries are blessed; and,

Their decisions are blessed.

Husbands are on the way;

Wives are on the way;

Mortgages are paid and canceled;

Their hearts' desires are on the way;

according to YOUR perfect will and plan for their lives.

IN JESUS' NAME! AMEN!

Prayer Request

Please pray for me.

My pastor called this afternoon to ask me to cover the HS Bible class for the next month or two as the 80-something former History teacher who teaches it is going into the hospital for cancer treatments. Naturally I have to start the morning we "Spring forward" our clocks. I'm looking for materials, of course there are only 3 boys who attend and with the time change I won't be at all surprised if they don't even show up.

I pray that God uses me and that it goes well.

Ted's blogs totally revamped

I know, I know, all you ever get from me is spam. I promise I'll stop that after this one for at least 3 months, deal? Anyway, my wife wants to kill be because I've basically spent 8 hours on the computer to update all 4 of my blogs. I hope you like their new looks and new features.

Sorry to bother you, go back to your MySpace now. Have a nice weekend.

http://tedscolumn.blogspot.com

http://malloryart.blogspot.com

http://www.cheercoach.blogspot.com

http://malloryprayer.blogspot.com


_______________________________
Ted's cartoons, artworks, photos, and commentary at:
http://tmal.multiply.com

Pirate Prayers at:
http://malloryprayer.blogspot.com

"The gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable." ~Garrison Keillor

More Hypocracy




Friday, March 09, 2007

The Book of Lutheran

My friend Tom sent me the following email in response to my Lutheran Coffee cartoon (scroll down a few posts)-

I always joke with the confirmands about the benefits of reading the Book of Concord. Sometimes we get to talking about church traditions. They ask "why do we do this or that" and I say "'cause it's in the Book of Concord, Silly." Then I start to do my best Dennis Hopper impression. "It's all there, man. Even the rules about pot-lucks."

Book of Concord:

200.The Pot Luck and it's importance of nourishing the saints. What does this mean? It means than when any significant group of Lutherans gather togther, there, in their midst, shalt be coffee and donuts served for breakfast items. Thou shalt also makest an effort to supply at least 1 bucket of KFC upon the table. This is most certainly true.

201. On the Primacy of Jello presentation. What does THIS mean? We should fear and love God enough so that at least SOMEONE must present orange Jello with carrot shavings in it or a layered jello of multi colors (preferably colors representing the colors of the church year) This is most certainly true!

It usually gets a laugh or two while some actually believe me. Ahhh, the joy of middle school.

Later,

Tom


Tom teaches at a Lutheran Junior High School, and his Dennis Hopper is spot on.

Good quote

"There will be two kinds of people in the end: Those that will say to God 'Thy will be done' and those to whom God will say 'Fine, have it your way.'" ~ C.S. Lewis

I think that this is a pretty good summation of an awful lot of profound theology, not to mention metaphysics. What do I mean by that? Think about it- God doesn't SEND people to Hell, He doesn't WANT ANYONE to go there, rather, He believes in allowing us to have the power of free will. So if durring this life we reject Him and reject Him, eventually He lets us have our way. Billy Graham once said that Hell is essentially just eternal separation from God. God is love, so that would really suck. I'd rather surrender to God then have him, like a patient and loving parent who's tired of a tantrum, surrender to me.

Sojourners' - Verse and Voice - 03.09.2007

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

- Leviticus 19:18-18

Ouch! I for one am certainly guilty of this one. Guilty, guilty, guilty
And if my Republican friends are guilty of holding a grudge against Bill Clinton, I am guilty of holding a grudge against Newt Gingrich. But worse than that kind of thing, how many of us just can't get over wounds we've recieved from friends, collegues, bosses, parents, relatives, even clergy? Yeah. That's why they say that forgiveness is like an onion, lots of layers...

"Forgive us our tresspasses as we forgive those who tresspass against us..." Please, Lord, help us to let go so that we can live in love and peace, they way you want is to.

In Jesus' name,

Amen

Gingrich had affair during Clinton probe - Yahoo! News

Gingrich had affair during Clinton probe

WASHINGTON - Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich acknowledged he was having an extramarital affair even as he led the charge against President Clinton over the Monica Lewinsky affair, he acknowledged in an interview with a conservative Christian group.

"The honest answer is yes," Gingrich, a potential 2008 Republican presidential candidate, said in an interview with Focus on the Family founder James Dobson to be aired Friday, according to a transcript provided to The Associated Press. "There are times that I have fallen short of my own standards. There's certainly times when I've fallen short of God's standards."

Gingrich argued in the interview, however, that he should not be viewed as a hypocrite for pursuing Clinton's infidelity.

Ted's Take: What did Jesus say about throwing the first stone, taking the log out of your own eye and judge not lest ye be judged?

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Franciscan view on impeachment

This was a fascinating find- a older gentleman who calls himself a "secular Franciscan," blogged the following at: http://sfojourney.blogspot.com

NeoCons and Christ

There is a good read I came across on Jim Wallis' blog. It's entitled, "NeoConservativism and Christain Faith. I enjoyed reading it. I'm grateful that there are Christians like Jim Wallis. I read yesterday that Senator Hagel is talking impeachment of the president if he can't be held accountable. I don't think it's if. There is no doubt that George Bush is and has been off the reservation for some time. I also think it'll be the Republicans who will wind up impeaching him after we go to war with Iran. The Democrats don't have the stomach or the political will. We really only have one effective political party in the United States these days. We've become dangerously like the old Soviet Union. We have become a one party system. The Democrats have become the "New Jersey Generals" of politics.

As I understand it, a "secular Franciscan" is simply a lay-person (not a priest or monk) who practices a Christianity as understood and taught by St. Francis of Assisi, one of my favorite Catholic Saints (I'm Lutheran). Here is the beautiful Prayer of St. Francis.

Lord, make me an instrument of your peace.
Where there is hatred let me sow love
Where there is injury, pardon,
Where there is doubt, faith:
Where there is despair, hope:
Where there is darkness, light:
Where there is sadness, joy.

O Divine Master, grant that I may so much seek
To be consoled as to console,
To be understood as to understand,
To be loved as to love:

For it is in giving that we receive:
It is in pardoning that we are pardoned:
It is in dying that we are born to eternal life.
Amen

Psalm 23 -- explained

The other night after my wife's grandfather's funeral, some of us in
the family were sitting around talking about God and Heaven, and
plenty of other things like faith and parenting... Pastor's sermon was
about how forgiveness leads to an attitude of thanksgiving. Someone
admitted that it's very hard to forgive yourself sometimes, and its
hard to receive God's love and forgiveness as free gifts- we often
think we have to do something, we have to be better or somehow win
God's approval. We decided that this may be why He gave us analogies
like fisherman, farmer, potter and shepherd- these are all occupations
where the person supposedly in charge doesn't have absolute control.
Any kid in 4H or FFA who's had to show sheep will tell you how they
want to do what they want to do. As an art teacher, I can tell you
that throwing a pot on a wheel is no where near as fun and sexy as
Demi More made it look in the movie Ghost, and my Farmer-in-law tells
me that he'd drive himself crazy if once he tilled and planted the
seed he didn't tell God, "Okay, I've done my part, now I need You to
bring some sun and rain."

Now today, my sister-in-law (on my side of the family this time) sent
this email forward. Guess I'm too much of an Art snob to have
appreciated all the schmaltzy pictures that came with it (no offense
intended, Deb) so I took them out before posting it here. (Like this
blog isn't full of cheesy pictures) Be that as it may, I just thought
that the explanations are so simple and clear and practical and real
and... well, beautiful. It really makes Psalm 23 meaningful and
powerful, rather than just a piece of rote memory work from Sunday
School. I hope you find it as moving and profound as I did:

Me ka pule,
Pirate Ted

Some probably never thought nor looked at this Psalm in this way....
even though they say it over and over again.

The Lord is my Shepherd
That's Relationship!

I shall not want
That's Supply!

He maketh me to lie down in green pastures.
That's Rest!

He leadeth me beside the still waters.
That's Refreshment!

He restoreth my soul
That's Healing!

He leadeth me in the paths of righteousness.
That's Guidance!

For His name sake
That's Purpose!

Yea, though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death.
That's Testing!

I will fear no evil.
That's Protection!

For Thou art with me
That's Faithfulness!

Thy rod and Thy staff they comfort me,
That's Discipline!

Thou preparest a table before me in the presence of my enemies.
That's Hope!

Thou anointest my head with oil,
That's Consecration!

My cup runneth over.
That's Abundance!

Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life.
That's Blessing!

And I will dwell in the house of the Lord.
That's Security!

Forever
That's Eternity

Face it, the Lord and I think you are special.
Send this to the people you think are special.
I thought this was pretty special, just like YOU!!!
What is most valuable, is not what we have in our lives;
but WHO we have in our lives.

_______________________________
Ted's cartoons, artworks, photos, and commentary at:
http://tmal.multiply.com

Pirate Prayers at:
http://malloryprayer.blogspot.com

"The gospel is meant to comfort the afflicted and afflict the
comfortable." ~Garrison Keillor


Sunday, March 04, 2007

Here is a lovely slide show that a friend forwarded to me called
The Interview with God http://www.theinterviewwithgod.com/viewmovie.html

Saturday, March 03, 2007

Any body out there who reads any of my blogs very regularly


Here are a couple of clever slogans, just in case anyone is surfing by and needs them. I know that you can't distill hefty theology into bumper-sticker type slogans...

But ya know what?

Sometimes, all God wants You to know is that He loves you. He loves you no matter who you are, what you've done, or what you've been through. And even if you're not sure you believe in Him, He still believes in you. The best 2 ways for you to get to know Him better are to read a Bible and to pray. That's it. Pretty simple.

Cheesy? Corny? Overly simplified? So what? Let the doctrine police come and excommunicate me for not using enough big words.

Jesus loves you, this I know. And I want YOU to know it too, especially you-know-who-you-are. I'm praying for you. God has big plans for you. As TV preacher Bob Schuller likes to say- God loves you, and so do I.

Me ka pule,
Pirate Ted


















Just on a Lark

A friend and former classmate of mine at Concordia College was reading my blogs and asked if I'd ever taken any flack from any Missouri Synod pastors. Not yet, but I'm sure it's only a matter of time before someone in St. Louis stumbles across this one. Like I said in the "About this Blog" entry, I'm not a pastor and don't plan on becoming a pastor, so c'est la vie if they decided not to allow me to. And, readers should know that I don't speak for my denomination and this blog in no way reflects any of their official doctrinal positions. Like Luther's 99 theses on the Castle Church Door, these posts are intended to spark discussion and debate- by no means are they tantamount to Scripture. Lord knows I get a lot of things wrong, but I hope He can use me in spite of that to provoke debate, challenge thinking, and inspire prayer and Bible reading. That's all I want to do.

That said, I thought I was getting a little too heavy, not to mention too political, so here's something to lighten things up a little:


MANSFIELD, Ohio — Anita Johanssen has alienated her women's Bible study partners by bringing innocuous prayer requests, or no prayer requests at all, to their weekly meetings.
"We dump out our life garbage, and she says something like, 'I don't really have anything. Just pray things will keep going well for me,'" one woman says. "After the fourth or fifth time it gets annoying."
During a recent meeting a woman requested prayer for a relative who was in prison. Another admitted that her husband was severely depressed after losing his job. When it was her turn, Johanssen asked them to pray that the Lord "would continue to bless my life."
"They all sat there staring at me," Johanssen says. "I just don't have anything to match their level of prayer requests. I've got a good family and the Lord in my life. What am I supposed to do — invent problems?"
To satisfy her Bible study partners, Johanssen has begun planning out prayer requests. She recently requested prayer for her unsaved neighbor and a co-worker who lost her cat. But the requests don't seem to carry the kind of weight the others want. One Bible study partner responded, "If a missing cat is your most pressing issue, then I want your life."
Johanssen is considering joining a different Bible study in which her prayer requests allow her to "blend in better," she says. •
Read more Christian satire like this at LarkNews.com

Me ka pule,
Pirate Ted

Slavery in the 21st century

A decision by Brazil's Congress to curb the powers of labor auditors threatens to jeopardize an antislavery program that led to the release of more than 15,000 slaves and made Brazil a world leader in fighting indentured servitude, officials and activists said here this week.

Brazilian lawmakers passed a new law on Tuesday that unites two federal tax bodies in a bid to streamline a complex and bureaucratic system.

But one key amendment in the bill strips labor auditors and prosecutors of their power to determine the relationship between employers and employees. The amendment was included at the behest of media companies, who routinely use freelancers and who, under the existing statute, could be punished for doing so by labor auditors.

Under the new law, judges are now responsible for defining that relationship. An apparently unintended consequence of the change is that auditors can no longer determine what constitutes slavery, say prosecutors, auditors, and human rights activists.

Read entire story in the Christian Science Monitor


Friday, March 02, 2007

Daily Kos: Ann Coulter wows 'em at CPAC: Edwards is a "faggot."

Daily Kos: Ann Coulter wows 'em at CPAC: Edwards is a "faggot."
During her presentation to today’s Conservative Political Action Convention (CPAC), political pundit Ann Coulter used the word “faggot” to describe a Democratic presidential candidate.

REAL mature, and oh, REAL Christian too.
WNWJCP?
What Names Would Jesus Call People?

Political hot topic

This is one where I have a hard time. On the conservative/orthodox side, I don't know how you can get around that the Bible disallows homosexuality. Granted, Jesus Himself never mentioned it, but the Apostle Paul was pretty clear and the Old Testament couldn't oppose it more. On the liberal/progressive side, Jesus new commandment was to "love one another," and that in Loving God and loving your neighbor, you're fulfilling all of the Law and the prophets. And as many a Lutheran theology professor might exhort, it is best to balance Law and Gospel, but if you're going to fault, it is better to fault on the side of the Gospel. Most gay people don't consider it a lifestyle choice, like smoking or not smoking or driving an gas guzzling SUV or driving a hybrid. Generally they feel no more control over it than someone who is Black or Asian or Hispanic. Now, if you get real theologically liberal and interpret Paul as preaching against giving in to lust and excess, you could be patient with monogamous, gays who aren't excessively demonstrative in public, but most of my Lutheran friends don't like that kind of historical-critical literary analysis of Scripture. Fine, let's say you're one who thinks that when the Bible says don't it means don't- then let's also remember that this is an imperfect, sinful world. Its harder to quit smoking than it is to quit heroin, and alcoholism may start with a series of bad choices, but it is still an almost inescapable disease. So, lets suppose even for a second in some perfectly black and white moralistic world, that all homosexuals very deliberately and consciously CHOOSE to be socially deviant, perverted and sinful... does that mean that we should beat and berate people who chew tobacco, people like me who are overweight? People who commit heterosexual adultery? People who take the Lord's name in vain? Should we line all of them up and shoot them? Or exile them all to an island away from the "good" people? The Bible says that practitioners of witchcraft and divination should be executed. Read a horoscope lately? You qualify, you sinner! God hates you and you deserve to die! Doesn't feel good does it?
I'm not advocating homosexuality and I'm still "traditional" enough to think it's a bad idea to teach kids that it is a viable, perfectly acceptable and even desirable "alternative lifestyle,"but I certainly think that as Christians, we need to demonstrate Christ's unconditional love and acceptance of all people, including tax collectors and prostitutes. I think that signs that say "God hates fags," is as blasphemous as burning a cross or bombing a Black church. Jesus dies for gays and lesbians too. I believe we need to stop chasing them out of His kingdom and away from His love and grace.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

In like a lion


Happy St. David's Day! Dydd Gŵyl Dewi Sant!
I'm not Wesh, Catholic, or Anglican. As Lutheran, I'm not much for veneration of saints, (Lutherans believe that all believers are "saints") but I am into almanacs and calendars and obscure holidays. Plus the Welsh have a really cool looking flag, don't they? It's the one with the dragon.I think it fits well with our pirate theme on this blog. St. David has a cool flag too, it's the black and yellow one. Anyway, I have a friend who got his Masters' degree from Middlesex University in London and I remember he talked about how the daffodils (St. David's symbol) were blooming this time of year, and since my home in Iowa is under a blizzard today, I thought I'd blog about one of the sure signs that Spring and Easter are on their way.

St David of Wales or Dewi Sant, was a saint of the Celtic Church. He was the son of Sandde, Prince of Powys, and Non, daughter of a Chieftain of Menevia whose lands included the peninsula on which the little cathedral town of St David's now stands. Legend has it that non was King Aurthur's neice. St David is thought to have been born near the present town of St David's. The ruins of a small chapel dedicated to his mother, Non, may be seen near St. David's Cathedral.

And for all my friends back in California, David is the patron saint of vegetarians too. Maybe that's why the Prince of Whales recently suggested banning McDonald's from Brittan.

Me ka pule,
Pirate Ted


Lord's Prayer made personal

Lord’s Prayer in our own words

Our Father, who art in Heaven, hallowed be Thy name

How great that You let us call ourselves the children of God! And that You let us call You “Abba” (Daddy). As your offspring, let me not dishonor Your good name- instead, help me reflect Your glory and bring You fame and lead others to You.

Thy kingdom come, Thy will be done, on Earth, as it is in Heaven

Oh Lord, be my lord, let me follow Your leadership and abide by Your rules. I want to want what You want. I want to do what You’d have me do. Help us all to live out Your law of love and advance that agenda as well. Help people to live by love and to learn from Your example.

Give us this day, our daily bread

Dear Jesus, please help us manage to pay our bills and make ends meet this month. Please ease our anxiety about it. Help us and teach us to manage our money, rather than letting it running our lives. Help us God, please. But also help us keep perspective, calm us by reminding us that we are in Your care and of all the blessings you have given us. Please make us more frugal and disciplined, but if it be Your will, grant us greater material prosperity, save us.

And forgive us our trespasses, as we forgive those who trespass against us

Every hour of every day it seems like I am constantly sinning. Steeped in sin. I do it without realizing it or being away, without thinking. And I do it fully aware, thinking and choosing to do it. Lord, I’m selfish and short sighted and self-indulgent. Help me overcome my sinful nature. Drown my “old Adam.” Forgive me for it all. I don’t love You with all my strength and all my heart and all my mind. I don’t love my neighbors as myself. As if all this were not enough, it is so difficult to follow Your directions and forgive others. Like an onion, forgiveness peels away in layers. One incident is forgiven, but more hurt and injury lies beneath. Help me to let go of my resentment and to not hold on to grudges. I say that some things are no big deal, or that people didn’t mean to offend or harm me, so I can let it go- but I just can’t seem to get past whatever it was and I take it personally anyway. Help me, Lord, just as I can’t stop sinning without your help, I can’t seem to forgive others without Your help either.

Lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil

You tell us that You will not test us beyond what we can handle and that You’ll always provide a way out. I know that I alone I am not very strong, wise, or sturdy. I need You to shelter me from the world, the devil, and my own flesh. And I’m begging You not to push me and challenge me too much, Yourself. The Jabez Prayer asks that you “keep me from evil, that I might not know pain.” I guess that’s what I want more than anything else.

For Thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, forever and ever, Amen

You are the one and only true and living God, eternally and infinitely. This is true, this is so. Let it be.


Malcom Boyd's prayers in 1960's contemporary vernacular always make me think that everyone needs to know that prayer is just a conversation. Anyone can pray, you don't need to "know how," you just talk to God. I was taught that the Lord's prayer (Matthew 6:5-15) was a pattern Jesus gave us to follow in prayer, not merely a scripture we were to memorize and repeat by rote. But it has never been modeled for me as a pattern. So, the above is me following the pattern. Now it's your turn. I challenge you to not just pray the Lord's Prayer, but add your own personal paraphrase, supplications and petitions in your own words. It is an amazingly intimate way to pray, and humbling too.

Me ka pule,
Pirate Ted

Prayers by Malcom Boyd

Prayers by Malcom Boyd

from ‘Are You Running With Me, Jesus?’ ©1965

Why is reality about you so shocking to us, Lord?

• They’ve made the cross you hung on so pretty, Jesus.

• I know the real cross wasn’t pretty at all. But I guess I understand why they want to make copies of it out of fine woods and even semi-precious stones, because YOU hung on it.

• Yet doesn’t this romanticize your death, Lord, and give it kind of a gloss it didn’t have? Your death was bloody and dirty and very real. Can’t we face it that way, Jesus? And can’t we face the fact that you were a real man, living a human life as well as God?

What is love, Jesus?

•It seems so important, Jesus, that You called on the Father to forgive your torturers because, as You put it, they didn’t know what they were doing.

• But You kept on loving then.

• Help us to learn from You, Lord, how to keep on loving when we feel like hating. It’s hard. Some of us have even turned Your cross into a symbol of hate. When the Ku Klux Klan burns a cross, Lord, the blasphemy of it startles me. Doesn’t this mean, in a very real sense, joining the ranks of your own executioners?

• Nevertheless, you were actively, creatively, responsibly LOVING, even on the cross, Jesus. Help us to see that love for what it is- in all its fierce passion and sweep of forgiveness.

You’re hanging on the cross again, Jesus

• The symbol is so familiar to us that maybe we don’t think about the reality of your execution any more. Wasn’t it simply the means of your execution, something like an electric chair or a hangman’s noose would be today?

• In churches the cross always seems to be everywhere, over altars and in stained-glass windows and even hanging in clergymen’s offices. I know it represents the act of redemption, but Your whole life seems to do this much more significantly.

• Is your death more important to us than your life, Lord? Is Your death more central than Your resurrection? Help us to keep these things in balance so that we don’t lose sight of You among all the religious symbols we put up in Your honor.

Prayer of Repentance

• God:

• Take fire and burn away our guilt and our lying hypocrisies.

• Take water and wash away our brothers’ blood, which we have caused to be shed.

• Take hot sunlight and dry the tears of those we have hurt, and heal their wounded souls, minds, and bodies.

• Take love and root it in our hearts, so that brotherhood may grow, transforming the dry desert of our prejudices and hatreds.

• Take our imperfect prayers and purify them, so that we mean what we pray and are prepared to give ourselves to you along with our words, through Jesus Christ, who did not disdain to take our humanness upon Him and live among us, sharing our life, our joys, and our pains.

• Amen