Monthly Archives: October 2013

  • On Halloween and the Reformation

    Few dates on the cultural calendar are more controversial in the church than Halloween. But what if that day was also on the church calendar? In our culture everyone knows the date of Halloween but very few know the date of the Protestant reformation. Interestingly, and not coincidentally as we will see, they are the same. How are the two related and what should the church’s stance be toward such a controversial holiday as Halloween? These and other questions I hope to answer in this article. Halloween was originally a word that simply meant All Hallows Eve.

    Hallow is a word that means holy (we still use this word in our prayers) and by extension, saint. All Saints Day, All Hallows, was the day the church celebrated the Christians who were in union with Christ and his church and through … Read More »

    Posted in: Pastor Brian's Blog
  • How Worship Works, Part 2

    I have said it before: Whether or not we know or even like it, every church and every service of worship is liturgical. Every church and every service of worship follows a prescribed liturgy. The liturgy may be bad or it may be good. Either way, it is there. James K.A. Smith, Professor of Philosophy, Congregational, and Ministry Studies at Calvin College takes my statements a step further in his Desiring the Kingdom: Worship, Worldview, and Cultural Formation. He extends liturgy to everyone, everywhere. In fact, there are cultural liturgies and religious liturgies. And the reason for this is because, in Smith’s words, we are homo liturgicus; liturgical animals.

    We are what we love, and our love is shaped, primed, and aimed by liturgical practices that take hold of our gut and aim our heart to certain ends. So we are … Read More »

  • How Worship Works, Part 1

    What are we doing when we gather for worship on the Lord’s Day? To put it another way, where are we going with this? For what purpose have we gathered? James K.A. Smith seeks to answer those questions in volume two of his cultural liturgies Imagining the Kingdom: How Worship Works. Smith begins to offer an explanation of how worship works by appealing to the historic practice of Christian worship ending with a benediction. The benediction is nothing less than a blessing upon the people of God. But it is more than that. It is a blessing on the people of God as we go. Thus, it is also a charge and a commissioning.

    “Having encountered God in Word and sacrament, we are transformed and renewed and empowered by the Spirit to take up once again the original vocation … Read More »

  • Let Us Pray, Part 4

    Self-confidence is not a bad thing in the right setting. For those looking for a job or leading a company, self-confidence is essential to success. No one wants to hire someone who isn’t sure of their abilities. No one wants to follow someone who isn’t sure if they can actually get the job done. Self-confidence, while beneficial in some areas of life, is detrimental to one’s prayer life. Calvin’s third rule of prayer takes up this issue. It is this:

    The third rule to be added is: that he who comes into the presence of God to pray must divest himself of all vainglorious thoughts, lay aside all idea of worth; in short, discard all self-confidence, humbly giving God the whole glory, lest by arrogating any thing, however little, to himself, vain pride cause him to turn away his … Read More »