Thomas Davidson

An obscure, but interesting, Scottish-American philosopher, Thomas Davidson, a contemporary of William James', once formulated a list of "commandments". All are interesting, but one I especially like is a commandment to "learn to discover princes, prophets, heroes and saints among the people about you. Be assured they are there." Davidson was right: we should learn to discover such among the people about us; they are there. We sometimes, maybe most of the time, maybe always, disbelieve that there are such among the people about us. In Old Testament times, sure; in New Testament times, sure; even in the times of the early church. But our time? Dark, fallen, unpopulated by the higher types... Isn't believing this a failure of faith?
  • ceoltoir
    Nice to hear from you again. Have you discovered any princes, etc. yet? I believe I have.
    by ceoltoir at 05/19/07 9:59PM
  • bombadil
    Outstanding. One generation stones the prophets, then their great grandchildren build a monument.
    by bombadil at 05/21/07 10:57AM
  • this_old_man
    We are gathering at the house about 7pm. An extra hand would be great!
    by this_old_man at 10/21/08 10:50AM


The CofC has no "official" liturgy; maybe it hasn't one at all. What do you think? Isn't this much true: virtually all the CofC's who self-identify as a group have an "order of worship" more or less the same?
  • psemmusa
    As I know very little still about the CofC (although nearly every day here on Pleo is a learning experience....), I would say it depends on which definition of liturgy one selects. If one chooses "a prescribed form of public worship used in the Christian Church" (, well then things such as meeting on Sundays, celebrating the Lord's Supper, no instrumental music and worship led only by men would fit that description, in my opinion. has "A prescribed form or set of forms for public religious worship", ditto. Merriam-Webster Online, "a rite or body of rites prescribed for public worship", likewise. Finally, the oh-so-reliable (ok, I'm being a little pre-emptively snarky) Wikipedia has "the customary public worship of a religious group, according to to their particular traditions". Does the CofC really do completely different things every single Sunday? Naked one week, sackcloth the next, no singing at all, all singing no preaching etc? Ok, I'm being ridiculous, but I'm quite taken with the mixing it up proposition, I may have to use that when I write about religion *notes to self* :)
    by psemmusa at 04/18/07 10:45AM
  • deusvitae
    We protest against such fancy words, but have a type of it ourselves.
    by deusvitae at 04/18/07 12:12PM
  • ceoltoir
    I've worshipped with Christians all over this country and some in other countries. I'd say no. However, in the southeastern U.S. - maybe.
    by ceoltoir at 04/19/07 8:25PM
  • bombadil
    Yes. Try concluding a Sunday AM sermon with the Lord's Supper instead of an invitation and see what happens.
    by bombadil at 04/24/07 10:12AM
  • bombadil
    Try singin a hymn durring the collection. You find out pretty quick that you have touched a nerve.
    by bombadil at 04/24/07 10:13AM
  • georgemacdonald
    bombadil: you're right. Those'd be formulas for a riot.
    by georgemacdonald at 04/24/07 10:26AM
  • rabbidan
    Liturgy just means the work of the people translated. Good liturgy is necessary. I love my Orthodox Divine Liturgy
    by rabbidan at 06/12/07 4:53PM

The Entering-into-Glory Business

A great passage from D. H. Lawrence: "Now myself, brought up a nonconformist as I was, I just was never able to understand the language of salvation. I never knew what they were talking about, when they raved about being saved, safe in the arms of Jesus, and Abraham's bosom, and seeing the great light, and entering into glory: I was just puzzled, for what did it *mean*? It seemed to work out as a getting rather drunk on your own self-importance, and afterwards coming dismally sober again and being rather unpleasant. That was all I could see in actual experience of the entering-into-glory business." Hard not to sympathize with Lawrence here--and to agree with him that this does seem all-too-often to be all there is in the actual experience of the business.
  • hank
    You are tagged.
    by hank at 04/17/07 6:14PM

Bumper Sticker Today

Perhaps you've seen it: "Don't let the car fool you, my treasure is in heaven."
  • deusvitae
    Was this on a Mercedes or a beater? ;)
    by deusvitae at 03/09/07 9:01PM
  • this_old_man
    One of my favorite Bumper stickers says "What if the Hokey Pokey is really what it's all about."
    by this_old_man at 03/11/07 9:58PM
  • ceoltoir
    "Eternity - smoking or non-smoking?"
    by ceoltoir at 03/11/07 11:20PM
  • georgemacdonald
    A fave of mine: "So many cats, so few recipes."
    by georgemacdonald at 03/12/07 9:58AM
  • hank
    Thank God for catsup.. or is it ketchup.
    by hank at 03/13/07 9:26PM
  • bigfoot
    Mafia staff car....keepa u hands off
    by bigfoot at 03/22/07 9:55PM

Thinking Exercise for Today II

Which of the following would you endorse, and why?

1. It is our relationship to God that makes us a member of the church.

2. It is our membership in the church that gives us a relationship to God.

Make clear in your answer how you understand the term 'church'.
  • keith_staples
    I think the Scriptures are clear that it is due to our relationship to God that we are to be related to our brothers, but it is also clear that these two relationships can never come apart in practice. We can distinguish our relationship with God from our relationship with other Christians, but we cannot be related to God without being related to other brothers, and vice versa.
    by keith_staples at 02/19/07 4:51PM
  • keith_staples
    It also seems that Scriptures do not restrict our "obligation" to love our brothers to only those we have personal contact with, but with the brothers of the "universal" church (which I take to include those who have gone before us).
    by keith_staples at 02/19/07 4:51PM
  • deusvitae
    I would say both in different aspects.

    Chronologically, (1) is correct; one first comes to God, is cleansed of sin, and then is added to His assembly, as is seen in Acts 2. One's relationship to the assembly is always dictated by one's relationship with God.

    On the other hand, part of our obligation in association with God is association with brethren, and therefore the assembly. A significant part of our spiritual develop comes on account of and in the midst of the assembly.
    by deusvitae at 02/19/07 5:34PM
  • deusvitae
    And just because it's a commonly thought thing, ekklesia does not mean "called out"; it means, "assembly."
    by deusvitae at 02/19/07 5:35PM
  • keith_staples
    My comments probably betray that I do not have anything important or interesting to say :)
    by keith_staples at 02/19/07 10:48PM
  • keith_staples
    I really do not have any certainty about what I said, but instead my comments were me "thinking aloud"
    by keith_staples at 02/19/07 10:49PM
  • deusvitae
    The word derives from ek + kaleo, but such is not its meaning. It means, "assembly". I find the attempt to extrapolate meaning or understanding of ekklesia in the first century by its derivation rather tendentious, considering that the world referred to political assemblies for at least five centuries beforehand and as a translation for qahal among the Jews for at least three. The word had been around too long to be commonly understood as "the called out".
    by deusvitae at 02/20/07 5:23PM
  • keith_staples
    I am about as far away from being an authority on Ancient Greek as one can get, but there does seem to be a difference between the church being those "called out" (connoting a spiritual calling) and the church being those "called into an assembly". Whichever one the word means, I agree with deusvitae that the meaning of the term cannot be gotten from its derivation. A common example is the Greek term *kanon*, from which we got the "canon" meaning a rule or measurement. Originally, I have heard, it referred to reeds, which were used for measurements.
    by keith_staples at 02/20/07 11:15PM
  • keith_staples
    It later evolved to mean a "rule" or "standard" rather than the reeds that were used for measurement. Interestingly, many in favor of sprinkling rather than immersion argue that the meaning of *baptizo* evolved to mean something more than immersion in the first century.
    by keith_staples at 02/20/07 11:17PM
  • keith_staples
    But whodoyouthink is right, much of that is tangential to the question at hand
    by keith_staples at 02/20/07 11:18PM
  • keith_staples
    However, while the Scriptures might use the term "church" both in the universal and the local sense, we sometimes use "church" today to refer to an institution/organization rather than an assembly of people. So, we need to distinguish this third meaning in order to think more clearly about george's question.
    by keith_staples at 02/20/07 11:22PM
  • keith_staples
    Do any of you have thoughts about the parable of the wheat and the chaff? Jesus seems to imply in that parable that there are followers of Satan in the kingdom. So, if we equate the kingdom with the Church (though I am by no means claiming that we should), then it would appear that some people belong to the church without having a relationship with God
    by keith_staples at 02/20/07 11:24PM
  • georgemacdonald
    'Church' is multiply ambiguous, as is shown in the discussion above. It can mean the universal church, those who have been saved (however that is understood) and who continue to live as a relationship with God requires. It can mean all who have been saved, without requiring that they continue to live in a certain way. It can mean an abstract institution with a certain structure, worship, etc. It can mean an even more abstract structure, one that does not designate a particular structure or worship, but only designates that there is to be some structure or other. It can mean the local congregation qua piece of the universal church. It can simply mean the members of the local congregation. Etc. I'm not defending any of these as the "Bible-meaning" of the term, nor am I claiming that my list is exhaustive.
    by georgemacdonald at 02/21/07 7:03AM
  • cowboybrian
    i understand the church to be the people of God. his assembly.
    The church is those who are saved.
    People who are at your congregation and attend it regularly may not be a part of the church.
    I think about the church as those who will be in heaven assembled together before God.
    by cowboybrian at 02/21/07 1:28PM
  • keith_staples
    What effect does the church, both the institutionalized authority structure (whether it is the pope, archbishops, or elders) and the "assembly," have upon one's spiritual life? No only edifying actions, but also, is our relationship with God affected by how we follow the commands and teachings of the authorities?
    by keith_staples at 02/21/07 7:15PM
  • deusvitae
    Should we perhaps understand Christ's Kingdom on more than one level-- the people of God, obviously, but in reality everything, considering that He has all authority on heaven and earth (Matt. 28:18)? To that end, the parable of the wheat/tares can refer to righteous and sinners dwelling together until the end.
    by deusvitae at 02/22/07 11:56PM
  • hank
    Both. Simple ... life is about relationships. Don't believe me? Oh not enuf evidence to describe the lack of data. Do a study, screw up a relationship. See how you feel. The evidence will be overwhelming. Church ... hmmm ... relationships with anything universal like a long distance relationship ... a bit spacy. On a more local basis a relationship could be developed. The aggregate feelings, trust-love-friendship, all work together to define which we are trying to define.
    by hank at 03/01/07 7:26PM
  • bigfoot
    The answer I believe is explained in the passge that says God added to the church those that were being saved.
    by bigfoot at 04/17/07 5:36PM
  • rabbidan
    this all depends on your ecclesiology. I would say no one can have a relationship with God a part from the ekklesia. It is only WITHIN the Ekklesia that the word of God is preached, sacraments offered, and the human being raised into the theanthropic relationship that was accomplised in Jesus Christ and continued with the indwelling of the Holy spirit, which is in the Church.
    by rabbidan at 06/12/07 4:57PM
  • rabbidan
    but if you have a very weak understanding of Church, and think it is just a collection of people "saved" then yes, you can have "salvation" outside of the church. But this is not only unbiblical but against the entire mind of any Church Father.
    by rabbidan at 06/12/07 4:58PM