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Friday, August 29, 2008

Shifting Gears

We're still in August but there are definite signs fall is approaching. The temperature usually goes up in the 80s during the day but is often in the 50s in the mornings. The only things still in the garden are tomatoes and potatoes, and we plan to dig the potatoes this weekend. The neighboring farmer started filling silo this week and the fields next to us are bare and empty. I have started another round of my annual one-room-per-month housecleaning schedule by scrubbing the porch and outside of the patio. We had our traditional first-day-of-school pancake breakfast on Tuesday when Gerald went back to Alvernia College. I thought we ended an era when he graduated from high school, but after a pause he went back to school. This time I believe we really are ending an era. By spring he should be able to add BSN to his name and begin his career. This fall we are shifting gears in more than one way.

Monday, August 25, 2008

Know, Go, Show, Blow

On Saturday we went to the Missions Fest at Smoketown Airport. Mission Aviation Fellowship (MAF), Jungle Aviation and Radio Service (JAARS), New Tribes Mission, and other groups which work in remote areas came together to share information about their work. For a price, people could go for a ride in the JAARS helicopter or Wycliff Bible Translator's new Kodiak plane. The main attraction (for me) was Steve Saint, son of Nate Saint who was martyred in Equador along with four other men in January 1956. Steve flew a replica of his father's plane which was made for the filming of a documentary, The End of the Spear, produced to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the murder of the five missionaries. Here he is taking off in the plane to demonstrate the bucket drop his father used to make contact with the Waodani (Auca) Indians.

I bought a copy of Steve's book, also called The End of the Spear, in which he tells about his experiences living with the Waodani in Equador when he was a child and later as an adult. He signed it G.W.T. Story I.J.W.T. Book. (God wrote the story, I just wrote the book.)
The story of the Waodani is a powerful example of the power of forgiveness. The murder of five men seemed to be a terrible tragedy at the time, but their sacrifice was not wasted. As a result, the Waodani people are now thriving Christians who are reaching out to become missionaries themselves.

After the flying demonstration, Steve gave a talk in a tent behind the airport. He said we have not been commissioned to go out and evangelize the world, but to make disciples. People who have been discipled are then able to go out and make more disciples. That is the ultimate goal of missions; not merely to convert people to Christianity but to disciple them so they can repeat the process with others. As an illustration, he said his children were taught (discipled) to tie their shoes. He did not have to teach his grandchildren to tie their shoes; his children did that. They were able to pass on to the next generation what he had taught them. His shoebox formula for missions is Know, Go, Show, Blow. Know God and what you believe, Go tell others who have not heard, Show them how to live the Christian life, and then Blow out and let them disciple others while you go and start over somewhere else.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Matthew 16:15-19

Here is a theological question. I'd like to hear your opinion whether you agree with me or not.
The Sunday school lesson I taught the end of July centered around Peter's confession of faith at Caeserea Philippi when he said to Jesus, "Thou art the Christ the Son of the Living God."
Jesus commended Peter for this correct answer which God had revealed to him. Then Jesus said, "And I say also unto thee, That thou art Peter, and upon this rock I will build my church; and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. And I will give unto thee the keys of the kingdom of heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt bind on earth shall be bound in heaven: and whatsoever thou shalt loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven."
These verses are the basis for the Catholic belief that Peter was the first pope and that the pope is infallible. The voice of the pope is the voice of God. We Mennonites reject that teaching but we have embraced the idea that in these verses Jesus is giving the church authority to make rules and excommunicate those who break them.
Are these verses really talking about church authority? I don't think so. Why would Jesus abruptly change the subject from faith to church authority? Here is my understanding of what Jesus was saying.
1. The church is not built upon Peter but upon the belief that Jesus is the Christ (Messiah), the Son of God.
2. God (not Peter) is the revealer of Truth. Jesus (not Peter) is the builder of the church.
3. Belief in Jesus (not keeping a set of church rules) is the key to the kingdom (the way to enter heaven).
4. Jesus entrusted this key to Peter (and all believers), giving us the responsibility to share the Gospel with all men on earth. Jesus builds the church but the job of spreading the Gospel has been given to human beings.
5. Those we do not share the Gospel with will remain bound in their sin and those we do tell the Good News can be set free (loosed).
I believe the church does have the authority to make rules and maintain order in the church. I also believe we are obligated to keep the rules of the church we choose to join. I just think these verses are talking about evangelism rather than church discipline. Have we swallowed some Catholicism in applying these verses to church discipline? What do you think?

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Fowl Update

The geese met their fate on the appointed date but we left the ducks for another time. I thought five birds might be a bit much for one day and was correct. The freezer score now stands at two down, three to go. By dumping the contents of two feed dishes together, and since ducks don't gobble like geese, there is enough feed left to fatten the ducks a few days longer. I hope Gerald finds time to dispatch a few more heads before he starts school on Tuesday.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Their Goose Is Cooked

If all goes as planned, these critters are enjoying the last day of their lives. Look close and you will see one brown duck between the geese. It's partner met an early death at the wheels of a car back in July.

They were cute little ducklings and goslings when Gerald brought them home in the spring. They outgrew that label long ago. The ducks aren't as bad as the geese. Their behavior has made me wonder if they are somehow genetically related to goats. They roost outside the back door and have turned it into a barnyard. They eat everything in sight. While we were at the cabin last weekend they ate every stem and leaf of the flowers I had on the porch. They not only ate ears of corn in the garden, but also march boldly into the neighbor's field where they continue to practice their thievery. They pulled the rubber seals off the patio doors, poked a big hole in the one patio screen, etc. etc. Their goose is cooked.

I've been "breathing out threatenings and slaughter" against those arrogant, messy geese for weeks and looking forward with relish to the day when they will be relieved of their heads. This morning Gerald announced that he had put the last of the bag of feed in their dish and he is not buying another bag. If they knew what is going to happen tomorrow morning, they would eat very slowly. If Gerald dispatches their heads and does the butchering, I will happily get revenge by pulling out every one of their feathers. They will move into a cool new home until Christmas when we will get the final revenge. After they are nicely roasted I will honk proudly to call my brood. They will flock around me and help eat them down to the bare bones. I can't wait!!

Monday, August 11, 2008

Family Olympics

While the eyes of the world were on the beginning of the Olympics in China, our family spent the weekend hiding out in our cabin. Of course, since we have cell phones we are no longer totally cut off from the world at the cabin. But we let the world go by and did our own thing. Which included:
1) hiking

2) swimming3) chewing the fat (at the table and away from it)

Gold medals were won in the fields of pennyroyal tea and huckleberry picking with one loss which involved a cell phone landing in the bottom of the spring. The weather was perfect, being neither too hot nor too cool and only one brief shower before we got up on Sunday morning. This was our last scheduled weekend-away of the summer. All the traveling we have done this summer has made the season fly faster than ever. Only two weeks remain until we shift gears and go into a new school year. Although it was short, it's been a good summer.

Monday, August 4, 2008

Shirktown Threshers

On Saturday Leroy and Gene went to the Shirktown Thresher's show near Churchtown. Leroy knew about this annual event for quite a few years but had never gone. I figured it was a guy thing and stayed home. It was much smaller than Rough & Tumble at Kinzers, but turned out to be larger than he expected. They demonstrated threshing with flails and a horsepower, as well as with this threshing machine powered by a Titan.

There were other things being displayed and demonstrated in addition to tractors and threshing machines. People of all shapes and sizes were there. Isn't this little guy adorable? I guess he'll "grow into" his hat. Bread was being baked in the old bake oven beside the house.
I might go along if he goes again next year. It looks like there is something interesting for everyone after all.