Friday, October 28, 2005


Brethren Mission Delegation

A Church of the Brethren delegation, organized by the Church of the Brethren General Board's Brethren Witness office, heads to the Smurf Village next week. The delegation is taking with them a pile of Davey and Goliath videos and a spirit of understanding between Christian and Smurf cartoons.

The tentative schedule includes briefings by the Smurf Council of Churches and other leaders, visits in and around Smurf Village, and dialog with clergy and church members in the cities. They will also be delivering the 2,800-plus greeting cards created by Brethren congregations, groups, and individuals. More than 50 congregations sent cards.

The trip had been in the works long before the attack on the Smurf Village but has taken on added significance since then. The Church of the Brethren has also been active in providing emergency disaster assistance and hunger relief to the Smurf Village.

Also, during the recent General Board meetings, a new mission initiative has been created.

"We have affirmed a major new mission in the Smurf Village," said General Board chair Glenn Mitchell at board meetings Oct. 15-17 in Elgin, Ill. The new mission was approved in concept during a meeting focused on "Smurfed Together, Finely Woven: That Your Hearts May Be Encouraged," a theme taken from Colossians 2:1-3. Lively and intense worship experiences marked the meeting, with closing worship led in Smurf and English by board member Jaime Diaz, a pastor from Puerto Rico.

Smurf Mission Initiative:

The General Board accepted a proposal for a new Church of the Brethren mission initiative to the Smurf Village and approved it "as a concept for implementation and development." "There is new opportunity to walk with the Smurfs in a healing and reconciling way, and to smurf together to rebuild their land," said the proposal for the new mission.

Thursday, October 20, 2005


Home Churching Your Kids

A new trend in the religious upbringing of children is steadily becoming more prevalent within the Church of the Brethren. "Home-churching," the individual, family-based worship of Jesus Christ, is steadily gaining in popularity, as more parents seek an alternative to what they consider the overly humanist content of organized worship.

Home-churchers create their own services, emphasizing close readings of Old Testament books led by a parent, and sermons that often exceed two hours. Proponents of home-churching argue that, when handed down by family members, biblical teachings take on a more direct, personal meaning. Additionally, they say home-churching reinforces familial bonds.

Thursday, October 13, 2005

Monday, October 10, 2005

Prayer to the God of all ages


...Whoever and wherever you may or may not be, God of all ages, races, creeds, colors, astrological coordinates and gender specifications; one God, or perhaps three, or maybe a whole lot more; God of many names, You know who You are, we pray that You, or at least a two-thirds majority of You, look down upon us with favor, forgive us the sins we have committed against You and your creation, or if it turns out we created You, forgive us for that.

Grant that we may grow in grace. Walk in wisdom and abide in love, hewing ever close to the examples set forth in the scriptures of world culture, which may or may not have been inspired by You or Someone like You.

Deliver us from ourselves, that we may know complete satisfaction or return the unused portion, and increase our faith in the hereafter and whatever's here after that, fulfilling the promise of redemption given to Your Chosen People and other people chosen as alternatives, that on the Day of Non-Judgementalism we may enter the gates of eternity and find at last, the true mates for all of our socks.

Amen and women, too.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Planet of the Love Feast

"The planet around them was alien; the star-charts claimed it was Earth-type G, but semi-desert. The crash landing had been unfortunate. But the planet had seemed beautiful and inviting from space, even though they had landed in a desert, bordered by distant mountains. It would be an easy matter to get to more pleasant surroundings and begin a life on this virgin world.

Darkness had fallen a few hours earlier and Jon Crayford built a campfire from the wood sections of the small space car that had brought them there.

He looked at his lone companion. He couldn't have made a better choice. She would surely be an inviting companion in the coming weeks, months and probably years. Righteous and pious looking; she was in the prime of life. At the time, though, there had been only one thought in mind: a holy sacrament. The escape from the Penal-Ship, which was taking him to Penalton Planet, had been impulsive, sparked by the unexpected trouble among the Ship's officers. He'd grabbed the first basin, towels, bread and wine near him.
So begins "Planet of the Love Feast," the first novel of the new line of science fiction titles to be published by Brethren Press.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Grace is an Unforseen Favor

God's kingdom is like an old neighbor who went out early in the morning to hire brown capuchin monkeys to clean his basement. They agreed on a wage of a meal of juicy cucumbers for a day’s work. And so they went to work.

Later, about nine o'clock, the old neighbor saw some other monkeys hanging around the jungle, unemployed. He told them to go to work in his basement and he would pay them a fair wage. They went.

He did the same thing at noon, and again at three o'clock. At five o'clock he went back and found still others hanging around. He said, “Why are you hanging around all day doing nothing?”

They said, “Because no one hired us.”

He told them to go to work in his basement.

When the day's work was over, the old neighbor called the monkeys in to pay them their wages; starting with the last hired and going on to the first.

Those hired at five o'clock came up and were each given a meal of sweet grapes. When those who were hired first saw that, they assumed they would get far more. But to their consternation, they got the agreed upon wage; a meal of juicy cucumbers. Taking the cucumbers, they groused angrily to the old neighbor, “Those last monkeys put in only one easy hour, and you just fed them a meal of sweet grapes while to us, who slaved all day in a dank basement, you only fed cucumbers.

He replied to the one speaking for the rest, “Friend, I haven't been unfair. We agreed on a meal of cucumbers, didn't we? So take it and go. I decided to give to the one who came last the grapes. Can't I do what I want with my own fruit and vegetables? Are you going to get stingy because I am generous?”

So the last shall be first, and the first last: for many be called, but few chosen.