Grow where you are planted … and other “granny scriptures”

One lesson my professor taught in my homiletics class back in 1989 was to make sure you did your background research on your text/topic thoroughly to avoid relying on “granny scriptures” as the authority behind your main points.

A “granny scripture,” he explained, was something that granny said so often everyone accepted was in scripture and had as much authority. A favourite, and most worn out cliché, example is, “Cleanliness is next to godliness.” There’s no such text or principle cited or taught in scripture.

If you rely on a “granny scripture” as your main point then, to use the modern meme parlance, you are relying on #alternativefacts and #fakenews. You’re not relying on fact or truth.

Another popular meme is, “grow where you’re planted” or “bloom where you’re planted.” This meme is used to advocate against proactive change. It might something go something like, “Be happy and content with your lot. You’re being ungrateful if you try to change your circumstances.

Often actual scripture is cited to support this notion, the most frequent used is 1 Corinthians 7. The context the entire letter addresses is that societal status is not an excuse for the prejudice occurring in Corinth or the resulting in-fighting among the church community there. Free citizens don’t outrank slaves, married do not have more importance than singles etc. in the church economy. Paul’s point, in chapter 7, is you won’t overcome prejudice by changing your social status.

He is not advocating the meme of seeking change is wrong. This is shown by his caveat statements, about the difference between the enslaved and the free in v.21 of “if you can gain your freedom, do so” and v.23 “do not become slaves of human beings.

There’s nothing in this chapter that advocates, if you’re a victim of domestic abuse, stay in the marriage and bloom where you’re planted. Or, if you’re working for a dishonest or unethical employer, stay in the job and bloom where you’re planted. As a couple of examples.

What if the legislators, like William Wilberforce, who lobbied against slavery had ‘bloomed where they were planted’? What if the Allies fighting against Nazi Germany had bloomed where they were planted instead of fighting on the  beaches, fighting on the landing grounds etc.?

Bloom where you’re planted, sounds noble and altruistic. But it is, often, self destructive. A more accurate application of 1 Corinthians 7, that isn’t a “granny scripture,” would be the well known Serenity Prayer.

“God, Give us the grace to accept with serenity
the things that cannot be changed, Courage
to change the things which should be changed,
And the wisdom to distinguish the one from the other.”

If at first you don’t succeed

… trying again might not always be the best option.

This, after spending 27 years in Sydney trying to one particular thing and constantly getting “fried”.

Perhaps trying something else altogether different is not only warranted, but wise.

 

The End … of the Centurion

What follows is a re-post of http://teampyro.blogspot.com.au/2017/01/the-end.html

The only reason I can think of to perpetuate my own blog would be to continue to respond to a group of Trolls from Epping, Pymble and Baulkham Hills. But, honestly, what’s the point in that. Trolls will be trolls.

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Before you get too worked up, this is not a suicide note.  What this post ought to be seen as is an end to my hiatus as it gives way to retirement.  It has gone through a couple of drafts.  I hope it says only what I mean to say and not everything that I really want to say.

In the 15-ish years I have been on the internet, I have been accused of a lot of things.  Most of the time, it has been by people who did not read what I wrote.  That’s just how things go, and the ignorance of other people should never stop a person from doing something worthwhile.

The problem I am having at this point in my hobby-on-hiatus is that as I look at many (most) of the people who were inspired by the work done by this blog and some of my other blogs, those people are terrible. From my perspective, however, this problem has not gotten better with age: it has gotten worse.

There’s a hard way to see if something can be done about this, and an easy way.

Continue reading “The End … of the Centurion”

Every great public speech, presentation or sermon

Mr Bean in Church

That you’ve ever heard, if some recent chatter coming out of Sydney is to be believed, is at LEAST 45 minutes long. Or, however long you think a presentation, sermon or church talk ought to be so as not to be considered “short“.

The banter erupted when someone made a suggestion that Sydney based Anglican ministers limit their sermons to 20 minutes. Hilarity ensued as all sorts of “experts” protested that they couldn’t possible explain something so complex as a Bible passage in less than 40 minutes. Although the actual number of minutes varied, the general consensus was something along the line of, “If it’s too short than I’m not doing a good job as a speaker.”

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Martin Luther: What does it mean to have a god?

moses460

People talking today about the 10 commandments often loosely quote* the reformer Martin Luther saying, breaking any of the commandments is always a result of breaking the first – i.e. in other words, idolatry – or trusting in and worshiping someone or something other than the personal God who gave Israel the 10 commandments.

Background to the 10 Commandments

The first time the 10 commandments appear in the Bible is when God gave them to Moses. Israel had just dramatically escaped 400 years of slavery in Egypt. The introduction to the first commandment mentions this, even though it is often left out.

Continue reading “Martin Luther: What does it mean to have a god?”