The Reformation Polka

by Robert Gebel

[Sung to the tune of "Supercalifragilistic-expialidocious"]

When I was just ein junger Mann I studied canon law
While Erfurt was a challenge, it was just to please my Pa.
Then came the storm, the lightning struck, I called upon Saint Anne,
I shaved my head, I took my vows, an Augustinian!

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

When Tetzel came near Wittenberg, St. Peter's profits soared,
I wrote a little notice for the All Saints' Bull'tin board:
"You cannot purchase merits, for we're justified by grace!
Here's 95 more reasons, Brother Tetzel, in your face!"

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

They loved my tracts, adored my wit, all were exempleror;
The Pope, however, hauled me up before the Emperor.
"Are these your books? Do you recant?" King Charles did demand,
"I will not change my Diet, Sir, God help me here I stand!"

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

Duke Frederick took the Wise approach, responding to my words,
By knighting "George" as hostage in the Kingdom of the Birds.
Use Brother Martin's model if the languages you seek,
Stay locked inside a castle with your Hebrew and your Greek!

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!

Let's raise our steins and Concord Books while gathered in this place,
And spread the word that 'catholic' is spelled with lower case;
The Word remains unfettered when the Spirit gets his chance,
So come on, Katy, drop your lute, and join us in our dance!

Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation
Speak your mind against them and face excommunication!
Nail your theses to the door, let's start a Reformation!
Papal bulls, indulgences, and transubstantiation!


I like analogies...

And this one is smart. And for the guys.

...since when did "trusting God" mean "do nothing?" We're all rather attached to eating, right? But do we sit at home waiting for meals to come to us? No, we work to purchase food. Similarly, if you want the job, you apply for the job. If you want to get involved in your church, you show up at the small group. And if you want to get married, you take initiative with members of the opposite sex by building healthy relationships with them and... pursuing.

...if you want to get married and the Lord has clearly (or possibly) put a godly woman in your life, do something about it.


Random Thoughts on a Random Day

Well, folks, I've got nothing big enough to make an actual post, but I haven't done a "random" post for a while, so here goes...

Man, people get their knickers in a twist about worship music styles. The way folks got fired up about it on my blog last time, and the way they're going at it on IMonk's blog, you'd think somebody was insulting their mama! Maybe we ought to add "our tendency to be easily offended and self-righteous" to our list of confessions straight across Christendom for, oh say the next hundred years or so.

Speaking of people getting their knickers in a twist... Craig stirred up a bit of controversy over on his blog when he spoke out in critique of a woman preaching at the upcoming Anglican "Summer School" (remember, their seasons are opposite of ours). Well, really he didn't stir up controversy; he provoked a good discussion among a few of us, with some very rude anonymous commenters slinging mud and insults with both hands.

It's a small world. I just got a phone call from someone who saw my Staff Profile in the last Travelogue, and wondered if I knew his long-time friend who hails from my hometown of Sterling, Colorado. I do. (Dad, it's Arden Fennell -- I think that's spelled wrong, but I can't remember how to spell it.)

Timmy Brister is a smart dude. And this is turning into a Blog Roundup. Moving on... his series on "Blue-Collar Theology" should really be read by every small-town pastor or basically any pastor who desires to "raise the bottom shelf" for his congregation. But what really got me going this week was his explanation of Finney's "New Measures" as interpreted by modern "revivalists" (those are ironic quotes) and "evangelists" (also, ironic quotes). Boy, did it bring up some unpleasant memories! (Oh, and Wikipedia article on Finney if you're unfamiliar.)

I love my church. We had Derek Webb and Sandra McCracken at the 930 last night for a show, the first stop on their Ringing Bell Tour. Three things about the show. 1. Derek Webb has a strong prophetic voice, and it really showed last night: he's passionately critical of the American church's tendency to say that Christian=Evangelical=Conservative=Patriot=Republican . A few lines from one of his songs as an example:

Here are two great lies that I’ve heard:
“The day you eat of the fruit of that tree, you will not surely die,”
and that Jesus Christ was a white, middle-class Republican,
and if you wanna be saved you have to learn to be like Him.
My first allegiance is not to a flag, a country, or a man;
my first allegiance is not to democracy or blood;
it's to a King & a Kingdom.

2. I don't think I ever saw a couple who were sweeter with each other on stage. That was refreshing. At one point, Derek said, "The best thing I get to do is to play in her band." 3. Sandra McCracken's contribution to modern hymn-singing = fantastic. She sang "Thy Mercy, My God," one of my favorite hymn arrangements in history, ever. Great Father of mercy, thy goodness I own, and the covenant love of thy crucified Son...

I'm baking two carrot cakes for the cakewalk on Saturday at our massive Fall Festival. For those of you who didn't grow up in the US, a cakewalk is a game (a bit like musical chairs) played at carnivals where contestants walk or dance around a numbered circle, accompanied by music, until the music stops. The number they're standing on corresponds to the cake they win! Anyway, my fridge is currently full of butter, carrots, and cream cheese. I'm pretty pumped to make the cakes... but I still need to get powdered sugar for the frosting and walnuts.

Funny story about walnuts. My dad is allergic to them (not deathly allergic, just enough to make his throat itch really badly and drive him crazy), so I grew up never eating them, except for the occasional black walnut from the tree in our front yard. It was such a habit for me to make quick-breads, cookies, etc., with only pecans even through college, and it wasn't until I moved into my first apartment when I came to Louisville that I started realizing -- hey, I'm not allergic to walnuts! I can actually eat them! And I like them! So walnuts became a much more common addition to my cooking.

Let's see... other random news. I'm getting my hair cut today, thanks in no small part to Mr. Jordan Buckley who graciously agreed to cover the phones (and work on sending out CD orders and press/blog releases) for me while I'm out. I'm thinking about this look. Or maybe this one? No, seriously, though, I'm actually thinking about getting it cut kinda like this.

Well, carry on, people. That's enough randomness for awhile.


That's Exactly What I've Been Trying To Say!

Yet again, Craig has pointed me in the right direction with another link to a great article, this time on the Sydney (Australia) Anglicans website. The article is about how people get "immunized" against the Gospel when they're given half-truths. Check it out:

This kind of problem can occur when we give people a tiny taste of the gospel without a full exposure to the implications or fruit of the message. If we are not careful, we can lead people to end up hardened against Jesus, not softened to his promises.

The writer to the Hebrews made reference to this very kind of problem when he said that “It is impossible for those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, who have shared in the Holy Spirit, who have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the coming age, if they fall away, to be brought back to repentance…” (Hebrews 6:4-6a).


Farewell (For Now)

I said farewell to Nickel Creek tonight. It was a bittersweet moment when, at the very end, they killed the mikes, unplugged their instruments, stepped downstage, and played "Why Should the Fire Die?" with just their voices. We all listened more carefully than before; I closed my eyes; the acoustics were so perfect that each note was crystal clear.

Surely the music of heaven will sound dull by comparison.


Buying up Judgment

From the comments section of a recent Pyro post (caution: don't read too many of these in one day; can be hazardous to your joy). Comment by CenturiOn:

I was listening to somebody preaching yesterday while I was driving all over NW Arkansas for work, and he said that it's a shame that so many people go into Christian bookstores these days and keep buying up more judgment against themselves.


The post is about Christians who don't get anything out of sermons because they don't know how to listen to preaching. Unfortunately (or fortunately!), as Spider Man's uncle said, "with great power comes great responsibility." In other words, with every portion of the word your faithful pastor rightly divides, you have fewer and fewer excuses for sin, and more and more truth for which you are accountable before God.

Read that quote again:

...it's a shame that so many people go into Christian bookstores these days and keep buying up more judgment against themselves.

That convicts the heck out of me, folks. How often have I read a jewel of Christian writing, or listened to an excellent sermon, and gone right on with my tragic, sinful plans? Times without number, I confess. I take too much delight in the reading of many books and not enough delight in applying the truth contained therein.

My prayer is that I would recognize what a great responsibility it is to learn the ways of the Lord, and that He would enable me to live what I learn.


Gold and Dross

My previous post on Vision Forum Ministries' Biblical Patriarchy document highlighted its sloppy logic and fundie tendencies, but I wanted to be clear that VFM makes certain assertions in that statement with which I wholeheartedly agree. Baptists (and Christians in general) have an unnerving tendency to throw the baby out with the bathwater (see any comments thread on Wade Burleson's blog, for example), and I don't want to fall prey to the temptation to write off this group just because I think they are on dangerous ground with some of their claims.

I mentioned in my previous post my admiration for the carefully-crafted section on the authority of fathers in their homes, and wanted to give ye few but faithful the chance to take a look. I may draw some ire for "coming out" as a proponent of patriarchy, but I'm with Russ Moore on this one: there is no option other than patriarchy. The choice we face is whether to promote and embrace "good" patriarchy, informed by Scripture and redeemed at the cross, or "bad" patriarchy -- the abdication or abuse of power by men.

So here are what I consider the best bits of the whole statement:

A husband and father is the head of his household, a family leader, provider, and protector, with the authority and mandate to direct his household in paths of obedience to God.

A man’s authority in the home should be exercised with gentleness, grace, and love as a servant-leader, following the example of Jesus Christ. Leadership is a stewardship from God.

The authority of fathers is limited by the law of God and the lawful authority of church and state. Christian fathers cannot escape the jurisdiction of church and state and must be subject to both.

Woot! I don't know about you, ladies, but that's the kind of husband I'm praying for. Provider. Protector. Servant-leader. Sounds good to me.


An Ode to My Thompson Chain Reference Bible

I love my Thompson Bible. I really do. There are few possessions that I value or cherish more than this gigantic, leather-bound, gilt-edged horse-choker. Seriously. I could rhapsodize at length about how using it has helped revitalize my quiet times, encourage my Bible-nerdiness, answer questions about Scripture, challenge my thinking. But let me just tell you a little bit about Frank Thompson, the man who dedicated his life to making a study Bible for the layman.

Dr. Frank Charles Thompson was a young preacher in the late 1800s when he became disappointed with the reference Bibles being sold to preachers. Dr. Thompson believed the Bible should be presented in a simple, but scholarly way. He saw the need for a well-organized reference Bible that would be of practical use to the layman as well as a minister.

In 1890, Dr. Thompson began the work he would continue for the rest of his life. He completed the "thought suggestions" opposite the verses throughout the Bible. These are what became the "chain-links" that are the heart of the Thompson system. Some of the men in Dr. Thompson's church saw his Bible and told him this would be a great help to them in their Bible study too. They encouraged Dr. Thompson to have his Bible, with marginal references, published so that everyone could enjoy the blessing of this helpful study tool.

The Thompson contains over 100,000 references, over 8000 chain topics, outlines of each Bible book, an Archeology segment, and over seventy other kinds of study helps. It has been invaluable to my personal study. It's the classic layman's study Bible, but I relied heavily on it during my Seminary studies.

I have other Bibles, including a good parallel (the Essential Evangelical Parallel Bible), a girly pink slimline ESV, a plain slimline NLT, and a Greek new testament. But the one I use for daily study is my Thompson. I highly recommend it.