Dill Pickers Don't Disappoint
by JanCase
 The Church Lady
Jan 17, 2012 | 5024 views |  0 comments | 33 33 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
What to say about a group that channels Mahalia Jackson, Joe Cocker, Johnny Cash and John Denver while playing dozens of instruments and just having a little talk with Jesus? Well, at the very least it was great fun to the folks who packed The Bridge and toe tapped along. I didn't even mention the humor and the nod to 1940s jazz. The show moved at an energetic pace that was a delightful showcase of musical talent and interesting personalities. 

I come from a family of music appreciators. That is to say, a rare few of us have musical talent, and for the most part, the ones who are musical married in. However, you won't find a better audience than my kin. Even at my grandfather's funeral, there was a country gospel quartet and band at the church. Everyone thought it was appropriate since he found such pleasure in listening to the music during his life. The preacher even quoted PaPa when the musicians finished, "Boys, the only thing wrong with that was you didn't play and sing long enough!" The congregation smiled because we remembered the rest of what he'd say, "Coulda done with more singin' and less preachin'." 

The Dill Pickers definitely left us wanting more, and I hope to get the opportunity to hear them again soon. 
The Dill Pickers
by JanCase
 The Church Lady
Jan 14, 2012 | 3873 views |  0 comments | 23 23 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
So, I've been reading about the concert by The Dill Pickers to benefit Interfaith Ministries and I wonder why I don't already know these folks. My favorite diversions are bluegrass and musical theater, and my most troublesome obstacle as a Christian is exactly how to implement Jesus' words recorded in Matthew 25 regarding our treatment of "the least of these" among us. The Dill Pickers have somehow managed to consolidate all these things with a healthy dose of fun thrown in to boot. I can't wait to see them perform tomorrow at The Bridge behind Anniston First United Methodist Church at 2:00.

I learned that Interfaith Ministries was formed by Rev. Lawrence Dill and his wife, Flo,  and some friends from various churches sitting around a dining room table in 1975.  Ministry to the poor, sick, and needy seems like such an overwhelmingly impossible problem. Even Jesus said that the poor would be with us always. And then you hear that someone just sat down and did something and the result was over 100 churches and multiple ministries that do everything from deliver food and help pay for medications to sponsoring community wide worship services that welcome all regardless of faith tradition or anything else that defines them. I want to be like these people!
Reading the Bible Through
by JanCase
 The Church Lady
Jan 09, 2012 | 2743 views |  0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
I recently purchased a book by George Guthrie with a novel reading plan for the Bible. It's called the "Reader's Guide to the Bible" and it presents the Bible in chronological order. Of course a lot of this is subjective since none of the stories were written at the time that things were actually happening and there are multiple accounts of the same stories. We don't know exact dates for most of the writing, much less the actual events.  But I like the idea. Guthrie uses "Acts" and "Scenes" to present the themes of God's interaction with humanity. One interesting point is that there is no actual "book" of psalms. Since all the poetry was written in relation to some historical happening or someone's inner turmoil or a worship liturgy, the psalms are scattered throughout the readings. The book also contains a timeline with fill-in-the blanks opportunities, short commentary and group discussion questions. I hate filling in blanks, I find the commentary largely uninspiring, and I'm doing this as an individual, so the extras are pretty much wasted on me. But the idea of a start to finish reading is appealing.

Now, which version of the Bible to use. I've read the King James's and the New American Standard translations through in the past, and I once spent a year reading the New Testament with an outline from the Navigators. I've just spent the past 9 years reading passages in preparation to teach a weekly Bible Study class. Reading something with plans to teach it is different from reading it for illumination or for pleasure. I decided this time to read for fun, and I selected The Message translation for my 2012 plan. The Message is the work of Eugene Peterson, a pastor who collected his personal translations and sermons over a lifetime of Bible study. It is easy reading, and occasionally startling in his folksy choice of phrase. For example, when God asks Cain where his brother Able is, Able replies, "How should I know? Am I his babysitter?"

Now I'm in the wonderful Old Testament stories of the creation, flood, tower of babel, and having a blast.

Happy Halloween, er, ah, Fall!
by JanCase
 The Church Lady
Oct 23, 2011 | 4767 views |  0 comments | 20 20 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
When I was a child, Halloween was tied with Christmas for my favorite holiday. On October 31, for some unknown reason, the usually strict parents of myself and my friends threw caution to the wind and let us wander the neighborhood after dark taking candy from strangers. It was great! We thought it prudent not to ask too many questions about this grand state of affairs, so none of us knew that "All Hallow's Eve" was a church holiday from the 8th century leading up to "All Saint's Day." When the church decided to take back the holiday, however, it wasn't to restore the ancient Christian meaning, but to curb our enjoyment of this delightful extravaganza. Ok, so that wasn't really the reason, but it sure felt that way. Suddenly our boundaries shrunk from the entire neighborhood to the church parking lot. But then something interesting happened. What was once one crazy night of candy consumption expanded into a two week series of candy galas all around town. Churches started pouring out the sweets in the middle of October. The troublesome moniker of "Halloween" is seldom mentioned at church anymore; it's been replaced by the more innocuous sounding "Fall" or "Harvest" festival.  So we have a one day church holiday that became secular that was retrieved by the church who then turned it into a multi-week secular holiday. Spooky!
Reformation Day is Coming
by JanCase
 The Church Lady
Oct 17, 2011 | 2477 views |  0 comments | 29 29 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Anniston Bible Church is presenting a series of lectures led by Bob St. John on The Life and Legacy of Martin Luther. The sessions meet at 6:30 pm on Mondays in October leading up to the anniversary of the beginning of the Protestant Reformation. It was October 31, 1517 when the Augustinian monk nailed his 95 theses to the door of the castle church in Wittenberg, Germany in an attempt to reform practices in the Catholic Church. It was the second time that the New Testament Church had experienced a major upheaval. The church had a united existence for about 1000 years when the Roman Church split off. The changes made by Rome included placing authority in a Pope instead of a council, requiring celibacy for its clergy and using unleavened bread for the Eucharist. These two Christian churches, Orthodox and Roman Catholic, existed separately for another 500 years before Luther. With the advent of Protestant churches, we were off to the races. While the Orthodox Church remains largely unchanged, it seems like a new Protestant or Evangelical church splits off daily.  This is good and bad.  We spend a lot of time bickering amongst ourselves about what the Bible really says and who’s really saved. But this diversity can also be positive in that whatever it is that you want from church, you can probably find it. And if not, just start your own church. One of the interesting things that I've learned from Rev. St. John is how consistent most of Luther's ideas are with the Orthodox Church. It would be interesting to know what would've happened if Luther had led a return to the Orthodox Church instead of a reform of the Catholic church.


The text that accompanies the lectures is Martin Luther:  A Guided Tour of His Life and Thought  by Stephen J. Nichols. He writes of Luther's conversion which began when he acknowledged that he "hated the righteous God who punishes sinners" ... and "raged with a fierce and troubled conscience." Luther's study of the book of Romans led to a spiritual breakthrough in which he was overwhelmed by an understanding of God's gift of grace. Thus the foundation of all Protestant and evangelical churches was laid. Anyone who worships today in this stream of faith would benefit from learning of Luther's discovery of how life-changing the gospel really is.


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