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Showing posts from August, 2013

INFLUENTIAL CHRISTIAN CLASSIC

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The Cloud of Unknowing (Middle English: The Cloude of Unknowyng) is an anonymous work of Christian mysticism written in Middle English in the latter half of the 14th century. The copy before me is subtitled "A Book of Contemplation the which is called the Cloud of Unknowing, in the which a soul is oned with God." Edited from the British Museum MS. Harl. 674, with an introduction by Evelyn Underhill, 4th edition. It was published in London by John M. Watkins, 1946.
The text, which birthed the idea of 'centering prayer', is a spiritual guide on contemplative prayer in the late Middle Ages. The precise identity of the treatise is unknown, although various individuals were suggested as its author over the years. The debate over who might have penned the original still occupies the academic hunger of many researchers.

The underlying message of this work proposes that the only way to truly "know" God is to abandon all preconceived notions and beliefs or “kno…

The Value of Church History

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Many churches are looking at assessment of how well they have done the work of the Gospel.  They have reached a place where they no longer grow and are in decline.  Once vital, active, and focused in their life as a church in their community they have unraveled and questions remain.  A key factor is found in discovering the church history.  When a person goes to a medical doctor they fill out a history form that provides clues to current or future problems.  In the same way, examining the past can provide important information as to what went wrong, when, and what might need to be done in the future to renew, or in some cases, resurrect the church into a vital reproducing centere of spiritual life.

Many denominations have very useful helps for establishing local church archives and keeping the history. The Commission on Archives and History of the UMC published a small booklet just in time for the writing of the 1975 church history.  Significant areas are underscored and the outline …

The Method Behind the Means

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In 1936, the '2 in 1 Class' (also sometimes the Two in One Class) printed a small booklet of the classConstitution and By-Laws of the Two in One Sunday School School Class of the Wesley M.E. Church, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. This eight page (6 with text) booklet was approx. 5 inches by 4 inches. It established in Article I the name of the class was to be the "The 2 in 1 Sunday School Class". 

It specified the object or purpose of the class as an organization for the "regular and systematic study of the Bible under competent leadership; the achievement of Christian culture through the spiritual, intellectual, and social development of every member; mutual helpfulness and the extension of Christ's kingdom." The motto for the class was simple and direct: "every member present every Sunday on time with a liberal offering, a studied lesson, and a mind to learn."

The name came from the 'two shall be one' and was made of younger married coup…

Wesley's Covenant Renewal Prayer

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The people called 'methodists' were so labeled due to their belief in approaching the life of faith with a method, a plan, a specific personal goal that reflected the instruction of scripture.

A part of that was an annual 'renewal', what we might call a revival, of this commitment in a prayer used in the litugy.  It was often used at New Year's and is frequently found in churches to this day.  That is very fitting because it was designed to adjust the course, and gracefully urge a return to the true north of relationship and witness for the sake of the Gospel.  It was a reminder to be a people of holy purpose:
I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt, rank me with whom thou wilt.
Put me to doing, put me to suffering.
Let me be employed for thee or laid aside for thee,
exalted for thee or brought low for thee.
Let me be full, let me be empty.
Let me have all things, let me have nothing.
I freely and heartily yield all things to thy pleasure and disposal.
A…

Dr. William Forney Hovis of the Methodist Episcopal Church (1872-1860)

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William Forney Hovis was born in 1872 in Wesley, Pennsylvania.  He married Aimee Parry in 1902 and pastured in Indiana, Missouri, Wisconsin, Oklahoma, and Minnosota.  He retired in 1938 to devote himself to his writing.  After the death of his first wife he remarried Ina Mosiman and had children Willliam Jr (1914) and Keith (1916). He died in 1960 in Minneapolis, Minnesota.
Hovis published numerous works from an early date in his ministry.  Some titles are:
Quality Folks: Practical Meditations (Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1908).My Words: As Reported by Matthew, Mark, Luke, John and Paul. (Cincinnati: Jennings and Graham, 1911).Heart Sonnets. (Boston: R.G. Badger, The Gorham Press, 1913).Poetic Sermons. (NY: Revell, 1932).Consolation. (Indianapolis: Cornelius, 1935).Sin and Salvation: A Study in Origins. (Nashville: Tidings, 1954).A periodical in the 1930's called, The Reveille. He served as the pastor of Wesley Methodist Church 1925-1928 during a crucial building program that …