75 thoughts on “Our Daily Thread 1-16-17

  1. NOT Fair!

    Is today an official holiday?
    I know it’s The Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Birthday.
    But are offices closed today?
    I have some business that I may just put off until tomorrow.

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  2. Beautiful church! Whose, what, and where? Never need to ask Why about a church.

    I hope everyone has a good MLK Day (observed). The tablet changed it to MILK which is rather ironical.

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  3. I wished Kizzie Happy Birthday on Facebook. I am sorry I missed it here. I think perhaps Nightingale made a better cake than I could have!❀

    An alarm just blasted in the distance. I hope it was just an accident.

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  4. Today is a Federal Holiday. Some town in Mississippi got an uproar going. They announced it was “Great American’s Day” or some such. This is also the birthday or close to when the birthday of Robert E. Lee. Give it a rest. This has been celebrated for close to 30 years.

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  5. I LOVE the photos of the churches. Such a peaceful looking place. I like when a church looks and feels like a church. I don’t like massive, multi-purpose buildings with stadium seating. I understand whey newer churches are built that way but I don’t like it. I like to sit in a pew, either look through the windows at the sky or stare at the stained glass. I don’t know why, it makes no sense but it just feels right and that God may be hanging out to see if I show up. It feels warmer and friendlier.

    I told most of you yesterday about the cardinal coming into my house and siting on the kitchen table for a few seconds before leaving. Several people sent me the “legend” of a cardinal. That when a cardinal visits it is someone in heaven being near or checking on you. While I am not that supersticious, I did find the thought comforting.

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  6. Debra,

    If it doesn’t say who it’s from, it’s from me. πŸ™‚
    ——————

    It’s a cute little church just over the Bucks County line, off 611. Sometimes when I’m out, I’ll just pull over and take some pics if I see something I like. It’s the same as the weekend’s pic, from closer up. The other shot was from the top of the hill looking down. This one is at the bottom of the hill.

    I’m off to the Poconos! The girls are going to the outlets, I’m hoping to take some pics. πŸ™‚

    See ya!

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  7. We have some churches similar to that in our town & general area. There was a historic church in the next town over that burned down a few years ago (arson by teenagers). They rebuilt it to look just like the original one.

    Our church is in a relatively small red brick building. It used to be a masonic hall, so we feel the building has been redeemed by becoming a church. πŸ™‚

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  8. Kim- I remember when the MLK holiday was first established, some in the South protested since it was going to fall on RE Lee’s birthday, January 19. And the Governor of Arizona got in hot water proclaiming the Federal government had no right to impose a holiday on state governments, so he refused to acknowledge the holiday. He had a point, but I wonder if he thought of unrecognizing the other 9 Federal holidays.

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  9. What a beautiful photo…that is what I imagine when I think of New England…narrow roads, country church complete with stained glass windows and a red barn across the road….simple times in the village….(we came close to moving to Bucks County 30 years ago….but moved here instead…)
    Our dud of a snowstorm turned into a nice little storm for us overnight…three fresh inches on the Palmer Divide and we now have a winter wonderland….this forest needed it! Lulah the snow dog is loving it!
    What a sweet story of true love Kim….reminded me of Chas being smitten with Elvera about the same time. My mister and I met in March and were married in August….41 years later we are still here….together…and alive…but this retirement thing has caused me to question if this is going to last!! πŸ˜›

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  10. Peter, you know I enjoy being the resident southern belle or white trash—depending on the day. I like to tease about “the recent unpleasantness” or the “Woh uh, of Northun Aggression” but really????? REALLY???? Martin Luther King was a flawed human being and some things have come out about him that proves that he wasn’t a saint, but he still was a leader in his community and helped move Civil Rights forward. What I don’t like is that you never hear his speeches in context or the whole speech… you get clips and interpretations from those to say they know what he meant to say.
    Let it be a holiday. As I was reminded over the past two weeks reading The Kennedy Brothers. The 1960’s were a turbulent time in our history.

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  11. NancyJill, You’ve been married too long to give up now. My ex mother in law used to tell my father in law after all this time she was hanging on for death benefits. It was always said with a laugh in her voice.

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  12. Beautiful photo, so peaceful. Wonder if the church is filled on Sundays? And when it was built? Reminds me of the Quaker church I belonged to, which also had a “churchyard” with standing tombstones next to it, including one for the church’s first pastor ( from 100+ years ago).

    Today I have to return to work and it’ll be a slow climb back to normalcy, I’m afraid. I’m still coughing and hoarse and have very little energy. But I did get a lot of sleep over the weekend, so we’ll see how it goes.

    Strange dreams last night about meetings at work, including one in which they set us up with individual appointments with some company. I guess I wasn’t listening because on the way out I asked one of the photographers what the appointments were about and he said they were with consultants who could hopefully help us all find new jobs. Yikes.

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  13. Kim, your feelings about church buildings *does* make sense and, interestingly, our Pastor addressed it in Bible class yesterday. He talked about the importance of worship involving all five senses, including the practice of having incense as part of the service (he would do it at our church except that it’s too small and not configured for it). He said that when you walk into a church, it should feel like a church.

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  14. Kim- Agreed. MLK was a much more honorable man than any of the current ilk called “Civil Rights Leaders”. I doubt he would approve of the actions of Jesse Jackson or Al Sharton, or even Rep. Lewis saying that Trump is an illegitimate president.

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  15. Linda, I had forgotten about the incense. I have been in church services before, especially the Greek Orthodox, where incense was used. I don’t like the smell personally, but do like the thought of it involving all 5 of our senses. Thank you for the explanation.

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  16. Peter, if you’ll recall, the MLKing holiday was far more complicated than that in Arizona. I don’t remember precisely the distinction between the federal and state holiday (I believe I was in college by the time AZ did recognize it), but it went on the ballot in AZ whether to combine Washington’s and Lincoln’s birthdays into a more generic “President’s Day” and celebrate ML King Day as its own holiday. Personally, I would have dropped Lincoln’s birthday and had a holiday for the founder of our country; it’s rather odd that the one holiday we have for an individual, he was not a president, and Washington does deserve one of his own. “President’s Day” is just a silly, meaningless holiday, and I understand why Arizonans opposed it.

    Then the governor of the time (I don’t remember who he was; I was a teenager at the time, not yet eligible to vote) unilaterally imposed the holiday anyway. Evan Mecham got voted in as governor (voting for him when I was 18 was my first chance to vote), and he said that the previous governor had no right to impose something when the citizens had already voted no. He said he had nothing against the holiday itself, but that the state needed to come up with an alternative that its citizens approved, not just impose something. So he rescinded the creation of the holiday, and it hit the fans nationally. I remember some national companies, maybe a sports team or two, cancelling plans to hold events in Phoenix because the governor of Arizona was such a “racist.” Whether he was or not, I have no idea, but I thin he was right that the people had voted no, and thus we shouldn’t do this.

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  17. Linda, is there a biblical reason for incense in New Testament worship or just the idea of involving all five senses? I remember a few years ago the interesting thought that worship does involve all five senses–because the Lord’s supper involves taste and smell. Adding smell just for its own sake doesn’t seem like a biblical way to do it, though. I do think it is important to have the Lord’s supper regularly–ideally weekly (as my last two churches have done), because that seems to have been the biblical practice and it’s an important part of worship.

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  18. Rep. Lewis has been my Rep. The lines get changed at times so I need to see if he is still my Rep. But in the heart of hearts, he is not my true Rep. I do hold respect for him, of course, on the one level because like us all, he is made in God’s image. He has seemed to be an honest person.

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  19. One of the few downsides of my church (maybe the only one I can readily point to) is that we lease a space in a business park. We have a building fund and have sought buying a proper church property for 20 years, but can’t seem to swing it in an area where property is valuable and developers (who seemingly have all kinds of money to play with) swoop in to out-bid every attempt we’ve made.

    So we went with a remodel of our existing leased space two summers ago which greatly improved the interior setting (new chairs, carpet, updated sound and lighting, pulpit area — the large plain cross is carved from reclaimed wood that once made up the seats at the Hollywood Bowl, one of our talented and creative members has a side business creating furnishings from the wood that was acquired by her brother, a contractor, who removed much of it and bought it for re-use some years ago).

    But it’s not the same as a “real” church space. It’s the first church I’ve attended that didn’t have pews and stained glass and open ceilings.

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  20. I am just guessing, but the smoke rising from incense would be the physical representation of prayers going up to God and filling those bowls in heaven. It is not necessary, but it might be helpful for the young and the unacquainted with church to help understand the thought of invisible silent prayers going into God’s invisible ears.

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  21. While those little white churches look lovely, they are often very inefficient for all the things needed to be done in a modern church. We have belonged to several and do so now. Ours is much smaller than the one pictured. It is not handicapped friendly. The style of church and lack of property makes it very difficult to do that.

    The incense in the OT was a special recipe and could not be used by anyone else on pain of death, if I remember correctly. God, indeed, used all senses to teach his people. My last bout of incense was for a funeral and it was terrible. Anyone with allergies can really suffer. I would rather not have it.

    If you were not brought up with incense or the rest, I would not imagine that it would all make you feel like you are in a church.

    There is a whole lot of planning that should go into a new church building, however, IMO. Many of us miss the symbolism on those buildings. Our church is very old. It has a ceiling that is actually shaped like a giant cross. We went there for years before I casually mentioned it to someone. My husband was amazed. He had never noticed.

    Buildings are just buildings, though, without the Holy Spirit or people who really love the Lord.

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  22. Cheryl- Thank you for the clarification. As an Arizona native, I try to keep up with what goes on there, but back then there was no internet to verify what the national news media said.

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  23. Kathaleena, good point about handicapped accessibility. Carol couldn’t go to a Mo. Synod Lutheran church (her home denomination) when she moved to Hollywood because the only one in that area held its SS and Bible classes in a room with lots of steps and no elevator or separate handicapped entrance.

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  24. I’ve become so much more aware of handicapped accessibility taking her around the city — so many places, including the central historic library, just don’t offer that yet. It’s expensive to reconfigure older buildings to accommodate the disabled.

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  25. Cheryl, because of the “noise” surrounding Catholicism, and that I grew up in a Greek community, I always go to the Greek Orthodox church when I want church history and why something like incense is used. A lot of “high” churches or liturgical churches will use incense for special services or upon request at a funeral. Once Linda posted I remembered that a long time ago in the Episcopal church my priest has a Sunday morning service with all of the ornate robes, linens, incense, etc and explained the significance of each.
    I don’t think it makes any of us closer to God and a better Christian to have it, but I do appreciate the tradition of it. There is something to be said for doing something that goes back in history to the beginning of the church. To follow the same format. It is my opinion that the Eastern Orthodox churches are somewhat closer to the early church than the Roman Catholics and haven’t been as corrupted, but I could also be wrong about that. I think sometimes we strive to be TOO strictly bare bones about our worship and forget the beautiful history and symbolism of the churches. Think about the stained glass window that told the stories of the Bible, Gospel, Station of the Cross at a time when most people couldn’t read and even fewer had Bibles.

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  26. Kim, part of my “thing” with incense (beyond thinking that it stinks and is a hindrance to worship) is that fact that in the Old Testament there was a precise recipe that was not to be copied and there is no hint of incense in the New Testament that I can think of. So unless there is in fact centuries of precedent, it would seem to be something that was just “made up” by someone who liked the idea, like icons, without biblical precedent.

    It’s one thing to say “They used them as air fresheners, in a day when people didn’t bathe often.” I get that. But it’s another thing to say they are an aid to worship, if there is no biblical precedent for such a thing in New Testament worship. (If they were part of the temple sacrifice, then they don’t automatically carry over to NT worship.)

    That “recipe that can’t be copied” theme in the Old Testament gives me great pause here. We can’t just make these elements up on our own. Now, if the apostles themselves did incorporate incense, I’d be inclined to say OK, maybe it’s a neutral thing after all. But I can’t think of any hint that they did. (I’m free to be directed to such a passage, either in Scripture or in early church history.)

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  27. In reading your link, Kim, it reminded me that the magi gave gifts to Jesus that are used in incense.

    I have not been around it, but the movie, The Way, shows it used in a Catholic cathedral in Spain. Without the smell, it was very a beautiful part of the service.

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  28. Cheryl, I have no historical proof that I can find right this moment, but as I said when I want a more unbiased, palatable explanation for something I go to the Eastern Orthodox church, where to my mind it stands to reason the early Christian churches were before moving to Rome.
    It isn’t a “ditch I am willing to die in” however. I like the idea of it while not really liking the smell. Do we do it in my church now? I have never seen it. I have mostly seen it when I attended the Greek Orthodox, but I will refer you back to Linda’s post from what her pastor said.

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  29. With our zoning laws here, anytime you change something the entire building needs to be made handicap accessible. In the case of our church, we’re very careful because we can’t afford to put in an elevator and a bathroom upstairs for the handicapped. We have many elderly members and so we arrange all their preferred adult Sunday school classes in the downstairs classrooms. Any large meeting is held downstairs or in the main sanctuary for that reason.

    We can’t even add any more parking spots because that triggers so many laws and rules from our local planning department–which is a monster to get anything through, expensive and takes a long time.

    One of my relatives was saying the other day to rebuild their current deck required so much unnecessary work through the planning department (time, money and the need to involve all their neighbors), that they gave up. They’re retired county government employees . . . 😦

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  30. Planning and zoning is a nightmare. Rather than let you replace something that needs to be replaced they require all sorts of updating and additional costs that a lot of people choose to let it be and then it becomes more of an eyesore and worse off than it was. We have laws near me that a trailer in a trailer park cannot be replaced so now there are 20+ year old trailers that are falling down but it is all some people can afford and the city won’t allow new ones.
    Who does this garbage help?????

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  31. I can understand building to current codes but sometimes it is very hard and expensive to retro-fit. Like my example the other day of a brick now with 3 ft wide windows and now building regulation requires 4 ft windows. So the homeowner returned the nice, new, energy efficient windows, and left the old, cloudy, aluminum window.

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  32. I remember for a while we had someone on the World blog who had become Orthodox (and also two people who were home-church-only, with both sides simultaneously arguing that their miles-apart churches were the only genuinely faithful Christianity). I remember her making the claim that Orthodoxy was the “original” form of Christianity. I can understand any Christian group claiming to be the most faithful to Scripture, yet I’ve never seen any verification of that claim of originality. And some aspects of Orthodoxy (such as “praying to the saints” and the use of icons) would most definitely not have been done by the early church with its roots in Judaism. I’m guessing incense is the same way–it got added at some point as a culturally significant thing.

    I wouldn’t go so far as to say use of incense is wrong. But I would not attend a church that used it unless I was assured it is biblically necessary, because it would seem to me an unnecessary distraction. And it seems to me that its use would be along the lines of speaking in tongues: it isn’t something that is neutral, oh well if you feel like doing it good, but if you don’t want to, that’s good too. If you regularly attend a church that uses incense, then it “won’t feel like church” if your church doesn’t . . . and it seems to me that those elements of church that rise to that level should be biblical mandates and not personal preferences. I mean, anyone might walk into a church that has pews and say you’re used to chairs (or vice versa), but no one would say, “I can’t attend here; it doesn’t feel like church.” Hopefully you would say that if you walked into a church and found that this church has no singing or no sermon. Scripture isn’t neutral about whether or not a church uses the Lord’s supper or baptism, and personally I can’t imagine that Scripture would be neutral about something as significant as whether or not to use a very obvious imagery of prayers rising from the saints to God–either that is God-directed or it is man’s own idea. We can’t add it as a nice idea they used in the Old Testament any more than we can add in animal sacrifice because they did that.

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  33. Here Cheryl, you may find this interesting. As I said, I don’t like the smell of incense and remember one Orthodox Easter being in the Greek Orthodox church I showed you and the smell of the incense making my head swim and my stomach turn. It doesn’t bother me that it isn’t used or that it is. I like the idea of the church appealing to all 5 of our senses, but can and do live without the sense of smell. While I understand that a church service can be held in a front yard on the Bay (I have attended a communion service like that on women’s retreats), and it can be held in the fanciest cathedral, I attend a church that is very plain and our worship area can easily be broken down, tables set up and function as a multi-purpose space, the photo above “LOOKS” to me what I see in my mind when I think of a little country church. I like to go into them. Somehow the air is always different inside and I absorb the years and history of those who worshiped there before I did. I love attending a church with beautiful stained glass windows. The colors and the light that comes through them is beautiful. I actually like to sit on a hard, dark stained wooden pew. Something about it makes you sit up taller and pay attention–or so it seems. I also appreciate the comfort of a padded seat πŸ˜‰ I have said before that because I am Anglican and part of our service is the receiving of the bread and wine/the body and blood, I don’t “feel” like I have been to CHURCH without it. I have been to a church-like service and have no doubt that God was there, but to me it isn’t real unless I confess my sins and receive the communion. To others it doesn’t matter. To me it does. Lately I have been attending Sunday school at the Baptist church. I have been tempted to make life easier and not get up for 8 am service at my church so that I can make it to 9:45 Sunday School at the Baptist and just attend the Baptist service at 11 —they even have a new minister and everyone seems to like him a lot. But I would still feel the need to wander back over to my church for a little piece of bread and a sip of wine

    http://blogs.ancientfaith.com/orthodoxbridge/defending-incense/

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  34. β€œAnd walk in love, as Christ also has love us and given Himself for us, and offering and a sacrifice to God for a sweet smelling aroma,” Eph. 5:2

    β€œIndeed I have all and abound. I am full having received from Epaphroditus the things which were sent from you, a sweet-smelling aroma, and acceptable sacrifice, well pleasing to God.” Phil 4:18

    β€œFor we are to God the fragrance of Christ among those who are being saved and among those who are pershing. To the one we are the aroma of death to death, and to the other the aroma of life to life. And who is sufficient for these things.” 2Co. 2:15,16

    β€œAnother angel, who had a golden censer, came and stood at the altar. A large quantity of incense was given to him to offer with all the prayers of the saints on the golden altar that stood in front of the throne; and so from the angel’s hand the smoke of the incense went up in the presence of God and with it the prayers of all the saints.”
    Revelation 8:3ff

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  35. I can think of a very good reason why I don’t want to go to a church with incense. Just walking down the scented candle aisle in a superstore will give me headache, and if I’m exposed long-term to scents, my asthma will join in and complain. My family church currently has someone attending who will go into seizures with certain scents – gives the whole ‘scent free’ environment idea a new sense of urgency when you know that the person who likes to wear scented aftershave or perfume could send someone else into an epileptic attack.

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  36. Now, as to the question about the Orthodox Church being closer to the early church than the Catholic, they actually are the same age as one another. When the Council of Nicaea convened in the 320s (not time for specific dates) the bishops from all the major cities were on an even footing, so the bishop of Rome was not more powerful than the bishops of Alexandria, Antioch, etc. They all agreed on the Nicene Creed. The first major split occurred in about the 420s, and it was the diocese of Alexandria that broke away, forming what is now known as the Coptic church in Egypt and Ethiopia. The second division in the 500s, it was the diocese of Antioch which broke away, forming what was formerly called the Nestorian church (that was a somewhat slanderous title given by the Western church) and is now called the Assyrian church. This is the church which is taking much of the brunt of the ISIS invasion in Iraq and Syria. These early divisions were doctrinal disputes where the main points of contention were over wording – each called the other heretical, although now contact is being reestablished and people are acknowledging that the differences may have been exaggerated and more misunderstanding than heresy (after all, as the Roman Empire collapsed and Greek declined as the common language, the Egyptians, who spoke Copt, and the Assyrians who spoke Aramaic may have had difficulty understanding the Latin and the Greek speakers of Rome and Asia Minor). The Coptic and Assyrian churches actually have the oldest buildings (Rome’s ancient church of St. Peter was rebuilt during the Renaissance)and some of the oldest manuscripts – the translators of the King James used the ancient Syriac (Aramaic) translation of the Bible as well as Greek and Hebrew manuscripts. The division between the Orthodox and Catholic churches was the last to occur, formally in 1054. All of these churches have saints and revere Mary to a certain extent; and have images or icons, vestments, altars, chanting, and incense (Catholics use incense too); and priests, monks, and nuns, so that their outward forms are very similar.

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  37. I was raised in a Catholic Church (until I became a Christian at 15), and we used to attend the High Mass–which I adored. I loved the pomp and sensual elements of that mass–the incense, the colorful robes and particularly the singing calling back and forth between the altar and the choir in the loft. It seemed ethereal and far more of a ceremony than a perfunctory in-and-out- mass, more holy somehow.

    I’m thinking it was in Latin, too, which also sounded non-daily and removed from casual life. The homily, of course, was in English so we could understand. I’m humming some of that liturgy now and remembering the incense scent.

    I’ve always loved the part of my Missouri Synod Lutheran Haugen liturgy for Lent where we sing the song, “let my prayers raise up like incense before you.”

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  38. Kim,

    I read it. It’s interesting and well written. I’m not sure it’s conclusive, largely because most of the few early sources he cites refer to “incense and sacrifice.” Since the sacrifice is not literal (but is, I assume, the Lord’s supper), it’s hard to argue that the incense must be literal and not prayers of the saints. I also think he tossed out several of the historical sources by “they meant pagan worship, not Christian” when the context sure looked like it applied broadly to “this is false worship” (everything on the list being inappropriate except incense is not the most natural reading).

    I kinda wish that Protestant theologians didn’t pretty much ignore Orthodoxy and focus just on Roman Catholicism. I’d like to see more scholarly interaction than I have seen.

    A few years ago when bloggers were being challenged by both the house church people and the Orthodox, I read several things by the Orthodox and was definitely not convinced that that one church is “pure” and everyone else heretics (either half of that claim). In some cases (e.g., icons and speaking to the dead) it goes beyond just “not Sola Scriptura” to endorse things actually forbidden in Scripture, and that is enough to answer its being an absolutely pure church. God has always had a remnant of true believers; I think it’s theologically and historically untenable to say that the Orthodox church is genuine and that the rest of us in other sects are all apostate. I think, rather, that all branches of the church have some true believers and some who are not, and a mix of truth and error.

    I’m very glad that Christ will sort it all out in the end and claim me as His, whatever my own mixture of truth and error!

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  39. I agree. I tend to go to the Orthodox church because it doesn’t seem to be as much as a “trigger” as the Roman Catholic (I forgot to use Roman Catholic earlier because catholic in the lower case means universal).
    I like the appealing to all of the senses. If not incense for the sense of smell, what would you have? I love to go into the Greek Orthodox church and light a candle. You can smell the wax (even the unscented) and from the other candles feel just a little warmth. I don’t know the church’s teachings on lighting a candle. I never have given it much thought but to me it is an outward symbol of joining my prayers with others, just as when I went to the Holocaust museum and lit a candle in the Hall of Remembrance. I am not Jewish, but I joined my prayers with theirs.

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  40. I also think some of the earlier customs of the church were to help the unlearned remember the teachings, such as the 12 bells on the censer to be a symbol of the 12 disciples. The fragrance and the smoke from the incense could be a reminder that our prayers are lifted to God the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. In the liturgical church the colors change with the “seasons”. Right now we are in the ordinary time and it’s color is green. Once again appealing to the sense of sight. They may not have had calendars but they would look at the priest’s vestments and know. When the priest wore green it was a time of rest. When he changed to purple and the weather started warming it was time to think about planting crops.
    Perhaps we have been too quick to throw the baby out with the bath water when it comes to the customs of the pre-protestant church. They were around for at least a thousand years.

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  41. Kim, without incense you would have the smell of the bread and the wine, perhaps the parchment, and even of your fellow worshipers . . . but the idea that you have to have scent isn’t necessary, anyway, I don’t think. It isn’t truer worship if you have more scents.

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  42. Cheryl, IF you are having a service to appeal to the sense of smell. Read above, I don’t even LIKE the smell of incense. I just am not opposed to its use. When I have attended a funeral where the priest followed the coffin in with the censer it has reminded me of the passage “ashes to ashes, dust to dust” therefore reminding me of my own immortality. I don’t know that is the intent, but it is what it has done.
    I am not even arguing FOR incense in any form, I’m just not arguing against it. I do think perhaps we have been to quick to leave and forget the customs of the earliest churches. I am making the argument that there were reasons the early church had these things. Yes, I am sure an early or medieval church stunk to high heaven on Sunday, but just because we all have indoor plumbing and a bath at any time doesn’t mean it has lost its symbolism.

    Read above, Michelle left the Roman Catholic church at 15 but it is still within her pleasant memories.
    So much of our art and music was based on the teachings of the church. By ignoring those teachings we lessen our understand of a lot of art.

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  43. Kim, I’m not convinced that the early church did use incense (my 6:03). I thought the case made was fairly strong, but not completely convincing. Yes, I can understand incense appealing to one’s sense of smell, once one gets used to it. But I didn’t see anything in that article that said definitely that the early church did use incense–it may depend what lens one reads through. I’d make some different assumptions in a couple places than he did.

    I didn’t remember that you were going to an Orthodox church now. I still think of you as Anglican.

    And I do understand why the “look” of some churches is more or less attractive. As long as it doesn’t take away from worship, I have no strong feelings either way. I’ve never been a regular attender of any church with stained glass, for instance, but I understand its appeal. Having grown up in legalistic Baptist churches, I have a bit of a visceral reaction against some of the things that remind me of that, including the fact that Baptist pastors have a bit of a different way of talking when they preach. (We have a Reformed Baptist preacher who occasionally preaches for us, and I hear it in him, and in others including my brothers.) But I have to put down that reaction if I am in a setting with a Baptist pastor, since that has nothing to do with whether he will faithfully preach the Word of God!

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  44. I gave 6th Arrow her piano lesson tonight. She is doing wonderfully well. We took a bit of a break from the usual for December, and have returned to her regular studies, with some review, and it has come back to her, stronger than ever. πŸ™‚

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  45. No incense please – it would give both me and my husband migraines.

    We get to use our sense of smell during the service when we have “soup on Sunday”. After the service everyone is welcome to go downstairs for a light lunch with soup. The aroma wafts upstairs and into the service πŸ™‚

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  46. I find I have problems with artificial smells, manufactured smells, but real ones don’t bother me as much. Except lilacs in a closed room. Perhaps the special recipe for it was not such an allergen. Or perhaps our bodies have deteriorated over the years since then. I like the idea of incense but have not enjoyed the smell of it, generally.

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  47. I once had a very young piano student (probably not more than 5 or 6 years old at the time) come to her lesson wearing an excessive amount of perfume. Fortunately, that was the only time, as I developed a wicked headache from it.

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  48. Well, had you attended Calvary Chapel of the Monterey Peninsula in 1989 like we did, you would have had the scent of popcorn popping during your service (held in a movie theater). I’d rather have incense myself, though it was funny to see people leaving church having bought bags of popcorn on their way out . . . .:-)

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  49. Speaking of artificial smells, why do antibacterial soaps have to stink to high heaven? And the cleaning aisle at Walmart always has an invasion of my olfactory nerve of putrid cleaning supplies.

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  50. This past December, the city church had sermons on the gifts of the Magi. They had samples of frankincense and myrrh which were passed around so that people could feel and smell what they were like. Neither smelt particularly strong, but I noticed my nostrils were stinging – the way it stings when you have a cold and hold your head over a pot of heated cider vinegar to clear your sinuses – a minute or two after I had passed the container along. Those ancient scents were subtle but powerful.

    Peter, cleaning supplies also set off my headaches. I use a combination of vinegar, soda, and dish soap as an alternative.

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  51. A friend and I once had a discussion about dryer (fabric softening) sheets. I like using them but she said the smell of them gave her horrible headaches (she had new neighbors upstairs in their old four-pled and they were using them that day — she was coming unglued, getting ready for a major confrontation over the matter).

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