Saturday, August 23, 2014


THREE GREAT THREES adapted from Walter Scott

      Almost 204 years ago Gospel Fires seemed to spring up all across the nation.  We believe the Lord was leading those who proclaimed a return to the Faith of the Jerusalem Church in the Book of Acts.  "Speaking the truth in love and unity" was their guiding light (Eph. 4:1-16).  They worked to call the believers in Christ into the Church as Christ gave it.  1 Cor. 12:13; Eph. 2:14-22; Gal. 3:26-29

      Walter Scott was "The Evangelist," along with Thomas and Alexander Campbell, Barton W. Stone, and John Smith.  These four men were leaders in the effort to give form to their faith according to what Alexander Campbell called "The Ancient Order."  Many people joined in their crusade.

      The Gospel is Christ Jesus: His death and His resurrection.   He took our sins and  destroyed  them.  He is The Lamb of God who took away the sin of the world (John 1:20-34; Hebrews 1:3).

      Walter Scott wrote:  “What then are baptism and the Lord's  Supper?    I answer that they are the crucifixion, or death, burial and resurrection of Christ repeating themselves in the life and faith of the disciples. These proclaim that He who was to come, did come.   In baptism and the Lord's Supper,  the disciples on their part declare that through faith in His Name they are before all men dead and buried to sin, and alive unto righteousness.”

      In baptism:

      1. We are buried and resurrected.  Col. 2:12

      2. We are planted and raised.  Romans 6:4-6

      3. We are begotten by the word, and born of water and
          the Spirit."  1 Peter 1:22-23; Titus 3:4-7

      "Thus baptism is made the focus of the relationship of our new life here and our eternal life hereafter; of our regeneration, remission, salvation, faith and hope, adoption, the gift of God's Spirit, citizenship in the kingdom of heaven, and of all that it means to be a Christian."

      Alexander Campbell stressed that "Facts are stubborn things."  Facts cannot be explained away.  Scott used the facts of the Gospel to preach Christ Jesus.  The great love of God stands out in these Facts we read about Jesus Christ.

      1. Three great facts to believe:

      a. His death.  Hebrews 9:11-17  But Christ came as High Priest of the good things to come, with the greater and more perfect tabernacle not made with hands, that is, not of this creation.  Not with the blood of goats and calves, but with His own blood He entered the Most Holy Place once for all, having obtained eternal redemption.”  Heb 9:11-12 (NKJV)

      b. His burial.  Matt. 27:57-61  When Joseph had taken the body, he wrapped it in a clean linen cloth, and laid it in his new tomb which he had hewn out of the rock; and he rolled a large stone against the door of the tomb, and departed.  And Mary Magdalene was there, and the other Mary, sitting opposite the tomb.”  Matt 27:59-61 (NKJV)

      c. His resurrection.  Mark 16:1-l6; Phil. 3:8-11   “that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if, by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead.”  Phil 3:10-11 (NKJV)

      2. Three commands to be obeyed.

      a. Faith.  Acts 10:38-43  And He commanded us to preach to the people, and to testify that it is He who was ordained by God to be Judge of the living and the dead.  To Him all the prophets witness that, through His name, whoever believes in Him will receive remission of sins." Acts 10:42-43 (NKJV)

      b. Repentance.  Luke 24:45-47  And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the Scriptures. Then He said to them, "Thus it is written, and thus it was necessary for the Christ to suffer and to rise from the dead the third day, and that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in His name to all nations, beginning at Jerusalem.” Luke 24:45-47 (NKJV)

      c. Baptism.  Romans 6:3-7  Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life.”  Romans 6:3-4 (NKJV)

      3. Three promises to be received.

      a. Forgiveness of sins.  1 Cor. 6:11  And such were some of you. But you were washed, but you were sanctified, but you were justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God.”  1 Cor 6:11 (NKJV)

      b. The Holy Spirit as a gift. Acts 2:38; 5:32; 11:16-17

          If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to those who ask Him!"  Luke 11:13 (NKJV)

      c. Eternal life.  1 Cor. 15:20-23; 1 John 5:11-13  And this is the testimony: that God has given us eternal life, and this life is in His Son. He who has the Son has life; he who does not have the Son of God does not have life.”  1 John 5:11-12 (NKJV)


Wednesday, August 13, 2014



    “Let all that I am praise the Lord; with my whole heart, I will praise his holy name.2 Let all that I am praise the Lord; may I never forget the good things he does for me.3 He forgives all my sins and heals all my diseases.4 He redeems me from death and crowns me with love and tender mercies.5 He fills my life with good things. My youth is renewed like the eagle’s!”
Psalms 103:1-5 (NLT)

    1. God remembers me!

    Jesus came as the Human One, the Son of Man.  He came with the water of His baptism and the blood of His death.  Each one of us is created in the image of God.  Jesus loves me!

    “Because God’s children are human beings—made of flesh and blood—the Son also became flesh and blood. For only as a human being could he die, and only by dying could he break the power of the devil, who had the power of death.15 Only in this way could he set free all who have lived their lives as slaves to the fear of dying.”  Heb 2:14-15 (NLT)

    “And He has made from one blood every nation of men to dwell on all the face of the earth, and has determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings, 27 so that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him, though He is not far from each one of us; 28 for in Him we live and move and have our being, as also some of your own poets have said, 'For we are also His offspring.'” Acts 17:26-28

    “We could not seek God unless He were seeking us. We may begin to seek Him in desolation, feeling nothing but His absence. But the mere fact that we seek Him proves that we have already found Him. For if we continue in our prayer, we “remember” Him, that is to say, we become conscious, once again, of Who He really is. And we see that He has found us. When this consciousness is the work of grace, it is always fresh and new. It is more than the recovery of a past experience. It is a new experience and it makes us new men.”  Merton

    2. Tempted and tried.

    “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope. 5 Now may the God of patience and comfort grant you to be like-minded toward one another, according to Christ Jesus, 6 that you may with one mind and one mouth glorify the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.” Romans 15:4-6

    All that God caused to be written in the OT has great meaning for us today.  Such things were written in the Scriptures to teach us.  God’s people will always face difficult times.  The psalmist fears God has forgotten him.  But he finds hope as he remembers God’s mighty deeds of old.  His soul remembered God.

    “I cried out to God with my voice-- To God with my voice; And He gave ear to me.  In the day of my trouble I sought the Lord; My hand was stretched out in the night without ceasing; My soul refused to be comforted.  I remembered God, and was troubled; I complained, and my spirit was overwhelmed.” Psalms 77:1-3

    "For a mere moment I have forsaken you, But with great mercies I will gather you. 8 With a little wrath I hid My face from you for a moment; But with everlasting kindness I will have mercy on you," Says the Lord, your Redeemer.” Isaiah 54:7-8

    “My soul still remembers And sinks within me. This I recall to my mind, Therefore I have hope. Through the Lord's mercies we are not consumed, Because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness. "The Lord is my portion," says my soul, "Therefore I hope in Him!" The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, To the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly For the salvation of the Lord.”  Lamentations 3:20-26

    3. But I will remember!

    “And I said, "This is my anguish; But I will remember the years of the right hand of the Most High."  I will remember the works of the Lord; Surely I will remember Your wonders of old. I will also meditate on all Your work, And talk of Your deeds.”  Psalms 77:10-12

    “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new. Now all things are of God, who has reconciled us to Himself through Jesus Christ, and has given us the ministry of reconciliation.” 
2 Cor 5:17-18

    This means that anyone who belongs to Christ HAS BECOME A NEW PERSON!  [But we need to learn to become what we already are.  “Trust and obey, for there’s no other way.”]   

    “Now then, we are ambassadors for Christ, as though God were pleading through us: we implore you on Christ's behalf, be reconciled to God. For He made Him who knew no sin to be sin for us, that we might become the righteousness of God in Him.”
2 Cor 5:20-21

    We stand amazed at the foot of the Cross and look up to the Lamb of God!  He is the proof of God’s amazing Grace & Love!

    "Do not be afraid; I am the First and the Last. 18 I am He who lives, and was dead, and behold, I am alive forevermore. Amen. And I have the keys of Hades and of Death.”  Rev 1:17-18


Saturday, August 2, 2014



Faith of our fathers living still

in spite of dungeons, fire and sword.

Our fathers chained in prisons dark

were still in heart and conscience free.

Faith of our fathers, we will love

both friend and foe, in all our strife.

And preach Thee too, as love knows how,

by kindly words and virtuous life.

Faith of our fathers, holy faith.

We will be true to thee ‘till death.


    The Bible is our guide-book.  God speaks to us.

    “Beloved, while I was very diligent to write to you concerning our common salvation, I found it necessary to write to you exhorting you to contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.”  Jude 1:3 (NKJV)

    Baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit.  Matt. 28:19.

    Satan realizes he can only get American society to topple one way: by taking the Holy Spirit out of the church and the fire out of Christ's followers.”  Charismamag

    “Now, Lord, look on their threats, and grant to Your servants that with all boldness they may speak Your word, by stretching out Your hand to heal, and that signs and wonders may be done through the name of Your holy Servant Jesus."  And when they had prayed, the place where they were assembled together was shaken; and they were all filled with the Holy Spirit, and they spoke the word of God with boldness.” Acts 4:29-31 (NKJV)

    “And the nations of those who are saved shall walk in its light, and the kings of the earth bring their glory and honor into it. Its gates shall not be shut at all by day (there shall be no night there).  And they shall bring the glory and the honor of the nations into it. But there shall by no means enter it anything that defiles, or causes an abomination or a lie, but only those who are written in the Lamb's Book of Life.”  Rev 21:24-27 (NKJV)


    We gather together.

    “And if one member suffers, all the members suffer with it; or if one member is honored, all the members rejoice with it.”
1 Cor 12:26 (NKJV)

    “Every other man is a piece of myself, for I am a part and a member of mankind . Every Christian is part of my own body, because we are members of Christ. What I do is also done for them and with them and by them. What they do is done in me and by me and for me. But each one of us remains responsible for his own share in the life of the whole body.” Thomas Merton

    We stand on the shoulders of those who lived before us.  And others will stand on our shoulders in the future.


    Tribulation? That's what Jesus said, John 16:33.

    “These things I have spoken to you, that in Me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation; but be of good cheer, I have overcome the world."  John 16:33 (NKJV)

    “The Lord did not create suffering. Pain and death came into the world with the fall of man. But after man had chosen suffering in preference to the joys of union with God, the Lord turned suffering itself into a way by which man could come to the perfect knowledge of God.”  ― Thomas Merton


    Sometimes we need a disaster to teach us who we are.

    “Because you have kept My command to persevere, I also will keep you from the hour of trial which shall come upon the whole world, to test those who dwell on the earth.”  Rev 3:10 (NKJV)

     “Only the man who has had to face despair is really convinced that he needs mercy. Those who do not want mercy never seek it. It is better to find God on the threshold of despair than to risk our lives in a complacency that has never felt the need of forgiveness. A life that is without problems may literally be more hopeless than one that always verges on despair.”  ― Thomas Merton


    Seek Victory, not defeat.

    “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”  ― Sun Tzu, The Art of War

    “As a man thinketh, so is he.”  Proverbs 23:7

    It is right to oppose sin.  But by doing only this, we may be preaching defeat.  Remember: “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself “ (2 Cor 5:19-21).


    WE WIN!  “I looked in the back of the Book and we win!!!  The devil gets fried.  The Great Crowd of  people from all nations, tribes, peoples, and tongues, flood into the City of God to be with Him Forever!!!”

    “Then one of the elders answered, saying to me, "Who are these arrayed in white robes, and where did they come from?"  And I said to him, "Sir, you know." So he said to me, "These are the ones who come out of the great tribulation, and washed their robes and made them white in the blood of the Lamb.”  Rev 7:13-14 (NKJV)



     “The more things change, the more they stay the same.”  (old proverb.)

     “I remembered the future. And in turn, the future remembered me.”  (Burnstein.)

     “Whatever you do will be wrong for something and cause unexpected consequences.”  (Murphy’s Law.)

     Behar (Starbucks) writes:  “It's not about product, it's about people.  That's the number one priority.  If you grow people, the people grow the business."

     “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun. Is there anything of which it may be said, "See, this is new"? It has already been in ancient times before us. There is no remembrance of former things, Nor will there be any remembrance of things that are to come By those who will come after.”  Eccl 1:9-11 (NKJV)

     My bills pay automatically from my Bank.  Groceries and things are paid for with a swipe of my Bank card.  Should I “give of my means” to the church with a debit card?  Some are already doing this.  I am a very senior-citizen, and I have nine blogs online.  What should the church have online?  TV is fading out and soon everything will be online.  Through GOOGLE the libraries of the world are at my fingertips.  Again, what should this mean for the church?  Anything discovered by Science was already put there by GOD.


     TIBERIAS CYLINDER  [A city in Space.]

   "'Chipova Dio...'  All-powerful God, who permits us to  join together our united voices in prayer, and who promises that when two or three are come together in Your Name, You will grant their prayers.  Fulfill now the desires and requests of Your servants, in a way that will most bless them.  In this world please give us wisdom concerning Your truth, and in the world to come eternal life in Your presence.  Through Christ our Lord, Amen."

    The third song will be the Communion Hymn: "Upon The First Day Of The Week."  Christ raised from death on the day following the Sabbath - Sunday, the first day of the new week.

    A word of explanation.  The tradition of this Church is that every Sunday is Communion Sunday.  We believe it was so in the early Church.  Some of the names applied to this Communion are: Vespermangon; Lord's Supper; Holy Meal; Eucharist.  This will be the high point of the worship service.  HE has overcome the world!  HE has won the victory!  We worshipers believe that this Holy Meal ties each one of us to every other Christian in the Universe as each one shares in the bread and wine of the Communion.

    We will see the tradition of simultaneous communion.  Each communicant has already received an individually sealed portion of the bread and wine (an outgrowth of the AIDS epidemic of the past).  The bread is unleavened.  The wine is unprocessed grape juice with only enough fermentation to prevent spoilage."

    Morris Evans has come to the symbolic table and is the Unifier of this Holy Meal.

    Again we inject a note of explanation.  This Church makes no sharp distinction between clergy and laity.  Steve is an electrician; Morris is a paramedic.  Both are church-elders, as is Rod, who is also a Preaching Minister.  As brothers and sisters in the Family of God all work together for the common good of all.  "He lets us rule as kings and serve God His Father as priests" (Revelation 1:6).

    Morris lifts up his hands and speaks:  "As we join together in this Holy Meal, we remember our Lord who died on Old Earth many centuries ago.  Jesus died as God's Sacrificial Lamb, to expiate the sins of the world of humans and to put us right with God.  We are here today to praise Him and to show Him our love!  We honor Jesus for Who He Is and for What He Did!  We take this bread - by faith, His body.  We take this wine - by faith, His blood.  As the Scripture says: 'For until the Lord comes, you proclaim His death whenever you eat this bread and drink the cup.'  And now Stan Chenowitz will lead us in the prayer of thanks."

    Stan comes from the right to stand at the podium.  He lifts up his hands and speaks.

    "We praise You, O Lord our God!  While we were estranged from You because of our sins, You reached out to us by sending Jesus!  We are so thankful for Your blessings!  Touch this bread - to us the body of Christ by our faith.  Touch this wine - to us the blood of Christ by our faith.  Touch our lives, and make us one in Christ - we are the Body of Christ.  We pray in the Name of Jesus, Amen."

    Now attention shifts back to Morris Evans at the Table.  The entire congregation waits in anticipation, holding in their hands the individual portions of bread and wine.  Morris lifts his individual portions as high as he can reach, holding them for a moment.  Then he lowers his arms and speaks.

    "This is My body, which is for you.  Do this in memory of Me."

    As Morris puts the individual portion of bread in his mouth, simultaneously so do each of the communicants.

    Again Morris speaks.

     "The wine which is this cup is God's New Covenant, sealed with My blood.  Whenever you drink it, do it in memory of Me."

    Morris puts the individual portion of wine in his mouth and so do the communicants simultaneously."

    We remind you that the bread and wine are encapsulated in individual portions.  One pops the whole thing into the mouth, bites through the capsule, and swallows the contents.  As we said, this began during the AIDS crisis on Earth.  Actually, this works quite well in a crowd like this.  There is nothing to dispose of.  And, it permits us to follow the example of the early Church who celebrated the Holy Meal regularly.  This Church emphasizes the memorial /commemorative /celebration purpose of the Lord's Supper.

    Now Frank Miller, a church elder, comes to the podium to lead the closing prayer.

    "Bless, O Father, these who have come to give their lives to You.  Bless them and make them a blessing to others.  And now, may the Lord Himself, who is our source of peace, give you peace at all times and in every way.  The Lord be with you all!  In the Name of Jesus, Amen."




     Somewhere I could hear a door open and close.  In the distance I could see a man coming toward us.  As he got closer, I could see he appeared to be dressed all in black in an antique style.

     By now the man had reached us.  He had on heavy shoes, black denim trousers, which were held up by suspenders, and a black denim shirt.  He had a bushy beard of reddish color, and was wearing an old style earth straw hat.

    "Rod," I gasped, "what is this?  He looks just like an Amishman back home in northern Usono."

    "This is Hans Yoder," Rod said.  "Hans, this is a group from Earth, visiting our Churches of Christ here on Tiberias." 

    Rod proceeded to introduce us all around.  

    "But I don't understand," said Fred.  "I thought the Amish were tied to farmland and seventeenth century ways.  What is an Amishman doing out here in space on Tiberias Cylinder?"

    "Hans is as you say, an Amishman," Rod said.  "He and all his commune are our food experts.  They are geniuses when it comes to growing things.  None of your great earth chefs can give yeast protein the exquisite tastes to equal what they can do."

    "But, an Amishman, out here in space?" I said.

    "Hans, tell him," Rod said.

    "Well, we got to make a living.  It's as simple as that.  Back on Earth there was never enough farm land to go around.  It costs money to feed and raise a family.  Some of us had to work at other things, even in the 1900's.  My great-grandfather worked in a furniture factory.  My father looked out into space.  No machine can do what a human can do.  It was an easy step to go from working with our hands on the land to working with our hands out here in space.  We Amish can work together in close cooperation.  Not everyone can do that.  We are a community.  We understand each other."

    "But you can't have horses out here?" asked Edna.  "You don't have horses, do you?"

    "No horses.  Too expensive.  But, being Amish is a way of life.  We had to think that out in my grandfather's time.  We love horses.  But we don't need them.  Horses are tools to use.  We have other tools.  But family is family.  We stick together and work together.  We are giving the gift of life to the people of Tiberias.  We grow things, produce food, just like the old farms, even though conditions and things are very different out here in space.  We Amish are a community and we work for the good of our community."

    "But it certainly seems strange," I said.  "Doesn't this conflict with everything the Amish stood for in the past?  At least, what I thought they stood for."

    "You got to look at it the right way.  We were never against using tools.  But we were against allowing tools to use us.  Our fathers made the choice to be plain people.  We worked wonderfully hard, but it was a celebration of life.  We are a church-community, a commune if you will, who practice austere living and a family-oriented economic system.  We just have different conclusions about how to live life and enjoy it."

    "Hans, you surely make it sound good about plain people and hard work and celebration," said Molly.  "But I don't know about your celebration of life.  I read about my great-grandfather on a hillside farm in West Virginia.  He called it 'hard scrabble farming,' not any celebration.  He wrote that he had to work from 'it ain't light yet' to 'I can't see anymore' just to starve on the farm.  It seemed to be more desperation than celebration."

    "Circumstances alters cases," Hans said.  "Some talked like your great-grandfather.  But, 'many hands make light work' as the old saying goes, and we Amish work together.  That made it easier to get along.  Let me show you around.  That is the best answer I can give - to show you how things work here on Tiberias."

    Hans touched a keypad and a small floater came out from between two huge tanks.

    "Let's go see the farm," he said.


    "But you do all this by hand?" I asked.

    "We do as much by hand as seems reasonable.  But we must use tools - machines - to make it possible to produce what we need.  Tiberias must have huge quantities of food each day.  It would be impossible to do very much by hand.  We use robot harvesters and smart machines.  And we call on the 'English' technicians and specialists when we need them.  I should explain that our ancestors called everyone who wasn't Amish, the 'English.'"

    "But on Earth, no one knows about what goes on to produce food," said Edna.

    "Who knows it here?" said Hans.  "No one comes out here to watch.  And we are 'waste extraction.'  We are isolated from life on Tiberias."

    "I hadn't thought about that," I said.  "You are isolated?  Doesn't that bother you?"

    "Not at all.  We don't need other people.  We have our community.  We have each other.  We are family.  It is not all that different from what our ancestors experienced on Earth.  We have made the choice to be separated people."

    "You say 'isolated,'" Fred said.  "Does that mean you are shunned because you are 'waste extraction'?"

    "Sometimes that is true," said Hans.  "But few are even aware that we are here.  Rod, of course, knows us well.  He is our friend."

    "Hans, I hear you talking 'community'," said Molly, "but back on Earth you Amish sometimes had conflict within the group and certain people were shunned because of this.  Not everyone would pay the price to be Amish."

    "Yes.  But you have conflict within the 'English' also.  It isn't all that different.  Some individual rights must be sacrificed for the good of the community.  But this choice is voluntary.  Those who will not conform must go elsewhere.  It is vital that we work together and we must preserve the community.  It cannot be otherwise.  It is a choice we make."

    "I suppose that's really the basis of civilization," I said.  "Either cooperate, or be a hermit."

    "You got it," said Hans, "cooperate.  But let's go meet the families."

    Hans stopped the floater at another portal.  We stepped off, then followed him through a small door into the next ring. 

    "Our families live here," he said.  "It is more pleasant and we are shielded from the noise and smells of the farms."

    As we looked ahead down the street, we could see the standard pattern we had seen everywhere on Tiberias.  Cubicles, only these seemed larger.

    He led us to a door, touched the keypad, and led us into a huge room. 

    As we entered, we could see wall-screens which were showing rural scenes of mountains and trees and running streams of water."

    "Sit down," he said, "and make yourself comfortable."

    Then he beckoned toward the rear of the room.   A woman and three small children came to meet us.

    "This is Gerta, my wife, and these are Herman, Carol, and Frederick.  Children are a treasure to the Amish, and we tend to large families.  There are a few hundred of us here on Tiberias."

    "Kayor, Gerta!" Rod said.  He hugged Gerta and each of the children.

    Then he introduced us all around.

    "I act as a contact for the Amish," Rod said.  "They are very special people."


    "I'm puzzled," said Molly.  "How is it that you have wall-screens and TV images?  Isn't that against your 'plain' creed?"

    "Tools, remember," said Hans.  "You may call it rationalizing.  We want to keep our link with the past.  We want our children to feel close to nature as our ancestors knew it."

    He touched a keypad.  The wall-screens changed to show a harvest scene: horses, shocks of wheat in the old fashioned style, Amish people dressed in their distinctive clothing, working in the fields to harvest the crops, children laughing and playing and helping in their own way. 

    Then they changed to show a dinner scene in a large house.  Many people sat at long tables and were helping themselves from the huge dishes of food.  They seemed to be happy and laughing and enjoying this good time of fellowship. 

    They changed to show a winter scene.  Snow was drifted deeply around a large house.  A horse was pulling a sleigh with happy people in it.  Cows were in the field, huddled together.  A man was throwing hay over the fence to them. 

    They changed to show springtime, with women and children working in the garden, with bare feet, skirts pulled up slightly, pants legs rolled up to the knees, raking, planting seeds.

    "Do you watch the TV and news programs?" asked Molly.

    "Never!  We have historical videos of Amish farming and people.  We receive videos from our people on Earth.  And from those on other Cylinders out in space.  Our people will hire someone to use a video cam to make the videos for them.  These videos help preserve our sense of community and our heritage, and they keep us in touch with the extended Amish community.  But TV programs and the news - never!  We value our isolation too much!"

    "You say 'isolation' and 'sense of community.' I said.  "How do you balance these two things?"

    "We want to stand separate and apart from the 'English,' as our forefathers tried to do.  But, we want to have intense 'community' between each of us.  In fact, some of our leaders have considered a radio link between each of us Amish to allow continuous contact."

    "A radio link?  How would you fit that into your beliefs?"

    "A tool, once again.  We have heard of a radio microchip which can be implanted under the skin and spliced into nerve fibers.  This would allow us to join our minds together in a way never before possible.  Our Bishops on Earth would need to confer about that and approve such a radical step.  But think of the possibilities!  What would be the IQ of a group mind?  What new concepts might open up?  What new possibilities in growing things?  What new biology?  It boggles our minds!"

    "It scares me," said Molly.




        (adapted from a book I am reading.)

     1. Churches must develop a better understanding of history as a tool for making sense of what has happened and is happening.   Ecclesiastes 1:9-10; Acts 15:7-18.

     2. Churches need to examine their own religious tradition and use of Scripture.  ["Old Uncle John" did have his own way of thinking and we might be following him rather than the Bible.  We need to know.]

     3. Though it is important to restore the beliefs of the New Testament, restoration of real Christian behavior in all that we do is equally important.  1 Peter 1:13-16; Eph. 4:20-32.

     4. We must learn to communicate the unchanging word of God as seen in Christ-on-the-Cross in terms that speak both to a modern and postmodern society.  Note 2 Cor. 4:4-11; 1 Cor. 9:19-23; 14:9-11.

     5. There is a great need to have dialogue among ourselves and with others of similar Christian values, but these must be on core issues and not peripheral issues.  Note Paul in 1 Cor. 1:10-17; 2:1-5; Romans 14:1,12,17.

     6. Cutting up churches into fragments does not help spread the Gospel of Christ.  As it works out, division often halves the efforts of the church, rather than doubling it.  The people in the community are the church - NOT the building.

     7. The battle between the church and the devil is not determined on earth.  It has already been settled in heaven.  The Ascension of Christ meant the downfall of Satan, and every act of Christian sacrifice confirms it.  Rev. ch 12; Luke 10:17-20; John 12:27-33.


P.S.  This "profound statement" from a writer of fiction:  "The best introduction to a culture [or church] is through one of its malcontents.  This person is fully patterned in the basic assumptions [dogma] of the group, but has some observational skills developed by being an outsider.  The malcontent is able to comprehend the questions and may even have arrived at some general guidelines extracted from society's [the church's] mass of unvoiced assumptions [unwritten creed]."