Sunday, June 28, 2009

thoughts while a cat purrs on my lap...

The last week I've been studying for a church history midterm. I've been immersed trying to stuff dates, names, events and actions of the Late Middle Ages and the Reformation into my head. Actually, I was only trying to learn them long enough to dump them out on a test and then forget them.

The exam was made up of just essays. I survived it. While I don't have my grade yet, (I'm not holding my breath -- this prof is notorious for being S-L-O-W in posting them), I think I did OK. At least, if I remembered enough coherent facts in a sequence that passes for mastery. But here's what struck me as I studied. Over and over, the various factions and church leaders of a movement or sect would state that they were starting these reforms to take the church "back to the book of Acts." It was almost funny, except that it's a phrase that is far too commonly used to justify a church split. Especially today.

It's not like I don't have my own opinions. (I most certainly do.) And it's not that it's possible to have a perfect church (especially if you have an imperfect staff member like me on board.) But as I shoved these random facts in my head...

1453 Constantinople falls to the Turks
1512 Fifth Lateran Council
1517 95 Theses
1529 Marburg Colloquy with Luther and Zwingli
1530-31 Augsburg Confession written and published
1536 Calvn's institutes published
...I marveled at the well-meaning, studious, heaven-bent people who have gotten the church this far.

Yes, there have been crooks and charlatans. But over and through it all, God protects the Church. The Church lives on, moves on, and makes another step into the world.

And I guess that's why I am still studying. I'm a part of whatever that "step" is going to be.

Next....??? here we go, Lord...

Oh - all those dates I just spewed forth? not a ONE of them was on my exam!!!

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