by Bob Wickizer

Practical Christianity
Bob Wickizer
Isaiah 52:7-10; Psalm 96:1-7; Luke 10:1-9

One of the funnier BBC series produced was the ''Vicar of Dibley'' program featuring a newly-placed female vicar of a small English country church. You need to know that in the English system a vicar is the same position as a rector here. The show featured a chocolate-loving, rock N roll playing woman vicar, The Reverend Geraldine Granger. One episode had a parishioner commission a very large stained glass window as a memorial to a family member. While the vicar works on finding an artist to build the very expensive window, an international crisis breaks out somewhere and the televised broadcast appeals for funds. Of course she uses the funds for the memorial window on the international refugee crisis. Then with great fanfare for the unveiling of the window, she pulls the drapes back to reveal a plain glass window looking out onto the lovely English countryside.

She points out that God's creation should be sufficient art to satisfy the donor and then she reveals how the funds were actually used. While the episode made for a very funny and touching program, you should know that at least in the United States, legally we cannot actually carry out such a bait and switch tactic in church. But it does reveal an important distinction in our priorities. Where are you going to use your gifts of time, talent and treasure? To make memorials to ourselves or to help relieve the needs of the poor, the sick and the disenfranchised?

Deacon David Pendleton Oakerhater or ''Making Medicine'' would have called this ''practical Christianity.'' In his remarkable life he did attend seminary and was ordained a deacon. He understood the complex theologies and church history of the early church and yet in his life and ministry, he focused on the very basic things about following the great teacher that led him to integrate the best of white European culture with the best of Native American culture. Firs ...

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