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Over the years I have written several "book" or "booklets" and many, many, many newsletter and bulletin articles. Because the book market seeks writings to meet specific needs at specific times, my material has never been accepted. I have a tendency to write what is on my mind and so I am left with self publishing. So, with the encouragement from my wife and others, I am beginning this blog in order to put my "ramblings" "out there"! I hope you enjoy!

Disclaimer

Please note that while my intentions are to use good grammar, because of the way in which some of the material presented here is presented (orally) the grammar and syntax might not always be the best English. Also note that good theology is not always presented in the best English so there may be times when the proper grammar rules are purposely broken.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

What Does Feng Shui Have to Do with It?

I had a friend come to visit, and while we were visiting he kept looking at my house, kind of in a weird way. He kept mumbling about how things are not really laid out very well, at least not very efficiently. He said my couch and recliner were not in good spots. He said my bedroom furniture was wasting precious walk room. He even said my patio furniture was not place right to get the most out of my yard. He said he had come across this wonderful system of how a house can be laid out for maximum efficiency. He said it was called Feng Shui.
 
My first thought, after he told me about this Feng Shui, was that I had heard about Feng Shui, or at least I thought I had, and if memory served me correctly, it was some sort of Chinese belief about “how to balance the energies of any given space to assure the health and good fortune for people inhabiting it.” When I suggested to him that “Feng Shui is based on the Taoist vision and understanding of nature, particularly on the idea that the land is alive and filled with Chi, or energy,” and I felt that as a Christian perhaps we should not be dabbling in these other religious beliefs. He laughed and said I was being silly.
 
My friend developed a plan for better organizing my house according to the teachings and belief of Feng Shui all the while assuring me that by simply putting into practice some of the styles of Feng Shui, in no way would this be interfering with the substance of my faith. As a matter of fact, he went on to suggest that it might even help me better my faith practice.
 
After a few weeks my house was completely Feng Shui-ed. At first I thought it was pretty good, I did have more space or at least it seemed so. But one thing I noticed. Whenever I would have guest, they would always remark about my new decorating. They would inevitably ask about my decision to redecorate and why I decorated the way I did. I would then explain about this Feng Shui concept.
 
Interestingly enough some of my friends decided they wanted to Feng Shui their own homes and apartments. It was almost like I was a Feng Shui evangelist. And after a while my friends and even my acquaintances asked me about my religious affiliations, some even asking if I had leanings toward Buddhism. Even more fascinating is the fact that some of my friends began visiting Buddhist temples and becoming more and more involved the Buddhist culture.
 
I never realized and would never have guessed how changing one’s style could have such an effect on changing one’s attitudes and beliefs. I guess it is true that we do practice what we preach, that our actions to show what is in our hearts and that how we act does affect how others perceive us to be.

 
In the book of Leviticus God gives His people a way to worship Him. God gives His people various rites which serve to point to the ultimate Savior. In the New Testament the One that was promised and the One to which all the Old Testament pointed was born. After His ascension one’s “birthright” especially as one of the children of Israel, was no longer important, yet what was important was the continual worship of the One who saved all people.
 
Although the ceremonial law of the Old Testament was fulfilled in the One to whom it all pointed, Jesus, the moral law of observing a day of rest was never negated. Through time the worship practices of the Old Testament were reshaped into the worship practices of the New Testament. In the church of the Old World, before the discovery of the Americas, the practice of worship continued to carry on those same aspects that God had originally given His people in Israel, such practices as Confession and Absolution.
 
At the Reformation, Martin Luther took great care to retain the worship practices of the Church because he knew they were an important part of what we call “Divine Service” or God service. Such important practices today include making the sign of the cross at the invocation and so remembering our Baptism; confessing our sins and hearing the words of absolution; speaking back the very Word our Lord has given us in the liturgy; hearing God’s Word read and proclaimed; and of course, being strengthened through our participating in the Lord’s Supper.
 
Unfortunately, there are many in our world today who have either completely abandoned what God has given or simply have disregarded much of what has its roots in what God has given in Leviticus. And interestingly enough, those same people have born witness of another belief system that is not all together what God has given. Thus, there is often the question concerning one’s denominational identity according to the worship practices one exercises. It should be of no surprise that as we practice what we preach and we preach what we practice, and then when preaching and practice do not correlate, one or the other must change. If we change our style of worship it affects our substance, and if we change our substance it affects our style. It is no wonder many people are confused about what is happening in our own churches. May the Lord forgive us for mucking with the Divine Service He has given to us and through which He comes to give us all the gifts and blessings He has to give.
 
Please quit trying to Feng Shui my Divine Service!

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