Irenic Thoughts

Irenic. The word means peaceful. This web log (or blog) exists to create an ongoing, and hopefully peaceful, series of comments on the life of King of Peace Episcopal Church. This is not a closed community. You are highly encouraged to comment on any post or to send your own posts.


Billy Graham on Being a Christian

Being a Christian is more than just an instantaneous conversion; it is like a daily process whereby you grow to be more and more like Christ.

The highest form of worship is the worship of unselfish Christian service. The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.
The Rev. Billy Graham (1918- )



  • At 9/18/2008 9:08 AM, Anonymous Mark said…

    "In dark ages people are best guided by religion, as in a pitch-black night a blind man is the best guide; he knows the roads and paths better than a man who can see. When daylight comes, however, it is foolish to use blind, old men as guides."
    -- Heinrich Heine, Gedanken und Einfalle

  • At 9/18/2008 10:20 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Religion does not have access to absolute proof of its beliefs but, on careful analysis, nor does science. In all realms of human inquiry, the interlacing of experience and interpretation introduces a degree of precariousness into the argument. Yet this does not mean that we cannot attain beliefs sufficiently well motivated to be the basis for rational commitment.
    —Sir John Polkinghorne

  • At 9/18/2008 1:14 PM, Anonymous mark said…

    Sir John Polkinghorne's quote is nonsense. His "absolute proof" argument is a straw man and therefore logically fallacious. Science is based on honest observation, evidence, and logic. Religion is not.

  • At 9/18/2008 3:04 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow Mark you sound like someone who haunts my site.

    I pray you will receive the love in your heart that is God.

  • At 9/18/2008 4:01 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said…


    Religion can be based on "honest observation, evidence and logic." Faith is not. Faith just is...

    I pray that someday you may know faith!

  • At 9/18/2008 5:33 PM, Blogger King of Peace said…

    I like Polkinghorne a lot, but wouldn't lean toward that quote here. It reads more like part of a larger argument and less like a quote that works out of context.

    Similarly, I wonder where Heine was going. My undergraduate degree was ih German and I've read a bit from those Romantics of Heine's day and the Hegelian philosophy that was the rage then (much to Kierkegaard's dismay). I wonder what he would have thought of Schleiermacher's project. But I suspect that Heine's own experience as a secular Jew who needed to more fully assimilate into the German culture and was, for that reason, baptized. One can never judge the faith of another, but Heine's move from what seems to have been a secular form of Judaism to the same form of Christianity was probably being more kind than he felt in the first half of the quote, in which religion could at least serve as a guide in dark ages. But, of course, he saw himself through the lens of the Enlightenment, which was showing in his day that humans didn't need the old gods. Mankind was getting better and better all the time. In the progress of social Darwinism we had worked past our need for the superstitions that kept the order in earlier times.

    Much of that sort of optimism was crushed under the weight of realization of the kind of cruelty we humans can do one another that was so evident in World War I's trench warfare. What hope remained in human progress was even more difficult to sustain after the holocaust and then the Stalinist purges in Russia which followed.

    I know that Christians from Mary Magdalene and the Apostle John to Francis of Assisi and Martin Luther King, Jr. may seem quaint in the light of a strictly scientific understanding of the world. And yet, I am convinced that they were not merely blind guides, but faithful ones to a different path, a spiritual path and that in a Christian understanding, there way was lit by the light of Christ. In this way, they pointed to spiritual reality and the ways in which human sin, seen so vividly in the world wars and in all the ways in which we humans harm one another (and these ways include ways in which the church has added to that harm).

    In the quote which started this, Billy Graham is pointing out that growing to be more like Jesus happens in unselfish service. I agree with him. But in the quote which followed from Heine, I see that when we Christians speak to one another and are overheard by persons wondering/questioning or even skeptical of faith, even a seemingly innocent thought can come across as the ramblings of one deluded into falling for old superstitions no longer serving us well. I feel challenged to account for the faith that is in me and see that I am falling short of that mark, as my own poor use of language fails to convey my experience of God.

    I appreciate your comments Mark.

    The Rev. Frank Logue, Pastor

  • At 9/19/2008 11:40 AM, Anonymous Mark said…

    Frank, thanks for your thoughtful comments. I believe that your inner experiences of a god are part of your subjective reality, just as any of my inner experiences are part of my subjective reality. But subjective reality is not necessarily objective reality, is it?

    What would you say to the following, which is JMHO:

    There exists no compelling objective evidence for the existence of a perfect person who is all-powerful, all-knowing, all-present, and who loves you and me with an infinite love. Stories in a book are not sufficient objective evidence. The beliefs of other people, past and present, are not sufficient objective evidence. Personal feelings are not sufficient objective evidence. There exists no objective evidence sufficient to compel belief that such a person exists.

  • At 9/20/2008 8:34 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    There is no such evidence because the perfect person does not exist. God is not a person.

  • At 10/08/2008 7:17 AM, Blogger Serge Ragonnaud said…

    Videos Billy Graham's sermons in France at Paris Bercy in 1986 on:


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