Thursday, August 21, 2014

Casa Charis: 1 Yr. Anniversary Coming Up!

Brewers? Patron Saint of Brewers is the Catholic Online entry for Augustine of Hippo. We, reformed people, know him simply as Augustine, one of the great early Church Fathers who lived in the last days of the Roman Empire, one of the early Church's greatest theologians and and the author of Confessions. Well, the one year anniversary of the publication of my devotional Casa Charis: A Day Book of Freedom on Galatians is coming up and once again, I'm reminded of the delightful humor into which the Spirit leads my writing. My conclusion in Casa Charis ends with the date on which I wrote it: 28 August, Feast day of Augustine, Bishop of Hippo, Teacher of the Faith.  That's how the Anglican liturgical calendar remembers and celebrates Augustine. 
I've had fun this morning dipping into my book, remembering its birth, and seeing new and different connections too. I first studied Galatians in the summer of 2009. I was encouraged to publish it that same summer but it took me another two years and lots of divine appointments before I would do so. I wrote the introduction to the book in early fall, September 2012. By the time I finished writing the book everything had changed from the original drafts of 2009.  It was a completely new book and I remember how thrilled I was when my pastor agreed to write the foreword to it. Here are some excerpts below from Casa Charis.

Foreword by Pastor Scott Bullock, Irvine Pres. Church - Anita's Casa Charis is a thoughtful reflection on the newly formed life that has been effected for us by Christ Jesus as it is sounded by Paul in his letter to the Galatians. p 7.

Introduction - A theme of this book is to lead readers to discover the truth... The four essays on Biblical Worldview, Freedom, Sin, and Grace may be read at any time, beginning, middle, end or whenever you feel led. The reading for each day includes a Scripture verse, a narrative, as well as questions for family or small group discussion, and a prayer. p. 10.

The Biblical Christian Worldview -  Despite well-meaning efforts to be faithful disciples and followers of Jesus Christ, we have become confusing compendiums worshipping at the altar of a mish-mash of -isms including the triune, worldly gods of materialism, capitalism, and consumerism. p. 12

Freedom - The kind of freedom for which Christ set us free is quite different. ... We owe it to the church father Augustine for the idea that freedom is not the lack of constraint. It is being who each one of us, created in the image of God, is intended by Him to be. ... We let Christ transform us so we can be who we were created to be. p. 17, 18, 19

Sin -  The bottom line is that even good choices can lead us into sinful acts. p. 23

Grace -  Charis (grace) stands with agape (Christian love) at the very center of Paul's gospel. In fact Paul's theology can be summed up in these two words, charis and agape. ...  Elements of Paul's theology of grace are: ... 5) The Pauline scholar Dunn writes, charis bestowed comes to expression in charisma ... Charis comes to fuller expression in charisma as a gift to the community, a benefit for the common good (I Corinthians 12: 7). The action of God's grace results in reciprocal giving. It saves the individual and builds the 

From the 31 days of devotions that follow one of my favorite lines is in Day 10 - Freedom from Despair - Descendants of Abraham.

Abraham, when he first heard this, fell on his face and laughed at the absurdity of a couple in their nineties bearing a child. This is why his son was to be called Isaac, meaning laughter. Despite the laughter and the disbelief Abraham obeyed God's request. He circumcised himself, aged 99, and all the males in his household including his son 13-year old son Ishmael, through Hagar. 
Abraham, sinner and saint, is the spiritual father of all believers. 
Reflect and compare this with how the Catholic Online begins:  St. Augustine of Hippo is the patron of brewers because of his conversion from a former life of loose living, which included parties, entertainment, and worldly ambitions. His complete turnaround and conversion has been an inspiration to many who struggle with a particular vice or habit they long to break.


I think our Triune God has a delightful sense of humor :).

Copies of Casa Charis: A Daybook of Freedom are available from Amazon in print and Kindle (digital) editions.I just realized that you can read many excerpts from the book on the Amazon site :). Enjoy.

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