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Culture in Congregations

churchbuildingSeveral decades have passed since the days of segregation and integration in the United States, and as one who grew up after those troubled times had blown over, it seems very strange to look back and see how unfair and prejudiced so many Americans were back in those times. But there is a remnant of all of that which still remains: segregated churches.

You can see it all across the South: in many towns, you have your “black church” and your “white church,” and at least in my experience (which is actually quite limited), the two don’t have many dealings with each other. Is this religious segregation right? Is it good? Does it go against Jesus’ desire for unity among His people in John 17:20-23?

In my opinion, which is admittedly mere opinion, there is nothing wrong with the existence of churches as such. And the reason, I believe, is due to culture. The two cultures of black and white people have coexisted in the South for many years, and although we share a language, still there is quite a difference between us, and this difference is reflected in worship and preaching styles. Read More

Return from the Rainforest


As a child, many things fascinated me, and one of these things was the rainforest. For one thing, rainforests teem with exotic wildlife, a feature which attracted the attention of this boy who kept a zoo in his bedroom. That fact, combined with the lush green foliage and the potentially hazardous insects and crawling things, made the rainforest an amazing topic for research and discovery. The rug covering most of my bedroom floor was brown, so I decided that would be the dirt floor of the forest. I had a poster showing the green leafiness of the rainforest, so that went on the wall, with hopes of more such posters to complete the effect. And then I worked my creativity to fashion multicoloured rainforest animals out of construction paper, to place around my room. It may not have been quite realistic or convincing, but it was the product of inspiration and creativity! Read More

To the Savior

From Ailenroc鈥檚 Book, by Cornelia Alexander

Note from the blogger: I set this poem to music several years ago, but am still fiddling with the harmony. I’ll probably share it here on Ziphen Central once it’s done.

When earth smiles in gladness, in fullness, and beauty,
And hope steers our vessels across the blue sea,
We are prone to forget that we owe our first duty
To thee, our Savior, to thee.

When friends are around us, our hearts throb with pleasure;
We make the air vocal with laughter and glee,
Forgetting above we should lay up our treasure
With thee, our Savior, with thee.

But鈥擮!鈥攚hen clouds rise and loud rolls the deep thunder,
And our vessels are shattered on treacherous sea,
Then we turn, with our sad hearts all riven asunder,
To thee, our Savior, to thee,

Because thy dear face has been oft wet with weeping;
Because thou hast said, 鈥淐ome, ye weary, to me;鈥
Because we are watched, whether walking or sleeping,
By thee, our Savior, by thee.

Thou knowest our trials, our every affliction;
Thine ear can be reached by the lowliest plea,
And our sad hearts are soothed by a sweet benediction
From thee, our Savior, from thee.