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Clean and Unclean

Peter Falk was an actor who spent his career playing a wide range of roles in comedy and drama. Most notably, he played an eccentric, rumpled but ever-triumphant detective in the hit television show Columbo. In real life, Falk had a glass eye, resulting from an operation to remove a cancerous tumor when he was three years old. In spite of his missing eye, he was a high school athlete. In one story he liked to tell, after being called out at third base during a baseball game, he removed his eye and handed it to the umpire. “You’ll do better with this,” he said.[1]
I think we are all just a bit like Peter Falk. We would all like to think we are the best umpires of our own lives, the best judges of whether we are safe or out, clean or unclean, righteous or unrighteous.
However, there is someone else, who in the Gospels asserts his right to be the ultimate umpire. His name is Jesus. Let us see what he has to say about being safe or being out, clean or unclean, from Mark 7:14-23….
Then he cal…
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God's Commandments or Human Tradition?

The story is told of two boys who were good friends. One was a Catholic and the other was a Baptist. Because they were good friends, they decided to attend each other’s churches on two consecutive Sundays, with their parents’ approval.
On the first Sunday, the Baptist boy visited the Catholic Church. Just before they sat down, the Catholic boy genuflected. “What’s that mean?” the Baptist asked. All through the mass, the Baptist boy wanted to know what this and that meant, and the little Catholic boy explained everything very nicely.
The next Sunday it was the Catholic boy’s turn to visit the Baptist church. When they walked in the building, an usher handed them a printed bulletin. The little Catholic boy had never seen anything like that before in his whole life because his Catholic parish did not have bulletins. “What’s that mean?” he asked. His Baptist friend carefully explained. When the preacher stepped into the pulpit, he carefully opened his Bible, and conspicuously took off his w…