CENI: A Better Way — The Acts of the Apostles

man-behind-the-curtainLet’s try the same thing with Acts. After all, Luke wrote Acts as something of a sequel to his Gospel. Let’s again purge from our minds the notion that Acts is all about baptism. It’s not. Let’s try to take a fresh look.

What’s in Acts?

* We can’t help but notice that the outline of Acts follows the command given the apostles at the beginning — go first to the Jews, and then Samaria, and then the Gentiles.

* The work of the Holy Spirit is unmistakeably prominent. Peter presents the coming of the Spirit as in fulfillment of prophecy regarding the Messianic age. And we see the Spirit pushing the Kingdom farther and farther out into the world. In fact, whether it’s an angel, the Spirit, or even God himself, all the big steps in Acts are initiated from heaven.

* The Kingdom is now called the “Way” and the preaching is centered on Jesus.

* The spread of the Way is met with constant opposition and persecution, but God works mightily to assure the continued spread of the Way.

* Many reject the preaching of the Way empowered by the Spirit, but converts are made and churches are planted.

* In Acts 2 the church gives generously to those in need. In Acts 6 men (surely the first deacons) are appointed to oversee the care for needy widows. The church is marked by its generosity to the poor — following a key teaching of Jesus.

* When churches are planted, they assemble for prayer and meet wherever they can —  the temple courts, synagogues, or homes.

* We see that the churches in Jerusalem and Ephesus have elders, appointed by apostles. “Elder” is term taken from Jewish synagogue practice, so we also read in Acts about elders among the Jews.

What’s not in Acts?

* While we have mention of elders and deacons, we see nothing defining the “church” as bodies with elders and deacons. In fact, deacons don’t even show up except as a practical solution whereby the apostles can delegate benevolence as the church outgrew the apostles’ ability to administer on their own. And we also see one church evidently overseen by prophets and teachers (Antioch. Acts 13:1-2). The Jerusalem church is overseen by apostles and elders, and they make a ruling intended to binding on the church in Antioch, many miles away (Acts 15). While it’s easy to see how the apostles might have oversight over both churches, it’s surprising that the elders in Jerusalem so violated congregational autonomy.

In short, Acts evidences a variable form of church organization, not a uniform, immutable pattern.

* There’s no mention of an order of worship. However, we are told regarding the Jerusalem church —

(Acts 2:42-47)  They devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43 Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44 All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45 Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46 Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47 praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

This passage is surely meant to convey a sense of what the early church was like. That is, I think Luke gives this as exemplary of all churches. But the point is more that the church is truly the Kingdom of prophecy, as described by Jesus, than to give a checklist on how to do church.

“Breaking bread” in First Century culture was a sign of acceptance and hospitality. The idea is that the church truly lived “love thy neighbor.” And no Jewish reader would believe the Kingdom to have come if the poor were not being cared for — because this was how the prophets described the Messianic age. Luke is filled with stories of Jesus eating with others, and it’s Luke that quotes Jesus —

(Luke 14:23)  “Then the master told his servant, ‘Go out to the roads and country lanes and make them come in, so that my house will be full.'”

There is more that could said, but the point is that Acts isn’t law; it’s a description given in light of the prophets and what Luke had earlier written about Jesus. It’s a wiki-story, showing that what the prophets and Jesus had spoken of was really happening.

Does that mean we shouldn’t emulate this? No, we should, but not as law. Rather, we emulate this the same way the Jewish church did — because they so loved God and each other and those in need that they did what loving people do: prayed to God, studied God’s word, ate together, visited in each other’s homes, and took care of those in need. Do that to obey a law and you destroy the whole point, which is to love God and one another. You see, if a command is required, it’s not really love. (If you told your wife that you love her because God will send you to hell if you don’t, how loved would she feel?)

If the leaders of the church have to command you to eat together on threat of damnation, well, you’re not there. If your leaders couldn’t keep you from eating together, from seeking out opportunities to study and pray together, from caring for those in need — then you’d be an Acts 2 church.

There is nothing contradictory to an Acts 2 church in being organized and structured — so long as the structure only helps us love better rather than interfering with the love we are to have. Hence, when we farm our benevolence or evangelism out to others, we’ve lost something critically important. When we create elaborate rules about what can be done in the building or who can be in charge of the committee, the rules just get in the way of love.

Acts is about the formation of communities of believers, called the “Way,” a new relationship with God through the Spirit, continuous, spontaneous outreach to the lost, and uniting the nations — the Gentiles — with the Jewish foundations of the Kingdom — all as guided by the hand of God.

Somehow Luke believes he can tell the story of the early church without laying out a complex ecclessiology. It’s not a handbook on how to do church. It is the story of how to be church.

About Jay F Guin

My name is Jay Guin, and I’m a retired elder. I wrote The Holy Spirit and Revolutionary Grace about 18 years ago. I’ve spoken at the Pepperdine, Lipscomb, ACU, Harding, and Tulsa lectureships and at ElderLink. My wife’s name is Denise, and I have four sons, Chris, Jonathan, Tyler, and Philip. I have two grandchildren. And I practice law.
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24 Responses to CENI: A Better Way — The Acts of the Apostles

  1. Tim Archer says:

    For a long time, I thought only Acts 2:42 directly referred to worship. Then I came to understand that Luke is saying, "This wasn't a one day a week crowd; they met together every day, even sharing in the Lord's Supper daily." They lived their faith daily, not just on Sunday.

    Grace and peace,
    Tim Archer

  2. Bob Harry says:

    Another great posting Jay.

    We, in the Church of Christ taugrht more about the historical aspect of Acts. Acts is in reality the "Acts of the Holy Spirit". He moved the Apostles and Paul as he wanted them to go. Why did Saul spend three years in the wilderness?. So he could put his knowledge of the old testament in his mind, guided by the
    Spirit to think like the fishermen he had taught and lived with for three years. Paul had to be reprogramed not to think like a Pharasee but as a humble man from Galilee.
    What is amazing is that the rough cut Apostles from Galilee and Bethsaidea, a poor fishing region, went to the Greek region that had all the amenities of the Greek and Roman culture to tell them we have a great message that you need to hear.

    The book of Acts is all about the Gospel planting, watering and the resulting transformation by looking through the lens of Jesus.

    I only discovered that in the last few years.

    Because of a cross

  3. Rich says:

    I totally agree that the genre of Acts (and whole New Testament for that matter) is not law like Deut. I am also very glad God chose a different genre having personally halted reading through the Bible too many times in those monotonous OT book.

    I have noticed that people who post here seem to hate the term law as associated with the NT. They seem to think that people only follow laws out of fear or consequences.

    Perhaps it's just a post-modern aversion to the term. I have been chastised when I say "I have to go to church" or "I have to go on a mission trip." Those who say such just don't understand me. I have voluntarily chosen to follow Christ. I want to do every thing in my power to please him as a thank you. I use the phrase "I have to.." to signify my devotion. It is not a matter of fear.

    Please don't put down people who use a different vocabulary. They may have good motives.

    Alexander Campbell wasn't afraid of using law to describe the NT. The below quote comes from "The Gospel Advocate Creed, Part One"

    Faith in Jesus as the true Messiah, and obedience to him as our Lawgiver and King, the ONLY TEST of Christian character, and the ONLY BOND of Christian union, communion, and co-operation, irrespective of all creeds, opinions, commandments, and traditions of men.[1]

  4. mark says:

    However what are the new methodologies that we need in order to find the right interpretations? Case in point, “elders and deacons are not discussed by Jesus” can we then assume both lack evidence and archaic primitive structure of the NT church would have us not needing such church organization. Even more why study the scriptures beyond the Gospels unless we adapt to heavy spiritualization. For the idea of why the other books exist is simply for instruction and proof of a church in the past. But lets say it possible to diminish our propensity towards CENI could we then stop worry about the context of passage and start thinking of personal application and freedom in subjectivity?

  5. Jay Guin says:

    Whether you're conservative or progressive, you teach and claim to practice some elemental principles of hermeneutics. One of them is to read scripture in light of the genre in which it is written. Both sides teach this, but the Churches of Christ routinely fail to practice what we preach.

    Is Jesus a lawgiver as Campbell wrote? Well, yes. He is part of the Godhead and has been given all authority. Are his words in the Gospels part of the law genre? No. Does this mean that he never announces a law? Of course not. But it does mean we can't begin with the assumption that what he says is spoken as law — as a genre. His words are true for sure. They're inspired. They're authoritative. But Jesus' words are not to be construed as legislation. That hardly means we don't obey.

    When we interpret the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus certainly intends that his teaching be obeyed. But it's a mistake to read it as though it were statutory law. Such a reading misunderstands the commands that are actually being given. Yes, we must obey — but we can't obey what we don't understand. And understanding requires that we not read our preconceptions into God's word. Rather, true respect for the word includes respect for the form in which God chooses to present his word.

    Hence, if we read Jesus' teaching about divorce as legislation (as is traditional in the Churches of Christ) we miss the point he is making. He is interpreting what Moses said on the subject. If we miss the historical and literary context by reading him as announcing fresh, new laws rather than interpreting Moses, we misunderstand him and then we wind up obeying commands he never issued.

    The point is to correctly understand him so we can obey him.

  6. Jay Guin says:

    One point of a proper hermeneutic is to teach with the same emphasis as the scriptures give. If the scriptures emphasize teachings other than worship and church organization, we should do the same. And if our emphasis radically differs from the Bible's, we are surely omitting some very important teachings.

  7. mark says:

    One concern I always had with the gospels is the knowing of private conversations Jesus had with people. especially 35 years after the fact. "Teach with the same emphasis" is often clouded by conflicting spirits. Is this the author’s idea or is it God transcending through ancient words.

  8. Jay Guin says:

    Got to go with the "God transcending through ancient words" approach. There are several reasons, not least of which is belief in inspiration.

    But it's also true that, in those days, the disciples of a rabbi were taught to memorize the rabbi's words. As a result, thousands of pages of Jewish regulation and law were not even written down until long after the destruction of Jerusalem. It sounds impossibly hard to us, but it happened. Even today, rabbis in conservative Judaism urge their disciples to memorize the Torah in Hebrew. Some rabbis memorize the entire Tanakh (Old Testament).

  9. We hit an interpretive snag here. I think we need to keep the genre and what is happening in the text in mind. However, what if I disagree that Jesus is not simply giving his interpretation of Moses' law? I don't believe the Sermon on the Mount is an explanation of how to follow Moses' law. Rather, it is Jesus presenting what kingdom citizenship looks like.

    One of the aspects of kingdom citizenship is to quit trying to get out of marriage. If you do, you're not acting like a kingdom citizen. If you marry again, you're committing adultery.

    By the way, that is not what Moses' law taught on divorce and remarriage at all.

  10. Once again, I’m struck by going to Acts to find some better hermeneutic than using commands, examples and necessary inferences as authorization for us to act.

    Acts 15 is a pretty solid showing. The early Christians had no problem with someone questioning whether an action was authorized. The Pharisees who had become Christians believed it wasn’t authorized to baptize a Gentile. Gentiles had to become Jews. Only Jews could be Christians.

    The disciples did not say the discussion of authority was unneeded. They actually set out to demonstrate authorization. How did they do it?

    In Acts 15:15-18, James found a direct statement from the Spirit’s revelation about the church. The direct statement was Gentiles could seek the Lord and call on the name of the Lord. They didn’t have to become Jews to call on the name of the Lord.

    In Acts 15:12, Paul and Barnabas provided numerous approved examples of Gentiles who had become Christians through baptism. The examples were approved by the Holy Spirit working through the new believers.

    In Acts 15:7-11, Peter drew a necessary inference, if the Holy Spirit could baptize a Gentile, then he could also baptize a Gentile in water for the remission of sins.

    I completely agree that we need to take into account the genre of the writings. At the same time, we need to recognize that even with that, using direct statements, approved examples, and necessary inference to determine the action that is authorized for us is exactly what we see happening in Acts.

  11. Anonymous says:

    In Acts 15:7-11, Peter drew a necessary inference, if the Holy Spirit could baptize a Gentile, then he could also baptize a Gentile in water for the remission of sins.

    Edwin, Acts 15:7-11 Peter didn’t say anything about the Gentiles being baptized for remission of sins, Peter didn’t say anything at all about the Gentiles being baptized. And the Gentiles were not baptized for remission of sins – Acts 10:48, after the Gentiles received the Holy Spirit Peter baptized them in the name of the Lord. Acts 15:7-11 is Peter telling them how God accepted the Gentiles when He gave them the Holy Spirit, and Peter was telling them that is through that same grace all of them whether Jew or Gentile are saved.

  12. nick gill says:

    AMEN! This book SHOULD be entitled, "The Acts of the Holy Spirit"

  13. Grizz says:

    Seems some see CENI at work rather conveniently. Consider this …

    In Acts 10 Peter bowed to God’s authority as revealed in the vision that came from (a) Peter’s imagination? or (b) from God?

    In Acts 11-15 did they make the decision to follow the apostles’ authority? Or did they decide to follow what God had revealed to them?

    They were NOT following inferences. The OT and the Lord Jesus himself had already made it clear that the Holy Spirit would be their Guide – NOT the apostles or elders who would be appointed, but the Holy Spirit. Inferences depend on man’s reason. The body of Christ has never been asked to depend on man’s reason, but rather to depend upon God’s guidance. We need to be careful how we assign hermeneutics to what we see in Acts.


  14. John Fewkes says:

    I would suggest we ask how in the early church they sought to implement the teachings of Christ when culturally confronted. Key to this understanding is the first few verses in Acts where in verse three Jesus speaks “concerning the kingdom of God.” If through the Gospels we see little organizational detail regarding the things of the kingdom, Luke clearly establishes Apostolic authority here that is consistent with the authority demonstrated through the balance of the New Testament. We see the apostles expending their efforts and lives in implementing the teachings concerning the kingdom. Acts chapter 15 helps us see the church applying eternal truths in a cultural conflict. Interesting that they got back before Abram (Gen.12 & 15) to Noahic based considerations. Is thee anything comparable today? And if so, who is so bold as to write an Acts 15 letter from the apostles, elders and whole church?

    May I suggest the following hermeneutic, pattern (sorry, BAD word to some), consideration, all in view of “first importance” from 1 Cor. 15:1ff and faith expressing itself in love (Gal. 5)? Perhaps some would reorder the concerns.

    1) PRINCIPLES: Things throughout scripture that point toward the same message: i.e. sin brings separation from God. What does the Bible as story say (a Tom Ohlbricht question) about God’s interest in the affairs of men?
    2) PROSCRIPTIONS: Precepts of “YOU SHALT”; this I believe also includes the prescribed teachings of the apostles. Paul tells Timothy to “Prescribe and teach these things”, I Tm. 4: 11; 1John 2: 4; 5: 3
    3) PROHIBITION: Precepts of “YOU SHALL NOT” (Mt. 5:27[taken to a spiritual level]) and like imperatives)
    4) PRECEDENT: (Apostolic authority, cf. 2Thess. 3:6 Now we command you, brethren, in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you keep aloof from every brother who leads an unruly life and not according to the tradition which you received from us. NAS ) Phil 3: 17; 1John 2: 8
    5) PERMISSION: a) expediency (I Cor. 6: 12; I Cor. 10; Rom. 14); b) self-control (1Cor. 6: 12b) [applies to drugs or any addiction]
    6) PRESERVATION (1Cor. 6: 19, moral purity)
    7) PRESENTATION: Rom. 12: 1 “spiritual service”; 1Cor. 6: 20

  15. Jay Guin says:

    John F,

    Thanks for your thoughtful ideas on hermeneutics. But notice how your categories assume that we’re looking for laws — proscriptions, prohibitions, precedents, etc. are all legal categories. Why start with a set of legal assumptions when Paul in particular minimizes law as he does? And we have in the NT not a single book of law? You assume what you want to prove. (But all the P’s are cool. I assume this was a sermon? I’ve never been able to get my categories to start with the same letter.)

    My thought would be to look at how Jesus, Paul, other inspired teachers do hermeneutics. I’ve done a couple of series on this in the distant past. (Check the hermeneutics category in the Table of Contents box to the left or just check out the section on Hermeneutics in Do We Teach Another Gospel? ebook downloadable for free above.)

    One of the most rewarding disciplines that I’ve picked up in writing this blog and exchanging ideas with readers is studying how Jesus and the NT writers use the OT — how they do hermeneutics. It’s eye-opening — but requires practice because most of us grew up with very different hermeneutics (regardless of our denominational roots).

    As someone else taught me, the Bible not only gives us the answers, it gives us the questions. Therefore, sound hermeneutics should begin with a search for the right questions.

    John Mark Hicks has posted some excellent materials on narrative hermeneutics at his blog (Olbricht would approve). I find his insights extremely helpful in finding the right questions. (Notice that, while you start with the big picture question about the story of the Bible, your categories don’t flow from that question or the answers to it — unless God’s purpose in giving us the NT was to give us a book of laws.)

    This is one of the great mistakes of the Restoration Movement, going back to the Campbells, who saw the NT as a “constitution” or “blueprints” for how to build a church, rather than what it truly is. (PS — Jesus seems to have thought that he’d be building the church.)

    Sorry for meandering so much. Still having to take a lot of meds after my various medical procedures, and I’m just a little fuzzy

  16. John Fewkes says:

    All the “P”s would preach, but no sermon. I see them as useful tools in answering the question, “How Then Should I Live” as Francis Schaffer, Colson and others have discussed. They are subservient to “First Importance” things (1Cor 15) and Life in the Spirit (Gal 5 among others) WITHOUT MEASURE as I’ve posted elsewhere. I have among my many books a spiral bound “Life in the Spirit” or some similar title (packed away as we are moving to be more effective in ministry) which lists some 1024 “DO THIS” and 718 (I think) DON’T DO THIS”. That kind of legal approach may produce or enforce good behavior but completely misses the point of grace (If I just get the DOCTRINE right, God will love and accept me!) and we are found “holding the form or Godliness, but denying the power”(2Ti 3:5). As 4th or 5th generation C of C, I have experienced this. On the other hand, to think that the Spirit sets me free from ANY LAW is be a libertine (Rom 6). Love is the filfillment of the law (Rom 13:10); Christ said, “If you LOVE me, you will keep my commandments” John 14:15; keeping them will help us abide in His love, but never PLACE us in His love (Jn 14:21). 1Jn5:3 “The love of God, that we keep His commandments”; so there is a place for understanding what those are — we are called to submissive, being transformed living — in a community of believers that are COMMANDED to hold us accountable (2Th 3). Have we as a “fellowship” too historically bought into a Lockian/Campbell/Campbell/McGarvey/ etc. legalistic approach? Quite likely so, however that approach did maintain a HIGH view of the authority of Scripture. In rejecting that approach, we all too easily are at risk in taking a lower view of scripture as we “infer” OUR story over God’s story. The NT is there for our guide, not a law book. But when we place OUR narrative understanding (that was THEN, this is NOW, so the 1st Century need longer apply) in the place when clear exegesis once stood, danger awaits. Proof texting is a despicable practice — exposing the meaning in scripture in full measure is desired. It is God’s narrative, after all.

  17. laymond says:

    John, you wouldn’t by chance be John (fireball) Fewkes , would you.

  18. Those who are led by the Spirit of God are sons of God.

    When we try to take Acts with us into our own lives, absent the empowering of the Holy Spirit, it poses grave difficulties. It requires us to find a way to break with that central theme of the narrative and bury it 1900 years in the past. Our traditional adjustment has been to turn the focus from the Spirit to the apostles, to make them the powerful ones instead of the Holy Spirit. (Actually, just Peter and Paul, with cameos by John and James.) This transference allows us to reconcile our own powerlessness with our desire to incorporate Acts in our lives. Lacking so called “apostolic authority”, because those empowered are all long dead, we can only glean some general principles after straining them through the sieve of, “Well, WE can’t do that anymore, but…” Once we have done that, there is precious little that remains. We are left to try to cobble together some rules out of the most human and temporal and least spiritual of the anecdotes presented– how and when to meet, what to do at the meeting, and who’s gonna be the boss of our local group. We thus cut the rind off the ham (sorry, Peter) and proceed to tell people how to live on the rind.

    Without the power of the Holy Spirit continuing to be with us just as it was in Acts, Acts is no more relevant to our daily lives than is Adam’s naming of the animals. A cool story, but nothing that we will ever participate in.

  19. laymond says:

    Three different events

    Act 1:1 The former treatise have I made, O Theophilus, of all that Jesus began both to do and teach,
    Act 1:2 Until the day in which he was taken up, after that he through the Holy Ghost had given commandments unto the apostles whom he had chosen:
    It seams right to me that Luke the author of “Act” confined the giving of the holy ghost to the Apostels.
    People who believe every Christian is impowered with the indwelled HG relies mostly on what Peter said in Act 10&11. They seem conviently to forget the same writer wrote Chap. 10 &11 that wrote the beginning of this book.Act 1: 1,2 .

    Lets look at what Peter said about the spirit being poured out on the gentiles.
    Act 11:15 And as I began to speak, the Holy Ghost fell on them, as on us at the beginning.
    Lets look at what Peter was talking about, when he said “the beginning” the event described back in Act 2.
    Act 2:16 But this is that which was spoken by the prophet Joel;
    Act 2:17 And it shall come to pass in the last days, saith God, I will pour out of my Spirit upon all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams:

    Neither of these two events remotely resemble the event in Jhn 20:22 And when he had said this, he breathed on them, and saith unto them, Receive ye the Holy Ghost:

    And they are not remotely the same. If kept in context the event in John, happended long before the events described in Act

  20. John Fewkes says:

    Laymond, please look at the “broken cup” posting I made earlier regarding the Spirit.

  21. John Fewkes says:

    I am not a boxer from England — just a believer from Oregon, USA

    “the power of the Holy Spirit continuing to be with us just as it was in Acts”. What is “just as it was” ? I conclude, ” in all the fullness to accomplish the will of God, different ways in different times I think is Biblically and historically accurate, but still drinking from the same well the same Spirit. Quench not the Spirit also means not attempting to force the Spirit into our understanding or narrative.

  22. “It seams right to me that Luke the author of “Act” confined the giving of the holy ghost to the Apostels.” Er, yeah, that has to be the answer. Right.

    Just like Luke limits the transportation of evangelists to hitchiking or supernatural transport. Just like he limits “meeting on the first day of the week to break bread” to folks in Troas. Just like he limits preaching of the gospel to Jewish preachers. Just like he limits the raising of the dead to only two of the apostles, and miracles to the same two apostles, and no more. You could fill volumes with what Luke does not say in Acts, but it takes a different caliber of mind to know what Luke means when he does NOT say something.

    It’s just one more shovelful of that “If I can’t see it, it cannot be happening,” reasoning. In this case it is, “If Luke didn’t report it, it never occurred.” The idea that Luke’s record creates a limit of any sort on anything is simply absurd. It’s like saying that since the scripture never mentions Peter’s wife’s name, that proves she didn’t have one. Oy.

  23. Jay Guin says:

    John F,

    Per the recent series on Covenant /category/index/book-reviews/covenant-gods-purpose-gods-plan-book-reviews/, I would take the central theme of all of scripture to be God’s desire to reveal himself to mankind.

    Therefore, our first task as readers is to get to know God. Obviously, Jesus becomes the central revelation of God’s nature, but all of scripture speaks to the question.

    Once and as we learn something of the character of God, we can consider the next theme, which seems to me to be his covenanting nature — which is part of how he reveals himself. The overarching theme of the covenants seems to be to undo the curse of Gen 3. (All of which lands nicely on top of JMH’s narrative hermeneutics.)

    Pretty soon, we find ourselves delving into being restored to the image of God through Jesus and the Spirit — and we find the goal of it all is not to create a Sunday morning a cappella choir so much as to transform people into the image of God’s Son (because this is also the image of God), so that we’re restored to what we were always meant to be.

    Thus, the command to love is not merely a law to be kept but an image to be shaped into — because God is love. It’s about being like our Father.

    And so Eph 5:19 really is about being filled with the Spirit — so that we can better be like Jesus — than whether harps are acceptable in the assembly.

    That’s a very abbreviated approach to Christian hermeneutics.

  24. laymond says:

    John said, “I am not a boxer from England — just a believer from Oregon, USA”

    I feel closer to folks in Oregon, than England 🙂 I have a daughter who has lived in Salem for many years, we have flown to Portland many times. Enjoyed every trip to Oregon, pretty state. I have heard people say, the problem with going to Heaven is they would have to leave Oregon. I am sure they were joking. 🙂 .

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