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Showing posts from February, 2013

Ten Commandments Still Relevant?

The Ten Commandments are on my mind, partly because during the season of Lent, we hear the Ten Commandments read each Sunday at the very beginning of our service, and so they are a kind of “tone-setter” for our services for five weeks.

Another reason I want to write about (and preach on) the the Ten Commandments is that I even though many people know what “the Ten Commandments” are in general – commandments that God gave Moses and the Jewish people – not many people are familiar with them...not many people really know them as things that are relevant or helpful in daily life.

But – as I hope to do in my sermons this and next Sunday – I want to bring the Ten Commandments out of a dusty, ancient irrelevancy they have in many people’s lives into a fresh and very modern spiritual resource.

Let me start here:

If you were to ask most people what the first commandment is, what would they say?

If they could remember it, they’d probably say

“Do not have any other gods but God.”

But that’s only …

Negativity Fast, again

Because tomorrow (Wednesday, 13) is Ash Wednesday, Lenten resolutions are on my mind, and so I'd like to repeat some things I said a year ago this time: 
It’s a longstanding custom among many Christians to make resolutions during Lent: to resolve to “give something up” in the 40+ days between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday, as well as to resolve to “take something on” during that time. 

The most traditional areas to “give up in order to take on” are “Prayer, fasting, and alms-giving,” long considered three essential elements of Christian spirituality.
Now, of course, it’s great that, for example, many people will be resolving to give up a half hour of Facebook or television, and give that time to prayer.
And of course it’s great that many people will be giving up alcohol, or sweets, or snacks, or workaholism, and by so doing, get in touch with the many ways we try to fill our God-shaped hole with something or someone other than God (or -- as in the case of food and alco…

Protect Doctrinal Borders, or Shepherd People toward God?

On Sunday, we'll hear the story of Jesus teaching in the synagogue, and - just after being told that "many spoke well of him" and marveled at his words, as he continues to teach, the crowd turns on him.
And I mean turns: based on what Jesus teaches, this adoring crowd is suddenly "filled with rage" and tries to throw him off a cliff!
What would turn an adoring congregation into a murderous mob?
Well, Jesus reminded them (or told them for the first time?) that God was bigger than their doctrine or teaching made him out to be.  
But because this question of "doctrinal purity verses the expansiveness and mystery of God" is such an important and current issue, I'd like to share the meat of a fascinating essayI read about ten years ago.   
The esssayist asks us to think for a moment about mathematical set theory. Bear with it, I think it's worth the longish read.  
Because geometry is not exactly my strong suit and I can't really do the essa…