Monthly Archives: September 2018
Communities are funny places. Many people today misunderstand, I think, what communities are. They are not places where everyone is in the same place as regards looks, thinking, believing, and acting. Indeed, today, as we live in a digital world, people in communities may even be in different physical places, some being face-to-face as we say, and other community members being hundreds, thousands of miles distant and connected electronically. As I retired from teaching, we were just approaching this way of teaching classes. It’s common enough now. I suspect we’ll see more of these hybrid kinds of communities. I must… Continue reading
Who is (or was) the wisest person you have known? Notice I didn’t say the smartest, I said the wisest. Smart people are not always wise. Wisdom is not just theoretical intelligence, but is practical and has to do with ways to navigate fruitful courses through all that life brings. Todays’ scripture passages concern those who think of themselves as teachers, and/or wise.
Our readings help us find whether they (or we) really are. We set the stage with the reading from Proverbs 8 that speaks to us of the value of wisdom, and in a word, it is “better… Continue reading
Over the last couple of weeks, I’ve taken this time to promote the idea of how important it is to interpret the Bible as it speaks to us in our own specific place as a community of faith, and not just as an ancient word to ancient people, all of whom are dead. Today I want to follow such words with some specifics of what listening to Jesus and following Jesus might look like for us.
Let me start by highlighting what, to me, seem the most important themes of 15 1/3 years of preaching. All of these will be… Continue reading
There’s a little statement by Paul in his Epistle to the Romans, chapter 15, verse 4 that reads: “For whatever was written in former days was written for our instruction, so that by steadfastness and by the encouragement of the scriptures, we might have hope.” Without getting into specifics, we might paraphrase Paul’s principle here by saying, “If we will give it thought, the scriptures still have relevance to us today.” In fact, this basic principle is what has led me to try and teach all sorts of folks to read the Bible better, both in churches and in seminaries.… Continue reading
One of the very first lessons I learned about Hebrew had to do with the word “to hear,” which is shama. In Hebrew, one hasn’t heard until one has acted on, or obeyed, what one has heard. Like so many other words in Hebrew, this one is more about action than strictly about attitude or experience.
We’re coming up to the beginning of a new season of Thursday Evening Education. Above all, there, we learn together to read the Bible well. To do that, one of the things that we need to remember, is that most stories in the Bible… Continue reading
Today’s sermon is about who we are and what we do as the people of God. One definition of a Christian Church I thought of is “a people standing for their world.” Each word in this definition is important. The church is people not a building. Then, the church is A People, who have a common commitment to Jesus Christ as the centrepiece of our meaning structure. Then the church is a people who are not content simply to be safe inside the four walls of a building, but who know that the mission is in the world. Churches must… Continue reading