I watched part of the Republican debate last night (Dec. 15). I chose to listen with a more generous spirit than I have to date. Each candidate genuinely believes that he/she is uniquely suited to be President of the US, … Continue reading Shall We Do Evil So That Good Will Come?
Please watch the short video: The illustrator and narrator have asked that continually nagging question: How can there be a good God yet all this bad in the world? Above all, this is the question the church must answer. The question and the current response to reject anything smacking of “institutionalized religion” do not erase the human need for divine connection. It does call into question the way God has been perceived and described for millennia. Is God really the great and fearful power-mongerer in the sky, wreaking vengeance on hapless humanity if we don’t see things a certain way? … Continue reading The Problem of Evil: Deliver Us From Temptation
A church member just phoned. His son serves on one of the destroyers currently deployed in the Mediterranean Sea, one of many sons and daughters over there of worried parents here. We send our young to protect the young of others. Why? Well, I’m not going to join the political fray here, other than to say, “What do we do when faced with utter injustice?” And what is greater injustice than a political leader, such as Bashar al-Assad, unleashing poison gas on hundreds and hundreds of innocent civilians, including children, apparently just to see if it works adequately? This is akin … Continue reading Syria, Children, and the Problem of Evil
Syria. Chemical Warfare. Innocent children and adults killed. Political instability. Denial. Blame. Egypt. Churches burnt. Religious oppression. Political instability. Worshippers killed. Anguish. Russia. Economic disaster. Growing coldness to the US. Persecuting gays and lesbians. Exodus. Sadness. North Korea. Gaining nuclear weaponry. Inexperienced leader. Needs to keep nation in crisis to hold power. Systematic, brutal suppression of disagreement. Powder-keg near an open flame. Fear. United States Barely “united” any more. Dems and Reps can’t/won’t sit at a table together. Public discourse informed by nastiness without civility. Growing divide between desperately poor and obscenely rich. Sounds like first century or third world … Continue reading We Are In This Together
Sunday, June 30, we will set aside liturgy and normal order for a bit in favor of an open hymn sing and a “Stump the Pastor” morning. People can ask/text/write to me any questions they wish that are on … Continue reading “Stump the Pastor” Sunday
A quote from this article about an Afghan doctor and his patient being stoned: In many parts of Afghanistan, particularly in remote areas, women are customarily not allowed to be examined by male doctors except in the presence of close … Continue reading For Their Own Good: Why Not Stone Them?
For the past few weeks on Sunday mornings, and with a couple more to come, I have been bringing messages about the epic battle between good and evil. The big question, “How do we learn to discern between the two?” One would think it would be easy. But real evil has developed the genius to disguise itself with exquisite care and craftiness and often passes as something good and desirable. This Sunday, June 16, we’re going to look at the character of Severus Snape–a man who had to walk on both sides of the street. How did it affect his … Continue reading More on The Epic Battle Between Good and Evil
“Just think how much good you could do!” Those enticing words also may be some of the most dangerous words around–they can open the door to extraordinary evil, perfectly disguised and cloaked with something that just looks so right. Starting this Sunday, May 26, I will begin a five week message series on the necessity of learning as early as possible to discern that which is good from that which is not good. Because even the youngest need to learn to develop that facility if they are to make wise decisions, I want to make this series as accessible as … Continue reading The Epic Battle: Message Series Starting This Sunday
Please read the quote below from the current mayor of Osaka, Japan, Toru Hashimoto. He was speaking about the use of sex slaves provided for Japanese soldiers during World War Two. Historians suggest that up to 200,000 Korean and Chinese women were forced into providing these services. “To maintain discipline in the military, it must have been necessary at that time,” Hashimoto said. “For soldiers who risked their lives in circumstances where bullets are flying around like rain and wind, if you want them to get some rest, a comfort women system was necessary. That’s clear to anyone.” OK, I’m … Continue reading Japanese Sex Slaves and The Nature of Truth
Several weeks ago, in the aftermath of the bombing at the Boston Marathon, I wrote: “evil defies reason.” With the exposure now of kidnappings and years-long torture of three women in Cleveland, the time has come to further explore the nature of evil. Again, evil defies reason. Reasonable people do not plant bombs that kill, maim and destroy. Reasonable people do not kidnap others and hold them and torture them for years on end. Reasonable people do not insist on sucking everyone around them into their own vortex of impenetrable darkness. Reasonable people may make lots of foolish mistakes, even indeed bringing harm to others, but they … Continue reading More on The Nature of Evil