Well-known and appreciated singer/songwriter Leslie Brooks performs tonight at Glade Church. We hope to see you tonight at 7 for a free concert and reception.
Got the sermon done “early” this week. In fact now that we cancelled church today (or postponed though that part is not decided yet) you might say the sermon was finished very early indeed. It was a very odd feeling to not have church this morning.
A couple of nights ago I worked on—I was merely making it neater to post here—the booklist that our friend Christian Piatt had compiled by putting up a survey on his blog on October 4. He called this experiment: Survey: 25 Books Every Christian Should Read. Check it out. He may have done several of these surveys.
As I looked it over I noticed several things. One person had added at least 10 books on the first day. There were more than several books by the same author and I do not mean the people I expected like Marcus Borg (1-2 listed) or Brian McLaren (4 listed.) There were 5 Peter Rollins books and I don’t know him at all. But I will check him out. Never mind. That is how it goes. Some great fiction and some fabulous choices of theologians though not one Walter Brueggemann, interestingly. Heschel and Wink showed up. A person’s reading list is uniquely their own.
Everyone is on the journey at a different place. That is why we have a labyrinth in the side sanctuary for Advent journeyers. And that is why we in the United Church of Christ say. “Whoever you are and wherever you are on life’s journey you are welcome here.”
I thought it was a great exercise.
I don’t know whether you have given it much thought but if it is interesting to you, let us know some top books of your life other than the Bible.
I am going to name: (1) Anne Frank. Diary of a Young Girl; (2) Diana Eck. Understanding God: the Journey from Bozeman to Banares and (3) Sallie McFague The Body of God: An Ecological Theology; plus anything by Henri Nouwen (especially Genesee Diary,) Richard Rohr (especially Falling Upward: A Spirituality for the Two Halves of Life) or Abraham Joshua Heschel (especially The Sabbath or The Prophets.)
Post your list in comments. Then look below at what folks sent to Christian Piatt.
You might also look at gladeucc.org on Women’s Book Group page to see what they have read over the years. Join us Dec 16 for the Christmas gathering at Glade Church at 6.
If you prefer your words with notes come hear singer-songwriter Leslie Brooks introduce her new CE “I Remember December” on December 13 at 7. Free
Neither Christian not myself are necessarily recommending anything on the following list. There are just what were sent by folks.
The Heart of Christianity: Rediscovering a Life of Faith: Marcus J. Borg: 9780060730680: Amazon.com: Books Borg follows up two of his previous releases about the Bible and Jesus with a volume that could easily have played on those titles, because this highly readable book is essentially about looking at Christianity again for the first time.
Love Wins At the Heart of Life’s Big Questions Bestselling author Rob Bell returns with a provocative new book which gets to the heart of about life and death. His perspective, encapsulated by his famous slogan ‘love wins,, will surprise and challenge both Christians and atheists, and will inspire people of all faiths and none.
Life of the Beloved: Spiritual Living in a Secular World: Henri J. M. Nouwen: 9780824519865: Amazon.com: Books A beautiful and sensitive book that reaches out to the believer. –Church and Synagogue Library Association. Anyone who is searching for the Spirit of God in the world today will benefit from reading it. –Horizons. For those unfamiliar with his work, this volume is a wonderful place to begin. Another significant achievement.
The Mystery of Christ . . . and Why We Don’t Get It: Mr. Robert Farrar Capon: 9780802801210: Amazon.com: Books Capon’s theme is the understanding of the Christian concept of grace through faith; he feels that this “mystery” is in this world, not some mystical experience of another realm. The popular idea that the goal of Christianity and the church is to make people “nonsinners” is replaced, in his argument, with the understanding that God’s grace makes people “sin-forgivers.”
How (Not) to Speak of God: Peter Rollins: 9781557255051: Amazon.com: Books In the first half of this powerful but frustratingly opaque book, debut author Rollins summarizes some of the theological ideas that the so-called emerging church is currently exploring: the importance of doubt and silence, the limits of apologetics, and the idea that God is concealed even as God is revealed.
Life Together: The Classic Exploration of Faith in Community: Zondervan: 9780060608521: Amazon.com: Books “When I think of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, some words Gorky used of Tolstoy come into my mind–‘Look what a wonderful man is living on the earth.'” — Malcolm Muggeridge, author of Jesus
My Name Is Asher Lev: Chaim Potok: 9781400031047: Amazon.com: Books “A novel of finely articulated tragic power. . . . Little short of a work of genius.” –The New York Times Book Review “Memorable. . . . Profound in its vision of humanity, of religion, and of art.”–The Wall Street Journal” Such a feeling of freshness, of something brand-new. . .
Stranger in a Strange Land by Robert A. Heinlein.
The Ragamuffin Gospel A Furious Love Is Hot on Your Trail! Many believers feel stunted in their Christian growth. We beat ourselves up over our failures and, in the process, pull away from God because we subconsciously believe He tallies our defects and hangs His head in disappointment.
The Irresistible Revolution: Living as an Ordinary Radical Starred Review. If there is such a thing as a disarming radical, 30-year-old Claiborne is it. A former Tennessee Methodist and born-again, high school prom king, Claiborne is now a founding member of one of a growing number of radical faith communities. His is called the Simple Way, located in a destitute neighborhood of Philadelphia.
The Jesus I Never Knew: Philip Yancey: 9780310219231: Amazon.com: Books An old adage says, “God created man in His own image and man has been returning the favor ever since.” Philip Yancey realized that despite a lifetime attending Sunday school topped off by a Bible college education, he really had no idea who Jesus was.
The Weakness of God: A Theology of the Event (Indiana Series in the Philosophy of Religion): John D. Caputo: 97802532… “… The Weakness of God is a bold attempt to reconfigure the terms of debate around the topic of divine omnipotence. Caputo has a gift for explaining Continental philosophy’s jargon succinctly and accurately, and despite technical and foreign terms, this book will engage upper-level undergraduates. Includes scriptural and general indexes….
The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence: John Sanders: 9780830828371: Amazon.com: Books The God Who Risks: A Theology of Divine Providence [John Sanders] on Amazon.com. FREE super saver shipping on qualifying offers. If God is all-knowing and all-powerful, can he in any way be vulnerable to his creation? Can God be in control of anything at all if he is not constantly in control of everything?
The Fidelity of Betrayal: Towards a Church Beyond Belief: Peter Rollins: 9781557255600: Amazon.com: Books Rollins possesses the freshest theological voice of the emerging church movement. The leader of an ecclesial community called Ikon that meets in pubs in his native Northern Ireland came out of nowhere with his How (Not) to Speak of God in 2006, where he made the tools of postmodern philosophy accessible to nonspecialists.
The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible: A. J. Jacobs: 978… Amazon Best of the Month, September 2007: Make no mistake: A.J. Jacobs is not a religious man. He describes himself as Jewish “in the same way the Olive Garden is an Italian restaurant.” Yet his latest work, The Year of Living Biblically: One Man’s Humble Quest to Follow the Bible as Literally as Possible, is an insightful and hilarious journey for readers of all faiths.
A New Kind of Christian: A Tale of Two Friends on a Spiritual Journey: Brian D. McLaren: 9780787955991: Amazon.com: B… McLaren, pastor and author of The Church on the Other Side, proposes that postmodernism is the road to take in order to move on from the current stalemate between conservative evangelical and liberal Christians. His book are part of his activist work to promote “innovation, entrepreneurial leadership and a desire to be on the leading edge of ministry.”
LtQ: The Book! | Living the Questions on WordPress.com In “Living the Questions: The Wisdom of Progressive Christianity” (HarperOne, 2012), United Methodist pastors David Felten and Jeff Procter-Murphy present a lively and stimulating tour of what it means to be a “progressive” Christian. Bringing together the voices of top Bible scholars, church leaders, and theological thinkers —including Marcus Borg, Diana Butler Bass, John Dominic Crossan, Brian McLaren, Helen Prejean, and John Shelby Spong— this “intro” to progressive Christianity explores theological and spiritual matters that many churches are afraid to address.
Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl. One of the great books of our time. -Harold S. Kushner, author of When Bad Things Happen to Good People”One of the outstanding contributions to psychological thought in the last fifty years.”-Carl R. Rogers (1959)”An enduring work of survival literature.” -New York Times” An accessible edition of the enduring classic.
The Orthodox Heretic: And Other Impossible Tales: Peter Rollins: 9781557256348: Amazon.com: Books Don’t be fooled by the slender spine of this unusual book. Rollins, the Irish philosopher/po-mo theologian who has previously published How (Not) to Speak of God and The Fidelity of Betrayal, upends some of Christians’ most cherished platitudes about God in his newest outing.
Why I Am Not a Christian and Other Essays on Religion and Related Subjects: Bertrand Russell, Paul Edwards: 978067120… A brutal deconstruction of historic Christianity, and religion in general, that can lead the thoughtful reader to dig deeper into the Christian message and reconstruct a faith built on love and hope, not fear and control, as Russell posits.
Living Buddha, Living Christ 10th Anniversary Edition: Thich Nhat Hanh, intro-Elaine Pagels: 9781594482397: Amazon.com: Books A rare combination of mystic, scholar, and activist, Vietnamese monk Thich Nhat Hanh is one of the most beloved Buddhist teachers in the West. Poet, Zen master, chairman of the Vietnamese Buddhist Peace Delegation during the Vietnam War, he was nominated by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., for the Nobel Peace Prize.
Blood Brothers: The Dramatic Story of a Palestinian Christian Working for Peace in Israel: Elias Chacour, David Hazar… Is it possible to live at peace in the midst of conflict? “From my perspective, both as a believer and as a diplomat, I take hope and comfort in knowing that amid all the hatred, destruction, and death, Father Chacour continues his patient work, softening one heart at a time.” James A.
PregMANcy: A Dad, a Little Dude, and a Due Date: Christian Piatt: 9780827230323: Amazon.com: Books “Christian Piatt’s book is a bit like a baby itself: It’s surprising, funny, lovable, and just a little bit gross.”-A.J. Jacobs, author of The Year of Living Biblically (ajjacobs.com)”The thing that makes reading Christian Piatt’s PregMANcy so enjoyable is that he just tells it like it is.
Why Did Jesus, Moses, the Buddha, and Mohammed Cross the Road?: Christian Identity in a Multi-Faith World: Brian D. M… McLaren uses the metaphor of great religious leaders crossing the road to converse about key matters of faith. Yet he seems to make the strongest case for fostering tolerance of other religions, while implementing Christian doctrine and maintaining Christian identity, through a single personal story.
Jesus and Nonviolence: A Third Way (Facets): Walter Wink: 9780800636098: Amazon.com: Books The Christian tradition of nonviolence is needed as an alternative.
A Canticle for Leibowitz: Walter M. Miller Jr.: 9780553273816: Amazon.com: Books Walter M. Miller’s acclaimed SF classic A Canticle for Leibowitz opens with the accidental excavation of a holy artifact: a creased, brittle memo scrawled by the hand of the blessed Saint Leibowitz, that reads: “Pound pastrami, can kraut, six bagels–bring home for Emma.”
Silence: Shusaku Endo, William Johnston: 9780800871864: Amazon.com: Books “Silence I regard as a masterpiece, a lucid and elegant drama.” Irving Howe. — The New York Times Review Of Books –NY Times Review of Books
Night In Nobel laureate Elie Wiesel’s memoir Night, a scholarly, pious teenager is wracked with guilt at having survived the horror of the Holocaust and the genocidal campaign that consumed his family. His memories of the nightmare world of the death camps present him with an intolerable question: how can the God he once so fervently believed in have allowed these monstrous events to occur?
Community and Growth: Jean Vanier: 9780809131358: Amazon.com: Books . A guide to communal life. Completely revised.
Insurrection: To Believe Is Human To Doubt, Divine: Peter Rollins: 9781451609004: Amazon.com: Books “What does it mean when the Son of God cries out, ‘My God, My God, why have you forsaken me?’ Brilliantly, candidly, and faithfully, Rollins wrestles here with that question. You may not agree with his answers and conclusions, but you owe it to yourself and to the church at large to read what he says.”
The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium: Walter Wink: 9780385487528: Amazon.com: Books “Perhaps we are not accustomed to thinking of the Pentagon, or the Chrysler Corporation, or the Mafia as having a spirituality, but they do,” writes Walter Wink. In The Powers That Be: Theology for a New Millennium, Wink returns to the ancient view of a world filled with angels and demons, powers and principalities, and reinterprets these notions for contemporary people.
The Dance of the Dissident Daughter: A Woman’s Journey from Christian Tradition to the Sacred Feminine (Plus): Sue Mo… A mid-career realization that she had lived without “real inner authority” and with “a fear of dissension, confrontation, backlash, a fear of not pleasing, not living up to sanctioned models of femininity” produced in Kidd the new mindset that made her journey possible. Additionally, her extensive knowledge of many subjects, including theology, mythology and the arts, made possible the copious references and cross-references that will prove invaluable for readers who wish to follow her in this same search. While Kidd cautions that each woman’s path will be unique, there is no question but that many women will find in her book a mirror of their own present conditions and a hopeful call to self-discovery.well-researched and well-written story. Kidd’s successful pilgrimage from her Southern Baptist roots and away from the patriarchal and fundamentalist Christian religious systems surrounding her is an account of anger turned to courage, creativity and love.
Faith Seeking Understanding: An Introduction to Christian Theology: Daniel L. Migliore: 9780802827876: Amazon.com: Books Daniel L. Migliore is Charles Hodge Professor Emeritus of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary in Princeton, New Jersey.
Ishmael: An Adventure of the Mind and Spirit Quinn (Dreamer) won the Turner Tomorrow Award’s half-million-dollar first prize for this fascinating and odd book–not a novel by any conventional definition–which was written 13 years ago but could not find a publisher. The unnamed narrator is a disillusioned modern writer who answers a personal ad: “Teacher seeks pupil.”
I’m OK – You’re Not: The Message We’re Sending Nonbelievers And Why We Should Stop: John Shore Shore is a humorist whose work is more comedic than Donald Miller, and his appeal to Christians is more direct. Shore is preaching and teaching under the comedy, and he is very effective as a critic and motivator. Shore turns evangelism upside down and engages in just enough hyperbole to effectively make his point….
Spiritual Ecology: The Cry of the Earth Showing the deep connection between our present ecological crisis and our lack of awareness of the sacred nature of creation, this series of essays from spiritual and environmental leaders around the world shows how humanity can transform its relationship with the Earth. Combining the thoughts and beliefs from a diverse range of essayists, this collection highlights the current ecological crisis and articulates a much-needed spiritual response to it. Perspectives from Buddhism, Sufism, Christianity, and Native American beliefs as well as physics, deep psychology, and other environmental disciplines, make this a well-rounded contribution. The complete list of contributors are Oren Lyons, Thomas Berry, Thich Nhat Hanh, Chief Tamale Bwoya, Joanna Macy, Sandra Ingerman, Richard Rohr, Wendell Berry, Mary Evelyn Tucker, Sister Miriam MacGillis, Satish Kumar, Vandana Shiva, Pir Zia Inayat-Kahn, Winona LaDuke, John Stanley, John Newall, Bill Plotkin, Geneen Marie Haugen, Jules Cashford, and Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee.
Kierkegaard: Fear and Trembling (Cambridge Texts in the History of Philosophy): C. Stephen Evans, Sylvia Walsh: 97805… “…the reader who thinks to wait for the next ‘better’ edition and translation of this remarkable text will be almost certainly be waiting for quite some time.” Christopher Nelson, The Catholic Historical Review “Walsh renders the Danish text in English prose that is both attractive and accurate.
Unfettered Spirit: Spiritual Gifts for the New Great Awakening All too frequently studies of the gifts of the Spirit consist largely of answering two questions: “What are the gifts?” and “Which ones do I have?” In many cases studies go on to a third question: “How can I get more?”
Amazon.com: The Church in the Power of the Spirit: A Contribution to Messianic Ecclesiology eBook: Jurgen Moltmann: K… The Church in the Power of the Spirit: A Contribution to Messianic Ecclesiology – Kindle edition by Jurgen Moltmann. Download it once and read it on your Kindle device, PC, phones or tablets. Use features like bookmarks, note taking and highlighting while reading The Church in the Power of the Spirit: A Contribution to Messianic Ecclesiology.
The Last Western Thomas S. Klise
A Generous Orthodoxy: Why I am a missional, evangelical, post/protestant, liberal/conservative, mystical/poetic, bibl… This book will make you think. In a time when wee seem to be preaching intolerance in the name of God, McLaren’s book is a voice of reason. — YouthWorker
The Myth of a Christian Nation: How the Quest for Political Power Is Destroying the Church ‘Boyd’s intervention into the discussion is welcome. He is bold,… passionate, and discerning, while still attempting to be charitable. Boyd doesn’t pull punches, denouncing the nationalistic ‘idolatry’ of American evangelicalism, which often fuses the cross and the flag.
The Divine Conspiracy Dallas Willard, an acclaimed theologian and professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California, fulfills the longing of many Christians who want to live as true disciples of Christ rather than distant dabblers. Likewise, he scoffs at consumer Christians who are simply banking on admittance to heaven as their payoff for attending church.
A River Runs Through It and Other Stories: Norman Maclean “[Maclean] would go to his grave secure in the knowledge that anyone who’d fished with a fly in the Rockies and read his novella on the how and why of it believed it to be the best such manual on the art ever written–a remarkable feat for a piece of prose that also stands as a masterwork in the art of tragic writing.”
The Idolatry of God: Breaking Our Addiction to Certainty and Satisfaction: Peter Rollins: 9781451609028: Amazon.com: … Rollins (Insurrection, 2011) puts forward a compelling case that both fundamentalists and unquestioning religious believers replace belief with idolatry. Using common cultural memes, including historic television shows like Miami Vice, Rollins strips away satisfaction from acceptance and leads the reader carefully and constructively toward a consideration of religious faith that is present-focused.
The Prophets (Perennial Classics): Abraham J. Heschel: 9780060936990: Amazon.com: Books According to the popular definition, a prophet is one who accurately predicts the future. But in the Jewish tradition, as Abraham Joshua Heschel explains in The Prophets, these figures earn their title by witnessing the world around them with outstanding passion.
Christianity After Religion: The End of Church and the Birth of a New Spiritual Awakening: Diana Butler Bass: 9780062… “Bass has done it again! She’s spot on-prophetic, compelling, and most importantly, hopeful.” (Rob Bell, author of Love Wins)”Refreshing, evocative, well informed and original.” (Harvey Cox, author of The Future of Faith)”Bass explains how experience, connection, and service are replacing theology as keys to the next Great Awakening. It’s a fascinating story.”
The Last Temptation of Christ: Nikos Kazantzakis: 9780684852560: Amazon.com: Books The Last Temptation of Christ is a fictional exploration of the life of one of history’s most intriguing figures, Jesus Christ. This is not revisionist history, merely an author’s viewpoint on how the Son of the Carpenter may have lived his life.
Nonzero: The Logic of Human Destiny Nonzero, from New Republic writer Robert Wright, is a difficult and important book–well worth reading–addressing the controversial question of purpose in evolution. Using language suggesting that natural selection is a designer’s tool, Wright inevitably draws the conclusion that evolution is goal-oriented (or at least moves toward inevitable ends independently of environmental or contingent variables).
Being Gay Being Christian Is it possible to be both gay and Christian?… There is no more divisive an issue in the church today than the highly controversial topic of being gay and being Christian.
Illusions: The Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah: Richard Bach: 9780440204886: Amazon.com: Books Imagine the universe beautiful and just and perfect. Then be sure of one thing: The Is has imagined it quite a bit better than you have. The original sin is to limit the Is. Don’t.
Praying Like Jesus: The Lord’s Prayer in a Culture of Prosperity: James Mulholland: 9780060011567: Amazon.com: Books In a time when spiritual seekers seem to be looking for a magic formula for prosperity, blessing, and protection through prayer, theologian James Mulholland offers a different perspective in Praying Like Jesus: The Lord’s Prayer in a Culture of Prosperity. “Our Father who art in heaven…”
Transforming Worldviews: An Anthropological Understanding of How People Change In the past, changes in behavior and in belief have been leading indicators for missionaries that Christian conversion had occurred. But these alone–or even together–are insufficient for a gospel understanding of conversion. For effective biblical mission, Paul G. Hiebert argues, we must add a third element: a change in worldview. Here he offers a comprehensive study of worldview–its philosophy, its history, its characteristics, and the means for understanding it. He then provides a detailed analysis of several worldviews that missionaries must engage today, addressing the impact of each on Christianity and mission. A biblical worldview is outlined for comparison. Finally, Hiebert argues for gospel ministry that seeks to transform people’s worldviews and offers suggestions for how to do so.
Spirituality & Practice: Book Review: Saving Jesus from the Church, by Robin R. Meyers Calls for a radical change in churches by putting the faithful on the path of Jesus and seeing Christianity as compassion, not condemnation.
When Bad Christians Happen to Good People: Where We Have Failed Each Other and How to Reverse the Damage: Dave Burche… A cursory reading of Burchett’s expos‚ of the pitiful condition of the American Christian church shows the book to be stinging, acerbic and slightly flippant. But careful attention to Burchett’s painful message that “bad Christians” have done, and continue to do, great damage to others in the fold reveals the truth of his accusations.
The Testament by John Grisham A surprising tale of redemption in a modern novel
The Future of an Illusion: Sigmund Freud: 9781614270867: Amazon.com: Books “Gregory C. Richter’s fluent new translation shows one of Freud’s most popular books to be as clear, colloquial, and compelling as anything else by the master of psychoanalysis, and Todd Dufresne’s entertaining introduction makes a good case for its surprising contemporary relevance, in spite of its often puzzling arguments.”–Thomas Kemple, University of British Columbia –This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion: The Posthumous Essays of the Immortality of the Soul and of Suicide Dialogues Concerning Natural Religion: The Posthumous Essays of the Immortality of the Soul and of Suicide [David Hume, Richard H. Popkin]
Tenth of December: Stories: George Saunders: 9780812993806: Amazon.com: Books Amazon Best Books of the Month, January 2013: George Saunders’ first short-story collection in six years, Tenth of December is as profound and moving as it is entertaining. Saunders’ wonderful ability to portray a character’s inner monologue–the secret voices, the little fantasies, the inside jokes, the spots of sadness–might be his greatest talent as a writer.
Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint Bolz-Weber, the Lutheran pastor of Denver’s House for All Sinners and Saints, takes readers on the engaging and accessible journey with those she meets in bars, church conferences, at her local diner, and through breaking news of such events as Hurricane Katrina.
The Misunderstood God: The Lies Religion Tells About God “A good book is a good read. A great book forces you to actually put it down, go away, and digest what you just read because of how it messed with your heart or head. This is a great book!”
Next Reformation, The: Why Evangelicals Must Embrace Postmodernity: Carl Raschke: 9780801027512: Amazon.com: Books Carl Raschke (Ph.D., Harvard University) is professor and chair of the department of religious studies at the University of Denver. He is senior editor of the Journal for Cultural and Religious Theory and the author of numerous books and hundreds of articles.
East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) (Edition Revised) by Steinbeck, John [Paperback(1992£©]: Amazon.com… East of Eden (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) (Edition Revised) by Steinbeck, John.
Glade will not have Radical Conversations, Worship Service at 11, or the Art Gallery Reception at 2. Stay at home and be safe. On my drive this morn to check it out, everything that seemed fine at 8 was worse at 8:30. Even temp had dropped. We are rescheduling the reception for next Sunday. God Bless.
We have added a new option to our website, online giving. You can now give to Glade Church online as either a one-time or recurring donation.
We are using PayPal to collect our online donations. If you are making a one-time donation, then no account is required. However, if you are making a recurring donation then you will need a PayPal account. If you don’t have an account, the system will create one for you when setting up your initial recurring donation. To cancel a recurring donation you must login to your PayPal account and stop it.
It is our hope that this new option of giving will be beneficial to people, so look for the Online Giving button on the front page of the website to make a donation.
Once long ago I was writing a Thursday Thoughts newsy letter at least once a week. Then it became a blog situation. All the same to you receivers, yet I tripped on the idea of a blog. You receivers—who are you? Members and friends of Glade basically. The list is at around 80 people. So not all members of Glade, for sure. Some of you were members of Glade once upon a time. Some have never attended at all but are people who signed up from interest in our open and affirming stance or our progressive theology or they were people we met around town who signed up at our suggestion.
All this to say, I got caught up in “Who am I talking to?” Possibly from my bridge generation viewpoint, that was important—to know who I am talking to. But possibly it is just a personal roadblock and I never really admitted that before. So perhaps this is the break through.
This Sunday is the last Sunday of the Christian year C. It is Reign of Christ Sunday. I am studying Christ as king—the “representative” of the Holy God and God’s reign. I am aswirl (new word) with thoughts as I always am at this point in the week—a Thursday by the way. I concern myself with how I believe the scripture I have chosen and I concern myself with how the congregation believes it. And then there are visitors whom I don’t want to scare away with some off-putting comment. We are all wounded by some parts of the scriptures. It is impossible to know what everyone believes. And preparation is watching for signs of what makes sense in the moment.
Preparation is an interesting process since if the folks present are anything like me their faith is constantly reinterpreted and given new language, which I call translating the word. It is the living word after all and God is Still Speaking. How we believe and act changes and grows. Yet it grows out of a core of heart-felt experience fed by scripture or fed by our lives as seen through gospel values. I often say that as we lean toward God, God leans toward us.
This next week also brings Thanksgiving. I sometimes think it is the very best holiday. It has hardly been tainted, if you don’t count the treatment of turkeys. Or the myth that every family is happy. Families gather as they can and they have a better chance of speaking thanks than on most other days. So I’ll see you Sunday, I hope, and if not have a heart-full day of thanks.
Join us on August 4th at 2-3:30 p.m. to greet the artists currently displaying at Glade Gallery in the sanctuary at Glade Church. Here are the statements of the featured artists:
More than 50 years ago I acquired my first loom, or rather pieces of a loom discovered in a junk yard. Since then there have been floor looms, table looms, back strap looms, inkle looms, barn looms, tapestry looms and even a 2 storey tall frame loom.
Bypassing the craft of traditional weaving I am passionate about experimentation and discovery. I not only use fiber in my art but also hand made papers, objects from nature, and found objects. I seek to transform unlikely materials into art.
Numerous commissioned works have been done for residences, and commercial and religious buildings, including Mountain Lake Hotel, Roanoke Memorial Hospital, and Nutri Systems Corporate Offices. Work has been selected for many juried exhibits including The Virginia Museum of Fine Art, The Chrysler Museum, The Peninsula Fine Arts Center, Savannah College of Art and Design, University of Illinois, and the Perspective, Armory, and Holtzman Art Galleries at Virginia Tech.
Current work can be seen at www.molokaiartgallery.com
For me the satisfaction of the work results from the doing … the interest is in the search and experimentation of technique, media, and spatial elements … spontaneity … investigation … intuition … surprise … and doing, always doing.
As a young student – about 1000 years ago – I began drawing. Perhaps it was my grandfather, an artist who didn’t know it, who first introduced me to art. An architect as well as an artist and author, I am now Professor Emeritus of Architecture, Virginia Tech.
Shunning the camera, I have completed my 16th volume of travel sketches, all of which have been done on-site in conte’ crayon or line drawings. These sketches undoubtedly have influenced my current work.
My work has been widely exhibited including Chicago’s Art Institute, Hampton University, Perspective and Armory Art Galleries of Virginia Tech, and the Roanoke Museum of Fine Art, as well as numerous galleries, and includes architecture, painting, and sculpture. My writing has been presented at frequent book readings.
Current work can be seen at www.molokaiartgallery.com
I share my artist wife Joanna’s passion for search and discovery. I see my architecture, sketching, painting, sculpture and writing as interrelated.
I’ve been away a lot these days. A lot of it was work-related. But some was vacation.
In our lives we go home again every day.
You know I claim West Virginia as home. But a few weeks ago I went home to Portland, Oregon and last weekend I went home to upstate NY.
These trips home have changed & enriched my life.
Who says you can’t go home again?
The only relatives I have remaining in Ilion NY are from the High School class that graduated 1963—yes before JFK was assassinated……. before anyone had heard of the Beatles…….. before Woodstock which was only a little ways down the thruway. In Ilion NY everyone spends summer weekends at a lake home they call a camp.
And here are some of us – the graduates of North Street School, my elementary school – which is now a run-down apt building. In its day it had the traditional boy’s door and girl’s door. And we played marbles and jacks together between them …….plus dodge ball in the field behind.
There is Sam the barber (Remember that joke of his and his dad’s both with the same name? Father and Son are out here cutting hair and the Holy Ghost is in the back room)
And Dave who greeted me saying, “You sure know how to throw a birthday party.” He had sung a rousing rendition of Tennessee Ernie Ford’s “16 Tons” at my first grade party.
There in blue is Mike whose birthday is the same as mine and he remembers it. When the other Sam (in black) almost died a few years ago, Mike called the North Street School guys and they went to visit Sammy in Philadelphia.
And there is Fran who with her mighty team made this a fabulous event. And Ed here all the way from Louisville.
We grew up in a small town with 5 churches—Presbyterian, Methodist, Baptist, Episcopal and the Church of the Annunciation, 2 sororities, a champion basketball team, Friday night dances, and no internet.
There are my best friends, Mary and Jennifer. Janet (in white) and I sang in Eleven Belles together and went to the Presbyterian Church where she still goes. I stayed with her and Mel last week.
As Sam the barber, who was my 1st ever dance partner, pointed out as we gathered for this photo that recent Sunday, we were the ones from the poor side of town.
Not that I don’t appreciate the folks from the other 3 grade schools that fed into good old IHS, but this photo of us from the north side of town really moved me. We shared tender young years, there was pestering but not a lot of bullying, a good place to grow up. I realized a lot about my town this last week and about the folks who lived there so many years ago.
A good experience where I gave a prayer for the 18 of us who had died—out of a class of 126—and sang a song as a blessing for the rest of us.
It turns out that for me, I could go home again. Home is who you are.
Thoughts from Synod 29
Everything matters here. I have been to an intensive on the origins, elements of racial superiority, and legacies of the Doctrine of Discovery. The Doctrine of Discovery was a legal principle that played a central role in justifying the Euro-American claims of North America. The Doctrine allowed newly arriving Europeans the immediate right to claim lands already occupied by Indigenous populations without their consent. Intensives are connected to Resolutions that will come to the floor of Synod. This resolution will call for the United Church of Christ to repudiate the Doctrine; it asks the UCC to move beyond the theology which authorized the Doctrine of Discovery. It asks the Church to understand the relationship between Christian faith and culture, mission and coercion.
And that was just a start. There are 14 resolutions. I had lunch with environmental activists supporting, among other things, the Divestment in Fossil Fuel Companies resolution. I had dinner with Ecumenical and Interfaith leaders at their banquet.
That you can’t do everything is very true here. This morning I spent time in the exhibition hall. I learned about new ways to do profile. This will go live in 2014.
I visited with old friends—Kimberly, Jan, Sala, Candita, and Andrea buying a robe for the first time (her ordination is in September in the same church as mine was.) I met a young man living in community following Benedictine Rule. I talked with a woman who has worked in the Amazon for many years bring education and health care.
It is so satisfying to see the church working in so many areas. Yesterday I went to the border and crossed into Tijuana. What I saw was heartbreakingly unjust. Though I have had the information for several years, it is another thing to see the poverty. I have wanted for a long time to go a Centro Romero, a UCC center for education around immigration. I am not quite ready to talk about it.
During our Mission 4/1 Earth Fifty Great Days (from Easter to Pentecost) several things have happened which will be reported to the United Church of Christ website as it tallies up powerful deeds, trees planted, and letters to Congress. I have done some reflections in our services. I have chosen prayers that have to do with Care of Creation and calls to worship that have expressed joy in recognizing the abundance around us. I have led confessions of where we have gone wrong in our stewardship of earth. I have offered assurance.
On a more snide level, probably not that helpful, I have pointed out to some people in Nashville that they don’t have to have the water coming from their spigots so hot that people have to turn on the cold in order not to scald themselves. Besides it being a possible lawsuit for hotels and restaurants, this is an energy waster. I was baffled because I have long lived among people who know these things. And mostly act on them, best they can. But there are many who do not hear the advice of our scientists and activists.
Dare I say, we are in a Holy Spirit dilemma? These things have been spoken. But many have not heard. That’s what I like about Pentecost. No choice was given, exactly. Wind came so loud into the house where “they” were (it is always the unexplained “they”, have you noticed?) that the many from various nations who were in Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks made their way to the astonishing sound. They also found tongues as of fire on the heads of the Galileans and them talking in a language not their own. The crowd was amazed to be able to understand—in their very own languages—what was being told. The Spirit can do that, that is for sure, just as She turned Peter into one who could explain it.
During our Mission 4/1 Earth James Hansen has announced his retirement from NASA. Long ago he said that the earth (and therefore all the people thereon—rich or poor mainstream or marginalized) would suffer the ravages of climate change if we got very far above 350 parts per million carbon in the atmosphere. Bill McKibben started a movement called 350.org and tried to sound the alarm. He and colleagues have sponsored the largest gathering ever for climate change solutions.
McKibben writes constantly and well about the problems and solutions. Here is what needs to happen, he proclaims, a modern day prophet, indeed. A Methodist Sunday School teacher led by the Spirit, he is courageous and knows his stuff. He has recently offered “Do the Math” and has taken it on tour in major cities. Folks are not all listening. During the time of the UCC’s campaign, the number of ppm has reached 400.
Hansen says that there is no way to avoid disaster at this point. Disaster has already reached many parts of the world where it is difficult if not impossible to raise food and places where sea level threatens the very existence of some. They are in the margins where we can’t see them. Unless we are looking!
May the Spirit drop tongues as of fire and the very loud sound of wind on those among us who think there is not such thing as global warming, climate change. Did I say that? God will get out attention one way or another. Silly me, I wish it would be earlier than the moment of no turning back.
I want a “what was that?” moment. A “What did you say?” moment. We are all complicit. Listen up. Act. And tell your friends. For one thing invite them to a dvd on mountaintop removal tomorrow after church at Glade. We will end, if so moved, by composing letters for government officials. Refreshments served. Oh, and wear something red for Pentecost!!!!
Come to Glade Gallery from 2-3:30 p.m. tomorrow April 14 for our Artist Reception. Machiko Oshima Turner will be the featured artist at Glade Gallery tomorrow through June 2. Although our galleries will continue to include all interested artists, tomorrow we transition to a new tradition. For the next gallery, the side room (choir room) will feature the work of the one artist, and the main sanctuary will be many artists as we have done before.
We will also have open hours. Gallery Hours:
Tuesday, 4-7 p.m.
Wednesday, 2-4 p.m.
Thursday & Friday, 11:00 a.m. – 1:30 p.m.
Sunday following the 11 a.m. service
You can preview some of Machiko’s art at http://machikoart.carbonmade.com/
However I suggest you come see it in person. Hope to see you tomorrow.
I invite you to Easter service here at Glade this Sunday at 11. We will dress the altar with live plants–please bring one with you or pick one up at the door. The featured song (to be sung by Leslie Brooks) and the title of the sermon are “No Stopping the Message of Jesus”
A person here for Good Friday open sanctuary found that of all the stations I set up for today–a Pieta, a rosary, a Jesus icon, a Guadalupe, Bible verses, a Diana Butler Bass Good Friday column on the vision of Julian of Norwich, and of course, the cross–the best was the joy mosaic which is always up over the altar. We had time to talk about our beliefs. This person is not alone. Suffering does not make us happy. But there is always joy behind the cross.
Besides looking up the Julian article in Huffington Post, you might read the following blog from Rev. Peter Sawtell which I just happened to be reading when my friend came in.
Worship and Joy
What foolishness! Christians find joy on Good Friday. We celebrate on a day of brutal death. Yes, foolishness. “For God’s foolishness is wiser than human wisdom, and God’s weakness is stronger than human strength.” (1 Cor. 1:25)
The Good Friday question comes around every year: How can we hold together joy and death on this day? There is a similar question that is new for our generation: How can we worship God with joy while also being honest about the devastation of God’s creation?
Worship is an act of joy, and yet we are witness to — and we are participants in — climate chaos, widespread extinction, the depletion of water and soil, oceans turning so acidic that life falters. We see cancers and deformities caused by toxic chemicals, starvation in the midst of drought, devastation by monster storms, warfare stirred by conflict over scarce resources. How can we see this world, and still worship with joy?
Part of the answer is to remember that there is a vast difference between joy and happiness. In an Advent meditation several years ago, I said: “Joy is more reflective, more profound, more deep-seated, and more persistent than the fleeting experience of happiness. … Joy is a response to good news which recognizes our life in community, and which celebrates the promise which is extended to others, even to all of creation.”
I don’t know how we can be honest and relevant about the trauma of the world if we expect worship to make us happy all the time. An insistence that the celebration of good news always has to make us feel good cuts out several of the worship themes that I’ve highlighted this Lent, especially lament and confession. Those are not fun experiences. Lament calls forth unspeakable sadness and hurt. Genuine confession is supposed to be hard and painful.
Seeking happiness may require us to live in a state of denial about the trauma of creation. But, as I said a few weeks ago, “denial and avoidance are not the way to worship God.”
Joy, on the other hand, can nurture and sustain us even as we deal with realities that are painful. Through joy, we may choose to place ourselves in the presence of hurt and suffering, and even find that we could do nothing else. When worship is filled with joy, then we can acknowledge and celebrate the full range of life — joyous awe and burning grief, confession and commitment, hope and loss.
+ + + + +
I have heard about people who decided never to enter into a committed relationship because it would be too hard for them when the other died. These folk have turned away from committing to a spouse or partner, or to a pet. They know that there would be happiness in the relationship, but the prospect of death at the end is more than these people can bear.
On the other hand, several of my good friends have made the choice to marry someone with a late-stage terminal illness. When they considered their beloved’s stages of dying, and thought about all of the caretaking and emotional turmoil of those months or years, they could not imagine how they could possibly turn away. My friends speak of difficult times and occasions of wonderful delight, of both tears and laughter, while they journeyed with their spouse to the end of life. Hard? Yes, of course, but also joyous because they can travel that path together. The joy of living fully in love and relationship makes all of those difficulties meaningful. Their joy has been found, not in avoiding suffering, but in being present through it.
There is an enormous difference between joy and happiness. Joy allows us to sit in the presence of pain and death, to be emotionally and spiritually vulnerable in the presence of grief and suffering. We can be there, we can choose to be there, because that is where God is. That is where God calls us to be, too.
The joy of living fully in relationship with God — which is the joy that inspires our deepest worship — allows us to open ourselves to the horrors happening around us. Precisely because we love God, because we have aligned ourselves with God’s purposes of shalom, because we cherish to intricate beauty of the fragile web of life, we choose to make ourselves aware of the death at work all around us. Because our joy is rooted in God, we open ourselves to both the beauty and the painful truth about God’s creation, and we commit ourselves to be agent’s of God’s justice and reconciliation in a broken world.
When God’s creation is being mangled and exploited, our love of God calls us to place ourselves in the presence of the pain. 2,000 years ago, as Jesus was crucified, the women gathered at the foot of the cross. In a similar way, love compels us to be present with the suffering of creation, even finding joy when we do not turn away.
+ + + + +
The Empire wants us to seek happiness. Those who use up and exploit creation are able to increase their profit and power when we think of ourselves as “consumers”. They can continue to manipulate us when we focus on our own desires and pleasure, when we seek our own entertainment and status, when we think that acquiring more stuff will make us happy.
The governments and corporations and power-brokers who are the face of Empire today work hard to hide creation’s suffering. They use all the tricks they can muster to make us believe that there’s nothing wrong, that this is the way it is supposed to be, that it is inevitable. They will not reveal their flood of toxic chemicals and the spread of unnatural genes and the abuse of creatures. They try to convince us that the purpose of life is to be happy, to feel good, to look out for ourselves.
When we accept those lies of the Empire, we may think that worship is one more piece of consumer culture. We’ll want to shop around for a church where we can be happy, meet our own needs, and never have to face anything unpleasant. If we accept the “human wisdom” of consumer culture, then a church should never, ever mention the devastation of God’s creation that is happening all around us.
Good Friday is a reminder that the church of the Empire is not the Christian church. The church that follows Jesus, that lives in the prophetic heritage, that continues the New Testament path of resistance to the false gods of Empire — that “foolish” church has its birth on a cross. Our church begins with nails and blood and agony and death, and then has the chutzpah to call it “good”. We know that our calling is not to be happy.
On our best and most faithful days, the church enters knowingly and willingly into all of the places where God’s beloved creation is suffering. And we count it as joy to be able to be present, even in the midst of pain and grief and death.
Christian worship, when it is faithful and relevant, will be so filled with joy in the presence of God that we will insist on being present and active in midst of both great beauty and profound sorrow. Our worship, filled and empowered by joy, will encompass the whole range of God’s creation, even in this time of creation’s suffering.
+ + + + +
Through Lent, I have tried to explore some qualities of Christian worship that is richly ecological and transformational. It should be clear, by now, that I have not been giving tips for how to do a once-a-year “environmental” service.
We are living in an unprecedented time. Earth’s natural systems are being ruined. The web of life is being pulled apart. The planet is being depleted and poisoned and overheated. Humanity has never seen such a disruption of global life systems.
This is a time that calls the church to rethink and reclaim our central and most important act. If we are to be faithful, we must be drawn into a far deeper and more encompassing life of worship. The way we nurture genuine worship will often reach far beyond Sunday morning liturgy. The church today must help connect us with awe, engage us in listening to a wide range of witnesses, free us to lament deeply, bring us to confession and open us to forgiveness, stimulate bold prophetic imagination , move us to strong commitment, and fill us with joy.
That is the worship that is honest for both Good Friday and Easter. That is the worship that is relevant for a planet in crisis.
|Shalom!Rev. Peter Sawtell
Executive Director, Eco-Justice Ministries
Watch for updates of the United Church of Christ’s Mission 4/1 Earth — 50 Great Days. CR
On Sunday January 20, 2013 immediately following morning worship service we will be having our Annual Congregational Meeting. We will be voting on the Annual Budget and Council Member Nominations as well as hearing reports from all areas.
To keep Glade up and running the Council needs help. Below you can fill out the Time & Talents Form or get a paper one at church. Please take the time to prayerfully consider marking items you can actually commit to then fill out the form. If you have questions please contact Ross Edmonds.
1600 Glade Road
Blacksburg, VA 24060
P.O. Box 11565
Blacksburg, VA 24062
Radical Conversations: 9:30 AM
Worship Service: 11:00 AM