Pastor’s Corner – “Of Wolves and Lambs and Woody Allen” – December 2016

Of Wolves and Lambs and Woody Allen

“The wolf will live with the lamb,
and the leopard will lie down with the young goat;
the calf and the young lion will feed together,
and a little child will lead them.”

                        (Isaiah 10:6, Common English Bible)

Commenting on this passage (and misquoting), Woody Allen once quipped, “The wolf may lie down with the lamb, but the lamb will not get a good night’s sleep.” (more…)

Pastor’s Corner – November 2016

The book I am reading now is “My Bright Abyss: Meditation of  Modern Believer” by Christian Wiman, a writer whose prose and poetry I admire. He comes to the Christian faith as something of an outsider (or former insider returning), as someone grasped by a faith in God, a faith he elsewhere describes as both tenuous and tenacious. Reading him, one is struck by the clarity with which he pursues the questions raised in his life by an experience of God’s presence during a time of great personal suffering and danger, an experience which revealed his latent faith in God, faith he was unaware of until it appeared to him in a flash of recognition. Here is an extended passage from his book: (more…)

Pastor’s Corner “Gospel Improv” – October 2016

Gospel Improv

The gospel writers would have us think it was all planned out. Jesus, you know, knowing everything, all that was going to happen and how. Yet, I’ve been around too long, know too much about how things really happen, to believe this was so. Stuff happens, even to Jesus. Sure, we can look back and think we can see how it all holds together, how it all seems inevitable, yet, I believe most of Jesus’ ministry was an improvisation; and Jesus was great at improvisation, great at being present to the moment he was in with the people he was with dealing with the stuff they were dealing with and adding to that moment God’s mercy.    (more…)

Positive Living – June 26, 2016 – Pastor Al

POSITIVE LIVING

Galatians 5:1, 13-25

June 26, 2016

 

Motivational speaker Zig Ziglar calls it “stinkin’ thinkin.’” He’s talking about people who approach life with a negative attitude. Do you know anyone like that?

Whether or not it’s justified, New York cabdrivers are notorious for having a bad attitude. A man approached one such driver in New York. “Take me to London,” the potential fare said. The cab driver told him that was not possible. He couldn’t drive across the Atlantic Ocean. The customer insisted it was possible. “You’ll drive me down to the pier; we’ll put the taxi on a freighter to Liverpool; when we get there, you’ll drive me to London, where I’ll pay you whatever is on the meter.”

That sounded pretty good to the driver. He agreed to make this absurd journey. When they arrived in London, the passenger paid the total on the meter, plus a $1000 tip. Even a New York cabdriver couldn’t complain about that, but what was he to do now? How would he get back home? He roamed aimlessly around London for awhile not knowing quite what to do. Then an Englishman hailed him and said, “I want you to drive me to New York.” The cabdriver couldn’t believe his good luck. How often do you pick up a guy in London who wants to go by cab to New York? When the passenger began to say, “First, we take a boat …” the driver cut him off. (more…)

Liberated Women – June 12, 2016 – Pastor Al

LIBERATED WOMEN

Luke 7:36-8:3

June 12, 2016

 

 

You know, friends, I have to admit to a certain amount of reluctance to step in the pulpit this morning and speak to you about liberated women. You need but look around to notice that the majority of the congregants here this morning are women. And, I am about to embark for Annual Conference where the majority of those being ordained will be women. And shall we include the fact that, for the first time in history, a woman will be a leading candidate for President of the United States? But I am a brave soul. And I will take a stab at being an authority on liberated women.

Barbara Walters, formerly of television’s 20/20, did a story on gender roles in Kabul, Afghanistan, several years ago before the current Afghan war. She noted that women customarily walked five paces behind their husband.

She recently returned to Kabul and observed that women still walk behind their husbands. From Barbara’s vantage point, despite the overthrow of the oppressive Taliban regime, the women now seem to walk even further back behind their husbands, and are happy to maintain the old custom. (more…)