Pastor’s Corner – January 2017

“I understood that, with divine passion, God wants to love us to fulfillment, and I understood that for this to happen we must surrender to him every single key to the kingdom of self. I understood, without realizing it, our spiritual life is often as not self-seeking. We are intent on creating a beautiful self into which God will be privileged to enter! We want to feel we are good, pure and holy; we want to be lifted up out of the drab reality of our human condition. We want a holiness of our own. I understood that God, in his love, must destroy this self-seeking and that our happiness depends on our allowing him to do so”

—Ruth Burrows, OCD, in “Love Unknown”


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


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…)