Dear Folks -
Here is something Chris Newlin sent me that is fitting for the season
and for a good laugh. It will lighten your heart to see and hear it -
I don't know what, if any preparation you might be willing to do for
our time together this week. I seldom request this. If you have an
opportunity read Luke 14:16-24 in preparation for our time together.
(Parallel texts are Matthew 22:2-14 and Gospel of Thomas 64.)
See what you think this story is about. Scholars say it is the most
difficult of Jesus' parables to interpret. See what you think not only
the meaning of the story is but also its applicability to you. I'm
giving this title to what I want to say -
Here and There, Now and Then
Also, there will be no class on December 27 and just one service, at
10:30 a.m., at St. Paul's on that Sunday.
Click here to Download text 20091220.pdf
Click here to Download Keynote Presentation Here and There, Now and Then.pdf
Click here to Download audio 20091220.mp3 Read More
Dear Folks -
Almost a quarter of a century ago I began to make a list of "spiritual principles" that I thought, by following, would enhance one's experience of life. I called them "the principles of ordinary life."
One of the principles is: We have a moral obligation to be happy.
I have been exploring the meaning and application of this principle for months now. In this talk I reflect on the territory we've covered looking at this principle and how it is I've gotten to deal with the parables of Jesus.
One reason for the approach in this talk is that the parable up for consideration gives an excellent opportunity to explore why it is that so many people have difficulty with this principle. Once we make happiness something we pursue or if we base our happiness on what we have, we will never be truly happy. Happiness is a gift that comes from practicing and experience solidarity within and among the human race.
A copy of the complete text I used for the talk is below. The pictures I mention at the beginning of the talk are on the Keynote presentation.
Click here to Download text 20091213.pdf
Click here to Download Keynote presentation for Fences, Walls & Open Gates.pdf
Click here to Download audio 20091213.mp3 Read More
Dear Folks -
In the process of making a living many people neglect to make a life. In our culture where consumerism and greed rule the day, it is easy to get distracted. We are all encouraged to "make a killing."
There is a parable Jesus told that at first glance seems to be about the dangers of greed. No doubt greed can be a danger through none of us thinks of ourself as greedy and greed benefits us all. The parable I have in mind is actually about thinking that security is in what we have. The fact is life, no matter how long one lives, is brief.
There is also in this talk an illustration of how an effort to be biblically literate reveals that the two birth stories we have of Jesus are quite irreconcilable.
Click here to Download text 20091206.pdf
Click here to Download Slide Show Presentation Making_a_Living.pdf
Click here to Download audio 20091206.mp3 Read More
Dear Folks -
Any religion or spiritual teaching that divides the human community is bad religion and worse theology. The root meaning of the word "religion" is "to bind together." Sadly much of religion in the three monotheistic traditions has become a thing that divides rather than unites.
This week in Ordinary Life the talk I gave was based on what we know as the Parable of the Prodigal Son. Usually this parable has been interpreted as having something to do with repentance. This misses the original Jewish meaning of the story. It is, at its heart, about unity.
Copies of the cartoons I referred to at the beginning of the talk can be found in the Keynote slide show presentation below.
Click here to Download text 20091129.pdf
Click here to Download Don't Be a Fool Keynote slide show presentation.pdf
Click here to Download audio 20091130.mp3 Read More