The Fallacy of Atheism

One thing I’ve noticed about many who reject Faith without thoroughly exploring the subject to begin with (“It just doesn’t make sense to me.”) – is that they envision faith as being focused on The Creation and The Afterlife – on narratives of The Beginning and of The End.  They see these narratives – which most or all faiths have – as factually and fatally flawed, if not downright foolish; and so not worthy of serious consideration.  Therefore, in their eyes, the faith as a whole must be flawed.

Now, there are many people who have adopted the label “Atheist” because they see the evil and pain in this world and cannot believe that a loving God would allow such things. (And perhaps even blame faith as responsible for much of the world’s pain – which, sadly, is true).  Therefore, they say, there is no God.  But, that’s an entirely different topic that I have referred-to in some of my past posts here on this site.)

When talking about the Creation or the End Times, the problem – at least in my view – is that focusing on a factual interpretation of a Faith’s narratives of The Beginning and The End completely misses the point.  (Biblical interpretation Literalists, please take note.)

Continue reading “The Fallacy of Atheism”

Standing in a New Place

Standing in a new placeSermon: “Standing in a New Place”
Presented at ARK Community Church in Dalton, MA
October 20, 2013

Scripture readings:
Job 38:1-18, 24-30, 34-5 and 42:1-6 (from “The Message”),
Luke 18:18-25  
(from “The Message”)

A Prologue…

I held up a card with one word in large block letters on each side, as follows…

RED         GREEN

and then said (more or less)…

All of us can see one side of this card, but not the other.  Most of you see Green, the rest of us see Red.   Each of you can appreciate part of what this card is, but not the whole thing.  You can see one aspect of its truth, but not all of it.  What you see depends on where you are sitting, but you cannot appreciate all that this card is without your changing positions or my rotating the card – there has to be movement of some sort.  Bear this in mind as you hear this message…

Please pray with me…

Lord, open our eyes that we may see the truth you have for us here today; place in our hands and hearts the wisdom and courage to follow your Truth wherever it may lead us, and so come to a deeper appreciation of your Gospel from a new perspective. Open my mouth, Lord, that I may be a faithful witness to your Gospel, that the eyes of our hearts might be opened, and that your love for all of us, your children, is made manifest.  Prepare our hearts to share your gospel with all we whom encounter today, and in the days ahead.  Amen.

The Message…

I recently visited a dear friend, Carolyn, and we began talking about my ideas for this week’s sermon.  This in turn reminded her of a story, one that I’m sure most parents have run into (at least a few times).

When her family was much younger, they all went to a ball game.  Later, in talking about an event during the game, the narrative that Carolyn related to her children differed a great deal from the one her husband Don gave about the same incident.  When Carolyn realized this, she sat her kids down and told them that even though mommy and daddy’s versions were very different, neither of them were lying, and neither of them were wrong, it was just that they remembered it differently because different aspects of the event mattered to each of them.  They saw the same thing from different perspectives, which is why their memories of it, and their narratives, differed.

Continue reading “Standing in a New Place”

Children’s Message: Different Colors

Two-Face-Optical-Illusion-cSummary…

Scriptural basis: Job 38:1-18, 24-30, 34-5; Job 42:1-6; Luke 18:18-25

The point: Once we have a good “recipe” for doing something, we tend to keep on using it even though will sometimes give us the wrong answers.  Most adults playing this game alongside the kids will shout out GREEN for one of the sheets that you hold up, even though the letters are blue.

Truth is the same way.  We assume that when something works as we expect it to, then we know the truth; but, details can be important – there is often more there than meets the eye.  The truth we see is never the whole truth.

The goal is to learn that the truth of God is unchanging, but that the truth as we see it will always change and deepen as we learn more.

Continue reading “Children’s Message: Different Colors”

The Great Escape

Presented at Sudbury (MA) Memorial Church, UCC on October 14, 2012.
Scriptures: Job 23:1-9, 16-17; Mark 10:17-31

A youtube video of the sermon…

The most painful day of my life was Friday, May 4th, 1991.  In the week leading up to that dark day, everything in my life had exploded – marriage, job, finances – a perfect storm.  I felt the only way out was to escape from it all, I needed peace, I needed help.

So, I bundled myself and my then two year old daughter into my car, to escape for a time to safety in Chicago and figure out what to do. As I drove along, the darkness and turmoil within me was echoed by the magnificent, terrible thunderhead I saw ahead of us as we descended down Minnesota’s bluffs to cross the Mississippi River. It was huge: threatening, dark, turbulent; yet before it was the most beautiful, intense, double rainbow I’d ever seen: brilliant against the angry blackness ahead as the late afternoon sun sank behind us.

We caught up with that storm just after the sun set, and it was the worst storm I’ve ever experienced. Rain was coming down so hard that my windshield wipers were bending under the force of the water. I crept along the highway, my headlights struggling to pierce the stormy darkness, hoping to find refuge, somewhere.  But we were alone: no one else was challenging the storm that night.

Continue reading “The Great Escape”