Monthly Archives: September 2019

September 27 – His Sweet Voice Soundeth

Jesus calls us.

According to the old hymn,
Day by day his sweet voice soundeth,
saying, “Christian, follow me.”

Jesus calls – not to be confused with Jesus Calling, the title of a phenomenally popular devotional and dangerously wrong book of the same title. The book is a particularly good (or bad) example of American Christians’ tendency to outsource the hard work of reading Scripture and praying diligently.  Why not let someone else do it and have her work in your inbox every morning. More here.

Jesus call us.

I will be heading out to Glen Rock, PA, this morning for a day and a half of presbytery meeting.  I am looking forward to it, and none of it more than that item of business that comes mid-morning on Saturday.  The Ministerial Committee will call Casey Huckel to stand before the assembly with these words from its report to the presbytery:

Casey comes before the Presbytery with the recommendation of the Ministerial Committee, which examined him on September 9. The presbytery will examine him as to Christian experience and growth, the motive for seeking ordination, and a statement regarding the person’s call to ministry. Continue reading

September 20 – The Pros and Cons of a Robopastor

You may have seen the story from Japan about the Buddhist temple where they have asked a robot to serve as their new priest.  So far Mindar, the robot, mostly just preaches the same sermon over and over, but its designers are hoping that developments in the field of artificial intelligence will lead to a cyber priest whose programming and the use of algorithms will allow it to offer spiritual advice and pastoral counseling. I would think it could be really good at balancing budgets and keeping calendars.

With my retirement planned for next year, I think I may be getting out of the clergy business just in time.  But, also what an opportunity for LPC to be on the cutting edge of pastoral technology.  It’s not too late for us to change the call for our October 6 congregational meeting from electing a pastor search committee to electing a pastor programming committee. Continue reading

September 13 – Deacon Teague and the Increase Forever

Photo of John Williams “Deacon” Teague and an anonymous enslaved family

Can the Cross overcome the #hashtag?

In preparation for Sunday’s sermon from Psalm 148 and the unity to which biblical worship drives us – kings and all people, young and old together, I have been thinking about identity, and in particular identity politics* and how at its best it calls us to own and to celebrate who we are, even our God-given who-we-are-ness, and how at its worst it divides, antagonizes, separates, and destroys those things that best hold us together – family, community, country, and, yes, church.

I am who I am. My identity comes from a hodgepodge of nature and nurture, history and circumstance, serendipitous encounter and life-changing event. God has taken this stew of life and used it, graciously, to mold and make me who I am.  I have an identity which is layers deep, years wide, and not yet complete.

A piece of my identity has to do with my family; the home in which I was raised, and generations of homes stretching back to obscurity. Continue reading

September 6 – Niche Mission in a Needy World

We are just beginning to catch a glimpse of the destruction brought to the Bahamas by Hurricane Dorian.  I can’t imagine it.

Thankfully, the world is responding.  Governments, including our own, are sending and promising aid.  Others are organizing relief efforts, as well.  Even some of the cruise lines are collecting money to be used to help alleviate immediate suffering and to begin to rebuild what was destroyed.  Of course, the Red Cross is there and the “big players” among the Christian Relief organizations, World Vision and Samaritan’s Purse.  Thank God for all of them.

Yes, stories of corruption, inefficiency, and greed are sure to follow over the next few weeks and months.  Poverty Inc. – there’s money to be made in preying on others’ loss – will rear its ugly head.

There is something fundamentally human about reaching out to help.  In many ways it simply doesn’t matter if the clean drinking water or plastic tarp comes from the UN or World Vision.  Thank God for clean water and plastic tarps freely given. Continue reading