Monday, 19 March 2018

Heaven - we all wonder about it.  Our creed tells us that "in life, in death, in life after death, we are not alone; God is with us."  I believe this absolutely but what does "life after death" mean.  In this week's sermon I reflected on heaven, weaving my personal journey from a belief in angels to worldly skepticism to Near Death Experiences, ultimately concluding upon hope.  Despite what Christian tradition promises, despite what NDExperiences suggest, we just can't know.  In the absence of knowledge I want to legitimate hope.  Why don't we hold on to our best hopes for heaven and then wait to be surprised!  What are your thoughts about heaven?  What do you hope for?  Looking for your comments.

Monday, 12 March 2018

Good morning!  After some worries that my sermon on sin might leave people in an untenable place of not believing it possible to both care for self AND care for neighbour I hope my ideas about salvation came as some light in the tunnel.  In this week's sermon we looked at the churchy words of salvation and atonement.  I took a pretty hard position suggesting that the traditional view of atonement - i.e. Jesus, through his death, paid the price for my sins - just doesn't make sense to me.  Some scholars suggest that a better view of atonement is breaking it down into the phrase of 
"at-one-ment".  I like the idea that through Jesus God was pursuing harmony (at-one-ment) in the world, but I still don't believe that God required Jesus' death. 

Jesus' absolute commitment to love resulted in him being put to death by those whose relentless self-interest knew no bounds.  Both his acts of and commitment to love inspire me and hold open a space where I might allow love to triumph over self-interest.  My salvation comes in those moments when I am drawn toward acts of love.  Although we long for love to universally inform human actions (futuristic eschatology); for now I have to believe I am "saved" in those moments when love captures my heart and informs my actions (realized eschatology).

Well this is a pretty "thick" discussion but I believe it is so essential if we are to understand the historic Christian message in our era.  I would very much appreciate hearing from some of you about whether salvation is still a relevant concept in your life.  Looking forward to it -

Monday, 5 March 2018

Have you ever had the experience where you think something is a good idea and then when you begin you ask "Why did I ever think of that?"  That was my experience as we started our four Sunday examination of "churchy" words.  On this first week we considered the concept of sin.  Thanks to David and Donna who initiated the reflection by sharing their ideas.  Although many people outside and inside the church think sin is no longer a relevant term, I found myself defending the concept as important.  There has been way too much "blaming" people for transgressing major and minor commandments.  Those who do the "blaming" are often no more morally righteous than anyone else (I'm reminded of Jesus' instruction to take the log out of one's own eye before criticizing the speck in the eye of someone else).  For me, the concept of sin invites us into self-reflection NOT self-blame and certainly not blaming someone else.  I concluded that my understanding of sin is:  "relentless self-interest to the exclusion of others."  It is this relentless self-interest that I must continue to wrestle with in my own life, especially in light of my desire to respond to God's invitation to love neighbour.  At the end of the sermon I worried that I may have left people in a self-blaming place and if that happened I apologize.  My intention is to encourage reflection upon the disparities between where we want to be as followers of Jesus and where relentless self-interest often takes us.  I would appreciate hearing your responses to my thoughts.  It's a tough topic and is best addressed with shared wisdom.  I look forward to hearing from you.