I Really Should NOT Own A Car But . . .

I really should not own a car. Hold that thought for a moment while I offer the story. I had walked to a nearby church on Sunday morning for an early service. A couple of minutes after I returned to my apartment, someone knocked on the door. I opened it to find the neighbor who lives directly below me. “Come here” he said, beckoning to the balcony. “There’s something you need to see.” I walked over and he pointed down to my car and said, “You have two flat tires.” As I stood there in shock, he also noted that … Continue reading I Really Should NOT Own A Car But . . .

The General Rules as Interpreted by my Confirmation Class

Wesley’s General Rules provide wonderful basic guidelines to Christian living. The rules read this way: First: By doing no harm, by avoiding evil of every kind, especially that which is most generally practiced, such as: Secondly: By doing good; by being in every kind merciful after their power; as they have opportunity, doing good of every possible sort, and, as far as possible, to all men: Thirdly: By attending upon all the ordinances of God; such as: Notice that each general rule segues into a list of things that Wesley found particularly egregious in human conduct of the day. The expansion … Continue reading The General Rules as Interpreted by my Confirmation Class

For Their Own Good: Why Not Stone Them?

A quote from this article about an Afghan doctor and his patient being stoned: In many parts of Afghanistan, particularly in remote areas, women are customarily not allowed to be examined by male doctors except in the presence of close male family members as their chaperons. Stoning is the punishment for adultery under Shariah law, and many Afghan clerics approve of it, although it is officially outlawed here. That just got me, “Many Afghan clerics approve of it.” Clerics, people who are supposed to interpret the nature of God to those under their care, approve of these barbaric acts of … Continue reading For Their Own Good: Why Not Stone Them?

More on The Epic Battle Between Good and Evil

For the past few weeks on Sunday mornings, and with a couple more to come, I have been bringing messages about the epic battle between good and evil. The big question, “How do we learn to discern between the two?” One would think it would be easy. But real evil has developed the genius to disguise itself with exquisite care and craftiness and often passes as something good and desirable. This Sunday, June 16, we’re going to look at the character of Severus Snape–a man who had to walk on both sides of the street.  How did it affect his … Continue reading More on The Epic Battle Between Good and Evil

A Speck Upon a Speck Upon a Speck

Periodically I need to remind myself of just how unimportant I am. A phrase I’ve heard recently, “We’re just a speck on a speck on a speck,” helps me consider my own insignificance. Surely anyone contemplating the hugeness of the universe—and the actual size of it will probably forever remain a mystery—needs to acknowledge that we’re pretty negligible creatures in the overall scheme of things. In comparison to the whole universe, we don’t even register as big as the tiniest of one of the millions of bacteria that inhabits our own bodies. Of course most of us deep inside think … Continue reading A Speck Upon a Speck Upon a Speck

Smelly Women and a Hand Up

A late evening call to the church: “I’m in a motel with my little girl and I can’t pay the bill tonight and I can’t go home because I’m running away from my husband.  Can you give me the money to spend another night here?” A friend accompanied me to the motel where we could check out the story.  We plunged into the dark underbelly of that town where I was serving, both a little frightened.  We noted that the little girl was sick but it did not look serious and both appeared to be safe for the night. We … Continue reading Smelly Women and a Hand Up

Invisible People

Last Sunday, I asked people to think long and hard about how they treat others in a way that makes them invisible.  I had used a scene from the movie “The Help” to illustrate it.  There, the black maids, who made life possible for their white and privileged employers, were also invisible to those very employers.  Their employers spoke about their maids as though they were not there and denied them the most basic of courtesies. At the end of the message, I suggested we all remember what if feels like to be rendered invisible by others see what we … Continue reading Invisible People