Archives for October 2013
A Dialogue with Nancy E. Petty & Laura Foley
Text: 2 Timothy 3:14-17
Nancy Petty: I’ve been thinking, Laura, about why this scripture passage feels a bit difficult to read and hear. I think the lectionary group this past week named well some of the reasons. At first reading, this passage can sound somewhat dictatorial—“But as for you…” as if someone is pointing a finger at the reader. It also feels static, offering little room for movement or growth in new directions. “Continue in what you have learned and firmly believed…” Those words go against the affirmation that learning is gained from experience over time and that constructing a belief system is a process—one that is also developed over a lifetime of learning, unlearning and re-learning; of defining, dissolving and re-defining relationship; and of seeking and finding and living in community. This passage also brings to light the question of what constitutes sacred writings and the question of what it means when one says that, “all scripture is inspired by God.” Scripture—is that only the Christian Bible or does it include the Quran and other ancient sacred writings? Are those words “all scripture is inspired by God” simply the foundation for the argument of the inerrancy of scripture that has divided the church; or might the writer of this text be saying something very different from what our ears tend to hear. What might the intentions of the writer of these words be that we haven’t yet considered?
Halloween with the master himself, Blaine Mays!
Special appearances by Bex Hyman and crew.
Brainstorming and planning for the Fall Festival and Haunted House begins this Wednesday Night in the Youth Room at 6:15 pm following Check-in!
4:00: hang out & homework!
5:15: $6 Dinner in Finlator Hall
7:30: Fall Festival/Haunted House Planning
7:30: go home!
He was a beautiful bird. The male cardinal perched on the passenger side mirror of our car was a brilliant red and judging from his size, he was young. I stood motionless and watched him fly around from his post on the bracket holding the mirror to face his reflection. Then he pecked aggressively at the bird who was facing him. After some heavy-duty pecking, he’d fly back to the bracket and rest. Then he would resume his attack on the bird who was staring him down. It was a comical thing to watch.
A little research taught me that these territorial birds sing in a loud, clear whistle from the top of a tree or other high location to defend their turf and will chase off other male invaders of the protected space. I also learned that what I witnessed is common. A male cardinal will see his image on various reflective surfaces and mistake it for an invading male. Then he will fight his reflection relentlessly.
It occurred to me that sometimes we do the same thing. By projection or in reality, we see reflections of ourselves in others and we don’t like what we see. So we do the human version of pecking. Or we mis-label a friendly face as the enemy and attack.
I guess the lesson is that when we see something we don’t like in another person, we would do well to consider carefully why we don’t like it. How much of our dislike or distrust is about him or her, and how much is about us? In the polarized world we live in, unnecessary negativity is the last thing we need. And judging by what remained on the car door when the cardinal finished his war on himself, misplaced negative feelings can really make a mess.
Texts: 2 Kings 5:1-3, 7-15c; Luke 17:11-19
Let’s sing the prayer.
Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me…Melt me, mold me, fill me, use me. Spirit of the living God, fall afresh on me.
It’s good to be back. Pullen still feels like home to me. This is the place where I began my ministry in 1969. So, being here today feels like coming full circle. It reminds me of T.S. Eliot’s poem:
We shall not cease from exploring
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.
(“Little Gidding” in Four Quartets)
I arrived at Pullen way back when—back before the war. Which war?, you may ask. That was before the end of the Vietnam War. I got here when Bill Finlator was preaching fiery anti-war sermons from this pulpit. He was a ragtag prophet for peace and racial reconciliation, for the rights of workers, and for the abolition of the death penalty. I learned a lot from Bill; and where he has led, I have done my best to follow.