Archives for February 2018
Text: Mark 7:1-23
It was my plan this morning to talk with you about loophole religion. I figured it was a topic all of us could relate to—from the youngest to the oldest—for no matter what age, none of us like to be told no. We have become used to getting what we want in life, and we are especially cranky when things don’t work out in our favor. So it’s only human to look for the loophole when things don’t go our way.
Children are great loophole finders. Take for example the question that every parent has been asked by his or her child: “Is it ever okay to lie?” Answer as you will, but just know that is a loophole question waiting to happen. But it’s not just children who are good loophole finders, all of us are. Researchers have even coined the term “the loophole generation” when it comes to the current generation and online education.
Adults, however, might actually be the masters of finding the loophole in just about any situation. Case in point, the story of the man who flies free thanks to pudding. David Phillips is a University of California civil engineer. In 1999, he noticed that on the box of one of his Healthy Choice frozen dinners was a promotion they were doing with an airline. Anyone who sent in ten barcodes from the frozen dinners would get 1,000 frequent flyer miles in return. Get enough of those miles and the airline lets you fly for free. [Read more…]
Text: Luke 19:41-42
“As he came near and saw the city, Jesus wept over it, saying, ‘If you, even you, had only recognized on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.”
And here we are in 2018, in the midst of increasing tensions between the leaders of our nation and North Korea, each threatening the other with nuclear war, and we hear these words from Jesus, “If you, even you, had only recognized…the things that make for peace.” It was just last August that the U.S. Region of the Columbans, in dialogue with their fellow missionaries in South Korea, issued a statement of deep concern. It read, in part:
“We call on leaders of all nations, but particularly the United States, North Korea and South Korea to pursue all paths to peace and all channels of dialogue and inclusive negotiation. The fate of millions of lives, the environment, and world peace is at stake…we must not lose hope for the human family, and future generations of life on earth. Diplomacy has worked before with North Korea. It can again save lives and promote peace.”
Diplomacy has worked before, United States. Can we recognize the things that make for peace?
Thursday night I attended the Triangle Interfaith Alliance annual dinner at the Islamic Association of Raleigh along with several other Pullenites. When I arrived, I was informed that I would be sitting at the head table. This being so because I had helped secure the keynote speaker for the evening. Upon arriving at my table I sat down by a man named André. We introduced ourselves to one another followed by some idle chatter. It wasn’t too long before another friend walked up and said, “Oh, I am so glad you are meeting one another. Nancy, this is my Buddhist friend André. He teaches meditation in our prison system.” For the next twenty minutes as we waited on dinner to be served I learned more of André’s journey. A retired GED teacher, André has been teaching meditation in the prisons for the past ten years. Two years into his retirement calling, his son was murdered in a random act of violence. André shared with me that when his son was murdered that everyone assumed he would stop going to the prison to teach meditation to the prisoner’s—men on death row for murder, possibly the man who killed his son. But in a voice that can only be described as a wisdom voice André said to me, “How could I not keep going? In the aftermath of my son being murdered it was more important that I go. There had to be redemption. There had to be some peace.” [Read more…]