Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

June 20, 2010/ Paul's Understanding of Equality – Galatians 3:23-29

Paul can be tough to read.  George Bernard Shaw (maybe my favorite playwright of all time) called Paul a “Monstrous Imposition upon Jesus” and the “eternal enemy of woman.”  

I’ve heard lay people, clergy, and educators refer to Paul as a sexist.   But Elaine H.  Pagels, in a talk given to the American Academy of Religion in Chicago in 1973 called “Paul and Women,” refuted this stereotypical liberal critique, citing that  Paul affirmed not only  “the activity of women as leaders in his churches but also the reciprocal relation between man and woman in marriage.”  

Professor Robin Scroggs, in an article called “Paul and the Eschatological Woman” in the Journal of the American Academy of Religion (1972) called Paul not only a feminist, but “the only certain and consistent spokesman for the liberation and equality of women in the NT.”

Maybe sometimes Paul comes off a little strange.  He never made any claim to being a great guy.  He honestly admitted that he was one to go out of his way to persecute and even conspire to murder followers of Christ.  His message was always “If I can be saved, anybody can be saved.”  Paul’s ministry was a sign that no one is beyond the pail.

Here in Galatians 3:23 -29, Paul clearly states that all status differences between man and woman, Jew and non-Jew, slave and free are illusory, not ordained by God, and antithetical to the teachings of Christ.  Come to Sunset Park this Sunday and find out about what the early Christians taught about equality from my sermon.  See why those who foster male dominance as a Christian belief (or Jewish or Muslim for that matter) need to reconsider the writings of St. Paul.  And then, stick around for some really good soup.

Sermon on June 6! Paul tells his own story in Galatians 1: 11-17

Can you imagine the crust?  In a world there there were those who personally walked with Jesus Christ in the flesh, for Paul to pass himself off as one who received the truth not from a teacher or a preacher, but by the “revelation of Jesus Christ.”

Paul, who never knew Jesus…

Paul, the expert in Jewish law who went out of his way to persecute the followers of Jesus…

He claims that he was forcefully converted on his way to arrest Jesus’ followers in Damascus.  Instead of arresting them, he went there to preach the words of Jesus without stopping to study in a seminary and without checking in with the good folks in Jerusalem whom Jesus personally chose and taught in life.

The way Paul tells it here, God chose “to reveal his Son in me.” That’s some kind of claim.

Does the letter Paul wrote to the Galatians bear out that claim?  Or is Paul just bragging, building a case for himself and letting the truth take a hike, as many public figures do today?  Come find out for certain this Sunday because I will not shrink from addressing those and other questions.  Come have some soup (gourmet soup, not from a can) and consider Paul’s story on its own merits.  It is quite a tale.

Sing a New Song/ Psalm 96/ Sunday May 30, 2010

Ever wonder about Psalm 96?  Like what does it mean to sing a new song?  Does it have to be good, or just new?  How new?  How does a new song glorify God?

08 New Sun In the Sky

What does it mean that God is God and the other gods are just Idols?

How can we let the heavens rejoice, the earth be glad, the sea roar, and the fullness thereof?   How can we let the field be joyful and the trees rejoice?

What does it mean to us, on the local level, that God will judge the world with righteousness?  Come find out!  Sunday at 11am I will confront these questions head on.  Come have some soup.  Last week it was chicken gumbo.  I wonder what’s in store on the 30th?

Pentecost Service at Sunset Park, May 23, 2010

It was during the Feast of Weeks, fifty days after the Resurrection, that Peter and the disciples became fully conscious of the Holy Spirit as power.  The whole experience was new and strange.  It was seen by observers at first as a drunken rave, then as a miracle, or a wonder.  In reality it was a sign.  By that I mean it was an odd occurrence that has the purpose of drawing our attention to an important but overlooked truth.  This could not have been the spontaneous or ecstatic of outpouring of inarticulate sounds that many Biblical scholars claim.  What would be the point of that?  Inarticulate sounds are not miraculous but quite commonplace.  The miracle (the sign)  was the sudden ability of the disciples to speak to those who were visiting Jerusalem for the Feast of Weeks from all over the known world in their own languages and be understood.  The point of the story is universal understanding, not the emotional glories of inarticulate utterances.  It’s all about an understanding that crosses national and sectarian boundaries.  This sign was for all people, as Luke writes in Acts 1:8, “from the uttermost parts of the world,” or every nation under heaven.  There is no reference made in Acts 2: 1-21 to any specific belief or faith being a necessary condition for receiving the Holy Spirit.   This was the rebuilding of the tower of Babel.

Anyone who thinks the United Nations is an inherently bad idea needs to look at this passage carefully and consider the meaning of the miracle.

Come join us at Sunset Park Christian Church (DOC) for our Pentecost service, Sunday May 23, 2010, at 11 a.m.  I plan to speak directly of the miraculous and celebrate the true birth of the Church.  After the service, stick around for a bowl for Myrtle Shubert’s homemade soup.  Find out for sure whether or not I know how to pronounce words like “Phrygia” and “Pamphilia.”