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What we hear in sermons

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

From a conversation with a totally animated man – who has just heard a sermon by a well known Canadian TV preacher.

“I didn’t know this.  The preacher said that the Bible was written in Latin.  And Martin Luther King translated it into English.”

Now, I realize that learning something new changes us.  Our perspectives are challenged.  With the rocking of our boat, we can then learn to walk on water or we can just wait to see what happens.

In this case, I am thinking a waiting attitude would be a good idea, as compared to acting on the waves of what you have heard.

I’m sure the sermon was on the Reformation.

Yes, the Bible was most commonly found in Latin during the Reformation (in the 1500’s).  Originally the Bible was written in Greek, Hebrew and Aramaic – not Latin.

Martin Luther (in the 1500’s) was the one who took the Bible and translated it into the vernacular – in his case this was German.  More often we hear the names Tyndale and Wycliffe when we think of the English Bible.  Martin Luther King was a civil rights activist in the 1900’s.

I was excited with my friend that he was having to push the “rethink” button.  Not so excited that we sometimes hear something that is not spoken!

Doing Cartwheels–literally

Tuesday, November 21st, 2017

What was young life like for those 80 and over.  Two of my friends gave the following description.

When they were younger (in their teens) they used to do cartwheels.  Not like we think of cartwheels.

They literally stretched themselves across cartwheels, holding on to the spokes (with their midsection covering the hub of the wheel).  The horse would then be invited to go as fast as possible.  For safety’s sake, a spoke was removed to allow for their head to be place within the cartwheel (thus not allowing the head – which had no helmet – to touch the ground in the rotations of the wheel).

When you got too dizzy you just fell off the wheel – or were expelled from the wheel – which ever sounds better!

Upon hearing this story from two witnesses, I was justly horrified.

They just laughed. 

Maybe we are a bit too protective in our day and age?

Sometimes I’m not sure

Monday, November 20th, 2017

My daily reading is taking me through the Old Testament book of I Chronicles.

In a younger day, I spent a good bit of time looking over the two books of Chronicles.  There is obviously an author who is related to the administration of the religious system in Israel.  The extensive genealogy has an expectation that these people are related – and closely involved in the theocracy we would call the Jewish Nation.

I hit I Chronicles 23 a few days ago.  I’m still pondering.

David changes the organizational functioning of the sect – particularly as he anticipates the building of a permanent temple versus the tent of meeting and the area involved with sacrifices.  And yet, he refers back to the original patterns God set for Moses as not being changed.

First, he counts Levites who are 30 years old and older (Moses had consider 25 –50 year age range for religious service – [Numbers 8:24-25]).  Then David states that service in the religious order of the Levites begins with those who are 20 years old and older.

Somewhere in here, David changes the age for service.  Without consulting Moses!  Something has changed in the society since Moses was running things.

The Levites are God’s – in place of all the first born males of all of Israel (Moses statement in Numbers 8:16).  They perform work for the Aaronite priests (a subunit of the Levites).  They care for the sacred objects and the tent/temple.  They sing and they let people in and out of the door to the sacred house of God.

And they are judges – in David’s administration (I Chronicles 23:4).

A question runs around my head. 

If David could change the vocational qualifications for the religious assistants – for worship leaders, judges, assistants to the priests, singers and gatekeepers – what part of the office is sacrosanct and what part is negotiable?

Are we too much taken up with ourselves when we set qualifications for church leaders related to age, and perhaps even gender?

OK, that’s two questions – somewhat related!!!

Ahitophel and Hushai

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Tiny words make a difference.

Take the story of Ahitophel and Hushai.

Both were advisors to King David of Israel back in BC days (or BCE days if you are into that type of calendar). 

Here is the line from I Chronicles 27:33 in the Hebrew Scriptures. 

Ahithophel was the king’s counselor. Hushai the Archite was the king’s friend.

Sounds innocent enough.  But here’s the rest of the story.

Ahithophel was a vocation type of guy.  He was wise and strategic.  When he saw that David’s son, Absalom was planning a coup, he joined Absalom.  His calling was advising the rich and famous.  He followed the wave, served as an advisor to Absalom, and was called a “yaats” (Hebrew transliteration that leaves lots to be desired).

Hushai was a “rea” (another Hebrew transliteration that leaves lots to be desired).  He was a friend type of guy.  He was wise and strategic.  When he saw that David’s son, Absalom was planning a coup, he clung more tenaciously to David.  He volunteered to be a spy, serve as an advisor to Absalom, and give disinformation to Absalom.

Hushai won in winning over Absalom and saved David’s life (as well as leading to Absalom’s losing a battle with his father and losing his life as well).  Hushai is noted as a “rea” – a friendly counselor.

Ahithophel lost in winning over Absalom’s heart and he committed suicide.  In his usual way of doing things, “When Ahithophel realized that his advice had not been followed, he saddled his donkey, went to his hometown, set his affairs in order, and hanged himself. He died there and was buried in the family tomb.”  (II Samuel 17:23).  Ahithophel is merely mentioned as a “yaats” – a counselor/advisor.

Generational sayings

Monday, November 20th, 2017

Last night I was with some of my favourite seniors (senior-seniors, as in 80 – 100 years old).  They always surprise me with new thoughts, that are really old thoughts.

When I grew a beard, they wanted to start a fundraiser to buy me razors.  As I delved into there aversion to my beard, I found that they were the young people in World War II.  You were clean shaven as a male – gas masks fit best on an unbearded skin.  These clean shaven men were the choice husbands that many of the women sought.  Good looking was clean shaven.

Last night this was the saying that came out – supposedly given to one of my 90 year olds by her grandmother (making the saying probably a century and a half old):

A whistling woman and a cackling hen

Is neither good to beast nor men

Help me with this one.  Where does this come from? 

And yes, some of the other 90 year olds thought this was sexist!!

The visit of changes

Thursday, November 16th, 2017

Yesterday was drop in day – at our local Peavey Mart store.

Things have changed.  The aisles are clear and non-claustrophobic.   Items are easily seen.  The atmosphere is exciting.

A new manager is in place.  Things are changing.

I have two types of store adventures I enjoy.  Peavey Mart has been able to provide both.

The CMS store style.  In my younger days, with preschool kids, I liked to visit CMS in Regina, Saskatchewan.  At that time, the store was crowded.  Things were just thrown in bins with “approximate” costs attached – or you suggested a price at the till. 

I call this the scrounger store – you come to see what you can find.

Then there is the upscale store.  The store is “designed”.  Colors are soothing, the merchandise is accessible and the staff are helpful.  The floors are waxed and the shelves are dusted.

I call this the open concept store – you come to see what they have.

Which store do you find attracts you?

Of Age

Wednesday, November 15th, 2017

I grew up in the late 60’s and 70’s.  Even the 80’ got a bit of the splash over!  We were about free love and thumbing authority.   We might add tolerance and peace on earth. (OK, some of us . . . not all!)

I remember the songs of that age.  “Let there be peace on earth” was a great favourite.  Our community choir just sang a song called “Hand in Hand”.  From the early 80’s, this song could have as easily been written a decade earlier.

The idea of peace, of loving one another, of full acceptance are all there in the song.  As well as joining hands so that we won’t fall (or be overtaken by sinister forces).

And my mind went off on one of it’s weird tangents.  I remember singing the song, “Onward Christian Soldiers” as a kid.  We were all about being a group together, joining the “happy song”, and blending our voices.  Then the song went out of fashion because it was too “militaristic and violent.”  After all, we were all about peace and love!

“Hand in Hand” was the more politically correct way to approach life.  Be a group together, join in happy signing, blend our voices.

Although . . . somehow this seems like a militaristic theme as well.  Join the army of the peaceniks.  What was revealed in the next decades was a new type of non-violent violence and intolerance that mingled with the lofty words.

Perhaps we were just singing the words backwards? 

The words that pop out of our mouths

Tuesday, November 14th, 2017

The other day I was in the grocery store.  The sales were as usual, the prices as usual, all was as usual.

Until a lady I know approached me.  The gist of the following conversation was along the lines of her great sense of oppression and of a world gone wrong.

I’m not great at being a counselor, but I assured her that God was with her.  She did not need to be chained by a swirling, whirling, out of control world.

As she left, I turned to her and gave her a blessing – a thing we learn as pastors (which is not a bad thing for anyone to do).  There was no preparation, nor liturgical formula, or even a written out sentence.

This just popped out.

“May you have a free spirit, that is only a slave to Jesus Christ.”

Not sure where that came from, but I think the idea is sound.

Addicts of the best king

Wednesday, November 8th, 2017

Today was the seniors complex – off for a devotional at 9:30 in the morning.

Not everyone was wide awake until I used a little reverse word definition on them.  You know, the type where you say one thing, and we all go into a tizzy!  And then we redirect our understanding and we all agree!

I started off talking about working on a committee regarding addictions.  Why does the addict stay addicted?  How do they get unaddicted?  Some answer were fairly quickly forthcoming.

Then I told them that in 1755 (according to a few internet sources), “devotion” was related to addiction.  I asked why they come to meet together on a Wednesday morning for devotions?  What were they addicted to?

The Sunday School answer was right! 


And then I asked what would get them unaddicted to Jesus.  On a scale of one to ten, where did they stand in their addiction to Jesus. 

We don’t need a safe injection site to get us off of Jesus.  We don’t need an AA program. 

If anything, we need a full bore ahead opportunity to mine all that Jesus is and has for us. 

Halloween Statistics

Thursday, November 2nd, 2017

Amazing how the small things of life become great talking points.

Where have all the trick-or-treaters gone?

Yesterday I was in a group of people after a choir practice.  We were all comparing those who came to the door.  For Halloween.

One related how a few years ago they had well over 100.  Another said they lived in an apartment and had no one.  We had 19.  Others not many more.  Another mentioned that they were on the other side of the street from a home where “full” chocolate bars were handed out – thus their home was missed.

Not to complain – but I bought lots of candy.

And I don’t need to be eating all of it (although I’m sure a little can’t hurt!).