February 2013


What, really, constitutes a meaningful fast?

I’ve been thinking about that question as Lent approached – it seems useful to have an answer before Lent arrives …  Or maybe just to arrive at an answer during Lent …

When I was growing up, I remember, I was encouraged to give up desserts, or to watch less TV, or not to eat meat one day a week.  And as I grew older, I became less certain how meaningful any of these acts are.  At least on the level at which I practiced them, they were pretty trivial (and non life changing) disciplines. (more…)

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I was rereading the story of Noah in Genesis today.  It’s so obvious to me, now, that this is not actual history and that the story uses two sources that I have to remind myself that this was not always so.

The sources are pretty obvious (if mixed together) when you look at the story  We go back and forth between one pair (a male and a female) of every species in the first source and seven pairs of all clean species (and only one pair of all unclean species) in the second source.  (more…)

This morning’s sermon in Elk Grove:

 

In this morning’s reading from the Hebrew Scriptures, we read about Jeremiah’s call.  The word of the Lord came to Jeremiah.  “Before I formed you in the womb,”  he is told, “I knew you, and before you were born, I consecrated you; I appointed you a prophet to the nations.”

But Jeremiah says, “Ah, Lord God!  Truly I do not know how to speak, for I am only a boy.”  It’s actually not clear how literally true this might have been.  There are Jewish traditions (seemingly based on how little he said in the first thirteen years of his career before King Josiah died) that he may have been commissioned at birth!  And the word “boy” in Jeremiah’s response could mean any male between an infant and a young man!  His career really seems to take off when Jehoiakim takes over as king.  All told, he spends forty years prophesying before the temple is destroyed. (more…)