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Showing posts from January, 2016

It's like those Christians have a different word for everything! 5) Trinity

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Hespeler, 31 January, 2016 © Scott McAndless 2 Corinthians 13:11-13, Matthew 28:16-20, John 14:1-17, Psalm 8 O ne Tuesday morning several years ago, I was busy, working in my office, crafting a sermon, when I was interrupted by a phone call. The woman on the other end of the line only introduced herself as Sister Eunice. She wouldn’t say who she was calling for or what her goals were, but she wanted to ask me some questions. I, perhaps somewhat foolishly, agreed to try and answer them.       She started asking her questions and it quickly became clear to me that, in her mind at least, I was on trial and that if I did not give what she saw as the right answers, she would judge me a heretic or worse. Then she asked this question: “Is Jesus Christ God?” She wanted a yes or no answer.
Actually, I guess she wanted a yes answer. But let me tell you something: the Christian church spent a few hundred years trying to figure out how to give anything but a yes or no answer to that very question…

It's like those Christians have a different word for everything 4) Repent

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Hespeler, 24 January, 2016 © Scott McAndless Mark 1:14-20, Ephesians 4:17-5:2, Psalm 32 A ccording to the Gospel of Mark, Jesus really only had one sermon – one message that summed up all of the others. “Jesus came to Galilee, proclaiming the good news of God, and saying,‘The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God has come near; repent, and believe in the good news.’” That is how Mark introduced the entire preaching ministry of Jesus – essentially a three point sermon: 1) The kingdom of God is here. 2) repent and 3) accept that this is good news.       And all evidence seems to indicate that his message found an audience. People appreciated it and received it as the good news that he said that it was. Think about that for a moment: the centrepiece of the message is repent. When was the last time you heard somebody telling people to repent and it sounded like good news to you?
    If you were walking down the street one day and a little bit ahead of you at the street corner you saw …

Book Review: Searching for Sunday by Rachel Held Evans

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I do not make it a habit to review or recommend books, but reading this book by Rachel Held Evans has made me think that it might well be time to think of changing that policy.

Searching for Sunday is the story of one woman's journey from her beginnings in the American Evangelical Church tradition through doubt, crises of faith, rejection, despair and hope. It is a very contemporary story of Christian life that has many parallels in the lives of various people I have known. The subtitle of the book is, "Loving, leaving and finding the church," and I just find that there are so many of us who are living in the very difficult and challenging space between those three verbs.

While Evan's book ventures into a number of areas of doctrine, theology and especially sacramental practice, it is at it's heart the story of a personal journey of disruption of what was once taken for granted, the loss and despair that come with that, and an unrelenting faith that prompts her to…

It's like these Christians have a different word for everything 3) Faith

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Hespeler, 17 January, 2016 © Scott McAndless Matthew 21:18-22, James 2:14-26, Romans 10:11-17 D o you remember the first time you read this morning’s passage from the Gospel of Matthew? I sure do. I don’t know how old I was, but I must have been fairly young when I came across it because I remember finding it pretty darn exciting.       When I read that Jesus said, Truly I tell you, if you have faith and do not doubt… if you say to this mountain, ‘Be lifted up and thrown into the sea,’ it will be done,” I was all ready to go. Jesus’ instructions couldn’t have been more clear. All I had to do was believe – I mean be really certain without even doubting a little tiny bit that I could do it – and I would have fig trees and mountains and pieces of chalk and blackboard erasers flying through the air in no time. Ha, ha! People couldn’t help but notice me then! (I was a bit of a shy and retiring child.) Did I try? You bet I did! Come on, admit it, you tried it too, didn’t you? I remember sitting…

Some reflections on a first session working on "Body, Mind and Soul"

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Last night we held our first session at St. Andrew's Hespeler to start to work through the document, "Body, Mind and Soul: Thinking together about human sexuality and sexual orientation in The Presbyterian Church in Canada." I must say that I found the session a little bit hard to prepare for and that I didn't know what to expect going in.

The discussions that we held together were held in an intentional atmosphere of openness and confidentiality so that people could be able to speak freely and not fear that their words or views would be shared. So I am not at liberty to share any particular words or views expressed. But I know that a lot of people who are leading these discussions are having a hard time figuring out how to do them well. So I would like to at least share a few observations and insights that might be helpful to others who are planning or preparing.

1) Questions of why we are doing this
I thought that I had a pretty good understanding going in of why we…

It's like those Christians have a different word for everything! 2) Sin

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Hespeler, 10 January, 2016 © Scott McAndless Romans 7:7-25, Psalm 14, Luke 7:36-47       "H ello, my name is Scott and I am a sinner." Of all the lessons that the Christian church could learn from the world around us, I suspect that the greatest one would be to borrow that phrase from organizations like Alcoholics Anonymous and adapt them to the challenges that we face living as Christians in the world.       Think for a moment about how that phrase functions within an AA meeting. The most important part of any meeting is when the various members stand up and share from their own experience – stories about their personal struggles with addiction and the problems that have come out of that struggle for themselves and the people that they love.       But before they get into any of that, every single one of them introduces himself or herself as an alcoholic or an addict. They all say it and that includes both the person who has not had a single drink in fifteen years and the p…

It's like those Christians have a different word for everything: 1) Salvation

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Hespeler, 3 January, 2016 © Scott McAndless Matthew 14:22-33, Acts 16:25-34; Psalm 106:6-13, 19-21 O ne of my favourite Steve Martin comedy routines goes like this: “Let me give you a warning, okay.” he says on his album, A Wild and Crazy Guy. “I was in Paris about two months ago and – it was just a little vacation, I was on the east coast, I had seven days off and said ‘Well, I’ll just go over there and go to Paris.’ But let me give you a warning if you’re going over there. Here’s an example: chapeau means hat. Œuf means egg. It’s like those French have a different word for everything! See, you never appreciate your language till you go to a foreign country that doesn’t have the courtesy to speak English.”       I like that routine because it is an important reminder that language matters and sets us apart from one another. But, even more important, it reminds us that when you live in a unilingual environment – when, in your day-to-day life, you go without meeting people who can’t sp…