Pastors Letter: August

Altar A. Ego

Either-Or Syndrome

Have you noticed that we seem to be suffer from the Either-0r syndrome today? “Either you are with us or against us. You can’t have it both ways.” Few things are more seductive than the temptation to give in to this response to life and its challenges. No approach to our fundamental human relationships has more potential for harm. It appears superficially logical. In its failure to recognize the deep complexities of the real world, however, it leads to error, harsh judgemental-ism and divisions.

In the church fundamental and conservative groups claim to have a monopoly on the truth. When you have been around as long as I have, you soon learn that there is room for a wide range of interpretation within Christianity. In- deed, there’s not one view of who Jesus is in the New Testament itself but several. What enrages critics is that anyone would dare to take ancient Christian truths and state them in a more contemporary way. They would like to think one has lost his faith when what has actu -ally happened is they have "lost” theirs.

While there isn’t a single discipline, sci- ence, or aspect of human knowledge that has- n’t undergone massive changes since the dawn of the modern era. These Christian folks still demand we accept their rigid religious beliefs or be treated as though we were heretics or worse.

The spiritual longings of most of western society are not being met by institutional Christianity because of this. The question we must ask is: Why should a God who would reveal Himself to humankind suddenly stop in the first century A.D.? Is it not possible that He is trying to say something as im- portant to us today as anything He said 2000 years ago? Why shouldn’t the view of the earth’s “rise" as seen from the surface of the moon be at least as reve-latory of God’s nature as something "spoken” by God ages ago?

One critic affirmed in a letter that religion is like mathematics. Some answers are closer to the truth than others but “only one answer is the correct one.” It was a case of either his answer or none. What a pity. What about the many millions who confess other faiths?


Funny, I recall the Gospel verse most ignored by either – Or people: Luke 9:50 - Jesus said, “for whoever is not against you is for you.” I take fresh hope for the church and see a ministry to politicians in this passage. I think we need to follow the good Lord and the words of that new hymn, “make the circle wider so that all may come in.”

What do you think? Warmly,

Pastor Mike

Sacrifice bunt to win

Let’s talk Baseball.  We are in the midst of the season looking forward to who will be in the world Series.  Week after week we hear announcers calling play by play adding excitement to the sport. “Bottom of the ninth….two to two….bases are loaded….one out….the wind up and throw…Swing…and there it goes…long ball to left field…easy out, but the man on third tags up and trots home.  sacrifice fly...game over…what an ending.”

It occurred to me that sacrifice is not a word we use much these days, is it? You are out but you helped someone else score a run.  Baseball is one of the few sports where you lose, but the team still gains. When was the last time you used the word, sacrifice, or thought about it in terms of your own life?

Do you remember the way comedian George Carlin spells it out in his routine about the contrast between the hardness of football and the softness of baseball? He says: In football you Tackle! In baseball, you “catch flies...” In football you Punt! In baseball you “bunt...” Football is played on a Gridiron! Baseball is played on a “field...” In football you Score! In baseball you “go home...” In football you Kill! In baseball you “sacrifice...”

Baseball may be the only sport where you hear this word. It is one of the few places anywhere that we hear it in a self-centered, take-care-of-yourself don’t-worry-about-anybody-else society. In contrast to football, sacrifice may sound like a sign of weakness, but I hardly think of any of the Tigers or Yankees as weak. Baseball’s one thing; life is quite another. Who sacrifices anything in a time like ours? Who really denies themselves and takes up crosses anymore? I’m thinking that maybe many of our problems today could be solved if we trusted God’s plan for our life and realize we need to sacrifice many of our hopes and dreams so that God’s providence can score, and we all win.   

 

Just a thought.

Yours, laying down a bunt up the first base line to score the winning run from third.

 

Altar A. Ego