Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Author: Tisha Anderson

Honorable Mentions: Bigger Than Me, Higher than I, July 7, 2019

Honorable Mentions: Bigger Than Me, Higher than I, July 7, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

 

Bible References:  Psalm 61:1-4; Job 36:13-15; James 1:2-8

Quotes:  First the fall, and then recovery from the fall—and both are the mercy of God–Julian of Norwich

Books:  Adam’s Return: The Five Promises of Male Initiation, by Richard Rohr https://www.amazon.com/Adams-Return-Five-Promises-Initiation/dp/082452280X/ref=sr_1_2?crid=CKB052IS74G3&keywords=adam%27s+return+the+five+promises+of+male+initiation&qid=1562858170&s=gateway&sprefix=Adam%27s+re%2Caps%2C166&sr=8-2

Story:  A Mother’s Advice

Jiun, a Shingon master, was a well-known Sanskrit scholar of the Tokugawa era. When he was young he used to deliver lectures to his brother students.

His mother heard about this and wrote him a letter:

“Son, I do not think you became a devotee of the Buddha because you desired to turn into a walking dictionary for others. There is no end to information and commentation, glory and honor. I wish you would stop this lecture business. Shut yourself up in a little temple in a remote part of the mountain. Devote your time to meditation and in this way attain true realization.”

Video:  Our Place in the Universe

Honorable Mentions: Doubt Solidly, June 30, 2019

Honorable Mentions: Doubt Solidly, June 30, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References:  James 1:5-8; James 3:13-18; Matthew 11:29

Quotes:  I talk to God but the sky is empty.–Sylvia Plath

The fundamental cause of the trouble is that in the modern world the stupid are cocksure while the intelligent are full of doubt.― Bertrand Russell

Doubt everything. Find your own light.–Buddha Siddhartha Guatama Shakyamuni

Doubt is the partner of faith.–Paul Tillich

The opposite of faith is not doubt. The opposite of faith is certainty.–Anne Lamott

Prayer from Thomas Merton:

My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going.

I do not see the road ahead of me.

I cannot know for certain where it will end.

Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so.

But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you.

And I hope I have that desire in all that I am doing. I hope that I will never do anything apart from that desire.

And I know that if I do this you will lead me by the right road, though I may know nothing about it.

Therefore will I trust you always, though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death.

I will not fear, for you are ever with me, and you will never leave me to face my perils alone.

Honorable Mentions: Letting Go, June 23, 2019

Honorable Mentions: Letting Go, June 23, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References: James 1:7-8; Malachi 2:16; Jeremiah 3:1; John 20:17

Quotes:  “Take your Christian head off, shake it wildly, and put it back on!”—Rohr, The Universal Christ

“Men at Robert’s age are often unstable.”-Edna, from the Incredibles https://getyarn.io/yarn-clip/a5a0ea50-71f8-4be1-b0f1-5c8b76535730

Book References:  The Universal Christ, by Richard Rohr

 

Food for Thought: What Do Words Mean? June 19, 2019

Food for Thought: What Do Words Mean? June 19, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Please note that we will be having our monthly potluck next week on July 26th, a time to eat and spend some time together.

Reference was made to this article by Isaac Asimov, entitled the “Relativity of Wrong.”  https://chem.tufts.edu/AnswersInScience/RelativityofWrong.htm

What do Words Mean?

Love.    How do we know what love is?

Do we need more precision? (It was mentioned that Greek has five words, and our word can reference anything from hot dogs to mothers!)

Is a precise definition in terms of chemical and electric responses in the brain enough to define it? Why do we seem to believe that it is something more? Is that a delusion?

For that matter, what about other emotions? Are these the result of the evolutionary need for survival and nothing more?

 “You know you’re in love when you can’t fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams.” ― Dr. Seuss

 “Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate: only love can do that.” –MLK

“The opposite of love is not hate, it’s indifference. The opposite of art is not ugliness, it’s indifference. The opposite of faith is not heresy, it’s indifference. And the opposite of life is not death, it’s indifference.” –Elie Weisel

“Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage.” ― Lao Tzu

 

 Truth.  

What would a definition of truth look like? Would it fill an entire book or set of books? Would that be enough?  

 What are we looking for when we search for truth? Would we know it if we came upon it?

  Haven’t we known it in portions at least before? How did we know?

What is meant by “my truth”? Is that an altogether bad idea? Is that an altogether good idea?

“The reason I talk to myself is because I’m the only one whose answers I accept.”  ― George Carlin

 “The truth.” Dumbledore sighed. “It is a beautiful and terrible thing and should therefore be treated with great caution.” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone

“The truth is rarely pure and never simple.” ― Oscar Wilde, The Importance of Being Earnest

“The truth will set you free, but first it will piss you off.” ― Joe Klaas, Twelve Steps to Happiness

 “When I despair, I remember that all through history the way of truth and love have always won. There have been tyrants and murderers, and for a time, they can seem invincible, but in the end, they always fall. Think of it–always.”  ― Mahatma Gandhi

Honorable Mentions: Only Love Can Speak Truth, une 16, 2019

Honorable Mentions: Only Love Can Speak Truth, une 16, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References:  Luke 15: 11-32; Exodus 1:15-20; Joshua 2:1-7; Matthew 13; Ephesians 4.

Meditation:  “She is Love” https://cac.org/she-is-love-2019-06-13/

Books:  Julian of Norwich, Revelations of Divine https://www.amazon.com/Revelations-Divine-Love-Short-Text/dp/0140446737/ref=sr_1_3?crid=1YWKRDHD6BB83&keywords=julian+of+norwich&qid=1561050896&s=gateway&sprefix=julian+of+n%2Caps%2C169&sr=8-3

 

Food for Thought: Truth in Love, June 12, 2019

Food for Thought: Truth in Love, June 12, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Truth in Love

We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness. -the Declaration of Independence

Self-evident:    This means that we accept these truths as-is, with no need to establish them from the outside with evidence each time we begin a debate or discussion.

And from these “self-evident” truths, a foundation for Independence at the time is derived—and a foundation for an ongoing developing understanding of liberty and equality.

I think that any system of belief has some “truths” that are accepted as foundational—as “self-evident”.  “We are going to accept these as fundamental and build on them, not re-hashing them every time we begin.”

What a task to come up with THOSE!

Can our “self-evident” truths (within a belief system) be false? (of course) One can SINCERELY BELIEVE a falsehood. (Am I willing to accept that I too am capable of this?)

How do we test those without bringing the entire house down? (in any belief system—religious or otherwise)

I see Jesus questioning things that were not supposed to be questioned.

St. Paul seems to have believed that some truth about God was “self-evident”

For the wrath of God is revealed from heaven against all ungodliness and unrighteousness of men, who by their unrighteousness suppress the truth.  For what can be known about God is plain to them, because God has shown it to them.  For his invisible attributes, namely, his eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, ever since the creation of the world, in the things that have been made. So they are without excuse.

            The things that have been made are wonderful enough to not only imply, but prove, a Creator.

Yet many an intelligent and sincere philosopher would disagree!

           

Bertrand Russel: What is Truth? 

            Three requisites (requirements, necessary items) for a theory of truth

  • It must allow truth to have an opposite, namely falsehood
  • It makes truth a property of beliefs (not simply facts)
  • But that property is completely dependent upon the relation of beliefs to outside things (the truth of a belief ‘always depends on something which lies outside of the belief itself; a correspondence between belief and fact)

“We know that on very many subjects different people hold different and incompatible opinions; hence some beliefs must be erroneous. Since erroneous beliefs are often held just as strongly as true beliefs, it becomes a difficult question how they are to be distinguished from true beliefs.

Kantian Ethics and categorical imperatives:

            I have been asked to do several weeks without big words, so I apologize! It just means something like this:  It is ALWAYS wrong to lie, and you cannot make an exception based on consequences.

             Do we have examples of when lying is more in line with “the Truth” than not lying?

 What does truth look like in community?

Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.

Therefore, having put away falsehood, let each one of you speak the truth with his neighbor, for we are members one of another.  Be angry and do not sin; do not let the sun go down on your anger and give no opportunity to the devil.  Let the thief no longer steal, but rather let him labor, doing honest work with his own hands, so that he may have something to share with anyone in need.  Let no corrupting talk come out of your mouths, but only such as is good for building up, as fits the occasion, that it may give grace to those who hear.  And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.  Let all bitterness and wrath and anger and clamor and slander be put away from you, along with all malice.  Be kind to one another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, as God in Christ forgave you. (Ephesians 4)

 Truth in relationship, in community

What makes woodsEnd a place where you feel comfortable saying what you honestly think or believe?

What makes woodsEnd a place where you do NOT feel comfortable doing so?

For that matter, is there a LOVING way to be your authentic self, and is there an UNLOVING way to do so?

How does one practically “put away falsehood”? Can you identify “falsehood” in yourself?

How do these work against truth?       Anger, corrupting talk (?), bitterness, malice

How do these work with truth?            Kindness, tender-heartedness, forgiveness

 

What is the role of healthy boundaries? (things you are not allowed to know about me, places you may not inquire)

 

Honorable Mentions: What is Truth, June 9, 2019

Honorable Mentions: What is Truth, June 9, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References:  Matthew 23:15; John 18:37; Acts 17:26-28

Books:  Peter Rollins, How (not) to Speak of God (https://www.amazon.com/How-Not-Speak-Peter-Rollins/dp/1557255059/ref=sr_1_1?crid=2QW9XY0FJCLAC&keywords=how+not+to+speak+of+god&qid=1560443307&s=gateway&sprefix=how+not+to+speak%2Caps%2C163&sr=8-1)

Jamie Wright, The Very Worst Missionary:  A Memoir or Whatever (https://www.amazon.com/Very-Worst-Missionary-Memoir-Whatever/dp/0451496531/ref=sr_1_1?keywords=Jamie+Wright&qid=1560443384&s=gateway&sr=8-1)

Quotes:  Bertrand Russell, “Why didn’t you make yourself more obvious?”

Other:  Reference was made to philosophers Immanuel Kant and John Locke.

Reference was also made to epistemology and epistemological silence. Epistemology is the theory of knowledge, especially with regard to its methods, validity, and scope. Epistemology is the investigation of what distinguishes justified belief from opinion.  Epistemological silence, as definied by Peter Rollins is, “Humbly acknowledging that we do not have concrete “knowledge” of certain realities, while holding the deep conviction of our experience—god, spirit, sense of awe and wonder.”

Food for Thought: The Universal Christ with Father Richard Rohr. June 5, 2019

Food for Thought: The Universal Christ with Father Richard Rohr. June 5, 2019

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Here is a link to the video that was the foundation for our discussion on Wednesday night.   It is an interview that Oprah Winfrey did with Father Richard Rohr on his book, The Universal Christ.

http://www.oprah.com/own-super-soul-sunday/father-richard-rohr-the-universal-christ

 

Food for Thought: Twenty Questions (four or five of them at least), May 15, 2019

Food for Thought: Twenty Questions (four or five of them at least), May 15, 2019

Notes composed and discussion facilitated by Pastor Bryan Hackett.

Our mid-week services are designed for open discussion among a group of people with diverse philosophies and beliefs. These are the notes from those meetings, and reflect the desire to explore thought within and outside the Christian tradition. They do not represent official doctrine, but a willingness to explore our shared humanity. As such, they are somewhat incomplete without the experience of actual discussions. We post them here for the sake of those who would like to have them but cannot always make it out to a mid-week service.

Twenty Questions (four or five of them at least)

  1. What does it mean to live in the present moment? (mindfulness)

Jesus:                           Take therefore no thought for the morrow: for the morrow shall take thought for the things of itself. Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.

Thich Nhat Hanh:        Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.

Buddha:                       As you walk, eat, and travel, be where you are.

Woody Allen:              What if everything is an illusion and nothing exists? In that case, I definitely overpaid for my carpet.

 

  1. How does one obtain true peace?

Lao Tzu:                    When there is no desire, all things are at peace. (very Buddhist)

                                    Let it be still, and it will gradually become clear.

The Bible:                 Be still and know that I am God. (Is God known better in the stillness rather than the activity of the mind?)

Jesus:                         My peace I give you.

                                    Do not think that I came to bring peace, but a sword.

Douglas Adams:     He was a dreamer, a thinker, a speculative philosopher… or, as his wife would have it, an idiot.

 

3.  What is our greatest distraction?

Jesus:                           And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becomes unfruitful.

Ramana Maharshi:       Think of God; attachments will gradually drop away. If you wait till all desires disappear before starting your devotion and prayer, you will have to wait for a very long time indeed.

Ray Bradbury:             The Internet is a big distraction.

 

4.   What is the greatest quality humans possess?

Socrates:                      There is only one good, knowledge, and one evil, ignorance.

St. Paul                        There are three things that endure: faith, hope, and love. And the greatest of these is love.

Jesus                            No greater love has anyone than this: that he should lay down his life for his friends.

Lao Tzu:                      Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. 

Blaise Pascal:             The greatness of man is great in that he knows himself to be wretched. A tree does not know itself to be wretched.

Also: The greatness of man lies in his power of thought.

 Douglas Adams:          A common mistake that people make when trying to design something completely foolproof is to underestimate the ingenuity of complete fools.

Honorable Mentions: It Is Good, May 12, 2019

Honorable Mentions: It Is Good, May 12, 2019

What are Honorable Mentions?  They are the quotes, book references, videos, etc that may have been brought up during Sunday’s sermon and are posted here in case somebody would like to check them out.  Please remember that all references occurred within the context of the sermon.  Sermon delivered by Pastor Bryan Hackett. 

Bible References:  Genesis 1:1-31; Revelation 21:1-15; Psalm 92:1-4

Concepts: 

Lectio Divina:  This is just a Latin term for an old monastic way of reading sacred literature.  Richard Rohr describes it this way:  With the first reading, listen with your heart’s ear for a phrase or word that stands out for you. During the second reading, reflect on what touches you, perhaps speaking that response aloud or writing in a journal. Third, respond with a prayer or expression of what you have experienced and what it calls you to. Fourth, rest in silence after the reading. 

Enuma Elish:  The Babylonian creation myth.

Imago Dei:  People in the image of god. Reflecting the beauty of creation back to him.