Sunday, June 27, 2010

fall study, anyone?

I just finished reading Brian McLaren's "A New Kind of Christianity:  Ten Questions That Are Transforming the Faith" and would be excited to discuss the book with others.  McLaren began a house church which became a megachurch, but he'll help you shed prejudices about what that means.   "A New Kind of Christianity" challenged me, delighted me, and renewed my spirit.  Among the things I respect about the book:
  • McLaren takes seriously reading the Bible and his study doesn't shy away from hard questions.  (You got a taste of his type of study in Maggie's sermon last week.)  His are some of the most beautiful, careful expositions of scripture I have read - made me want to pick up my Bible are read more!
  • McLaren poses that the church exists "to form Christlike people, people of Christlike love."  I began to wonder how that does and doesn't mesh with how we at CUCC see ourselves.
  • McLaren has a gift for using metaphors to explain very complicated theological ideas.  He is by training and nature a "story" person - I think he was an English major - so his mind works in those paths.  He has a wide-ranging intellect and a scholarly disposition, but he also knows how to tell and appreciate a good story.  He is fun to read.
  • McLaren is starting a discussion, not presenting the answers.  And he asks great questions.
Who might gain something from discussing this book?
  • People who have been burned by churches and theology, yet are drawn to keep asking the questions and long for a community of Jesus people.  McLaren grapples with the hard, excluding questions of Biblical authority, damnation, and "one way - our way - to God."  Consistently he discovers the loving God embodied in Jesus, but he doesn't do this by blaming or demeaning those with those traditional views.
  • People who seek to understand questions of sexuality, other faiths, justice, creation care, and the role of the church in the context of faith - and who aren't afraid of hard questions.  His is not a facile understanding of God's call to us.
  • People looking for a deeper understanding of theology or who enjoy Bible study.  Likewise, people who know nothing about the Bible and have never studied theology, but would like to start.
  • People who want to hear again, in another voice, the stories of our loving God.
If you'd be interested in a weekly or biweekly study begining in the fall, let me know.  The book has ten sections, so this would be a long study, but I think we'd need the time to engage in each section.  I'd be glad to lead or co-lead.  I'm thinking Monday, Tuesday or Sunday night at CUCC or at my house.  We could do a brown-bag supper.  Older youth and adults, in and beyond CUCC are welcome.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Share from your garden?

Are you growing any fruits or vegetables from your garden that you would be willing to contribute for our pizzas and wraps during God's Green Earth, July 23 to 25?

"On Fathering" - a sermon by Maggie Leidheiser-Stoddard

Last Sunday Maggie preached about the way God fathers us.  The sermon explored the ramifications of God's fathering for how we make complicated decisions, using the universal church's conflict over welcoming LGBT people as an example.  Her sermon explores some of the few Bible passages regarding same-sex sexuality and might be helpful if you have been looking for a serious and respectful engagement with scripture.   If you missed hearing Maggie, here is your opportunity to read the sermon.

From the final paragraph of the sermon:
"But God doesn't tell us what to do. God doesn't make it simple for us. God has given us the freedom to make our own choices, and God has given us a set of tools to guide us in making those choices – our intellect, our morals and values, our collective history, our life experiences, our Bible, our personal relationship with God, and of course, our Savior. If we make every effort to use not just one or two of these gifts, but all of them, and if we are courageous enough to stand up and take responsibility for our words and actions, then we will be living out God's promise for our lives. And maybe, in doing so, we can make our Abba proud."

Monday, June 14, 2010

Exciting new ... door signs?

What is exciting about putting up new restroom signs converting our fellowship hall men's and women's bathrooms into "anyone" bathrooms?
At our June 6 panel on understanding the challenges faced by transgendered people, we learned that restrooms are a major challenge.  Does a transperson use a men's or women's room?  Does it depend on where the person is on the transition journey?   Is it safe?  How will people respond?
By acclamation, the CUCC folks present requested that our property ministry change these two one-person bathrooms from gender-specific to gender-welcoming.  And thanks to Lena, our new signs are already in place.

Paper? Plastic? Neither?

Did you see the graphic in today's science section in the N&O quantifying the resources used to make & dispose of single-use bags?
1000 paper bags:  33.9 kg municipal waste, 3800 liters water, 649 millijoules electricity, 922 millijoules fossil fuel
1000 recyclable plastic bags:  4.7 kg municipal waste, 151 liters water, 148 millijoules electricity, 457 millijoules fossil fuel
You can decorate your own canvas bag at God's Green Earth on July 24.
The hard part for me is remembering to use the bags.  What helps you remember?  Do you think you would remember more often if we had some sort of a habit-forming contest at CUCC - something silly and fun?  Maybe take a pledge to use the bags a certain number of times during the summer, then award prizes at Welcome Back Sunday?  Or put up a gold star on the JCC bulletin board each week for canvas bags used?  I'm looking forward to your comments.  If you don't blog, email or call me.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

God's Green Earth date set - bring a friend!

Mark your calendars for July 23 and 24 as we celebrate God's creation and enjoy caring for it.  If you would be willing to bring an item for one of the meals or to help with set up or clean up for a meal, call Jane Smith.  This is an intergenerational event and friends are welcome!  Schedule of events