Thought of the Week
A conductor was rehearsing with his orchestra and said to the trumpet player, “I think this part calls for a more Wagnerian approach – if you get what I mean – something more assertive, so to speak, more accentuated, with more body, more depth, more. . . “ The trumpet player interrupted. “Do you want it louder, sir?” All the poor conductor could say was, “Yes, that’s what I mean!”
Anthony deMello, Taking Flight. p. 175
Centennial Members' Blog
Inerrancy of the Scriptures.
This is the first point some thought was necessary in order to call one a Christian. To believe this is to completely deny the very fabric of history. People have always loved a good story. They have also loved to explain how they understand things, how events have transpired, and how their ancestors lived, loved, fought and overcame their many challenges.
Ancient writings exist because people have put forward their ideas and understandings about life. The collection of writings in our Bible were written by many different people, collected and edited by many others, and before having been written down they had been part of an oral tradition that may have existed for centuries.
The central story within the Bible for Christian’s is the stories about Jesus. Yet if these stories are so crucial why are they so different? Could they really be in contradiction with one another? For example the birth of Jesus was it in a stable (Luke) or in a town (Matthew)? Who was present the shepherds (Luke) or the magi (Matthew)? On the first Easter morning, who went to the tomb to find it empty? Mary Magdalene and the other Mary, as reported in Matthew; or did Salome accompany them as reported by Mark; or was it just ‘women’ as reported by Luke; or was it only Mary Magdalene as reported by John? If Jesus is such a central figure shouldn’t the followers of Jesus at least have gotten their facts correct?
What about the two different creation stories in Genesis 1 and Genesis 2? Would the sun standing still be a reality (Joshua 10:12-13), when in fact it would have to be the earth which would have to stop its orbit? What would be the result of something like that happening?
Scripture is essentially a human document outlining the experiences certain people have had in regards to that which they have called Holy. People’s writings can be most inspired but they are certainly not without human error, hence the Biblical account is a collection of inspired writings, but not without error.
Written on Thursday, 09 May 2013 15:19
in Members' Blog
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A translated poem by the mystic lyrical Sufi poet from Persia, 1320-1389 AD.
"My name is not complete without yours."
How could a human's worth ever be such?
And God knowing all our thoughts---and all our
thoughts are innocent steps on the path-----
then addressed my heart,
a sublime truth to the world,
when (God) sang,
"I am made whole by your life. Each soul,
each soul completes me."
Written on Friday, 12 April 2013 17:30
in Members' Blog
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Love as a Measure of Religion
It has been shown that religion has been one of the biggest culprits when it comes to the causes of war. Yet even more insidious is the inherent divisiveness within the religious realm. Being Christian I will look first at aspects of Christianity that appears to malign others of different persuasions.
Within the Christian community we hear the following pairings: church vs. un-churched, saved vs. unsaved, believer vs. non-believer, and Christian vs. the name of some other religion. We also hear words, which supposedly convey a sense of superiority such as spirit-filled, evangelical, or true-believer.
Stepping out of the Christian model for a moment we see that other religions also make divisions such as: Hindu vs. Muslim, Jew vs. gentile, catholic vs. protestant, and Muslim vs. infidel.
Following the model of Jesus we should never fall into these traps of divisiveness. Jesus brought healing and wholeness to many different people. He treated all people with love and kindness. This should be the measuring stick used in our relationships with one another. It should never be about ones beliefs but rather about how we extend love and understanding to others.
Religion should always be a tool that enhances our ability to love others. If our religious practices cause us to feel smug, complacent, holier-than-thou, aloof, proud and certain, they should be scrapped. If our religion causes us to be involved in the lives of others, extending care and love to others, working in order that others may also live, it is a most holy enterprise.
May our ability to love others always be the norm by which our success is measured.
Written on Friday, 05 April 2013 17:14
in Members' Blog
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The divinity of Jesus and the historicity of the Virgin Birth
In the ancient world people, who others considered important, were said to have been born of a virgin. This claim was made by the Romans in regard to their emperor. In fact in most ancient religious traditions there had been some person who had been conceived by the god that was worshipped! A person who was said to be 'born of a virgin' was someone who was important and held in high esteem.
We are living in the year 2013. We recognize through the wonders of science the reality of birth. Jesus's birth like all other people on this earth happened because of human biology. If people claimed he was born of a virgin it was because of the esteem in which he was held and the honour they were bestowing on him.
The easiest way for humans to disregard the teachings of Jesus is to claim Jesus to be something other than human. By putting him on a pedestal and worshipping him, we need not see his teachings and his actions within the range of possibility but can see them as 'out-of-this-world' teachings - they can be seen as an ideal rather than as something attainable within our life-time.
The claim that Jesus was born of a virgin hinges also on ones understanding of the Divine. The idea of God as the great grandfather figure in the sky supports the idea of an immaculate conception. If the Divine is the very energy, power, force that has caused the universe to come into existence, the very power that continually nurtures all of nature, the very power the early Israelites called YHWY than the idea of a virgin birth speaks not about the condition of Jesus's birth but rather the affect he had on his followers.
Written on Thursday, 21 March 2013 16:59
in Members' Blog
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Education and Program Committee
The Education and Program Committee, with the Minister, has the responsibility for oversight and planning of the total Christian Education/Development program of the church.
- The Sunday School - provision of resources, appointment of coordinator and treasurer, recruiting and training of teachers, establishing standards.
- Mid-week groups - recruiting leaders, giving support.
- Provision of other programs such as young people's, adult study groups, communicants' class.
- Oversight of cradle roll and provision of infant nursery facilities.
- Provision of a church library.
- Fellowship Group (It is assumed that this would be the "Centennial Friends" group.
- Bible Study etc.
- Craft Group(s)
- Christian Education - Committee shall assess the educational interests and needs of the congregation and provide learning opportunities exclusive of public worship so that persons of all ages may be nurtured to know God and grow in faith. The Committee shall be responsible to:
- recruit, appoint and provide training for the Sunday School Coordinator and other teaching leaders
- provide opportunities for growth of teaching staff annually, through evaluation
- review the educational and theological value of C.E. materials currently in use
- select, obtain and maintain appropriate C.E. resources, looking first to United Church approved materials and second to other appropriate material approved by the church Committee
- encourage participation in educational events, study groups and other learning opportunities for adults and youth in the congregation
- ensure opportunities for confirmation and membership instruction
- in co-operation with the Stewardship, Finance and Property Committee, provide events that educate all age groups about the needs of others and the wider mission services of the United Church of Canada
- submit an annual budget request of the Church Committee through its Stewardship, Finance and Property Committee