March, 2011 – Paradox newsletter


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From the Pastor…

When the poor ones who have nothing still are giving; when the thirsty pass the cup, water to share; when the wounded offer others strength and healing: We see God, here by our side, walking our way. (Worship hymnal #725)

As we look to the future of our congregation at our congregational meeting this month, and as we enter into the season of Lent, we must consider how what we believe and value affects our living and our relating.

I am grateful for the people of this congregation who have made our community a priority in their daily, weekly, monthly, annual routines – these faithful folks keep our congregation alive!  I acknowledge with gratitude those who give generously from their resources, however great or small, to keep the ministry of All Saints going.

Communities of faith are built in different ways.  Our Lutheran model has, for a long time, seemed to believe that by putting a Lutheran pastor in an area, people will gravitate to whatever meeting place is chosen and, within a few years, a church is formed.  I’ve heard that Muslim communities, by contrast, do not call an Imam to serve them until they have grown to a size to afford an Imam’s salary.

This community of faith of which we’re all a part will not be like other churches.  We are not continuing in the institution-building style that the church catholic has built up over centuries; we question that “Christendom” model which seeks to impose certain out-dated doctrines that exclude and make conditional God’s grace.  This community of faith will be formed on the generous and hospitable manner of the people who make up this gathering.  We are generous and hospitable because we have received abundantly and have been welcomed hospitably, ourselves.  From a place where we lack nothing, we can be gracious! -Pastor Tyler Gingrich

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– to Karen for co-ordinating much of our Souper Sunday for February

– to Darlene for generously hosting and assisting in recent weeks

– to Cathryn for setting up Communion

– to Vern for the insight-filled introductions to the readings

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I found some astonishing things in the course of my study that had never occurred to me. Frankly, in the days that when I thought I’d had it with religion, I just found the whole thing absolutely incredible. These doctrines seemed unproven, abstract. And to my astonishment, when I began seriously studying other traditions, I began to realize that belief — which we make such a fuss about today — is only a very recent religious enthusiasm that surfaced only in the West, in about the 17th century. The word “belief” itself originally meant to love, to prize, to hold dear. In the 17th century, it narrowed its focus, for reasons that I’m exploring in a book I’m writing at the moment, to include — to mean an intellectual assent to a set of propositions, a credo. “I believe” — it did no mean “I accept certain creedal articles of faith.” It meant: “I commit myself. I engage myself.” Indeed, some of the world traditions think very little of religious orthodoxy. In the Qur’an, religious opinion — religious orthodoxy — is dismissed as zanna: self-indulgent guesswork about matters that nobody can be certain of one way or the other, but which makes people quarrelsome and stupidly sectarian. (Laughter)So if religion is not about believing things, what is it about? What I’ve found, across the board, is that religion is about behaving differently. Instead of deciding whether or not you believe in God, first you to do something. You behave in a committed way, And then you begin to understand the truths of religion. And religious doctrines are meant to be summons to action; you only understand them when you put them into practice. (Karen Armstrong, TED Talks – Feb, 2008, TED Prize winner)

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The great crisis among us is the crisis of “the common good,” the sense of community solidarity that binds all in a common destiny – haves and have-nots, the rich and the poor. We face a crisis about the common good because there are powerful forces at work among us to resist the common good, to violate community solidarity, and to deny a common destiny. Mature people, at their best, are people who are committed to the common good that reaches beyond private interest, transcends sectarian commitments, and offers human solidarity.

(Walter Brueggemann, Journey to the Common Good, p. 1)

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“Atheism for Lent”

During our community gathering time in the season of Lent, we will, again, discuss how our faith fits into religions of the world, and we will hold our faith up to some scrutiny, as well.  Bring your ideas and let’s talk about what we believe and hold dear!

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Looking ahead…April 17 – Souper Sunday

April 22 – Good Friday Way of the Cross Walk

April 24 – Easter Sunday

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“Be the change you want to see in the world.” -Mahatma Gandhi
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Worship Leaders in March
March 6 – Wally K; March 9 – ________; March 13 – Lynette S; March 27 – __________
March 6 – Batke; March 13 – Stebner; March 20 – Whiteman, Mcintosh, Gingrich; March 27 – Denney
March 6 – Cathryn; March 9 – Karen; March 13 – Darlene; March 27 – Darlene
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See our calendar page for programming!

Posted on March 1, 2011, in The Paradox - monthly newsletter. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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