May, 2011 – Paradox Newsletter

From the Pastor…

The Lord of life is ris’n this day; death’s mighty stone is rolled away;let all the earth rejoice and say: Alleluia, alleluia, alleluia! (Worship hymnal #385)

  As we’ve come through the season of Lent, and are now celebrating the resurrection, I’m seeing all kinds of media on Christianity (articles in the paper, documentaries on TV) and I’m thinking about our World Religions conversations we had in April.  I wonder about how much people take time to reflect – or not – on what it is they, or we, actually believe.

It’s easy for someone outside Christian tradition to say that we believe in something intangible, and therefore is not worth believing.  It may also be easy for someone within Christian tradition to say that everything we believe is stated plainly in The Bible.  But we, as Lutherans certainly, believe differently than either of those positions.  We believe that life has many facets that are often unique to one person’s experience over another, and – as we affirm in one of our statements of belief – that we are “capable of great creativity and great destruction, but called to choose between them.”

The good news of the resurrection story is not simply that Jesus’ tomb was empty, but that new life is a gift to all, even as we may go through events that seem so final and despairing.  I’m conscious that, with the election this month, people have made it their life’s work to make a democracy such as ours possible.  We enjoy all kinds of opportunities, and we have abundant resources available to us (collectively as a society, and individually).

  Our Easter celebration calls us to be mindful of how we have a responsibility to the larger web of life of which each of us is a part.  God is the source of life and love, and we are to share that life and love with others. -Pastor Tyler Gingrich

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– to Jesse for playing guitar for the Way of the Cross walk on Good Friday

– to Karen for her help at Holy Week services

– to Ken and Miriam for their support of our World Religions conversations in Lent

– to Melissa for the beautiful musical offerings

– to Caitlyn for taking on acolyte duties!

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There has been a perception among academics, journalists and other opinion leaders that secularism reigns and that organized religion, not to mention private religious conviction, have become largely irrelevant to people. That was certainly the common belief among my professors when I was a university student and my journalistic colleagues in subsequent years.

But far from fading away, religion has come to play an increasingly prominent public role in contemporary societies. One has only to think about the Iranian and Nicaraguan revolutions; the impact of liberation theology in places such as Brazil; the role of the church in Poland; the rise of the evangelical right in the United States, Canada and elsewhere; the rise of militant Sikhism and Islamic extremism. If ever religion was a marginalized force, it has rebounded markedly, and not always for the better.

Canada does not exist in a vacuum. An IPSOS-Reid poll reported, for example, that the vote of evangelical Christians and Catholics who attend church weekly was a deciding factor in the election of a Conservative minority government in January 2006. The question now is whether that pronounced religious vote is a blip or an emerging reality in Canadian political life…

The religious right is growing in power and political influence in Canada. Mainline Protestantism, as represented in the United, Anglican and Presbyterian [and Lutheran] Churches, has been in decline although it is showing some signs of revival. Conservative Catholics and evangelicals, who once disliked and mistrusted one another, are now engaged in a growing collaboration. Their political agenda is anchored in opposition to same-sex marriage, abortion, publicly funded childcare and a resistance to various other social programs. […]

For their part, progressive Christians — in Protestant, Catholic, and even some evangelical congregations — have been marginalized in recent years and are now struggling to have their voices heard by politicians and the Canadian public…

There is a good deal of research and writing in the United States and elsewhere about how important it is to understand the motivation and tactics of religious groups that involve themselves in the political arena. Far less attention has been devoted to the topic in Canada.

 (Dennis Gruending, on his ‘Pulpit and Politics’ blog)

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“Jesus came to comfort the afflicted, and to afflict the comfortable”

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Worship Leaders in May…

Readers: May 1 – Jesse; May 8 – Ken; May 22 – ______; May 29 – Wally

Hosts: May 1 – ______; May 8 – Westereng; May 15 (soup) – _______ , _______; May 22 – ______; May 29 – Batke

Liturgists: May 1 – ______; May 8 – Darlene; May 22 – _______; May 29 – ________

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We welcome Rev. Dr. John Burton for a “Philosopher’s Café” style Souper Sunday,
May 15 – 5:30pm at The Centre (1476 Water St)!

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Coming up in June…

Ascension Day

June 2nd – Church Music Festival!

Annual BBQ

June 26th – Second First Supper!

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See our online calendar for programming!

Join our Facebook page for occasional updates!


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

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