Tag Archives: churches

For the Bible tells me so

No, these are NOT my positions. Or His.
So this is what happens on a regular basis in the past decade or so. The particulars are almost unimportant, though I’ll give you an example anyway.

1. Someone will say something I think is outrageous, and justify their position by citing Jesus, God and/or the Bible. Current example: Rep. Stephen Fincher’s defense of Congress slashing $4.1 billion + from food stamps over the next 10 years was from the New Testament, specifically 2 Thessalonians 3:10: “For even when we were with you, we gave you this command: Anyone unwilling to work should not eat.” As the article notes Continue reading For the Bible tells me so

The Old Cowboy in Church

One of those things someone e-mailed me that I actually agree with. I’ve visited a few of them when I first went church shopping.


One Sunday morning, an old cowboy entered a church just before services were to begin. Although the old man and his clothes were spotlessly clean, he wore jeans, a denim shirt and boots that were worn and ragged. In his hand he carried a worn-out old hat and an equally worn, dog-eared Bible.

The church he entered was in a very upscale and exclusive part of the city. It was the largest and most beautiful church the old cowboy had ever seen. The people of the congregation were all dressed with expensive clothes and fine jewelry. As the cowboy took a seat, the others moved away from him. No one greeted, spoke to, or welcomed him. They were all appalled by his appearance and did not attempt to hide it.

As the old cowboy was leaving the church Continue reading The Old Cowboy in Church

Black History Month and Segregation Denialism

Every year for the past several, I have become the point person for the Black History Month celebration at my church. It is not a position I’ve ever sought, but it has obviously sought me. I had called a meeting of potentially interested parties in early December, so that I might offload some of the responsibility. But I was so sick, not only did I not go to church, I had forgotten that I had called the meeting until after the fact. Opportunity missed; so it goes.

At the end of the first adult education hour, which featured a guest speaker, I recommended that people view Slavery by Another Name, a new PBS documentary based on Douglas A. Blackmon’s Pulitzer Prize-winning book, narrated by Laurence Fishburne (pictured) before the following session. Some folks did watch, and it is interesting to note that it was a piece of American history that most in the room were oblivious to. My wife and I had seen the film at an advanced showing at UAlbany a couple weeks earlier.

From a description of the book: Continue reading Black History Month and Segregation Denialism

The Lydster, Part 95: A Good Heart, for Jamaica

The Moses Baker Basic School in Golden Grove, Jamaica is in one of the poorest communities in a poor country. My mother-in-law writes: “The previous building was a wooden structure which was in bad condition, made even worse each time it was blown apart by hurricanes.” Her church in Oneonta, NY “had been sending teams down each summer [since 2000] to do projects in the community,” first working on getting the health center up to snuff, then repairing the preschool for about 80 kids. “No sooner were the repairs completed each year a storm were blow through more than undoing all of the work. The residents picked up the pieces and put them back on as best they could.

Finally, the church decided to postpone the annual trips to save up some money to build a school strong enough to withstand severe storms, made of “rebar reinforced concrete… The old ‘building’ was torn down as soon as school ended in June, 2011.
Continue reading The Lydster, Part 95: A Good Heart, for Jamaica

No Time

I found that this past week or so, I’ve had no free writing time to post to this blog. Part of it was self-inflicted. I saw parts of four football games this past weekend, though I did record them all and fast forwarded through a lot of them – GO, NEW YORK GIANTS! (The key to pulling that off without accidentally getting the scores is to avoid all media – standard, such as TV and radio, as well as social, such as e-mail and Twitter.)

I also saw two movies with my wife last weekend, including a Golden Globe winner, and read one book (THAT book, Jaquandor), none of which I’ve had time to review. I had an article due for my church’s newsletter. I am also the compiler of an sermon evaluation team, which is part of one of my pastor’s educational requirements.

So I got nothing. Well, you could read Continue reading No Time

H is for (Methodist) Hymnals


When I was growing up at Trinity A.M.E. Zion Church in Binghamton, NY in the 1960s, we used a hymnal that looked exactly like this. (A.M.E. stands for African Methodist Episcopal.) The first hymn was Holy, Holy, Holy [listen], and when I was younger, I mistakenly believed that the phrase “Blessed Trinity” was a reference to my church, rather than to the preceding phrase, “God in three persons.”

The Methodist Episcopal Church (MEC) initiated the process of creating a new hymnal in 1928 Continue reading H is for (Methodist) Hymnals

Roger Answers Your Questions, Tom the Mayor and Jaquandor

Jaquandor, the Buffalo area’s finest blogger, asks:

1. Are there any words you dislike, just because of the sound of them and not necessarily the meaning?

Used to be that German words I tended to dislike as too gutteral. The K sound would get stuck on the roof of my mouth. But I’ve mellowed, and nothing immediately comes to mind.

2. Are there any subjects you really want to know more about and yet never seem to get around to learning about?

Oh, yeah, dozens, everything from various sciences, such as astronomy and botany; to languages, which I do not seem to have a talent for, starting with Spanish and Latin. But I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I probably won’t do anything about it unless I give up something else, and evidently, I’m not willing to do that.

3. Are you surprised that gay marriage passed in New York? (I am, a little….)

Heck, yeah. It failed miserably some 600 days earlier, when the State Senate was controlled by the Democrats. OK, “controlled” is probably an overstatement Continue reading Roger Answers Your Questions, Tom the Mayor and Jaquandor

Presbyterian Church allows gay ordination


I knew that the vote was coming, but I didn’t know what the outcome until I saw the news stories about the Presbyterian church allowing gays to serve as ministers and lay leaders:

“A debate that has raged within the Presbyterian Church for more than three decades culminated Tuesday with ratification of a measure allowing the ordination of gay and lesbian ministers and lay leaders, while giving regional church bodies the ability to decide for themselves.

“With the vote of its regional organization in Minnesota, the Presbyterian Church USA became the fourth mainline Protestant church to allow gay ordination, following the Episcopal and Evangelical Lutheran churches and the United Church of Christ.”

The MSNBC story actually gave the best description I saw of the process Continue reading Presbyterian Church allows gay ordination

Blame/Guilt in the Liturgy

When I was growing up in the AME Zion church, there was a part of the liturgy called the Prayer of Humble Access, which we said every time we had communion; in our church, that was the first Sunday of the month. The prayer has long Anglican roots; the 1662 revision, which is at least a century after the original, reads: We do not presume to come to this thy Table, O merciful Lord, trusting in our own righteousness, but in thy manifold and great mercies. We are not worthy so much as to gather up the crumbs under thy Table. But thou art the same Lord, whose property is always to have mercy: Grant us therefore, gracious Lord, so to eat the flesh of thy dear Son Jesus Christ, and to drink his blood, that our sinful bodies may be made clean by his body, and our souls washed through his most precious blood, and that we may evermore dwell in him, and he in us. Amen. I have to say that that line about the crumbs under the Table always bothered me Continue reading Blame/Guilt in the Liturgy

Black History Month

Back in December (or maybe mid-November), I had called a meeting for people at my church interested in working on Black History Month to come to a meeting; no one came. So decided just to do it (largely) myself.

One of the pastors had recommended this series A History of Racism in the United States from an entity called the Thoughtful Christian way back in May of last year, and it looked OK to jumpstart a discussion.

The Adult Education Committee, which I’m on, decided to try an experiment with two different offerings in January. On January 30, it would be my BHM part 1 v. the last piece of a study of the gospel of Mark. People wanted to do both, but ultimately, Mark won out and I had three or four people. My ego wasn’t affected, of course. Continue reading Black History Month