“Let Us Sing”

The following will be in the May 2023 issue of the Fishkill UMC Newsletter

Why do we sing?  Do we sing because we are happy (“His Eye Is on The Sparrow”, The Faith We Sing 2146)?

Do we sing because we want to make a joyful noise unto the Lord?

Perhaps we sing to express our feelings, our thoughts, and/or our emotions?

Or do we sing because what we sing rings in our soul?

To borrow a phrase from Genesis, there are as many reasons to sing as there are stars in the sky.

Each of us can identify songs and hymns, both traditional and not so traditional, that touch our hearts and move our souls, much as the early Psalms did.  These are the songs and music from the heart that bring us closer to God.

We find our connection with God in many ways. Some will find it through the spoken word, others through the written word and sometimes it comes from music that speaks to our heart. (“Music from the Heart”https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2016/04/19/music-from-the-heart/)

When I first heard the group Jefferson Airplane sing “Good Shepherd”, I marveled at the words of the song and how they seemed to echo words from the Gospel of John (John 21: 1 – 19).  In looking at the history of the piece, I discovered that the rock and roll piece that I heard evolved from a mid-20th century blues-based folk song.  And that folk song had evolved from a 19th century Gospel hymn with roots in an early 1800s hymn written by John Adam Grande, a Methodist preacher from Tennessee.

Jorma Kaukonen, the guitarist for Jefferson Airplane, who wrote the modern arrangement said that it was music like this that opened the doorway to the Scriptures for him.  As he noted, he found that he loved the Bible without knowing it (see “To Feed The Spirit As Well As The Body”https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2012/03/01/to-feed-the-spirit-as-well-as-the-body/).

Mickey Hart, the drummer for the Grateful Dead said,

“To fall in love is to fall in rhythm.” It is love for each other by which we know we are followers of Jesus, the ever-attentive shepherd. In the face of societal rules and attitudes that strive to foster “everyone for themselves,” they will know we are Christians by our love. How can we listen to the music that draws us together, “falling in rhythm” with neighbor to build up the whole?

(see “The Music We Hear“ – https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2018/04/21/the-music-we-hear/)

Ann will tell you that it was Elvis’ Gospel music that provided her with an understanding of and a deep love for those who suffered. And it was hymns such as “Lift High the Cross” that helped affirm her belief in God and Jesus as her Savior. She will also tell you that another song, recorded by several groups and individuals, “He’s Not Heavy, He’s My Brother” had a profound impact on her and her relationship with others and God.

And just recently, as I listened to “I Still Haven’t Found What I Am Looking For” by U2 (https://youtu.be/e3-5YC_oHjE), I again heard ties to God reaching out to us.

But what do we sing?  I am not talking about hymns or carols or folk songs or spirituals but the words that we sing. Do the words we sing have meaning?

To know if the words have meaning, we must listen carefully.  I remember the first time I heard “Are You Ready?” (https://youtu.be/gzOeAXrgYBI) by the Pacific Gas & Electric rock group.  It was one of the first pieces of music that could be called “Jesus Rock.”  It contained a very subtle Christian message, but I don’t think that many people understood the message contained within the verses of the song (I certainly didn’t back then).  I liked it because it was, for me, a good song with a good beat.  But over the course of my lay speaking, I saw connections between this song and passages in the New Testament, such as Mark 13: 1 – 8 (adapted from “Are You Ready?”https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2006/11/19/are-you-ready-2/).

And sometimes we may be ready to hear the words, but the sounds of society drown them out. 

Some forty years ago there was a song that showed us how the message of society can easily drown out the message of peace first expressed on Christmas Day two thousand years ago. It was a version of “Silent Night” sung by Paul Simon and Art Garfunkel and entitled “7 O’clock News/Silent Night”https://youtu.be/E8d5C8kPlJA

As they sang the traditional Christmas hymn, an announcer read the evening news. There is an interesting contrast between the beauty and serenity of the song and the darkness and fear that were then and are now the components of a typical news broadcast. The problem was that you had to focus on either the news broadcast or the singing; you could not hear both and it was entirely possible that the news broadcast with its litany of violence, death, and destruction drowned out the message first sung some 190 years ago.  (The Message Is Clear | Thoughts From The Heart On The Left (wordpress.com)https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2007/01/21/the-message-is-clear/)

Bob Herren, a blogging friend of mine, noted that we often only listen to the first verse of Christmas carols such as “What Child Is This?” and thus miss the story included in the other verses. 

It is often the second or third verses of Christmas carols which get to the meat of things. The second verse of Dix’s famous carol gives us nails and spears piercing him through and the cross being borne for me and you. “O Come, All Ye Faithful” gets down to some serious Christology in the second verse as well. The first one is a rather general appeal to go to Bethlehem for a little sightseeing. O Little Town of Bethlehem waits until verse three to get into the forgiveness of sins.

(Wednesday of Christmas – Psalm 2 – A Grace-Filled Life (wordpress.com)https://bobherring2009.wordpress.com/2022/12/28/wednesday-of-christmas-psalm-2/)

As I was preparing to sing “Wade in the Water” last December, I discovered that many of the spirituals that we sing not only refer to the Bible but contain a second message, a message of freedom.

While the message of “Wade in the Water” centers on baptism, it has been suggested that those, such as Harriet Tubman, guiding escaped slaves to their freedom would sing this song to tell the people to get off the trail and into the water to prevent the dogs tracking them from finding them.

Similarly, the spiritual that I sang in January, “Down to the River” evolved from an earlier spiritual, “Down to the Valley”.  This song seems to have roots in both African American spirituals and Appalachian folk songs.  The valley represented a safe place to pray but was transformed into the river to represent a passage to freedom.  Those seeking their freedom should head “Down to the river”; the “Starry Crown” was a reference to the stars that would guide them; and “Good Lord, show me the way” was a prayer for guidance and deliverance.  As Glen Money wrote, when he sings it, he hears who did more than sing and hear but experienced the presence of God. (Down to the River to Pray | The Prompter (fbcstpete.org)https://fbcstpete.org/moneytalks/2020/01/31/down-to-the-river-to-pray/ )

It is also interesting to note that the role the Bible plays in spirituals and folk songs.  Spirituals serve as a source of education, passed on by oral tradition.  Prohibited from learning to read and write, slaves passed on life lessons through the spirituals and songs they sang.  And in learning the stories of the Bible, individuals learned about freedom.

So, we sing songs that move our souls and open the door to finding God.  We sing to tell the stories of the Bible and stories that lead to freedom, both here on Earth and within the Kingdom of God.

So, let us sing.

“I Made a Mistake.”

Published in the April 2023 issue of the Fishkill UMC newsletter. Will be published in the Spring 2023 issue of “God and Nature.”


In April 1970, I was a junior at Northeast Missouri State College (now Truman State University).  After a rather tumultuous sophomore year and a change in the academic calendar at the beginning of my junior year, I was beginning to feel things were smoothing out.

But I made a mistake.  The first Earth Day was April 22, 1970, and I ignored it.  In retrospect, I probably should have paid more attention. 

When I began writing this piece, my memories told me that nothing happened on campus. 

But thanks to Dan McGurk, one of the reference librarians at Pickler Memorial Library, I discovered that that it was an announced event, that the town of Kirksville had issued a proclamation in support of the day, and there had been a meeting of some 300 students that focused on the topic.

But my mindset was otherwise.  My academic plan was almost back on track, I was in a relationship, and I was involved in a chemical research project.  Things were looking pretty good.  And we still had the Viet Nam war to worry about (the Kent State Massacre would occur twelve days later, on May 4, 1970).

What I did not realize was that the movement that began that day was a continuation of what I had learned and done while in the Boy Scouts.  Now, I do not consider myself an environmentalist but, as anyone associated with Scouting will tell you, you cannot be involved in Scouting and not come away with an appreciation for the environment.

But one does not have to have been a Scout or be currently involved in Scouting to have an appreciation for the environment.  At the beginning of Creation, God charged humankind to take care of the earth and all that was in it (Genesis 1: 26 – 28).

For a long time, humankind held the view that the charge in Genesis to be good stewards of this world meant that we could do anything we wanted.  We dumped our trash in the streams, the rivers, lakes, and oceans, confident that there was always going to be fresh water left over.  We filled the atmosphere with noxious gases, confident that the atmosphere was big enough to diffuse the pollutants.

In our greed and ignorance, in our lack of care for the welfare of this world, we have sown the seeds of our own destruction.

Perhaps it will not be through nuclear war or some other violent process, but we are beginning to see that if we do not change our ways right now, we will destroy this world and ourselves.

The writers of the Old Testament emphasized that this world was God’s creation and that we must answer to Him when it is done. 

In Deuteronomy, God reminds us to look at what He has done for us.  At the end of the Book of Job, God reminds Job (Job 38: 1 -18) that it was He who was responsible for the creation. 

That alone should remind us of the role science has in our daily lives, for it is through science that we find the ways to take care of this world and those with whom we share its resources and space. 

We are beginning to see that what we once thought were unlimited resources are beginning to run out. 

We are also becoming aware that our continued use of fossil fuels and the emission of “greenhouse gases” such as carbon dioxide (CO2) and methane (CH4) have an effect not only on the physical world, but on those who live here as well.  Climate change is not just a science problem; it is a social and economic problem as well.  As the climate changes, this forces changes, welcome or not, on the people of this world. 

We have made great strides in reducing air and water pollution, but we still seem to have a cavalier attitude towards the materials we use to maintain the style of life we seem to desire.

There are solutions to the climate change problem.  There are things that one can do, individually and collectively, to counter the effects of climate change (see How Four Churches Flourish by Caring for Creation – Science for the Churchhttps://scienceforthechurch.org/2022/10/11/how-four-churches-flourish-by-caring-for-creation/?mc_cid=4c1d68fa2f&mc_eid=a90f1704f9) for a discussion on what individual churches have done.

But is our concern for God’s creation limited to just the physical world?  In Matthew 5: 21 – 29, Jesus speaks of the Ten Commandments and our relationship with others.  Our concern for the Earth must include how we care for those with whom we share this planet.

The solutions offered to offset climate change may not be as optimal as one would like.  It does no good to develop a solution that generates its own source of problems.  (When I was teaching introductory college chemistry courses, I would ask my students to consider the pros and cons for various alternative energy resources – see Alternative Energy Resources Reading Assignment | Thoughts From The Heart On The Left (wordpress.com)https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2023/03/23/alternative-energy-resources-reading-assignment/). For example, there is a push to develop electric cars, but the batteries require minerals that must be extracted from the earth.  And the extraction of those minerals will impact those who live on the lands that will be mined.

The future belongs, as it always has, to the next generation.  But it is our generation that must teach them how to see the future.  But we have lost our ability to imagine and envision the future, preferring to live in the present and teach for the moment.

We have become quite good at answering the questions when the answers are in the back of the book. 

The recent report on the state of the climate tells us that we have time to fix the problems but to do so requires other changes as well.

We will not find the solutions to climate change, what it is doing to this world and the people who live here, in the back of the book because that book hasn’t been written yet.  And unless we change our mindset about the present educational process, that book will not be written.

We once taught people how to think analytically and creatively.  And this allowed us to go to the moon and begin to see what we were doing to this world.  We must return to this style of teaching.

Fifty-three years ago, I made a mistake because I wasn’t paying attention.  But I recognized that I had done so and have worked to correct that mistake.

Today, we have heard the voices of the modern prophets warning that we are about to make the same mistake, of ignoring the signs that we have not cared for the world that has been our task since the beginning days of humankind.    Unless we change what we are doing, unless we find new and innovative ways to meet the needs of society without endangering society, we will find that our vision and the vision of the next generation will be dark and society will come to an end.

I trust that we will not make that mistake.

Alternative Energy Resources Reading Assignment

When I was teaching introductory college courses, I would assign a series of reading assignments to be completed during the semester (in the old days, this was called “writing across the curriculum” and sometimes caused ripples because some never thought that one could do so in a chemistry class, let alone a science class.)

This particular assignment was developed about twenty years ago, but I think that it is still viable today.


What are the advantages and disadvantages for each of the following processes with reference to power production? 

  1. List the major advantages and disadvantages for nuclear fusion and nuclear fission. Which of the two is currently in use in this country and where is it being used?
  2. List the major advantage and disadvantages for using solar energy in power production.
  3. Summarize the major advantages and disadvantages of the widespread use of wind power.
  4. Identify the major advantages and disadvantages of geothermal energy.
  5. What is a fuel cell? What are the advantages of fuel cells in terms of power production?

Based on your study and evaluation of the various alternative energy sources currently available, what are your conclusions about the options available to your generation?

Notes for the alternative energy resources reading assignment.

I first offered the following areas as topics for consideration in the teaching of science in In my blog post “Thoughts on the Nature of Teaching Science in the 21st Century.” 

  1. Energy – not only energy production today but energy sources (renewable and non-renewable) for tomorrow
  2. Global warming – if there was ever a topic that called for the public to have a knowledge of science and its role in society, it is global warming.  (“Earth’s Dashboard Is Flashing Red—Are Enough People Listening?)
  3. Environmental chemistry – how we view recycling and what can go into landfills and what cannot; this would also include acid rain. I might point out that there was an article in The Journal of Chemical Education some years ago in which the instructor posed the question about the cost of recycling. The essence of the problem was “what to do with some Co2+ solution that was left after an analytical problem. Should the solution be diluted to a safe level and disposed of by pouring down the drain or shipped off as liquid waste; should it be precipitated and shipped off to a landfill as solid waste; or should it be recycled and used again during the next semester. The calculations for this problem are typical calculations for an introductory chemistry course and one can set up the calculations to be dependent on the size of the class. The only information that an instructor would be need would be the cost of the original raw materials as well the cost of shipping liquid and solid wastes. And, from the numbers of times that I asked my students to do these calculations, it always appears that that recycling is the best solution. (“The Educational Case for Recycling”)
  4. The role of chemicals in our environment – I would include the issue of mercury and mercury compounds in the preservation of vaccines and what this may or may not do. I would also include the use of the word “organic” to mean pesticide and insecticide free produce (when all foods are organic in nature).
  5. The debate for free thought in the classroom – if I was a biologist, I might have entitled this the creation/evolution debate. But to me, this issue has several impacts besides biology; it goes to the issue of free thought and what our responsibilities as scientists and educators should be. It also speaks to how we, individually, believe.


I will be referencing this page in an upcoming post – “I Made a Mistake.”

“Looking Beyond the Horizon”

2023 Faith and Science weekend

Boy Scout Sunday

6th Sunday after the Epiphany

The following is my contribution to 2023 Faith and Science weekend, sponsored by the Clergy Letter Project.

The lectionary readings for this Sunday are Deuteronomy 30: 15 – 20, 1 Corinthians 3: 1 – 15, and Matthew 5:21-37.

As you know, I am a chemist who chose to teach.  I am also a former lay speaker/minister.  For the better part of my career, I was engaged in both vocations.

Now, there were and are some who suggest that one cannot be both a chemist or scientist and a lay speaker/minister; you can be one but not both.  But such a combination is not unique for I know of two other individuals in the New York/Connecticut Annual Conference who are both chemists and lay speakers or ministers.  (And don’t forget that Pope Francis has a science degree in addition to his theology studies.)

In writing “A Dialogue of Science and Faith” (https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2009/12/31/a-dialogue-of-science-and-faith/) I discovered that Robert Boyle, founder of chemistry, Joseph Priestley, co-discoverer of oxygen, and Isaac Newton were men of science and faith who wanted to know more about how God had created this world in which we live.

Hannah Birky noted that,

We as Christians cannot claim that the world belongs to God and at the same time distrust the systematic study of it.  How Science Led Me to A Deeper Faith – Personal Story – BioLogos (https://biologos.org/personal-stories/how-science-led-me-to-a-deeper-faith)

Could we live in this world if it were not for Georges Lemaitre, who first postulated the Big Bang, or Gregor Mendel, who first postulated the mechanisms of genetics? Probably, but our knowledge of this world would be somewhat limited. Both were Catholic priests, yet both were willing to look beyond the written word to see what God had done.  (“Removing the Veil” | Thoughts from The Heart on The Left (wordpress.com)https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/removing-the-veil/)

Yolanda Pierce wrote,

Everything that I learn about science fills me with spiritual wonder at the Creator who set a universe into motion. Everything I learn about the Creator fills me with spiritual longing to know more and to love more. These quests—the sacred and the scientific—are intertwined, not at odds with each other. To be able to peer through the Hubble telescope and to see across time and space is to experience the magnificence of a God who was there at the beginning, is now present with us, and forever more shall be. To think about DNA and the building blocks of life is to be reminded that of one blood we have all been created in God’s image and likeness. To ponder the sun, moon, and stars in their courses above is to be witness to the greatness of God’s faithfulness. Wonders upon wonders.  Believing in the future | The Christian Centuryhttps://www.christiancentury.org/article/voices/believing-future?fbclid=IwAR3GxEbJiwmcvNQKjOZC-JWVAHX0DK2d1r3L1eZZNhrRlJsOrKjfyZMdrtQ

It is entirely possible that I could or would have come to Christ without having been a Boy Scout but that is clearly a question for another time and place. Besides finding a path to God through the God and Country award, I also began to develop an appreciation for the world around us. One cannot help but see the work of God when the foothills of the Rocky Mountains serve as the backdrop for the first worship services you organize.

I concluded early on in my life that there was a Creator and that I should use the skills that God gave me and begin to work out the mysteries of the universe, from the moment of the Big Bang to the present day and perhaps far into the future?  (“Removing the Veil” | Thoughts from The Heart on The Left (wordpress.com)https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2013/02/11/removing-the-veil/).

And how can we sing “for the beauty of the earth” or “when I in awesome wonder consider all the works thy hand is made” if there were not a Creator?

Last month I asked what you saw when you looked at the world around you (“What Do You See?” | Thoughts From The Heart On The Left (wordpress.com)https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2023/01/17/what-do-you-see-4/).

What did you see?

Did you not see the beauty of the world? 

Did you not look in awe and wonder at the beauty and complexity of the stars in pictures from the Hubble and Webb telescopes? 

Do you remember how you felt when you first looked through the lens of a microscope at drops of water taken from a nearby pond or stream?

Do you remember the feeling of watching the trees change color during the fall?

Did you see the hope and possibility of the future? 

Or was your vision of the future clouded by what is happening in the world today?  We see, feel, and hear about the effects of climate change.  We worry about the quality of the air we breathe and the water we drink.  We hear and are taught that all people are equal but see society divided by race, gender, and economic status and see individuals who work against equality.

As we look at the world, surely, we must ask ourselves how God can create a world that is one of beauty and hope and at the same time a world of destruction and despair.  Why would God allow evil to exist in a world of good?

Was your vision the same vision that John the Seer had when he envisioned the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse (Pestilence, War, Famine, and Death) and wonder where God might be in all of this?

But as we read in Deuteronomy, what we see is God talking to us.

I call Heaven and Earth to witness against you today: I place before you Life and Death, Blessing and Curse. Choose life so that you and your children will live (Deuteronomy 30: 19).

Today we stand at the crossroads (Jeremiah 6: 16) and must decide which path to take.  And this is a most difficult task, for we cannot see beyond the horizon.  Until we choose, the future is unknown.

Kallistos (Ware) of Diokleia, author of The Orthodox Way, wrote,

. . . it is not the task of Christianity to provide easy answers to every question, but to make us progressively aware of a mystery.  God is not so much the object of our knowledge as is the cause of our wonder –

Ard Louis theoretical physicist and associate of the Faraday Institute for Science and Religion, noted that,

…science — as powerful, as beautiful, as amazing as it is — cannot tell me most of the answers to most of the important questions of life…

In his letter to the Corinthians, Paul wrote,

Or, to put it another way, you are God’s house. Using the gift God gave me as a good architect, I designed blueprints; Apollos is putting up the walls. Let each carpenter who comes on the job take care to build on the foundation! Remember, there is only one foundation, the one already laid: Jesus Christ. Take particular care in picking out your building materials. Eventually there is going to be an inspection. If you use cheap or inferior materials, you’ll be found out. The inspection will be thorough and rigorous. You won’t get by with a thing. If your work passes inspection, fine; if it doesn’t, your part of the building will be torn out and started over. But you won’t be torn out; you’ll survive—but just barely. (1 Corinthians 3: 9 – 15)

We can choose to do nothing but then, as Paul writes, we will barely survive.  If we are not willing to give our best, then that will be the outcome.  Or we can choose the other path, to use the skills and abilities that God, Our Creator, has given us to make this a better world.

In his speech at American University on June 10, 1963 (affiliated, by the way, with the United Methodist Church), President John Kennedy noted that,

“Our problems are manmade–therefore, they can be solved by man. And man can be as big as he wants. No problem of human destiny is beyond human beings. Man’s reason and spirit have often solved the seemingly unsolvable–and we believe they can do it again.”

Science developed when we began to look at the world around us, the world that God created, and began to wonder.  And in our wonder, we began to ask “why?” and “how?”  And as we found the answers to these problems, we began to better understand ourselves.

In his speech to the Irish Parliament on June 28, 1963, President John Kennedy said,

George Bernard Shaw, speaking as an Irishman, summed up an approach to life: Other people, he said, “see things and . . . say ‘Why?’ . . . But I dream things that never were– and I say: ‘Why not?'”

We see the world of today for we cannot see beyond the horizon.  We look at the world today and see God’s creation.  Shall we do nothing and leave desolation and destruction in its many forms as our legacy for the future?

Or shall we use the sense of wonder and awe, shall we seek to find answers to the questions that we are asking to leave a brighter future and a greater legacy for those who follow us on the path we have chosen?

Clergy Letter Project Resources – Mystery and Awehttps://mysteryandawe.com/clergy-letter-project-resources/

Can science answer all of life’s questions? • Sharon Dirckx • OCCA (theocca.org)https://www.theocca.org/resources/can-science-answer-all-of-lifes-questions/

The 20 big questions in science | Science | The Guardianhttps://www.theguardian.com/science/2013/sep/01/20-big-questions-in-science

“What Do You See?”

This was my contribution for the January issue of the Fishkill UMC newsletter.

What do you see when you look at the stars?  The rising of Sirius, “the dog star”, in the spring told the ancient Egyptians that the annual flooding of the Nile would occur soon.

Each society and culture have their own stories about the stars and the constellations.  Do you see the people and animals that other people and cultures saw so many years ago?  Do you see the stories those first astronomers saw?  Do you see the Scorpion chasing the Hunter across the sky during the year?

The first “constellations” that you probably learned when you first looked to the skies were the “Big Dipper” and its companion, the “Little Dipper”.  It should be noted that the “Big Dipper” is an asterism, a collection of stars within a constellation.  In the case of the “Big Dipper”, it is part of the constellation Ursa Major.  (And my thanks to Jane Rausch for reminding me of this distinction.) But some cultures see the “Big Dipper” as a separate constellation.  It is also known in some cultures as the “drinking gourd” (or variations on that idea).

You learned that the two stars in the bowl of the “Big Dipper” pointed to Polaris, the star at the end of the handle of the “Little Dipper.”  (see the accompanying diagram)

It is a tradition that those escaping slavery in the time before the Civil War were told to “follow the drinking gourd.”  But the song, “Follow the Drinking Gourd”, that told of the path to walk towards freedom was not written until after the war, so the validity of the story behind the song is questionable.  Still, those who sought their freedom by traveling north looked to the stars of the “Big Dipper”, i.e, “the drinking gourd”, for a path to freedom.

When the Magi looked at the stars, they were looking for signs of the future.  We know now that they were looking deep into the past, but that’s a story for another time.

The Magi and their colleagues opened our eyes to the wonders of the universe and their efforts are recorded in the names of many of the stars we see today (a look at the diagram of the “Little Dipper”, “Big Dipper” and Boötes shows that several of the stars have Arabic names.)

There is still a debate as to what the Magi saw that lead them to travel to Jerusalem and Bethlehem.  But whatever they saw, they interpreted it as something important and that was enough for them to make the journey. Others saw the same signes but they either ignored the signs or decided they were not important.

In one sense, the Magi did see the future, but it was when they met the Christ Child that they had a glimpse of the future.  The announcement of Jesus’s birth was not given in the hallways of the rich, mighty, and powerful but among the people.  Jesus’ birth changed the future and gave hope to the people when it did not seem that hope was possible. 

“Systems are designed for the results they are getting. If you want different results, you will have to redesign the system.”

Jones, Quest for Quality in the Church: A New Paradigm

Joseph Henry, one of America’s first great physicists, once remarked that “the seeds of great discoveries are constantly flowing around us, but they only take root in minds well prepared to receive them.” 

Louis Pasteur once said that “Luck favors the prepared mind.”

X-rays, penicillin, Teflon, and pulsars are examples of events where the experimenter saw something that others considered superfluous or an experimental error.

Wilhelm Roentgen saw what others had seen and determined that a new ray, which he called X-rays, caused the “fogging” of the photographic plates in his laboratory. Others had seen this same fogging but ignored it or blamed it on faulty equipment. Roentgen went beyond the simple explanations and made the discovery.

In 1962, Neil Bartlett synthesized xenon tetrafluoride. The uniqueness of this synthesis was that, according to the chemistry textbooks of the time (and this includes the textbooks I used as a student from 1966 – 1968 and as an instructor from 1971 from 1980), it impossible to do. Xenon is known as a Noble Gas, so named because it seems to be chemically inert and thus would not form chemical compounds. Dr. Bartlett looked at the properties of xenon and determined that, in fact, such compounds could be made.

Jocelyn Bell Burnell was a graduate student in 1967 when she saw what she described as “bits of scruff” on the printout of the output of a radio telescope.  Her professor insisted that the signal was simply interference and manmade.  Dr. Bell Burnell insisted that the signal was real and futher study provided the evidence for pulsars.

How we see the signs around us tell a lot about who we are and who we desire to be?

Marilyn Ferguson wrote in the Aquarian Conspiracy, “We find our individual freedom by choosing not a destination but a direction.”

In Alice in Wonderland, Alice was told that “if you don’t know where you are going, any road will take you there.” (a paraphrase of the dialogue between Alice and the Cheshire Cat in Alice in Wonderland)

Slaves saw the “drinking gourd” as the direction to freedom.  The Magi saw the signs of a new future when they found the Christ Child.  Their lives were no doubt changed by this encounter and I am sure that they told others, their friends, and their neighbors, just as the shepherds did, what they saw when they returned home.

The religious and political establishment saw Jesus as a threat to their positions of power.  When they crucified Jesus and had Him put into the Tomb, they thought that was the end of the story.

What do you see now that Christmas is over, and the shepherds and Magi have come and gone?  Do you see a new world or is it the same world that was there before we celebrated Christmas?  How do you see the lost, the persecuted, the sick and forgotten?  Are they mistakes in society to be forgotten or is humanity to be found in how they are treated?

What do you see?


Leading The Way | Thoughts From The Heart On The Left (wordpress.com)

A Matter of Faith | Thoughts From The Heart On The Left (wordpress.com)

And When You Least Expect It | Thoughts From The Heart On The Left (wordpress.com)

The Unwrapped Christmas Present

This is my contribution to the December issue of the Fishkill United Methodist Church newsletter.

I began this piece with an image of a well-lit and decorated Christmas tree with many presents under it.  No doubt I was influenced by the number of pre-Halloween Christmas sales.

For as long as we have celebrated Christmas, we have been giving and receiving Christmas presents because Matthew wrote that the Magi brought gold, frankincense, and myrrh as presents to the newborn Christ-child.

Tradition tells us that the gold was used to finance the family’s escape to Egypt when Herod issued his edict to kill all the newborn children, whom he saw as a threat to his power.  The frankincense and myrrh were to be used to prepare Jesus’ body when he died.

But the edict to kill the newborn did not occur until after the Magi left and I do not think the frankincense and myrrh would have lasted the thirty-some years between Jesus’ birth and death.  (And we should also remember that Jesus was quickly placed in the Tomb on Good Friday, without the proper preparation; this was why the women went to the Tomb on Easter Sunday).

We also need to remember that Matthew, writing some seventy years after the birth, would probably not have known what the Magi brought with them when they visited.  Yes, there were probably gifts that honored a new king, for that is what the Magi felt they saw in the stars that guided their travel.  But we will never know if the gifts they did bring were the gifts that Matthew recorded in his Gospel.

And what must the first readers of Matthew have thought about such expensive gifts being given to the child of a simple workman and his wife?

We live in a society and a time where our focus is more on the gifts themselves than why the gifts were given.

How do we see the gifts under our tree?  Our attention is almost always drawn to the fancy wrapped presents, the ones that glitter and shine. 

Is what is inside that wonderfully and beautifully wrapped present something I will love? 

Is it something that I need? 

Perhaps it is something that will allow me to do something I have wanted to do? 

Or is it that fruit cake I gave to my cousin last year and which he is giving back to me this year?

Until we open it up, we do not know what it is.

And for all the preparation and anticipation, it is all over.  We have the gifts we want, the gifts we need, and we can’t wait until we can send our cousin that fruit cake.  We gather all the wrapping paper together, saving what we can and putting the rest in a garbage bag.  We make plans to undecorate the tree and put it away if it is an artificial one or out by the curb for the trash crews to come by and get (unlike that one year when the snow came and came and came and came and the tree wasn’t picked up until March when the snow finally melted).

But there is always one present that remains tucked under the tree.  Because the wrapping is rather plain, it is almost unnoticeable.  Some years it doesn’t even get opened and ends up in the storage area, to be brought out the next year.

But this present is the real and existing presence of Christ.  It was the present given to us that first Christmas some two thousand years ago.  Despite the plainness of the wrapping, the contents continue to shine every day.


 Star Light, Star Bright | Thoughts From The Heart On The Left (wordpress.com)https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2008/01/05/star-light-star-bright/

“The Presence Under the Tree” | Thoughts From The Heart On The Left (wordpress.com)https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2012/12/29/the-presence-under-the-tree/

“Thoughts for Thanksgiving”

This will be in the November issue of the Fishkill UMC newsletter.


If you are of my generation, then you are aware of a particular 18 ½ – minute song that speaks of a Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat.  (I wrote of that particular song and my own Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat in Thanksgiving, 2006 | Thoughts from The Heart on The Left (wordpress.com)https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2006/11/23/thanksgiving-2006/.)

When I was teaching in the bootheel of Missouri and singing in the local UMC choir, the music director would, as Thanksgiving approached, express her disdain for what she called “the corn song” (It’s #694 in the hymnal but don’t ask me why she called it the “corn song.”).

When I think of Thanksgiving and its associated songs, I think of “We Gather Together.”

Thanksgiving may be a time of football, of cooking turkeys in many ways, and of parades but it is also, at least for me, a time of family gatherings.

But while we gather with our friends and families, there are those who cannot gather with their families.  Perhaps, they are college students or service personnel who cannot go home for the short Thanksgiving holiday.  Others cannot go home because, for whatever reason, their families have shunned them.

It has been part of Methodism that we welcome the strangers.  The founders of Methodism went to the prisons, to the fields, to the mines to bring the Good News to the people.  These first efforts brought a sense of hope and thanksgiving to the people who had been forgotten or castoff.

Before we turn our attention to the end-of-the-year financial statements, before we begin traveling to be with our family and friends, and before the day of turkey, parades and football arrives, we should think about how we can continue what the members of that first Methodist movement and revival did and reach out to those who cannot do what we can.

Let this be the year that others can enjoy that Thanksgiving dinner that couldn’t be beat and give them something for which they can be thankful.

Three Words

This will be in the September 2022 newsletter for Fishkill United Methodist Church.  Services are at 10:15 am on Sundays and you are welcome to come in person or watch on YouTube.

To be published in the Fall 2022 issue of God & Nature (https://godandnature.asa3.org/) and mentioned in the August issue of “The Clergy Letter Project”.


In 1922 Howard Carter discovered the tomb of Tutankhamen.  As he peered through an opening into the tomb, his sponsor, Lord Carnarvon, asked, “What do you see?”  And Carter responded, “wonderful things.”

That there was anything at all in Tutankhamen’s tomb was a testimony to those who built the tomb and buried the boy king in it. Each Pharoah was always buried with enormous quantities of treasures but were certainly looted shortly after the burial.  Tutankhamen’s tomb remained undiscovered until Carter figured out where it was in 1922.

I do not know about you but the images that came from the Hubble Space telescope after it was repaired, and the images of the James Webb Space Telescope fall into that category of “wonderful things”.


First Images from the James Webb Space Telescope | NASA (https://www.nasa.gov/webbfirstimages).


And those images have been waiting to be seen for over 13 billion years.  In these images, we are seeing some of the oldest objects in space.  These objects (stars, nebulae, and galaxies were created at the beginning of creation).  But how and why did this happen?

It is perhaps because of our own human frailties that we have a challenging time understanding this.  While we may intuitively know that there is a beginning, we want to know how things began and when they began.

I can imagine a scene many (many) years ago, at the end of the day, and everyone in the clan was seated by the fire.  The youngest ones in the group would ask the elders, “Where did we come from?” and the elders would begin their answer with, “In the beginning”.

For some, these words are sufficient.  But we are a curious people (or we should be) and we like to know how things happened. And did not Jesus tell those who wondered if He was the Messiah to go and see what had been done?

The answer to any question will always (or should) generate more questions and out of this never-ending curiosity lie the roots of science.

The authors of Genesis gave no hints as to how it was done or when it occurred.

In 1650, Archbishop James Ussher of Armagh (the Church of Ireland) sought to answer the question of when the universe was created.  He calculated the date of the Creation to be at sunset on the evening of October 22, 4004 BC which would make October 23rd the First Day.  This calculation was just one of a series of calculations by others, including Isaac Newton (whose calculation gave a date of 3998 BC) and Johannes Kepler (who calculated that the universe was created on April 27, 4977 B.C.).  Others, including James Lightfoot and Joseph Justus Scaliger, also published research on the date of creation.

Lightfoot, a rabbinical scholar and Vice-Chancellor of the University of Cambridge, determined that the date of Creation was 3929 BC.  Scaliger was a contemporary of Ussher and his studies of the Biblical chronology and other ancient literature showed that the Egyptian dynasties and Babylonian kingdoms existed before the accepted date of the Flood, approximately 2300 BC.  This led chronologists to realize that there were other sources of information that must be considered.

Even today, many individuals, known as Young Earth Creationists (YEC), use these early dates as the beginning of the universe.  But to achieve that date, these individuals, must either ignore the evidence that has accumulated or somehow find a way to make the data fit the theory. 

As Sherlock Holmes once told Dr. Watson, “It is a capital mistake to theorize before one has the data.”  And the Fourth Doctor Who reminds us,

The very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common.  Instead of altering their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views. . . which can be very uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.

“The Face of Evil”, Dr. Who, Episode 4, Season 14 (1976)

Before we dismiss these efforts, we must understand that these calculations were products of serious and concerted research, based upon the available information, including ancient records from various cultures as well as the Bible’s genealogies.  As more information became available, so too did the date of creation change.

Stephen Jay Gould, while disagreeing with Ussher’s chronology noted,

I shall be defending Ussher’s chronology as an honorable effort for its time and arguing that our usual ridicule only records a lamentable small-mindedness based on mistaken use of present criteria to judge a distant and different past.

Ussher represented the best of scholarship in his time. He was part of a substantial research tradition, a large community of intellectuals working toward a common goal under an accepted methodology.

Stephen J. Gould, “Fall in the House of Ussher, Natural History, page 100, November 1991

In 1924 Edwin Hubble (for whom the Hubble Space Telescope is named) made a series of astronomical observations that allowed him to conclude in a paper published a few years later that the universe was expanding.  His observations confirmed the theoretical work of Georges Lemaitre.

Georges Lemaitre, a mathematician, physicist, and Catholic priest used Albert Einstein’s equations for general relativity to predict that the universe was expanding.

At the time of Hubble’s work, most physicists, including Albert Einstein, felt that the universe was static.  Einstein told Lemaitre that “your calculations are correct, but your physics is atrocious”.

Einstein would add what he called a “cosmological factor” to his relativity equations to keep the universe static.  He, Einstein, would later say this was his biggest mistake.

In April 1948, Robert Alpher and George Gamow (along with Hans Bethe) would present a series of calculations that confirmed Hubble’s observations and Lemaitre’s calculations.  Observations by Arno Penzias and Robert Wilson in 1965 also confirmed that the beginning of creation was approximately 13 billion years ago.  This moment in time was named, somewhat derisively, the “Big Bang” by British mathematician and physicist Fred Hoyle.

Hoyle was a committed atheist and he felt that such a moment was a bit too much like the words of Genesis.  Despite the evidence given by Hubble and later observations, Hoyle and others attempted to prove that the universe was static and without a beginning. 

Interesting enough, some of Hoyle’s work required the very beginning that he didn’t believe in.

While it may seem that a discussion of the creation of the universe is a relatively modern construct, it was an item of discussion in the early church (The Early Church and Genesis | Thoughts From The Heart On The Left (wordpress.com)https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2018/08/20/the-early-church-and-genesis/). 

Origen, the 3rd century philosopher/theologian, opposed the idea that the opening verses of Genesis were a historical and literal account of how God created this world and universe. Later scholars, such as Thomas Aquinas, and religious figures, such as John Wesley, made similar arguments.

Wesley would say that the Scriptures were not written to satisfy our curiosity but to lead us to God (adapted from “How was the Genesis account of creation interpreted before Darwin?”http://biologos.org/questions/early-interpretations-of-genesis )

While God may not have told us when He created the universe, He did give us a mind and the capability to think and ask questions.  And he gave us the evidence to look at. So, we ask questions, and when we find the answer to those questions, we get two new questions to be answered.

And while we may get closer to understanding when the universe was created and how it was done, what we discover will never tell us why it was done. To answer why it was done and all the other questions that come from the answer to that question are done on our faith journey.

So, as we view the images provided by the James Webb Space Telescope and we think of the opening verses of Genesis, we need to see it as the beginning of a journey, a journey of exploration and understanding of both the world we live in and our relationship with God.

Who’s your God?

This was a sermon given by my friend, Lauriston Avery, at The United Methodist Church of Danbury on 31 July 2022

The Scripture readings for this message were from Hosea 11:1-11 and Luke 12:13-21

The hymns for this Sunday were “Great Is Thy Faithfulness” (UMH #140), “Seek Ye First” (UMH #405) and “Take My Life, and Let It Be” (UMH #399).


Thank you for having me again, I am praying Kim is recovering well now, and that you won’t need me back again so, so soon!

Trigger warning, though. I plan to ask a lot of questions, hard questions, today. And I don’t have any of the answers!

First question: Who’s your god?

Every time I asked myself that as I was preparing for today, I heard the song by the Zombies . . .do you remember it? . . .

What’s your name? (What’s your name?)

Who’s your daddy? (Who’s your daddy?)

He rich?  Is he rich like me?

Has he taken (has he taken?) any time (any time) (to show) to show you what you need to live?

. . . It’s the time of the season for loving . . .

The Zombies – Time of the Season

Our scripture lessons deal with the human understanding and ambiguity of love, does it come from an earthly place or a divine place? Are we completely conscious of what we are doing in this life? Are we really connecting with God, or are we replacing God with something else? Do we know what we need to live?

So, who IS your God?

Is it Golf? My husband used to regularly skip church on Sunday and I would sit on the edge of the bed and show first my left hand, then my right hand and say “Golf? or your immortal soul? Golf? or your immortal soul?” ~it didn’t dissuade him from taking up his golf clubs (and not his cross) I’m sorry to say.

Is your God an ism? Communism or Socialism or Capitalism or Woke-ism or Progressivism, or Liberalism or Conservatism or Libertarianism? Do you think that society could be made right if ONLY we would adopt one of those isms, that there, in that societal construct, would be the answer to everything, all our problems?

Or maybe your sexuality is your God. Is your gender identity the most important thing about you? Do you live into your fantasy, or do you live into your fidelity?

Is Roe your God or is Dobbs your decision? Does God legislate a woman’s body or does God have an investment in a fetus’s chance at life? Is this complex situation an impossible one for we, who love God, to forgive one another?

How about fear, is fear your God? Are you afraid of what the world can do to you, or what a virus can do to you? Are you paralyzed by your fear, or do you flaunt your fear in dangerous risk taking?

Are you yourself your God? Do you depend on only yourself? Are you fully self-reliant in your own capabilities and depend on your own strength and productivity for your security? And how’s that working out for you?

Is politics your God? Tell me are you on the red team or the blue team?

We have an event every summer in our community called Shakespeare On The Sound. One year they performed Henry the fifth, and my dear friend took her young sons to see the play ~but they only got to see the first act and went home at intermission because it was too late for them to stay up. The next morning, she went to get her son out of bed and he popped up and he said “Mom! Who won? The red team or the blue team?” The play was about King Henry of England always at war against France. We seem to perpetuate that endless war, don’t we? What about us? We always seem to be at war between our red team and our blue team. And yet if we look at the things, we each accuse the other of, well it’s the same thing! When we are divided along those tribal lines, we seem to always achieve the same outcome: more division, more war, less love, more death.

Is no-God your God? I have a friend on Facebook who is an avowed atheist and anytime I post anything relating to my faith he comes and gives it the good old atheist attack ~he doesn’t take it kindly when I say to him “It doesn’t matter if you don’t believe in God because God still believes in you.”

My atheist friend’s God is Science because he won’t believe anything until it can be absolutely proved empirically and for him the heavens are NOT telling the glory of God, that’s not evidentiary enough proof for him that God exists. (Say “evidentiary five times fast!)

In our Hosea passage the prophet points to his community still believing in the gods of Baal ~do you know what they did to worship the god Baal? They used to take their children and sacrifice them in the fire. This remains a continuing problem today, in the crime of human trafficking. The sacrifice of children goes on today and it’s just as horrific as it’s described in our Hebrew Scriptures. God did intervene when Abraham took Isaac to sacrifice him at the altar, in the fire. That was an important moment when God definitively eliminated the horrible practice of child sacrifice, God demonstrated his compassion and his loving care for his people. God rescued them, called them out from slavery in Egypt! But Hosea laments, that they continued to turn away from God, and they continued sacrificing their children to Baal.

But it is the true God, who is our God, who is bigger and more compassionate and eternally persistent than all these other false Gods, Hear O children of Israel, because our God is all, and in all. And yet, we, the heritage of Israel, we continue to turn away.

In our Gospel lesson Jesus is first confronted by someone who asks him to intervene with his (likely) older brother, to divide the inheritance with him. In those days, the eldest brother always got a double share of the inheritance. Jesus sternly calls him a word that means generically “human.” (The word would have referred to both men and women) He referenced Moses here, who intervened when two Hebrews fought with each other, but Jesus rejects the idea that he is a second Moses; he is not their judge and ruler, as the two Hebrews fighting demanded of Moses, but Jesus is their teacher, and savior.

Now he tells the story of the man who kept building bigger barns and relying on his harvest filling them; and it’s God, the true God, who laughs at him and who calls him “dummy!” Literally, dumb, like a statue, unable to speak, senseless in fact, a statue, an idol, a no-god. A fool! Because your soul is required of you tonight! Your immortal soul is required of you, and all you’ve got are bigger barns and NO TIME to eat drink and be merry. And all your wealth, whose will they be? An unanswerable question for sure. Maybe all those crops will become that younger brother’s inheritance, who was mad about his older brother’s double share.

Apparently, this human, foolish, dummy, fails to recognize that his immortal soul is at stake, that he is himself the harvest, and not his barn full of crops. God shouts at him “You can’t take it with you!” It’s worthless chaff, if you don’t have God.

I like to imagine Jesus telling this parable in true comedic style and that those who are listening to him might’ve been “rolling on the floor laughing out loud” because they were well aware of the fragility of life and they were well aware of how often, as the Yiddish saying goes, “Man plans, God laughs.”

And I imagine God, the loving father, and the doting mother in one, who, as described in Hosea, has taught his beloved Israel to walk, who took them up in His arms, but they did not know, they did not realize, that their God, their mother’s kiss, has healed their wounds, that it was God, God’s self, that led them with cords of human kindness, with bands of love, who lifted them to God’s cheeks, it was God who bent down to feed them.

How can we resist the love of God? The overwhelming, never-ending reckless love of God, who sings over us? Who breathed his own life-giving spirit into us? Who has been so, so good to us? Who has been so, so kind to us?

Reckless Love

Oh these unanswerable questions, this deep and delicious mystery that we try to name and call God, our Yah-Weh, the breathing in and breathing out of God’s own spirit that is our source and sustaining life, our only source, our only sustaining spirit, this gift, this human life that is just wind, just spirit, the only Way, the only One to help us to find the true treasure, which is the divine life, a life richly blessed in God.

Even though we, God’s children, continue to turn away, to rebel and seek other gods, God loves us more than any human parent could, God’s love for us is unfailing, God’s love is a love that will not let us go.

Who’s our God? God is our God. The God, the One God, that is so much greater than any human thought or idea or thing or achievement. When we add up all we can do, God is greater than that, and God is requiring our immortal soul today, tonight, all days and all nights, because when we turn, return, toward God, there is no greater riches than to be at one, in God’s Love.


This will appear in the July newsletter for Fishkill UMC


During my first summer at Truman State University in 1966, I received a letter from my mother which said that the family had moved, and I should not plan on coming home.  So, for a couple of months, I had no idea where my home was.

I was able to go to my grandmother’s home in St. Louis during the brief 4th of July break that summer.  Her home would serve as a second home many times over the next few years while I was in school and at the beginning of my professional career.

The move from Missouri to Tennessee was, for my siblings and I, nothing unusual.  As the son of an Air Force officer, growing up in the 1950s and 1960s, I lived in two different states and the Philippines before beginning school.  I lived in six states and attended five elementary schools, two junior high schools, and two other high schools before graduating from Bartlett High School, my 3rd high school, in 1968.  And many of those early moves occurred during the school year.

Each of these moves was a transition in my life.  While there were some drawbacks to moving so many times, I saw more of the country than many of my non-military classmates and it was very much a part of growing up. 

Also, I was either lucky or very fortunate.  I was still able to continue my academic progress.  But, for as much as the transitions that I made were positive, I am sure that they were not as positive for many others.

In all these moves, there was one constant, my mother’s desire that my siblings and I attend Sunday school and church every week.  This would establish a practice that I have tried to maintain to this day.  In the beginning, this was perhaps more of a Sunday ritual but over time, the church became a place of renewal and my spiritual home.

In 1966, I only had the beginnings of an idea what I would do professionally, and I certainly had no idea that I would become a lay speaker/minister.  I was certain that Truman State would be my academic home for the next few years, and I wanted to make sure I had a spiritual home as well.

Now this was before the merger of the EUB and Methodist denominations to form the United Methodist Church and I would have preferred attending Faith EUB.  But it was a couple of miles out of town and since I was going to be walking to church, I opted to attend 1st Methodist, which was only about seven blocks from the campus.  So, I transferred my membership from the Wright City (MO) Methodist Church to the 1st Methodist Church of Kirksville, MO (see note at the end of the paper).

When I first came up here in 1999 to meet Ann, I asked that we attend church on Sunday before I flew back to Kentucky.  And so, we came to Fishkill UMC.

For some, Fishkill UMC has been their only spiritual home; for others, it has been one of several.  But no matter how long they have been a member, it has been a place of renewal and to refresh the spirit.

And now it is July and a time of transition for many United Methodist Churches.  But it is not we who are moving but Pastor Micah and other pastors.  In a span of seven days, Pastor Micah and Kiren, along with other pastors and their families will have gathered up their belongings and memories and moved to their new charge.

The transition of church leadership is very much a part of our faith tradition.  Joshua took over the leadership of the Israelites from Moses; David became the heir apparent to Saul; Elisha took over for Elijah, and Paul always seemed to focus on the transition of leadership at the churches that he founded.

For some, Pastor Micah is the only pastor they have known and this change, this transition, can be very hard.  Even for those for whom the change of pastors is part of being a United Methodist, it is still not an easy time.  We have become used to a style, an approach, and all that is about to change.

But even in change, there is still constancy.  Our new pastor, Dan Levine, is versed in the ways of Methodism and that means that the essence of the message will still be the same, no matter how it is spoken or presented.

Each transition, be it a change of place or a change of people, gives us the opportunity to see the world in a new light. 

We must understand that though we may speak of our church home, it is first and foremost God’s home, and we are but His tenants.  If we see this as our possession, then we have evicted God and made it impossible for change to occur.

I know of situations where members of a church viewed the church as “their” church and those who come, laity and clergy alike, must adhere to already written and unwritten practices and protocols.

A transition is not a one-way process.  It is more than saying good-bye to one pastor and hello to another.  If we are to continue our own spiritual journey, and perhaps more importantly, help others begin or continue their spiritual journey, we must be a part of the transition as well.

We have said our goodbyes to Pastor Micah and Kiren.  As we now greet Pastor Dan, we understand that this transition is part of our spiritual journey as well.


EUB stands for Evangelical United Brethren and was the denomination in which I began my walk with Christ.

In 1994, at the beginning of my lay speaking career, I would preach at Faith UMC.  In my message, I mentioned why I had chosen 1st over Faith.  After the service, a member of the congregation came up to me and said, “You could have called; we would have come and picked you up.”  (A Matter of Faith | Thoughts From The Heart On The Left (wordpress.com) -https://heartontheleft.wordpress.com/2012/04/10/a-matter-of-faith/)