Monthly Clergy Letter Project Newsletter


The new issue of Clergy Project Newsletter is now available on-line.

In this Clergy Letter Project update, you’ll find the following seven items:

Evolution Weekend 2020:  Free Book Offer;

Astrobiology News for November 2019:  Exoplanet Hunting Around the World;

Why Should Christians Care for Creation?;

Review of Climate Church, Climate World;

Neil deGrasse Tyson and Sensei Tony Stultz Discuss the Universe – and More;

A Climate of Hope:  Scientists and Faith Communities Addressing the Climate Crisis; and

Genesis, Environmentalism and Diversity:  A Rabbi Explains.

The WesleyNexus Newsletter


The new WesleyNexus newsletter is now available.

In this issue:

In U.S., Decline of Christianity Continues at Rapid Pace” Pew Survey

Parachurch Ministry and the Gospel Ecosystem

Graduating Students Share Their Journeys of Faith

Special Project: Understanding Generation Z from the Pacific Standard

ISSR program at American Academy of Religion in San Diego

Non-scientific Creation Stories by Rev. Henry Schwarzmann

“The Paradox of Creativity”


Here are my thoughts that will appear on the “Back Page” of the Fishkill UMC bulletin for this coming Sunday, 22 September 2019 (15th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C).

For me, there are two paradoxes involved in the Gospel reading for today.  The first involves the owner and the manager.  The owner fires the manager for doing a bad job but praises him for what he then does.  This would suggest that what the owner was doing was wrong to begin with.  But as I have only the back page of my church’s bulletin for expressing my thoughts, I looked at the fact that the manager was being creative in his work and that Jesus speaks of using our creativity in a positive manner.

To be creative, one must have a place to be a creative and a time to be creative (which are the same requirements for regular prayer).  And therein lies the second paradox.

But the world today, just like the world of which Jeremiah wrote, has made it very difficult to set aside such a time and a place.  So we must be attuned to the world around us and correct those things that might distract us.

“When Alexander the Great visited Diogenes and asked whether he could do anything for the famed teacher, Diogenes replied: “Only stand out of my light.” Perhaps someday we shall know how to heighten creativity. Until then, one of the best things we can do for creative men and women is to stand out of their light.”— John W. Gardner

We are much like Jeremiah, trying to get away from the world but we are also hearing Paul reminding us to pray for those involved in changing this world. 

And in the end, we are like the manager, working to correct things in this world.

~~Tony Mitchell

Some thoughts on the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 landing


This will be on the “Back Page” of July 21, 2019 ( 6th Sunday after Pentecost, Year C) bulletin for Fishkill UMC. Service begins at 10:15 and you are always welcome!

Earthrise, December 24, 1968 – a reminder that we are the caretakers of this world – some additional thoughts can be found at “Christian author sees climate change as a moral issue.”

Footprint on the moon, July 20, 1969 – In your journey with Christ, where will you leave your mark?

“String Theory”


This will be the “Back Page” for the Fishkill UMC bulletin for this Sunday, July 14, 2019 – the 5th Sunday after Pentecost (Year C)

String theory is an advanced theory in physics that describes our universe and its beginnings.  It does so by envisioning a system of multiple dimensions, among which are the four dimensions of space and time in which we live.  While this theory attempts to describe our universe physically, how can we describe this universe spiritually?

When you look at the two towers of the Verazzano-Narrows Bridge, you can tell they are straight and they appear to be parallel.

However, that is only a two-dimensional view.  Because of the height of the towers (693 ft or 211 m) and their distance from each other (4,260 ft or 1,298 m), the curvature of the Earth’s surface had to be considered when designing the bridge. The towers are not parallel to each other but are 1 58 in (41.275 mm) farther apart at their tops than at their bases.  This line is that distance:      

Even with such a small distance, the designers had to see the world in three dimensions rather than two dimensions in order to build the bridge.

The religious and political authorities in Jesus’ time saw life in two dimensions.  There were clear lines of demarcation that told people who they were and what they can do.  Woe to anyone who dared to cross those lines.  But that is exactly what Jesus did; Jesus saw the world in three dimensions and routinely crossed the lines and challenged the definitions.

Even today, there are many who seek life in two dimensions.  Which makes living in this three-dimensional world that much harder.  And that is the same challenge gave Jesus gave the people two thousand years ago; how do we live in a three-dimensional world?         

~~Tony Mitchell

Faith and Reason


The following links go to a series dealing with faith and reason posted on the Emerging Scholars Blog (updated on 8 June 2019):

Faith and Reason, Part 1

Faith and Reason, Part 2: Augustine

Faith and Reason, Part 3: Aquinas

Faith and Reason, Part 4: Locke

Faith and Reason, Part 5: Hume

Faith and Reason Part 6: Plantinga

Faith and Reason Part 7: Plantinga, Continued

I am sharing this because reason is considered one part of the Wesleyan quadrilateral.  Your comments are welcome (please note that comments made here are not shared with the author of the posts so it would be wise to share you comments on the appropriate post.

Growing Suspect of Religion, not Science


I am reposting this from “The Catholic Astronomer” web site.  Take some time to read through the notes and observe the conclusions.

On the Vatican Observatory Faith and Science pages there is a really cool entry that readers of The Catholic Astronomer should take a look at.  The entry consists of an excerpt from the Tahāfut al-falāsifa, or The Incoherence of the Philosophers, of Abu Hāmid Muhammad Ibn Muhammad al-Tūsi al-Ghazālī.  (The excerpt is fully downloadable in PDF format.)  Al-Ghazālī, who lived in the eleventh century, is one of medieval Islam’s best-known religious intellectuals. Al-Ghazālī says that disputing matters of science on the basis of religious texts or ideology is a waste of time.  Moreover, he says the atheists love it when people of faith do such things, because, he says, “then the atheist’s path for refuting religion becomes easy”.  He says that once something is scientifically well-established (for example, the mechanism by which eclipses occur), then whoever inspects them and is convinced by their evidence, deriving for himself information about the extent, times of occurrence, and duration of these two kinds … Continue reading →

Source: Growing Suspect of Religion, not Science