Planet Earth is a world of the faith-full. And, it seems Earth is likely to become yet more faith-full during the next few decades. The scientific community will have to embrace that faith-full world if it wants a scientifically literate world. A few years ago the Pew Research Center published an article entitled “The Future of World Religions: Population Growth Projections, 2010-2050” that projected the growth of various religious groups. Their projections, among religions, were for Christians and Hindus to maintain their share of the world’s population, for Muslims to grow substantially, and for Buddhists and Folk Religions to shrink. However, Pew projected the overall share of the world’s population that identifies with a religion to grow—from 83.6% of the world’s population in 2010, to 86.8% in 2050—as the religiously unaffiliated, which includes atheists and agnostics, drops from 16.4% of the population today to 13.2% in 2050. Pew notes that while there is a belief among some that increasing economic … Continue reading →
This will be the back page for the bulletin at Fishkill United Methodist Church on Sunday, August 19, 2018 (13th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B).
As he lay dying in Romeo’s arms, Mercutio cries out, “ A plaque on both of your houses!” His death is the direct result of the antipathy and hatred between the Capulet and Montague households and will lead to the deaths of Romeo and Juliet.
John the Seer wrote of conquest, war, famine and death being the plagues that would destroy this earth, our home. These plagues are fed by ignorance and fear.
In Ephesians, Paul calls on the Ephesians to “think outside the box”, as it were, for if they don’t, that “box” will become their coffins.
The recent Gospel readings have focused on Jesus as the Bread of Life and the refusal of many to understand what He is saying. As I wrote last week, the people still see Christ as Joseph’s son; they lack a vision to see beyond. When Solomon became king, the one thing he wanted more than anything else was wisdom, the ability to see new solutions for the problems that he would face.
If we see Jesus as the carpenter’s son, as the people did, then we will never achieve what Solomon sought. But if we accept Jesus with all our heart and all our mind, we escape the box and find the means to solve the problems that plague us.
~~ Tony Mitchell
This will be the “back page” for the bulletin at Fishkill UMC this coming Sunday, August 12, 2018 (12th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B).
David’s cry of “Absalom, Absalom” in the Old Testament reading is a cry of pain and anguish. It is also a cry created by and through anger.
Paul points out that we must be careful when we are angry; that words said in anger may result in something we may not want. Paul didn’t say that we couldn’t be angry; he just said that it shouldn’t devour your life. Anger moves our focus away from God and what God desires.
The whole idea that Jesus represented the Bread of Life and that it was available to all who sought Him angered some people. And that anger prevented them from envisioning the new vision Jesus offered. It is an anger that is still present today. It prevents us from hearing the cry of anguish from those in pain or who are lost, forgotten, or excluded.
Until we put the anger away and let Christ truly into our life, we will never be whom we are called to be.
~~ Tony Mitchell
This is scheduled to be the “back page” for the bulletin at Fishkill United Methodist Church for Sunday, August 5, 2018 (11th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B).
In my opinion, we as humans and as a society have been given two great gifts, creativity and God’s grace. The hardest thing that we must realize is that we haven’t been given those gifts solely for our benefit. We have been given them to share with others. (from “The Gifts We Have Been Given.”)
I am not saying that you shouldn’t try to be the best you can be, but if you don’t share them, how will others know what you can do? You may have the skills of leadership and ministry but unless you are in the lector rotation, who knows what you can do? You may sing like an angel but only heaven knows if you don’t sing in public (choir rehearsals are on Sunday at 9 am). You may write like Shakespeare but if the words are not published, they have no meaning (that’s a hint, by the way – 😊 ).
David was given the gift of creativity and it was evident in his leadership and his ability to compose poems and songs. Yet, he used his creativity to abuse the power of his position and, in the end, he paid the price for his greed and arrogance. (from “What Do You Do With The Gifts You Have Been Given?”)
To borrow from George Bernard Shaw, ours is to see things that never were and say why not. Whatever it is that we want to be, the results will be magnified when we use our gifts so that others come to know Christ. ~Tony Mitchell
This will be on the back page of the bulletin at Fishkill United Methodist Church this Sunday, July 29, 2018 (10th Sunday after Pentecost, Year B).
A few years ago, I wandered into a meeting dealing with chemistry and teaching. A friend of mine quipped, “Well, speak of the devil!” What could I say but, “No, I work for the opposition.”
When you stop to think about it, I shouldn’t have had the career as a lay speaker and pastor as I did. After all, my training and background were in chemistry and teaching chemistry, areas that do not naturally lead to theological leanings (in fact, many think such a background would lead me away from such areas).
But I felt the call to lay speaking and the skills that I acquired as a chemist served to learn and understand other areas, and in that regard, allowed me to travel the roads of Kansas, Tennessee, Kentucky, and New York.
When you think about it, none of the those who Jesus choose to be his disciples were qualified for the job. But sometimes you don’t want those who are “experts” in their field to take on the task of bringing God’s Kingdom to Earth. Each was called to that task, not because of what they knew, but because of who they were.
The same is true for us. We are called by God because of who we are. God then uses us, with the skills we have, to take us to new places in life. It isn’t so much that we ask God what can we do but, rather, when do we start?
By the way, I am also the tenor. Tony Mitchell
Here are some thoughts for this coming Sunday (July 29, 2018, 10th Sunday after Pentecost – Year B).
One mark of a good leader is how he or she treats those they lead. In the Old Testament reading for today, Uriah declines the offer for personal leave because the troops he is commanding would not get the same benefit. It may be that the other Israelite commanders were of such a mind to leave the battlefield if the opportunity presented itself but that is something we do not know.
Even without being named, Uriah’s troops were a part of the narrative. Now, we have all been taught that Jesus fed the multitudes not once but twice. Still, the numbers that we are told were present only counted the men; any women or children that would have been there would not have been counted. It was part of the culture of that time that women and children were considered “non-persons”, even though they were there.
The one thing that we know about Jesus’ mission was his desire to bring the missing, the forgotten, and the lost back to God. It is still part of the mission today, even though there are many who would disagree.
How can we say that Christ’s mission is fulfilled, and the God’s Kingdom is at hand when there are people missing, forgotten, or cast aside?
~ Tony Mitchell
The new WesleyNexus newsletter is now available. Topics this month include:
What Does Quantum Physics Actually Tell Us About the World? By James Gleick
Science and Theology: Where the Consonance Really Lies by David Bentley Hart
Journeying with Uncomfortable Faith by Rev. Sherwyn Benjamin
God and Nature website and Summer issue
Must Science Conflict With Spirituality? By Michael Shermer
Artificial Intelligence Turns Deep: Who’s in Control – The IRAS 2018 Summer Conference
Could the Universe Cause Itself? By Timothy Dalrymple, PhD
Does Science Support Belief in God? a note from John B. Cobb, Jr.
ASA Annual Meeting, Gordon College, Wenham, MA, July 27-30,2018
The Inside Story: Consciousness, Nature, Transcendence
A transdisciplinary conference on Mind, Matter, Meaning and Mysticism, November 9-10, 2018