Showing posts from 2019

A Funeral Sermon on John 14

Once more I have had the unpleasant experience of having to listen to a "pastor" expound on the John 14 text in a way which focuses exclusively on "what we get when we get to heaven." Central to this position is the insistence that "you better believe in Jesus - have a personal relationship with Jesus" or else you won't be getting one of those nice mansions." This is not the Gospel and it is not what this text is saying. In fact I find this approach to funeral sermons to be reprehensible as it subjects vulnerable and grieving men and women to a manipulative religious diatribe which is totally irrelevant to the occasion - the loss of a loved one. Not only that, but I have experienced also the dishonesty of evangelical "pastors" enlisting the deceased in their manipulation (e.g. Mildred believed in Jesus so you all should be like Mildred and believe in Jesus). This is NOT the Gospel. This is manipulation and it is irresponsible. So, for al

Reflections and Response to Issues Raised - Turkey and Greece 2019

Introduction: The opportunity to travel presented itself and I signed on for a trip that was entitled, “In the Footsteps of Paul.” Initially the name did not put me off. I have seen ads for other trips to this part of the world with this title. I presumed, correctly as it turned out, that the trip would focus on the so-called missionary journeys of the Apostle Paul, as laid out in the book of Acts. The trip would also provide opportunities for visiting other sites that would provide an immersive experience in the ancient world. Sounds great! After a little thought I signed up. While I think the 4 missionary journeys of Paul are an ahistorical construct I recognize that both Luke (the book of Acts) and tour agencies might find these to be a useful organizing tool. I signed up and on the 13 th of May flew to Istanbul. What followed was fascinating, physically demanding, spiritually uplifting and (at the same time) exceptionally frustrating and upsetting. I had no idea when I