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Let There Be Light

Khleber150x150Sometimes I like using headphones to listen to music as I go about my business around town. I’ve also found myself plugged in while gardening or cleaning or whatever else. The technology that affords one such a luxury is downright amazing to someone whose first radio was a little red plastic gizmo that, if clipped to any metal object, would faintly pick up a couple of AM radio stations.

It wasn’t too long ago when a friend and I were sitting in a public place and saw some joggers go by. He began berating “all those people who exercise with earphones on so they can’t hear anybody anymore.” I think I know what he was complaining about and why. And I stand convicted.

While I was considering performing a risk-benefit analysis of the questionable headphone behavior of myself and others, I read an article in which writer and theologian Rodney Clapp recounted a story about his grandmother. Clapp said his Grandma Adams had become more and more hard of hearing over the years, and this was happening to her at about the same time her longtime companion, Bob, was becoming nearly blind.

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A Bedtime Story for Adults

Khleber150x150I never heard much about the biblical character of Judith back in the little Protestant church of my youth. Maybe it’s because Judith’s storyline is not really the stuff of a good children’s book. If you’re not familiar with it, the story goes like this: Nebuchadnezzar, king of Assyria, became enraged at his western provinces so he called together a great army under his most bloodthirsty general, Holofernes. Holofernes, who had slaughtered his way through many lands, led the great horde toward Jerusalem, stopping to lay siege to the little town of Bethulia in Israel, telling the Bethulians that they should surrender or die.

The leaders of the Bethulians wrung their hands for weeks and then decided they would give their God five more days to deliver them before they capitulated and began worshipping Nebuchadnezzar. A local widow named Judith overheard the leaders’ plans and decided to something about it.

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Because We’re Human

Khleber150x150I don't think much about the concept of sin anymore, so I was intrigued when Father Gary Wilde brought it up in his column in this space last week. What made the timing particularly odd was that the topic had come up at a gathering a couple of days before in my own congregation.

As a minister, I am blessed to sit with a number of people in a number of groups as they explore theological, philosophical, and life questions together. Since ours is a creedless faith tradition requiring no particular statement of religious belief, it is not unusual to have a diversity of opinions, impressions, and ways of thinking represented in any of our gatherings.

At a recent evening meeting at church, one of our groups began talking about the concept of sin, and it quickly became obvious that there were many viewpoints around our small circle. Some people seemed to resonate easily with a definition of sin as something like stepping off the path or doing something that hurts someone else unnecessarily or acting in a way that you know in your heart isn’t right. It’s easy for those of us who have sometimes fallen short of the mark to think of that sort of behavior as sin.

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