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Southminster Presbyterian Church
An inclusive, welcoming community of Christian faith.
August 2017 E-Newsletter
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From the Office
I hope you are enjoying your summer. In September we will be picking up with a lot of great programming and it all starts on Welcome Back Sunday, September 10th.
But now, it is summer. Time for fall programming in the fall. The summer flees too quickly. We can’t keep up with it, but we can “fall down in the grass.”
The Summer Day
Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean-
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth instead of up and down-
who is gazing around with her enormous and complicated eyes.
Now she lifts her pale forearms and thoroughly washes her face.
Now she snaps her wings open, and floats away.
I don’t know exactly what a prayer is.
I do know how to pay attention, how to fall down
into the grass, how to kneel down in the grass,
how to be idle and blessed, how to stroll through the fields,
which is what I have been doing all day.
Tell me, what else should I have done?
Doesn’t everything die at last, and too soon?
Tell me, what is it you plan to do
with your one wild and precious life?
Summer is summer is summer. A season when rules and duties bow to the dictates of the sun. I found this summer poem that captures my wandering.
A Memorial: Son Bret
In the way you went you were important.
I do not know what you found.
In the pattern of my life you stand
where you stood always, in the center,
a hero, a puzzle, a man.
What you might have told me
I will never know-the lips went still,
the body cold. I am afraid
in the circling stars, in the dark,
and even at noon in the light.
When I run what am I running from?
You turned once to tell me something,
but then you glimpsed a shadow on my face
and maybe thought, Why tell what hurts?
You carried it, my boy, so brave, so far.
Now we have all the days, and the sun
goes by the same; there is a faint,
wandering trail I find sometimes, off
through the grass and sage. I stop
and listen: only summer again-remember?-
The bees, the wind.
The summer. The season to notice “the beauty of transhuman things.”
And here’s a portrait of my granddaughter Una
When she was two years old: a remarkable painter.
A perfect likeness; nothing tricky nor modernist,
Nothing of the artist fudging his art into the picture,
But simple and true. She stands in a glade of trees with a still inlet
Of blue ocean behind her. Thus exactly she looked then,
A forgotten flower in her hand, those great blue eyes
Asking and wondering.
Now she is five ears old
And found herself; she does not ask any more but commands,
Sweet and fierce-tempered; that light red hair of hers
Is the fuse for explosions. When she is eighteen
I’ll not be here. I hope she will find her natural elements,
Laughter and violence; and in her quiet times
The beauty of things – the beauty of transhuman things,
Without which we are all lost. I hope she will find
Powerful protection and a man like a hawk to cover her.
Southminster Life Events
Super Wednesday Schedule
Super Wednesdays are an inclusive group who gather for discussion and friendship. As we are finding through research, friendships and socialization are imperative for maintaining a strong mind as we age. However, it’s never too early to start! Everyone is welcome and encouraged to join in regardless of age. The broader the span, the healthier the perspective. The group atmosphere is warm and accepting and embraces sharing. There is time for serious thought as well as time for laughter and joy. Come have a cup of coffee or tea and join the shared camaraderie. You’ll be glad you did. There is no commitment, just drop in Room 7, at 10:00 a.m. on Wednesdays.
Aug 2 Movie day – Hidden Figures – The incredible untold story of Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson – brilliant African-American women working at NASA, who served as the brains behind one of the greatest operations in history: the launch of astronaut John Glenn into orbit, a stunning achievement that restored the nation’s confidence, turned around the Space Race, and galvanized the world. The visionary trio crossed all gender and race lines to inspire generations to dream big.
Aug 9 – Game day
Aug 16 – Coffee and conversation
Aug 23 – Bulletin folding
Aug 30 – Travelogue – Barbara will talk about her trip to Barcelona-Madrid-Paris
Mariners will gather on Friday, August 18 at the home of Wally Carey and Sandy Ruff. The fun will start at 6 p.m. Bring your favorite dish to share. This is always a great time. A reminder e-mail will be sent out before so you can RSVP to them.
Water 2 Wine – Field Trip
Water 2 Wine will be meeting on August 6th. The date is being changed from the 2nd Sunday to the 1st in order to arrange a field trip! We will carpool from the church parking lot. More info to come.
Book Readers Group
The Southminster Book Readers Group will be meeting August 14th at 7:00pm in room 9. All are welcome; to learn more about the group, contact the church office or Lorraine Prince. The book selection for August is The Last Days of Night: A Novel by Graham Moore
A Special Thank You Message
Dear Southminster family,
I know I’ve thanked everyone for their sweet and plentiful donations, but I’ve neglected those special folks who helped me make the sale an organized riot. A BIG thanks to Dee Wilson, Darlene Balmer, Daphne Fisher, Robin Burnham, Jody and Leah Morrissette, Aleta Parker, Kurt, Donnette, Lincoln, and Hamilton Sand, (Lincoln picked up a very nice item-I hope he treasures it for a long time). And a special thanks to Don, Ciera, and Tony whose help I could not have done without. And, yes, then there’s Robin Erickson who makes everything fun. And if I’ve left anyone out, I apologize and look forward to next year’s sale.
A Handbell Thank You
Many of you have seen the recent work being done by the Surroundings Committee – the new paint and carpet in the church. What you don’t know is that the Surroundings Committee also was very instrumental in the recent refurbishment of Southminster’s handbells.
The handbells were purchased in 1987 and refurbished in 2003. The Surroundings Committee covered 3/4 of the cost of the refurbishment, with the rest being covered by monies in the handbell equity account and donations from the handbell choir members. So thank you one and all.
The Adult Education Committee has chosen “Why I Left Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son” by Tony and Bart Campolo.
Tony Campolo has been a fixture in the evangelical Christian scene for decades. For the past 30 years his son, Bart has followed in his footsteps. Their brand of Christianity is evangelical (personal salvation through Jesus) but with an emphasis on social justice and care for least of these.
Just over two years ago, Bart decided to tell his parents that he no longer could believe in God. Out of this painful and liberating revelation is their story, “Why I Left: Why I Stayed: Conversations on Christianity Between an Evangelical Father and His Humanist Son.”
We will discuss this book during worship on September 24th. Bart will be with us over Skype to hold an interview with John and answer questions.
Mark Your Calendars for September!
Not to get too ahead of ourselves, but there are some important dates coming in September. Mark your calendar for:
Welcome Back Sunday – September 10th
Test the Waters – September 16th. This is your chance to learn more about the church and our community. Lunch is provided, please RSVP to John. 10am to 1pm.
New Member Welcome – September 17th
Join us in worship as we welcome new members to our community.
Worship Schedule (Subject to Spirit’s Adjustment)
August 6 Communion, Writings Ketuvim Part 1, Psalms, Proverbs, Job
Another book on the recommended list is God: A Biography by Jack Miles. It is a fascinating character analysis of “God” in the Hebrew scriptures. This book contains the most credible reading of the book of Job that I know. Job epitomizes resistance to any understanding of “God” that would delegitimize his experience. Job resists the superficial theology of Deuteronomy that explains away suffering by calling it a punishment from “God” for bad behavior. What happens when suffering is undeserved? Why do we hold to superficial explanations of reality that blame the victim?
August 13 Writings Ketuvim Part 2, Five Scrolls: Song of Songs, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, Esther
We stop to examine the story of Esther. This fictional story is set in the time of the Babylonian captivity but was likely written much later. Esther uses her privilege and power to save her people. This is a good story to invite us to think about privilege. Privilege is something certain people receive by luck that in an unjust society favors some over others because of their gender, sexuality, wealth, or skin color. People are born this way. What do we do about privilege and with privilege?
August 20 Writings Ketuvim Part 3, Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 & 2 Chronicles
With 2 Chronicles we reach the end of the TaNaKh. The final words are “Let him go up.” Up meaning Jerusalem. The goal is home. We would miss the point if we were to think of Jerusalem as a geographic place ordained by “God” for a particular ethnic group. We would also miss the point if we were think of Jerusalem as a symbol for heaven disconnected from life as it is on the ground so to speak. What is Jerusalem? For what do we long? What does real “home” look like and what does it mean to be a people working, longing, traveling, toward home?
August 27 Apocrypha/Deuterocanonical Part 1, Tobit, Judith, Esther (Greek), The Wisdom of Solomon, Sirach, Baruch, The Letter of Jeremiah, Azariah and the Three Jews, Susanna
It is unfortunate that these so-called apocryphal or deuterocanonical works have not been part of the Protestant Bible. They are the bridge in many ways between the TaNaKh and the New Testament. The seeds of two doctrines developed in these texts, the immortality of the soul and the resurrection of the body. These two doctrines shaped the Christian message. We will take a look first at the immortality of the soul as a new invention for permanence.
Progressive Spirit & Beloved Community Podcasts
The main web page is www.progressivespirit.net. From there you can find many links to download podcasts such as iTunes. During July, interviews were posted with…
The Walking Dead. The Night of the Living Dead. Sean of the Dead. Z Nation. We can’t seem to get enough of the zombies. So what is that about?
Greg Garrett is Professor of English at Baylor University, where he teaches classes in fiction and screenwriting, literature, film and popular culture, and theology. The author or coauthor of twenty books on fiction, nonfiction, and memoir, Garrett (according to the BBC) is one of Americas leading voices on religion and culture.
Professor Garrett says that we love killing zombies for a number of reasons. When societies face looming catastrophes and fears, zombies rise. His book is Living with the Living Dead: The Wisdom of the Zombie Apocalypse.
Matthew Fox: A Creation Spirituality Journey ENCORE
Matthew Fox. Silenced by the Vatican for his views, left the Catholic priesthood in the early 1980s. Matthew Fox is a theologian and activist who has written over 30 books. He has introduced millions of people to Creation Spirituality. His latest book, published in 2016 is called A Way to God: Thomas Merton’s Creation Spirituality Journey. According to Fox, Merton was assassinated by the CIA. We will talk more about that as well as have a candid conversation about ecology, human rights, capitalism, and resistance.
Always with us? What Jesus Really Said About the Poor
Politicians like to misquote Jesus to slash programs for the poor. Republican congressman, Roger Marshall of Kansas misused a quote from Jesus to support his program to reduce healthcare benefits for the poor.
Did Jesus really say, “The poor will always be with us?” What is the exact quote? What is the context? What did Jesus really mean? How do we respond to politicians who use the Bible and Jesus to cut aid to those most in need?
Liz Theoharis is fighting back. She is the founder and co-director of the Kairos Center for Religions, Rights, and Social Justice and coordinator of the Poverty Initiative at Union Theological Seminary, New York City. An ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA), Theoharis has spent the last two decades organizing among the poor in the United States and worldwide. She is the author of Always with us? What Jesus Really Said About the Poor.
WEDNESDAY 6:00-8:00pm Unless otherwise noted. Friends are always welcome!
Wednesday, August 16 — Swim Party! At Raleigh Hills park – 6-8 p.m. Bring a snack to share (i.e. cookies, chips etc.) Cost is $3.00 and Subway Sandwiches and Drinks will be provided.
Wednesday, August 30 – LAST CHANCE BBQ at Pastor Don’s! – 6-8pm Bring a snack to share with everyone (chips, potato salad etc.) – Drinks & dogs provided!
Read the Bible Cover to Cover
1, 2, 3, 4 Maccabees, 1 & 2 Esdras, The Prayer of Manasseh, Psalm 151
These are important works that tell of the period in which Hellenization (Greek culture and language) dominated the known world. These works describe the various responses to this influence. Greek thought and culture was both welcomed and feared. It also tells of persecution by Greek rulers and Jewish response. These works cover the period from the death of Alexander the Great in the 3rd century BCE to the first century CE.
1 Maccabees is history that recounts the origins of the Hasmonean Dynasty. It begins with the death of Alexander the Great and the rise to power of the Seleucid King, Antiochus IV Epiphanes. Here you will discover the origins of Hanakkuh.
2 Maccabees tells the same history of the first eight chapters of 1 Maccabees with a unique literary style. It is like a blog versus a news story! The martyrdom of the seven brothers is important for later Christian developments regarding resurrection.
1 Esdras reproduces 2 Chronicles 35:1-36:23, Ezra, and Nehemiah 7:38-8:12. If you have already read the canonical works, you might skim 1 Esdras and notice differences. Read 3:1-5:6 as this passage is unique to 1 Esdras.
The Prayer of Manasseh is a touching prayer of confession by the “wicked” king Manasseh (2 Kings 21:1-18). It is a prayer of hope that even the most evil among us are capable of redemption.
Psalm 151. And you thought there were only 150 Psalms! This one isn’t too long. It is a psalm of David.
3 Maccabees is not about the Maccabees at all. It is about another bad guy, King Ptolemy IV Philopator (221-203 BCE) and the struggle that Jews living in Egypt had with him.
2 Esdras is the only apocalypse in the Apocrypha. It reads like the book of Revelation and chapter 7-13 of Daniel. A heavy dose of this will give you bad dreams. Apocalyptic literature told of troubles and of future hope of God’s victory through complex symbols revealed in dreams. The word apocalypse means revelation.
4 Maccabees is a philosophical treatise written around the time of Jesus. It is an interpretation of Judaism using Greek philosophy.