September 15th, 2019

This service consisted of a panel discussion reviewing Elaine Pagels’s book, Why Religion: A Personal Story. Panelists included Kathie Huddleston, Janet Cruz, Joanne Wakeland, Susan Kozak, Dan Rasmussen, and John Shuck, moderator.

Audio includes the readings, the panel discussion and anthem by the chancel choir, “Amazing Grace.”

2019 September 15 Order of Worship

Gospel of Truth
Speak the truth with those who search for it…support those who have stumbled, and extend your hands to those who are ill. Feed those who are hungry; give rest to the weary…strengthen those who wish to rise; and awaken those who are asleep.


Gospel of Thomas 70
If you bring forth what is within you,
what you bring forth will save you.
If you do not bring forth what is within you,
what you do not bring forth will destroy you.


1 Corinthians 2:1-10
And so it was with me, brothers and sisters. When I came to you, I did not come with eloquence or human wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and him crucified. I came to you in weakness with great fear and trembling. My message and my preaching were not with wise and persuasive words, but with a demonstration of the Spirit’s power, so that your faith might not rest on human wisdom, but on God’s power. We do, however, speak a message of wisdom among the mature, but not the wisdom of this age or of the rulers of this age, who are coming to nothing. No, we declare God’s wisdom, a mystery that has been hidden and that God destined for our glory before time began. None of the rulers of this age understood it, for if they had, they would not have crucified the LORD of glory. However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”- the things God has prepared for those who love him- these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.


Thunder Perfect Mind
I am the first and the last.
I am the one who is honored, and the one scorned;
I am the whore and the holy one…
I am the incomprehensible silence,
And…the voice of many sounds, the word in many forms;
I am the utterance of my name…
Do not cast anyone out, or turn anyone away…
I am the one who remains, and the one who dissolves;
I am she who exists in all fear,
And strength in trembling.
I am she who cries out…
I am cast forth on the face of the earth…
I am the sister of my husband, and he is my offspring…
but he is the one who gave birth to me.
I am the incomprehensible silence
and the thought often remembered…
I am the one who has been hated everywhere,
And who has been loved everywhere.
I am the one they call Life, and you have called Death.
I am the one whose image is great in Egypt,
And the one who has no image among the barbarians…
I prepare the bread and my mind within;
I am the knowing of my name.


Thunder Perfect Mind
I am the thought that lives in the light.
I live in everyone, and I delve into them all…
I move in every creature….
I am the invisible one in all beings…
I am a voice speaking softly…
I am the real voice…the voice from the invisible thought…
It is a mystery…I. cry out in everyone…
I hid myself in everyone, and revealed myself within them,
and every mind seeking me longs for me…
I am she who gradually brought forth everything…
I am the image of the invisible spirit…
The mother, the light…the virgin…the womb, and the voice…
I put breath within all beings.


Elaine Pagels
What’s found in the secret gospels, and throughout the process of exploring the history of religion, offers resources we’re now beginning to appreciate. What also helped me was Heinz’s insight and imagination, shaped by scientific inquiry, which often extends beyond personal suffering. Once, as noted before, when he saw me in anguish after we received our child’s crushing diagnosis, he said something I often recall; “Everyone’s life has something like this in it.” Angry, I snapped back; “No, not this—not a child with a terminal illness!” “No,” he said, “not this, but something like this.” Much later, I came to realize how much truth there is in what he said. Even now, writing about what’s so deeply personal, I’m aware that anything I say can speak to you only as it resonates through what you have experienced yourself; yet even within those limits, we may experience mutual recognition.