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Posts by Ben Daniel (Page 10)

Walking with Mark in the New Year

Over the course of the next year most of my sermons will be taken from passages in the Gospel According to Mark. Mark’s Gospel is interesting because it was the first gospel written and it is one of the oldest books in the New Testament. As such, it was written at a time when early church’s ideas about who Jesus was were…

Change?

Q: How many Presbyterians does it take to change a light bulb? A: CHANGE?! It’s an old joke, and to be fair, Presbyterians probably aren’t any more afraid of change than other denominations (though, again, to be fair, my first serious crisis in leadership as a pastor involved pouring oil on the waters of an insurrection that erupted when a couple of…

How Do you View Christmas?

Dear Friends, Advent is the season during which we prepare ourselves for Christmas, and for most of us Advent is a season of happy expectation because for most of us Christmas is a celebration that brings with it tidings of comfort and joy while visions of sugar plums dance in our heads. But not everyone is so filled with giddy happiness at…

Saints of Shrewsbury

Friends, For my contribution to the Contact this week, I’m sending you something I wrote while sitting in the library of the Iona Abbey. As I wrote this, the howling wind was lashing rain against the leaded glass window that afforded me a wonderful view across the water to the Isle of Mull. I’m sure I’ll be telling you more about my…

Remembrance Sunday

This coming Sunday is Remembrance Sunday, an informal Presbyterian holy day observed on the first Sunday in November, because that is the Lord’s Day closest to the days (November 1st and 2nd) when our Roman Catholic sisters and brothers observe All Saints Day and All Souls Day/Día de los Muertos. Traditionally, Presbyterians and other Protestants have chosen not to pay any attention…

Reformation

Dear Friends, Because this coming Halloween will mark the 497th anniversary of the day Martin Luther posted a long list of complaints about the Roman Catholic to the door of his church in Wittenberg, Germany, in Celebration on Sunday October 26th, we will be observing Reformation Sunday. This is not, perhaps, one of the most famous or prominent festivals on the Church…

Our Neighbors

As many of you know, the MPC session voted in September to explore ways our congregation might come alongside and offer assistance to the Ordoñez family who, last summer, escaped extreme violence in Honduras. So far our assistance, for the most part, has been to help them navigate the vague and obscure ins and outs of the US legal system. Currently the…

Providing Sanctuary

Friends, In 2008, when I started working on the writing project that eventually would evolve into my book on immigration (Neighbor: Christian Encounters with Illegal Immigration), the initial vision for the project was that I would write my book in conjunction with Mason Funk, a filmmaker who was interested in doing a full-length documentary on the same subject. Eventually, the book/film deal…

Blessing of The Animals

Friends, On Saturday I’m going to be blessing animals in the courtyard of Montclair Presbyterian Church, and here are two reasons why you should bring your animals to be blessed. First, in the ancient wisdom of the bible’s ancient mythology, we find that animals were our friends before humans were our friends. This is in the second chapter of Genesis: Then the…

Is ISIS Islam?

Over the last couple of months, as news of the vile and violent actions of the group calling itself the “Islamic State” in Iraq and Syria (or in the Levant, as the Obama Administration likes to say) increasingly has dominated the headlines, several people have asked me if I still believe Islam is not an inherently violent faith. After all, the ISIS…