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Posts by Ben Daniel (Page 2)

Being grateful

Friends, I’ll be away most of this week, attending to a family emergency, but before I drive North, I’d like to say how grateful I am for the following things. I’m grateful to be part of a congregation willing to dance in the sanctuary on a Saturday afternoon, which you did when a few us played “Brown Eyed Girl” at the end…

Congregational Life and Congregational Meetings

Dear Friends, I’m writing this on Tuesday afternoon, and already the work of preparing for Saturday’s talent show and auction is seriously underway. Our family room is festooned with festive lights. Artwork is being displayed. Music is being rehearsed (in fact, on Monday I found myself in possession of a loaner electric guitar so I can sit in with the house band).…

Faith Trio Statement on banning Muslims and Refugees

Friends, In lieu of a Contact  article this week, I want to share a statement on the Trump Administration’s ban on Muslim refugees and immigrants. Our friends at the Islamic Cultural Center of Northern California generated this statement a couple of weeks ago and the Faith Trio adopted as well. In these difficult and confusing times, I am happy to be part…

Truth telling as an act of resistance

Friends, If, as the early 20th century California politician Hiram Johnson once noted[1], truth is the first casualty in war, then the first step in working for peace must surely be telling the truth, especially at the beginning when war is just a distant rumble and a whispered rumor, for that is the season when the powers of institutionalized violence start sniping…

Inspiration from “The Mad Farmer”

Wendell Berry is a farmer, lay theologian, essayist, environmentalist, and poet from Kentucky; for years I have turned to Berry’s writing while trying to understand the world around me, and in the last couple of weeks, as the nation seems to become unhinged, I’ve found myself reflecting on what probably is Berry’s shortest published poem, “The Mad Farmer’s Love Song”, which, in…

Can We Afford to Stop Saving Water?

Friends, After enduring California’s worst drought in 500 years, I find myself a little surprised to be longing for sunshine, reciting under my breath a certain child’s rhyme about sending precipitation to the Iberian peninsula, but who knows? Maybe after so many years without meaningful rainfall, we all have earned the right to grouse about the weather, just a little. What I…

Come in from the Cold

Friends, I want very much to thank you for braving the cold in our Sanctuary first on Sunday and then, the next day, at Marge Nicholson’s memorial service. For those of you who may not know what I’m talking about, we detected a leak in one of our gas lines last Thursday and we had to shut off the gas, which meant…

Senior Pastor’s Report to Session

Friends, At the church’s January Session meeting (our church council of ruling elders) I submitted a “Senior Pastor’s Report” which, rather than give a summary of what I had been doing, provided some thoughts on how privileged I feel to be part of the MPC family. At the suggestion of several of the Session members, I’m publishing it in the Contact this…

Follow That Star

Dear Friends, Thanks to the way the Sundays fell this year, we passed quickly over the Epiphany story, squeezing it in on New Year’s Day, and missing a chance to dwell deeply in it. But I’ve always liked the story of the Magi following a star as it leads them to Bethlehem. It is a story that affirms the place of foreigners…

Ready or not, Christmas is coming

Friends, This week, as I settled down to write my Contact piece, writing didn’t come easy for me. The axle in my bicycle’s rear hub snapped on Monday and on Tuesday (my regular Contact writing day), I was scrambling, trying to find a bike shop that would either a) fix my hub or b) get my backup wheels up and running. The…