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Posts by Ben Daniel (Page 3)

Spiritual Exploration & Education at MPC

Friends, This week marks a happy milestone for me: for the first time in more than 23 years of pastoral ministry I am teaching or leading four different classes or informed discussions in a single week. In addition to my regularly-scheduled weekly Bible study, I am leading a discussion around what it might look like for our congregation to declare itself a…

The so-called “Men’s Rights Movement”

Dear Friends, Last week I wrote about The Red Pill, a documentary a couple of filmmakers I admire had asked me to review. The movie looked at the so-called “Men’s Rights Movement” and I would give it a mixed review. On the one hand, the film did a great job of chronicling the inner journey of one of the filmmakers, as she…

Exploring boundaries with Feminist Filmakers

Dear Friends, It came to pass that an unexpected bit of correspondence washed up over the transom of my electronic inbox yesterday. A filmmaker by the name of Nena Jaye asked me to review her newest film which, ordinarily, I’d be very happy to do.  Nena and her daughter Cassie have made a pair of excellent documentary films, one that explores the…

Is there Parity for Pastors in Partisan Politics?

Dear Friends, Like many Americans I was drawn to the Presidential debate on Monday night. I am, by inclination, a political animal. I think a lot about public policy, I follow the goings on in Washington and Sacramento and in the buildings that surround Frank Ogawa Plaza downtown. I have opinions–some of them are strong, some of them misguided– but I like…

Compassion: can we always celebrate it?

Friends, In my sermon this coming Sunday, I will be addressing the subject of compassion and I will be asking if we can celebrate a person’s compassion if that person a)expresses his or her concern in ways that don’t do much good, b)holds religious or political views that we find repugnant, or c)both.  In particular, I will be looking at Mother Theresa,…

Kick-Off Sunday: Come Walk With Us

Friends, This Sunday is “Kick-Off Sunday,” when all of our regular church programming gets underway. The choir will be singing in Celebration, Godly Play will have two classrooms instead of one, the youth group will start meeting again, and the Adult Education classes will start up once more. Kick off Sunday also is a little bit like “back to school night” in…

A Letter To Whomever is In Charge of War

Dear Friends; As part of my sermon on Sunday, August 28, I read the following letter, which I addressed To Whomever Is In Charge of Waging American Wars. Some of you asked to see a copy. Here is an excerpt.  If you’d like to read the letter in its entirety, you can find it here:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/ben-daniel/to-whomever-is-in-charge-_b_11763034.html? “Perhaps the problem is the so-called…

Goodbye Mr. Garlic

Dear Friends, When I took the job of being your pastor some friends of mine, Gerry and Jeanne Foisy, gave me a beautiful set of communion chalices, which I keep on a shelf in my office.  Jerry and Jeanne are people I see a few times a year, usually at parties thrown by mutual friends, and while we don’t spend a lot…

Confessions of a Presbyterian

Friends, This year’s General Assembly in Portland covered a lot of controversial issues, most of which addressed issues of urgent contemporary importance. Presbyterians at General Assembly talked about and took actions around such matters as justice in the Holy Land, climate change, and racial inequality. We also elected a set of top denominational officials that, for the first time in our history,…