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Pastoral Blog

Blog postings by our pastor Rev. Ben Daniel.

Muslims and Jews and Christians – oh, my!

Friends, On Sunday I left directly from Celebration so that I could drive to Marin County in time to participate in a symposium on Jewish/Muslim relations, which was a little bit strange (and wonderful) since I am neither Jewish nor Muslim. In fact, I was the only Christian participating in an official capacity (and by “official capacity” I mean that I shared…

Life is unpredictable, keep reformation alive!

Friends, I wrote this Contact  piece while sitting outside on my back deck, drinking a cold beer. It was about eighty degrees out, which might not have been terribly remarkable, if it weren’t six thirty in the evening, on the night of the first game of the World Series (1-1, top of the sixth, Kershaw on the mound, as I write these…

A letter in response to “Me, too” social media posts

This is a slightly edited version of an open letter to the men on my Facebook feed, which I wrote in response to the “Me Too” posts women have been putting up on social media. The “Me Too” posts began as a response to revelations of filmmaker Harvey Weinstein’s sexual violence, abuse, and harassment against women in the entertainment industry. Friends, For…

On Warm Hearts and Open Souls

Friends, I was planning to write a Contact piece dedicated, in some way, to the massacre in Las Vegas Sunday night. I thought, perhaps, that I might reflect on the American obsession with guns, or I might have gone deeper into the waters of social and political commentary by reflecting on how the American people are responding to a white perpetrator and…

Paganism, Calvinism, and black Madonnas

Friends, I have just come back from spending ten days in Europe, most of them in Geneva, where I led a group of folks from MPC on a study tour that looked at Paganism, Calvinism, the World Council of Churches, and at the important work of dissent. But before I arrived in Geneva, I visited some relatives of mine who live in…

DACA: an open letter to American Christians

For this week’s contact, I’ve written an open letter to most American Christians, who won’t hear about DACA at Church. Dear Sisters and Brothers in Christ, I am aware (and painfully so) that most of you won’t hear about the Trump administration’s recent scuttling of DACA in Church. Let’s be honest: most American churches don’t talk about potentially divisive issues and most…

Peaceful Foolishness

Friends, Just before I started writing this note, I got an email from my friend Craig, who lives near Glasgow, Scotland.  Under the subject line “Off to Bed” (it was about 10PM in Glasgow) Craig wrote: “Hopefully your president won’t start a nuclear war before I get up tomorrow, daft [and here he used a vulgarity I won’t repeat].” There has been…

Pastor’s Pen: Four-in-One!

Friends, It has been some time since I’ve written in the “Pastor’s Pen” section of Contact, and as I was getting read to write this installment of the “Pen” I had a hard time deciding between four different subjects upon which to write. So instead of choosing between the subjects,  I’ll try to cover three of the subjects as separate bullet points,…

Is the Book of Acts anti-Semitic?

Friends, This week the Bible study I lead on Wednesdays at noon is finishing up its study of the Book of Acts. It has been a fascinating journey through a part of the New Testament I’d never really studied in depth before. The Acts of the Apostles is full of history and geography, with literary references to Plato, Virgil, and Homer, and…