Posts

When "Fanboys" Change their Minds

Image
Hespeler, 14 October, 2018 © Scott McAndless John 20:19-29, Acts 20:7-12, Psalm 16:1-11 I f there is one thing you need to know about Simon, it is this. He loves Apple. I’m not talking about the fruit here; I’m talking about the company. Simon doesn’t just like Apple products, Simon doesn’t just exclusively use Apple products. Apple products give meaning to his entire life.       I mean, you probably know some people who always have the latest and greatest model of the iPhone®, who you never see without the ends of Apple Earpods® hanging out of their ears, who do all of their work on a Macbook Pro®, read and create with an iPad® and an Apple Pencil®, but I’m not just talking about that. For Simon that is only the beginning. He does that almost without having to think about it.       No, Simon goes out of his way to make sure that every part of his life bears the Apple logo on it. His entire home is run by his HomePod®. Any appliance that is not able to connect to it is not the kind of…

Gratitude

Image
Hespeler, 7 October, 2018 © Scott McAndless Communion, Thanksgiving Genesis 1:27-2:3, Matthew 12:1-14, Psalm 92:1-15 I t was late on the sixth day when the Lord God turned to the newly created humanity and said unto them, Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth and subdue it; and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the air and over every living thing that moves upon the earth.” And the LordGod said to Godself, since this responsibility for the Earth has now been passed on to the humans, then I declare that this work of creation is finished. What more do I need to do? The humans can be in charge. I’m sure that will all work out fine. Thus the heavens and the earth were finished, and all their multitude. And very truly did humanity hear that command and they said one unto another, “Okay, you heard the Creator, we’ve got some work to do! There is a whole world out there to have dominion over and that adds up to a whole lot of filling and subduing. And yes it w…

...and out came this calf

Image
Hespeler, 30 September, 2018 © Scott McAndless Exodus 32:1-8, 15-24, Romans 1:18-23, Psalm 135:1-5, 14-21 T he Bible tells us that, even while Moses was up on the top of Mount Sinai and receiving the Ten Commandments and the Law from the very hand of God, the people of Israel were down below breaking one of them – breaking it hard. That commandment was the second one, the one that said, You shall not make for yourself an idol, whether in the form of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth.” Even as God was dictating (or inspiring or however it was actually transmitted) that law, Aaron was apparently hard at work melting down gold and molding it into the form of a calf, a beast that is found on the earth beneath. God, we are told, was not pleased. In fact, God was so angry that he was willing to wipe out the entire nation right there and then and Moses had to talk him out of it.       But let me play the devil’s advocat…

Why the commandments?

Image
Hespeler, 23 September, 2018 © Scott McAndle Deuteronomy 6:17-25, Mark 12:28-34, Psalm 19:7-14 A bout a dozen years ago, there was a United States congressman named Lynn Westmoreland who cosponsored a bill to place the Ten Commandments in the U.S. House of Representatives and in the Senate. He also had another bill that would permit the Ten Commandments to be displayed in courthouses throughout the land. That proposed legislation, and some of the things that happened as a result of it, are very interesting to me. It illustrates to me some of the ambivalence that I feel about the Ten Commandments and the Old Testament law.       On the one hand, there is absolutely no question that the laws of free, democratic countries like Canada and the United States owe a great debt to the Old Testament Law of Moses as well as other ancient law codes like the Twelve Tables of Ancient Rome and the Code of Hammurabi. For that reason, the Congress and law courts might seem to be a very good place to dis…

"Mommy, I think the preacher just said a bad word."

Image
Hespeler, 16 September, 2018 © Scott McAndless Psalm 30:1-12, 1 Peter 3:18-22, Matthew 10:26-33 M any years ago, I began my journey towards literacy by every day fighting with my brother and sisters over which one of us would be the first to get a hold on one particular page in the Toronto Daily Star: the comics page. Oh, it was glorious, an entire broadsheet covered with black and white comics. It was a great way to practice reading when there were lots of pictures and not too many words and hardly any big ones.       But there was one problem: I did know that the comics were supposed to be funny but I didn’t always get the joke. And I’m sure that there were times when my parents got pretty tired of me running to them and asking them to explain the joke. Like, for example I remember one very particular comic. It was the Family Circus, one of my favorites, and it showed the Keene family together in church one Sunday morning and one of the children, I believe it was Dolly, is whispering …

Undercover Minister

Image
I am very grateful for the opportunity that was given to me this past spring to take a ten-week intermission from my duties at St. Andrew’s. I have been a full-time minister in the Presbyterian Church in Canada, now for 26 years. That means that for over a quarter century (and a very large portion of my life) all of my work and all of my professional efforts have been directed toward the maintenance and promotion of that particular institution. All I have done, most everything I have engaged in, has all been done with one underlying assumption: this has to be good for and helpful to the church. I don’t complain about that – it is what I signed up for after all – but I do note that, when you look at the world from that one point of view for such a long time, it begins to limit your perspective. I believe that I needed a new perspective on the work that I do and that was not going to be possible without taking an extended period of time away from the church to get the church out of my hea…

The Sparrow in the Mead Hall

Image
Hespeler, 9 September, 2018 © Scott McAndless John 3:1-17, 1 John 2:21-25, Psalm 27 T here was once a king in Northumbria (in the northern part of England) – an Anglo-Saxon king named Edwin. And Edwin was a pagan – a worshipper of the old Germanic gods like Thor and Wodin. But Edwin married a half Frankish princess who just happened to be a Christian and that is where all the trouble started.       His new queen brought some Christian priests with her and they insisted on constantly preaching the Christian message. But the king resisted that message. What need had he for a God like Jesus Christ – a defeated God, a weak God – and not a strong warrior god like the ones that his ancestors had worshipped?       But the priests persisted. They were very insistent. And so eventually the king convened a meeting of his closest advisors. They gathered in the king’s mead-hall in the dead of winter. They drank the king’s potent mead (which, in case you don’t know, is brewed from fermented honey …