Showing posts from September, 2018

Why the commandments?

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."

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

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

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 …

I believe in... the resurrection of the body

Hespeler, 2 September, 2018 © Scott McAndless Isaiah 11:1-9, 1 Corinthians 15:12-26, Psalm 7:1-11 I can’t be the only one to notice, am I? The world is kind of a mess. I mean, all kinds of things are just falling apart. Political alliances like NATO and the United Nations – organizations that maintained an unprecedented (if imperfect) global peace for decades have fallen on hard times. Russia, in particular, seems to be hard at work destroying some of our most cherished institutions like democracy. North Korea is clearly working as hard as ever at creating weapons of mass destruction and putting them in missiles that go ever further.       And that is just the global political situation. Look at the environmental situation. Even if we somehow manage to avoid blowing up the planet with some weapon or other, that hardly seems to matter because our collective action seems to be destroying the environment and even changing global climate patterns.       I could go on but you get the point. …