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« A Place for Asking the Big Questions | Main

October 02, 2007


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"Honoring the past" can be a tricky thing, beginning with the question of how far back does one want to go? If we take it almost all the way back, to the roughly 80-year period immediately following Christ's crucifixion when Christians were still officially a Jewish sect until recognition and treatment as a distinct, non-Jewish protected religion that would theretofore be subject to official Roman persecution, then we don't have a "Church" at all; we have Jewish worship traditions, plus private meeting places where Christians discussed Jesus's life and death as recounted by word of mouth and through written letters and communications by His disciples and the disciples of His disciples, and pledged to one another to do good with their lives, and left it at that.

I see far more value in discussions and conversations among the faithful about the interpretation and meaning of their faith than I do in rituals either ancient or modern, as proscribed by Presbyterians or Catholics or Anglicans or whomever, rituals that are easily followed and mouthed and carried out without any thought or communion with God whatsoever. Not that I don't participate in the rituals myself, good Catholic man that I am! I just believe there's more to it than that, and I reach out to friends of various faiths and permutations when necessary in order to strenghen, broaden, and deepen my own. So keep up the traditional donuts in the fellowship hall, but go beyond that and see where it takes you!


I've honored the history of the congregation in several ways.

I've shown that I know the history of the church by celebrating each year the founding of the congregation with an outdoor worship and potluck.

Each of the last couple years we've worshipped in the Fellowship Hall - which hadn't been done since the congregation moved to this facility over 50 years ago. That is where they worshipped until the organ and pews were installed a couple months after moving in.

In a sermon I've used the year-end report of a pastor from over 50 years ago (of which several remember the pastor) to help them realize that what they think of as the good ole days - weren't actually so great.

At the beginning of the year we re-dedicated the building - mostly following the original dedication 50 years previously.

By establishing myself as a person who knows and values the history here, folks don't keep bringing up the history. This allows them to concentrate more on the present. And it allows us to continue with some of the new things which have been tried over the previous pastorates (intinction, some praise and worship choruses, etc).

I put occasionally put some historical items in the monthly newsletter. Those who don't care about history can simply look past it, while those who have been here many years can remember faithfully (not everything in the past was positive).


I was surprised by the title of the thread, as Talib says in the Black Swan that History runs forward!

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