Before you join the Great Resignation…

Dear Siblings in Christ: I’ve been listening to a book by James Suzman called Work: A Deep History, from the Stone Age to the Age of Robots. I don’t know why I’m so surprised, but he writes about the relationship between work and religion quite a bit. One of the themes he leans into is about how work was related to the tendency to try and create or shape order: “It is no coincidence that tension between chaos and order is a feature of the world’s mythologies. After all, science also insists that there is a universal relationship between disorder … Continue reading Before you join the Great Resignation…

11/29/21 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: This coming Sunday’s text is from Luke. What jumps out at me the most isn’t the story of John, but the intentionality of the context-setting of the author: In the fifteenth year of the reign of Emperor Tiberius, when Pontius Pilate was governor of Judea, and Herod was the ruler of Galilee, and his brother Philip ruler of the region of Ituraea and Trachonitis, and Lysanias ruler of Abilene, during the high priesthood of Annas and Caiaphas, the word of God came to John son of Zechariah in the wilderness. Luke 3:1-2 (NRSV)  Before the story … Continue reading 11/29/21 COVID-19 PNC Update

Reverberation

One: Today, let us pray for our violent nation.  Many: Let us pray for our violent world. (pause) One: We are in this small space in which every act of violence, in all its forms, reverberates like a rifle shot. Every act of violence rationalizes another act of violence that reverberates which Many: Rationalizes another act of violence that reverberates which One: Rationalizes another act of violence that reverberates which Many: Rationalizes another act of violence that reverberates which… (pause) One: We are in this small space together in which some can stretch and some… Many: Can’t One: Breathe. Many: … Continue reading Reverberation

News about potential threats and opportunities for hope

Dear Siblings in Christ: You may have heard in the news or other places about this weekend’s protests in Washington, DC in support of those who were arrested during the January 6th protests and insurrection. As part of these reports, you might have also learned that there are suggestions on extremist websites for state capitals as well as “Jewish centers and Liberal churches” to be targeted. Over the last couple of days, some religious bodies have started to share this information. These are reports to pay attention to and be aware of. At the same time, I’ve heard nothing from … Continue reading News about potential threats and opportunities for hope

Trying hard to be happy

Mike Denton Sermon at 1st Congregational Church of Bellevue 9/5/21 I’ve been ordained since 1999, and during that time, I decided not to preach from scripture just once. The congregation I served wanted to hear more about some work I was involved in on the congregation’s behalf. Until midweek, I was sure I would be preaching from James, a great and important text about the dangers of favoritism, bias, and prejudice. This is one of those texts that reads us more than we read it. This text and I were sharing a great conversation, and I was looking forward to … Continue reading Trying hard to be happy

8-5-2021 PNC COVID-19 Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: This update will be a quick one. Last week I strongly recommended that churches worshipping inside return to wearing masks and pause congregational singing. The CDC also came out with a recommendation that people wear masks indoors anywhere COVID transmission was “substantial” or “high.” A week ago, a little under half of our churches were in counties that did not fall within CDC guidelines. As of the new numbers released today, this has changed. Every single one of the churches of the Pacific Northwest Conference are now in a county where transmission is “substantial” or “high” and masks are recommended by … Continue reading 8-5-2021 PNC COVID-19 Update

7-30-21 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Take a deep breath. Let it out slowly. Take another deep breath. Let that one out slowly, too. For several weeks now, we’ve been learning more and more about COVID’s Delta variant. In the last week, we’ve learned considerably more. These points in particular jump out: COVID’s Delta variant is one of the most contagious respiratory diseases known. The main reason for this is that people sick with the Delta variant have a viral load around 1000 times higher than the original variant.  Although the likelihood of vaccinated people passing on previous variants was low, a … Continue reading 7-30-21 COVID-19 PNC Update

5-20-21 COVID-19 PNC Update

Dear Siblings in Christ: Pentecost is my favorite festival of the Christian calendar. I can relate to being part of a post-resurrection, uncertain, afraid, and mourning people gathering together to try and figure out what’s next. I’ve been part of those groups before. And, I’ve had the honor of being present when there is a palpable shift in the room, and a new idea is born, or the calling of the Spirit catches fire or hope takes root like a thunderbolt. The fact that, in the Book of Acts, everyone also could hear the explanation of what happened in words … Continue reading 5-20-21 COVID-19 PNC Update