This is a list of sermons located at gort.net
Use It, Don't Lose it
Jesus performed many miracles, but not to "prove" who he was. Each miracle, like each of the parables, teaches us something about how the universe works and how to operate within it.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles — February 25, 2018
You, You and You
Jesus' parables teach us what we need at the time, and at the level of understanding for which we are ready. The parable of the Vineyard Workers has different lessons for each of us, depending on what the Spirit discerns we need today. Here are four or five lessons. Maybe one of them is what you need today.
Sermon at United Ministries of Aurora — September 24, 2017
Your Keys To The Kingdom
Jesus gave Peter the Keys to the Kingdom. He also gave them to us.
Sermon at Aurora United Ministry April 30, 2017
Please Stay With Us A While
I'm sure most kids at least occasionally suspect the world of adults holds secrets adults were not willing to share with children. I mean the big things. What is really going on? What is life really for? What's behind the curtain? I was certain the adults knew these things but for some reason felt that a child was not equipped to handle the great secrets of life. It wasn't until years later that I realized adults didn't know either. But, The Father wants us to know, and sent Jesus to teach us.
This is what Cleopas and his traveling companion learned on the road to Emmaus Easter afternoon. They wouldn't have known who taught them if they hadn't asked the unknown teacher to stay for supper. Let's hear the secret.
Sermon at Aurora United Ministry April 30, 2017
Jesus was transfigured into a glowing divine being before their eyes! And look. There's Moses and Elijah walking and speaking with him. What does Peter do? Does he sit quietly in the divine presence and listen? No - practical Peter blurts, "Jesus, can we build three little huts for you?" What's he going to do? Scramble down the mountain and chop some bushes?
God invites us to sit with him. He wants an intimate friendly relationship with us - he already knows us well. But, we are often too busy to sit and listen. We are people of action and want to do something. Sometimes the most productive thing to do is; "Don't just do something, sit there. And listen."
Sermon - First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, Feb. 26, 2017
Link to Text: The First Thanksgiving - Thanksgiving Roots Link to: VIDEO
Thanksgiving started long before the Pilgrims in New England. Originally, Thanksgiving and Atonement went together like turkey and stuffing. Even before Cain and Abel's disasterous first Thanksgiving, primitive mankind had the urge to thank and "buy off" powerful spirits.
Before we sit down at the Thanksgiving table with family and friends, it can be useful to reflect on where each of us has been, what we might have done or thought, or failed to do. If we see we're carrying any excess baggage, Thanksgiving can be a good time to "clear the decks" by remembering the atonement side of Thanksgiving. Letting go of any resentment or bitterness lets us free ourselves to enjoy the full experience of giving thanks. Then, we can really enjoy our turkey, family... and football.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 20, 2016
Become the Prayer
We are so busy talking to God and to each other we neglect to listen to God. How do we hear? First, we have to be quiet. Sometimes our religion gets in the way of our discovering this pearl of great price. Our traditions have us speaking to God and to each other more than listening. The divine language is silence.
Sermon at United Ministry of Aurora, Aurora, NY Oct. 16, 2016
When Ordinary is Extraordinary
We are deep into Ordinary Time. The 15th week. Nothing to look forward to until the next major season in the church calendar, Advent. Ordinary time. Sounds like being becalmed in the Sargasso Sea or the Doldrums. But, Ordinary Time is our time. It's extraordinary time. But, here's the secret: Ordinary time is what rehearsal of the great events is for. This is our time, the people's time. Ordinary Time is when we put into practice what we've learned.
Sermon at United Ministry of Aurora, Aurora, NY July 10, 2016
It's the Fourth of July weekend. We Americans are in love with the word and idea of Independence. Maybe we've developed a fetish of independence. You get the sense we want to be dependent on no one and no thing, free to do what we feel is right in our own eyes. As adult Christians we are crucified to the world and the world is crucified to us. That means we don't wave flags of victory or sing battle hymns of the Crusades. The comfort we receive, the joy we experience as Christians is independent of the circumstances we are in.
To depend means "to hang from." Holding on to and hanging from the extended hand of God can be our dependence - and the source of our peace.
Sermon at United Ministry of Aurora, Aurora NY July 3, 2016
Fiery Chariot, Cooling Waters
The theme of the readings is transition from the Law to the Spirit. The flame surrounding the fiery chariot and horses that take Elijah up to Heaven represents the burning away of the self, immediately followed by Elisha, the successor prophet to Elijah, parting the waters of the Jordan allowing a new passage to the promised side. This represents our new path opened by the cooling waters of baptism.
Good readings for a hot summer Sunday.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church ofScipioville, NY June 26, 2016
Paul's Missionary Journeys Text with Maps embedded
Paul's Missionary Journeys Text Only
Slides with Maps & Dates No Text
Saul, a fiery young graduate student from Turkey, started his travels as a traditional religious Jew intent on jailing heretics. During his journeys he became the founder of Christianity. Saul, whose Roman name was Paulus, made four missionary journeys by cargo ship and Roman road teaching in synagogues and soap boxes wherever he went.
His itineraries are scattered through Acts and hinted at in his Letters to the Churches, so here is a brief summary picture of the journeys. St. Paul's journeys were spiritual as well as physical, so we can also reflect on how Paul's spiritual journey might have similarities to our own.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 10 2016
Today is the Baptism of the Lord. Scripture shows us two baptisms; water and Spirit. Humans are the only creatures who are both animal and divine. The "old self" that dies in water baptism is our human, animal nature. The second baptism of the Holy Spirit wakes us up to a new life. This broken-down chariot of our physical bodies is no longer self-driving. Google may build safe self-driving cars, but as we know, a world full of self-driving bodies makes for a world of continuous catastrophic car wrecks.
Water baptism is the beginning of the Christian journey. The baptism of the Holy Spirit can happen at any time - before, during or after water baptism. We ask for the Holy Spirit to enter us and take the wheel. It can make for an exciting and wonderful trip that never ends.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Scipioville - Scipioville, NY January 10, 2016
Spiritual History of The Shakers (Illustrated) Video Version
From Colonial times through the turn of the 20th Century, Central New York has been the home of a wide variety of religious schismatic groups and social utopian experiments. The Shakers are one of this remarkable number of religious and social movements. The "Shaking Quakers," so called for their ecstatic spiritual dancing, split off from mainstream Quakers in late 18th Century England and took root in the Albany area. We usually associate the Shakers with simplicity of furniture, design and lifestyle, but the Shakers were also a fascinating group of "practical utopians" who felt Christ's second appearance was immanent – and lived that way.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 15, 2015
All Saints on Hallowe'en
All Saints Day today, and All Souls Day tomorrow are occasions for remembering and honoring our dead ancestors, parents, siblings and friends. By allowing Lazarus to die, and then restoring him to life with a powerful word, Jesus demonstrated the restoration to life of sleeping, dying Judaism and the transition to a new vital rebirth of faith for all the nations.
Like Lazarus' sister Mary, we weep, we remember and we honor our dead. They are in the great cloud of witnesses cheering us on. There is something else we can do. Forgive them for anything, no matter how small, they may have done harmful to you; and ask their forgiveness for any slights, any harms, any lack of love shown, any injury caused by you, either thoughtfully or unintentionally.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Scipioville - Scipioville, NY Nov. 1, 2015
The Eye of the Needle
Mark, Chapter 10, tells a great story. The parable of the rich man, or the rich, young ruler according to Luke. Have you ever heard someone rich, famous or successful announcing they will “give back?” Doesn’t the idea of “giving back” sound a little off-key? At first reading, the parable of the rich man appears to be about the evils of money and a call for redistribution of wealth. But, there is much more to this familiar story. The Gospels often teach by using a progression of events, one series of events and parables illuminating the next. This story is not about money. It’s about faith; what real faith is – and what faith is not.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles Oct. 11, 2015
The Perfect Woman
Proverbs teaches about the perfect woman, but it turns out Proverbs is speaking of all of us - the Church is the bride of Christ. Christianity turns the world on its head. But the world likes it right side up. Much of the world uses religion to help accomplish worldly ends. Religion as a high return hedge fund or justification for power grabs. The disciples didn’t fully understand, and they were with Jesus in person for three years! It’s no wonder we have trouble understanding. But, let’s be honest. There is an apparent conflict between Jesus’ teaching and success in our careers – isn’t there?
Our readings today teach us the virtues of being single-minded and the cost of being double-minded.
Sermon at United Ministry of Aurora - Aurora, NY Sept. 20, 2015
Wisdom teaches us the divided life is a life of anxiety and dread. We have a strong incentive to kill our old divided self and become transformed into sons and daughters of God. Big words. Transformed into children of God. Exactly what does that mean? If I could tell you plainly and clearly exactly what it means to be children of God, I would, and so would the Bible. Part of the mystery is there are no words, no language that can communicate what we are to become. But, we get glimpses and hints.
Sermon at United Ministry of Aurora - Aurora, NY Sept. 13, 2015
We don’t really want to change. Our cultural traditions support our animal nature. We at heart want to be animal Alphas. “Go Bills. Go Sabers. Go Blue Devils! We’re number One! USA! USA! Kill ‘em, crush ‘em. Bring home the trophy, the medal,...the meat!”
Young people in particular, are thirsty for spiritual experience. All people want to understand the meaning of their lives. Church should be the place for this. But, often what seekers find is wishy-washy talk about being nice to each other, condemnation of others, judging others for how they observe our traditions, instruction on the “right” traditional way to worship God or even political action recommendations. We forget that the only “tradition” that will guide us all into a Christian life is the transformation of self, of loving God, not judging our neighbor, and loving our neighbor as ourselves.The creator, the lover of our souls, is gazing at us longingly, hoping and encouraging that the brothers and sisters of Christ emerge.
Sermon at United Ministry of Aurora - Aurora, NY August 30, 2015
One Creator created the Universe and established operating principles by which the Universe works. Sort of a Composer who also conducts. A Composer who conducts is engaged in both creating and in bringing his work to life. We human beings in all our variety are the Conductor’s orchestra, the performers. Many believe the score has been written in advance for each of us, each instrument, and it’s our job to be in tune and play our part well. Some are first trumpet; others second fiddle. We have all been assigned our chair and talent. Each is necessary.
The Composer’s operating principles govern the physical world, although as Conductor, he is free to intervene and rearrange the score. (We call those interventions, miracles.) Modern physics views the universe as constructed of fields of tiny, invisible vibrating strings. Think of angel harps or cherub violins. When we play or live out of tune – you know it. When we are in tune, you feel it. If we really tune in and listen to Jesus teaching, these principles are plain to see.
Sermon at United Ministry of Aurora - Aurora, NY August 16, 2015
A Teaching Moment
The Hebrew word for the Bible is, “Torah,” which means “teaching.” Jews believe one Creator created the Universe and established operating principles by which the Universe works. When the Bible was composed, humans were barely human. So the operating principles are described in terms humans could understand at the time. God appeared to Abraham and then Moses giving difficult but simple instructions.
As time went on, we were ready for a little more instruction. The Prophets explained these instructions, the operating principles of the Universe, at a higher level. Centuries later, when the time was right, God himself took on human flesh and made the operating principles even clearer. So I think of the Bible as a User’s Manual for Human Beings. This morning’s New Testament lessons are a good example of how the Bible teaches us at different levels, or layers, all at the same time, using the same words.
Sermon at United Ministry of Aurora - Aurora, NY June 28, 2015
Mendelssohn, Mozart and Power
Music has been a key part of worship everywhere and in every era - from pagans playing pan pipes to Doris Hill playing organ pipes, from Buddhist Heavenly Chant to the Chancel Choir, from Sufi Dance to EmBellishment, music has always been central to every worship experience around the world. And, even though some Islamists want to ban music today, music has always been a part of Islam as well.
Why is music so central to worship? It has to do with the most important Law, which Jesus teaches is; You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might - Me'odechoh. Music helps us unlock the power of faith "with all our might."
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles April 19, 2015
Merton's Silent Revolution
Thomas Merton was a monk who launched a silent revolution in his 1949 autobiographical Seven Storey Mountain. Before Merton, John the Evangelist in the first century, the Desert Fathers in the fourth, the Celtic Contemplatives in the eighth, Theresa of Avila and John of the Cross in the sixteenth century, each at the Spirit’s direction fired contemplative birth and rebirth within the Church. Each was sometimes violently rejected by the Church authorities at first. But the Holy Spirit persists.
In the West, the Contemplative movement is a powerful movement of the Holy Spirit now underway. This movement adds a dimension to our Christian life of liturgy, scripture study, good works and praying using words: Praying without words.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 9, 2014
Next Year in Jerusalem
The Presbyterian Church USA is weighing several one-sided overtures condemning the State of Israel, and calling for Disinvestment, Boycott and Sanctions. The General Assembly will vote for or against these overtures this summer. This is the third time anti-Israel overtures have been presented. I am embarassed, but unfortunately not surprised by the fact of these overtures. This talk is both a story of my family history and a personal reflection on why Jews care about this issue, and a close look at what the New Testament calls the Christian Church to do and be with respect to the Jews.
In my judgment, these overtures lead the Christian Church back into mediaeval times. What a shame for Presbyterians to be at the head of this Crusade.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, May 4, 2014
The Bulldog and the Paragon
Today we celebrate The Baptism of the Lord. This marks the end of the Christmas season and the beginning of "Ordinary Time." What is Baptism, and why did Jesus have to be Baptised?
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, January 12, 2014
God Loves A Good Story - Jesus and the Parables
God loves a good story. Characters, plot, twists of fate, unexpected turns, surprise. Jesus smacked it to us with his short stories, the Parables. Familiar characters, plots with twist and double twist. Luke 15 - The Prodigal Elder Son. Luke 16 – How to be a Good Dishonest Steward. We’ll look at how Jesus used the Parables to teach.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 17, 2013
Why AreThere Such Extremes of Misery and Suffering in the World?
A good question. Many ask it, or wonder on it. Theologians and serious thinkers starting with Job have asked this question. The presence of extreme misery and suffering in the world has caused many to doubt the existence of God or to become atheists.
Skaneateles, like the rest of the world, is located somewhere to the east of Eden and way, way south of Heaven. There was no misery or suffering in Eden. We explore what Archbishop Desmond Tutu might have meant when he said that God looks to we frail human beings he has created, and says quietly, "Help me. Help me."
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, July 14, 2013
Letter to Texans
I want to propose a letter to Texans. Here is the situation. A brother in the Lord, born a Jew, has recently been moved by the spirit to become a Christian. He wishes to join the Church in Texas. He wants to be a Christian. He has questions. This letter to Texans, the church he is joining in Texas, is to answer his questions and even to build up the faith of the Church in Texas – and maybe help us confirm our own. I hope you will join with me in this letter, and that you will want to add your signatures in greetings. And, we might actually send it off to the Church in Texas.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 21, 2013
A Letter to Hebrews: A Brief Explanation of Why We Are Christians
Towards the end of the New Testament, this mysterious letter by an unknown author exhorts us to keep learning and growing towards becoming mature Christians, to open up to the spritual reality that surrounds us. The basics, the ABC of Christianity are not enough. A great cloud of witnesses are rooting for us, eager to help. Maybe this letter contains the answer to what Priscilla taught Apollos? Maybe it was even written by this brilliant woman disciple? If so, we can understand why its authorship might have been kept secret from the patristic world of the past.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 18, 2012
The Meaning of The Cross
What did Jesus mean when he says, "If you would follow me, take up your cross." Does Jesus mean he wants us to drag a piece of wood through the streets? Does he mean we should lift up a wooden cross at the head of our armies as we march, or paint white crosses on our chain mail? Unlikely. The Cross points to willing sacrifice of self. The Cross was a passive actor in Jesus' willing sacrifice of Self. Do not forget the empty tomb that could not hold Jesus. Death of self can be followed by resurrection, and a glory so great we can only see and hear glimpses and hints. "Eye has not seen, ear has not heard, nor has it entered into the heart or imagination of man, what God has prepared for those who love him." How do we show our love for God? "I urge you, present your very selves to him, a living sacrifice." This Church offers you opportunity to do this. Take it.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, Veteran's Day - November 11, 2012
The Real F Words; Focus, Fearless, Forgiving
The human eye needs focus. The visible pagan idols of metal and wood were attractions and distractions from the Invisible God. From golden calves, to Asherah poles, from clay idols to modern screens, distractions compete for our focus. We go where we look. Without focus on our God from whom we depend, our animal fears get the better of us, and we fall back into sin. When fearful, we don't forgive. When we don't forgive, we don't love.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, July 15, 2012
Earth Day, Moses and Fracking
"Fracking" is a controversial issue in the Lake Skaneateles watershed area. "Fracking" is a term coined for using chemicals and hydraulics under pressure to fracture rock deep under the Earth in order to release hydrocarbons for energy use. As Earth Day approaches, let's look at what scripture has to say about fracking. Moses discovered there is a time to fracture and a time to speak.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 15th, 2012
The Sources of Temptation and Sin - Sermon February 26, 2012 Audio
Jesus was tempted in the desert, as are we. Scripture and modern psychology agree there are three great temptations common to all humans, and, there are seven deadly sins we commit when we yield to these three temptations. God also provides seven grace-given virtues as spiritual armor against these sins. This first Sunday in Lent is a good time to explore our Lenten warm-up practice of perseverance, of resistance to the Devil, because during the year, we will face the real thing. Let's get ready.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, Feb. 26, 2012
Opening Romans (version with slides)
Paul's Letter to the Romans is the foundation text of the Christian religion and profoundly influenced Christian theologians from Augustine to Luther. The Letter to the Romans addresses the question, "What exactly is this new religion, Christianity, and what must I do to be a Christian." Our Adult Bible Study recently studied Romans for ten weeks. This is a short and I hope thought-provoking "Opening of Paul's Letter to the Romans."
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 20, 2011
Meat, Not Milk - Sermon July 31, 2011
Our Bible teaches us at four different levels. The first level tells the story, this is what happened. This is the core of what we teach our younger children in Sunday School. Sermons, like this one, are drawn from the second level, the teaching level. At the third level are hints, connections and glimpses that let us peek under the tent of heaven. The fourth level, exploration of these hints and glimpses leads to spiritual discernment, to wisdom.
There is a fifth level, a Mystery level completely inaccessible by our reasoning minds. It is food for our soul and spirit. This mystery level is beyond our conscious awareness, but it is always active at every level of study, from the time we hear our first Bible story as children until the last Psalm is read at our funeral.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, July 31, 2011
Passover for Presbyterians
The Seder is a holiday meal during which the Jewish family recounts and relives the events of Exodus. It is a story of freedom from bondage. The Seder is more than a history lesson. It is a personal re-experiencing of what it means to be in bondage and how we personally can be set free. And by who's power it is that we are freed. We recount the meal and its unusual foods and what it means for Christians today.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, March 20, 2011
Our User Manual - Sermon February 13, 2011
We have a handy User Manual for operating the human being. Our Bible. We start with simple stories as children. We see the great truths as adults. We keep on reading our User Manual every day and let the Holy Spirit use it to slowly teach our spirit. The truths and wisdom become inscribed on our hearts as we live as Christians and grow older in body and wiser in spirit. And the good news is this. Your spiritual growth will continue until and past the day you leave your physical body behind. Our User Manual will have done its job.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, February 13, 2011
On Fire? Or Retire? - Sermon November 7, 2010
It's easy to "be a believer", call ourselves Christian and show up in Church. But, are we retired? Or are we on fire? The New Testament has lessons for us as we look at who the Pharisees were, who the Sadducees were, and reflect on who we are.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 7, 2010
What Is Jesus? - Sermon August 8, 2010
We each have a spiritual nature tank and a human nature tank. We have to switch tanks and open the valve on the divine tank so it can be filled. God is continuously pouring his gifts and graces on us, eager for us to accept them. But our spiritual valve is often shut tight while we continue to stuff our human nature.
Jesus came to us with both tanks full. 100% human, 100% divine. Yes, 200%. Yes, this is a mystery. A mystery, but real.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, August 8, 2010
Compassion Meditation - Sermon June 20, 2010
Jesus taught us forgiveness is the key to the Kingdom of Heaven. We cannot love until we can forgive. Forgiving the "unforgiveable" is not easy. Forgiveness is not absolution or approval. Forgiveness of others is a way to release yourself from the power the perpetrator still has over you. And, we will find we experience forgiveness of ourselves as well.
How do we do it? Here is a practical exercise to teach us how to forgive. This second part of a four part course in practical spiritual exercises lent itself to a sermon on Father's Day, 2010. The course is based on teaching by Fr. William Meninger, OCSO, a monk in residence at St. Benedict's Monastery in Snowmass, Co., and one of the founders of the Centering Prayer movement.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, June 20, 2010
Short Courses in Practical Spirituality - Lectio Divina, or Divine Reading
This is part 1 of a four part course in practical spiritual exercises. These are tools you can use yourself in your daily life. These spiritual exercises are designed to help you deepen your prayer life and improve your life. These are very old practices, all of which are used in the Christian tradition. Several are also used in other spiritual traditions.
Our emphasis is on "practical". This is not about theology or ideas about God. It is about using tools, or exercises, thoughtful humans have developed over the centuries to improve their lives. They will be helpful to you.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 18, 2010
The Science of Forgiveness
Jesus stressed forgiveness. Before scientific and technical jargon existed, Jesus taught the science and "how-to's" of forgiveness in simple parables his audience of fishermen and farmers could understand.
You will be forgiven as you have forgiven.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 15, 2009
The Highest Common Denominator
Our friend Gustav Niebhur urges us to move beyond tolerance in his latest book Beyond Tolerance: Searching for Interfaith Understanding in America. Let's pick up on this idea. Our discussion will explore the idea that we can create a powerful sense of community with other religious traditions by looking for our highest common denominator rather than the lowest common denominator. What is it? The goal of cultivating our relationship with God.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 26, 2009
Why Do Holy Books Cause Holy Wars?
Simplistic interpretations of Jewish and Christian scriptures can be distorted to call for crusades and triumphalist versions of Christianity that Jesus would have wept to see. So, before condemning the misuse of The Quran by Islamic fundamentalists and legalists, consider the beam in our own eyes.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 16, 2008
Football, Faith and Super-strings – Ten Dimensional Football
A brief easy to understand discussion of the idea of ten physical dimensions using Football as the example. And an exploration of the harmony between science and faith.
Article for The Sporting Times, Autumn, 2008
Crushing Your Opposition: The Hidden Music and Meaning of Psalms
Everybody has enemies. Do you ever wonder why popular sitting Presidents do stupid things and discredit their office or are forced to resign; or a Governor acts stupidly and has to step down at the height of his powers? Or a popular honor student athlete suddenly takes his own life? It could be some kind of enemy opposition attacking and tearing us down - just when everything seems to be going so well. We'll explore this.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles April 13, 2008
Science and Religion: 10 Dimensional Christianity
Where do Science and Religion meet? Maybe in the String Theory view of ten dimensions, perhaps eleven. Religion has been teaching in all ten dimensions for two millenia. Science is having trouble with four, but it will learn and advance. Time for a new Philosophy of Science.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 18, 2007
Equity, the Seventh Dimension
String Theory claims there are ten or even eleven dimensions, not just our familiar four. What are they? Where do Science and Religion intersect? Let's look at Equity, the seventh dimension. A brief sketch of what these dimensions might be. Jesus' teaches full Ten Dimensional Christianity.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles September 30, 2007
Church, State and Babel
Is there one, true church on earth? Why has God allowed the proliferation of churches, mosques, temples, synagogues and meetings - all in His Name? Why don't we all agree on the One True Church here on Earth? Is the presence of many ways of worship part of the plan to keep humans from constructing another Tower of Babel?
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 15, 2007
Icons and Iconoclasm - Why no picture windows in the Presbyterian church
An illustrated talk on the role of icons in the church, and why certain protestant denominations limit iconography even in their stained glass windows. What is the mystery of the "A&C" in the central window? Calvin and Arminius? Predestination and Free Will? How do you "read" an icon? Let's read the Rubilev Holy Trinity icon.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 2006
Can non-Christians get to heaven? How about pious, believing Buddhists, Jews, Sufis? Do all Christians get to heaven? Are Faith and Religion the same thing? Exactly what is Love anyway?
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 23, 2006
The Gift of Giving and The Cross of David
Giving is for the giver, not the recipient. Provocative thought? Here is a Christian view of giving. Also we will look at an introduction to concept of The Cross of David. The Cross of David is a graphic explanation of the meaning of the Star of David, and how it relates tothe familiar Christian cross. An evolution from Temple Judaism to Christianity.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 20, 2005
Many recent Original Theological Thinkers aren't that original. Well-intentioned minds have struggled to make God in the image they think best for him since the first century. People keep looking for an easy to digest explanation of the mystery of Yeshua as fully human and fully divine. Let's look at some modern heresies.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 24, 2005
Conflict Between Old Testament and New Testament
People often feel God is very different in the Old Testament compared to his manifestation as The Christ in the New Testament.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 18, 2004
Changing the Shepherd's Mind
Abraham demonstrates virtuous nagging. Jesus teaches persistance and simplicity in prayer.
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles. July 25, 2004.
The Lost Gospels
Who lost them? Were they supressed? Are they better understandings of Christ's message? Has the Vatican kept a lid on writings they didn't want the world to see?
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 30, 2004
Paul's Letter to the New Yorkers
Why is Paul, this contradictory, garrulous, cranky misogynist, so important to us today?
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, Nov.21, 2003
Abraham, Father of Multitudes
Abraham is the father of Christians, Muslims and Jews, and perhaps Hindus and Buddhists. Some less-well-known traditional history of Abraham, the first evangelist of monotheism.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April, 2003
The minister asked if I had ever brought a business ethics conflict to a clergyman. He was forming views on the role of the church in teaching business ethics. I have a point of view; teach Jesus, not rules.
Letter to the minister, December 2002
The Religion of Buddhism
Buddhism as both a better way of living and a Religion. Comparisons with Christianity.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, Nov. 24, 2002
Amazing personal prayer experiences at silent retreats
These messages were for me, but here's a call to explore your own "interior silence," and perhaps hear messages meant for you.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 2002
Islam-Our Younger Brothers in the Faith
Are we at war with Islam? What is Islam anyway? How does Islam relate to Judaism and Christianity?
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, Nov. 2001
Knights Templar and the Islamic Crusades
Who were The Crusading Knights who led the first Western incursion into the Middle East? All sides invoked God then as now. A pre-9/11 perspective.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April, 2001
A Jew's Perspective on Christianity
How a Christian Jew began his personal transformation.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles
Brief description of Contemplative Prayer
The fourth way of praying. The method of Centering Prayer as taught by Contemplative Outreach and Fr. Thomas Keating OCSO First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 1999
Fear Not - Christmas from the Scriptures
Be not afraid! That's the first message of Christmas.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles
Fr. Thomas Keating on "The Inner Room", advanced retreat conferences
Father Keating gave four conferences on Centering Prayer and Contemplation at the advanced retreat at St. Benedict's Monastery in Snowmass, Colorado November, 2000. These are raw notes from four exciting conferences on "The Inner Room."
Retreat Center, St. Benedict's Monastery, Snowmass CO November 2000
Meaning of the Dead Sea Scrolls
The writers of The Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran illustrate pre-Christian Jewish thought and belief patterns. The people at Qumran were probably a splinter group of Sadduccees.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 2000
Who Wrote the Bible?
The Holy Spirit is the Ultimate Author. Jews were the transcribers. But how did the Canon get selected?
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 2000
Lakeside Soul Food
The Miracle of loaves and fishes. You are what you eat!
Sermon at First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, July 30, 2000
Hell and The Devil
What is Hell and who is the Devil? Where do these ideas come from?
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, April 1996
Jews and Christians on Death
What does Jesus have to say about death to his Jewish friends? Reflections on the best-selling book, Breakfast With Maury.
First Presbyterian Church of Skaneateles, November 1999
Letter to the First Church of Rome
Today's version of how Paul might follow up his Letter to the Romans. Reflections on a topic close to my heart. A message that needs to be sent again to those who wish to roll back Vatican ll. Jews are important to Christianity.
The War of the Bros
Christianity has been in a stupid civil war with its Jewish brothers for 1,930 years. Vatican II declared it over. Not all the troops in the field have the message. An essay on the relationship of Christians and Jews, how it got that way and why it will change. Here's how I became a Christian and am still a Jew.
String Theory and the Ten Dimensions
String Theory generally holds there are Ten or Eleven Dimensions in all. Let's look at what they might be. This is a beginning exploration, a thought experiment on the concept of more dimensions than the three or four we understand intuitively. Light is a far more preferable concept than dark energy.