Commentary

Sermons, outside articles, and more. The “comments” section on this page has been activated so you can share your thoughts, too.


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“It Could Happen to You”

When I talk with couples about getting married, one of the questions I sometimes ask is, “Does the other person make you laugh?” If the answer is “yes,” that’s the sign of a great relationship. This YouTube video by a young man dealing with the tragic death of his partner is about one such great relationship. Tom and Shane laughed a LOT with each other over the dumb things, such as a buzz-cut. I couldn’t help but be struck by the depth of the love these two had for each other and believe that’s the kind of relationship which is truly blessed by God. May God continue to provide comfort and support to Shane in his loss. – Rev. JKB

YouTube: “It Could Happen to You” (05.09.12)

Climate change denials targeted at NASA scientists.

Awhile back, the BBC decided against airing the final episode of one of their science series in the U.S. because it focused on climate change. They were concerned that because so many Americans didn’t believe climate change was real that the program would face a backlash from American audiences. How pathetic. Not the BBC. Us. Climate change is frightening. Add to that the many interests deeply invested in maintaining the $tatu$-quo. The result: irresponsible denial of a very real threat to all of us as a species.

Let’s look at the matter from a different perspective:  that of our great-grandchildren. When they ask / scream at us years from now: “How come you didn’t do something when you had a chance to do so?!” What’s our response going to be: “The oil companies and their cronies told us it wasn’t a problem?” (GGC:) “Well of course they did! And you believed them?! Do you know what kind of future you’ve condemned us to?!!” How sad. Their anger with us will be justified.

And don’t get me started about what I’m guessing God’s reaction might be to our destroying the Garden of Eden (again). – Rev. JKB

Discover Magazine: “Breath-taking climate denial nonsense, this time aimed at NASA” (04.15.12)

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Tennessee’s governor allows anti-science bill to become law.

The governor of Tennessee received legislation from his state’s House and Senate which focused on challenging the merits of evolution and climate change, the former a long-accepted basic theory of biology and the latter an almost universally accepted conclusion drawn by scientists world-over. Instead of promptly doing away with this transparent effort to weaken science education, he allowed it to become law by neither signing nor vetoing it. In effect, he catered to the whims of the mob — much as Pilate did when he asked the crowd whom he should set free: Jesus or Barabbas. Pilate did as the crowd demanded saying to them, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” The crowd’s response: “His blood be on us and on our children!” (Matthew 27:24b-25)

Governor Haslim, by taking no action, you have directly contributed to the demise of sensible science education in your state. Like Pilate, you have washed your hands of the matter and allowed the mob to decide the outcome. And it will be the children of Tennessee who will pay the price.   – Rev. JKB

Ars technica: “Tennessee governor allows bill targeting science education to become law” (04.11.12)

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Wealth and compassion don’t play well together.

Except for a selection of well-to-do celebrities and the like, it would appear that being wealthy doesn’t contribute toward one’s concern for others. Perhaps that’s why Jesus did his work among the poor and soundly condemned the rich: the former were generous in heart while the latter were merely hard-hearted. – Rev. JKB

Scientific American: “How Wealth Reduces Compassion” (04.10.12)

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Kind atheists vs. hateful Christians

I’ll be the first to admit I have no idea what God wants. That doesn’t mean I can’t guess what God wants, or hope what God wants, but “know” what the creator of the universe actually wants? That’s above my clearance level. Likewise, anyone who says s/he knows what God wants is either ignorant or arrogant or both. With those thoughts in mind, I find it amusing that this little story about a church sign in Oregon has stirred up controversy. Kudos to Pastor Tate for stating what I’d like to believe is true: If you’re good and kind, then you’re the apple of God’s eye no matter what your faith – or lack thereof. If you’re not good and kind, well then, you’re basically a jerk. For anyone who’s an insufferable pious PITA, that’s tough to swallow. If you call yourself a Christian and you promote hate and intolerance, then you haven’t been paying attention to the foundational message of Jesus’ ministry: We’re to love God and love one another. – Rev. JKB

Huffington Post: “God Prefers Kind Atheists Over Hateful Christians” (04.06.12)

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Teenager’s response to “I’m Christian, Unless You’re Gay”

Here’s an incredibly thought-provoking story about the transformative power of love. It’s also why we welcome all of God’s children, “no matter who you are or where you may be on your faith journey.” Caveat: Unless you’re a recreational pain-in-the-rear. We’ll do our best with you, but in the end (so to speak), that’s really my job.  -Rev. JKB

Blog: “Single Dad Laughing” (04.02.12)

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Embracing humility

My very first sermon at NV UCC was about the kind of humility which allows God through Christ to teach us. Here’s a piece from the NYT about one man’s faith journey and his embracing authentic humility:  -Rev. JKB

NYT Sunday Review: “Rethinking His Religion” (03.24.12)

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