“NEW LIFE” BULLETIN – VOL. 26, NO. 25&26 – RELIGION OR JESUS?
If you get a concordance and look up the word “religion” and “religious” you will find it is used about five times. I say “about” because the word is translated from two or three Greek words into the English, “religion” or “religious.” Not being a Greek scholar, I’ll leave that to the translators.
My reason for making the point is twofold. First, to a nonbeliever (atheists) religion is generally a bad word because it is also tied to superstition, even in the New Testament. Since superstition is based on a fallacy, religion is as well. And we would agree that many are based on superstition. There is even superstition among Christians.
So most atheists say religion of any kind is baseless. Which brings me to my second point. Not all atheists see it that way.
An avowed atheist who gets the bulletin, and who shows evangelistic zeal in trying to convert me, sends me (among several others) lectures by Daniel Dennett, who teaches Philosophy (among other things) at Tufts University. If you want to listen to an atheist who loves the Christian religion, listen to Dennett. He will use most of the usual atheistic arguments, but he is different because he says Christianity has moral values worth preserving. He even loves going to an Episcopal church in Boston. He loves the sermons, and goes especially for the high church music. On Christmas he gathers in his home a group of people to sing the great Christmas carols. And he says none of this “Frosty the Snowman.” I would assume, therefore, that he has great appreciation for Jesus as a teacher of good moral values.
Let me say if you hear him once, that’s enough. Like all “circuit riders” he has little new to say, which is not a criticism of him. Speakers of all kinds do the same thing.
In his own way, Dennett makes a valid point about the value of the teachings of Jesus. They are worth keeping and they are worth doing. Why? Because as Dennett points out, even from his belief that morality is the result of evolution, they are good for humanity. Which brings me to my second reason for this article.
In an email someone sent me, a Christian author, Benjamin Corey, in a preview of his book, “Invites us to reorient our lives not on Christian religion, but on the person of Jesus.” Since I haven’t read the book, my feeling is that this Christian author and atheist Daniel Dennett are saying about the same thing, except from a very different foundation. They both seem to be saying there is something apart from the Christian religion that is not the same as the person, i.e., the teaching and purpose of Jesus.
If I were to say that, I would put it this way: There can come a time when the institutional values may become more important than the values of the founder. In other words, we can end up with an ecclesiastical framework that confines the one we claim to serve. That ecclesiastical framework then becomes the sole purpose for existence.
Does, that mean there is no structure from which the truth of Jesus’ purpose can proceed? No. In the book of Acts and some of Paul’s letters, as well as the letters of John, we see the need to separate the meaning of the purpose and teaching of Jesus from that which is not. But I’mpretty sure Corey’s statement that the Christian focus should be on Jesus, rather than the Christian religion is not about that.
While it may seem contradictory to say there is a difference between the Christian religion and Jesus, while it should be, it is not. Let me put it this way: Places of higher learning are supposed to be focused higher education. Most of those places are also involved in sports, which in some cases are almost at a professional level. If funding and advancing the sports program becomes more important than funding and advancing learning they become separate entities.
The same is true with the Christian church. When the organization becomes more important than the intended teachings of the organizer, the meaning and purpose for its existence is lost.
CONCERNS: Alan Beach’s father fell and broke his hip, so Alan and Joni are in Tennessee. Judy Hall is to have a stress test on her heart. Zona Fisher is ill with what seems to be a virus that is hanging on. Keep her and Roger in your prayers. Erma Williams cousin, Eleanor Bresee, (Ovarian cancer). Lee Nicklas, Leena Bolin’s aunt has a form of leukemia. Kim Hall’s friend, Mary (Parkinson’s). Martha Foy asks prayers for Sandra Anderson and her aunt, Sue Huels and Gil Richardson. Sue is the sister of Betty Foy. Continues praying for Leena’s brother, Nick, Susan and Wayne Phlegar, Rich Crites, Jim Hunter, Gary Overstreet, Deana McRoy, Stephanie Rigney, Marge Greenwood, and Sharon, a friend of Del Bolin. Remember also Jenni Cullum, Helen Nicklas, Tim Elder, Mary Smith and Mrs Matara, the mother of a friend of Jim Hunter. Marie Barnett asks prayers for her and her family, especially her mother, Mildred. Wayne Flora’s postmaster, Todd Baumgardner, is on dialysis.
OUR DAILY BREAD: JULY 7-12
Monday : II Thessalonians 1:2-12
Tuesday: Matthew 1:18-20
Wednesday: John 2:1-11
Thursday: I Thessalonians 1:2-10
Friday: II Timothy 2:1-13
Saturday: Isaiah 40:1-11
OUR DAILY BREAD: JULY 14-19
Monday: Exodus 1:15 – 2:10
Tuesday: Mark 1:16-34
Wednesday: Genesis 17:1-21
Thursday: Job 42:1-13
Friday: Luke 4:1-13
Saturday: Psalm 63:1-11
A key was found in the area of the new rest room off the cry room. It does not fit the paper towel dispenser. It is brass with “soov CAT 74″ stamped on it. If it is yours, see Wayne Flora..
Our thanks to Scott Blessing for conducting service today. Alan and Joni had to go to Tennessee because Alan’s father suffered a fall. Alan provided Scott with the material he was going to use, and Scott agreed to step in. The Wagners are in Nashville for a weekend family reunion. They will be returning today.
Today begins the change in the communion service. It will now be before the sermon. Also: the steering committee has been looking at ways of separating the contribution from communion. In the near future you will be asked to deposit your contribution in two or three collection boxes in the back of the auditorium, either upon arriving or leaving. The prayer at the end of the service will include a blessing for your offering. This will, of course, take some getting adjusted to. There will be reminders along the way, and announcements in both the order of worship and from the one opening and closing the service..
For several years we have been one of several groups that can pick up the unused bread at Panera. Our night is Thursday just before closing, which is 10:00 PM. The bread is then taken to the Rescue Mission. Erma Williams and Susan Jordan ask your help in getting this done, and several of you have volunteered. However, the more who will do this, the less each one will have to do it. If you can’t drop the bread off at the Mission, bring it to church on Sunday and someone will deliver it that day.
Congratulations to Melisha Scruggs on the completion of her Certified Nursing Assistant studies. When she starts to work she plans to continue on toward become a Licenced Practical Nurse. Great going Melisha!