Quote of Note #136: The Real Nature of True Freedom

photo by GAC "However, I think it is important to note that another trajectory in the Christian tradition argues that we should not understand freedom in libertarian terms. Augustine, for instance, emphasized a 'positive' understanding of freedom as empowerment: I am free insofar as I am able to achieve the good. On this score, freedom … Continue reading Quote of Note #136: The Real Nature of True Freedom

Bible Note #51: James 2:1-4 & Valuing What Jesus Values

I enjoy fishing.  I’m not very good at it, but I do enjoy going out to the water and trying to catch fish.  As I share this with you, we are a day away from the opening of trout season in Pennsylvania.  Opening day can be a pretty crowded time on the water around here.  … Continue reading Bible Note #51: James 2:1-4 & Valuing What Jesus Values

Quote of Note #134: Leaving the Past Behind

Photo by GAC "[God] wants us first to acknowledge our full responsibility, without excuse or extenuation. Then he says in effect: 'Now put all that behind you; I will take responsibility for it' (and he can take responsibility for the evil we have done: as we have seen, he has provided in Christ the effective … Continue reading Quote of Note #134: Leaving the Past Behind

Bible Note #50: James 2:1 and “Us vs. Them” Thinking

There is no question that our Christian faith can become corrupted.  And, of course, one of the ways that our faith can become corrupted is when we adopt bad or wrong doctrines.  That’s why it’s important for us to learn our theology carefully and well. The base of an abandoned steel-making blast furnace; photo by … Continue reading Bible Note #50: James 2:1 and “Us vs. Them” Thinking

Quote of Note #129: Justice and Love for my Neighbors

Photo by GAC "Love for neighbor requires critiquing and dismantling unjust systems of racial oppression. It is one matter to acknowledge that all people are made equal and have inherent dignity in their very being. It is another matter to identify the ways the image of God is defaced in groups of people through systems … Continue reading Quote of Note #129: Justice and Love for my Neighbors

Pastor Note #116: Advent Reflection #2

[Note: This post is the script for a video reflection that I posted to my YouTube channel. To view this particular video click here.] I first began making my “Pastor Gary’s Video Notebook” videos in March 2020 when the coronavirus shutdown came to my community and my church.  I had a number of goals for … Continue reading Pastor Note #116: Advent Reflection #2

Prayer Note #61: The Interference of God–A Prayer

Lord, there is in mea reluctance tosit quietly andattentively inyour presence.I want tobusy myself withthings that givethe appearance ofa devotional life, butwhich are,in fact,just externalactivity—busyness—withoutinternal reality.Yet it isthe internal reality ofintimacy withyouthat is the crucial element. Reading C. S. Lewis’s Surprised by Joy showed me something about myself.  He speaks of how, as a child, … Continue reading Prayer Note #61: The Interference of God–A Prayer

Quote of Note #123: Christianity & Coercion

Photo by GAC "Christian civility takes human freedom seriously. I may want people to believe as I do about some basic matters--but what I want is for them to choose to see things that way. This means that I must rely on testimony and persuasion in presenting my views to them. Civil Christians will be … Continue reading Quote of Note #123: Christianity & Coercion

Bible Note #48: Justice for the Weak–Ezekiel 34:11-22

Here God proclaims his love.  God proclaims the bias of his heart.  God proclaims the direction of movement of his heart. photo by GAC Above all, he is for the weak.  Above all, he is for the vulnerable, the wounded, the broken, the lost.  (Does this sound familiar?  “For the Son of Man came to … Continue reading Bible Note #48: Justice for the Weak–Ezekiel 34:11-22