Maine Bloomer snowbirdDick Moll did a wonderful third-Sunday-of-the-month-during-the-season "Interfaith Moment" at Bloom on Sunday, February 20, 2011. It centered on peace making support found in Islam. Here is a link to the 9-min, 45-sec presentation.
Rev. Kev Lights Candles for Family and Friends on All Saints' Sunday
Rev. Kev's Sunday Commentaries
April 3, 2011 Read 1 Samuel 16:1, 6-13 John 9:1-9 What will you look like next week? (12:57)
March 20, 2011 Read Genesis 12:1-4a John 3:1-17 How are you born? (17:47)
March 13, 2011 Read Psalm 32 Matthew 4:1-11 Why learn and live the lessons of Jesus? (17:57)
March 6, 2011 Read Exodus 24:12-18 Matthew 17:1-9 Where are we headed? (12:37)
February 27, 2011 Read Isaiah 49:8-16a Matthew 6:24-34 Consider what? Don't What? (17:50)
February 20, 2011 Read Leviticus 19:1-18 and Matthew 5:38-48 Keep your head high. (16:06)
February 13, 2011 Read Deuteronomy 30:15-20 and Matthew 5:33-37 A word that matters a lot. (14:47)
February 6, 2011 Read Isaiah 58:3-9a and Matthew 5:13-20 "Do not pray for easy lives." Why not? (13:27)
January 23, 2011 Read Isaiah 9:1-4 and Matthew 4:12-23 Leaving your nets behind and doing what? (18:07)
January 9, 2011 Read Isaiah 42:1-9 and Matthew 1:13-17 Jesus was baptised and dangerous. What are you? (15:44)
December 26, 2010 Christmas Sunday at Bloom "O Little Town of Bethlehem:" What's it to us? (17:29)
December 24, 2010 Christmas Eve message Carols, Candles and Readings service How does God Appear? (11:24)
December 12, 2010 Read Isaiah 35:4-8 and Luke 1:46-55 How will we follow in Mary's footsteps? (15:02)
December 5, 2010 Read Isaiah 11:1-10 and Matthew 3:1-12 Namby-pamby peace? (14:58)
November 28, 2010 Read Isaiah 2:1-5 and Matthew 24:36-44 Do you suppose that when someone has life just the way they want it, they are hopeless? (16:45)
November 21, 2010 Read Luke 23:33-43 Are you watching or making it happen? (22:00 + 2-min intro commenting on scriptures)
Rev. Raedorah C. Stewart
January 16, 2011Martin Luther King, Jr. Sunday Read Exodus 3:9-12 and John 1:29-42 What is "the Egypt United Methodist Church?" (24:57)
Rev. Raedorah C. Stewart served in the Presbyterian Church (USA) as a staff pastor, itinerant preacher and lay minister for over 25 years. She “defected” to the PC (USA) because of dialogue on the matter of the ordination of gay and lesbian clergy.Though personally painful and publicly ever-present she chose this contentious religious location over the weightier world of 'don't ask, don't tell' prevalent in her former denomination.She was previously an ordained pastor in the Full Gospel Baptist Fellowship, and licensed minister in the American Baptist Church (USA).She is a graduate of Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, CA; and is also a Passing the Mantle scholar of the University of Southern California’s Department of Religion and Civic Engagement.Rev. Stewart is also the very proud mother of a freshman at Tufts University in Medford, Mass.
August 29, 2010 Jeremiah 2:4-13 Luke 14:1; 7-14 (26.59) A few minutes of thinking aloud on the Jeremiah passage preceedes the prayer and commentary.
"Valley Voice" December 25, 2012 Rev. Kev's colunmn published in The Desert Sun
"Don't blame God for Tragedy"
As Christians celebrate the birth of a child with divine intentions for peace, broken-hearted mothers mourn their children killed by violence. Globally, the unexpected arrival of drone missiles, mortar rockets and semi-automatic bullets mute the joy of heavenly songs proclaiming peace and good will. Still, Christmas comes as it will. This year, the herald for many is more about comfort than joy. I hope the messengers will live up to the task.
As a Christian and a full-time local pastor, I am often saddened and sometimes outraged by clergy who speak hate and nonsense, especially this time of year. In our profession, we have ample opportunity to make public statements. I am reminded by my training that our job is to not make bad things worse.
Sometimes preachers say stupid stuff. When they are media personalities and publishing moguls, their rant-manure gets spread widely. This often infuses shallow thinking with perceived deeper meaning and magical thinking is magnified with false credibility. The silliness becomes common gospel, recycled from televisions and radios to pulpits and dinner tables.
Saying that children are killed because God is not present in public schools or because gays and lesbians marry in some states and press for the same civil right in other states is not silly. Flailing for a reason like that is a failing of good sense and theological understanding. It is evil and hurtful. It fosters the pathology of a sick theology, granting latent permission to some people to commit harm. We know better.
To look to God for a reason is to shrink from responsibility for human actions. When a shooter enters a school, a church, or a shopping mall, the hand of God does not clear a path. When a shooter carries a weapon meant for combat into a place meant for learning, prayer or commerce, the hands of irresponsible lawmakers are all over the place.
This is how the ancient prophets’ words of “peace, peace; when there is no peace” stay true. We mouth he words while being incapable or unwilling to commit to act accordingly. Some will sing that peace begins with us, yet not start for a moment. As media commentators and elected representatives say this year makes a difference, we can pray that is so and do more.
This time, the candles of Christmas – and recently Chanukah – can move us to live our truth so the lies of hate and bad theology are extinguished. Rather than twist public policy honoring the rights of citizens into threats, we can hold leaders accountable for the safety of our communities. When that job is done, future candles will be lit in celebration of peace and good will, not in vigils mourning the loss of innocents.
Citizens of faith and no faith can call upon the Caesars of our day to restore general safety by replacing gun violence with gun safety, war with truce. Preachers can comfort all with glad tidings that the Divine presence is found in justice and compassion, not judgment and violence. Mothers near and far do not have to mourn this way. It remains in the hands of humanity to make the commitments that will protect their hearts.
"Words of Faith" Rev. Kev's wrting published quarterly in The Desert Sun
When I was in sixth grade, my mother was called into a conference with my teacher. The reason was to figure out why I didn't want to go outside to recess. That parent- teacher conference revealed that on the playground I was bullied.
The schoolyard tough was much smaller than me. With the help of his buddy pack, he cornered me daily to burn my arm with punches. My nature didn't fight back. And my young faith in the Golden Rule — doing onto others as I wanted others to do onto me — thwarted retaliation.
I was a lucky kid then. My parents and teacher realized the situation and took steps to fix it. The bully was rebuked; I was freed of daily fear. The détente was successful because adults took responsibility for ensuring safety and peace. Later I learned my internalized Golden Rule grew from Christian Gospel seeds and sprouted from ancient Jewish Torah roots. The rule's precepts glisten in hordes of world religious principles circulating among nations. It seems rational to expect people to hear of it and abide by it. But reality shows this precious rule barely permeates society. We still endure violence and bullies remain the lowest common denominator among human aggressors.
There will always be wars and rumors of wars, scriptures warn. But such a caution doesn't justify the conflagrations. It tells us to focus on keeping local peace since the world is beyond our control. But I wonder; will bullies have to be tolerated always? Recent news reports unveil regular suicides by bullied teens, typically gay. As parents and friends grieve the loss of loved ones, bullies continue to intimidate where Golden Rule principles are ignored. Now is the time for parents, teachers and religious leaders to renew and teach the eternal human contract: “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.”
Could this possibly mean bully so you can be bullied? I don't think so. Could this mean that bullying is sanctified by loving parents, good teachers and faithful preachers? No.
Religious leaders and parents need to take responsibility along side teachers to ensure that schools and societies are not permeated with torment. Preachers need to suspend the tolerance of anti-gay religious teaching so that the license to preach is no longer a license for abuse. The bully pulpits of classrooms, churches, mosques, synagogues and temples must stop idolizing the bullies in the pulpit.
The Golden Rule is the most precious commodity we have. When enacted, the goodness of all will stifle the bullies and heal wounded souls. That will be the great time to which all faiths aspire, living well in our communities. We are invited by all that is good to be living that time now, on earth as it is in heaven.
The LORD is a stronghold for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. And those who know your name put their trust in you, for you, O LORD, have not forsaken those who seek you. --Psalms 9: 9-10
A United Church of Christ and Reconciling Ministries Congregation