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Good Morning Nanty Glo!
Sunday, December 15 2002

Quaker meeting

During a visit to Philadelphia in 1976, I visited a Quaker Meeting House and learned from the tour guide that every member present during a meeting was free to speak out on his thoughts. The idea intrigued me then and does even more now. Too often pastors and priests deliver sermons and homilies in a rude manner that insults our intelligence. It would be nice sometime to speak out with a rebuttal or comment.

For instance, when a minister begins with one topic and soon changes and gives the excuse that the Holy Spirit led him in a different direction, I would love to stand up and say, "Just because you didn't prepare your sermon properly, don't blame it on the Holy Spirit." Another device used by ministers and priests is to give a new title to an old sermon. I would enjoy someone from the congregation saying, "Hey, Pastor, we heard that sermon last month."

Another point which I would like to speak out on some time is when a speaker says; "In closing..." then goes on for another 10 or 15 minutes. This one especially annoys me when the minister cuts the last song short because he has run over time. My wife and I and our family enjoy singing and would much rather sing all verses of a song than listen to a sermon for 45 minutes. An old pastor friend of mine used to have a saying. "If you haven't made your point in 20 minutes, stop boring the congregation."

Another pitfall of pastors and priests that irritates me is when they castigate those present for the empty pews in the sanctuary. Some Sunday I would like to say, "Keep up that attitude and there will be more empty pews next Sunday." Some pastors are so enamored with their own self-righteousness that they recount the details of their conversion every other Sunday. Just once, I would like to shout, "Praise the Lord! Now, let's move on."

The sermon that bothers me the worst and the one I would most like to rebut is the one in which a pastor or priest condemns anyone to eternal hell and damnation if they don't live life according to his or her interpretation of the Bible. Life is difficult and filled with many trials and tribulations and most of us do our best. It would be so helpful, after struggling through a week, to hear a sermon on Sunday that gives us encouragement and strength to face another week rather than one that makes us sorry we got out of bed.

I have probably offended all my pastor and priest friends but, excuse me, this isn't a Quaker Meeting and I have the pulpit. Some 2000 years ago, Christ came to give grace and mercy to the litany of laws imposed by the religious leaders of the day. Since then, church leaders, both Catholic and Protestant, have come up with laws and regulations based on narrow interpretations of the Bible that are just as harsh as those imposed by the Jewish religious leaders. The only difference is in the punishment for violators. In early times it was physical, such as stoning or mutilation. Now, it is a verbal threat of hell and damnation.

Webmaster's note: After last Sunday's piece by David Caldwell on Hardrock, Coco, and Joe, was sent out, we were able to locate an Internet page with the animated feature that ran for many Christmases on Johnstown's Channel 6. Two versions are now available:

If you have a dial-up Internet connection, click here to download
the program and play it in Windows Media Player.

(Note: On 56k dial-in modems, it may take 10 minutes or more to download.)

If you have a cable or DSL highspeed Internet service,
click here for a streaming video version.

You know you've been drinking 'way too much coffee when...

  • Juan Valdez named his donkey after you
  • You haven't blinked since the last lunar eclipse
  • You just completed another sweater and you don't know how to knit
  • The only time you're standing still is during an earthquake
  • The nurse needs a scientific calculator to take your pulse

—Sent by Mary Ann Losiewcz

Thought for the day

The proper role of a newsman is to comfort the afflicted and afflict the comfortable.

—H. L. Mencken
Top daily news stories linked from our sister webpage
Xnmp, news that signifies
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