Month: February 2019

A True Story (Sermon for February 24, 2019)

A true story: Sendhil Mullainathan is a professor of economics at Harvard, and Eldar Shafir is a professor of psychology and public affairs at Princeton. A few years ago, they decided to work together to study a subject that doesn’t get a lot of attention: scarcity.  They wanted to know what happens to our brains

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Mustard and Yeast (Sermon for February 17, 2019)

The Kingdom of Heaven is like this: A mustard seed is a very small seed. It’s not necessarily the smallest seed in the whole world, but it’s small. And in Jesus’ time and Jesus’ land, it grew wild. It’s not the kind of plant that someone would plant in a well-kept garden, where you want

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Black History Month Project Update no. 2

If you read my columns in the Carillon Notes, then you know that I’m embarking on a personal project during Black History Month. I’m trying to add Black (or predominantly Black) media to my usual media diet. Admittedly, I wasn’t as active in my search for media this week as I was last week. Sometimes, life

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Judgment (Sermon for February 10, 2019)

I majored in philosophy.  Now, before you judge, I majored in philosophy during the philosophy boom of the late 90s, when there was a major philosopher shortage and all of the big philosophy firms were hiring. I had no idea that the philosophy market would collapse right before I graduated. Either that, or I majored

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Black History Month Project Update no. 1

If you read my columns in the Carillon Notes, then you know that I’m embarking on a personal project during Black History Month. I’m trying to add Black (or predominantly Black) media to my usual media diet. Because I’m looking to change my media diet, I’m not looking so much for books or articles, even though

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2019 Spring Faith Formation

Believe it or not, spring is coming! And spring faith formation activities are coming with it. Faith in Motion is a youth program that combines learning about faith and compassion with plenty of physical activity! Each week, participants spend about a half hour learning about a Christian value and how to put it into action

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2019 Lenten Program: Searching for Sunday

Please join us for special Lenten programming this year. Pastor Chris will lead a discussion of Rachel Held Evans’ book Searching for Sunday: Loving, Leaving, and Finding the Church. Here’s the back cover copy: Like millions of her millennial peers, Rachel Held Evans didn’t want to go to church anymore. The hypocrisy, the politics, the gargantuan building budgets, the scandals–church culture seemed so

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New Member Classes

Have you been attending First Congregational United Church of Christ for a while? Are you interested in becoming a member of our community? Pastor Chris will start leading new member classes on Sunday, March 3! The time and number of classes will depend on how many people are interested. If you would like to explore

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Black History Month

This is a reprint of my column from the February 2019 Carillon Notes. It’s no secret that we’re a pretty white church in a pretty white town, in a pretty white county, in a pretty white state. DeWitt, Clinton county, and Iowa are about 97%, 92%, and 86% white, respectively. While everyone’s experience is a little different, that it’s easy for most of us to go through

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Do Not Worry (Sermon for February 3, 2019)

Way back at the end of November, when we were decorating the church for Christmas, we got the Advent wreath and the Advent candles out. I wanted to make sure that they were okay, so I lit them. Later, we finished decorating, turned out the lights, locked up the church, and left. And I was

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