A Note from Sherman, Sept. 1

Dear Friends,

You’re getting me two eblasts in a row because my colleague, Transition Minister Julia Nielsen, is on vacation for a couple weeks. This Sunday, we have one of those gospels that makes us squirm. Jesus says, “Whoever comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters, yes, even life itself, cannot be my disciple.” When I looked up the Greek word for ‘hate’ in the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, it said: “Hatred in Discipleship: This is not psychological hatred but a total commitment that gives absolute priority to Jesus.”

Some things just don’t translate well, so I decided to look for a better word than hate for the modern congregation I would be speaking to, and what I came up with was ‘nonattachment.’ It is a concept that is part of Buddhist practice, but I think also has Christian roots in the New Testament. (Being IN the world, but not OF the world, for example.) When I looked up ‘nonattachment’ in a thesaurus, there were no other results, so we’ll just stick with it for now. What things are we attached to that work against living the gospel values Jesus gave? To be continued Sunday.

On this Labor Day weekend, we recall how the quality of life on our planet depends on the stewardship of many kinds of labor. We recall also the complicated history of labor in our country and how slave labor was something people would go to war over. We give thanks for innovation that creates new fields of endeavor as other jobs become redundant through automation or efficiency. Maybe God is doing a new thing through human creativity. Time will tell.

Cheers and potato salad,

Fr. Sherman