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The Weekly View - August 27, 2021

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In This Issue
  • Weekly Message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
  • Weekly Facebook Video
  • This Sunday's Guest Minister, Rev. Dr. Douglas Olds
  • Announcements & Upcoming Events
  • Outreach Opportunities
message from rev.  whitt


Dear St. Luke family,

What’s the most serious problem facing our world today?  I happen to believe it’s climate change.  Don’t get me wrong; the world has plenty of other problems: the pandemic, poverty, hunger, racism, divisive politics, the refugee crisis, wildfire, militarism … and more.  But these problems pale in comparison to climate change, and of course in some cases, are being made worse by it.  For me, climate change is a theological issue; in fact, it’s a theological crisis.  I ran across an editorial underscoring that faith support for action in the face of climate change is crucial:
 
“[Faith groups] give the climate debate a moral tone and energize worshippers to make individual choices out of respect for the earth, not out of political fidelity.  Nearly all the world’s religions espouse doctrines that affirm the sanctity of the planet and admonish adherents to act accordingly.  Religions give humanity to the victims of drought and flooding, treating them not as numbers on a spreadsheet but as humans with divine worth.” [1]
 
This coming Sunday while I’m on vacation, the Rev. Dr. Douglas Olds will be our guest preacher.  Doug has spent years studying faith and the environment, and specifically, faith and climate change.  His sermon from Isaiah 25:1-10 is entitled, “Quieting the Roaring Heat.”   
 
What can we do to help protect God’s good creation so that it might continue to sustain life?  Doug might have some ideas.  As Chef Anne Marie Bonneau put it, “We don’t need a handful of people doing zero waste perfectly.  We need millions of people doing it imperfectly.”  Individually, it can seem as though our efforts are a spit in the bucket.  But together and with God’s help, we can move mountains.  In particular, we can make our voices heard by those in power: “The earth is the Lord’s, and all that is in it.  The world, and those who live in it” (Psalm 24:1).
 
I’ll be gone Sunday through Tuesday, and back in the office on Wednesday.  Don’t forget to invite friends and family to the October 2 gala fundraiser dinner, and have a lovely weekend!

Grace and peace,
Joanne Whitt
Interim Pastor

 

[1] Deseret News Editorial Board, “In our opinion: Faith groups can be the moral compass on climate change,” Deseret News, August 15, 2019, available at in-our-opinion-faith-groups-can-be-the-moral-compass-on-climate-change.
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The Weekly View - August 20, 2021

Click here for the full NEWSLETTER

In This Issue
  • Weekly message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
  • Weekly Facebook video
  • Upcoming Events
  • Outreach Opportunities
message from rev.  whitt


Dear St. Luke family,

This coming Sunday, we’ll read the passage in First Kings that describes Solomon’s Temple, which, at the time it was built, was seen, quite literally, as the dwelling place of God.  The Temple, where the ark of the covenant was kept, was the center of public worship.  The people made pilgrimages to worship in the Temple, the one place they were certain they’d encounter God.

Have you ever been in a place in which you felt as though you encountered God?  Where you felt inexplicably, even mystically, closer to God?  The Pre-Christian and Celtic people of Ireland, Scotland, Wales, and England called such places, “thin places,” because in them, the distance between us and God feels “thinner.”  The rural landscape in Scotland and Ireland is littered with standing stones, cairns, and markings that once boldly stated, “This is a thin place.  This is holy ground.”  As one author puts it, “The very ground itself seems to call out, ‘Come here and be transformed.’”  

Or, perhaps, rather than a place, you have experienced a moment in time when the veil seemed to lift, and the presence of God felt more real.  We don’t experience these moments or these places with our five ordinary senses.  So, what is it, then, that makes God feel more real, and more accessible, at some times or places than at others?  Is there anything the church might do to foster such transformative experiences?  We’ll explore these questions this Sunday.

We’ll also hear from guest musicians Courtney McGiver (horn) and Jesse Chi (trumpet).

A reminder: Soon, you’ll be receiving a letter about registering for the annual gala fundraising dinner.  The dinner on Saturday, October 2, at 5:00 p.m., will have indoor and outdoor seating.  Our chefs are planning a fabulous menu.  I understand that many of our guests at these annual events are friends and family of St. Luke members, so don’t forget to invite your friends and family, and perhaps even buy a table. See below for a link to purchase tickets online and to find our auction donation form.

I’ll see you on Sunday!

Grace and peace,
Joanne Whitt
Interim Pastor

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The Weekly View - August 13, 2021

Click here for the full NEWSLETTER

In This Issue
  • Weekly message from Rev. Joanne Whitt
  • Weekly Facebook video
  • Outreach Opportunities
  • Upcoming Events
message from rev.  whitt


Dear St. Luke family,

This Sunday we’ll look at the next king in our series on Old Testament kings: King Solomon.  Solomon is famous for being wise.  We’ll tease that apart on Sunday, but in the process, I find I’m intrigued by the topic of wisdom.  How would you describe wisdom?  You can find all sorts of clever quotations that sum up the difference between knowledge and wisdom:

  • “A clever person solves a problem.  A wise person avoids it.” (Albert Einstein)
  • “Knowledge is knowing that a tomato is a fruit. Wisdom is knowing not to put it in a fruit salad.” (Brian Driscoll)
  • “A smart person will give you smart answers, but a wise person will ask you smart questions.” (Anonymous) 
  • “A smart person knows what to say.  A wise person knows whether or not to say it.” (Anonymous)
  • “Knowing others is intelligence.  Knowing yourself is true wisdom.”  (Lao-Tzu)

 All these quotations point to knowledge being a result of learning, but wisdom being a function of experience, intuition (what your gut says), judgment, and emotional intelligence, as well as knowledge.
 
Who in literature or real life do you associate with wisdom?  I immediately thought of Gandalf in The Lord of the Rings and Albus Dumbledore in the Harry Potter books.  Two old men with long silver hair and beards.  Wonderful, wise characters, but pretty cliché, right?  When I realized this is my image of wisdom, I started to hunt around for more diverse examples.  I came up with real people like Eleanor Roosevelt, Sojourner Truth, Alice Walker, Brené Brown, Bill Moyers, Mister Rogers, several colleagues in the presbytery, and some seminary professors.  I’m still thinking about that question, and I even posted it on Facebook, but too late to give you more than a couple of results: one friend said her dad, another said Jane Goodall, a third offered a clip from a “Seinfeld” episode that parodied King Solomon’s famously wise solution to an argument between two women over a baby.  I’d love to hear your answers: Who, in your opinion, is (or was) wise?  Fictional or historical, past or present, famous or obscure.

A letter is coming together to be sent out soon inviting you to sign up for the annual fundraiser dinner on Saturday, October 2, at 5:00 p.m.  The theme is “Starry Night” (St. Luke’s version of a black and white gala) and the menu looks fantastic.  I’m looking forward to what sounds like an amazing event.

I also look forward to seeing you in church on Sunday, both in person in the sanctuary, and on Zoom.

Grace and peace,
Joanne Whitt
Interim Pastor

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