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Archive By Section - Religion

Parson to Person: A pastor’s life from behind the scenes

"Minsters don't know anything about real life." "When are you going to get a real job?" "So, how does it feel to only have to work one day a week?" Comments and questions such as these are often directed at those of us in ministry. Yes, many times they are said "tongue in cheek," (at least the two questions), but even then they show the misconceptions that many have when it comes to the ministerial profession.

January 08, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | Religion

Grace Notes: Wise Men bow down before Christ

You might not have noticed it, but this Wednesday was Epiphany, the day after the 12th day of Christmas, the day the church has decided to celebrate the visit of the Magi to Bethlehem, and really the "Revealing" (that's what Epiphany means) of Jesus as true God and Lord to all nations.

January 08, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Religion

Grace Notes: The New Year

Happy New Year! As you're reading this, chances are the streamers of celebration are still on the ground, the decorations still up, and the resolutions still resolute. New Year's Day. It's a great day, isn't it? It's a day of hope and confidence, a day of optimism and potential. It's a great day. All those promises you made last night to change your life for the better are still within the realm of possibility.

But let's be real. Sure there's a lot of potential with this fresh start, but that means there ...

January 01, 2010 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Religion

Parson to Person: 2010 is here

2009 has come and gone. Many have high hopes for 2010. Perhaps we will experience a surge in the economy, the creation of new jobs to put people who lost their jobs in 2009 back to work, maybe 2010 will be the year my ship comes in.

Traditionally in preparation for the New Year people make themselves wonderful promises of how they will be different in the coming year. While perhaps sincere the vast majority of our New Year's Resolutions are quickly sacrificed on the altar of same old, same old. The truth of the matter is outward reform ...

January 01, 2010 | Dr. John Pearrell | Religion

Grace Notes: Get Real with Christmas

You know the artists have it wrong, don't you? I'm talking about Christmas. When you think of Christmas, do you see a cherubic baby on bed of sparkling clean hay, parents peacefully looking on - halos shining over everyone in the scene, shepherds, wise men, everyone awash in starlight, maybe even a few angels hovering over the manger? Is that what you think of when you think of Christmas?

December 25, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Religion

Parson to Person: Luke’s honest reporting

Luke 2:1-20, the account of Jesus' birth, is probably one of the most widely known passages of Scripture. During this time of year, one might hear it in the most unexpected places. Religious or not, it is nigh impossible to get through the Christmas season without at least a passing reference to this important passage.

December 18, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Religion

Grace Notes: Joy to the World

It's amazing what a song can do, isn't it? Not that it's stopped me, but it's not politically correct anymore to say "Merry Christmas" in some places, you know. I have to admit a smile crossed my face at the store as the cashier told me to have a "Happy Holiday" even as my kids were singing along to the words of a very "Christ"mas song playing in the background of that same store.

December 18, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Religion

Grace Notes: Savior of the Nations, Come

I'm surprised you're taking time to read this, what with all the things you've got on your "to do" list. I'm just glad you know how important it is to take time out of the busy-ness of this month to remember what it is all about.

December 04, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Religion

Parson to Person: Christ’s message is love

There is a Christian song the chorus of which goes, "Oh, the wonder of it all! The wonder of it all! Just to think that God loves me." I love that song. It carries with it some reminders that we tend to forget.

December 04, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Religion

Grace Notes: Thanks for nothing, God

Blah blah blah... You've heard it a thousand times: "We have so much to thank God for." But it's hard to argue with that. God has protected us from so much we don't want and given us so much we do. Our standard of living, even for the poorest among us, is light years beyond the standard of living for the majority of our world's population. And now just try comparing it to the standard of living even in our country 200 years ago. We have plenty to thank God for. Even King Solomon, richest man ...

November 27, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Religion

Parson to Person: Is Christmas a Christian day?

Inevitably during this time of year, I will receive brochures and letters from well meaning people informing me that Christmas is not a Christian holiday and Christians ought not celebrate it. These letters and brochures claim (rightly so) that originally Dec. 25 was celebrated as a heathen holiday and, therefore, is not really Christian at all. Is that true? Partially yes, and partially no.

It is true that prior to 336 A.D. Dec. 25 was the time when some polytheistic religions celebrated this day as the day of the rebirth of the sun. So, yes, in perhaps its roots ...

November 27, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Religion

Grace Notes: God's Grace to give you confidence

This Sunday is the last Sunday in the Church Year. In a few days we celebrate Thanksgiving (Check out next Friday's column for that). After that comes the season of Advent, the season of preparation for the coming of our Savior. Really it's a two-fold preparation. We prepare to witness again and celebrate his birth in that manger. And we prepare to see him when he comes back at the end of time to take us to be with him. But as we prepare, there's the question I heard still hanging in the air for some - maybe ...

November 20, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Religion

Parson to Person: The behavior of many is not "Christ-like"

When the missionary E. Stanley Jones met with Mahatma Gandhi, the political and spiritual leader who led India in its quest for Independence, he asked him, "Mr. Gandhi, though you quote the words of Christ often, why is that you appear to so adamantly reject becoming his follower?"

November 20, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Religion

Parson to Person: Christ is the only way

Recently I was having a discussion with a man from another faith. He was trying his best to convince me that, though our faiths were different, we really believed the same thing, He claimed that the only difference between us was that was the prophet we were following. Mine being simply an earlier and therefore less enlightened prophet than his. He actually made the fatal mistake that so many make, assuring me that "We (who are Monotheists) really are all related and we really believe the same things - we believe in the goodness of man, trying to better ourselves, etc ...

November 13, 2009 | Dr. John Pearrell | Religion

Grace Notes: Grace to face Judgment Day

Have you ever noticed how one person's big moment of absolute joy is another's worst nightmare?

November 13, 2009 | Jonathan E. Scharf | Religion

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