Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Sunday's Sermon - Apostles' Creed II

For our second installment of the All Request Summer Sermon Series we discussed the theology of the Apostles' Creed using another historic document, the Heidelberg Catechism, as a guide.

Read the sermon
Read the Heidelberg Catechism
Download the Presbyterian Study Catechism (which also discusses the Apostles' Creed extensively.)

Thoughts on Swap Day

The idea for Swap Day originated during discussions last year by the Stewardship Team regarding our materialistic tendencies. Our goal was redistribution - taking things that we no longer needed and making them available to others who needed them. It sounded simple, but after spending six hours mingling with people on the front lawn of the church, I realized it was anything but. Some observations:

  • We have a lot of stuff. Many people mentioned that if they had known about the swap sooner they would have cleaned out their attic, basement, etc. to contribute. Some seemed eager for a guilt free way of getting rid of their stuff.

  • Stuff is addictive. Some people had trouble distinguishing between need and want, and when faced with the prospect of being able to acquire more for no money, they went crazy.

  • People were surprised by free. Many people could not believe that we would simply give stuff away. It didn't fit into their world view. Some, when they did comprehend it, liked the vision of a world that we provided. They left hoping for more - not more free stuff - but more of a world governed by mutuality, sharing and relationships as opposed to commerce. See earlier blog posting: Why we gave stuff away for free.

  • People struggled with free. More than one guest, as they were leaving, made sure that I knew that they had both brought a bag of stuff and made a donation. Other guests struggled when we refused to accept payments or suggest a donation level. One woman I talked with never managed to wrap her head around the reality that we were not holding a fundraiser.

  • Our enterprise was profoundly spiritual. Our God is a god who gives freely who calls us to give with no expectation of return. The grace of God shown through our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ is off the market. We cannot buy it. If it was for sale, we could not afford it. We can only accept it. Our god of commerce attaches a price to everything and bases an individual's value on whether or not they can afford the price. Many of our guests needed to donate, either stuff or money, because it showed they had worth - that they were neither charity cases nor thieves. If it is hard to accept a free toaster oven, children's toy or picture frame, how much hard it is to truly accept the free gift of love, self worth and hope available through Jesus Christ. And, if we go to such effort to prove that we are neither charity cases nor thieves when people are freely giving stuff away, what does it say about our attitude toward those who rely on charity for survival?

Thanks again to everyone who helped and to everyone who came! A special thanks to the women of the Thrift Shop for their logistical assistance and their support.

And by the way: At the end of the day we counted just over $200 in the donation cans. Our food pantry volunteers mentioned that the Food Pantry's freezer broke. The $200 will help pay for repairs.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Why give stuff away

Community Presbyterian's decision to hold a swap day as opposed to a yard sale came out of discussions about our relationship with material possessions. Here are our two motivating factors:

1. A rich man came to Jesus and asked him: “What must I do to have a rich, full and amazing life?” And Jesus said to him: “Go, sell your possessions, and give the money to the poor.” We live in a community where some people build additions onto their houses or rent garages to store all their stuff and where others lack the bare necessities for comfort. We spend millions of dollars and destroy the environment getting rid of stuff we’ve deemed useless and then spend millions of dollars more and further destroy the environment to acquire new stuff. So we give away stuff to achieve some of the balance our God desires for our lives, our communities and our natural world.

2. Our lives are encumbered. “Cumber” is an ancient word for all the things that weigh us down and drag us out. We can be encumbered by stuff, encumbered by financial debt, encumbered by worries or fears, encumbered by hurtful relationships, etc. Jesus Christ promises a life without cumber where, instead of weighing ourselves down, we trust in God to provide what we need, year by year, month by month, week by week, day by day, hour by hour. Most of us are not at a place of faith where we can fully let ourselves, our lives, our possessions go and trust totally on God, but this swap is one small step towards realizing God’s promise.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Sunday's Sermon - Apostles' Creed I

To help everyone follow along in the All Request Summer Sermon Series, I'm going to try to post all the sermons online using a new document sharing site set up by Google. Not sure how this will work, but we'll give it a try.

View last Sunday's Sermon - Apostles' Creed I

Friday, July 3, 2009


I hope you are all cleaning your closets, basements, attics, and garages! I am surprised at the stuff I found and didn't even know I was missing. I guess I don't really need it, so I am in the process of disencumbering. However, there are people who might need my cumber, so I am taking it to CPC for the Swap.

Let's work together to rid ourselves of our cumber and help those in need.
See you next Saturday from 9 am to 2 pm.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

All Request Summer Sermon Series

Many thanks to everyone who contributed topics for the summer sermon series. Here's the schedule. The schedule is very loose and rather arbitrary, so if you requested a topic and you're not going to be here when its scheduled, let Pastor Fritz know.

Click to read a previously delivered sermon.

July 5..........Apostle’s Creed I: History and background
July 12 ........Apostle’s Creed II: Theological Meaning
July 19 ........Discernment & Vocation: Figuring out God’s plan for your life
July 26 ........Pursuing a dream: Scriptures of Hope and Perseverance
August 2 .......Evolution, Creation & Scripture
August 9 .......Celebrating The End: Thoughts and Theology around funerals, burials, cremations, etc.
August 16 ......Bible Study: A Gospel Who’s Who – Scribes, Pharisees, Sadducees, Zealots, and others
August 23/30....Bible Study: The Prodigal Son
September 6.....Hymn Sing
September 13 ...Homosexuality, Marriage & The Church

Youth Group Kayak Trip

A few weeks ago CPC youth went kayaking. Here are some picts.