What’s the best way to carve wood? Whittle by whittle
A painter who lived in Great Britain – Interrupted two girls from their knittin – He said with a sigh – “That park bench – well I just painted it – Right where you’re sittin.”
“We have cause to suspect our [personal?] religion if it does not make us gentle, and forbearing, and forgiving; if the love of our Lord does not so flood our hearts as to cleanse them of all bitterness, and spite, and wrath. If a man is nursing anger, if he is letting his mind become a nest of foul passions, malice, and hatred and evil wishing, how dwelleth the love of God in him?” - Hugh Black
About forty years ago a new pastor was introduced to the Bryn Athyn society at a meeting in the Assembly Hall. I was at this meeting of the Bryn Athyn Church when some church official, probably the retiring pastor, made the polite introduction. But I was quite shocked when the new pastor’s first words were the cold and harsh: “I mean business.” He glared at the members of the church, as if defying them to do anything immoral or wrong in any way. He was watching us evil folks – really?
You know, he was not being introduced to some new military recruits or perhaps to new residents of the Boy’s High School Dorm. He was being introduced to many mature and elderly people. And I remember thinking at the time and do so today, “Who the hell do you think you are and who do you think you are being introduced to?”
I cannot help but think that many of the elderly attendees at the meeting were well-advanced in states of regeneration. Surely they were disturbed by the new pastor who appeared to treat them like unruly children. I suppose that many people at the meeting viewed the new pastor as someone who had a long path in front of him to reach even the first stages of loving the neighbor. I believe that the new pastor made many people feel unloved by him, for sure. He seemed to mock them as being ungoverned by truth and in need of his discipline.
And I further speculate that some of those present may have thought, “No, no, don’t take that “holier than thou” attitude. Yes, you came from wealth but don’t therefore assume that you are automatically part of some imagined ruling class in Bryn Athyn. Don’t make a show of such an assumption by acting superior and therefore suggesting that members of the congregation are inferior to you. Big mistake”
But I choose not to dwell on the temperament of this new pastor’s personality or on the nature of his lengthy administration. Rather I would like to write about the importance of ministers not showing coldness and distain for the members of the congregation. I believe that they should not have the attitude that they are superior to any parishioners but rather that they are there to serve their spiritual needs and to be their friends on the journeys of their lives.
Lay people need to feel loved and respected by members of the priesthood. No one wants to be mocked by the person who is supposed to re-present the Lord to them.
I would add that this is the third issue of Sunshine wherein I have mentioned this subject. And I can report that I have noticed a few members of the priesthood smiling at me recently. I recall one minister who smiled at me and I was not very quick in returning his smile. And he appeared to get angry. Now I am well aware that when we put forth our feelings, as in a smile, it can hurt deeply not to get a good response. I suggest that all of us, including ministers, try to rise above any negative feelings of being rejected. So if ministers were greeting people at the Cathedral, they should know that all responses to their friendly appearance will not be favorable. They should remember that the Lord shines His light and radiates the warmth of His Love on all people. The human response to this is according to the form of the receiving vessel of each human mind. Well, you ministers know all about that subject.
So again I suggest that the Bryn Athyn ministry begin a program of having priests greet people at the Cathedral on Sundays. Surely this is worth trying even on an experimental basis. Try it. You might like it. And maybe church attendance will slowly but surely increase.
At the ticket booth at a movie theater a patron forgot to pick up her change after purchasing her ticket. A friend of the lady who sold tickets asked her what she did. She responded, “I tried to get her attention by rapping on the window with a wet sponge.”
Some cynics claim that there would be better movies if they shot less films and more actors.
What kind of children would the Invisible Man and Woman have? I don’t know but they would not be much to look at.
“When old-timers sat down to dinner they counted their blessings instead of calories.” - Henny Youngman
“Life is just one stop sign after another.” - Ibid
“Love is blind and marriage is the eye-opener.” - Ibid
“…for man can think no truth and do no good except from heaven, that is, through heaven from the Lord; and the Word is that which opens heaven.” - Emanuel Swedenborg, Arcana Coelistia no. 10276
“All heaven is waiting to help those who will discover the will of God and do it.” - J. Robert Ashcroft
“Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays.” - S. Kierkegaard
“Nothing that is God’s is obtainable by money.” - Tertullian, 160 AD – 220 AD
“He who lives only to benefit himself confers on the world a benefit when he dies.” - Ibid
“Out of the frying pan, into the fire” - Ibid
“Christians are made, not born.” - Ibid
“Prevention of birth is precipitation of murder.” - Ibid
“Love has hands to help others. It has feet to hasten to the poor and needy. It has eyes to see misery and want. It has ears to hear the sighs and sorrows of men. This is what love looks like.” - St. Augustine
Keep your heart young.
Forget your past disappointments.
I have enjoyed using my computer to walk (as it were) through the streets of my home town of Erie, Pa. These “street views” are like wandering down various streets in Erie.
On many Saturdays when I was about 8 and 9 years old, a few of my boy friends and I would walk eleven blocks to the YMCA. There we would enter a door on the western side of the building and go to a room where we sat on the floor and watched cartoons with other young boys. That really was lots of fun.
Using the street views on my computer I looked for that entrance. But I could not find it. The western side of the huge YMCA building now had only windows on it. Then I noticed that one window near ground level was larger than the other windows. On closer inspection I saw that that window once had been an entrance. For above this window was one word carved in stone: BOYS. My uncles Larry and Carl Soneson had entered the Y through this same entrance. God bless the Y for creating lots of happy times for boys.
And just two blocks west of the Y on Tenth Street is the Lutheran Memorial Church where my family regularly attended services on Sundays. And again I used the street views on my computer and saw that the church looks much as it did in my youth.
My computer even contained a video of the interior of the building, including the basement where I and other young people learned the stories of the Bible while the adults attended a service upstairs.
Further the computer had a video of the pastor of this church who invited people to attend services of worship. One thing he said which has remained in my memory is, “We would like to get to know you.”
I cannot recall ever having heard those words directed at me at our Cathedral when I was a young fellow. How wonderful it would be to have our ministers greeting visitors to our Cathedral on Sundays with those same words. How wonderful it would be to have programs set up at the Cathedral on Sundays to teach interested visitors about the truths revealed through Emanuel Swedenborg.
A teacher asked his class of boys “Can any of you tell me what a fish net is made of?” One bright youngster answered “A lot of little holes tied together with strings.”
A young student told his father “It ain’t the school I don’t like; it’s the principal of the thing.”
March 14, 1957 Kirk Pendleton won first place in the 140 pound class at the Eastern Preparatory School Championship wrestling matches at Lehigh University on Saturday….Kirk Pendleton has won 41 consecutive matches and has been undefeated in High School. Kirk is a Junior in the Boys School here.
May 23, 1957 At the 25th anniversary celebration of the Boy’s Club last Sunday evening a silver tray and a portrait were presented to Mr. Harry Walter, founder of the club.