0 thoughts on “Written Product

  1. I suppose the question might involve how two parties can learn to disagree. I must admit the rigidity sanctioned under the rubric of religion would not be acceptable in other domains. Perhaps this means there is a larger problem…

  2. Nice post. I feel like I’ve been learning about this a lot lately, especially regarding fear of the future and fear of what might be in store.

    “What you intended for evil, the Lord intended for good.” Seems to be the verse that has been on loop through my brain though.

  3. Mark, I believe that empathy is vital to humanity.
    Recently I’ve been seeing myself through the eyes of factory farmed animals which has led me to give up red meat and hopefully go veg in the near future. Humans are monsters in the eyes of pigs and cows, no doubt. (sorry, tangent)
    Interesting thoughts!

  4. One of the most thought provoking sermons I’ve heard: helpful insight into words of Jesus through explaining them in the context of his time, clarity of message, unsettling reminder of my own complacency, and call to act differently in the world. Thanks, Mark.

  5. Mark, I was recently watching (of all things) a Gordon Ramsey Christmas special that made me realize how much the American celebration of Christmas has been corrupted. The background music as old Gordon went through his recipe for turkey and gravy was actual Christmas music: carols, hymns, and all the other traditional music that used to be associated with the holiday. Contrast that to American Christmas music, which these days seems to consist of countless variations of “Santa Baby” and “Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer.”

  6. I would love to have heard this one, especially the beginning! Hopefully Foundry will post a recording.

    I’m not sure, though, that the insider language on those church signs is really aimed at people who are entirely outside the church. I think, like the “dad jokes” which are affectionately appreciated within the family, church sign humor is aimed at current insiders–to keep them coming–and lapsed insiders who still know the language–to draw them back.

  7. My memories of Ab and Ruth are from the 1960’s and 70’s. They were often helping at the Valley Falls Methodist Church. Also, he was always friendly when I would see him at Wiley Brothers where my grandmother, Gladys Yarter was the bookkeeper. It was good to read the piece his grandson wrote and to read the story of his his long and interesting life. Houstonvalleyfalls@yahoo.com

  8. Abbott was a man who believed in people and gave many a chance to move ahead he put trust in me many years ago and I never forgot that -rest in peace

  9. Rest in well deserved peace. My memories also go back – to the 50’s and 60’s.Moving to Valley Falls as a child, I often played with Lynn and my siblings with Carol and Bill. We lived just blocks apart from their home and the original “Wiley Brothers”. Mr.and Mrs Wiley were always friendly and happy to accommodate neighborhood children. Both were well respected, productive members of the community. It was the best of times to grow up and the best place in which to live and this was in part because of people like the Wileys. Although I have long lived in another state, the days in the Valley and dear to my heart. This was a wonderful tribute written by a grandson.

  10. This was one of the most beautiful tributes ever written. Thank you Abbot L. Wiley for your service to our country and to the retail lumber industry.

  11. Hi Rev. Mark! Well, again you have helped me to provide an in-depth response to some of my congregation’s questions! I have forwarded the link to your page to them and am requesting that I might print an post this blog posting.


  12. Also, Jesus had the opportunity to declare levirate marriage contrary to God’s will and did not.

  13. This is great, Mark, thanks! And, what’s sorta funny about situation, in a very sad and ironic way, is that as far as I know divorce is totally kosher in the UMC . . .

  14. True. The world is facing one common evil that is threatening everyone’s survival & it is inspiring to see that for the first time people regardless of faith & belief are praying , helping , reaching for one another …even the politicians !

  15. You have, of course, summed up the essence of Christianity. In my opinion, everything else is peripheral to that core.

  16. Excellent piece, Mark. You’ve deftly highlighted the differences in philosophies and pointed out the necessity for us to think collectively in the face of the pandemic. Now, how do we convince the Libertarians?

  17. I’m on a prayer site , and there’s one member who when I “describe ” a trying situation to be prayed for, he comes on and “scolds” me, tells me I’m not following Gods instructions by admitting it’s not my favorite circumstances,etc. I’m being “rebellious” by admitting frustration, and recently, even “informed me” I’m following the devil. and will go to hell!!That’s my experience with that type.

  18. It was of great interest to me to learn about the supposed identity of St. Matthews, as explained by your research, since it is a word that comes out of our mouths and is in our minds very often.

    I have visited Shanksville, Ground Zero, and Trinity Church; I must admit I shed many, many tears on 9/11 last week. I can close my eyes and see the soup kettle in the church where meals were made for the firefighters, and see the scars on the pews, made by their boot buckles, as the responders tried to rest.

    The bell outside, a miniature of the Liberty Bell, was cast in the same foundary as the Liberty Bell; only in England could a company be in business for that long. The inscription on the bell says, “Wrought in Anguish.” Sincerely, Beth Lingg, a 51 year member of St. Matthew’s, Bowie.

  19. Being a citizen of a kingdom (albeit not one led by an absolute monarch any more) I have a somewhat different perspective about kings, and I appreciate many aspects of my country’s system. As you yourself observe, life in a republic is not a guarantee of justice for all, or that the ratio between the haves and the have nots will be any different. So the metaphor of God being a king doesn’t upset me in the least; no more than the metaphor of being in His army offends my pacifist inclinations. I can understand how you as an American would feel about kings, but I hope we can both agree and be happy abouit the fact that whether we prefer the Republic of God or the Kingdom of God, we can both be content that it is not a democracy.
    (Many thanks for keeping me on your mailing list – I enjoy your – uh – ruminations!)

    1. Thank you for your thoughts, Charles! I will confess that my righteous indignation about monarchy is a homiletical device to increase the congregation’s discomfort with the text before inverting it with a message of grace. “Monarchies are awful–how can we call Christ a King? Well, perhaps we have the definition of ‘king’ wrong.” Were I preaching this to an audience more comfortable with kings, I’d have to use a different tack, maybe “What’s so wrong about goats?”

  20. Mark, I just finished reading the Quadrilateral sermon, and as usual it made me think. I grew up in a small town in NC, and even though segregation was in full force(early 1950s) as a youth I was blissfully unaware. My school was all white, and I must have known that Negroes(the name used then) went to school it never dawned on me that they weren’t in my school. Even when I worked at a movie house, and the Negroes had to sit in the balcony I never thought that was wrong. How different was your thought you had in church when the pastor said homosexuals wouldn’t get to heaven.
    It has been almost 4 months since you left St. Matthews, and I have really missed your sermons and bible study. Reading your past sermons and current writings is a small substitute for the real thing. I know your, and your family’s, future will be bright.
    Bill Haddock

  21. Mark, I am so glad that I stumbled upon your blogs and sermons so many years ago when you were Chaplain at the Uni. I am now in my nineties (yikes!) and I am enjoying your writings more than ever – even when I “beg to differ.”
    Here’s a thought for you that hit me last week after the sacrilege in Texas. Like a lot of grown men the world over, actual, literal tears rolled down my cheeks, and I thought: how can God not possibly see that an episode like this (and all the similar episodes) are simply too evil to allow? And then – with amazement (and not a little fear) I shook my head at my temerity in having the hubris to try and second guess the Almighty. But with advancing (advanced!) age, my curiosity for the eternal question of how and why evil continues to exist, just keeps growing – and with it what I see as my only option: trust in my lifelong belief and hope that God really is in complete charge. If I’m wrong, like Paul said so accurately, I am – personally – of all men, definitely the most miserable.
    Please keep sending me your stuff. I would so love to have met you and had beer with you – providing you’re not the pillar of Methodist Temperance my old grandfather was 🙂 … and as a P.S. I love the Patron Saint of your present charge. I always thought the Gospel was more than a little hard on Thomas; after all, John 20:20 precedes John 20:27, and nobody keeps knocking the other guys.
    God bless, Mark.

  22. This is complete BS
    The time I am suffering and in pain, so much pain I am physically hurting, there is no one there but me – Jesus is not standing next to me taking the pain. There is no church member that lifts the pain from me to themselves, so I no longer feel it. Totally BS to say other wise. While it is true that Jesus suffered, Paul suffered, and I WILL suffer. So, united with Christ in His sufferings is an honor. This means I WILL suffer. But the idea that someone else can lessen or take the suffering and pain is total BS. I am the one suffering pain, real pain. I am the one hurting and in sorrow – no one else. But the comfort I have in knowing that Jesus suffered and bled and died – and that is what gives me hope and comfort and I know I am not alone in my suffering. And I dare say this is true of everyone who has suffered, or even martyred for their Lord. We are going to suffer. Period, full stop. It will be painful and I will not like it and I will want It to stop. I will question Gods love and wonder why me. Believing I won’t have to suffer, or worse that someone else will do it for me is total nonsense; or church members will divide my suffering and pain – total nonsense. Those church members mean well, but I am still the one in pain, not them. I will suffer, it will hurt and I will doubt God in those times. Exactly as Jesus did when He said ‘why have you forsaken me’. Trying to lessen it or sugar coat it in anyway is dishonest and devaluing. But being one with Christ is suffering is the highest honor.

  23. This is such a sweet reminder how much joy and love our dogs bring into our families. Their death leaves a big hole in our hearts. Thanks for sharing Beny’s story.

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