May 8, 2016
About 10 minutes after worship ends, we’ll gather together for Aftertalk. We hope you’ll join us! Bring your questions, stories, insights, doubts, musings, imaginings and whatever else you need. Join us for some fellowship, laughter and ample space for reflection and real questions to help us make the transition from worship to world.
Readings for this Sunday:
Acts 16:16-34 • Psalm 97 • Revelation 22:12-21 • John 17:20-26
Everything goes wrong for Paul and Silas in the story from Acts. They've given themselves completely, dedicated their lives absolutely; they've literally put their bodies on the line. No good deed goes unpunished in this narrative. And then the earth shakes. Even as shackles are broken, new bonds are formed, and the future is unlocked. What are we to make of this?
Many things, probably.
Eddie Huang (pronounced "Wong") is a celebrated chef, attorney, and self-described "Trojan horse." He is the author of the book Fresh Off the Boat which has been recently turned into a sitcom on ABC. Recently he was on the Late Show with Stephen Colbert talking about his show Huang's World, which appears on the TV channel Viceland. You can watch selections here. You can watch the third segment in which he tells the story about getting thrown in jail in Sicily.
Huang offers hints of a possible way of reading the Acts text as the work of gathering all the passion, creativity, imagination, and will we've been given from our own stories in order to transform our environments. He summarizes what he's trying to do in a recent story from the New York Times:
I really feel that people don’t always know what’s good for them,” he said. “When you have a strong conviction, you have a duty not to tell people what they want. At least represent yourself and say: ‘Yo, this is what I’m into, and this is what I’m seeing in the world. Let me take your hand and guide you through it, so you can see through my eyes.’
His story links us to Jesus' prayer in the gospel reading--that God being one reminds us that we all are one people, one creation, that we belong together, and our believing as disciples of Jesus involves giving our whole selves to this goal.
Themes - Freedom & Faith I Service & Salvation I Courage & Care
Charles W. Colson, 20th century
"I can work for the Lord in or out of prison."
Gene Tierney, 20th century
"I existed in a world that never is - the prison of the mind."
Thucydides, 5th century B.C.E.
"The secret of happiness is freedom. The secret of freedom is courage."
Jiddu Krishnamurti, 20th century
"Analysis does not transform consciousness."
Maya Angelou, 21st century
"What you're supposed to do
when you don't like a thing is change it.
If you can't change it,
change the way you think about it."
Alan Cohen, 20th century
"Scared and sacred are spelled with the same letters. Awful proceeds from the same root word as awesome. Terrify and terrific. Every negative experience holds the seed of transformation."
Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 20th century
"We always pay dearly for chasing after what is cheap."