For church last Sunday, I attended the evangelical church that I call the “Pen Church” (since I get a free pen there), and the African-American Baptist church. In this post, I will talk about something that happened to me at the Pen Church, then I will discuss the sermons at the churches.
A. I went into the Pen Church, and a woman asked me if I wanted to
be part of some drawing. I initially declined, but then I asked if it
cost anything, and she said no, so I got a ticket with a number. I was
hoping that my number would not be called, but I had a vague sense
deep-down that it would be. And, sure enough, it was the first number
that was called! I went up to the stage, three other numbers were
called, and all four of us participated in a pie-eating contest, with
pumpkin pie. This was the first pie-eating contest that I had ever
done. There was a fork in the pies in case we wanted to eat them with a
fork, and a towel in case we wanted to stuff our faces!
I had some strikes against me. For one, this was around 9 A.M. I do
not have much of an appetite in the morning. That’s why I don’t eat
breakfast, even though people insist to me that it is the most important
meal of the day. I’m just not hungry in the morning, and I feel queasy
when I eat. Second, this was pumpkin pie, which has a weird sweet
taste. Third, while I like pumpkin pie, I do not like downing it really
quickly. The clock started, and I took my bites and chewed. I could
not down it quickly, since I needed to chew and swallow my food! I lost
the contest, but it turned out that I did about as well as the others.
Nobody finished their pie. The winner only finished half of it in the
allotted time! I finished a little over a fourth of it.
B. The sermon at the Pen Church was about the Joseph story and about
how God can use the things of our past that we would rather forget for
God’s glory and to help others.
Earlier this past week, I was reading a book about forgiveness.
Reading that book, and hearing the sermon at the Pen Church last Sunday,
reinforced in my mind a question that I have frequently asked myself:
if I could take an eraser and erase the painful memories from my mind,
would I do so? A lot of times, forgiveness is presented as forgetting
the pain that we have experienced from others. We are not to dwell on
the past, we are told, but we are to stay in the present and move on.
But I think of what Captain Kirk said in Star Trek V, when the
Vulcan Sybok offered to take away Kirk’s pain: “Our pain makes us who we
are. If we lose that, we lose ourselves. I do not want you to take
away my pain. I need my pain!” My pain has produced negative effects:
resentment, jealousy, hatred, and a dearth of hope. But, at times, it
has produced positive effects, such as compassion for others. And, as
the pastor said, what would Joseph’s story be like without the painful
aspects of his life? He would look like he was born with a silver spoon
in his mouth, but that was not the case, for Joseph suffered.
In terms of how I believe I should deal with the past, I do not think
that I should dwell on negative memories as much as I do. But I can
still acknowledge that they are there and that God can use them. They
are a part of me, whether I dwell on them or not.
C. The sermon at the African-American Baptist church was about how
Christians are the salt of the earth. They are to pray for people, live
lives of dignity and righteousness, and make people thirsty for what
Christians have, as salt makes people thirsty.
I could identify with what the pastor said about praying for our
leaders. I do so regularly, on account of Trump being President and my
fear of disaster that can result from him saying something
inappropriate. But I have particularly been praying for President Trump
and the mayor in Puerto Rico to cooperate and to help Puerto Ricans get
the food and water that they need. Maybe both are responsible for
their conflict with each other, on some level (and I will NOT get into a
debate about that on this blog, or anywhere else), but my hope is that
they can bury the hatchet and work together on what is important, rather
In terms of making people thirsty, I do not do that, or even try to
do that. I am all for trying to be a good person, but, speaking for
myself, I find being an advertisement for Christianity to be phony. It
entails me acting as if I am better than I am, and as if I have solid
answers that I do not have.
That said, I found an interesting blog last week, and I included it
in the Asperger’s section of my Blogger Blog. This blog that I found is
called “Asperger Ministry.” One post was entitled “How Neurological Differences Affect Our Christian Witness.” I liked this statement from the post (and I have slightly modified it):
“[In f]ocusing on being a good witness[,] the focus is on self and
not Jesus. We need to approach others with the mindset of Philippians
2:3. Christians, being human as we are, can easily get effect and cause subtly twisted backwards.
Jesus never asked His Heavenly Father to show Him how He could be a
good witness. The reason He didn’t need to do this was because He was
humble. Walking in the Spirit can’t be done unless we’re humble.”
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