Nathan E. Lewis, Pastor of Evergreen Presbyterian Church in Beaverton, Oregon, preached an Advent sermon series in 2011 titled, “What’s the Big Deal about Adam, Eve, and Jesus?” Through the Beaverton Religion Forum, hosted by Evergreen, Nathan along with church members have interacted regularly with secular humanists, agnostics, and atheists, most of who believe that the recent DNA genome research proves that an actual Adam and Eve did not exist. In the forums several people have said: “No Adam and Eve; no fall into sin; no need for substitutionary atonement; no need for Jesus as Savior; no need for faith in Christ.” And so, Nathan prepared these sermons to help his congregation as apologists and evangelists to interact with their neighbors.
Archive for December, 2011
This past 2011 Eric Costa and I preached through the Gospel of Mark. I printed the transcripts of my sermons from Mark 13 - The End is Near!
My city center lays claim to hosting the largest Occupy camp in the nation. Michael Moore congratulated more people in Portland, Oregon than in any other city. Our Park and Rec people collected more human excrement in Chapman and Lownsdale Squares than what was collected on Wall Street. Our city will spend over 90k to restore these two parks and our Chief of Police has announced that the Occupy Portland will cost $1.29 million in police overtime. These are small costs if it were for a focused cause, a movement that could articulate a clear demand and a clarion message - like protesting a particular war or abortion, or the indecent exposure laws.
I have a friend who recently has qualified for Denny’s senior discounts and she has responded to the Occupy “movement” with more grace than I have. She decided to join the camp to be the mother of the lost boys. She reported to me that most of the campers with whom she interacted had suffered domestic violence, abuse, and drug addiction. Her heart went out to them as she discovered that while many of their parents had provided financially toward their children’s opulent lifestyle, they had not adequately prepared them with a work ethic or cogent worldview. Don’t misunderstand my description of my friend - she is in no way a family values, card carrying Christian bemoaning the demise of the American family. Ironically, she is so far to the other end of the spectrum, that is in reality a circle, that she has come ’round quite close to those living on the opposite extreme. When the police put an end to the party on Sunday morning, my friend was asleep in her home with 20+ twenty-somethings - lost boys - crashed on her living room floor.
This morning I read in the New York Times: “Whatever the long-term effects of the Occupy movement, protesters have succeeded in implanting ‘We are the 99 percent’ into the cultural and political vocabulary.”Undoubtedly these protesters have done so. But…did they really come up with the one and the ninety-nine? Every time I hear the Occupy protesters chanting, “We are the 99 percent,” I think of the parable Jesus told of the shepherd who leaves the 99 sheep safely in the fold to rescue the one lost sheep in the dark crags of the wilderness. He finds the one lost sheep, slings it over his shoulders and joyfully returns to the village where he encourages all the people to rejoice with him in the rescue of the one lost sheep.
I would be truly surprised to hear that the Occupy organizers came up with their slogan in reference to Jesus’ parable of the one and the 99. Amazingly, the Occupy slogan people agree with Jesus - the one is lost, horribly lost. But, from another perspective the slogan people don’t jive with Jesus - in his parable the 99 are safe and secure in the fold and the one is out in the cold. And so, I conclude that there is no literary or philosophical connection between the two. I would hate to discover that God’s fold is in anyway similar to an Occupy camp of protestors.
Speaking of the Occupy camp the one in Portland was one groovy pot and meth party. Undoubtedly, several hundred children will discover 20 years from now that the location of their conception was Chapman and Lownsdale Squares. Hopefully, by the time of their discovery, their parents will have landed a six figure job enjoying the spinning of their protest stories to their children in the lap of luxury.
One hint that this will actually be the scenario 20 years from now is that some of the homeless people who joined the Occupy Portland camp asked the organizers, “What have you done with the $18k+ of donations you have collected.” The response: “We have set up a corporation and have deposited the money in its fund.” I am happy for the organizers even though the homeless were a bit bent out of shape. But I don’t blame them; the organizers have returned to their hot showers in their rented flats or to the warm homes of their parents - or to their dorm rooms financed by federal loans. The homeless are digging in for a cold winter on the streets of Stumptown.