Caring for little things, and great

Jep Hostetler praises me for caring for small things.  And I do. Del Yoder thinks that some of the little creatures I care for are carpenter bees, not bumble bees.  He  may be right about that.  I have learned that there are about 4000 species of bees in North America, all involved in one way or another in the pollination of wild and cultivated plants and trees by gathering nectar and pollen. I am not the only one obsessed by bees.  Follow the link to the work of Clay Bolt.  So much for the little things; I turn now to matters that are no less great.

David Litwa

Dr. M David Litwa

On this past Sunday I heard Dr. David Litwa lecture to Borderlands in the morning and to New Perspectives on Faith in the evening. He is a scholar of religion with research focused on Christianity in the ancient Mediterranean world, esoteric cults, and Christian gnostic sects. From his research he believes that the Bible is full of mythical stories told as actual events. He concluded that he did not wish to take the Bible and Jesus away from us, but to leave us with what is more true and more meaningful.

The time for questions was too limited.  I told others that I wanted to ask him what he would preach on a Sunday morning if he were a pastor. I was surprised to find an answer in “The Fantasy Sermon” as posted on the black ribbon under the heading on the website.  It seems now to be a myth-like creation of the Old Fool.  I imagined that at my age I was asked to preach a first sermon to a congregation that had called me to be it’s interim pastor.  I described the mythical church as being

discouraged, tired, and (is) about ready to give up the faith and disband. Nevertheless . . . willing to give this aged pastor the benefit of at least one sermon.  

I was shocked that in this one fantasy sermon preached to an imaginary congregation that I put words in my mouth that were consistent with what Dr. Litwa taught us.  Here are my words:

 A myth is an ancient story with data that cannot be proved by research. Even though its data cannot be substantiated, a myth may still be a mine of truth. As an octogenarian I give myths my respect. Again, I say, I take the Bible seriously, but I will not let my present view of it keep me from lifelong learning.  

(To read the whole sermon event click here.)

My Joyce went with me to hear Dr. Litwa’s lecture.  As we left the meeting in her car she said she thought Litwa was a believer and said of herself, my faith is not shaken.  And I say, Amen!

Now I must leave the great for the little things like bees and the care of all other beings on the great watershed that is our home on earth.

About Martin Lehman

I was born 91 years ago, the son of a Mennonite pastor and organic gardener in Franklin County, Pennsylvania. At age 10 I was baptized as a member of the Marion Mennonite Church. I own the “Old Fool” moniker because I want to walk the Jesus Way even though the world and much of the church takes me as a fool for doing so. In my life I have moved from being a young conservative to an elderly radical. I tell that story in My Faith Journey posted on my website.

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One Response to Caring for little things, and great

  1. Marilyn Slabach says:

    You do know how fortunate you are to live in a college town where there are so many opportunities for continued learning…even tho the weather may not be Florida style. I took your sermon to Cornerstone’s Wednesday noon group as it added to recent discussions we have had. You can imagine the content of our meetings that include a former Jesuit priest and a former minister (Baptist seminary) who with his wife has the community garden on our church property. Blessings as you continue your good work.

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