A Fool’s Quest

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Elizabeth Soto Albrecht, Moderator, MCUSA

I don’t remember in what capacity a young Elizabeth Soto came to the Southeast, but I do remember her, and I remember that in a conversation with her I affirmed her gifts.  Today she is Elizabeth Soto Albrecht, the moderator of Mennonite Church USA.

In a letter to the church our sister calls pastors and leaders to lead the church to our highest calling to be one. If you don’t have time to read more, I suggest you click now on the link that will take you to the MCUSA Website and read her heartfelt letter to the church and its leaders.

Richard A. Kauffman

Richard A Kauffman, Christian Century

Richard A. Kauffman of Goshen wrote the following on facebook and gave me permission to post it here:  “It is both an embarrassment and a shame that some Christians are so insecure in their faith and intellectually lazy that they can’t accomodate the best findings of science. There is a long tradition in Christian faith that believes God wrote two books, Holy Writ and nature; the one deals more with the who and why questions, the other with the what, when and how questions. The one is value based and the other is fact based. If God is the source of both, then these two books can’t be in contradiction with each other, nor can they be incommensurate with each other. It is up to us to try to figure how these two “books” complement, rather than contradict each other.” Ponder Kauffman’s  words.  He places burdens on us.

Gerald G. May

Gerald G. May, MD

Which book is a revelation from God?  What written values complement facts put forward by scientists. Gerald May was a medical scientist who wrote powerfully about “Addiction and Grace.” He declared that in writing his book his deepest human indebtedness  was to chemically addicted people who taught him that major addiction is the sacred disease of our time.  “Sacred” is May’s word.

Sacred may seem an unfit word to describe a disease, but could not the diseases and infirmities that brought people to Jesus be considered sacred?  This Old Fool has not signed letters on either side of the present controversy in the church, but he has written his own letters and spoken publicly and privately in hope that the threat of another damaging split will bring us all to Jesus to discover anew that we are truly and totally one.

If the prayers of Elizabeth Soto Albrecht are to be answered, if we allow writ values and scientific fact to inform us, if divisiveness is to become a sacred evil, minds must be changed. The search for information about Dr. May led me to the website of an annual seminar held in his memory.  There I found a lecture on youtube by Richard Rohr  that enlightens me. I recommend it as a lecture that seems to me to be another word from God for this moment.

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About Martin Lehman

I was born 92 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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2 Responses to A Fool’s Quest

  1. Roy Hartzler says:

    Martin, I commend you for opening this significant subject. I find the concept of “revelation” as mentioned above to be troubling. Any writer would understand that thoughts come through the human brain before materializing on paper or stone. Kauffman, as a long time editor, surely experienced the range of human illusions and fallacies conveyed in written words. Why do we assume the Bible is a critique of the mysteries of the universe? Is it not time to allow the universe itself to be a re-examination of our faith-story? The insights of the past 500 years has provided us with volumes of evidence to better comprehend the mysteries of the the universe and human nature. I find revelation, tradition, dogma and authority to be unreliable sources of useful knowledge.

  2. Roy: Thanks for your comments on my post titled A Fool’s Quest. “Revelation” in the post is my word but the concept is implied, I think, by Kauffman. Neither of us wanted to enhance the arguments between Bible believers and scientists. Instead, we are saddened that there is such an argument and that it continues. If I have misunderstood Kauffman, I hope he joins the conversation. As I read it now I see that my question is poorly worded. I should have asked, “What of value is written in our quest for the who and why of the universe?” Perhaps even that is a foolish question. But the abundance and persistence of tradition and dogma points to the brain’s curiosity not yet satisfied by science. Am I correct in my understanding that good scientists acknowledge that they have not yet found the final fact, and always search to know the unknown? Christians who are secure in their faith allow the traditional faith story to be corrected by scientific finding of fact. To my way of thinking, it is better not to deny the role of either faith or science, but rather try to integrate them into one. That the Old Fool’s Quest

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