Message from Pastor Diane
Interrupting the Powerful in a Complex and Dangerous World
Consider Robin Hood. He stole from the rich to give to the poor. Some have respect and appreciation for the actions of this trickster and his Merry Men. Others would say, “He was a thief, not a hero!” His name comes up in political discussions, particularly about topics like taxes and federal assistance. One article included, “Some sneer, ‘Robin Hood and redistribution!’” From the standpoint of the prophets and Jesus himself, God has a particular eye on the poor and vulnerable. So, what do you think Jesus’s attitude would be regarding Robin Hood?
There are several tricksters in the Bible, and we may be tempted to consider them immoral. But there is another reality that emerges when we look at the social context of these characters. Author and professor Richard Beck writes, Trickery is rewarded in [the Bible] because trickery is one of the few weapons the powerless possess in the face of the powerful. Deception and subterfuge are often the only weapons available to the oppressed and marginalized. Consequently, in [bible stories] we often see deception and subterfuge rewarded when used by the weaker against the stronger. Deception is found to be virtuous in the story when it is used to interrupt the powerful.
He goes on to point out that if we “moralize” the trickery and deception found in the Bible stories, (e.g., “Abraham shouldn’t have lied about his wife” (see Gen. 12 and 20), we will “miss the commentary about power relations running through the narrative.” Here are some examples of power relations:
In the beginning of the book of Joshua, “Joshua sends out two men to spy out the land and especially the city of Jericho” (Joshua 2:1). There they meet the harlot Rahab, the trickster and heroine of the story. Alastari Roberts writes:
- The book of Exodus begins, not with the great Exodus, but with the deliverance and exodus of the young Moses. In that story, it is courageous and faithful women who occupy centre stage. The Hebrew midwives Shiphrah and Puah deceive Pharaoh and deliver the Hebrew infant boys. Jochebed [Moses’ mother] makes an ark for Moses and hides him among the reeds. Miriam [Moses’ sister] looks from a distance to see what will happen. The daughter of Pharaoh knowingly adopts a baby Hebrew boy, even though her father wishes to destroy them all. In the first stage of his story, the vulnerable Moses is protected by courageous and cunning women who are prepared to deceive the tyrant Pharaoh to guard his life.
Rahab repeats this pattern of behaviour at the start of the Conquest. She uses plants to hide the vulnerable spies, much as Jochebed hides the infant Moses and then constructs an ark of bulrushes, which she places among the reeds. Like the Hebrew midwives, Rahab lies to the king and men of Jericho… Like Pharaoh’s daughter, she is a faithful Gentile who protects the people of YHWH, against the commands of her rulers. The spies finally flee, as Moses did from Egypt, ending up at the mountain. They later return and, at their second visitation, bring destruction to the city.
“Power relations” is a part of everyday life, and is a key topic when we speak of social justice (or, as the Old Testament calls it, “God’s Justice and Righteousness”). This fall in sermons and classes, I have invited us to look more closely at the themes and commands of justice in the Old Testament, and the echoing and magnification of these in the life and teachings of Jesus. Bending rules on the Sabbath in order to heal may not sound like a brave thing for Jesus to do, but his snubbing of authority eventually led to Caesar’s punishment. How are we, in today’s complex and dangerous times, called to “interrupt the powerful?”
In Faith with You,
The Shoeman Project
Time to clean out your closets!
We need your old shoes!
The Deacons are helping support Rev. George ‘The Shoeman’ Project. This project collects old & new shoes. The project we will support will send the shoes to Kenya where they will be repaired and sold. This income is used to provide clean drinking water through Water From Afar (waterfromafar.org). Shoes need to be tied or rubber banded together, so that the pairs stay together. We will be collecting shoes until Sunday, November 26th. There is a bin labeled ‘The Shoeman Project’ in the Narthex.
CROP Walk – 2017
Thanks to Lincroft Presbyterian from CROP-Great participation! Great weather! Great Walk!
- Thanks for LPC walkers!
- Thanks for the LPC Teams monetary contributions!
- Thanks for LPC’s food contributions!
- Thanks John Rappa for your participation as a member of the teen committee!
CROP and the World say THANKS
Sunday morning was very cloudy and rainy. At noon it was still raining. At 1:00 the sky cleared and it was 75 degrees. It was a great walk. Join us next year!!!
The Reviews are in!
October’s Couple Communication Workshop
Kevin and I where happy that it differed greatly from past communication workshops. Most we have attended have you parrot back what the other is saying. We appreciated Jeff pointing out that our moods and all sorts of other issues influence our ability to listen. It could change the way you listen when you understand that the power in a conversation lies with the listener not the speaker.
— Kevin & Jill
We loved Jeff’s delivery, his sense of humor and examples to really understand the whys and hows of communicating effectively. We left the workshop with pointers on making a more conscientious effort to be a better listener and the power that the listener has! We’d love to have him come back in the future. — Joe & Judy
At this half-day workshop seven couples were represented, including a first-time guest couple. All were grateful to Jeannette Ruggiano for buying and preparing custom-ordered picnic baskets for the participants. We are also, of course, grateful for our leader Jeff Cartwright’s willingness to share his time and talent with us. He offered to stay longer for those who had questions – once those questions started, everyone decided to stay to listen – for another hour! Thanks also go to Pastor Diane for recognizing how much her new friend Jeff could bring to us.
Interfaith Thanksgiving Dinner
Interfaith Thanksgiving Dinner
November 21, 7:30 PM
Holmdel Community Church
40 Main Street
Holmdel, NJ 07733
Christmas Caroling with the Deacons
December 10, 3:45 – 6:00 PM
Gather your family and friends at LPC to caravan to several homes, senior residence and elsewhere.
Christian Education and Spiritual Growth
Classes with Pastor Diane 2017-18
6:30-7:30 PM on Wednesdays at the church (dates subject to change)
Liberation Theology Nov. 1, 8, 15
Theology of the Cross Jan. 3, 10, 17, 24
Biblical Financial Stewardship Apr. 11, 18 25, May 2, 9, 16
Liberation Theology Nov. 1, 8 and 15
Open to all in the community. No registration required, just show up at the church.
Liberation Theology is an interpretation of Christian theology which emphasizes a concern for the liberation of the oppressed. The best-known examples of liberation theology come from the Catholic Church in Latin America in the 1950’s and 1960’s. Leading theologians of this time popularized the phrase, “preferential option for the poor.” In the 1970’s this theology called for “integral mission,” emphasizing both evangelism and social responsibility.
LPC Men’s Group
Seven LPC men met at Doug Irwin’s home on October 19th to kick off a new format for the LPC Men’s Group from the Monday night football events in prior years. Our updated plan is to meet once a month at a member’s home to discuss a topic in the news, relate it to our personal experiences, and consider it in the context of related biblical passages. The Wired Word, a vendor in South Carolina, is providing suggested topics and related materials. We plan to meet on the third Thursday of each month, though that can be changed with the group’s consensus to accommodate others who can’t attend that Thursday. The next meeting will be November 16th at 7:30pm at Frank Munn’s residence.
We had a lively discussion about the Equifax hack at our October meeting and shared great fellowship and wonderful snacks that Doug provided. We hope this will be a productive seed for future events. All LPC men are invited to participate, and bring a friend if you wish.
Frank Munn & Doug Irwin
call 732-741-8921 for further information
Visit us at: 270 Everett Rd, Lincroft NJ 07738
Send mail to: PO Box 328, Lincroft NJ 07738
Send package deliveries to: 270 Everett Rd, Lincroft NJ 07738
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