Saturday, December 29, 2007

300 Year Journey

2008 marks the 300th anniversary of the Church of the Brethren and other Brethren groups which trace their beginnings to Alexander Mack and a small group of Christians in Schwarzenau, Germany who were baptized in 1708. Throughout this coming year we will be posting insights and stories of various persons who have been part of this journey over 300 years.

We begin in this initial post with the question supposedly asked of Alexander Mack, the early leader of this new body of Christians: And how shall the Brethren be known? Mack is said to have replied, "By the manner of their living."

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Robert Fulghum

Robert Fulghum was born in 1937, and grew up in Waco, Texas. After college and a short career with IBM, he returned to graduate school to complete a degree in theology. For 22 years he served as a parish minister of Unitarian churches in the Pacific Northwest. He has authored seven best-selling books. []

He is probably best known, however, for an early essay: All I really need to know I learned in kindergarten.

This poster (available from, but currently soldout) hangs on the wall before me as I write. Like the many others who have purchased and read his book by the same title or purchased a copy of the poster, I find much common sense in the essay to guide us in our living on the journey through life. Fulghum reminds us of some basics we learned early on:

  • Share everything. Play Fair. Don't hit people. Put things back where you found them. Clean up your own mess. Don't take things that aren't yours. Say your sorry when you hurt somebody....
  • Take a nap every afternoon.
  • When you go out into the world, watch out for traffic, hold hands, and stick together.
  • Be aware of wonder....

As Fulghum's concludes his words of wisdom: And it is still true, no matter, how old you are - when you go out into the world, it is best to hold hands and stick together.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christopher Sauer

Christopher Sauer (Saur, Sower), Senior was the son of a Reformed Church pastor born in Germany in 1695. In 1724 Sauer was among the religious refugees who came to Pennsylvania from Germany and eventually settled in Germantown, near Philadelphia. A man of many talents, he was known as a mechanical genius and inventor, he was best known for his printing establishment.

Sauer was a rival of Ben Franklin in Philadelphia, establishing his printing establishment in 1738. He published a widely read newspaper, almanac, and hundreds of books and pamphlets. Today he is best known for the Sauer Bible which in 1943 became the first Bible in a European language printed in the colonies.

More information about the Sauer Bible may be found at

Christopher Sauer, Junior worked in the printing shop with his father and eventually took over the shop in 1758 following his father's death. He also became a leader of the Brethren church movement in Pennsylvania. Under his leadership, the printing business and enlarged and expanded until it was one of the most active in the colonies. He later printed a 2nd and 3rd edition of the Sauer Bible.

A motto hanging in the Germantown Sauer Printing Shop expressed the commitment of both father and son: For the Glory of God and my neighbor's good.

We would do well today to allow that motto to guide our living along the journey. Living our lives For the Glory of God and my neighbor's good.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Oscar Romero

Oscar Romero was the Archbishop of El Salvador when he was assassinated in 1980. Here are some thoughts he had about the Journey we are on.


It helps now and then to step back and take the long view. The kingdom is not only beyond our efforts. It is even beyond our vision. We accomplish in our lifetime only a tiny fraction of the magnificent enterprise that is God’s work. Nothing we do is complete, which is another way of saying that the kingdom always lies beyond us. No statement says all that could be said. No prayer fully expresses our faith. No confession brings perfection. No pastoral visit brings wholeness. No program accomplishes the church’s mission. No set of goals and objectives includes everything.

This is what we are about: We plant the seeds that one day will grow. We water seeds already planted, knowing that they hold future promise. We lay foundations that will need further development. We provide yeast that produces effects far beyond our capabilities.

We cannot do everything, and there is a sense of liberation in realizing that. It enables us to do something and to do it very well. It may be incomplete, but it is a beginning, a step along the way, an opportunity for God’s grace to enter and do the rest. We may never see the end results, but that is the difference between the master builder and the worker. We are the workers, not master builders. We are ministers, not messiahs. We are prophets of a future not our own.

Oscar Romero (1917-1980)
Archbishop of El Salvador

Saturday, December 15, 2007

John Wesley

John Wesley was an early leader in the Methodist movement in the 1700s. It is said of Wesley that he taught and practiced three life-changing rules:
  • first, do no harm;
  • second, do all the good you can; and
  • three, stay in love with God.

As we journey the Yellow Brick Road of Life, those are three important rules of life to remember. On our Journey we are sure to meet up with persons who are different than we are and who hold beliefs, values, and practices that differ from our own. If we can accept them as brothers and sisters and do them no harm, we will have a better chance of finding some common values and understandings.

Likewise, on the journey through life we will find persons who are down on their luck and need a helping hand. What they need from us may not seem like much: a kind word, encouragement, a little of our time, or even some financial support. It may be a motorist whose car has broken down and we can offer some assistance or it may be a person in need of a job and we can assist them in making a good contact. What are the good things you can do on your journey?

Finally, I encourage you to open yourself to know God. We all come to find and understand God in different ways, and your experience is likely to be different than mine. But God loves you and the sooner you come to understand and accept that simple truth, the easier your journey will be. So open yourself to God. Allow the love of God to become a part of your life. And, as you in return come to love the God who loves you, keep that love alive. Speak with God (prayer) daily. Worship God weekly. Live for God always. Stay in love with God as you make your journey through life.

Three simple rules to live by: do no harm, do all the good you can, and stay in love with God.

Thank you, John Wesley, for sharing your rules for the journey.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Wizard of OZ

TBS aired the 1939 version of The Wizard of OZ last evening. It will air again this evening and Sunday evening on TBS. Check your listing for the time in your area.

The Wizard of Oz(TV-G) (1939) Musical, FantasyRay Bolger, Judy Garland, Jack Haley, Bert Lahr When a mean neighbor tries to have her dog put to sleep, Dorothy prepares to run away. Before she can leave the farm, however, a tornado appears and carries her to the magical land of Oz. While in this magical land, she meets a brainless Scarecrow, a heartless Tin Man, and a cowardly lion. The group heads down the yellow brick road to meet the Wizard, hoping he can help them find what they need before the Wicked Witch of the West ends their quest.
Quotes from the film: "I- I- I hope my strength holds out." "I hope your tail holds out!" - Cowardly Lion and The Tin man
"Some people without brains do an awful lot of talking." - Scarecrow

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Yankees Journey Unsuccessful

September 25, 2007 -- The Yankees' rookies weren't off to see The Wizard yesterday, even if it appeared that way as they donned costumes to depart for their final regular-season road trip. So reports the New York Post.
Well the Yankee season ended short of getting the Wizards help to get into the 2007 Baseball Playoffs.
As Cubs fans are often heard to say: "Well, there's always next year."

Sunday, July 29, 2007

The dates for the 2007 Indiana Wizard of Oz Festival are September 14-16. This year's theme is: "We're Out of the Woods..." More information is at the web site:
The 2007 Preliminary Event Guide is here.