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Why Do You People Write Sermons and Stuff?

Several weekends ago here I wrote a blog I titled, “How Do You People Write Sermons & Stuff?”

A question that may well precede it is, “Why Do You People Write Sermons and Stuff?”

First Big Reason —

How can people call for help if they don’t know who to trust? And how can they know who to trust if they haven’t heard of the One who can be trusted? And how can they hear if nobody tells them? And how is anyone going to tell them, unless someone is sent to do it? That’s why Scripture exclaims,

A sight to take your breath away!
Grand processions of people
    telling all the good things of God!

But not everybody is ready for this, ready to see and hear and act. Isaiah asked what we all ask at one time or another: “Does anyone care, God? Is anyone listening and believing a word of it?” The point is: Before you trust, you have to listen. But unless Christ’s Word is preached, there’s nothing to listen to. (Romans 10:14-17, the Message version)

— Not real subtle.

But really real.

Let’s pick up there later.

For now, to whose sermons are you and I listening today?

“The Leica Freedom Train”

Dr. Harold B. Kuhn, professor and hero in real life, had one in a well worn brown leather case. It was the first one I’d ever seen in real life, outside of a magazine or a catalog. I was enamored and enthralled immediately. 

Nina Morwell, a real life friend since childhood, sourced the following about them and the people behind them, for whom and for which I’m grateful — 

As a Jew first and a photographer second I found this article, shared by a friend, most interesting, says Orie Rutchick
LEICA AND THE JEWS
The Leica is the pioneer 35mm camera. It is a German product – precise, minimalist, and utterly efficient.
Behind its worldwide acceptance as a creative tool was a family-owned, socially oriented firm that, during the Nazi era, acted with uncommon grace, generosity and modesty. E. Leitz Inc., designer and manufacturer of Germany’s most famous photographic product, saved its Jews.
And Ernst Leitz II, the steely-eyed Protestant patriarch who headed the closely held firm as the Holocaust loomed across Europe , acted in such a way as to earn the title, “the photography industry’s Schindler.”
As soon as Adolf Hitler was named chancellor of Germany in 1933, Ernst Leitz II began receiving frantic calls from Jewish associates, asking for his help in getting them and their families out of the country.
As Christians, Leitz and his family were immune to Nazi Germany’s Nuremberg laws, which restricted the movement of Jews and limited their professional activities.
To help his Jewish workers and colleagues, Leitz quietly established what has become known among historians of the Holocaust as “the Leica Freedom Train,” a covert means of allowing Jews to leave Germany in the guise of Leitz employees being assigned overseas.
Employees, retailers, family members, even friends of family members were “assigned” to Leitz sales offices in France, Britain, Hong Kong and the United States, Leitz’s activities intensified after the Kristallnacht of November 1938, during which synagogues and Jewish shops were burned across Germany.
Before long, German “employees” were disembarking from the ocean liner Bremen at a New York pier and making their way to the Manhattan office of Leitz Inc., where executives quickly found them jobs in the photographic industry.
Each new arrival had around his or her neck the symbol of freedom – a new Leica camera.
The refugees were paid a stipend until they could find work. Out of this migration came designers, repair technicians, salespeople, marketers and writers for the photographic press.
Keeping the story quiet The “Leica Freedom Train” was at its height in 1938 and early 1939, delivering groups of refugees to New York every few weeks. Then, with the invasion of Poland on Sept. 1, 1939, Germany closed its borders.
By that time, hundreds of endangered Jews had escaped to America, thanks to the Leitzes’ efforts.
How did Ernst Leitz II and his staff get away with it?
Leitz, Inc. was an internationally recognized brand that reflected credit on the newly resurgent Reich. The company produced cameras, range-finders and other optical systems for the German military. Also, the Nazi government desperately needed hard currency from abroad, and Leitz’s single biggest market for optical goods was the United States.
Even so, members of the Leitz family and firm suffered for their good works. A top executive, Alfred Turk, was jailed for working to help Jews and freed only after the payment of a large bribe.
Leitz’s daughter, Elsie Kuhn-Leitz, was imprisoned by the Gestapo after she was caught at the border, helping Jewish women cross into Switzerland . She eventually was freed but endured rough treatment in the course of questioning. She also fell under suspicion when she attempted to improve the living conditions of 700 to 800 Ukrainian slave laborers, all of them women, who had been assigned to work in the plant during the 1940s.
(After the war, Kuhn-Leitz received numerous honors for her humanitarian efforts, among them the Officier d’honneur des Palms Academic from France in 1965 and the Aristide Briand Medal from the European Academy in the 1970s.)
Why has no one told this story until now? According to the late Norman Lipton, a freelance writer and editor, the Leitz family wanted no publicity for its heroic efforts. Only after the last member of the Leitz family was dead did the “Leica Freedom Train” finally come to light.
It is now the subject of a book, “The Greatest Invention of the Leitz Family: The Leica Freedom Train,” by Frank Dabba Smith, a California-born Rabbi currently living in England.
Thank you for reading the above, and if you feel inclined as I did to pass it along to others, please do so. It only takes a few minutes.
Memories of the righteous should live on.

 

Quick, What are You Wearing?

Humility leads to strength and not to weakness. It is the highest form of self-respect to admit mistakes and to make amends for them.” — John Jay McCloy

Humility?

Self-respect?

Mistakes?

Amends?

Clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. — Colossians 3:12

In what all are you clothing yourself today?

Compassion?

Kindness?

Gentleness?

Patience?

And…humility?

One Practical Question, Not Just for Pastors

[QUICK REVIEW: “The very nature of ministry lends itself to the care of others and the neglect of oneself.” True or False? RSVP It’s a line from Passages of a Pastor, a book I pulled off my shelf while working on a recent project. When Zondervan published Cecil Paul’s book in 1981, it came highly recommended.

Back to Passages of a Pastor: “The very nature of ministry lends itself to the care of others and the neglect of oneself. This becomes apparent in the pastor who physically burns out in his middle years and suffers with a major heart attack in his later years.” That was published in 1981, remember. Since then our understanding and appreciation of pastors beyond he/his has become more normative. Denominational governance has encouraged and implemented efforts at wholistic health of all in ministry. With varying degrees of acceptance.]

Surely we can do better as we continue to move into/through/beyond COVID-19 and its attendant restrictions.

MY PRACTICAL QUESTION: what are some workable ways that we as the people who by the grace of God are the Church, both laity and clergy, can move further beyond “the neglect of oneself” as a ministry standard? RSVP through any of the usual ways.

Greatly appreciate you and your ideas!

One Observational Question, Not Just for Pastors

[QUICK REVIEW: “The very nature of ministry lends itself to the care of others and the neglect of oneself.” True or False? RSVP It’s a line from Passages of a Pastor, a book I pulled off my shelf while working on a recent project. When Zondervan published Cecil Paul’s book in 1981, it came highly recommended.]

Back to Passages of a Pastor: “The very nature of ministry lends itself to the care of others and the neglect of oneself.

This becomes apparent in the pastor who physically burns out in his middle years and suffers with a major heart attack in his later years.”

That was published in 1981, remember.

Since then our understanding and appreciation of pastors beyond he/his has become more normative.

Denominational governance has encouraged and implemented efforts at wholistic health of all in ministry.

With varying degrees of acceptance.

MY OBSERVATIONAL QUESTION: Borrowing lines from an old ad campaign and an old song, have we “come a long way” or is it true that “we’ve still got a long way to go” in our understanding and practice of healthy ministry? RSVP, any of the usual ways.

Thanking you in advance and looking forward to seeing you back here tomorrow.

 

One Y/N Question, Not Just for Pastors

 

QUICK REVIEW: “The very nature of ministry lends itself to the care of others and the neglect of oneself.” True or False? RSVP

That quote is a line from Passages of a Pastor, a book I pulled off my shelf while working on a recent project.

When Zondervan published Cecil Paul’s book in 1981, it came highly recommended.

MY YES/NO QUESTION: While much has changed in both culture and church since then, is our understanding of the “very nature of ministry” the same? Yes or No? RSVP

Again, I look forward to hearing from you; any of the usual ways will work.

One T/F Question & Not Just for Pastors


“The very nature of ministry lends itself to the care of others and the neglect of oneself.”

True or False?

RSVP, any of the usual ways.

See you back here tomorrow.

 

Everything, part 2.



Everything was pretty much perfect. 

But then last year happened.

— Noah, a child narrating

a Netflix film about

his mother’s accident

 

In retrospect many of us could say the same thing.

A year ago we knew there was a threatening virus on the horizon. We saw, read, and heard about it.

Since then we’ve experienced it, and its ramifications, in one form or another.

How are you coping with it all moving forward? I’d love to hear from you in any of the usual ways.

Together, let’s keep reaching forward to what lies ahead. (Philippians 3:13)

 

Everything, part 1



Everything was

pretty much perfect.

—- line from a Netflix show

Hit the pause button with me.

Pull over and adjust the rearview mirror.

Do what this old song says —

When upon life’s billows you are tempest tossed
When you are discouraged, thinking all is lost
Count your many blessings name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done

Count your blessings, name them one by one
Count your blessings, see what God hath done
Count your blessings, name them one by one
And it will surprise you what the Lord hath done

— Do what that old song says, and you’ll be amazed at how long of a list you have.

Let’s pick up right there tomorrow.

For now, join me in naming and counting.

FEB 26: Ewww

Same for individuals, too…

see Matthew 15:1-20 for details.

 

Nations do not die from invasion;

they die from internal rottenness.