NT Wright on Preaching

I don’t think that I’m the only preacher who, over the years, has struggled with preaching on the Pauline letters. In this video, biblical scholar, bishop, author, professor and preacher, NT Wright, is interviewed by another professor of preaching, Ronald Allen, focussing on preaching the Pauline letters.

Sermon 2 Lent Yr B

Read my sermon for March 1, 2015 here: 2 Lent Yr B

Quirky new Martin Luther fad

Martin Luther just became Playmobil’s fastest selling toy ever

 

Playmobil has found a new best-selling figurine in the unlikely character of the 16th century Protestant reformer Martin Luther.

 

Quirky Martin Luther fad

Quirky Martin Luther fad

Some 34,000 of the tiny plastic toy sold out within 72 hours, which a Playmobil spokesperson said was “absolutely the fastest we’ve ever experienced”.

The vast majority of these sales came from within Germany, with 5pc of the toys selling to international buyers.

Although the German toymaker has attempted to meet this unexpected demand by putting in an urgent order with its Maltese factory to increase production, the new batch will not be ready until the end of April.

The figurine comes dressed in 16th century academic robes, replete with cap, scroll and quill.

Read the whole thing here.

 

Sermon 4 Epiphany Yr B

Read my sermon for February 1, 2015 here: 4 Epiphany Yr B

Sermon Conversion of Paul Yr B

Read my sermon for January 26, 2015 here: Conversion of Paul Yr B

Book Review: Where Was God?

wherewasgodWhere Was God? The Lives and Thoughts of Holocaust and World War II Survivors

Author: Edited by Remkes Kooistra

Publisher: Mosaic Press, Oakville, Ontario, 2001

204 pages, ISBN 0-88962-757-6, CDN $20.00, Paperback

Reviewed by Rev. Garth Wehrfritz-Hanson

 

This volume, as the title suggests, is both a history and memoir of Holocaust and World War II survivors, edited by Rev. Dr. Remkes Kooistra. It is based on oral interviews of survivors, conducted by Rev. Dr. Kooistra and others. It is dedicated to the nation of Israel in memory of the six million Jews who died in the Holocaust.

Rev. Dr. Kooistra, a Dutch survivor of World War II, was a theologian, linguist, sociologist, professor, chaplain and pastor. He was educated in the Netherlands, graduating from the Dutch Reformed Church seminary at Kampen, and earned a doctorate in theology and sociology from the Free University of Amsterdam. He was pastor of congregations in both the Netherlands and Canada. He also taught at various post-secondary institutions, and was chaplain at the University of Waterloo.

The work consists of three parts: Part I provides the Dutch historical context and briefly traces the history of anti-Semitism and anti-Judaism over the past 2000 years. Part II consists of the actual interviews and stories of the Holocaust survivors. Part III is titled Beyond Survival, and includes Rev. Dr. Kooistra’s reflections on his life during the war years.

Volumes of this nature of course are usually very somber and emotional. It is not easy to re-live and tell the story of such horrific events—one can be re-victimized and re-traumatized by such a process. Even readers who have not survived such cruel experiences as those interviewed here may feel somewhat traumatized; as one of the recurring themes is the senseless violent acts committed against the Jewish people.

From a historical perspective, this is a valuable work, since it provides readers with an inside view of how Dutch Jews were persecuted and deported by the Nazis; as well as how Dutch citizens hid and helped their Jewish people survive.

In relation to the volume’s title, those who survived provided a wide range of answers concerning their understanding, doubts, confusion, etc., of the question, “Where was God?” during the Holocaust.

Here is a sample of one survivor couple, Jack and Miriam Somer. When answering the following questions said: Do you still believe in God? Miriam answered: I do, but I don’t understand God. Was the holocaust a punishment from God? Jack answered: A punishment for little children? I can’t believe this. Miriam answered: I don’t know. Punishment for what? There are enough guilty people among us. The Nazis are not the only ones. The whole world is guilty. We all let it happen. Should we all be victimized by a holocaust? (p. 138)

This volume is a worthwhile read for those interested in Holocaust and World War II history as well as Jewish-Christian relations.

 

Sermon 2 Epiphany Yr B

Read my sermon for January 18, 2015 here: 2 Epiphany Yr B