Showing posts from 2011

God Above, Through, and In All

A Sermon by Don Erickson Delivered at Metcalf Chapel, Warwick, MA Our favorite place to play in the summer was the acres of land behind John L. Edwards Elementary school in Hudson, New York. We would walk down the grassy hill beside the school and then another hill. Both hills in the winter were perfect for sledding but in the summer were merely steep. We would pass an acre of woods, and in that acre of woods stood a tree with a sturdy, secure, hanging vine which we used to play Tarzan, swinging from the tree into the open sky and back again. The mini-forest also included a cherry tree that provided us free fruit in the summer.  The two grassy hills led to a large field of flat grass big enough to fit its two baseball fields now no longer there. We boys in the neighborhood used regularly those fields in the summer and into fall. Our favorite of the two fields was the one whose right field ended in a running stream. The stream separated the field from more acres of woods. The

Baptist-UCC-UU Convergences

The Baptist story commenced as a dissent to the existing hierarchies and hierarchical beliefs, either the Catholic papacy or the Lutheran elite, either the Anglican church, the Royal crown, or Puritan theocracy. In America, it begins with Roger Williams, the original American Baptist, who resisted the theocracy established by the Puritans and called for religious freedom and for a democracy that separated matters of church and state. According to Baptist scholar Walter Shurden, the Baptist tradition throughout its diverse and vast history has focused on "four fragile freedoms": 1.) Bible Freedom - the freedom to read and interpret the Bible based on one's conscience and one's spiritual understanding; 2.) Soul Freedom - the soul's freedom from imposition of clergy, creed, or civil government; 3.) Church Freedom - the local church is free to govern the way they see fit without hierarchical restraint; and 4.) Religious Freedom - individuals and the church are bot

Beautiful Day

A Sermon by Don Erickson delivered at St. Paul's Universalist Church, Little Falls, NY  Easter Day, March 31, 2013 (transcript below) A couple months ago, my son joined me in listening to Elvis Presley -- his Sun Sessions recording to be exact. Corey took to liking it. Excited about this, I sort of gave a history lesson on Elvis in a way a 5 year-old could understand. I showed him pictures of Elvis on the web and even showed the young Elvis performing Jailhouse Rock. He asks me a question that he asks whenever talking about someone from the past. It is a question that arose after his grandfather died when he was just 4. Is he in heaven? It’s Corey’s way of asking if someone is dead. At first, I chuckled a bit, thinking about the cultural joke that Elvis is alive and living on earth somewhere.  Then I got serious. I answered truthfully. Yes, Elvis is in heaven. Corey became upset at this, having taken a liking to Elvis rather quickly. “No, he is not in heav