Week 09 of 52† -† Village Church - Rancho Santa Fe
So far have traveled about 113,000,000 miles.
Thoughts during the week:
My son, David, wrote and told me it's just short of 60,000 Mormon missionaries now, not 29,000.† That would have been a nice "tickler" to give the Foursquares.† Ha.† They haven't been watching the progress - and the rest of their anti-Mormon data must be many years old too.† We build about two chapels per day too - and purchase about 8 Kawai pianos per day.† (One for the chapel - one relief society room - one primary and one Jr. Sunday School or rec. area for the two buildings every day.)† 33 years ago, we were negotiating to buy Yamaha pianos.† Yamaha had (and I believe still does) a policy of discounts for schools only - not churches.† (BYU bought many of the Yamahas.)† So, for the churches, we contracted with Kawai instead - and have been doing so ever since.† We must be far and away their biggest customer.† Imagine - 2920 pianos every year!
thought more about last week's meeting with the
Example:† "Look at the Mormons.† They have 29,000 full-time missionaries.† We may not always agree with their teachings, but we have to admit, they do a lot of good in the world - and many people come to accept Christ as personal savior through the dedication of these Mormon missionaries.† In our program, if we could do the same, we would expect to have great success - and we would be teaching the gospel exactly as we believe it should be.† We have not done nearly so good a job with this as the Mormons have - but we could learn much from them if we look carefully.† Let's go for it!"† I think they would have left the meeting on a high - just as they had felt the rest of the time.
I wonder if we also could learn some really good things from the successes of other religions.† We may continue to view ours as the best for us, but that does not mean we couldn't find superior things in others.† We believe that when the millennium is ushered in, we will of need become vegetarians (The lion will eat grass.)† Are we grateful for the Seventh-Day Adventists for developing all the good food at Loma Linda?† We haven't done it, but they have done it for us.† I noticed at the birthday party Saturday for sister Ries, they had Vegeburger or something similar.† I remember trying Vegeburger by Loma Linda about 40 years ago.† Tasted like dog food.† Now it is much better.† It even looks good.
I think it was wonderful, during world crises of late, that we recognized the good distribution system in place among Catholics - and so sent our own donations directly to the Catholic Church for its management and distribution to the needy.† We have a very good system ourselves - but its primary extent is to serve our own members.† We recognized the Catholic world-view - and joined it.† That, to me, is extremely positive.
During visit 02 of 52 - Presbyterian† -† The minister spoke of a man who believed in evolution.† (I think people often think such beliefs are religious in nature.)† The man was challenged to bring one of his friends who believe in evolution who could testify that this belief had changed his life - caused him to give up bad actions - love his children and wife better, etc.† And the minister said, "I will bring you dozens whose belief in Christ has done that in their lives."
This is, of course true.† All the math and physics I have learned and practiced during a life in science could not have brought about these changes either.† That's not what science is about.
Science is not about goodness.† It is about truth.† That does not make it valueless.† People who are good can use science to do much good.† People who are not good can use the same knowledge for evil.† Knowledge is power - not good, neither bad.
Evolution is not religion (not about goodness).† It is science (about truth).
Religion is not a science (not about truth).† It is religion (about goodness).
Often, goodness is called truth, but it makes the definitions hard to handle.† It causes religions to become fixed and unchangeable.† Not having the facility to change "truth" as new data comes in, it becomes "conserving" of what it has.† It comes to "know" it already has the truth - and cannot easily change.† Such change could reasonably be called "repentance."† Repentance is very difficult for religions.† Religions teach people to repent - but the religion remains fixed and unchangeable.
Science does not teach people to repent (change) - but the science itself (the community belief) repents constantly.† Some criticize science for that very repentance, saying they cannot stick to what they have said in the past.† The fact that science is constantly changing (usually, but not always - toward more correctness,) is its salient strength.
A very important principle is that good people, who may have become that way partly through their religious exposure and effort, ought to be the ones who learn science.† The power of that knowledge is much better in the hands of the caring - than in the hands of the uncaring.† If anyone should understand the processes of nature - including natural selection and speciation by survival of the fittest, it is the good people.† Unfortunately, their religions teach them to reject without study.† This is a problem.† Religions sometimes care so much for goodness, that they fearfully fail to find truth.
If this Presbyterian minister has a prodigy among his youth in the congregation - one who would have become a wonderful biological scientist, perhaps helping to save thousands of lives from pain and death, this youngster could be stopped cold by this misunderstanding that evolution should "save people from their sins - or get lost."
Talk to Mormons you know - who have the background - doctors, dentists - biologists - see what they believe when they are talked with honestly.† You will find it is a rare one indeed who is not sure of much of the evolutionary process - and they will view it all as a great miracle - including speciation by natural selection - including humans.† We are all related, all living things on the Earth.† There is no greater miracle of which I am aware.
sign says only "
The meeting today was called "Family Meeting."† They have these when there is a fifth Sunday in the month.† Other Sundays have the kids in Sunday School while the adults have the formal meeting.† On "Family Meeting" day, they have no Sunday School, and all attend together.
entirely a patriotic meeting,
The adult choir was mostly senior citizens - a few 40 or do and then most 60's and above.† They had robes, but appeared rather informal otherwise.† It was much like our choirs - singing quite well - with not too much smiling or other exuberance.† There was a woman soloist obviously with training - operatic voicing.† I thought she was quite good - but stoic.
As a congregation, we sang "Battle Hymn of the Republic."† Then "God of Our Fathers."† On this one, they had 3 real trumpets (not organ simulation).† They played the fanfare at the beginning of each verse loudly.† But they also were the accompaniment for the entire song - playing in three parts through the verses.† Not professional - just three guys in the "ward" who knew how to play a trumpet.† It was quite wonderful.
also, of course, "
Words were printed in program - no hymnals - no projection.
Then the children's choir sang.† My sense was that was primarily an adult church.† The children didnít really sing anything - just repeated words over and over - answering a question, saying, "He is the one," and held their hands up.† This was spoken - and then there was singing of verses, but one could barely hear them on the singing part.† They would have to be inspired to hear our primary and Jr. Sunday School sing.† (Also with the size of it.)
The sermon was on "Christian Patriotism."† Not bad - not just flag-waving.† There was, as we would expect, some critical remarks about the recent court case about "Under God" in the Pledge of Allegiance."† He talked of following authority in governments and its importance - but of recognizing that God was above governments of men.† When in conflict, God should be followed, not men.† He quoted some of the founding fathers - as they spoke of God at times which have become famous.
This constitutional thing is difficult.† I remember David O. McKay's letter when organized prayer was removed from school programs across the nation.† The memory of that letter has been allowed to die - with pressure from the whole Christian community - and our social need to be in line.†
The patriotic music made the meeting what it was.† Other than with the music, enthusiasm was weak - I'm getting used to more of that exuberance some of the meetings have.
At the very beginning, the prelude music was patriotic on the organ.† When he was finished, a couple of people clapped mildly - so the minister got up and said, "Why not" - and led a larger applause.† It was as if they needed "permission."† The rest of the meeting went without any appreciable applause.† Seems a little "hold-backish" to me.† A couple of people would start a little - but it would go nowhere.† (Those two will learn that it is not really accepted.)† I like sincere and open reaction.† I donít particularly appreciate "expected" reaction, as we see with the Pentecostals.† Reverence and silence are not the same thing.† Loudness and praise are also not the same thing.† Honest and sincere and free expression is the best, with no expectation that everyone has to act the same.
Not much greeting or friendliness.† I did wonder how the wealthy acted at church - thought I'd try this one on for size.† The congregation was older on average than ours.† Dress varied from a tee-shirt to suits and ties.† I was fine with a long-sleeved shirt and "clip-on"
Oh - I almost forgot - they did the same "story-telling" thing that I saw at the other Presbyterian Church.† All the kids come to the front, and a nice lady tells a story to them with the rest of us watching and listening.† It's not a bad format.† It's like being in primary for a few minutes.
No sacrament.† Also none at the other Presbyterian.† Maybe they donít do that.
(The spell-check has been forcing me to use the 'y' in Presbyterian.)† God Bless Computers.
Love, Brother Chuck
of 52† -†