Browsing articles from "March, 2012"
Mar 25, 2012

WWW – A Sermon for Lent

Should you strive to be like everybody else? The most typical human is right-handed, makes less than $12,000 a year, has a cell phone, has no bank account, is male, is age 28, is of Han Chinese ethnicity…

Listen to a sermon by the Rev. Daniel Haas titled “WWW” based on Psalm 22:22-31 and Matthew 28:18-20. It was delivered at Provo Community United Church of Christ on March 25 2012.

WWW_03-25-2012.mp3 Listen on Posterous


Mar 18, 2012

SOS – A Sermon for Lent


Morse Code and Dungeons & Dragons, a few beeps and a 20-sided dice help us decipher the Passion of the Christ.

Listen to a sermon by the Rev. Daniel Haas titled “SOS” based on Psalm 22:11-21 and Mark 15:21-24. It was delivered at Provo Community United Church of Christ on March 18 2012.

SOS_03-18-2012.mp3 Listen on Posterous

Mar 13, 2012

God’s Gender

From an email that I received:
“If God doesn’t have a gender, why do we say the “Our Father” every week, and why did Jesus frequently talk about the Father? What is the word used in the original languages? Just wondering.”
Here is my answer:
Sex and gender are part of creation. The creator is not. Those concepts have no truth beyond being classifications that are somewhat helpful in some areas of life. As images of God they are about relationship. A parental language is hopefully associated with trust and safety for most, well unless it isn’t. Talking about God is never accurate but a mere struggle for words to speak of the unspeakable. Hosea is famous for using all kinds of images and mixing them.

Mar 11, 2012

LOL – A Sermon for Lent


Cyberbullying, Sexual Education, Inconoclasms, and the Passion of the Christ:

Listen to a sermon by the Rev. Daniel Haas titled “LOL” based on Psalm 22:6-10 and Mark 15:16-20. It was delivered at Provo Community United Church of Christ on March 11 2012.

LOL_03-11-2012.mp3 Listen on Posterous

Mar 4, 2012

OMG – A Sermon for Lent


When Jesus hung on the cross and was about to breathe his last, he shouted out: “OMG, why have you forsaken me!”

Everyone around him knew what that meant. It was the first line of one of the most famous prayers at the time, think “Our father…”.

“Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” is the beginning of Psalm 22 – a real rollercoaster ride of faith experiences. Throughout this Lent season, you can hear it in its entirety at Provo Community United Church of Christ, starting on March 4 2012 with Psalm 22:1-5 accompanied by Mark 15:33-39. Listen to the first sermon of this Lent series by the Rev. Daniel Haas, titled: “OMG”

OMG_03-04-2012.mp3 Listen on Posterous

Mar 1, 2012

Education Costs

A friend shared the following video on facebook:

Oh, those crazy assumptions that education is free in Germany! IT IS NOT!

The system works slightly differently: Americans take on debt to pay their individual tuition back. In Germany all taxpayers are your lender and you will pay them back through extremely high taxes:
Income Tax
Let’s do some math here:
1. The average student loan debt is $25,250
Over 30 years of professional life that amounts to $841.67 per year
2. The average federal income tax paid is $6275.18 per year.
3. Now applying the American numbers to the German logic you would pay zero student loan, saving you $841.67 per year. Also you would pay roughly double the income tax, costing you $12,550.36 per year.

In what kind of thinking is paying $500 more per month cheaper?

Okay, granted, foreign students, using the system that is paid by locals really fare better and I guess that is what makes the above clip worthwhile.

Mar 1, 2012

Mary and the Saints

I got an email asking: “What occurred during the reformation that removed Mary and the Saints from worship and why? Or was it even part of the reformation?”

Golden Calf
Here is my answer:
Throughout history there have always been Inconoclasms. One prominent one you may know from the Bible is the Golden Calf. The problem is that every now and then God’s people start taking pieces of art too seriously and make them Gods which is not helpful. That’s where the commandment: “You shall not make for yourself an idol” comes from. Making pictures of God is perfectly fine and we do that all the time in our thoughts and/or actions. Now, limiting the creator of heaven and earth to one tangible object does not cut it.

There have always been Reformation movements to counter those developments and the Reformation iconoclasms were certainly big ones. Let me give you both the good and the bad about it:
– Now, the bad is obvious – barbarians destroyed beautiful pieces of art and priceless religious artifacts. What a shame!
– On a positive note: Reformation theology was opposed to the Roman Catholic view of Communion of the Saints at the time: “In Catholic terminology, the communion of saints is thus said to comprise the church militant (those alive on earth), the church penitent (those undergoing purification in purgatory in preparation for heaven), and the church triumphant (those already in heaven).”
Instead the Reformation stressed the Priesthood of all believers, which basically means that there are no saints that are more saintly than any other saint. Short: “But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people…”
Some felt compelled to act on that idea and “as a result, individuals attacked statues and images, and others were lost during unauthorised iconoclastic riots. However, in most cases, civil authorities removed images in an orderly manner in the newly reformed Protestant cities and territories of Europe. […] Protestant Christianity was not uniformly hostile to the use of religious images. Martin Luther, initially hostile, came round to the view that Christians should be free to use religious images as long as they did not worship them in place of God.”

Do you remember how the Taliban destroyed the Buddhas of Bamiyan a half year prior to 9/11?
Buddhas of Bamiyan