Fathers of the Covenant

With father’s day coming up soon, here are some biblical thoughts on fathering:

“A wandering Aramean was my ancestor…”
Every family has its own stories. God’s people tell the story of being slaves in Egypt and saved from there, please refer to Deuteronomy 26:1-11. The stories we tell make us who we are. What are the stories of your family?

“in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.”
God doesn’t care for family values. People of the covenant are mostly called to leave behind their loved ones, please refer to Genesis 12:1-4. Blessing is where the unknown is. Are you willing to leave your comfort zone?

“Then Abraham reached out his hand and took the knife to kill his son.”
Isaac’s faith was tested big time. He trusted his father with his life – literally, please refer to Genesis 22:1-19. How much do you trust your father?

“Simeon and Levi are brothers; weapons of violence are their swords.”
On his death-bed Jacob blesses his sons – each of them with individualized blessings. He is disappointed in some of them and brags about others, please refer to Genesis 49. Does that sound like your family? What kind of child are you?

“Out of Egypt I have called my son.”
Can you imagine how tough Joseph’s life was, raising the Son of God as his own? That teenager must have been hell to talk to. That’s probably why the Bible doesn’t contain a single story of Jesus’ childhood. A couple of things become clear in Matthew 2:13-15
1. God himself is part of a blended, non-traditional family
2. A wandering Aramean was my ancestor, please refer to the beginning of this article.


Reconciliation on Memorial Day

Memorial Day began in this country after the Civil War as an effort toward reconciliation between the families of veterans in the North and the South. [read more]


Finding your Gifts of the Spirit – Pentecost


What are your spiritual gifts? – Try and find out with the help of this Spiritual Gifts Self-Assessment. Our confirmands are strong when it comes to mercy, artistry, instrumental music and wisdom.

Pentecost_05-27-2012.mp3 Listen on Posterous

Listen to a sermon by the Rev. Daniel Haas based on Isaiah 11:1-3 and 1 Corinthians12:1-11. It was delivered at Provo Community United Church of Christ on May 27 2012.


Dr. Seuss and Assimilation

A few weeks after I came from Germany to Utah colleagues in ministry at one of our monthly meetings kept referring to “The Gospel According to Dr. Seuss” and I had no clue what they were talking about. I was even too embarrassed to ask.
Asaad al-Saleh is an Assistant Professor of Arabic and Comparative Literature working for the Department of Languages and Literature and the Middle East Center at the University of Utah and he also experienced his Dr. Seuss moment, actually only a couple of miles away from where I had mine:

“Everything was going fine until one of my students told me that she was going to write about Dr. Seuss. I asked her who Dr. Seuss was, and the student, as well as the rest of the class, thought I was joking. But I was serious! Neither during my childhood nor during my first year had I heard about what I later realized to be the most famous author for children. When I look back now at that incident I realize that both my students and I had a mutual cultural shock; they could not believe that I did not know Dr. Seuss. Hardly could they believe that the only person who did not know anything about a certain cultural topic (or icon) was the teacher. One can imagine how hard it was to be that teacher!
I call it Dr. Seuss’s incident, and every time I reflect on this incident I realize that it was one of the turning points in my teaching career. Dr. Seuss‟s incident showed me that a teacher can be reduced to a humble learner by the same people he teaches. Dr. Seuss‟s incident exposed the huge gaps between students and their teachers who are from a different culture. These gaps cannot be measured or filled in a methodical or organized way as long as we keep silent about them. Dr. Seuss‟s incident gave me the insight that I was new to my students‟ culture, and they were obviously new to mine. Their knowledge of my culture was mere stereotypes and images of ‘otherness.'”

In his paper “Composition Teachers from Different Cultures: Where is Pedagogy?” Al-Saleh also reflects on his name:

“Coming from diverse foreign language backgrounds, international composition teachers like myself often find themselves unintentionally given names that fit the English spelling and pronunciation, compromising their original names either partially, if they come from European languages, or completely, if they come from Eastern languages, such as my native Arabic. More often than not, I personally feel that I am “bell hooked” as I am called by a name that does not sound like my real one.”

I have never looked at it this way but I also changed my name, when moving to America. All of a sudden the A in my first name sounded differently. I am no longer called by the name I grew up with, I was baptized with. It obviously has not had a huge impact on me so far but it is worth noticing, now that I am aware of it.

How has immigration shaped America?
Are we a melting pot or a salad bowl?


Keep it real

Fort Morgan, Colorado, has more cows than people. Skype allows you to sustain real connections half around the gobe, and this morning we baptized a baby. Listen to a sermon by the Rev. Daniel Haas based on  Leviticus 19:1-10  and  John 17:6-11 . It was delivered at Provo Community United Church of Christ on May 20 2012.

Keep_it_real_05-20-2012.mp3 Listen on Posterous