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Welcome to the LPC e-pistle!

The LPC e-pistle is designed for the friends and families of Langhorne Presbyterian Church and any others who happen by. Pastor Bill Teague shares weekly comments on the world, the life of faith and Langhorne Church. A weekly e-mail, sent by request, keeps members up to date on news and prayer concerns within the congregation. Langhorne Presbyterian Church is a warm, Christ-honoring congregation, and we’d love to have you stop by for a visit if you’re ever in our neighborhood. You can get directions to LPC here.

April 21 – The little god of the temporary temple

Sam and Debbie are great friends, the kind of friends that when you are talking you pick up right where you left off no matter how long ago it was that you left off. We first met Sam and Debbie 24 years ago when we first arrived at First Presbyterian Church in Menominee, Michigan.  To say they are good friends is an understatement.

When Sam and Debbie told us they’d be visiting the week after Easter, we knew that one of the days would be our “Philadelphia for those who’ve never been to Philadelphia day.”  We’d go to Independence Hall, see the Bell, walk around, find some lunch, and then head over to the Art Museum to see Rocky and the steps.  So we toured Independence Hall, took pictures of Sam and Debbie standing in front of the Bell, and went to one of the 437 restaurants in Philadelphia that claim the best Philly Cheesesteak anywhere. It was pretty good and Sam and Debbie can answer the question they’ll be asked when they are back in Menominee.  “Yes, we had a Philly Cheesesteak, they said it was the best anywhere.”

From the Historic District, we headed west on Arch Street toward Benjamin Franklin Boulevard and up towards the Art Museum. We kept on going without a stop. No Rocky and no Art Museum steps for Sam and Debbie.

The Art Museum of Philadelphia is housed in a building in the Greek Temple style.  It is impressive, the steep steps rising to the majestic museum with its view back across the city skyline. In the movie of the same name, Rocky ran up and down the steps as he trained for his boxing match with Apollo Creed. They put a Rocky statue at the foot of the steps, and all the tourists to Philadelphia stop at the Art Museum to have their picture taken with Rocky.

Sam and Debbie will go back to Menominee, Michigan, without a photo of themselves standing, hands raised, next to the Rocky Statue.

At the base of the steps to the Greek Temple-like building that house the Art Museum of Philadelphia, they are building a temporary temple to American excess. Rocky has been lost in the scaffolding.

The National Football League has made a mega-road show out of its annual player draft. The road show comes to Philadelphia this year and the league and the city are sparing no expenses. It all takes place next weekend. The great spectator event has to do with the 32 teams choosing which of 253 college players they’d like to give a chance to play for them next season. The drama disappears quickly after about ten minutes, but the beer will flow and the music will blare for hours on end.  It’s how a culture without a worthy God tends to worship.

I love NFL football even if my team preference (Go Pack) may frustrate my parishioners from time to time.  I think the draft is important and even interesting. It’s not because Sam and Debbie didn’t get their picture taken with Rocky that I’m concerned about the temporary temple being built at the foot of the Art Museum steps.

The preaching text for this coming Sunday includes this question the Lord asks through the Prophet Jeremiah, “Why have they provoked me to anger with their carved images and with their foreign idols?”

Does our temple to the bacchanalian gods of the gridiron say something about the emptiness of our culture?  I think it does. Like all such gods, the god whose temporary temple is being built at the foot of the Art Museum steps is a god of our own making who helps us hide from a tragic world of our own making.

The God we worship in our pokey little church at the corner of Gillam Avenue and Bellevue is much more worthy of our attention than the little god of the temporary temple at the Art Museum. Ours is a God who has confronted the tragic world of our own making and is about the business of redeeming it. Sure, enjoy draft weekend, but don’t neglect the God worthy to be praised.

See you Sunday

April 14 – Where the Easter Music Buck Stops

You would think they could make an exception.

We Presbyterians are suspicious of too much power. We know too much power is a dangerous thing. We worry, especially, about pastors with too much power. We limit what a pastor can do without consulting with or having approval from the elders. And for the sake of a balance of power, we tell the elders there are a few thing a pastor can do without approval from the elders.  All in all, it is a good system.

But you would think they could make an exception. Continue reading

April 7 – Maybe the Egg Hunt Doesn’t Matter

Predictable as an April shower, our annual storm of Easter indignation has blown in, this time from across the Atlantic.

The National Trust in the U.K., sort of the National Endowment for the Arts, oversees Easter egg hunts every year at over 250 sites throughout the country. Cadbury, the big chocolate company famous for its chocolate eggs, is the corporate sponsor. Some of the promotional materials for the 2017 edition of this annual event are calling it the Cadbury Egg Hunt, Easter is no longer listed as one of the corporate sponsors.

The Prime Minister, prelates of the Church of England, and all the tabloids have declared positions in this scandal. One more step in the de-Christianizing of the nation, some say. Political correctness run amok others opine.  Cadbury, for its part, claims nothing but altruism; its only thought for the growing population of non-Christian children who might enjoy the day on the village green. Apparently it never occurred to them that they might sell a few more of their famous chocolate eggs.

The neo-pagans are delighted, saying the Christians had it coming for having stolen the egg from the fertility goddess Oestre’s nest a millennium ago. Continue reading

March 31 – Now in a Photo Dimly…

directory

Our church member photo directories have arrived. Some of us grabbed our copies last night at the Faith Acts dinner or before choir practice. They will be available Sunday after worship in the Fellowship Hall. Of course 8:30 worshipers will be able to receive theirs right after the service, but 9:45 folks, please wait until Coffee Hour to take yours. I know, some 9:45ers may be tempted to get in line with the 8:30 crowd and get their copy before worship, but you need to know that the ushers have been instructed to confiscate the directory from anyone caught browsing through it during the service. Continue reading

March 24 – Toddlers Need to Know Non-Euclidean Geometry

geometry

Last week Becky and I made a quick trip to Boston to see our son and daughter-in-law and their three wonderful children who just happen to be three of our five wonderful grandchildren. The youngest of the three is twenty-months old, and is happy and full of life. Gideon is a good eater, but prefers carbs to vegetables. Just the sight of carrot sticks and cucumber slices on his lunch plate the second day of our visit threw him into the kind of meltdown only a twenty-month old knows how to pull off.

I think Gideon needs a good course in non-Euclidean geometry.

I was a history major in college, but had to take some math and science classes to fulfill the general education requirements. The college offered a series of math courses for non-math majors, and I chose non-Euclidean geometry. The particular form of non-Euclidean geometry we studied was Lobachevskian, for those of you who care about such things. Continue reading