Meeting Times at 4th United Presbyterian Church

Cafe' Worship: 9:15 a.m. each Sunday in Gathering Hall (activities provided for children; coffee; snacks)
Adult Sunday School: 10 a.m.

Sunday Worship: 11 a.m.


Bible Study: each Thursday at 6 p.m.


Community Forum: last Thursday of each month at 6 p.m. with meal (no community forum in November, 2011)


About the 4th United Presbyterian Bible Blog

Posts on this blog are from me, Rev. George H. Waters, one of the two organizing co-pastors of 4th United Presbyterian Church. Our other organizing pastor was Rev. Sonya McAuley-Allen, who is now pastor of a church in Charlotte, N.C. Since June of 2011, Rev. Elizabeth Peterson has been our parish associate pastor for new church development. The earliest posts are sermon notes from the few I have typed the last two years. Then, there is a series of notes posted on the book of Romans. After that, it varies from week to week, sometimes church news, sometimes reflections on a happening, a passage of scripture, or even some pictures. This blog is meant to open the conversation we have going on in our church to others in our community.



The picture below is of our church's sanctuary, built in 1913.




Saturday, January 29, 2011

Continuing to Think about Genesis

As I read back through sections of Genesis, it makes me want to linger on this book of the Bible a long time. There is something about Genesis that doesn't fit into modern theological categories, nor does the material fit well within our contemporary conceptions of right or wrong. Psychologically, it is just as foreign, the writers of Genesis are so used to having individual persons represent a whole group of people, but not used to interest in the psychological details of these individual figures (however, see the narrative about Joseph, which really does delve into his inner feelings towards the end).

I am preaching from the passages about Hagar and Ishmael this week. Hagar was the Egyptian slave of Sarah, Abraham's wife. Ishmael was the son of Abraham and Hagar. Sounds like material for a soap opera. And, this narrative does show some real interest in human psychology as it tells of the struggle between Sarah and Hagar in the aftermath of Hagar's pregnancy. The Bible presents Sarah as the primary mover in this narrative, as it is Sarah (who is barren) who suggests that Abraham sleep with Hagar, so that Hagar can act as a "surrogate" mother to a child that will be the child of Abraham and Sarah. Well, human beings having the feelings that they do associated with sexual unions and natural children, things don't work out so well. And, this part of the story ends with Abraham casting out Hagar and Ishmael, forcing them to leave with a bottle of water and a crust of bread. Not a pretty tale, but one that seems to understand some things about human beings very clearly.

The question for this sermon, as the question for much of Genesis is: "Where is God in all of this? Does this narrative reveal anything about God or just something about human beings?"

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