Pastor's Blog

January 13, 2018

Jesus was once asked to make a choice between two mutually exclusive alternatives (Matt. 22: 17-22): “Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar...or not?” The assumption of Jesus’ opponents was that one must be loyal either to the State or loyal to God.  By forcing him to choose between one or the other, they hoped to trap him in his own words.  What Jesus does first is to ask for a Roman denarius, which his opponents easily produced.  By this simple request, Jesus exposes their hypocrisy.  The very ones who questioned paying taxes to Caesar were carrying his coins in their purses.  By the change in their pockets they showed that they were actively trading in and benefiting from the currency of Roman Judea.  

“Whose head and whose title does it bear?” Jesus asks his questioners.  “Caesar’s” they reply.  Jesus’ response is one for the ages: “Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God's.”   Jesus shows that the choice between loyalty to Caesar or to God...

January 6, 2018

 As our family was exchanging gifts in Los Angeles and in Lafayette this Christmas we noticed that a bestselling cookbook had appeared on more than one wish list. Entitled, “How Not to Die” by Michael Greger M.D., the book stresses some important health and dietary practices that teach “how not to die” from various diseases. In the course of conversation someone mentioned a TED talk by biologist Elizabeth Blackburn about “telomeres” (from the Greek word telos “end” and meros, “part”). Telomeres, as I recalled from undergraduate biology, are the caps at the end of each strand of our DNA, much like the caps on the ends of our shoelaces. Each time a cell copies itself, our telomeres get shorter, but the important DNA stays intact. Eventually, though, telomeres become so short that the cell begins to age and stops functioning as it should. There is a lot of research into how telomeres can be repaired or even lengthened. Telomeres do shorten as we age, but things like stress, smoking, lack...

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