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Church Vote, Part Deux June 26, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Berea, Cleveland, Family, History, Personal, Religion.
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Back in December, the members of First Congregational United Church of Christ voted 87-18 to “authorize church leaders to negotiate terms of a possible sale to Baldwin-Wallace College.”  A negotiating team was formed from members of our church, and they met with the B-W administration during the past six months.  The proposed agreement for the sale of the church and surrounding properties to B-W was then shared with our congregation earlier this month.

This Sunday, members of First Church will come together to vote on whether to accept or reject the proposed agreement.  I won’t go into details at this time, but you can expect another blog post early next week on the results.  Also, check my Twitter for the my thoughts and vote tally on Sunday.

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Are you there God? It’s me, Einstein. May 16, 2008

Posted by davegoblog in Personal, Religion, Science.
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A letter written by Albert Einstein sold for an amazing £170,000 (approximately $330,000) yesterday at auction in London to a private collector.  It was estimated to sell for £8,000 earlier this week, but the price skyrocketed it seems in part due to Einstein’s candid view on religion and the Bible.

The word god is for me nothing more than the expression and product of human weaknesses, the Bible a collection of honourable, but still primitive legends which are nevertheless pretty childish. No interpretation no matter how subtle can (for me) change this.”

Despite his rejection of conventional religion, Einstein became angry when his views were appropriated by evangelists for atheism according to a leading Einstein expert, John Brooke of Oxford University.  Brooke goes onto say that Einstein was offended by their lack of humility and once wrote, “The eternal mystery of the world is its comprehensibility.”

Einstein himself appears to have struggled with the fundamental questions of god and religion much like those before him did and those of us after him continue to do.  A year before his death in 1954, he spoke of wishing to “experience the universe as a single cosmic whole.”  So say we all.

Things to do once you’re dead December 12, 2007

Posted by davegoblog in Future, Personal, Religion, Science, Technology.
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Back when I did the Crazy 8s meme, I said that I wanted decide how to use my body for science after oxygen failed to reach my brain for at least five minutes and/or brain death occured.  Here’s a list of fun things to do when the Grim Reaper comes knocking:

  • Become an organ donor.  This can be as easy as getting a driver’s license.  You too can donate your eyes (or corneas) to Stevie Wonder just like Ferris Bueller would have.
  • Plant yourself on a body farm, which is used in the study of forensic anthropology: the study of human decomposition that occurs after death.  Currently, there are two facilities located in the United States: the original “Body Farm” is at the University of Tennessee – Knoxville and the more recent one is at Western Carolina University in Cullowhee, NC.  Find out more here and here.
  • Give up your old bones.  Instead of or in addition to the body donation, you can bequeath your skeleton for education as well.

Negotiations to begin December 11, 2007

Posted by davegoblog in Berea, Future, History, Religion.
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Let us never negotiate out of fear. But let us never fear to negotiate.”
– John F. Kennedy

On December 9, 2007, the members of First Congregational United Church of Christ voted 87-18 to “authorize church leaders to negotiate terms of a possible (my emphasis) sale to Baldwin-Wallace College.”  I have been a member of First Church for almost a year, but it’s where my wife attended growing up and where we were married over nine years ago.  There were more people present on this past Sunday for worship, the following meal, and the subsequent vote than I have ever seen – even on an Easter or a Christmas service.

Earlier this year, B-W let us know that they were interested in our facility and surrounding buildings for an expansion of their Conservatory of Music.  An offer to buy followed in October for the sale in return for either:

  1. A sum of money plus land in Berea on which to build.
  2. A larger sum of money with no land.

Baldwin-Wallace wishes to renovate the buildings for their use as classroom space and as a concert hall.  They have stated that historical exterior nature of the church would remain intact, which is sometime that is important to all members of First Church.

Personally, I voted in favor of opening negotations with the college, but I am also interested in investigating ways in which we could remain in this wonderfully remarkable building that is full of history.  At the time of the vote, I felt that all options were not explored as much as they could have been.  As the process moves forward with B-W, we will continue to examine creative ways that may be unseen to us right now.

I do have faith that our congregation will make it through this time of wandering in the wilderness, and I have seen how it has brought us together to begin a dialogue about our church’s vision and future wherever that may be.

Should we stay or should we go? December 7, 2007

Posted by davegoblog in Berea, Future, History, Religion.
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Church 

This Sunday afternoon, the members of First Congregational United Church of Christ (the church we attend) in Berea, Ohio, will vote to decide whether or not to open negotiations with Baldwin-Wallace College on their offer to purchase our property and the buildings located on it.  As with a lot of smaller churches today, our congregation is struggling to bring in new members and to maintain our older facilities.  It has been a constant struggle for the past few years.

On one hand, there is the rich, strong, and spiritual history of our church, which was founding in 1855 by a group of seven Christian abolitionists.  It had humble beginnings and has always played a vital and important role in the center of Berea.  Other the other hand, there is an opportunity for us to investigate B-W’s proposal and to see where that may lead.  Whatever decision is revealed to us, I promise to continue my spiritual journey with God and this congregation.

Additional reading – Article from The Plain Dealer, November 4, 2007 

Here is the steeple December 5, 2007

Posted by davegoblog in Berea, History, Personal, Religion.
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Steeple

First Church in Berea, OH – December 2, 2007