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Mount Olive Lutheran Church

Monday, September 26, 2011

The Olive Branch, 9/26/11

Accent on Worship

The Gospel for Pentecost 27 is the familiar parable of the vineyard owner who attempts to collect the rent, only to be thwarted by the violence of the tenants, which eventually leads to the death of his son. This final action compelled the landlord to totally crush the tenants.

Author, peace activist and Assistant Professor of Justice and Peace Studies at St. Thomas University, Jack Pallmeyer-Nelson, believes that many of the parables of Jesus were spiritualized. He has another take on this and other parables of Jesus, in his book, Jesus Against Christianity. As food for thought, I would like to share this interpretation with you.

The vineyard workers are not the Jews in this interpretation and the vineyard owner is not God, and the son is not Jesus, but rather representatives of a system of oppression. The vineyard tenants are exploited for their labor, with most of the proceeds going back to the landlord, and not leaving enough for the tenants to sustain themselves. This system of sharecropping was very common in Jesus' time and still too common in the world today. So the tenants decide to violently rebel. Jesus' parable is a warning against the spiral of violence. Two times the landlord sends his slaves to collect the rent and the workers met them with violence, even killing one of them. The third time he sends someone important, his son, believing that because of his status no harm will come to him. But, he was wrong and the son was killed. Jesus asked his listeners, "Now when the owner of the vineyard comes, what will he do with those tenants?" The answer was very clear, "put those wretches to a miserable death, and least the vineyard to other tenants."

Violence begets greater violence and the powerless are crushed only to be replaced. Even when violence seems to work for a while, (The tenants in the parable may have felt they won, after they defeated the three groups attempting to collect the rent), it never does. There are so many examples in history of uneasy peace only to be followed by greater destruction and loss of life. Likewise, there are so many examples of peaceful resistance that ends in real and lasting peace.

- Donna Pususta Neste

Sunday Readings

October 2, 2011 – Ordinary Time: Sunday 27
Isaiah 5:1-7 + Psalm 80:7-15
Philippians 3:4b-14 + Matthew 21:33-46

October 9, 2011 – Ordinary Time: Sunday 28
Isaiah 25:1-9 + Psalm 23
Philippians 4:1-9 + Matthew 22:1-14

Feast of St. Francis of Assisi
Tuesday, October 4, 2011
Blessing of Pets, 7:00 p.m.

Bring your pets for this annual service of blessing. The service will be held in the Nave.

This Sunday’s Adult Education - 9:30 am in the Chapel Lounge

The first of a 2-part presentation by Cantor David Cherwien: “Chant in the Church’s Worship.”

Sign up, Sign Up for Coffee!

Volunteers are needed to serve coffee following both Sunday morning liturgies for the next several weeks. If you are willing to serve, please sign up at coffee hour on Sunday – or call the church office to be signed up!

Book Discussion

For their meeting on October 8, the Book Discussion group will Ethan Frome, by Edith Wharton, and for the November 12 meeting they will discuss The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks, by Rebecca Skloot.

Mount Olive’s Book Discussion Group meets on the second Saturday of each month at 10:00 a.m. All readers welcome!

Brunch, Anyone?

Mount Olive shares a small tri-fold flyer with the names and addresses of several local restaurants which serve Sunday brunch. We are in the process of updating that brochure and are eager to include any of YOUR recommendations! Have you enjoyed a Sunday brunch at a local restaurant recently? If so, please drop a note to Susan Cherwien at within the next couple of weeks, and we will include your recommendations in the updated flyer.

Leipzig Group to Visit Mount Olive; Home Hosts Needed

Mount Olive will be a part of the Minneapolis Area Synod’s welcome to a group of 17 church music directors and pastors in October, and host homes are needed for the three guests who will spend several days at Mount Olive.

Homes are needed for the nights of October 15 to 19. During those days our guests will meet with Pr. Crippen and Cantor Cherwien and talk about the intersection of liturgy and culture and the world in our context. The whole group will worship at congregations throughout the synod, so some of the others will likely come to Mount Olive. Five other congregations will host parts of the group as Mount Olive is doing. The Leipzig District of the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Saxony, Germany, is a companion synod of the Minneapolis Area Synod.

Please contact the church office if you are willing and able to provide room for one of our guests. This is going to be an exciting opportunity for the congregation to learn and share!

MICAH Fundraiser Event

MICAH, a faith-based organization that works for affordable housing for all, has been supported by Mount Olive for seventeen years. They would like to invite Mount Olive members to join them on Sunday, Oct. 16, to realize a vision for a metropolitan area where everyone has a safe and affordable place to call home.

Professional musicians and spoken word artists will inspire and motivate each of us to take action and raise funds for MICAH. The event includes a reception (with drawing for special prizes) at 2:30 pm, and a program at 3:30 pm at Capri Theatre in Minneapolis. Tickets are $30.00 each, available at or by contacting Paul Stoll at You may also purchase tickets from Donna Neste by calling her at church (612-827-5919) or by sending an email to her at

Church Library News

Another prominent display of books in our Mount Olive library at this time comes as a gift to our library "from the literary estate of the late Erwin John, founder of the Lutheran Church Library Association." The gift of this group of books was facilitated by a close friend of Mr. John's, our own member, Rod Olson. Mr. John was also a friend of mine, especially when I was employed by the Lutheran Church Library Association some years ago. The gift consists of 9 books but I will mention 5 here and thank Rod Olson for the annotations he provided for your perusal.

The Complete Gospels, Robert J. Miller, ed. A new translation of the traditional Gospels plus other recently-discovered gospels from the early years of the Christian era.

Beyond Belief: the Secret Gospel of Thomas, by Elaine Pagels. A dramatic discovery in Egypt in 1945 yielded many ancient religious texts -- the most important being the Gospel of Thomas. Some scholars believe this gospel comes from the first century. Prof. Pagels shows how it relates to our biblical Gospels.

Meeting Jesus Again For the First Time: The Historical Jesus and the Heart of Contemporary Faith, by Marcus J. Borg. This book, dealing largely with Borg's own religious pilgrimage, has influenced and inspired thousands of Christians on their similar journeys.

The Meaning of Jesus: Two Visions, by Marcus J. Borg and N.T. Wright. Borg and Wright are good friends, but each thinks the other's understanding of Jesus needs correction. Therefore, this makes for a lively, informative discussion.

Jesus: A Revolutionary Biography, by John Dominic Crossan. The tagline on the cover reads, "A startling account of what we can know about the life of Jesus." That's it exactly---by an author who is incapable of writing a dull sentence.

On another topic, we have a real need for more volunteer library help on Sunday mornings. Library helpers serve on a rotating basis and have a choice of two shifts so they are always able to attend one of the two liturgies on any given Sunday. If we can add 2-4 extra volunteer helpers soon, then no one needs to serve more than once a month. I believe you will find our library space pleasant to work in, the work is not difficult and an orientation session (one-half hour) will be given to all new volunteers. We hope that our church library can play a more important part of the total ministry of our congregation and that this kind of volunteerism offers a wonderful opportunity for stewardship as well. Please call me for further details at 952/888-1023 or e-mail at

This week's quote is, "A truly great book teaches me better than to read it only, I must soon lay it down and commence living on its hint -- what I began by reading, I must finish by acting." (Thoreau)

- Leanna Kloempken

New Neighborhood Ministry!

Local artists and A Minnesota Without Poverty, the Jewish Community Relations Council, and Mount Olive Lutheran Church have come together to create The Art Shoppe at Midtown Global Market.

The artists working at The Art Shoppe are professional artists who share their experience with poverty though their artwork. All money generated from the shop goes to the artists and works toward ending poverty in Minnesota by 2020.

The newly created Art Shoppe of Midtown Global Market will be open for business starting next Saturday, Oct. 1! Our Neighborhood Ministries, (now including the former MONAC) is participating in this exciting development, and you can be involved, too! The artists have set up a schedule to be at the shop in four-hour shifts. But there are times when they need someone to fill certain time slots. It could be an interesting thing to do, waiting on customers, selling jewelry, etc. If you are interested, or would like more information contact Liz Beissel, (612-245-7067) or Carol Austermann ( 612-722-5123).

Another important need is for someone with knowledge in the area of setting up a business, legal expertise, or advertising. If you have experience in any of these or related areas and would like to volunteer your help for this project, it would be greatly appreciated.

The artists are enthusiastic and have been working hard. They consider this a great opportunity. Let's give our support to this project and help to ensure its success.

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