An Invitation from Kahu Alan Akana


I returned this morning from Hawai’i Island where we buried my mother’s ashes next to the ashes of my father in Hilo. (So I’ve had a lot of time to think about ashes and the meaning of Ash Wednesday this past week!) I hope you will join us this evening at church as we begin the season of Lent by eating together, and then reading the Scriptures, singing hymns and marking our foreheads with ashes, as we remember that God’s love remains with us in life, in death, and throughout eternity!

6:00 Soup Supper in Moore Hall

7:00 Ash Wednesday Service in the Sanctuary

Game Night Is Canceled

Game Night on Saturday at the church has been canceled. Stay tuned for a fun time of fellowship in March (details to be determined).

A Message from Kahu Alan Akana


On Sunday, I shared with the congregation some of the difficult passages written by the Apostle Paul. In 1 Corinthians, Paul tells his readers these interesting things:

  • For people who are unmarried, it is best for them to remain single (because married people are anxious about pleasing their spouses rather than pleasing God), unless someone doesn’t have self-control (because it is bad for people to “burn with passion”).
  • Men should never wear anything on their heads when they pray, and women should always wear something on their heads when they pray…and possibly wear a veil over their faces (because this shows that men stand in absolute authority over women, and women are in absolute authority under men).
  • Women should be silent in church and ask their husbands at home if they have any questions (because it is shameful for women to speak in church).
  • If an unmarried Christian has sexual relations with anyone…or if someone is greedy…or has too much to drink…we should kick him out of the church!
  • If someone is hungry and is about to eat something, and then finds out that what she is about to eat is offensive to someone in the room, she should go hungry.

Paul seemed to have a lot of rules for Christians in the 1st century. I grew up thinking of Paul as rather narrow-minded, conservative and judgmental. So I was surprised a few years ago to hear about a book called The First Paul: Reclaiming the Radical Visionary Behind the Church’s Conservative Icon by Marcus Borg and John Dominic Crossan. In their book, they describe Paul as being very progressive for his day. He imagined a time and place where everyone was equal: male and female, Jew and Gentile, slave and free, rich and poor. In fact, Paul was so “out there” in promoting his vision of the way things would be if God were actually in charge (rather than the Roman Emperor), that he was executed in Rome for treason. Of course, Paul lived in a imperial culture where both women and slaves were legal property, where temple sacrifices to idols were common occurrences, and where sexual freedom was more acceptable than it was in his own Jewish tradition. So Paul addressed issues within the church from the cultural context in which he lived. He also addressed a very divided church where people were fighting over who was right and who was wrong.

I’ll never forget the day when my seminary professor pointed out that the key verse to understanding the entire book of First Corinthians was one we read on Sunday: “Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up.” He pointed out that Paul was making the point that all God really cares about in terms of our behavior is how much we love each other. Whether we believe we are right on an issue or know that we are on the wrong side all together, the important thing to God is that we love the other person. For it is love that builds up a church. I would add that it is love that builds up a person, a marriage, a relationship, a family, a community, and a nation. Perhaps Paul was being pretty radical after all.

Have fun building up one another with love this week!

Kahu Alan Akana