Sunday, August 30, 2015

"Where's Your Heart?" A sermon on Mark 7:1-23 and James 1, preached August 30 at Littlefield Presbyterian Church.

            How should we worship God?           The controversy in today’s gospel lesson centers around the questions of what worship is    and what religion is about.  The people of Israel had been told “You shall be a holy people, consecrated to God.”  The Scribes and Pharisees took this commandment very seriously.
            When the religious leaders asked Jesus, “Why don’t your disciples observe the tradition of the elders?   they were speaking of the interpretations and amendments that had developed over the years...  literally thousands of rules which regulated every possible human situation. 
            The laws concerning ritual cleanliness and dietary restrictions were a part of this “tradition of the Elders.”  In the eyes of the Pharisees and the scribes, failure to practice this ritual of ceremonial cleanliness wasn’t a matter of poor personal hygiene or bad manners.  It was a matter of life and death, because ritual washing was their way of trying to make themselves clean and acceptable in the sight of God. 
            When they asked Jesus why his disciples didn’t live according to the tradition of the Elders, he answered by quoting the prophet Isaiah’s message from God:  “This people honors me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me.”  He told them that they were passing off human ideas as God’s commandments. 
            Now, the Pharisees were people who took their religion very seriously.  I believe they sincerely wanted to serve God faithfully.  They tried very hard to be acceptable in God’s eyes.  But they were looking for lists of rules and regulations and for rituals that would give them certainty in their religious lives. 

            “Why don’t your disciples live according to the tradition of the elders?”
            Let’s back up a minute and remember the context of this encounter.  Just before Mark tells how Jesus fed 5,000 people… and walked on the water… and healed the sick. 
            The Kingdom of God is breaking out around them, and the Pharisees don’t seem to notice.  The sick are being healed.  The hungry are being fed.  Good news is being preached to the poor.  These are the things that Isaiah had prophesied that would be signs of the coming of the Messiah, but the Pharisees and scribes want to talk about hand washing and tradition. 
            An event had broken into the midst of time and space that was truly a moment of GRACE.  Not only couldn’t the Pharisees and scribes see it-- but kept asking the wrong QUESTIONS.  They’re asking, “How can we protect our tradition?  How can we get folk to do things our way?
            Too often in the church, we ask the wrong questions.  “How do we keep everybody happy?”  “How do we avoid conflict?”  “How do we recruit new members?”  “How will we survive?”  “How do we make everybody follow our rules?”
            In the meantime, there are people inside and outside the church--people with broken hearts… broken dreams… and broken lives.  People who are lonely.  People who need to be restored to community.  People who need to be fed…and healed…and loved.

            Now, the process of spiritual growth is hard.  Sometimes it can be downright scary.  So it’s no wonder that sometimes we, like the Pharisees, feel safer clinging to rules or traditions or familiar ways of doing things.
            I believe each of us has a longing somewhere, deep within ourselves—a longing to grow closer to God.  But, at times, each of us also has to fight  against our own resistance to growth.   It’s a human tendency to cling to the old ways of doing things   and our old ways of looking at the world—to take the easy path…or at least the path that’s most familiar.
            Jesus accused the religious authorities of being “hypocrites.”     The Greek word Mark uses for hypocrite has a revealing history.  It literally means an actor—a person who acts out a set dialog or script.
            In accusing the Pharisees of being hypocrites, Jesus was inviting them to put down the mask of outward appearances.  In giving them a list of things that can defile people, things which come from within, Jesus was challenging them to examine their own hearts honestly, and to pay attention to what’s really important.   We have been set apart as a holy people for a holy purpose:  to love the Lord our God with all our heart, soul, and mind, and to love our neighbor as ourselves.
            It’s much easier to point a finger at the sins of others than to look inward at the things that can defile.    Yet today’s gospel lesson makes it clear that we need to pay attention to where our hearts are.  
             But what does that look like?
            In the epistle lesson we heard today, James fleshes out Jesus’ summary of the Law and giving some specific ways we need to live into “the perfect law of liberty.”
            If we are to love our neighbors, then we need to be engaged with them, relating to them, and caring for them. That long list of vices Jesus quotes defile us because they all divide us-- from God and from each other, our neighbors.
            What does it mean for us to be holy, and "undefiled"? James offers an interesting definition in his letter:  "Religion that is pure and undefiled before God, the Father, is this: to care for widows and orphans in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world."[1]        James teaches that religious practice is judged on what we do.  Widows and orphans were the most vulnerable members of ancient societies; they had no means of support, no means of getting any, and no one to look out for them.  Caring for them means to attend to the needs of the poorest of the poor, those whom nobody else cares about or feels responsible for.  That is true religion, true holy conduct.  That is what we have been set apart to do.
            We know God partly through our traditions.  But we worship the one true God, the God of ever-ongoing creation… and new possibilities.   God overcomes sin and death with new life.
            Jesus came proclaiming that the Kingdom of God is near, calling people to repent, to change.    If we believe Jesus when he says the Kingdom of God is here,  if we follow Jesus in our actions, then we need to prayerfully consider how some of our traditions  might exclude new people who might otherwise find this a nurturing faith-home.   How might we need to change some  traditions so that we can reach out with wider arms to more people who need to know God’s love?  What do we need to hang onto, and what do we need to give up, to move further into the new life God calls us into?
            In Jesus Christ, we have the perfect example of a person who is holy and whole.  The gospels tell us that Jesus went about preaching good news to the poor  and release to the captives.  He taught by word and deed.  He blessed the children.  He healed the sick and ministered to the brokenhearted.  He ate with outcasts…forgave sinners…and called all to repent and believe the good news of God’s love and forgiveness.
            The world tries to set limits on what we believe is possible  and sets boundaries that set us apart from “them.”   But Christ came breaking down the dividing walls and showing us that there is no such thing as a hopeless case.  There is nobody outside the circle of God’s love.   In Christ, there are no “others”—only neighbors.   Because God loves our neighbors, we are commanded to love them too.
            I like the way one of my colleagues puts it:  Our hands are made clean and holy, not by washing them, but by getting them dirty.  Our hands have been set apart to reach out into the dirtiness of the world’s injustices and impurities on Christ’s behalf, to touch with compassion those considered untouchable or unclean by our social mores, cultural divisions, or political commitments. [2]
            As Teresa of Avila famously put it, "Christ has no body now on earth but yours… no hands but yours…  no feet but yours.  Yours are the eyes through which God’s compassion will look upon the world.  Yours are the feet with which God will go about doing good.  Yours are the hands with which God will bless others now."
            God has fully revealed God’s love for us in Jesus.  In response to that love, God wants us our love in return.  We are called to worship God through our total devotion…and through our ministry to all God’s children in need, as we love as Christ loves.  God’s way is a tradition of self-giving love.
            So… in the midst of the daily struggles and questions we face every day, may our hearts be in the right place.  May our hearts become  more and more open to God’s love and life.  

Rev. Fran Hayes, Pastor
Littlefield Presbyterian Church
Dearborn, Michigan
August 30, 2015


[1] James 1:27

[2] I’m indebted here to the Rev. J. C. Austin, in  “Dirtiness is next to Godliness,” (Madison Avenue Pulpit, 2003), a sermon posted  at

Sunday, August 23, 2015

"Words of Life," a sermon on John 6:56-69, from Littlefield Presbyterian Church.

Today the scripture passages given to us by the lectionary have something that could offend most everyone.  First, there is Joshua, hero of a book of wars, in which God serves as military commander of Israel’s invincible army.  As Barbara Brown Taylor puts it, Joshua is cleaned up for today’s speech at Shechem-- but he waded through blood to get there. 
            Then there’s today’s gospel lesson, which is the last in a four-part series on the bread of heaven.  The sixth chapter of John is full of statements that were offensive to those who heard them.  First Jesus suggested that he was God's own manna, come down from heaven to give life to the world.   Last week Jesus took the offense to an even higher level by choosing really gory words.   He uses the word for "chomp" or "gnaw", so that a more literal translation of his invitation would go something like this:  "Those who chomp my flesh and guzzle my blood have eternal life; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink."[1]
            This is not a nice image.  As someone suggests, it sounds more like something for a butcher shop than for a church.  Add to that the fact that Hebrew scripture clearly forbids the drinking of blood, and you can understand why Jesus' followers began to pull away from him at that point.  "This teaching is difficult,"  they said.  "Who can accept it?"
            Any time we gather for Bible study, no matter what passage we study, if we take it seriously, eventually we might hear somebody ask, “Are we supposed to understand this literally or metaphorically?”   “If God did all that centuries ago—why is there such suffering in the world today?”  Or some other tough questions that keep coming up—some of them un-answerable.
            Jesus doesn’t give his first disciples simple answers—or a copy of “The Gospel for Dummies in Three Easy Steps.”  No.  Instead we have a paradoxical gospel that we’ll need to struggle with for the rest of our lives!  This teaching is difficult!

            If the disciples are going to follow Jesus all the way--  then they’re   going to have to give up their need to understand,  agree with, or approve of everything he said or did.   They’re going to have to believe him, even when he says something that offends them.  They’re going to have to trust him, even when what he does goes against everything they’ve been taught.  You can almost hear some of their minds slam shut. 
            Perhaps one of my colleagues, writing in The Christian Century a few years ago, has it right when he suggests that the real miracle in chapter six of John isn’t that Jesus fed thousands of people at the beginning—but that but that there were even a dozen disciples left by the end of the chapter.[2]

            When Jesus sees the crowds deserting him, he asks the twelve if they want to go away too. 
            Jesus wants them to know that following him on the way is no picnic.  The people in the crowd have their reasons for turning back.   Change is scary.   They don't want to give up their desires, their comforts, their security.  They want to follow Jesus on their own terms, without changing their priorities, without being uncomfortable.  They want to be in control of their lives.  So when Jesus challenges them and calls them to pay the cost of true, obedient discipleship--  a lot of them  leave.
            "Do you also wish to go away?"  Jesus asks.   

            This teaching is hard.   A lot of people aren’t looking to be challenged a lot in their faith.  So…at a time when many denominations and local congregations are seeking to grow or struggling to survive, doesn't it seem like a good idea to put out a message that will appeal to as many people as possible?  Wouldn't it be a matter of good business to find out what the customers want--and then give it to them?    The growing opposition to Jesus in this text seems to be the last word the church wants to hear today.
            But there's no way around the hard word of this Sunday's gospel lesson.  Jesus’ message didn’t didn't appeal to everyone.  Some people didn’t understand it. And some turned away because they did understand.
            The movement of the story in John 6 is telling:   one group after another turns away from Jesus.  At the beginning a huge crowd comes seeking Jesus… seeking what they hope he'll do for him.  In the beginning, the people who came because they want to be “fed” are happy with Jesus.  But later they become disillusioned by his words.  Some take offense at what he says.  Then, in today's text, Jesus' own disciples--  a larger group than "the twelve"--  become scandalized by his words and begin to desert him.           
            "Do you also wish to go away?"   Jesus asks.  Peter speaks for the little band of faithful disciples.  "Lord, to whom can we go?  You have the words of eternal life."

            What do you hear in Peter's response?  Peter is just as offended as anyone else by a lot of what Jesus is saying.  He keeps the traditional dietary laws.  We find out later, in the book of Acts, that Peter never eats forbidden foods, which would include meat with blood still in it.  The idea of gnawing flesh and drinking blood turns his stomach as badly as it does anyone else's.  But where is he to go?  As confusing as Jesus is, Peter has glimpsed something in him that he can't turn away from.  In Jesus, he has glimpsed God.  So, if trusting that means struggling with a whole lot of distasteful things that go with it, then Peter will stay and struggle.  He won't turn away from the life he has been led to--  even if it's miles from the life he thought he wanted.

            We live in a time when many people "shop" for the perfect church for themselves, a church they hope will meet their needs or satisfy their desires.   Peter’s words challenge a lot of us.
            There are times when some folk may be tempted to say,  "If my church votes the wrong way on this issue, I'm outa here."  Or,  "I can't belong to a church that would fund a project like that."  I couldn’t be part of a church that welcomes those people.  I wouldn’t belong to a church that believes that.     
            We may hear people saying,  "I don't go to church any more.  I couldn't take any more of the hypocrisy...  sexism...   liberals...   conservatives...   old-timey hymns with exclusive language...     new, unfamiliar hymns...  lousy preaching...      You can fill in the blank....
            There are a lot of imperfect churches around--  large and small.        I agree with the way one of my colleagues puts it:  When the main reason not to belong to a church is that I can't find a community of faith that agrees with me on everything from what kind of music we should sing to where we should stand on homosexuality or abortion or the death penalty, then I have the perfect excuse never to belong to a church with more than one member--   me.[3]
             There is no perfect church...  --  if perfect means that I understand, agree, or approve of everything that goes on there.  If you become a Christian, you get a Bible that says God helped Joshua exterminate whole tribes of people right down to the last baby.  You get a household code in Ephesians that makes wives subject to their husbands and tells husbands to sacrifice themselves for their wives… and slaves to submit to their masters.   But you also get the twenty-third psalm and the parable of the prodigal son."
            If you're a Presbyterian, you get a church that's been divided for decades over issues related to human sexuality, a church that was divided for decades over ordaining women to be pastors, elders and deacons…  a church that split over the issue of slavery and then took over a hundred years to get back together.  You get people who only want to sing the hymns they grew up singing… and some people who only want to sing contemporary music.  You get a church that’s been divided for decades over issues related to human sexuality, a church that through study and prayerful discernment has recently made some decisions that have thrilled a lot of people and disappointed and disturbed others.  You get a commitment to scholarly, faithful Bible study and theology and worship that once in awhile can fill you with awe and amazement when it helps us get a glimpse into the heart of God. 
            Jesus asked the twelve disciples, "Do you want to go away too?"
            Simon Peter spoke for the whole group when he said, "Lord, where can we go?  You have the words of eternal life." 
            Peter’s words can be a declaration of faith for an ambiguous and troubled world like ours and for people like us.  People who don’t understand everything about Jesus.  People who have plenty of unanswered questions, but keep hanging in there with him anyway.
            We know there are other options for pursuing spiritual enlightenment…  or we could choose not to pursue a spiritual path at all.  Yet some of us keep coming back to Jesus.  Maybe it’s because we’ve heard in his words something that rings true to us in deep ways.   Maybe it’s because whenever we’re in his presence we feel more alive.  Maybe it’s because when we’re joined with this imperfect group of people who are struggling to follow Jesus in the way of LOVE—we experience grace and joy.   Maybe it’s because we know we need to be part of the body of Christ to be encouraged and challenged to live into God’s kingdom of love and justice and peace and hope.
            In my study this week, I came across a story told by a Presbyterian pastor who was serving a church in Philadelphia. In The Christian Century, Wallace Bubar tells about a newcomer who came to their church and went through a new member class—but was reluctant to join.  He read a lot and asked a lot of questions.  He wasn’t sure if he was a skeptic…a seeker…or an agnostic, but he was pretty sure he wasn’t a Presbyterian.  He asked the pastor a lot of questions about the creeds…other religions…the relationship between faith and science…and what it means to believe in Jesus.  He nodded politely when the pastor tried to formulate answers to each question, but the pastor could tell he wasn’t persuading him. 
            In the end, this newcomer said, “Thanks.  I appreciate your time, but I just I just don’t think this is for me.”  They shook hands and parted.
            The next Sunday, the pastor noticed the man slip into a pew in the back of the church.  He stood and sang the hymns with everybody else, but he didn’t join in when they recited the creed.  But when it was time for communion, he came down the aisle.
            The pastor said he was thinking he’d like to ask this man if he’d had some kind of epiphany since they’d last talked, but he didn’t.  Instead, he said, “The body of Christ, given for you” as he gave him the bread.
            After the service, he greeted him and said, “I didn’t think we’d see you here again.” 
            The man shrugged—perhaps as Peter must have shrugged. 
            “Lord, where else can we go?” 
            Jesus Christ invites us to follow him in the way of love and life.  If we say "yes" to him, not just with our voices, but with our very lives, then we choose the path that leads to eternal life.
            I pray that we choose life!

Rev. Fran Hayes, Pastor
Littlefield Presbyterian Church
Dearborn, Michigan
August 23, 2015

[1]Barbara Brown Taylor, in a sermon on this text in Home By Another Way (Cowley, 1999), p. 176.

[2] Wallace W. Bubar,  in “Living by the Word” (The Christian Century, August 22, 2012), p. 20.

[3]Taylor, p. 178

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

A Deeper Hunger: A Sermon from Littlefield on John 6:51-58, preached August 16, 2015

In the summertime, between the congregations' comings and goings and the preacher's, we can lose the continuity of the lectionary passages from week to week.  Those of you who have been here every week are getting to hear the perspectives of three different preachers on the sixth chapter of John.
            The sixth chapter of John begins with the story of how Jesus fed a crowd of five thousand people.  Then the next few passages tell what it means for Jesus to feed people.
            John tells us that some people have been following Jesus looking for free food...   and that Jesus explains that the food he gives is the kind that endures for eternal life.
            When Jesus insists that he is offering spiritual food, another misunderstanding surfaces.  The crowd was expecting a messenger bringing spiritual food from God to be special somehow...  or different.  But Jesus was just another person they had watched grow up among them.
            Jesus has been going around telling people not to work for the food that perishes--  but for the food that endures for eternal life.  He's been saying, "I am the bread of life.  Whoever comes to me will never be hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty."
            He’s been playing to mixed reviews.  The crowds have responded to his claim to be the bread of life by saying, "Give us this bread always."   There are people in the crowd who know they’re hungry for what Jesus is offering them.
            The Jewish religious leaders are complaining about Jesus because he claims to be the bread that comes down from heaven.  They’re offended by what he has to say.  It goes against everything they believe.  So they don't want what Jesus is offering.

            Sometimes churches lose sight of why we're gathered as part of the church of Jesus Christ.  Or we'd rather forget.   A few verses beyond where we stopped the gospel reading today, we hear the people saying, "What you teach is difficult, Jesus."
            Today's gospel lesson is part of a series on the bread of heaven.  The sixth chapter of John is full of statements that were offensive to those who heard them.  First Jesus suggests that he’s God's own manna come down from heaven to give life to the world.  We’re used to hearing that sort of thing from him by now, but imagine hearing it for the first time, from a human being who looks pretty much like you:  "I am the living bread that came down from heaven.   Whoever eats of this bread will live forever."
            In today’s lesson we hear Jesus taking the offense to an even higher level  by choosing really gory words to describe what he means.  In the other gospels, Jesus calls this bread his body.  In John's gospel he calls it his flesh--  his skin and muscle tissue.  In the other gospels, he offers it to be eaten.  In John's gospel he uses the word for "chomp" or "gnaw", so that a more literal translation of his invitation would go something like this:  "Those who chomp my flesh and guzzle my blood have eternal life; for my flesh is true food and my blood is true drink."[1]
            This is not a nice image.  As someone suggested, it sounds more like something for a butcher shop than for a church.  Add to that the fact that Hebrew scripture clearly forbids the drinking of blood, and you can understand why Jesus' followers begin to argue at that point...  and later say,  "This teaching is difficult,"  they said.  "Who can accept it?"
            Jesus won't let up on them.  If they’re going to follow him all the way, then they’re going to have to give up their need to understand,  agree, or approve of everything he says or does.  They’re going to have to believe him, even when what he says offends them.  They’re going to have to trust him, even when what he does goes against everything they’ve been taught.  You can almost hear their minds slam shut. 

            I'm reminded of a story Clarence Jordan tells about an integrated Baptist church in the Deep South.  Jordan was surprised to find a relatively large church so thoroughly integrated--  not only Black and White...  but also rich and poor. 
            The church had an old hillbilly preacher.  Jordan asked him,  "How did the church get this way?"
            "What way?"  the old preacher asked.
            Jordan explained how surprised he'd been to find a church so integrated...  and in the South, too. 
            The preacher said,  "Well, when our preacher left our little church, I went to the Deacons and said,  "I'll be the preacher." 
            "The first Sunday I preached, I opened the book and read,  'As many of you as has been baptized into Jesus has put on Jesus...  and there is no longer any Jews or Greeks...   slaves or free...  males or females...  because you is all one in Jesus.'
            "Then I closed the book and said, 'If you one with Jesus, you one with all kind of folks.  And if you ain't,  you ain't."
            "Well,"  the preacher said,  "the Deacons took me into the back room and told me they didn't want to hear that kind of preaching no more."
            Jordan asked what he did.
            "I fired them Deacons,"  the preacher roared.   [Obviously,  this wasn't a Presbyterian church.]
            "Then what happened?"   asked Jordan.
            "Well,"   said the old hillbilly preacher.   "I preached that church down to four.    Not long after that, it started growing.  It grew and grew and grew.  And I found out that REVIVAL sometimes don't mean bringin' people in...  but gettin' people out that don't love Jesus."
            "Does this offend you?"

            Jesus played to mixed reviews.  He had hot and cold responses.     
            Some people left Jesus because they wanted free food--  but not spiritual food.  Others left because they couldn't believe that God would send spiritual food through a person who seemed as ordinary as Jesus.                Still others left because they understood exactly what Jesus was saying...  and they didn't want to let God get that close to them.  They wanted to run their own lives,  rather than let God live and work through them.
            But others stayed,  because they believed Jesus was offering them something they were hungry for. 
            Throughout this sixth chapter, we hear a theme of HUNGER--  the hunger behind and beneath all other hungers...  the hunger for a knowledge of God...  the hunger for a word from the Lord. 
            Jesus understood this.  That's how he was able to resist the wilderness tempter's lure into something less--  when he tempted him to turn stones into bread.       "One does not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God."

            From Adam and Eve until now, there's no question that's more fundamentally human than this one:  "Is there any word from God?"   "Does God have a word that will satisfy the hunger that gnaws away, deep inside me?"

            There are hungers--  and there are hungers.  When we compare the two versions of the Beatitudes, we hear the Gospel of Luke speaking of those who are in need of physical food...  while the Gospel of Matthew speaks of those "who hunger and thirst for righteousness."
            In the beginning of the sixth chapter of John, Jesus feeds five thousand people.  They were in need of physical food, so he miraculously provided enough food that all ate and were satisfied.
            The following day the crowd returns to Jesus.  It's apparent that they yearn for something more than food to satisfy physical hunger.  They have a deeper hunger...  a spiritual hunger.
            The hymn we sang as our prayer for illumination is intended to come before not communion--    but the sermon.  The poet knows the longing to hear a word from the Lord.
            My spirit pants for Thee,
            O living Word!

            What about you?     
            Do you know this hunger?    
            Like the people in today's gospel story, we have a decision to make.  We can follow Jesus and let God's presence and power direct our lives...    or we can ignore Jesus and spend our lives on other things.
            We make this decision in big ways at confirmation...  or when we decide to join the church.  But we also make it every day of our lives, in lots of  big or little ways. 
            We make a choice every time we decide to listen to God's voice   or ignore it when it tells us that we're special...  God's beloved children… called as partners in Christ’s service.    We make a choice every time we hear God's voice calling us to love everyone---those who are close to us…and even strangers...  even our enemies.
            Throughout the sixth chapter of John, in all the talk about BREAD,  something has been said over and over which is the real offense behind all the other offenses.  In fact, it's the offense of the GOSPEL:     we have LIFE by GRACE.       The bread God gives from heaven gives life to the world. 
            The conflict of the gospel is in how we choose to respond to God's gift.   The question we have to answer is this:  Do we determine our own lives...  or does God? 
            In every paragraph of this chapter of John, it's clear that the  people around Jesus want to be in charge.  They demand that Jesus do what Moses did.  They demand signs.  They want proofs so that they'll have adequate reasons to decide that Jesus is really from God.  They want Jesus to be king--  the kind of king they wanted. 
            But, over and over again, Jesus keeps saying one thing:  life from heaven is a GIFT.    Trust this, and life is yours.
            That's what he told Nicodemus, when he came asking what he should do--  and how he should do it.   Salvation is "from above."

            The message of the gospel really isn't so hard to understand.  It's hard to accept, because it cuts across all the calculations and achievements that we want to do to earn our salvation. 
            Every day, we need to choose.   Standing before God's amazing GRACE, how do we respond?
            The good news in the gospel story is about GRACE...  about God's GIFT to us.   The bread in the wilderness was a GIFT.  The bread as word from heaven is a GIFT. 
            The Word became flesh and came to live among us...  full of grace and truth.
            To all who received him, who believed in his name, he gives power to become children of God.
            From his fullness we have all received, grace upon grace.     

            So--  let us taste the bread of life...
            let us taste and see that it is good!

Rev. Fran Hayes, Pastor
Littlefield Presbyterian Church
Dearborn, Michigan
August 16, 2015

1 [1]Barbara Brown Taylor, in a sermon on this text in Home By Another Way (Cowley, 1999), p. 176.