2014-12-7 Sermon “Make the Path Straight” Tezenlo Thong

Make the Path Straight

Mark 1:1-8

On March 12, 1930, Mahatma Gandhi undertook an important step known as the Salt Satyagraha or Salt March. He walked for 24 days, covering a distance of about 240 miles. His goal was to pick a handful of salt at the end of the march. Why would you want to walk for so long just to pick up a handful of salt? This was Gandhi’s principle of active nonviolence protest against the British rule in India.

Salt was, as it is today, a very important element in the diet of every Indian. The British saw an opportunity to exploit this essential item for economic gain. The British mandated a law that prohibited Indians from making salt. Picking or making salt for self-consumption was now illegal. The only salt that is legal is the one sold by the British. Gandhi saw this gross injustice as an epitome of the British rule in India. So he marched in order to make the path straight for the suffering ordinary Indians. He walked for so long because he wanted to level the playing field for the oppressed and the exploited. He wanted to make the rough ground smooth for the future generation. Inevitably, the moment Gandhi picked up a lump of natural salt on the Dandi seashore, he was considered a criminal. He broke the law, no matter how unjust, and was arrested and put into jail by the British.

I see marches or walks being organized everywhere in the US at this point in history. Last Saturday, a group of Native Americans and supporters walked from the Sand Creek Massacre Memorial site and ended the march at the state capitol. This was in conjunction with the 150th anniversary of the Sand Creek Massacre that took place in 1864 where about 200 Arapahoe and Cheyenne people, mostly women, children and elders, were murdered by an infantry led by a Methodist clergy, John Chivington. Following the verdict by a grand jury not to indict the police officer who killed an unarmed teenager, some protesters started a 120-mile march from Ferguson to the governor’s mansion in Jefferson City. Again, in New York, following another grand jury’s decision not to bring charges against another police officer who chokehold a man who later died, there is a national protest march being called on December 13 in Washington, DC. These marches are reminiscent of the civil rights marches in the 1960s when people walked hand in hand in order to make the path straight and the rough ground smooth.

While we will never be able to totally overcome our sense of prejudices, biases and self-love/-centeredness, we are called to walk the path of righteousness so that those who come after us will find the path smoother, straighter and broader. While we will never experience a world without injustice and discrimination, we are called to

“Make the road straight and smooth,
a highway fit for our God.
Fill in the valleys,
level off the hills,
Smooth out the ruts,
clear out the rocks.”

Tezenlo Thong, Pastor, Simpson United Methodist Church


2014-11-23 Messages received from Sermon “Finding God in Discarded Places” Tezenlo Thong

Finding God in Discarded Places 

  • I definitely subscribe to the prophets view of life, it’s up to us to do God’s will.
  • Why am I not anxious about the coming of Jesus, I am trying to live life in a good way.
  • Are you living in fear or hope.
  • We are called to work for God. We are called to work with God.
  • The Kingdom of God cannot arrive without our working for and with God.

Skyline Chili Replenished

Received a box in the mail from my “little brother” Sam.  (Yay he reads my blog!). He lives right outside of Cincinnati and is responsible for my Skyline Chili addiction.


I’ve gotten some Coloradans asking me “What in the heck is Skyline Chili?”  Skyline Chili is to Cincinnati like McDonald’s is to anywhere else.  In Cincinnati on one side of the street you will have a Skyline Chili joint and on the other side of the street you will have a White Castle Burger joint.


I had forgotten about the special plates for your three-way, four-way or five-way  making it easy to dig into without losing too much off the sides!

Another Cincinnati favorite is Montgomery Inn.  The barbecue there is awesome, it might be the secret recipe or the humidity we just don’t have here in Denver messing with your taste buds.


This restaurant was opened in 1951 and the famous barbecue sauce recipe is over 60 years old!

In 1949 Nicholas Lambrinides introduced Cincinnati to Skyline Chili bringing his family recipes from Greece.


My brother has sent me care packages from Cincinnati before and they always have these oyster crackers, I don’t know where they go because as far as I  can recall they’re not served with any of the “ways”………  Skyline Chili police help with this mystery please!

The best part of this box is when I make these dishes it’ll bring back the memory of visiting my brother in Cincinnati and just hanging out with family.  XOXO thank you Sam!


Pickling Update


Earlier this year I received from my brother this pickling contraption.


Unfortunately the instructions were written in Japanese and I don’t read Japanese!

On my first attempts at pickling I thought I was supposed to keep tightening down the little pressure plate.  I kept the veggies really pressed down and the result was uneven flavor because of too much pressure.

Thank goodness for the Internet!  I started my online research and discovered that the goal was just to keep your veggies below the surface of your pickling medium.  Anything above the pickling medium was in danger of rotting or becoming moldy.

Here I just used the pressure plate to keep the stuff submerged.


The pickles on the left, the smaller ones, were picked for about five days and were slightly too salty but had a good flavor.  The pickles on the right were pickled for about three days and were perfect and still very crunchy.

The medium was organic black miso.



Thanks again Sam really enjoying my gift.  Yay pickling contraption!  Great fun!  🍱


2014-11-30 Sermon ““When are you coming?” Tezenlo Thong

“When are you coming?”

Mark 13:24-37

Today’s reading from the Gospel of Mark is a part of what is known as apocalyptic literature. We see this type of literature in other books like the books of Daniel and Revelations. Apocalyptic literature emerged as a result of socio-political crisis facing the Jews. During crises, the people of Israel were asking, “Why are we suffering? Why is God not intervening on our behalf? When is the promised kingdom coming? When is the promised Messiah coming?”

When we are afflicted by sorrow and sadness in life, we ask, “When are you coming?” When we are confused and tired we ask God, “When is your kingdom coming? When are you going to fulfill your promise?” We recognize forces of darkness, such as violence, injustice, discrimination, economic disparity, etc., around us and wonder how long we will have to endure it. We ask God, “When are you coming? When are you going to show up? When are you going to intervene?”

As mortal human beings we ask these questions when we face circumstances that are beyond our control.  When we are faced with national or personal tragedy that we cannot do anything about, we look to the heavens and ask, “When are you coming?” The Kingdom of God may not happen or come according to our desire and time, but it will surely come. All we are asked is to be busy as we wait and watch. We are called to wait actively.

Tezenlo Thong, Pastor

Simpson United Methodist Church