Teeth Grinding Cure

Our time could not be more ambiguous. Spring flowers surround us, trees develop new foliage, and the shelves for barbeque items are filled in our hardware stores. Yet my dental hygienist tells me that there are more people than ever coming to his practice with teeth grinding problems. Apparently, there are some links between the current economic crisis and dentistry.

And, indeed, the times are grim. There is hardly a family not affected by “changes in account value”, by loss of a job, or intensifying working conditions. And all of it is surrounded by the beauty and color of the reawakening nature of our Garden State.

But we Christians have more than the dichotomy between nature and economy! In this sense, we are wealthier than those who go about their days without awareness of the divine presence. Paul brought this to a point when he wrote in Romans 1:17, “The one who is righteous will live by faith.” This profound statement does not mean that we should all become spiritual ascetics now, ignorant of our worldly needs and focusing on some spiritual realm alone.

Our Reformed branch of Protestantism was never good at splitting heaven and earth like this. We rather tend to apply our faith in the world. To live by faith in the current economic landscape provides us with the means of coping with our anxieties. First, we have trust that God will see us through. Second, we are well used to counting our blessings and to reevaluating our needs accordingly. Gratitude is an indispensable trait of true religion.

Thus, our faith can provide us with the willpower of cutting through our culture’s ideology that unlimited growth is necessary for our lives to be happy and successful. The righteous live by faith, not by economic expansion. Finally, our faith will always point us towards those who need our compassionate responses. Serving others is a good remedy for anxiety and depression.

This being said, I invite you to the following pages of our newsletter. They provide eloquent witness that our faith is neither dead, nor in retreat, but active within the various communities we serve. First Reformed Church – it’s a good place to be in these ambiguous times!

Your Pastor,

About Rev. Dr. Hartmut Kramer-Mills

Hartmut Kramer-Mills, a native of Jena, Germany, began his theological education at Heidelberg University. After the Middle Exam in 1986 he received a scholarship from the World Alliance of Reformed Churches for McCormick Theological Seminary in Chicago. He graduated from McCormick with a Master of Divinity in 1988. He graduated from Marburg University in Germany with the Ecclesiastical Exam in 1990, and received a Dr. theol. from Greifswald University, Germany, in 1997. From 1990 to 1991 he was vicar at St. Wenzel in Naumburg, Germany. He was ordained minister of word and sacrament in 1993 through the Protestant Church of the Church Province of Saxony. From 1993 to 1998 he served as assistant pastor in Stoessen, Goerschen, and Rathewitz, Germany. At the same time he was lecturer for Church History at Erfurt College in Germany. From 1999 to 2000 he served the Spotswood Reformed Church in New Jersey as interim pastor. Since 2000 he and his wife serve the First Reformed Church in New Brunswick, New Jersey, as co-pastors.
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