Saturday, January 24, 2015

The Hopeless People - Jonah 3:1-10

Jonah 3:1-10

Then the word of the LORD came to Jonah a second time: "Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you." Jonah obeyed the word of the LORD and went to Nineveh. Now Nineveh was a very important city-- a visit required three days. On the first day, Jonah started into the city. He proclaimed: "Forty more days and Nineveh will be overturned." The Ninevites believed God. They declared a fast, and all of them, from the greatest to the least, put on sackcloth. When the news reached the king of Nineveh, he rose from his throne, took off his royal robes, covered himself with sackcloth and sat down in the dust. Then he issued a proclamation in Nineveh: "By the decree of the king and his nobles: Do not let any man or beast, herd or flock, taste anything; do not let them eat or drink. But let man and beast be covered with sackcloth. Let everyone call urgently on God. Let them give up their evil ways and their violence. Who knows? God may yet relent and with compassion turn from his fierce anger so that we will not perish." When God saw what they did and how they turned from their evil ways, he had compassion and did not bring upon them the destruction he had threatened.

      My roommate in college wanted to be a missionary.    He wanted to go to some distant and exotic part of the world and preach the Gospel.

      We both had met missionaries and had heard them tell their stories.    My roommate and I had become good friends with a missionary to Pakistan.   We corresponded frequently with a missionary to Brazil.  One of our own classmates had gone to Peru.

     And my roommate had been inspired by these missionaries and had decided to go on the mission field and share the Gospel.

      So my roommate packed his bags after graduation and traveled to the distant land of

      Hawaii? I couldn't believe it.  “What kind of mission field was that,” I asked him.

      “Well,” he said, “somebody has got to do it.”   It might as well be him.

      Poor old Jonah finds out that the Lord is calling him to the mission field.  But it is not sunny Hawaii.  It's Nineveh.  Folks, going to Nineveh is like going to Iraq or Afghanistan.

      That is not the place a tourist would go. It is not the place that any person in his or her right mind would go.   But it is the place where God calls Jonah to go.

      The book of Jonah opens with the Lord speaking to Jonah, saying "Go to the great city of Nineveh and preach against it, for its wickedness has come up before me.

      Jonah, being both a man of devout faith and of devout reason, does the reasonable thing.  Nineveh is in the East.  Jonah therefore takes the westbound train.

      He heads for the sea and tries to go in the opposite direction from Nineveh.

     You see Nineveh was not the kind of place that would welcome a stranger.    Especially a stranger who was going to tell them to change their ways.  This was a cruel city in a cruel nation.  At one point in their history, the Assyrians would decapitate their enemies and mount the heads on poles at the city gates as a warning to anyone who entered the city.

    What a strange and bizarre welcome sign! Now who wants to go visit a city like that?  Jonah doesn't.  So he runs and goes the other way.

     Of course, what happens is that while he is at sea Jonah's boat is caught up in a storm!  Jonah is thrown overboard and a giant sea creature is sent by God to swallow Jonah.

     This fellow's having a bad time of it.  First he is told by God to go to the worst place on earth and tell the meanest people on earth to repent of their sins.   Then he is caught up in a terrible storm at sea and now he is stuck in the belly of a fish.

      It must have been frightening, dark and it must have smelled terrible.  But within that place, Jonah remembered God and praised God.   Jonah is then rescued and he goes onto Nineveh, and this is where we pick up the Old Testament lesson for today.   Jonah has been rescued and he goes onto Nineveh.

      Now, Jonah does not like the people of Nineveh.  He is, in a sense, a cultural racist.  We all know people like that.

      There are some people who are like that with blacks, or whites or Hispanics, or the poor, or Muslims, or the Jews, or the Arabs.  Jonah was like that with the people of Nineveh.  He despised them.  So it is perhaps with some pleasure that when he finally gets to Nineveh, he pronounces a message of judgment and destruction, announcing that in 40 days the city would be destroyed by God.

      Then the people of Nineveh do the most amazing thing.  They listen to the preacher!

      They listen to Jonah.  They repent.  They change their way of doing things.

      They change their lifestyles.

      The king himself issued a proclamation for everyone to pray and to repent.    "Who knows," said the king,   "Perhaps the Lord will change his mind and not destroy us." And in fact, that is just what happens.   The Lord spares Nineveh.

     For Nineveh to repent means that ANYBODY can repent.

     Anybody can turn to God.  Anybody can change a lifestyle.

     I suspect that most of us know someone that we consider to be hopeless.

     The parent who is an alcoholic.
                 The spouse who has had an affair.
                             The child who is a terror.
                                         The neighbor who is a thief.
                                                     The criminal  in the jail cell.

     But the message of Jonah is that there is not a single person who is hopeless.    Anyone can repent.

     When I worked in the Department of Corrections as a counselor before entering the ministry, I met a lot of prisoners.     Many of them talked about how they were going to charge their life when they got out of prison.

     But over time it seems they all came back to jail.    And it got to be rather depressing.   It felt hopeless.  But it was not hopeless.  I did meet one person who was one of the most violent, meanest people I have ever met.  He was a scum.  He was worthless.  He was hopeless.  And when the man began going to church and professing Christ as savior I immediately knew that it was just a con job.

      He was up to something.

      He was up to no good – I just knew it.

      But it has been 30 years.  And the man is still going to church.   He has not returned to jail, except to preach.  He is one of the gentlest people I know, and a true Christian in every way.

     In fact, while I was in Seminary, my home church invited this man to preach.  At the time he was still an inmate, but he was in a work release program and was allowed under certain conditions to preach in churches.  But the invitation for him to preach in my home church did not set well with everyone.

     One person went to the pastor’s wife and asked, “What if someone loses a purse or pocket book, and they blame Zeb and accuse him of stealing it?”

     The pastor’s wife reassured the church member.  “Oh don’t worry.  Zeb’s not in prison for stealing.  He’s in prison for killing a man.”

      To many people, this man Zeb was beyond redemption. To God, he was given Grace.

      To most people, Zeb was worthless.  To God, he was a child of God.

      To most reasonable folks, he was hopeless.  But God never thinks of anyone as beyond hope.  After all, look at Nineveh.

      If Nineveh can repent, anybody can repent.

      If that city could change, any city could change.  If those people could change for the better, then anyone can change for the better.

      Even the parent who is an alcoholic.
                  Even the spouse who has had an affair.
                              Even the child who is a terror.
                                                Even the neighbor who is a thief.       
                                                      Even the criminal in the jail cell.
      Even you and me.

      The book of Jonah has such a dramatic miracle and such a controversial   biblical event.  People get wrapped up in trying to defend the scientific possibility that a man can indeed be swallowed by a fish and survive that they miss the greatest miracle of all in that book.

      God has hope in us.  God has faith that we can repent.  God offers us that opportunity.

      The miracle in the book of Jonah has nothing to do with a giant fish swallowing the man Jonah.   It has to do with the fact that Nineveh changed. And if Nineveh can, repent, anybody can repent.

     Who knows what possibilities there are in those people we have come to know as hopeless?   Who knows what value there is in the person we have come to think of as worthless?

     When God gives you the opportunity to extend the hand of friendship to someone you have come to consider worth less and hopeless, don't run the other way, as Jonah tried to do.  Take the opportunity.  Who knows what will happen to that other person?   

Copyright 2015. 
Dr. W. Maynard Pittendreigh
All rights reserved
Ministers may feel free to use some or all of this sermon in their own ministries as long as they do not publish in print or on the Internet without ascribing credit to the author.

Thursday, January 08, 2015

Telling the Secret - Mark 1:4-11

Mark 1:1-11
John the baptizer appeared[a] in the wilderness, proclaiming a baptism of repentance for the forgiveness of sins. And people from the whole Judean countryside and all the people of Jerusalem were going out to him, and were baptized by him in the river Jordan, confessing their sins. Now John was clothed with camel’s hair, with a leather belt around his waist, and he ate locusts and wild honey. He proclaimed, “The one who is more powerful than I is coming after me; I am not worthy to stoop down and untie the thong of his sandals. I have baptized you with[b] water; but he will baptize you with[c] the Holy Spirit.”
In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. 10 And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. 11 And a voice came from heaven, “You are my Son, the Beloved;[d] with you I am well pleased.”

         One of the decisions that every story teller has to make is when to tell the story's secret to people. Every story has a secret, and the teller has to decide whether to let the listener know about the secret early in the story, or to surprise them with it at the end. 
         Mystery  writers  often  hold  back  the secret  until  the last chapter, keeping us eagerly turning the pages to  discover  who killed  Colonel Mustard in the Library with the knife.
   The same is true of soap operas.   "Will Herbert find happiness by marrying the mysterious woman from his past?   Tune in tomorrow for another exciting episode of 'Love for Today'."
         There are, however, some stories that are best told by letting the audience in on the secret at the beginning.
   Some mystery writers don't hold back the details of who-done-it.   They tell the listener of the story before the police in the story discover the body.   The old television series, Columbo, was a classic of that type.   The excitement of that show was not in our trying to figure out who done it.   We knew that from the beginning.  We knew the secret.   The excitement was in watching a scruffy police lieutenant named Columbo unravel the mystery that we already understood.
         In fact, the first stories we hear in life are like that.   We already know the secret in the fairy tails.
         "Oh Grand’ ma, what big eyes you have," says the innocent little girl with the red hood.    But we already know the secret of the ravenous destruction that lies under those covers.
         Or in another children’s tale, the "ugly duckling," is shunned because of the ugliness, but then finally emerges as the lovely swan, that WE always knew him to be.
In Princeton, New Jersey, there is a legendary tale about the famous scientist, Albert Einstein. He was walking in front of a local hotel and was mistaken by one of the travelers as a bell boy.   "Here, take these bags up to 214.   Hurry up flow, don't scratch the suit cases."   Einstein, who has been busy contemplating the secrets of the atom, picks up the suit cases and carries them up to 214.
When they arrive at the room,   the traveler hands Einstein a tip, along with some advice.   "Son, you're too old to be a bell hop.   You should make something of yourself.   Go back to school and get some vocational training."
         Then Einstein continues his walk and continues to unravel the mysteries of the universe.
We enjoy that story because we know the secret that the traveler in the story doesn't know.
         We enjoy that story because we know the secret that the traveler in the story does not know.
         We know the secret from the start.

          The Gospel of Mark is just such a Story

         The Gospel of Mark is just such a story. The secret of Mark's gospel is the identity of Jesus Christ. In the very first sentence of the story, Mark lifts the veil and tells us, "This is the Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God."
         Jesus is the Son of God, that's the secret, and lest we miss it, this hidden truth is confirmed in the story's opening episode, when Jesus, coming up out of the waters of baptism, sees the Holy Spirit descending upon him like a dove from the heavens, which have been torn open like a piece of cloth, and hears the very voice of God telling the secret, "Thou art my beloved Son, with thee I am well pleased."
         Only Jesus sees the Spirit; only Jesus hears the voice. This is, in the words of one commentator, "a secret epiphany."
         God knows the secret. Now Jesus knows the secret. And because Mark has let us in on it, we know the secret too.  Jesus is the Son of God. And now we watch with amazement as the story unfolds, because almost no one else seems to be able to discover and understand this simple secret.
         The authorities don't understand the secret.  They think Jesus is a troublemaker.
The People don't understand the secret.  They think Jesus is just another prophet.
Even his disciples fail to understand the secret and are blind to the full truth that He is in every way, the Son of the Living God.
Ironically, it is in the middle of the story of Mark’s Gospel that the demons come to discover and recognize that Jesus is the Son of God.

The thing is, he doesn't look like the Son of God.   Like the genius Einstein dragging the heavy suitcases of a wealthy woman up the steps of a hotel, Jesus does not look like who he really is.

Near the end of the Gospel, Jesus is crucified.    He looks   defeated.    Some messiah he turned out to be.   The whole crowd sees what SEEMS to be.  Someone, in a tasteless joke, makes a sign and writes, KING OF THE JEWS on it.  Another yells out,
"You said you could do great things, well do something great, come down and save yourself."
Another member of the crowd says in disgust, "He said he could save others. Why he can't even save himself."
     But ONE person in that crowd and doesn't see what SEEMS to be.  Beyond the appearance and sees REAL.  He glimpses the secret.
     One of the soldiers, one of the ones who is there to maintain order, to see the crowd doesn't get out of hand, that Jesus dies properly ...  looks sees Jesus breath his last.   And in a moment of truth, says, "Surely, this was the son of God."
     In a sense, the Gospel of Mark is a mirror image of the world.
     The world looks at Jesus and doesn't understand the secret, that He is the Son of God.
     Like the people in Mark, people today see Jesus as a trouble maker we need to keep out of our schools, as a prophet who said some nice things but nothing more, or as a historical figure who has become larger than life in the retelling of the stories.  
     But once in a while, there will be a man or woman who, like the Roman soldier, will take a good look at Jesus and suddenly realize, "Surely, this is the Son of God!"

     Our task is to become the story teller.
     We know the secret.
     Jesus is the Son of God.
     What we have to do with that secret is not keep it, but spread it and share it and help others to understand it. 
     We don't do enough of that in the church.  We don't share the Good News with others.
     Jesus once said that He would make His disciples fishers of men.  By that, He meant He wanted us to share the secret of who He was with the world and to bring others into the church.
     I don't know about you, but I like to go fishing.  My father and I used to do a lot of fishing, and the story I'm about to tell you is absolute, 100%, almost true.
     Dad and I were fishing in a lake and the fish were jumping and hoping.  You've seen fish do that in a lake before.
     Well, I every time I would see a fish jump up out of the water, I would reel in my line and cast my hook right were the fish had jumped.  My Dad told me I was wasting my time, because by the time I would have cast my line over there, the fish would have been gone.
     Lo and behold, it wasn't five minutes later that a fish actually jumped up out of the water and landed right smack in our boat.
     Now, that is the kind of fishers of men the church is today.
     We're sitting in our boats -- I mean our pews -- and we're waiting for the souls to just hop right in on their own.
     Wouldn't we be more effective if we would get up out of our pew and walk into the world around us and share the story, tell the secret --- "Jesus Christ is the Son of God."

Copyright 2015. 
All rights reserved
Ministers may feel free to use some or all of this sermon in their own ministries as long as they do not publish in print or on the Internet without ascribing credit to the author.

Friday, January 02, 2015

Staying In Character - John 1:1-18

John 1:1-18

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.  He was with God in the beginning.  Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.  In him was life, and that life was the light of men.  The light shines in the darkness, but the darkness has not understood it.  There came a man who was sent from God; his name was John.  He came as a witness to testify concerning that light, so that through him all men might believe.  He himself was not the light; he came only as a witness to the light.  The true light that gives light to every man was coming into the world.  He was in the world, and though the world was made through him, the world did not recognize him.  He came to that which was his own, but his own did not receive him.  Yet to all who received him, to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God--children born not of natural descent, nor of human decision or a husband's will, but born of God.  The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the One and Only, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.  John testifies concerning him. He cries out, saying, "This was he of whom I said, 'He who comes after me has surpassed me because he was before me.'"  From the fullness of his grace we have all received one blessing after another.  For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.  No one has ever seen God, but God the One and Only, who is at the Father's side, has made him known.

            When I was a kid, my favorite television show was Superman.  Understand, this was in the 1950s, when every home had only one television set, received only 2 stations, and all shows were in black and white.

            Superman of my childhood was a low tech show with simple special effects. 

            But he was dependable.

            Every episode, he fought for truth, justice and the American way and at one point in the episode, the bad guys could be trusted to try to shoot Superman.

            This was the most exciting moment of the show.

            The criminal would aim his pistol, fire off six bullets, while Superman stood there looking bored.  Bullets would bounce off Superman’s chest.

            Then the bad guy would realize with some surprise that the gun was out of bullets, and without fail, he would throw the empty gun at Superman.

            That’s when Superman would duck.

            We could never figure that out as kids – this man who was never afraid of bullets would be afraid of a simple, empty gun that was tossed in the air.

            What does Superman have to fear?  He’s the man of steel. 

            Well, as an adult I know now what was going on.  As an actor, it was easy for George Reeves of the old Superman shows to bravely face the bullets bouncing off his chest.  There were no bullets.  The sparks of the bullets on his chest were added later, as an early special effect.

            But when the gun was thrown, that was real.  And the actor would, for just an instant, get out of character and duck so he wouldn’t be hit by the fake handgun the other actor had thrown at him.

            As an actor, it was easy for George Reeves to ACT like Superman, even though there were times when reality would creep into the series. And then he would step briefly out of character.

            As Christians, it is easy for us to ACT like Christians, who believe in Christ, especially at Christmas time. 

            But now that Christmas is over, the world around us sets in and it is hard for us to stay in the Christian character.  And sometimes we are not acting like Christians.  We are acting out of character.

            It is easy to act like we believe

when we are singing songs of Christmas carols,

decorating the tree,

setting up the manger set.

            It is hard to stay in that character of belief

when we have to go back to school to face the tests and lectures;

or when we have to pack up the decorations in the attic

and go back to work to face the boss and the routine.

            It is easy to act like we believe when we are surrounded by words and symbols of faith and Christmas.

            It is hard to stay in that Christian character when we have to face the world of health problems, work frustrations, and family fights.

            And sometimes at this point of the calendar year we find ourselves thinking, “What did we celebrate Christmas for?  What was it all about?”

            John’s Gospel starts by telling us “what it was all about.”  The Gospel of John doesn’t start with a Christmas story.  It doesn’t start with Christ in a crib.  It doesn’t start with the birth of our Lord.  It starts by telling us what our faith is all about.

Jesus is the Word

            John’s Gospel begins with a poetic description of Jesus.  “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

            “What’s the good word,”  is something we often ask and hear. 

            With a word, I can make you laugh, or cry.

I can draw you closer with words of love and grace.

And I can push you away with harsh critical words.

I can discourage you with things like, “What a stupid thing to do,” and “you’ll never amount to anything,” “loser” “quit now and avoid frustration.”

Or I can encourage you. “Yes you can, I’ll help you. I will never quit on you. You can count on me to be in your corner.” “I WILL love you NO MATTER WHAT!”

If I can speak properly, I can stir up almost any emotion –






“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

And what are the words that the Word of God verbalizes?




Back on Christmas Eve, it was easy to believe these words of love and grace. 

Can’t we stay in the Christian character all year long, and continue to believe.  Not act like we believe, but truly believe.

Jesus is God

            One of the most important messages of John’s Gospel comes at the beginning.  He is poetically talking about Jesus as The Word.  “In the beginning was the Word – Christ.  And the Word, or Christ, was with God.  And the Word, or Christ, was God.”

            At Christmas time, we sang carols that proclaimed that Jesus was God. 

            But as we move away from Christmas, it is easy for us to step out of our Christian Character and to be more like the rest of the world.

            The rest of the world would say, Jesus was a good man. 

Which he was.

            The rest of the world would say, Jesus was a good teacher. 

Which he was.

            The rest of the world would say, Jesus a real person who certainly in fact lived.

Which he did.

            However, the rest of the world would feel more comfortable leaving out a statement that said that Jesus was the Son of God and was himself, God. 
    It is easy for some to step out of the Christian character and act like Jesus was just a good teacher who lived long ago.
   John’s Gospel reminds us that Jesus was – and is – God.

            When we step out of that belief, we have completely stepped out of the Christian character.

Jesus is unchanging

            John’s Gospel goes on to say, “He was with God in the beginning.”

            Nothing brings home how much our world is changing than Christmas, and nothing produces a greater nostalgic longing for the world to STOP changing than Christmas.

            At Christmas, we see changes all around us.

            Children are growing up.

            We may be reminded once again that someone we loved has died and is no longer with us to celebrate the holiday.

            We remember the way things used to be when we were children and we miss the past.

            We may feel overwhelmed by the changes.

            And we may long for the world to stop changing. 

            I don’t think we are opposed to changes in our lives.  We need change.  We’d be very bored otherwise.

            But we need something, or someone, who is consistent in our lives.  Who never changes. And Christ is that unchanging consistency.

            The Gospel of John says, “He (meaning Christ) was with God in the beginning.”

            The Book of Hebrews tell us that “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” (13:8)

            The Character of Christianity is to trust that Christ never changes.  We need to stay in that character.  The world may change.  Christ does not.

Jesus is the Light of the World

            John’s Gospel also tells us that Jesus is the light of the world.  John goes into great detail here, explaining how John the Baptist came to announce the arrival of the light of the world, and how John the Baptist was not the light, but was announcing that the light would soon arrive.

            Jesus is the light of the world.

            And light is a comforting thing.

            All parents know that the best defense against the monster who lives in a child’s closet or under a child’s bed, is light.

            Turn the light on!

            Darkness is a frightening thing.

            Light is a comforting thing.

            I remember when I was 13 years old, I had a frightening experience.

            I was in the shower and I was washing my hair with a new and different shampoo.  Some of the shampoo got into my eyes and it burned.  I mean it was really very painful.  I rinsed my scalp and my eyes  the best I could and when I was finally able to open my eyes, they still burned.

            But more than that,  I had actually lost my eyesight.  I was totally blind.  I couldn’t believe shampoo could be so strong that it could literally blind you.

            I didn’t want to call out for help because I was standing in the shower without any clothing on, and 13 year old boys are sensitive about stuff like that.  So inspite of the fact that I am now totally blind, instead of calling for help, I grope in the darkness until I find my robe and put it on.

            Just as I am about to yell for help, the electricity comes back online.

            I can see again.

            You see, while I had my eyes closed, the power had gone off for just a moment, and standing there in total darkness – I assumed the worst.

            Of course, I was ONLY 13 years old at the time and those of you who are 14 years old or older know that is the time when your body grows faster than your brain.

            But darkness – it is a frightening thing, and nothing dispels the fear like the light.

            To live in spiritual darkness is to live in loneliness and despair and fear – and nothing dispels that spiritual darkness better than Jesus Christ, the light of the world.

            At Christmas time it is so easy to be in the Christian Character and to sing songs about Jesus being the light of the world.  We love to light the candles on Christmas Eve in the candle-lighting services.  But then it is so tempting to go home and get out of the character of Christianity and to step back into the darkness.

            We need to live throughout the whole year as people of the light.

Through Jesus, we have a relationship with God

            Now, John is making several points here, but he is moving all of them into one single, important point.

            Jesus is the Word.

            Jesus is God.

Jesus is unchanging.

            Jesus is the light.

            All of these points converge into one most important point – Jesus is someone through whom we can have a relationship with God.

            During Christmas it is easy to sing those songs of Christ’s birth and of his salvation he brings.

            But with the Christmas season coming to an end, it is easy for us to listen to the voice of the world.  And the world insists that all roads lead to God, and that there is no difference between Christ and Mohammed or Buddha. 

            Actually, the world has a point in saying that all religions lead people to God. 

            That is a biblical statement.  All roads do lead to God.

            Matthew’s Gospel tells us this is true.

            In chapter 25 of Matthew, Jesus tells us, “When the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the angels with him, he will sit on his throne in heavenly glory. All the nations will be gathered before him…”

See – the world is right.  All religions, all roads lead to God.

However, Jesus continues…  “All the nations will be gathered before him and he will separate the people one from another as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. He will put the sheep on his right and the goats on his left.”

What happens after that is judgment.  Some are blessed with eternal life.  Others are not so blessed.

            All religions lead to God, but when I face God on judgment day, I don’t want to face God the judge.  I want to face God the father.  It is through Christ that I enter that relationship and become a child of God.  John’s Gospel says in the opening verses, “to all who received him,”  (that is to say, Christ), “to those who believed in his name, he gave the right to become children of God.”

            This is the real difference of Christianity.  It means that when we find ourselves on judgment day and all of the nations are gathered together – Christians already have a personal relationship with God. Christians are forgiven.  Christians stand ready to receive the blessing of eternal life.

            Everyone else – well, that’s God’s business and He will deal with them as a judge.

            But he will deal with us as a loving father who deals with his children.

            That is what Christmas was all about.  And while Christmas is past, and the decorations are coming down, and the gifts may soon be forgotten, the character of Christmas and Christianity survives throughout the whole year.

Copyright 2014
W. Maynard Pittendreigh
All rights reserved
Ministers may feel free to use some or all of this sermon in their own ministries as long as they do not publish in print or on the Internet without ascribing credit to the author.