No More Apologies (or Labels)

Church

“Oh, I’m not that kind of Christian.” I have uttered those words more times than I can count. As a child, playing with neighbors, in the halls of middle and high school, in social gatherings in college, in offices I’ve worked in, and now, as an ordained minister, seemingly to most every person I meet. I’ve grown weary of apologizing for my faith. Maybe you have as well. Continue reading “No More Apologies (or Labels)”

The First Birth Annoucement

Advent 2015We love to get birth announcements in the mail. The announcement usually arrives with a picture of the baby, the proud parents and sister and brothers’ names and their weight and height. For a baseball card comparison, it’s life’s rookie card. Jesus’ parents didn’t have to send out a birth announcement because of an angel of the Lord did so for them. I am bringing you good news of great joy.

Do you know the rest of the announcement? It’s important stuff. “Do not be afraid, for I am bringing you good news of great joy for all people.” Eugene Peterson calls the birth of Jesus “an event for everyone.” We focus on the good news for us and our lives, but what about for everyone else. Not to mention that the very first words after the birth of Jesus are “do not be afraid.”

As we open gifts on Christmas morning, are we also willing to open our hearts and spirits? Are we willing to embrace that the birth of Jesus is good news for all the earth? Are we willing to quit letting fear rule our thoughts and actions?

Our land today is ripe with fear and misunderstanding and all of the bad fruit that fear and misunderstanding produces. Perhaps I am a bit naive but I still believe that we are stronger together than we are apart. I believe there is no “us” and “them” but only “we.” As a follower of Jesus, I am concerned that if we will not work for and stand up for peace, then who will.

Very soon, a word of hope will be spoken into our anxiety and fear. Are you prepared to receive and believe this word? It was the first birth announcement.

“Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy for all people.”

Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room

I get it. I really do. The recent terror attacks abroad and the Syrian refugee crisis is a tough issue. Our elected leaders have a really difficult task, in terms of deciding how to balance welcoming people into our country while maintaining a level of security that protects our nation. I get it. The terror needs to stop and the people committing it need to be brought to justice. The world needs peace and security. Continue reading “Let Every Heart Prepare Him Room”

The Church’s Game 7 Moment

BravesThere has been a great article going around the web that originated with the Humans of New York site, written by a women in New York studying to be a rabbi. She makes the correlation between being in the crowd at an important baseball game and feeling the emotion and contentedness that comes when people come together around a common cause. If you have been to an important sporting event, you know this feeling.

I was struck by her honesty in the beginning. “I’m studying to be a rabbi. I’m a little worried that I’ll be out of a job because less and less people seem to find religion meaningful.” Continue reading “The Church’s Game 7 Moment”

Not Knowing What to Say, But Saying It Anyway- Random Thoughts on Gun Violence

Oregon PrayersTo be honest, I am not quite sure what to say. Perhaps that is not the best way to start a blog where you are trying to say something. So, this may seem like a post made up of random thoughts. I think that’s okay.

I know many people do have a lot to say when it comes to the subject of guns and gun violence. In full disclosure, I’ve never lived in a house where guns where present. I did not grow up going hunting or even shooting for sport. I’ve never personally lived around either a healthy or unhealthy gun environment. I know gun owners and non gun owners who are wonderful people and have a positive influence on my life. Among my non-clergy friends, I suspect I am in the minority when it comes to gun ownership. Continue reading “Not Knowing What to Say, But Saying It Anyway- Random Thoughts on Gun Violence”

#Kellyonmymind, the Bible, and Capital Punishment

Kelly GissbenderToday is a sad day because one of God’s children, one of God’s beloved, has been executed by the state of Georgia. Capital Punishment is nothing new of course; Jesus was executed by the empire, the prevailing kingdom of the day. Kelly Gissendaner’s story was unique in that is was not her crime that was in question, it was what happened to her while prison that brought her such a passionate following.

I had the privilege of spending a year while in seminary as a chaplain at Metro State Prison, Continue reading “#Kellyonmymind, the Bible, and Capital Punishment”

The One Thing That Really Bothers Me About Kim Davis

One could see this was coming. When the SCOTUS ruled that same sex marriage was legal in all 50 states, we knew that someone, somewhere would refuse to issue marriage licenses to same sex couples. We know now that it isKim Davis, in Rowan County, Kentucky. There has been a lot of really good stuff written about this development.There has been some not so good stuff written, especially by people who have personally attacked Kim Davis with insults that are inappropriate at best and in many cases downright mean.

So, here’s the one thing that has really been bothering me about Kim Davis. In almost every major news article written, the word Christians has been used way too often to describe her supporters and those who believe that she is doing the right thing. Too many articles and interviews have painted opposition to same sex marriage as a universal belief of all Christians, that somehow same sex marriage is an affront to all Christians. True, some do have this belief, but it is by no means a universal view held by Christians, and many would argue its a small but vocal minority that hold this view. Continue reading “The One Thing That Really Bothers Me About Kim Davis”