Hating the Invisible Man

We finally made it to the Oregon Coast yesterday. I took some pictures in the redwood forest that I'll share soon, but this post isn't about that.We got in before dinner and were happy to learn that we had a hotel room with an ocean view. Not only that, but it actually is right on the beach. So of course, we decided to sleep with the windows open.It's one thing to fall asleep to the nature sounds on my iPad; it's entirely another to drift into an alpha state to the real thing.And … [Read more...]

Lines at Easter

I am an amateur poet. Well, more precisely I scribble on paper and end up throwing it next to my bed in my ever growing pile of papers, or if it’s lucky it ends up in a binder. Whatever that is called, that is what I do. The majority of my poetry focuses on nature, philosophy or love. However, I have long desired to write a poem that would reflect the inner emotions I feel toward God. Unfortunately, any time I have attempted this in the past, it ended up sounding cliché. You know how it is - in y … [Read more...]

On Being a Christian

Tibetan Copper Gautama Buddha 14th c.AD

In a recent reading of Erich Fromm's To Have or to Be, I've once again confronted an identity crisis. Am I a Christian or have I merely had faith? Christianity's Eastern roots would demand the prior, but the American Christian world at large bellows the latter in 3D Dolby Digital surround sound. Fromm's emphasis upon two modes of existence epitomizes all that I love and hate about twenty-first century Christianity. I love the possibility of a new way being. I hate the current possession of … [Read more...]

Facebook is Helping Me Grieve

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By Jana RiessIn the news last week I read a story about a mother whose college-age daughter had died, but the mother kept her Facebook profile alive and active so that friends and family could continue to post their memories. Months passed, and then someone took it upon himself or herself to alert Facebook that this young woman was, in fact, dead -- a clear violation of Facebook's stated policies. Citing privacy concerns, Facebook "memorialized" the page, and the young woman's mother can no … [Read more...]

The Dangerous Pursuit of Pastoral Fame

As my chiropractor was working me over yesterday, she was asking about the reading I’m currently doing for a degree I’m working on. After I rattled off the titles and subjects of a number of leadership books, she said, “Wow, what are you going to do when you are finished with school—rule the world?”“Actually, I’m moving in the opposite direction,” I said.And I am trying to mean that. Genuinely.Over the last few years, I’ve thought long and hard about “my platform” as a pastor, a write … [Read more...]

Aids, homosexuality…confronting the terminal illness of judgement

Last night, working in the emergency department we had a woman maybe in her seventy's come in with her forty year old son. To look at him you would never guess he was forty. He looked older than his mother, he was thin, gaunt and literally wasting away. He didn't have to say a word, you could see pain, suffering, shame and guilt written all over him. He was in the end stages of AIDS. Ravaged by the disease, he was severly dehydrated and dying of malnutrition...and his mom wasn't coping with it … [Read more...]

Black History – White Woman

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Thank you. I’m sorry.I need to say both. Thank you to everyone who has written, sung, or spoken the difficult truths of racism, discrimination, oppression and privilege. Thank you to my friends who have taken the time to tell me their stories so that I might understand my own historybetter, so that I might understand myself better. I’m sorry that you have these painful stories to tell. I regret that I didn’t already know them. I realize now that I’ve been callous about your experience a … [Read more...]

For those who know: a modern parable

It may have occurred to you as strange my friend when the ravenous vultures began to circle and their constant heckle seemed to contradict their once ominous cry. Even then they cried with the same retched tone, without ever saying anything of substance, which could have provided an explanation for their dogma. I suppose if our great teacher had figured it all out as theirs did, we all would be one big happy family. However, when our teacher came he created instability through his nonsensical … [Read more...]

A parable:prodigal faith…returning home

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For years she had cultivated her faith in her father's house. And for years she looked out the windows across the fences, the barriers at the other side...wondering about those people the " other." One evening, just as the curtains were falling on another day all here questions and wondering errupted like a volcano. It all came spewing out and filled the space around her. There was no way she could shove and poke it all back in. It finally would have to dealt with. In the morning she would … [Read more...]

An Evangelical Pentecostal Naturalist?

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I'm often described in the mainstream media as an 'Evangelical minister' or ‘Pentecostal preacher', even though I speak far more often in moderate and liberal churches (and in secular settings) than I do in Evangelical, Pentecostal, and Emerging Church venues. Not surprisingly, I've been asked on a number of occasions, by both religious liberals and conservatives, "In what sense do you consider yourself a Pentecostal Evangelical? And how does that mesh with you being an outspoken religious n … [Read more...]


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