January 14, 2021

The Mainline Protestant church is dying. Church leaders have known this for decades. We developed the church consultation industry to sell us solutions. The answers we bought are only apparently true. We hear “evangelical churches are growing because of their theology.” Or “we need programs and other worship styles to attract younger people.” Is the problem theology or marketing? No. The problem is a form of cultural suicide. Mainline Is Sidelined The mainline churches are failing while a few congregations… Read more

January 11, 2021

A sermons series I once preached was called The Marks of Cain. The marks I identified were rage, greed, and domination. I pondered this series over the weekend in light of the attack on the Capitol building on January 6th. I remembered John Hancock’s line in 1776. “Don’t you see any colony opposed to us will be forced to fight on the side of England? We will be putting brother against brother. Our new nation will bear as it’s emblem the mark… Read more

January 7, 2021

I am angry. It is anger borne out of frustration. I know the people who caused the violence in DC will not be held accountable. The people who participated in it may be. But the right-wing media outlets and the alt-right platforms will not be held accountable. One deluded person died. It was a farce because of evil beliefs. Primarily, it is the belief in one’s own righteousness. Second, it is the willingness to be manipulated. But I must deal… Read more

January 4, 2021

Solomon says it well. “Do not answer fools according to their folly, or you will be a fool yourself.” It is a good answer. But there is another one. “Answer the fools according to their folly, or they will be wise in their own eyes.” This is also a good answer. But they cannot both be correct. To make matters even more maddening, Proverbs sets these statement one after the other in 26:4-5. While most biblical contradictions are unintentional, this one… Read more

December 30, 2020

The new Disney film Soul is a nice way to spend time. The Jazz-themed animated Pixar movie is not one of their best. But, hey, how many films like Finding Nemo and Ratatouille can a studio produce? Oh wait, there is Mulan. Too bad they tried that one again. Soul Skeptic I approached the movie as a Soul skeptic. One reason is that I am not fond of Jazz. Being an aging metal head and punk rock fan it is surprising I don’t care for Jazz…. Read more

December 28, 2020

Today we observe the massacre of the Holy Innocents. The story is about mass murder. The evil act is described in Matthew 2. It happens as the result of the visit of the Magi to Herod asking where the “King of the Jews” is born. It is a story that leaves a lot of open questions. Why are there no historical records or references to this action? Is it merely a literary device to parallel the story of Moses? How many… Read more

December 24, 2020

Linus told us what Christmas is all about. We try to remember it for the most part. Plans are made and remade. We rehearse plays, cantatas, and other special music. We watch the children play with animals. For most of us, we are in the place of the wise men. We see Christmas on its way. The star is arriving. Everyone diligently races to meet it. We know we will eventually get there. Christmas will happen. Nothing appears to stop… Read more

December 21, 2020

Mary is very important to the story of Jesus. Because, she is one of us. And that makes her different from her Son enough to make her more relatable to encourage us to be more Christian. This is the theme of my sermon from this past Sunday. How does that work? I does not work in the way tradition has given us. Who She Is Historically, we Protestants have gotten away from Mary. Talking about Mary seems too Catholic for… Read more

December 17, 2020

When will the kingdom come? Good question. Why are you waiting for it? Another good question. What do you expect it to be? The questions continue. Most Bible students want the answer to the first question without ever questioning their assumptions involved in the other ones. Advent is ending and Christmas is approaching. It is good to ask what we expect Christmas to be. Why? Because what we expect has a lot to do with mistakes we make. The Kingdom… Read more

December 14, 2020

Ecclesiastes is my favorite book of the Hebrew Bible. “Useless, useless, says the preacher, everything is vanity.” It is astonishing how one can achieve and then lose. Kipling’s poem “if” comes to mind here. Can a person really cope with emptiness? The Despair of Useless Living Thoreau claims, “all (people) live lives of quiet desperation.” Every generation believes it discovers this idea. But Ecclesiastes put it into words 2600 years ago. “And nothing is new under the sun.” People often think existential despair… Read more

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