June 4, 2020

I suffer from a neurological condition called “essential tremor.” A lay member of my congregation asked me a question following Sunday worship. “Why do you shake?” It was Palm Sunday. My tremor was noticeable when I held up a palm leaf. The church finance chair was counting the morning offering in the other room. She responded in a way that said she had seen it too. “I don’t know,” I replied. “It seems to run in the family. As a… Read more

June 1, 2020

Jeremiah’s words apply to the situation of the United States and the American churches over the last six years since Ferguson. “For from the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely. They have treated the wound of my people carelessly, saying, ‘Peace, peace,” when there is no peace.” (6:13-14) It is evil to declare peace while slaughter continues. Applying a small bandage to a wound that needs stitches… Read more

May 27, 2020

Remember Pentecost? It’s that Holy Day fifty days after Easter Day. Yeah, that one. It coincides with the Jewish celebration Shavuot – the festival of the first fruits of the harvest. Christians celebrate this day as when the “first fruits” of the Kingdom are brought to God. Pentecost is also the beginning of best intentions of Christians. Sure, the Holy Spirit was poured out on the apostolic witnesses and the Church truly began in earnest. Three thousand souls were saved. It… Read more

May 21, 2020

Every generation is just arrogant enough to believe it has discovered all people “lead lives of quiet desperation.” I find it interesting that in the West children are taught a lot of “positive ideas.” There is a desire on the part of the adults to shield children from influences that give a different perspective. The Church is a huge culprit here. It has caused more disappointment than almost any other institution in the West. Why do the Churches disappoint? They… Read more

May 18, 2020

I was once told that “a liberal theologian is just an atheist dressed-up for church.” A liberal Christian denied the basic ideas of Christian doctrine and the authority and infallibility of Holy Scripture. Liberal Christians simply could not be real Christians without those values. Liberal Christians made accommodations to secular society. They used a questionable translation of Scripture (the Revised Standard Version). The liberal theologians relied on secular ideas instead of historic Christianity. And perhaps the most damning of all… Read more

May 14, 2020

A Religious Studies student brought a dish to her mother at work one day. She and a friend had been visiting a local mosque. The dish consisted of goat meat, rice, and cheese. Everyone working the shift that night sampled it. We all agreed it was delicious. She talked about how hospitable the Muslim community was. She and her friend had a good experience and intended to return. When Was This? This took place during the year 1997.  Up till… Read more

May 11, 2020

I remember the first time I was told I had “a pastor’s heart.” It was a very affirming moment for me. Like many pastors, I have experienced those “dark nights of the soul” where I was not sure if I was cut out for this work.  Ironically, those times are evidences of the pastor’s heart. “Pastor” is a uniquely Christian role in the community. The role of the pastor connects the person to the heart of Jesus. St. Peter refers… Read more

May 7, 2020

The meme world maintains that the Church is never closed. The building is closed. The ministry continues. These nice sentiments aside, we know our church closed, temporarily. Many ministries were suspended. We know the virtual worship services were not the same. The usual worshiping community did not all log on at the same time. We want to see the church re-opening. The central question for all of us is this. Are we re-opening the same Church? What Was Our Church… Read more

May 4, 2020

I teach Bible studies. That’s not a big surprise considering I am a pastor. Each study I hold gives time to how to interpret the text and how we may apply it. When beginning a new series of studies I caution the class about one important aspect that is easily forgotten. “Respect the fact that Holy Scripture is alien to us.” This Is News? I get funny looks when I say that. The Bible is very alien to us in… Read more

April 30, 2020

Christians make bad proclamations out of good observations. St. Paul’s famous observation from Romans 6:23, “For the wages of sin is death,” is just long enough for a meme or bumper sticker. The same thing is true of 3:23, “For all have sinned and fallen short of the glory of God.” Somehow, these observations about life became proclamations that serve to instill guilt and demand that humans mourn forever. I get some weird media images in my mind here. One… Read more

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