Archive for the ‘Radar’ Category

A Christmas Poem for Peace

Sunday, December 2nd, 2007

The following is a poem that I shared at the end of my message last night at Saturday Night worship.

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou

Into this climate of fear and apprehension, Christmas enters,

Streaming lights of joy, ringing bells of hope

And singing carols of forgiveness high up in the bright air.

The world is encouraged to come away from rancor,

Come the way of friendship.

It is the Glad Season.

Thunder ebbs to silence and lightning sleeps quietly in the corner.

Flood waters recede into memory.

Snow becomes a yielding cushion to aid us

As we make our way to higher ground.

Hope is born again in the faces of children

It rides on the shoulders of our aged as they walk into their sunsets.

Hope spreads around the earth. Brightening all things,

Even hate which crouches breeding in dark corridors.

In our joy, we think we hear a whisper.

At first it is too soft. Then only half heard.

We listen carefully as it gathers strength.

We hear a sweetness.

The word is Peace.

It is loud now. It is louder.

Louder than the explosion of bombs.

We tremble at the sound. We are thrilled by its presence.

It is what we have hungered for.

Not just the absence of war. But, true Peace.

A harmony of spirit, a comfort of courtesies.

Security for our beloveds and their beloveds.?

We welcome the Peace of Christmas.

What dooes this mean?

Friday, November 16th, 2007

In the November 19th, 2007 issue of Newsweek in an article entitled, “The Authenticity Test,” is the following quote.

Although just 40 percent of Americans go to church every week, 70 percent say they want a president with strong religious faith, and 94 percent believe in God, according to an August survey by Pew.

So, here is the question.

What do those statistics tell us about what Americans believe about God?

Feel free to leave me a comment and tell me what you think. I’ll post my response to the question in a few days.

Interesting quote about companions

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Working on my Christian Education paper tonight, I ran across an interesting quote… [That’s what happens when you’re reading the book as you’re writing the paper]

Referring to the story of Jesus on the road to Emmaus from the Gospel of Luke where the identity of Jesus is not understood by his traveling companions until Jesus breaks the bread, Karen Tye shares in her book “Basics of Christian Education” the following.

It is interesting that the moment of clarity in this story came when Jesus broke bread with them. When we look at the root meaning of the word companion, we find that it comes from the Latin prefix com, which means “together,” and panis, which means “bread.” Companion literally means “one who eats bread with another (98).”

Coffee snob?

Thursday, November 15th, 2007

Over the past month or so, I’ve gotten better about brewing my own coffee in the morning at home instead of stopping by the coffee shop. When I have felt the need to run by the coffee shop, I’ve also been avoiding Starbucks. I love Starbucks coffee, but, like many, I’m “uncomfortable” with their business model. Here in Mansfield we got a new local coffee shop called Americas Best Coffee which offers free wi-fi, so I’ve talked myself into getting a cup from there when I really feel the urge. I’ll admit it. It’s not as good, but for some reason it makes me feel better…

Holiday Trio

But all that gets thrown out the window for the next month and a half as Starbucks brought back their holiday coffee cups this past week. This is truly another dumb consumer idea, but I love going to Starbucks during the holidays and getting my fresh brewed, hot and wonderful coffee served to me in a festive, red cup.

I would like to think that I’m a smart consumer… and then something like this happens and I recognize that I am a zombie just like everyone else.

Dove Campaign continues…

Thursday, November 8th, 2007

A howling wind

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

Just got back from a quick camping trip with my two of my best friends who also happen to be pastors. We try to get away together on a somewhat regular basis to relax and bond. It was a great trip even though we got caught in a pretty big storm last night. We expected it to be somewhat windy. We didn’t expect howling winds and a pretty good downpour of rain, but we survived and had a really great trip.

The winds hit us about 3:00 a.m. and it was really some of the strangest winds I’ve ever experienced. You could hear them starting off in the distance and as they came closer the howling got louder and louder and louder until your tent shook violently for a moment. As quickly as they came, they were soon gone which left you wondering when the next big one would hit.

Laying there in bed listening to the storm, I wondered about how much my life feels like those winds sometimes. I can tell when busyness and stress is coming. I can hear the winds starting to howl and pick up steam and when they hit, it’s shocking and sometimes it hurts… But then the winds die down again and I wait for the next big one to hit. It’s a continuous process that over time can leave me feeling pretty beaten up.

But the winds also made me think about God… about how powerful God is, and how scary God is sometimes too. I think the winds made me think about God because even though they shook my tent pretty hard, it was still exciting to experience their power. There was a short thrill from knowing that the wind had just found me.

I don’t think I spend enough time thinking about how powerful God is. I like to think about the compassion of God, the grace of God, the love of God… but I don’t take the time to consider the awesome and raw power behind God’s character. I like to think about God’s heart being moved… but I tend to forget that God has the power to move things as well. I think that’s a chink in my theological armor. I don’t know.

But I do know this.

I’ll drive myself crazy trying to muster up enough power to survive to the point that I am left begging for God’s power to show up. Maybe that’s backwards.

Maybe I shouldn’t spend so much time running from the wind. Maybe I should spend more time running towards it.

What’s wrong with foundationalism?

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2007

I’m reading a book right now that is hurting my brain. The book is Beyond Liberalism & Fundamentalism: How Modern and Postmodern Philosophy set the Theological Agenda by Nancey Murphy. I’m reading it in conjunction with an independent study for seminary on Emerging Church theologies. I know it’s full of tons of great information. It’s just hard to digest so much “head” knowledge at once. The first section of the book is all about the development of modern theology and paritcularly addresses the ways in which the church has developed two polar opposite responses to modern philosophy; liberalism and fundamentalism. The second part is all about postmodernity. As you can imagine, I’m enjoying the second half much more. Here’s the opening of that section.

Contemporary theology, like an empty pile in solitaire, is waiting for a new king to come along and get things started again.” So says, Jeffrey Stout. Stout is pessimistic about the appearance of such a kind, and I am too. but what STout fails to consider – and what will be the focus of the second part of this book – is the possibility that the rules of the game might be changed instead. If all the possible move have been tried within the limits set by modernity, this should be a cause for dismay only if we believe modern thinkiers have had the final word on the topics of knowledge, language, and the ultimate nature of reality. It is becoming more and more widely accepted that modern thinkers have not had the last word.

He goes on to this quote from Karl Popper who is writing in 1935.

The empirical basis of objective science has thus nothing “absolute” about it. Science does not rest upon solid bedrock. The bold structure of its theories rises, as it were, above a swamp. It is like a building erected on piles. The piles are driven down from above into the swamp, but not down to any natural or “given” base; and if we stop driving the piles deeper, it is not because we have reached firm ground. We simple stop when we are satisfied that the piles are firm enough to carry the structure, at least for the time being.

W.V.O. Quine who wrote, “Two Dogmas of Empiricism” which Nancey Murphy uses the publication date to mark the end of modernity writes this.

The totality of our so-called knowledge or beliefs, from the most casual matters of geography and history to the profoundest laws of atomic physics or even of pure mahtematics and logic, is a man-made fabric which impinges on experience only along the edges. Or, to change the figure, total science is like a field of force whose boundaries are experience. A conflict with experience at the periphery occasions re-adujustment in the interior of the field.

Finally, Murphy writes…

…beliefs that are useful for justifying other claims will always turn out to be indubitable, and in fact will be found to be dependent upon the structure they are intended to justify… What finally brought empiricist foundationalism to an end was the recognition that scientific facts are “theory laden.”

All quotes taken from Murphy, pp. 85-91.

How do you see the church?

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

I ran across this quote from Rob Bell who was recently asked what it was like to be a part of one the “hottest” churches in America. Here is Rob’s reply.

I don’t even know what that means. I know there’s a woman in the second row in the second service that has cancer for the third time. I know there’s a single mom named Erin who needs a place to live. I know this guy who just got custody of his kids and he’s trying to figure out how to be a single dad. So to me a Church is real people trying to figure it out.

Rob’s sentiment here reminds me of a message that our Senior Pastor shared a few weeks ago with our staff and entire congregation. In it, he shared with the congregation the way he sees the church. He talked about people fighting cancer, families struggling with divorce, individuals struggling with addictions… You get the idea. I thought it was a powerful reminder to our church that our pews are filled with “real people trying to figure it out.”

A great story…

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

I shared this video during my sermon this past weekend. Since I was preaching Sunday morning as well, I got to watch the video four times. Still amazing. If you’re interested in the sermon, check out our Saturday Night Podcast.

Holy Moments

Wednesday, September 5th, 2007

Yesterday I officiated at my third funeral. I’ve had the opportunity to preach several hundred times in my six years of ministry, but I’ve not done that many funerals. The task intimidates me more than most of the things I do in my job. You certainly want to make sure you get everyone’s name right. You want to appropriately represent the life of the person who has passed away, and of course, you want to express a word of hope and grace to the family and friends who have gathered to honor the life of the deceased. It’s not an easy task.

I guess I shouldn’t say I enjoy doing funerals… but I did realize yesterday what an incredible honor it is to fill that role for a family. It’s an honor to speak to someone’s life. It’s an honor to be invited into the grief and sadness of a family. It’s an honor to have the opportunity to speak words of grace and hope into that place of brokenness and loss. It’s a tender moment. It’s a holy moment, and I do feel honored to participate in it.

What was most evident to me yesterday was how important funerals are to the life and ministry of the church. Maybe it is because I now have a more clearly defined “pastoral” role in the church, but I felt a wonderful sense of affirmation yesterday as I was leaving the graveside that what I had just done was extremely important to the church of Jesus Christ. That was a holy moment for me as well.