Tuesday, June 04, 2013

How a Gay Webcomic Teaches Christians About Resurrection

 In a recent post, I said that being autistic makes it somewhat hard comprehend faith.  I also said that what has helped me the most is the use of imagination to make visible what can seem not very visible or tangible at all.  Tales about vampires or to a lesser extent, zombies, are good ways of understanding the afterlife to me.

So, how do I come to understand the resurrection?  What did it mean for Jesus to come back to life?  What will happen to us in the future when we are promised to be raised from the dead in the same way?
This is where the androids come in.

Keep reading How a Gay Webcomic Teaches Christians About Resurrection 

Children’s Sermon: “Help Is On the Way” | The Clockwork Pastor

“Help Is On the Way”
Luke 7:1-10
June 2, 2013 (Second Sunday of Pentecost)
First Christian Church
Minneapolis, MN

Do you know what’s been happening in Oklahoma?  Yes, the people who live there have had to deal with tornadoes.  Tornadoes are scary.  I’ve been through one and they are not nice.  People who had homes lost their homes and all the things that were in it.  It’s very sad.

But you know what?  A lot of people have been helping the people of Oklahoma.  People have given money to things like Week of Compassion to help people have food to eat or a place to stay.

Keep reading Children’s Sermon: “Help Is On the Way”

Repost: Love, Justice, Vengence and Grace


The following is a blog post from 2007.
‘You have heard that it was said, “You shall love your neighbour and hate your enemy.” 44But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45so that you may be children of your Father in heaven; for he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the righteous and on the unrighteous. 46For if you love those who love you, what reward do you have? Do not even the tax-collectors do the same? 47And if you greet only your brothers and sisters,* what more are you doing than others? Do not even the Gentiles do the same? 48Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
-Matthew 5:43-48
I decided to call my parents back home in Michigan tonight to find out how they were doing. Mom answered first, like she always does and we started chatting. At some point, she talked about a horrific crime just outside of Detroit. My mother expressed rage at the sheer savagery of the crime and saw this man as the perfect candidate for the death penalty.

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Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Discipleship or Consumerism?

A few days ago, I was at a church retreat.  In response to a question on what challenges the church is facing, a woman remarked that one challenge is how people don’t really want to get involved in church.  They don’t see it as a life, as much as a place where they can get their needs met and be on their way.
I was glad to see someone in the pews notice this.  It’s been a growing frustration of mine over the years.  Pastors are pushed in many ways to try to make their churches appealing to folk, especially the oh-so-important Millenial crowd.  We are told that younger folks are not interested in serving on committees.  We are told they want to do mission.  We are told they want a church that is welcoming to LGBT folk.  So, we try to do everything to try to attract people: we offer more mission opportunities.  We push for our churches to be Open and Affirming.  We try to make our worship experiences more hip.  There is nothing wrong in trying to be hospitable and welcoming.  I’m not saying we don’t engage in mission and I most definitely am not saying churches should not welcome LGBT persons.  But there is a danger in that we start to trade the call to discipleship, the call of Jesus to follow him and replace it with a slick marketing message in order to gain market share among a certain demographic.

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Is There a Plan B for Plan B?

 "I don’t have kids.  But if I had a daughter and she was say around 12, would I want her to be able buy Plan B without my say-so or even knowledge?

The Obama Administration has decided to offer Plan B, the emergency contraceptive, to women over the age of 15 without a perscription.  All those under 15 have to get a percription.  That goes against a judge who ordered that the drug be made available to all women without a script.

Of course, most women’s groups tend to favor the judge’s ruling.  It’s about the women’s health, the say.

Yeah.  I’m pro-choice and favor comprehensive sex-ed and I even favor giving kids condoms.  But going back to have my hypothetical daughter (I’ll name her Harriet, because I’ve always liked that name).  I don’t know if I want my little girl being able to go to Target and get birth control when they aren’t even able to drive."

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Why Does God Hate Suburbs?

I’m a city kid.  I grew up in Flint, Michigan and was only an hour away from Detroit.  The 1970s, my childhood, was the time when we heard a new phrase: white flight.  It was a time when whites who lived in cities like Flint and Detroit, left the inner cities to head to a new life in the burbs.  At least in Michigan, the move to places like Rochester Hills, Farmington Hills, Troy and Southfield created segregated metro areas with a black and poorer inner core and a white outer ring.
So, I grew up with an antipathy towards the suburbs.  They were places that were gated paradises filled with racist white folk who couldn’t give a damn about the folks in the cities.

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Friday, April 26, 2013

Why Am I So Annoyed By Progressive Christianity?

Anyone who has read this blog over the years, know that I have a bit of a beef with Progressive Christianity.
While it might sound like I don’t like Progressive Christianity, or that I want to move to a more conservative denomination, let me reassure you, I’m not going anywhere.
The fact is there are many reasons that I like running alongside Progressive Christians.  I love their support of LGBT rights.  I love their concern for the marginalized.  I love that they want to really study the biblical texts.  It’s for all of these reasons that I’ve been a part of Mainline/Progressive Christianity for 20 years.  This is my home.
And yet, I want to some times scream at my fellow travelers for being self-righteous, hypocritical jerks.

Keep reading Why Am I So Annoyed By Progressive Christianity? 

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Monday, April 22, 2013

What Joe Paterno and Kermit Gosnell Have In Common

 Like a lot of folks, I’ve been following the whole story on the role of the media concerning abortion doctor Kermit Gosnell.  There’s a lot to said about media ethics and double standards. Last night, I watched a Huff Post Live segment on the case, which I consider some of the best coverage I’ve seen so far.  What made it so good was the honesty of the host, Marc Lamont Hill  and the Pennsylvania State Representative Margo Davidson, who lost a relative from actions at Gosnell’s clinic.

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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Sermon: “On Pastors and Pastures”

A sermon from Good Shepherd Sunday 2006.

“On Pastors and Pastures”
John 10:11-18, Psalm 23
May 7, 2006
Lake Harriet Christian Church
Minneapolis, MN

I have to “blame” our Associate Minister, Tammy Rottschaefer for this sermon. For a while she has commented on the problem with parts of the church today in that we don’t know how to be church together. Somehow, all that talking about being church, sunk into me. For the past few months, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be church at this time and place. I’ve also been thinking a lot about what it means to be a pastor, a question that has been on my mind since I was ordained nearly four years ago.

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On Holy Friendships

My thoughts these days are drifting towards relationships, or the lack thereof in churches.
I’ve been thinking about this in light of a recent blog post on CivilPolitics.org on the dearth of cross-party friendships.  The post linked to a longer article in the Chronicle of Higher Education on the issue.  The author, Neil Gross notes that such friendships have benefits for the whole of society:

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Friday, April 12, 2013

How a Clockwork Pastor is Becoming Human

 When I started seminary 15 years ago, I had come to accept that I would never pastor a church.  I just wasn’t a people person.  Maybe I’d be a seminary professor or something.  I didn’t know it back then, but I was basically acknowledging my Aspergers limitations.

Of course, as you can tell, I didn’t end up as a seminary prof.  Instead, I’ve been the Associate Pastor at a church for nearly five years.  And somehow, I’ve managed to not mess things up, praise be to God.

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Being Gay at Liberty University

 Last fall, I wrote a blog post about how I’ve come to respect social conservatives.  What I’ve learned over time is that the view of social conservatives is not so black and white.

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Wednesday, April 03, 2013

Now That We’ve Won (Maybe)…

526563_10151536092120549_414515262_nThis week's drama over the issue of same-sex marriage at the Supreme Court has been nothing short of historic. American society is at a point that I thought wouldn't come for several years, if not decades. Same sex marriage might be legal in most of the nation in a few short years. Here in Minnesota, it might be that by the end of the year we might have the right for gay couples to marry. It means that I can have my relationship with my partner Daniel, recognized by the state and therby able to receive benefits that heterosexual couples have enjoyed for a very long time. There's been a sense of celebration among my friends, as we see places like Facebook ablaze in the red equal signs with people showing support for same sex marriage. But there has also been a darker side. I've seen friends kind of using this moment to make fun and belittle those who have opposed same sex marriage. Of course, when you are on the winning side, especially in the culture wars, it's very easy to start "spiking the ball;" enjoying the tables turning.

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Happy To Be Stuck With You

16 But Ruth replied, “Don’t urge me to abandon you, to turn back from following after you. Wherever you go, I will go; and wherever you stay, I will stay. Your people will be my people, and your God will be my God. 17 Wherever you die, I will die, and there I will be buried. May the Lord do this to me and more so if even death separates me from you.” 18 When Naomi saw that Ruth was determined to go with her, she stopped speaking to her about it.
Ruth 1:16-18 Common English Bible

On my wedding day, we had a reception for family and friends at our house. I remember Daniel and I were getting things ready for the event. Daniel kind of gave me an order to get something done. I looked over to a friend who smiled and said, "you're stuck with him now."

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