Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Why I Like Lillian Daniel.

I really like Lillian Daniel.  Really.
Why, you ask?  Because in 2011 she said something that many mainline Christians have been thinking, but were too afraid to say outloud.   In 2011 Daniel wrote an article with the very provocative title:“Spiritual, But Not Religious?  Please Stop Boring Me.”  If you think this was a rant, well, you’re right.  Daniel basically tore into those folks that have been called “Spiritual But Not Religious” or SBNR.  The article went viral and it’s easy to see why.

Keep Reading Why I Like Lillian Daniel. « The Clockwork Pastor:

'via Blog this'

Monday, January 28, 2013

Love In the Time of the Zombie Apocalypse

I just finished reading Warm Bodies, the zombie novel by Issac Marion.  A movie based on the book will open in theatres on February 1.
I have to say I enjoyed the novel, which is saying a lot because I don’t usually like to read zombie novels or watch zombie movies or TV.  I’m probably totally uncool because I haven’t the seen the zombie apocalypse series, The Walking Dead.
Why?  It’s pretty simple: zombie media tends to be so hopeless.  

Keep Reading Love In the Time of the Zombie Apocalypse

'via Blog this'

Thursday, January 24, 2013

The Civic Church

What is the role of the church in a society?

That’s the question that I’ve been trying to answer for a few years.  I think blogger Michael Kruse came up with the best answer.  Before I get to Michael’s quote, let’s look at opinion piece by David Brooks that Kruse comments on.
Keep Reading The Civic Church

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Lectionary Sermons: “Called. Gathered. Sent.”

From 2010.

“Called. Gathered. Sent.”
John 2:1-11, I Corinthians 12:1-11
January 17, 2010
First Christian Church
Minneapolis, MN

I’ve come to realize that as you reach a certain age, you start to look back at an earlier point in your life more and more.  A friend of mine who turned 40 last year commented that he has basically stopped watching what is on television currently and with the wonders of, he has taken to watching television shows of the 70s and 80s.  For my friend, he loves watching these shows because it is a wonderful memory of an earlier time.

I can understand what my friend is talking about.  I love watching the old commercials of my childhood at YouTube.  Marketers have noticed that people are interested in nostalgia and have come up with special editions of products that are packaged like they were in the 1960s or 70s.  A few weeks ago, I was shopping at Target and happened to notice that Pepsi was packaging its usual pop in the look and logo of the early 1970s.  For me, I was immediately catapulted to that time when I was a little kid and was at a picnic where everyone was gathered and drinking Pepsi in the this same style.

I’ve seen other products do this like cereals and other soft drinks.  Of course, it’s a way to get people to buy the product, but they also know that it hits on our desire to want things like they used to be.

Nostalgia is an interesting thing.  It’s not a necessarily bad, but it is incredibly powerful.  We love to do look back at the past with a sense of wonder.  It gives us comfort for a time when things seemed less complicated.

Churches tend to deal with nostalgia as well.  We love to look back at the time when the sanctuaries were full and the Sunday School program was the greatest in all the world.  Among mainline churches, we love to look back at the past because we want to go back to that time, when things seemed a whole lot easier.

Keep reading “Called. Gathered. Sent.”

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Wait for the Healing

Back in May of 2012 , I shared a story of what happened at a Baptist church I attended in Washington, DC in the early 90s.  It was a story of how people who disagreed with each other on the issue of homosexuality were able to still be friends and support each other.
Around that same time, I remember someone saying something after a congregation was going to make a tough vote on becoming open and affirming.  The exact situation is foggy after 20 years, but what I remember this woman saying that after this vote, “there would be some healing to do.”
The pastor was quite aware the stand be open and affirming to gays and lesbians was the right thing to do, but there was also a need to heal the rifts from this challenging process of discernment.  After the prophetic, there had to be time for the pastoral.

When my denomination, the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) gathers in Orlando this summer for our General Assembly a resolution will be up for consideration on welcoming LGBT persons not just as congregations, but as a whole denomination.  Knowing some of the folks who came up with the resolution, I think it’s pretty good.

And yet, I’m concerned what will happen to the wider church after the vote.  Will the body been torn apart, never to be put back together, or will there be agents of peace who will try to mend the broken pieces after a hard, but neccesary vote?

Keep reading Wait for the Healing

Monday, January 07, 2013

Sunday Sermon: “No Do Overs”

This is a sermon I preached in 2007 for the Baptism of Our Lord which is next Sunday.  I happen to be preaching next Sunday.  No, I won’t be using this sermon.
“No Do Overs”
Isaiah 43:1-7, Luke 3:15-22
January 7, 2007 (Baptism of Our Lord)
Community of Grace Christian Church*
Minneapolis, MN
Did you ever have one of those experiences where you are playing a board game and you made some kind of mistake? Someone usually has pity on you and you get what is called a “do-over.”
I live for those moments.
Do overs can be great, I mean you get another chance. I really like them when I was playing some kind of athletic game as a kid. Since I was not blessed with physical prowess, this meant that I had another shot at getting it right.
Getting a do-over in say, kickball, is a good thing, but do-overs don’t work so well in the life of faith. In fact, they might do some damage.

Keep reading Sunday Sermon: “No Do Overs”:

'via Blog this'

Saturday, January 05, 2013

A Grown-Up Conversation on Guns

In the weeks following the Newtown shootings, there were calls for a “conversation” about guns.  I always find it funny when folks talk about having a conversation, because it never means what I think it should mean.  I’m envisioning something like one of those old PBS shows from the 70s where men in serious suits debate the issues of the day.  Maybe even in British accents.

Keep reading A Grown-Up Conversation on Guns:

'via Blog this'