Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Good Friday: Now With Zombies!

WARM-BODIES_510x317 It's Holy Week, so that means I'm going to hear a number of pastors use their blog space to talk about how they don't buy atonement. They don't believe that Jesus died for our sins, they don't like using the cross which is considered a symbol of violence, they don't like the focus on blood, and the list goes on.


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Saturday, March 16, 2013

How A Nun and A Priest Led Me to be a Pastor

I don’t know when it happened, but at some point it became fashionable among both secular and religious progressives to bash the Catholic Church for basically everything under the sun.  Since the resignation of Pope Benedict XVI, I’ve heard a number of slams against the church including that it is old-fashioned, sexist, homophobic and the like.  What is surprising and somewhat disturbing is how easily some progressive Christians have joined in the Catholic-bashing.  Posts by Tim Suttle, Tony Jones and David Hayward are just some of the negative reactions that I’ve seen from progressive folk on Facebook and the blogs. People who usually get upset when people speak ill of gays or Muslims have no problem saying all sorts of nasty things against Catholics.

Now, part of this bashing is understandable.  The child sex abuse scandal which has rocked the worldwide church has basically tarnished it’s reputation.  I also wish the Catholic leadership were more willing to bend when it comes to same-sex marriage.  But what bothers me is how we tend to miss the nuance of the Catholicism.  People who are so quick to judge others for being too black and white and ready to tar the Roman church without a hint of shame.

Even though I am an openly gay man, I still have soft spot for the Catholics- the result of knowing so many of them.



Tuesday, March 12, 2013

What J.C. Penney, Sears and Montgomery Ward Taught Me About the Mainline Church

Ever since it appeared a few weeks ago, I’ve been thinking about John Vest’s blog post called “The Vine is Dying.” The Presbyterian pastor from Chicago has been involved in finding ways to help the Presbyterian Church (USA) rebound after decades of decline and his February 27 post was one borne of frustration with the church he loves:


Saturday, March 09, 2013

Sermon: “Three Beeps Means ‘I Love You’”

This is a sermon from my Community of Grace days.  I think my sermon writing is a lot better than it was back then, but the essence of the sermon is still prescient.  
“Three Beeps Means ‘I Love You’”
Micah 6:1-8
January 23, 2005
Community of Grace Christian Church
St. Paul, MN
I’m going to break tradition here in that I am using a text that is appointed for next week.  However, since we are a bimonthly church, I think that’s okay and I think this text is timely-I didn’t want to miss the chance of preaching on it.
A year ago, next month, my best friend Erik and I moved into a home we purchased together.  It was a heady time.  Neither of us could believe that we were buying a home.  We were surprised that any bank would even loan us $100,000-plus to buy a home.  We moved in and got situated in our new surroundings in North Minneapolis.  One day, I noticed this stocky woman come out of a house across the alley and into her Subaru wagon.  Now I know stereotypes are a bad thing, but I wondered if she was a lesbian.  When I saw the equal sign bumper sticker on the Subaru, I knew.

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Sermon: “This I Believe”

I really had a temptation to call this Dennis’ Baptismal Follies, because me and baptism have had a troubled relationship.  There was nothing wrong with baptism per se, but it was how I learned of baptism and faith as a youth growing up in Michigan during the 1970s and 80s.  I didn’t have a good understanding of what baptism was all about and because of that, I continually doubted my own faith. 

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