Is the truth subjective?

Is the truth subjective?

Is the truth subjective or are there really facts that are indisputable?   Some facts are based on context and perception.  An example would be Mt. St. Helen’s, after its eruption.  The side that exploded outward showed an ugly landscape of ash, fallen trees, mud choked streams and rivers.  The other side of the mountain was beautiful, a snow cover top, a beautiful tree line, with crystal clear creeks and waterfalls.  Both descriptions of Mt. St. Helen’s are correct, depending on which side of the mountain you are looking at.

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I believe we are a compassionate people.

I believe we are a compassionate people.

I heard someone say about hurricane Dorian; “It was very sad what happened to the Bahamas, but it is there not here”.  There is a non-Biblical saying: “There for go I, but for the grace of God.”   But I have also heard folks say; “I know how it feels to lose everything to rising waters!” or “I know what it is like to hear the wind sounding like a train running through your house!”  These last two quotes came from Nebraskans who know what Mother Nature can do. They empathize with the Bahamians.

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What can I do to save the planet?

What can I do to save the planet?

What can I do to save the planet?  Good question, for followers of Christ we speak about that we have already been saved.   But the question of how we save the planet is more about how we care for this planet that God has made.  In Genesis, God calls us to be stewards of this creation, the translation of subdue the creation is how the Hebrews understood agriculture.   Even today farmers and ranchers understand the struggle to successfully raise livestock or bring in a good crop. 

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“The Harvest is bountiful but the laborers are few.” 

“The Harvest is bountiful but the laborers are few.” 

“The Harvest is bountiful but the laborers are few.” This statement by Jesus is quite applicable for the church today.  The situation in most of our Christ centered denominations is that not only do we have fewer members, but fewer leaders, pastor’s ministers and priests.  Does this mean the decline of Christianity?  I don’t think so, but it does make me think that we will need to change in some radical ways.

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I believe that God has called me to action

I believe that God has called me to action

I don’t know about you, but I am getting weary of all the bad things happening out there.  Not that I shouldn’t be aware of it.  I feel for those being hurt by gun violence, I have empathy for those families who have lost loved ones, I feel helpless on how to support families that are separated from one another.  I am angry over leadership that sticks its head in the sand about climate change, racism, gun violence, anti-Semitism well the list could go on. 

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I am proud of my denomination

I am proud of my denomination

I am proud of my denomination the ELCA.   They did something last week at this year’s national assembly that I believe will be a light and model to other churches.  The gathering of ELCA Lutherans not noted for their radical political behavior voted to be a sanctuary denomination. This will cause division in many congregations and once again we will have some of those churches leave the ELCA. This happened in 2009 when we voted that LGBTQ folks were welcomed in every leadership role in the church including pastors.   Not only that leap of faith, but authorizing that same sex weddings may be performed in ELCA churches and recognizing same sex union as fully married couples.

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Letter from Bishop Brian Maas

The following letter is from Bishop Brian Maas, the Bishop of the Nebraska Synod of the ELCA.  His letter is an explanation of the vote by the Church-wide Assembly designating the ELCA as a Sanctuary denomination.  Attached is the full statement of what  a Sanctuary denomination means.  I believe that the ELCA has acted in accordance with our Biblical and Theological heritage.  I also believe that each congregation, St. Paul's included will work through what this means for us and our neighbors in our communities.  This action of the church-wide assembly is the beginning, not the end, of the conversation we are called to be about with one another, both in and outside the walls of this church.

Follower of Christ and servant of God,
Pastor Paul Coen

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The Power of Forgiveness

The Power of Forgiveness

There are so many superhero movies out there, a person can get sick of them.  I am not one of those people.  The other day one of my grandkids asked; “Do Christians have a super-power?  She wanted to know now, not “I will get back to you!” You know pastors are suppose too have all the answers.  I was quiet for a bit thinking and then she asked. “Don’t you know Papa?”

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The 4th of July

The 4th of July

On Thursday, July the 4th, we will celebrate our nation’s birthday.  There will be fireworks and food, beverages of all kinds, friends and family, a national party as it were.  But like any good party, it takes lots of work to make it happen.  I am not talking about the 4th of July festivities, I am talking about what it took to make our nation.

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The Beauty of God's Creation

The Beauty of God's Creation

I am half way through my sabbatical and the time is moving along way too fast.  I have traveled, written, read, and relaxed.  One of the things that has started to set up in my mind these days is “paying attention”.  Yes, I pay attention when I drive, talk with folks, or am working with power tools.  I am not talking about that kind of attention, but more about how God is speaking to us and showing us things all the time about his love and plan for this world and our lives.

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