I am a Christian of the Lutheran tradition. I was baptized, confirmed and ordained at Breckenridge Lutheran Church in, of course, Breckenridge MN. When the faculty at Wartburg Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa was reviewing me my senior year, they made a comment about me. Maybe they wrote that I was too Lutheran. They said, “he may not be able to work with other faith traditions.”Read More
Recently, I taught a class for our Affirmation of Baptism students that was called: “God on Broadway.” The class was a combination of some of my passions — musicals, theatre, and faith. We focused on different plays and shows, looking at how a storyline taught us about our faith, or who God is, or why that even matters in today’s world.Read More
I begin this blog with an apology, not just for me, but for a whole generation of parents who did not model or teach their children that following Christ is about stewardship. I know that some will ask, “So what the heck is stewardship?” It is about giving our time, talent and treasure in thanks and support for the mission of Jesus Christ.Read More
I am tired of the divisiveness. I am tired of the negativity. I am tired of the drama, and I’m tired of being tired. The news, all that is happening in this world, is wearing me out. I could hide from it, but what good would that be? I would just be uninformed about many things that really do matter. They say ignorance is bliss. So you don’t know about the truck that is going to hit you? No worries, no panic and maybe no life.Read More
I was a campus pastor at the University of Nebraska at Kearney for 13 years. It was a privilege to serve the students, faculty and staff. It was a great adventure in faith, community and diversity. During that time some terrible things took place in our world and in our local community. From 9/11, two wars, Columbine, catastrophic storms, the death of students and the kidnapping of another, we as an academic community and the faith community at Campus Lutheran walked through them together.Read More
This October, things might start to feel and look even more different as we journey closer to the 500th anniversary of the Reformation, which will be part of our worship celebration on Sunday, October 29th at 9:30am. In fact, that celebration, combined with our celebration of the Affirmation of Baptism, is SO important to our faith lives, we will have one Sunday service at 9:30 (with the Saturday service taking place at 5:30, per usual) that weekend.Read More
“Survival of the fittest” is a term or slogan often inaccurately used to describe evolution or natural selection. Many times in nature, survival of the fittest is the case. The weak, the sick, the injured, the very young and the old are the most vulnerable to being attacked or being left behind and ultimately to die. However this is not what we as human beings were created to be about and certainly not what Christians are called to follow.Read More
This past Labor Day weekend was a nice break from the labors of work. I took some time to be with my wife and family, worked outdoors, watched some football, went to a good movie and basically escaped. Tuesday morning came and the harsh realities of a world that never takes a break dawned upon us.Read More
I have been watching the water rise in Houston and other parts of Texas. Unless you have been in a major flood you really don’t understand what floods can do. I know we have all seen the terrible pictures of people walking on major highways, escaping their homes that are going under water. It breaks my heart to see the look on the faces of people of all ages suffering through loss of nearly everything but their lives and the clothes on their back.Read More
Recently, we have heard a lot of talk about the Civil War and who the heroes are of the Civil War. Some folks call the Civil War “The War of Northern Aggression” or the “War Between the States” and even “The Recent Unpleasantness.” It was a war that divided our nation, and it seems it still does.Read More
I am writing this blog not as a pastor, but as a grandfather. I have eleven grandchildren and one of them is African American. I am concerned for her because there are people who hate her for the color of her skin and have no idea what a wonderful, beautiful child of God she is. The truth is, I am concerned for all my grandchildren. They should not have to see the rise of hate groups in our country. I am concerned for all children who live in a world where fear, hatred, war and tribalism is becoming the norm.Read More
“Reverse Hospitality” this is a concept that became quite apparent to me when I heard a friend of my son’s talk about an encounter with a waitress at the Café Du Monde in New Orleans. My son’s friend has Vietnamese heritage and speaks fluent Vietnamese. A waitress was taking their order and it was clear she was somewhat new to American and English, without knowing it, about every third word was Vietnamese. The friend replied in the girl’s language of origin and the waitress just lit up and relaxed.Read More
The 10 Commandments were given as a gift to God’s people as they wandered in the wilderness. The gift was intended to help them live in relationship with God and each other. Well, we all know how that turned out.Read More
What does it mean to be a Christian? This was a question asked of me by a non-religious, but very spiritual young woman. “That’s a good question,” I said. This was my response as I thought about what I was going to say. Then it came to me, I heard a 6-year-old answer this question with clarity and insight. So I quoted her: “It means you love God, love Jesus and love everyone else!”Read More
Calls in the middle of the night or early morning are generally not good, especially for a pastor. This one was no different, with the exception that it was my dad telling us a storm had hit their home and there was damage mainly to the trees, dock and pontoon boat. He was ok and so was my son, who lives there as well.Read More
I am a citizen of the United States of America. I am also a citizen in the Kingdom of God. This is Martin Luther’s understanding of the two kingdom doctrine. To Luther, this means we are called to be good citizens in both realms. We are called to serve God and serve our neighbor (country) in the best way we can.Read More
Perhaps we have reached the most significant part of our time in worship—the meal, Holy Communion, the Eucharist, the Great Thanksgiving. God’s meal is a sacrament—a gift for God’s people that comes with a promise, contains an earthly element, and is sealed with a promise from God. We trust that by participating in the sacrament, we will receive the promise of God, not because of what we are doing, but because of who God is.Read More
I do not like squirrels. They are rats with furry tails. Squirrels eat the bird seed that we put out for the birds. They are bullies and greedy! They laugh at me when I try to get rid of them.
Because firearms are band in the city limits and we all know how well I do with a crossbow (nearly lost a thumb), my options for handling these pests have become limited and I am frustrated. The birds are not getting the food, and my pocketbook is hurting a bit because of squirrels.Read More
I watched the storm clouds approach on radar. The radar showed yellow, red, purple and another very dark color I could not name.
I saw the clouds coming and I reacted by saying: “Well, they are not here yet.”
When I got into the car to leave for Lincoln to take my granddaughter back home, the sky was getting quite dark.
“Papa, you better hurry the storm is coming,” my granddaughter said.
I told her we would go as fast and as safely as possible. I said we would be fine and would get her home before the storm hits. And we did just that.Read More
Americans have real issues with history. For the most part, they are quite ill informed, compared to many countries around the world.
In Israel, you get a one year course on the history of the Jewish people. World history is a part of their military training. For many Americans, history was one of the most boring classes in high school. This is very sad to me, for a number of reasons.Read More