Have you noticed that people are tired? They are tired of the weather, the news, the drama, and tired of being tired! Maybe it is culture that is moving so quickly that we find it hard to keep up, and we feel wore out. Maybe the expectations of others, who, whether at work, home or play call for us to be high performing. Maybe I am just getting old, but I see this in folks much younger than I am. I see it in kids!Read More
The plan was to go up north the first week of April and intern my mother’s ashes. Frost on the ground, muddy roads in the cemetery and, of course, foul weather have all put a hold on that event. I will admit I am upset by this. It is an important part of putting closure on my mom’s life here on earth. Then it dawned on me (I should have realized this earlier, I am a pastor) but she is not here, she is in heaven.Read More
At Christmas time, there has always been the ongoing battle with culture and materialism. This has been the greatest adversary to the Hope of Christmas. Is there a war on Christmas?
Jesus’ birth has long been overshadowed by cultural traditions, as wonderful as they are. Don’t get me wrong, I am right in the middle with tree trimming, present buying, gift wrapping, music programs (secular & church), miniature village set-up (my passion), and Christmas lights. Even though the church has baptized many of these traditions (secular to sacred), the story of Christ’s birth continues to be overshadowed.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
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
I was not all that into Holy Week growing up. Sure, I like the processional and waving of the palms on Palm Sunday, but Maundy Thursday (Holy Thursday) and Good Friday were just stops along the way until Easter.
Even Easter morning took a back seat to Christmas Day. Now I get what Holy Thursday and Good Friday mean for me personally, for Christians and for all creation. You can’t have Easter without Good Friday. You can’t have Good Friday without the betrayal of the night before and the Last Supper. You can’t have resurrection unless there is death!Read More
I love movies, books and certain television shows. This is no surprise for those who know me. What generally surprises people, even those who do know me, is that I keep looking for faith stories in secular media. In fact, I seldom watch Christian movies, television shows or books (exception is the Bible and theological periodicals).
One of my “God at Movies” students asked me if I saw Jesus in every movie I watched. No, I said, but I do pay attention. I don’t even know I am looking for Gospel images or storylines in media anymore. I just pay attention.Read More
There are many reasons why I like Pope Francis. I am joking when I say he really is a Lutheran, but I do believe he is one of the most "human" Christians in our world today. What I mean by this is that he lives his life in a fully human way. This is how God created us to be: fully human.
No, the Pope is by any means perfect, and I imagine he would be the first to say so, but he does things that make me proud of the Church. He says things that are profoundly Biblical, thoughtfully theological and incredibly loving. Yet this man pulls no punches when he confronts, injustice, greed, racism, anti-Semitism, xenophobia and, yes, even sexism. That last one is huge – coming from one of the most patriarchal of religious institutions.Read More