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The Greatest Threat to American Democracy

In case you have not heard or realized, our American Democracy. Depending on your social circle or how your digital algorithm the threat is probably either Donald Trump and the extreme Conservative Right or it is the entire Democratic Party and the Critical Race Theory propaganda that is brainwashing our society. Today, January 6th, as I reflect on the events of last year, the thing I believe to be the greatest threat to our democracy,…

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Oran the Shepherd

This is a fictitious account of what I imagine it could have been like to be one of the shepherds who were present at the birth of Christ. This last year I found out that Jesus was crucified. He had come to Jerusalem for our annual passover feast and it sounded like the people finally had enough of him. They killed him. They tell me that it didn’t stick though. I guess three days after…

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What To Give Up for Lent in 2021?

Lent is a season observed by many Christians, particularly those who belong to a more high church* denomination or order. And the season of Lent begins today, with Ash Wednesday. Although I did not grow up in a high church denomination the season of lent, and the practice of giving something up during this season, was something every year we as a family, and a church, observed. As a child I remember giving up things like…

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Our Not So United States

It is no secret that our country is divided. Has been for a long time, probably even since our inception. These different divisions seemingly want very different countries. I received a text message this morning saying “I think the collapse of the USA into individual nation states is something we might see in our lifetime.” This statement caught my attention because it is something I have felt for some time. Technology is of course at…

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People Want to be Heard

The story of the Bible is full of people who were oppressed and who found themselves in a land that was ruled and controlled by others. This comes to a climax with the birth of Christ. The Jewish race found themselves yet again under the oppressive reign of a world power found in the Roman Empire. Living in Israel, if you were not a Pharisee or Herod himself, you would have found yourself having a…

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Too Conservative, Yet Too Liberal

I often find myself too conservative for my liberal friends and too liberal for my conservative friends. I think of Jesus words in Matthew 8:20, “Foxes have holes, and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay his head.” As I reflect on the call I feel God has placed on my life to live in the middle, in the tension, with secure relationships on both sides working…

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Open Letter to my Congregation

The apostle Paul writes in the often quoted thirteenth chapter of 1 Corinthians, “If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal” (NIV). Last week, as I first saw the video of George Floyd being murdered, I was cut to the heart. As I sat in my bedroom, numb to what I had just witnessed, I had no…

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Sin, Love, Compassion, Forgiveness, Satisfaction, and Substitution

In the wake of Easter and Good Friday, and in the continued reality of the global pandemic we find ourselves in, I have continued to think much on the death of Christ. In the last two decades there has been a concerted effort to downplay the cross and instead trade it for an emphasis on the teaching and life of Jesus – at least in what I have read, observed, and experienced in popular Christian…

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Anti Schism

This last month I have reflected on Augustine, particularly his words and work around the Donatist controversy and schism in the fourth century. Donatist argued that the clergy must be without fault in order for their ministry to be effective and valid. If they were with fault then God in fact would not hear their prayers and when they administered the sacraments it would not have been valid. I remember reading about Augustine’s conversation with…

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Life After Falling

On May 26, 2018, I had an accident that would forever change my life. I attempted to ski from the summit of Mt. Hood (in Oregon) and ended up falling about 450 feet to what should have been my imminent death. A 10-hour rescue, involving about thirty individuals from five different organizations, and a week-long hospital stay later, my life trajectory had taken a serious turn. I was 35 years old. A year prior I…

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Life

Sunday, April 1, 2018 TEXT: John 20:1ff FOCUS: Resurrection of Christ   SETTING Creation. In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He made the sun and the moon and the stars. He made the land and the sea. He made the fish and the birds. The creatures that roam the land. He made the trees, the flowers, the mountains, and the rivers. And then he made humankind. Man, and woman he created…

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Love and Power

Sunday, March 25, 2018 TEXT: Mark 11, 14 & 15 FOCUS: The Passion of Christ Today is traditionally celebrated as Palm Sunday. In years past we have had palm branches and have sang songs like Hosanna, Blessed is He Who Comes in the Name of the Lord, You reign. We celebrate the fact that Jesus was the Messiah who came to save us. We like to celebrate. We like to celebrate the victory we have…

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