Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Back into learning mode.

After taking a year off of Lay Seminary, at the Center for Spiritual Formation, I started year two this fall.

It felt good to get back into the "learning mode." It's wonderful to spend time with others that are interested in learning more about our God and our church, and to have open, non-judgmental discussions. Between the instructors and the other students, there is a tremendous wealth of knowledge and experience available.

I've also been slowly making myself get back to reading, books. I enjoy reading magazine articles, and the internet, with it's boundless amount of information, good and bad, is like a drug. I've been working hard at forcing myself away from my computer and picking up a book to read.

I've been intrigued by political life vs Christian life (see Politics) and have been exploring some viewpoints that I've never considered before. I have a couple website links in the "Links" section on the left side of the website that you might want to explore if you are so inclined.

I've also had some great discussions with a friend who is very interested in liberation theology. She's passed some of her library on to me, as she is reducing it's size.  So my stack of "books to read" is getting pretty daunting!

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Continuation of "Thoughts on tomorrow's scripture"

Well, we can see how disciplined I am!

Anyway, during our prayer time, I looked over at the participants and it hit me. I felt that I should concentrate on the plumb line in the scripture, not on the message of doom.

God was holding up a plumb line to judge Israel. It's one of the few tools we use that we can't mess up without a definite action. The force that causes it to work, is gravity, and that is controlled by God. We can ignore the results, or we can hold the plumb bob off to the side, but we really have to make a concerted effort to mis-read a plumb line.

Sitting across from me was a gentleman that I consider a well-rounded mature Christian. I realized, as I look to him for examples of Christian behavior, that he is "my plumb line." He is someone that God has placed in my life so that I can judge my behavior. We should pause and think of those people that have crossed our paths, that we have viewed as an good example, or a plumb line. And I think it would be wonderful if we take the time to thank them, in person or letter, for the influence they've had on us.

And, we should examine our own lives and friends, and remember that we could be a plumb line for someone else. Are you living your life such that someone looks to you for an example of Christlike behavior? Or, perhaps I should say, "when" someone looks to you for an example. Are your day to day actions, words and thoughts Christlike? Would you be flattered that others imitate you? or chagrined?

It's time! time to examine your life with a magnifying glass. Because, somewhere, someone is probably watching your behavior and trying to decide if he/she should imitate your behavior. Are you ready for that? I hope so, because you don't get to choose the time and place for Christlike behavior, you need to live it all the time.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Thoughts on tomorrow's scripture

I'm preaching tomorrow at the 2 churches in our charge, Houserville House of Hope UMC and Woodycrest UMC. As usual, I'm waiting til the last minute to get notes down on paper, partially because they are still forming.

Pastor Renee reminded me a couple days ago to keep my eyes open and be aware of what is going on around me in regards to the scripture. The scripture this week is Amos 7:7-17. I read and reread the scripture last weekend and have been trying to keep it at the forefront of my thoughts this week. But I haven't been paying attention to happenings around me until midweek when she reminded me of this gold nugget of knowledge.

Friday morning, during our church prayer time, I had a sense of where God was leading me this week. So, if I'm disciplined enough, I'll be posting my sermon thoughts tomorrow after the second service. (If I'm not disciplined enough, maybe later in the day)

So, check back tomorrow to see where God leads the lesson.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


For some time now, I've been having a struggle reconciling politics and my faith.

Is it "Christian" to be political? or to get involved in politics? We, as worldly citizens of the United States of America, have such little appreciation for the freedoms guaranteed (not granted) by the United States Constitution (hereinafter referred to as "Constitution"). We really need to talk to folks from other countries that don't enjoy the same freedoms in order to get a better understanding.

So, what should one do when you feel that a particular piece of legislation violates the Constitution? Or when we take time to learn how our founding fathers thought about government, and the amount of time and energy they put into crafting our system of governance. Our government is so far removed from the intent of the founding fathers that it would probably be unrecognizable to them. I know that when I think about the absurdity of our current government, all three branches, I get very, very angry. And when I get angry, at least that passionately angry, I cannot maintain my Christian life. But, if we don't "fight" to return our government to it's rightful size and behavior, at least how the founding fathers intended, what happens to our freedom of religion, speech, and the other freedoms that we take for granted? Is it "Christian" to fight to protect our freedoms and our Constitution? Or, more succinctly, "What would Jesus do?" We know that Jesus was not apolitical, he spoke out (and acted) on oppression of the poor, the weak and the downtrodden. The entire Jewish system, as originally enacted, had built-in methods to eliminate extreme poverty and oppression. Just read about Sabbatical and Jubilee years in the Law.

I found a book, Jesus For President, that looked like it might guide my thinking. It is a fascinating book that described the authors' views of Jesus and his political behavior. I don't think I really grasped all they had to say, I definitely need to read it again, and perhaps again. The lifestyle they describe is radical, but then that's what I believe Jesus was calling us to do, live radically.

Oh my poor, confused aching head! It's a very, very deep concern of mine, and I haven't found any hard and fast answers. I'm going to have to spend some time on their website: and obtain some of the books they used as references.


Tuesday, April 6, 2010


Holy Week is my favorite holiday of the year, it's what makes it possible for us to come before the Father directly, no intermediaries, no priests, no animal sacrifices. Just coming to God and communing with Him the way He intended in the beginning.

Here is a good video from Rob Bell about Resurrection: