Okra Abbey, Miramon Center, and More

Last Sunday (July 29, 2018), I was asked to talk about 5 minutes on some of the mission work I do with 
an emphasis on why I do it and what it means to me. It was part of a worship service where the sermon 
was made up of several of us giving similar 5 minute talks. Here's mine:
I’ve been asked to talk about Miramon Center and Okra Abbey. I promise I’ll get there…
For a long time I thought that  the best ways to spread the Good News was to argue with people, or to 
advertise to them. And that the way to measure my discipleship was by the number of people and 
pledge dollars I brought into church on Sunday.
But that’s wrong.
The way to spread the Good News to people is to show them hard, solid, difficult love.
For me, part of doing love is telling people the truth that I wish I heard when I was younger, and sometimes
the truth I wish I heard more often now.
So I sit down with the preschoolers here once a month or so and listen to them, letting them know that 
what they say and who they are i…

Goodness Grace Us: A Sermon on the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18: 9-14)

[I preached this at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Pearl River on August 20, 2017. It is based on a sermon by my friend Dedie Kelso. I recorded the video the day before while I was practicing.]

Goodness Grace Us: A Sermon on the Pharisee and the Tax Collector (Luke 18: 9-14)

The opening number of the Broadway musical Wicked has the citizens of Oz celebrating the death of the Wicked Witch of the West. “No one mourns the wicked,” they sing. Later, they sing, “Goodness knows, we know what Goodness is.” But do we? I’m sure there are people who would disagree, but I think the Bible, and Jesus, take life as we know it and turn it upside down. In the Bible, and particularly in the teachings of Jesus, it’s often true that the people most of society thinks are wicked and bad are in fact good, and the people that most of society thinks are good and righteous are anything but. Jesus frequently points out that our idea of “bad” and “good” simply aren’t God’s ideas. Consider the Sabbath. According t…


Blind Text: 2 Kings 6:8-23 Northminster Presbyterian Church
February 26, 2017
It was my first day back on campus after summer break, and I was happy to be back. Don’t get me wrong, I loved my parents and I loved hanging out in Metairie, and I didn’t hate my summer job. I also liked this project I was working on: A friend named Mark and I were putting together a musical. It was called Inferno and it was about a journey through hell with a 17-year-old kid who died in a car wreck. It was meant to be performed in a planetarium. Mark wrote the words and lyrics; I was writing the music. I was happy to be back on campus: being on my own again, going to class again, learning dozens of new things every day again, seeing my friends again. This was pre-Facebook. This was even pre-internet. Talking to my friends over the summer would have involved something called a “long-distance call,” and those were expensive, so I didn’t know anything about their summers. Yes, it was my first day back on ca…