Showing posts from 2014

Saying Something

5 years ago, I wrote a "Minute for Mission" on domestic violence. As I've become aware, five years is too long to wait.

When I was in high school, we took a career-oriented field trip of sorts to a few local businesses. Nearly all my classmates were white, and they were almost all upper middle class, or just plain rich. The bus driver, who was black and, at best, lower middle class, was late picking us up after one stop.

One of my classmates made a joke, wondering if the driver were trying to sell the bus's hubcaps. I don't think anyone outright laughed, but some people giggled, and even people like me who thought that the joke sounded wrong didn't say anything.

Except Mr. Rushing, one of our teachers. "That was racist, and there's no place for that here," he said.

Mr. Rushing didn't end racism, but he stopped the giggling, and he did make a difference. And, in the sense that I've think of his courage as inspirational, he made a b…

Sermon: We're Gonna Need a Bigger Boat

This is a sermon I preached at Northminster Presbyterian Church in Slidell, LA on August 3, 2014 (Esther Day).

We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Boat Text: Matthew 14:22-33 Happy Esther Day.

I said “Esther Day,” not “yesterday.” Yesterday was Saturday. Today is Esther Day.

And for you religious scholars out there, it’s not Purim either. It’s not about the Esther in the Bible.

I do love these “sub-culture” holidays. I enjoy filling my calendar with days that mean something special to people who often feel like they’re just too weird for the normal world.

It’s OK if you don’t know what Esther Day is. I didn’t know what it was until a little more than a week ago, and then Emily increased my awesome and told me about it. In a bit, I’m going to increase your awesome too.

But first, let’s talk about Peter.

The “walking on water” story is in Mark and John too, but the story is quite a bit different here in Matthew. For Matthew, it starts with Jesus sending the disciples away. God had just fed thousa…

Blessings: Nothing to Sneeze At

[I wrote the title to this post last. It is a very bad play on words based on the fact that many people say, "God bless you," when someone sneezes. I'm very sorry. All I can say is that I had good intentions...]

One thing about the Beatitudes in Matthew is that, for the most part, the people who are "blessed" don't often seem very blessed. Let me show you what I mean:

Imagine a large, old church with tall Gothic arches and acres of stained glass, filled with proper, well-to-do people. Imagine a smiling, older man stepping up to the microphone in the front of the amassed congregation and saying:

Let me tell you a little about Bob. He's been blessed by God more than almost anyone I've ever met. For example, he is poor in spirit. In fact, it hardly seems like there's anything spiritual about him. I'd say he's  even spiritually indebted. Many people have wondered if he is, in fact, the Anti-Christ. God surely blesses this man. He mourns conti…

Margaret Donovan and The Advantages of Not Walking on Water

I probably don't know the names of the people who made the biggest difference in your life. You probably don't know the names of the people who made the biggest difference in mine.

I do know the name of the president of the United States. I know the name of some movie stars. I know the names of some sports stars. They stand out, and they do great things.
But lots of people do great things, and they don't all stand out. Most of them don't, because they're too busy helping people to worry about standing out.

I know the names of Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, the lead actors in the movie The Sound of Music. And I remember one of my favorite scenes in the movie, where Andrews's Maria and Plummer's Captain look into each others eyes in the gazebo, in the moonlight. They look incredibly beautiful.

I don't know the name of the camera operator, the lighting technician, the set designer, the hair and makeup people, or the cinematographer, all of whom hel…

A Brief History of Love-Not-Fear

The page began when I was teaching a youth Sunday school class. We'd often get into deep discussions, and we'd often run out of time, or we'd need to do some more research to help us form our thoughts better. I thought that having a site like this would help. I also thought it would be less intimidating (and more practical) for young people to point their friends at a website instead of inviting them to worship. The website they could visit when they wanted, and spend as much time as they wanted there, while worship is only at a specific time in a specific place.

Well, that didn't work out as I had planned. I then re-purposed this page to be a kind of "news and information" page because our church website at the time was very static and difficult to update. That didn't work very well either, mostly because, as it turns out, there wasn't that much news to report.

My church used to ask me to preach about once or twice a year when our pasto…

Love Not Fear Reboot

I have far fewer opportunities these days to discuss God in the kind of depth and richness that I enjoy. That doesn't mean that I haven't been praying or doing Bible study (I currently teach a discussion-based adult Sunday school class), but it seems that many of the discussions I've been in of late have been very constrained, either by time or subject. So, I've decided to "pivot" this page as a means for me to get these considerations out of my head and more available for others should they find them of use.