Monday, November 26, 2007


If you haven't explored the world of Facebook (and I suspect MySpace is the same) I would suggest you check it out. It's a strange phenomenon where people are connecting with one another and building community. Ironically, it seems to also be distancing ourselves as we interact from our own very rooms. It's also a world that you can easily get sucked into. So here is a music video about this virtual community of Facebook. If you've been there you might find some humor.

For those who have been looking for more posts from me I apologize. I was sick last week, ran into Thanksgiving, and now I'm taking a few days off for the sake of some down time. So there might not be more for a few more days. Although, we'll see what happens and I might get inspired.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


Here is one of my new favorite songs from the band Third Day. What does communion mean to you?


Is it time for us to completely rethink how we do confirmation? What we do here on Wednesday nights is an exciting change from classroom lecture and test model that I went through as a teenager. I think we're doing some good things with our current confirmation. The problem, as I see it, is that it is still too structured, too one-size-fits-all. What we are essentially saying is that if you sit through these 45 classes (or whatever it is) you will be ready to profess your faith.

I believe faith development is more organic than that. I have met third graders who are very ready to affirm their baptism and I have met tenth graders that still aren't ready. I think it's time for us to stop thinking about faith development as simply a middle school thing and stat thinking of it as a life long way of life. I would like to suggest that if we are going to take the promises of confirmation seriously and not turn it into a complete farce, then we need to start thinking about things differently. We need to development a way to make it possible for a person to publicly profess that they now desire to live out the promises made on their behalf in their baptism whether they are 13 or 31.

Perhaps I will leave my thoughts there and let you chew on them a bit. In the days ahead I will share a few more thoughts, including a proposal that's been rattling around in my head.


The devotion from ODB today struck me in its discussion on self-help. If you wander into a place like Barnes & Noble you will notice books flying off the shelves in the self-help section. We like those kinds of things. We like people like Dr. Phil, because they assure us that we are in control. They tell us that we are in charge of our lives, and that we can fix all of our problems.

It's a nice concept, but I think it's wrong. Oh sure, those things certainly can be helpful. I just think that God is ultimately in control. Isn't that one of the very basic tenants of our faith? God is above all things. If you have any doubts ask someone standing at the foot of a grave how much they can fix the problem. Talk to an addict and they'll tell you that the big con they've played on themselves is thinking that they were the ones in control. It's just simply reality that we are not completely and totally in control of our lives. That would be a job for God... and thank goodness for that!

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

At the Foot of a Grave

So it's been a while since I've posted regularly. My schedule has been a bit turned upside down lately and that has thrown me. However, I am here for today. I wanted to share with you a story I heard yesterday that I think fits with our lectionary readings for Sunday. As a preacher I find this a challenging stretch to be preaching. We are in the midst of a number of readings about end times and then we'll transition into Advent with similar themes in looking at the coming of Jesus (both 2,000 years ago and again soon for a second time).

With this as a backdrop and Pastor Dave's preaching about our living in a culture of death that I heard a beautiful story yesterday. I was talking to a friend of mine who is a pastor in Waseca. Last February there was a tragic shooting that involved a father and son who were killed and a mother who barely survived. Last week after traipsing through manure covered fields he came across the mother standing in the wind swept cemetery standing in front of the grave. As my friend approached the mother asked, "Is this all there is?"

If that's not a profound theological moment, I don't know what is. It's a picture of life as well, I think, covered in manure standing at the grave asking is this all there is? I think we know the answer to that question, but it hits hard sometimes. We know that resurrection, new life, is only possible through death. It is in death that we begin to see resurrection, that we begin to find hope. It's the strange thing about our faith, that it works this way. It is also the beautiful part of our faith as well.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Living Large

We have spoken openly to you, our heart is wide open. —2 Corinthians 6:11

I think there is something kind of catchy about that phrase, "Living Large." I don't know if it's really used all so much any more, but it is used to connote that one is living the good life filled with all of the luxuries that come along with it. It is, in many ways, the American Dream.

I don't want to suggest that God doesn't want us to have good things, but I do want to suggest that perhaps God is looking for something a little different out of us. As Paul suggests to the people of Corinth, we are to live with "our heart wide open." I think that is a rather different connotation. We are called to live a life of generosity, both financially and with a listening heart.

Perhaps today we can live large by living with a large, open heart.

Friday, November 02, 2007

Survivor vs. Biggest Loser

One of the shows that we like to watch at home is "Survivor". There is something fun about the game itself, the games within that are a dream for former camp employees, but there is also something intriguing about the social dynamic of the game as well. We get to watch human nature at perhaps it's conniving worst.

Recently a friend of ours told us about "The Biggest Loser" a show where contestants work to lose the greatest percentage of weight. This friend of ours likes it not just for the fitness, health, and weight loss aspect of the show. She also likes the comradery that develops each season, as compared to the cutthroat nature of other reality competition shows. She mentioned how on a recent episode one of the contestants manipulated matters to get rid of another contestant. In so doing he tried to point out that it was a game. To which the other contestants stood up to him and said, "We don't do that here. We don't behave that way."

Wouldn't that be interesting if that's the way we behaved in the church. What if we said, "We don't do that here. We don't behave that way" to the conniving, Survivor-like behavior of other members? What if we created an atmosphere of love, respect, and support? What if we behaved in a way that God expects us to behave instead of the way our instincts sometimes drive us?