Month: August 2018

Most of you know that Mariah and I have a dachshund named Hildegard. A while ago, we started having a little problem with her: she started refusing to go for walks. She would be fine in the fenced-in yard, and she was willing to step out into the rest of the yard and maybe even walk around the house a little bit. But, once we got to the sidewalk, she would tuck her tail and shake and sit down and refuse to move. A trip to the vet ruled out any medical problems. And we know that Hildegard has…
I’ve already announced this on my personal Facebook profile, but I haven’t said anything here yet: I recently signed a contract with Wipf and Stock to publish my first book — the working title is Radical Charity: How Generosity Can Save the World (And the Church) — through their Cascade Books imprint. I spent more than two years working on the manuscript, and who-knows-how-long before that accidentally researching a book. While there’s still plenty if work to be done, I am very excited for this project to be in its final stages! Here’s my draft for the back cover copy: Right now,…
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom.” That’s not from our reading today. It’s from our call to worship. It’s from a Psalm. The psalmist sings that he will praise the Lord. He sings that the Lord’s works are great; they are full of honor and majesty; they are faithful and just. He sings that the Lord is renowned for her wonderful deeds; she has provided food to the people; she has sent redemption. And he sings that the fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom. And that sounds terrible. The Lord is my…
For my birthday this year, my wife generously bought be a new tenor saxophone. I started on clarinet in sixth grade. In college, I switched to tenor saxophone (and still doubled on clarinet), and played on school horns. A few months after college, I bought a late-60s King Cleveland off eBay. Despite hundreds of dollars of repairs and adjustments, it’s never been a high quality instrument. The octave mechanism stick, there is always at least one leaky pad, the action is slow, it feels like it’s made out of tin, and it’s always a little stuffy. Now I have…
As we have established in earlier sermons, I am a nerd. Almost every week, I get together with a group of friends and we play… well, not Dungeons & Dragons, but a similar game. For a few hours, we play characters who are wizards and thieves and warriors, who are elves and dwarves and halflings, who are fighting dragons and defeating evil sorcerers and saving the world. And what it all comes down to is this: we sit around a table and work together to tell a story. And because we are working together to tell a story, one…
As a pastor, my schedule is pretty fluid. There are some fixed points: worship is at 9:30am on Sundays, confirmation is at 6pm on Wednesdays, office hours are from 9am to 1pm on Tuesdays and Thursdays, and so on. And there are things that need to be done, but can fit in wherever there is space. For example, I write sermons on Mondays; but if they spill over into sometime on Wednesday, that’s okay. That leaves a lot of time that is open and unpredictable. Hospital visits happen. Funerals — though I haven’t had one yet — happen on relatively short…
I didn’t preach this Sunday, so there’s no new sermon today. This is an old one that I preached at the United Church of Christ in Medina, Ohio, sometime in 2009. For those who don’t know me, I am a communion junkie. Communion is where it all comes together for me, where the entire phenomenon of ‘being church’ is transformed: where a group of people coming together in a brick building is changed into a community of the holy spirit. That’s not to say that the rest of it – the hymns, the sermon, the passing of the peace,…

Pin It on Pinterest