Posts

Endless Debates...

There must be a difference between political debates and a cock fight, but I'll be darned if I can find it. Feathers and talons flying everywhere, the Democrats, with a cast of characters bigger than "Hair," have taken to the airwaves. Like everything else from peanut butter to proctologists, these things are over-analyzed by the media and "Moe" down at the bar. I'm absolutely shocked that Vegas hasn't figured out a way to bet on the candidates and how they perform in each debate, or that the giant banks haven't figured out how to make a "derivative" out of them to sell. They are ripe for it.

The latest debate had a new guy, Bullock, pulling in like a line-jumper on the Interstate. He certainly made some good points, but there was an obnoxiousness about him that I can't explain. Elizabeth Warren still sounds "whiney," Bernie gets so passionate, I fear he's going to give himself a stroke, and that author, Williamson? She s…

The Late, Great Planet Earth...

Less than a year after two Americans first landed on the moon, an obscure Southern Baptist named Hal Lindsey wrote a book entitled, "The Late, Great Planet Earth," in which he gave his own interpretation of biblical prophecies. Lindsey believed the Earth, as we know it, would end sometime in the late 1970s or early 1980s, when Jesus returned. While there was no Internet back then, and therefore no social media or You Tube, his book went "viral," selling over 28 million copies by 1990. Lindsey's view was from the pre-millennial, dispensationalist view espoused by many Southern Baptists. If you don't know what those terms mean, you are the better for it. Basically, they assert true Christians get to have all of the fat and flavor without any calories, snatched out of the earthly turmoil they helped create in something called the "rapture," kind of a biblical version of "Beam me up, Scotty." The book frightened a lot of people into "be…

The Giant Leap...

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Fifty years ago, the Sterling family was returning from vacation, and the oldest child (yours truly), who was so caught up in the American space program that he could easily be labeled a "space geek," was sitting in the back seat of the car looking at a road map. 
"Turn HERE!" I shouted to the driver (my father). 
"Why?" 
"Just TURN HERE!" I shouted again, with apparently enough passion and bossiness that he did. 
"Where is this taking us?" he asked. 
"To Wapakoneta," I informed. 
"WHERE?" he asked, with a strong sample of incredulousness in his question.
So, then I took the time to explain that Wapakoneta, Ohio was the home of the man who had just returned from walking on the moon. Neil Armstrong was in isolation with the other two Apollo 11 astronauts, just in case they brought back some alien germs in the dust and rocks they delivered to planet earth. And I figured that Neil's hometown must certainly be cele…

Grace 2.0

In Galatians 3:23-25, Paul writes:

23 Before faith came, we were guarded under the Law, locked up until faith that was coming would be revealed,24 so that the Law became our [nanny] until Christ so that we might be made righteous by faith. 25 But now that faith has come, we are no longer under a [nanny].
Note that I am using the word "nanny" instead of the Common English Bible's word, "custodian," because it is a better translation for the Greek word, παιδαγωγὸς.  This is the word from which we get "pedagogy" in English, and in this form, would have meant the "nanny" in that day who raised a child in the home of wealthier families, baby-sitting the child, caring for the child's every needs, protecting the child, and even teaching the child to walk and develop language skills. The nanny would have "coached" the child's development, augmenting its more formal schooling later in life, until such time as the child grew mature an…

What good thing can come out of Grove City?

Annual Conference is over for another year. From some of us, who were quite, QUITE disappointed in its outcome, we're just thinking it's over...period. Like so many of the things some are touting as "doctrines," "covenants," and "rules," Annual Conference may be the last dinosaur standing, and it's wobbling severely. I am reminded of the Henny Youngman joke: "Hey doctor, it hurts when I do this!" to which the doctor replies, "Then don't DO that!" In short, regarding Annual Conference, it hurts when we DO this...

Was there anything good to come out of Annual Conference at Grove City College this year? Let me try to name a few things:


The platform was decorated and lighted nicely (although I still like the corner/wedge-shaped arrangement better than the long "troop carrier" formation).The Oakland UMC praise band led us in some "golden moldy" praise songs that this "traditional worship" pastor …

A Defining Moment...

How we define things pretty much sets the parameters as to how we view that which we define, how we will treat it, and how we will relate to it. Some examples:

I relate to one named "Dara" differently because she is defined as my partner in life, the mother of our children, and my best friend. I treat her like no other human with whom I relate, because of this specific definition. She is also a practicing Christian (and she's really GOOD at it!), and therefore I also treat her like a sibling in Jesus Christ. It gets complicated, because she is also a member of the church I serve, so technically, I am also her pastor, but the earlier definition severely clouds how I can relate to her as "pastor." I am able to teach her in a Bible Study, but if she needs to talk to a pastor about deep, personal issues (especially if any of them involves her husband), she would be better served by meeting with my colleague. (If we were serving in a solo appointment, she would have…

When ALL truly means ALL...

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We are now flying a "rainbow" flag outside of the entrance to our church. While recognized as a universal sign of welcome to our LGBTQIA+ siblings, it is clearly serving as a welcome to more than just them. Since the LGBTQIA+ community is currently "front and center" as a marginalized group, especially among United Methodists, other persons who find themselves oppressed in some way (i.e. race, national origin, religion, gender, economic or legal status) see a symbol of welcome like this one and know they, too, are welcome here. The colors on this flag may represent many who might question whether they are welcome. Flying them in front of our entrance answers their question: "Yes, you are!"

While our church is a broad-based community of faith, meaning we have persons of all political and possibly even theological spectra represented in our congregation, I submit that this flag is in no way rebuffing the welcome we have extended to them, perpetually. Some …