16 September 2014

Five Days of Thankfulness, Day 2

My sister-in-law tagged me to do the Five Days of Thankfulness thing.  Going to do it each day this week.  I'm not going to tag anyone else - you get to be thankful if you choose, and to express that thankfulness if you choose.  I'm easy-going like that.

15 September 2014

Five Days of Thankfulness, Day 1

My sister-in-law called me out on the Five Days of Thankfulness thing on Facebook.  Given that this is the sort of thing I used to do here, it seemed like a good chance to return to blogging a bit more regularly.  So, here goes.

05 September 2014

On Sports and Faith and Life and Balance

Bruce Feiler wrote a great article a few weeks ago that my friend Erik Ullestad shared in his weekly "Recommended Reads" email from Elbow Co. (link here)  Take a few minutes and read what Bruce has to say about sports, faith, and families today, and then come back here for just a bit of me pushing back but also heartily endorsing much of what Bruce says.

27 June 2014

An Open Letter to the Democratic National Committee

I get it. It's rough as we approach what could be a disappointing midterm election. Between recurring gun massacres and our national apathy toward violence, an unhealthy obsession with denying whatever President Obama proposes regardless of merit, and the endless assault on a duly passed piece of health care legislation, you're feeling the strain. I am, too.

But your recent emails have gone too far. I'm not a Democrat because I don't like John Boehner - he seems a decent guy who just doesn't see things the way I do. I'm not a Democrat because I want Republicans to lose (okay, maybe Steve King, but I bet there's plenty of Republicans who feel the same way). I'm not a Democrat because I like Nancy Pelosi and President Obama, even though I do. I'm a Democrat because I believe our vision for the future of the country is a good one, and I'm willing to vote for that vision. I vote for ideas and for policies, not for people - and not against them, either.

Sending me an email saying "If we sit this out, these guys win" is not the way to get me to pitch in another $5. Any politics or policy founded in fear is going to fail miserably. Tell me what we're doing FOR the country and I'll support it. I don't have to be afraid of Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan or Scott Walker to believe that their policies will continue to widen the gap between the plutocrats and the rest of us. I know that just by listening to them and using my head. I also know that even when I disagree with people of other parties, it's more than likely they will bring perspective to my own beliefs and help me see things in a different light. Single-party rule is tyranny regardless of which party is ruling.

Enough of the scare emails. Enough of the polarity. Enough of the attempt to target people for defeat. That's the sort of anxiety-riddled jingoism that caters to the lowest common denominator and debases the entire country. Plenty of people are already playing this game and exploiting it to fill their pockets. We have to be better than this. We used to be better than this. Let's be better than this again.

26 June 2014

Sermon Podcasts - Ten Commandments, Weeks 1 and 2

Two sermon podcasts just so you know I'm still here!  First, Luther Seminary student Emily Martin preaches a poetic reflection in three parts:



This past Sunday, I was intrigued by Dr. Thomas Long's vision of the Decalogue (another name for the Commandments, from the Latin for "Ten Words") as something to be danced rather than a burden to be borne.



Enjoy, and have a great week!

30 May 2014

Festival of Homiletics: Convicted

Like I said: the Moleskine got a workout
I was in Minneapolis last week for the 2014 Festival of Homiletics, which is fancy church-geek speak for "preaching."  Four full days of lectures on preaching and worship services featuring great preachers from a wide array of Protestant churches.  I heard from Walter Brueggeman, Anna Carter Florence, Barbara Brown Taylor, MaryAnn McKibben Dana, Lauren Winner, Otis Moss III, Karoline Lewis, John Bell, and Brian McLaren, and I regrettably had to miss lectures and sermons by M. Craig Barnes and Will Willimon (good news, though - for a small fee you can buy recordings!).  My hand was cramping from all the notes and my Moleskine filled up rapidly.

08 May 2014

Book Review: Mediating Faith by Clint Schnekloth

(c) 2013 by Fortress Press

Contemporary media studies would remind us, if nothing else, that all of life is mediated, and much more is media than we are often aware. (p. 3) 
Humans, though they speak of technology as if it were separate from them, are virtually incapable of living a nontechnological existence. (p. 102)
--Clint Schnekloth, Mediating Faith:  Faith Formation in a Trans-Media Era

It is with these thoughts in mind that Clint Schnekloth embarks on an examination of what it means to be faithful, as an individual Christian and as a leader of Christian community, in an age of constantly developing media and technology.  Published from a dissertation presented toward earning the Doctor of Ministry degree at Fuller Theological Seminary, there is much here that will be helpful for all of us trying to navigate the waters of our trans-media times.