25 September 2013

(Some) Parents Just Don't Understand

It's Banned Books Week.  So what did one group of parents in Anoka, Minnesota do?  They got a book banned.  A book that, by all reports, tells a great story of kids rising above poverty and abuse without compromising their dignity and integrity.

23 September 2013

A Review of Pastrix by Nadia Bolz-Weber

Okay, so first, I need to confess that this is not my review of Pastrix: The Cranky, Beautiful Faith of a Sinner & Saint by Nadia Bolz-Weber.  My copy arrived in the mail last week, but due to an exceptionally full schedule I've not had the time to sit down and read the book just yet.  I will do so soon, and I expect to enjoy it immensely. 

20 September 2013

Hey there, old friend.

Ten years ago, I wanted my campus pastor, Larry Meyer, to preach at my ordination service.  Unfortunately (for me), he had a prior commitment to his nephew to preach at his wedding.  At the time it was just a disappointment (again, for me - family trumps ministry every time and twice on Sundays).  Within a year and a half, though, Larry was gone.  Turns out that I never got to hear Larry preach again.

Until now.

This is the wedding message Larry gave at his nephew's wedding.  That nephew digitized the message and sent it to Larry's daughter Rachel, who is getting married this weekend (congrats, Rach!).  She shared it with the internet and gave me permission to share it here.  It's short - to the point - much like many of the others Larry gave (including the message Larry gave when he married my ex and me).  But tonight is the first time I've heard my old friend preach since at least 1999, possibly earlier.  And it's so fucking good to hear that voice again.  

Miss you, my friend.  Oh, how I wish we could share a beer & catch up.

18 September 2013

Vision, Direction and Over-Correction

Last night, Beloved and I rode down to the library with our girls.  Our eldest is a very good rider these days - she scoots right along on her big girl bike.  Little sister, however, remains a work in progress.  Riding behind her last night was both comical and nerve-wracking.  She's not good enough to drop her training wheels yet, but she wants to ride fast enough to stay up with big sister; the resulting mess is a wobbly, heart-stopping mix of weaving all over the sidewalk, sudden stops, violent bursts and, in the end, bruised tailbones (and thankfully, thus far, no broken bones).

This child?  Not mine. Most emphatically not.

12 September 2013

52 Straight Weeks. Oops.

So I checked in at the church building on Foursquare the other day and this happened:

52 straight weeks I've checked in at the church where I work.  That's not good.

06 September 2013

Friday Five: Let's Eat!

This week's Friday Five comes from 3dogmom over at RevGalBlogPals:
My first ever Friday Five is dedicated to Nikki MacDonald, sister RevGal, who was hungering for an opportunity to write about Haggis. With that introduction, today’s FF is all about food!

1) Is there a food from a foreign land whose reputation led to trepidation when you had a chance to give it a try? Did you find the courage to sample it anyway? If so, were you pleasantly surprised or did you endorse the less than favorable reputation that preceded it?
Growing up in the middle of the midwest, anything remotely "Oriental" sounded exotic and strange.  I remember reading about and seeing people in "New York" eating "Chinese food" but never having the guts to try it myself.  Until I got to college and actually smelled the aromas wafting away from the Imperial Palace in the Union.  First time I tried it I was hooked, completely.  Now I love the stuff.

2) What food from your own country/culture gets a bad rap?
I love many of the delicacies that come with my ethnic heritages:  German and Swedish.  I'm not sure if potato sausage and pickled herring are authentically German/Swedish or if they're an American development, but I love them both, particularly around Christmas.

3) Of what food are you fond that others find distasteful?
My campus pastor introduced every board member to his favorite pizza:  Canadian Bacon & Sauerkraut.  It sounds disgusting, but it's actually wonderful.  Add in some black olives and onions and it's a wonderful pizza if you're not going to be speaking in close proximity to anyone in the near future.

4) Is there a country’s food, not native to you, that you go out of your way to eat?
My ex-wife introduced me to Korean food when she was a student at the Defense Language Institute in Monterey, CA, and I still love the stuff.  Bibimbap, bulgogi, and kimchee, which makes my father wince because he remembers seeing it made and buried to ferment when he was stationed in Korea in 1968.  Thanks to Christina, I'm also able to remember to thank my host in Korean when I order and receive my food.  "Kam sa ham ni da" is guaranteed to make any Korean restaurant worker smile in delight.

5) What is your guilty pleasure food?
Ice cream.  Love, love, love the stuff, but we don't keep a lot of it around as I find it hard to resist.  We've limited the girls to weekend treats only, and so far that's keeping everyone's sweet tooth at bay.

Bonus: What was your most memorable meal (good or bad), either because of the menu, the occasion, the company, or some other circumstance that makes it stand out?
I've blogged and preached about this before, but the wedding banquet for our friends Sven & Eva at a castle outside Coburg, Germany was the most incredible meal we've ever experienced.  It was four hours long, your wine glass/beer stein never went dry, no one got hammered, and everyone laughed, cried and had a wonderful time.
Yeah.  It was as good as it looks.

05 September 2013

2013 Book List - September Update

Here's the list of books I've read in 2013, updated monthly (more or less), for fun or for some sort of edification, professional or otherwise. Recommended titles are in bold, and formats are +(Kindle/eBook), *(audio/iPod).

03 September 2013

Let Us Not Live In Fear

A few weeks ago, just after the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America's 2013 Churchwide Assembly concluded its business, a colleague posted a link and I followed it.  It was about the recent election of a gay bishop and his taking part in a worship service with other pro-GLBT folks in our denomination.  Specifically, it was a liturgical critique; ironic, since most of the GLBT clergy I know are also liturgy geeks, but that's an unhelpful over-generalization and I digress.

01 September 2013

Sermon for 1 September 2013 - "The Lunchroom Gospel"

God Pause for Sunday, 1 September 2013

Sunday:  “We Plow the Fields and Scatter” ELW #681
1 We plow the fields and scatter

The good seed on the land,

But it is fed and watered

By God's almighty hand.

He sends the snow in winter,

The warmth to swell the grain,

The breezes and the sunshine,

And soft refreshing rain.


All good gifts around us

Are sent from heav'n above.

Then thank the Lord, oh, thank the Lord 

For all his love. 

2 He only is the maker 

Of all things near and far;

He paints the wayside flower,

He lights the evening star.

The winds and waves obey him;

By him the birds are fed.

Much more to us, his children,

He gives our daily bread.


3 We thank you, our creator, 

For all things bright and good,

The seed-time and the harvest,

Our life, our health, our food.

No gifts have we to offer

For all your love imparts,

But what you most would treasure

Our humble, thankful hearts.


We are teaching our daughters the Lord’s Prayer and Luther’s explanations from the Small Catechism.  Not by rote memorization yet, but through conceptual means.  We are particularly fond of the 4th petition, “Give us this day our daily bread,” and we’ve developed a game where we try to identify the many different ways God has given us all we need to tend to our bodies and lives in the course of the day.  There’s nothing quite like telling a giggling 4 year-old that God provided the broccoli she didn’t want to eat at supper as well as the ice cream we promised if she would just eat her vegetables.  This is the holy work to which we are called, parents and all of us:  to teach the world about our good Creator who gives all good gifts and to whom we offer praise and thanksgiving.

We thank you, O God, for the many ways you provide all we need and more.  Your goodness is everlasting and your mercy stretches beyond sunrise and sunset.  Instill in us your grace and care for all of creation, that we might offer ourselves and all you have given us to you in thanksgiving.  Amen.