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Category: religion

08/16/10 11:26 - ID#52457

Conservative values and the Mosque

First, I'm not sure you can call it a Mosque, or say that it is located "at" ground zero. But lets lay that aside for a second. Here are some things that conservatives traditionally value, that would seem to say, "let them do it."

1. Religious freedom.
2. The rights of property owners.
3. Decision making on the local level.

Many of the people who are fighting against this also fight for religious displays on public property, no matter how "insensitive" their opponents tell them it is.

I can imagine a US church attempting to buy and build a place for worship in Baghdad, and local lraquis protesting that they should not. What do you think the pundits would say about that? Likely, we would assert that anybody can build any church, anywhere, if they pay for it.

If the anti-mosque folks win this debate, they will likely come to regret it when Christians are in the minority (likely, soon) and the same arguments they've made are used against them.

You treat people the way you want to be treated, regardless of how they treat you.
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Category: religion

04/20/10 01:16 - ID#51426

Haven't posted all month! Sorry!

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Category: religion

03/24/10 10:24 - ID#51257

Churches are like people

Churches are like people, especially in their life-cycle. The only difference is that sometimes a church can hit "reset" and find new life, i.e. in their "maturity" years they can make choices to find a new mission expression and rediscover the passion of youth. Honestly, however, very few do.

I like church planters, the people that start new churches, and it renews my perspective when I hang out with them. The congregation I serve is well over 100 years old. We are attempting a "reset" right now, but for many purposes, we are retirement-age, if not older.

Most of the congregations I interact with are either geriatric or infants/toddlers. Just as people love human babies, baby churches are also very excited and filled with promise. (This is not the main thrust of this post, but another similarity is that sometimes they are planned, and sometimes they just "happen.")

Many of the churches that are making a tremendous difference in the world right now are churches that are in the "maturity" stage of life, say 30-50 years old. Unfortunately, there are not too many congregations of this age. The "baby boom" of churches started post World War II has led to a "bust," because the need for new congregations was not felt.

Now, however, there is an important generation of church missing.

Churches in maturity are struggling to find youth, but it is difficult.

Baby Churches need parents, but they are lacking.

Mature churches are the ones that make a difference, caring for the older ones and nurturing the younger ones, but they are missing.

Can grandparents raise children? Of course. It is hard, however, because there is a double generation gap, we aren't as fast as we used to be, and frankly, we are pre-occupied with our own aging and pending death. But we need to step up, get over ourselves, and get to work.

On the other side of the coin, young churches need parents. Some are desperate for them, but others are firmly against the idea. Unlike people, baby churches can say "no," and not have a parent to correct them. This is why dangerous theology finds a home in younger churches.

Dangerous, of course, doesn't always mean "bad," although it does sometimes. The church needs to take risks and do dangerous things, but it also needs to make sure it doesn't do too much damage in the process. This is what parents do for children. Good parents let their kids experience negative consequences, but they don't let babies go swimming without a lifeguard. Some young churches insist then can swim, or light fireworks, or whatever when they cannot.

The best shepherds of young communities find an older community, not to duplicate it, but to learn from it. Older communities need to be open to younger communities, not fearing being replaced, but welcoming it--this is what children are supposed to do! We need to guide and counsel, but not at the same time, foster maturity and independence as they grow. It is hard for grand-parents, even great-grandparents to do this, but not impossible at all.

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Category: religion

05/07/09 10:01 - ID#48612

National Day of Prayer

Obviously, I think prayer is good.

I don't need, or even want, my government to tell me to pray.

And--although part of my job is praying in public, Jesus made it pretty clear that prayer is something best done in private (Matthew 6), and so I will follow that admonition.
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Category: religion

04/07/09 01:39 - ID#48319

I guess my church isn't the crassest . .

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Category: religion

04/05/09 09:58 - ID#48302

Haven't posted a sermon in a while . . .

. . . but I did something different for Palm Sunday. Here it is:

At first, we like God.

Because we think God is going to save us.

At first, we like God.

Because we are sure that God is on our side.

At first, we like God.

Because God can act now, quickly, and decisively.

So we shout, "Hosanna." "Save us."

And God does.

And we celebrate.

But notice--

His War Horse is not a Horse.

He's on a pack animal. And a borrowed one, at that.

Now look, he goes to the Temple.

We wave our branches higher.

He's going to save us our religion.

He's going to save our country.

He's going to take back the land for God.

We've wanted God to come. Now God is here. Victory will be ours.

"Save us," we shout. "Hosanna" "Blessed is David's Kingdom."

David built God's temple.

You are going to tear it down?

David defeated God's enemies.

You are going to feed them?

David took the land for God.

Your Kingdom is not of this world?

David took God's throne.

You are taking the cursed cross?

At first we liked you.

But you aren't going to save us.

A grain of wheat must die?

The first must become last?

We must take up a cross?


You are not like David.

You are not like God.

You are the anti-King.

You are the anti-God.

You cannot save us.

You will destroy us.

You must be stopped.

"Save us?"

We were so foolish.

We have no King but Caesar.

"Crucify him."

"Save Us," cries the crowd.

"Take up your cross," replies Jesus.

It sounds silly,

But to people-in-salvation,

the cross is the power of God.

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Category: religion

03/30/09 04:24 - ID#48241

Lafayette Church, beginning April 12

Some shameless promotion of upcoming events:

Jesus, revealed!

* On SUNDAY MORNINGS we see Jesus in the stories of his post-Resurrection appearances, and consider where he might be showing up today. (10-11:15am)

* On SUNDAY EVENINGS we will see Jesus through contemplative prayer and sacrament. (8-8:45pm)

* On TUESDAY EVENINGS we will see how Jesus was revealed in scripture and the early church, as we watch and discuss the PBS Documentary "From Jesus to Christ." (7-8:30pm)

* On THURSDAY EVENINGS we will see Jesus as we serve others, rehabbing houses with West Side Ministries. (5-9pm, but late arrivals/early exits are ok.)

* On FRIDAY, APRIL 17 we will host a free screening of "Lord, Save Us from your Followers," a humorous documentary that shows how Jesus is and isn't revealed by the church.

EVERY EVENT is open and accessible for people of ANY or NO FAITH. There will always be snacks, there will always be an optional time of discussion, and you will be treated with respect.

Lafayette Ave. Presbyterian Church
On the corner of Lafayette and Elmwood

Beginning Easter Sunday (April 12) and continuing until May 7.

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Category: religion

02/24/09 01:17 - ID#47876

Ash Wednesday

Tomorrow is the day that we remember our mortality. Not so pleasant, but good to do once in a while. When I put ashes on a person's head, I will tell them (and it is particularly hard with sick people, who know it all too well) "Remember that you are dust, and to dust you will return."



Lent is hard to get without experiencing it. But it really can go well.
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Category: religion

02/23/09 04:09 - ID#47869

Media fast

I'll still be on media where I know people, so blogs, twitter, and facebook are all good, but I am taking a break from videos and mindless websites in the hope that "old media" will change me in some positive ways.

So, starting Wednesday, limited internet, no tv, and no partisan talk radio. Until Easter (but maybe longer if it is as good for me as I think it will be)
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Category: religion

02/06/09 12:33 - ID#47658

movie tonight

my house. "The Ordinary Radicals."

This is the story of a peculiar people,
with no King but God,
practicing a revolution of love,
and making the world anew.

Their isn't the old-time religion of saving up for going to heaven;
this is bringing heaven to the world.


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