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Showing posts from November, 2012

Value Added

A little news blip caught my attention this week. The Department of Treasury is seriously considering eliminating the penny and nickel from monetary circulation next year. This sort of thing has been talked about for years, and maybe it is being driven by all the "fiscal cliff" chatter. The article said it costs roughly 5 cents to produce a penny, and nearly 11 cents to produce a nickel. Quarters and dimes, on the other hand, cost less than their respective 25 and 10 cents to produce. There is also talk of replacing $1 bills with $1 coins, which would also produce great savings. There is much discussion about whether this is window dressing or if it would make a significant impact on our budgetary situation. Personally I am all for it-- and considering our leaders are contemplating cutting billions of dollars in aid to folk in need (clearly a justice issue), I'm for pinching every penny we can find elsewhere. You could say, wait for it: Changing our currency just makes s…

135 Days

"After the [insert cliche] there was a sound. Thin. Quiet"
(1 Kings 19:12).

Yesterday I went to the boys' school for lunch: it was billed as a Thanksgiving lunch with dads, so the cafeteria served turkey, dressing, sweet potato pie, etc. A more skeptical person might have suspected the real motive here was to get dads and their wallets on campus for the school book fair. Actually I'm pretty sure that was the deal, so maybe it's not so skeptical after all. Anyhow, I took the boys on their book buying spree the day before, so we were able to enjoy lunch together without the pressure of eating quickly and rushing to the library to celebrate Thanksgiving by... Yeah, it doesn't really work, does it?

I, and many other pastors, have made careers out of preaching this time of year, fueled by cliches: Christmas decorations up too early; music playing too soon; stores pushing December into September or October; Thanksgiving being overlooked. I could go on and on. For …

Unity Service for Election Night

i should have posted this three days ago, but if anyone is interested here is the liturgy we offered for our unity service on election night. based on reactions over the last 72 hours, i'm fairly sure it will be valuable in 2016 as well.

The psalmist declares: “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred live together in unity!”
We are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people, so that we might proclaim the mighty acts of the one who called us out of darkness and into the marvelous light!
We are no longer Republicans or Democrats, liberals or conservatives, but we are citizens with the saints and also members of the household of God!
We are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, with Christ Jesus as the cornerstone.

Opening singing All Who Hunger
All I Need Is You
As the Deer

Prayers From the UM Book of Worship
…of Confession
Lord Jesus Christ, you are the way of peace. Come into the brokenness of our land with your heali…

Little Things -> Big Things (When God Is Involved)

"If it is possible, so far as it depends on you,
live peaceably with all" (Romans 12:18).
"If I could, you know I would; if I could, I would, let it go." (U2)

Sometimes it's the small things that make the big difference. You have heard that cliche a ton-- I know I have. The thing about cliches, is that they are usually based on hard earned, shared experiences. They are true to many people over time. I'm thinking about small things today, and how they can become big things when God becomes involved.

Two weeks ago we went home for a family reunion, and discovered Mom had lost a bunch of weight. Christy inquired as to how this happened, and the answer, was, you guessed it, simple: sugar. She cut out sugar and the weight went away. What happened next, you ask? Well Christy shared this news with me, as well as the news that we would now be cutting out sugar as well. I enjoyed the Coke I drank on the drive home, because I knew it would be my last one for a while.…

A Message for All Saints Sunday

Last weekend our family attended a family reunion. We used to do these every couple of years when I was a kid. Then for whatever reason we stopped for quite a long time. A couple of years ago my grandfather, approaching his 89th birthday, wanted to do another one, and we've had two more since then. This year's reunion was memorable for two reasons: 1. Half the people went home sick. A stomach bug that attacked my uncle's family two weeks ago has somehow gotten hold of my parents, grandparents, my own kids, and many others. 2. During the reunion there was a video playing in the background- a video from a reunion in 1988 or 89. I know this because my cousin, who I was playing cards with in the video, is wearing his high school class ring.

Watching this video was fascinating. Laughing at the 80s fashion was great. Seeing relatives who have gone on to glory, like my grandfather's brothers, was meaningful. Then my mind began to make some calculations. I freaked my dad out w…

Of Squirrels and Passion

A couple of months ago our family grew by a factor of fur and four paws: Sammy, an eighteen month old schnauzer. Sammy was rescued by a long-time friend who is passionate about dogs. She posted pictures of him on Facebook and it was all over. Anyway, Sammy has been a real joy for us. He is gentle, loves to play, and has a great personality. He has a bit of a bark, as our neighbors would testify- what are you going to do? Sammy's real passion, however, is squirrels.


I don't know what these other furry, four pawed creatures did to arouse his curiosity, but they really enjoy putting him to the test. Now, before he walks out the back door, he pauses: his nose just on the outside for a sniff. He creeps down, almost like a cat ready to pounce. After a few seconds, he bolts to the nearest tree, hopeful of finding a squirrel within reach. What would he do if he caught one? Does he even know? Last week there was an epic showdown- a squirrel was on the ground in the middle of the backya…