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  • 2/2/2019 We are more alike than different, except that there are books written and endless conversations about different ways to worship. Many fine church going people like to squabble over best practices. I have been to plenty of evangelical worship services, and I have liked some of them, but I am not an expert on this kind of theology. What I do know is that when people hear the word liturgical or even “Lutheran” the eyes roll and might think B.O.R.I.N.G. I assure you, not all liturgical or Lutheran churches are boring, (Ask any “Rooter.”) I had a professor in seminary that said, “Christians are the only group of people I know who can make God boring.” He was speaking to reasons why people do not attend church. Immediately, one of my missions became to make church services thought provoking, interesting, and relevant.
  • 1/26/2019 Speakers remorse, things you wish you said but did not. Maybe it was an argument, or perhaps you were interviewing for a job, or trying to make a sale. We have all been there.
    On Monday, I had the opportunity to pray with the people gathered at the Martin Luther King Jr. Celebration. Before we prayed, I acknowledged the work that the Noblesville Diversity Coalition have been doing and the way it has changed hearts and opened minds in regards to the racism that still exists in Noblesville. Even the mayor acknowledged that he, for many years had not accepted the reality that there was serious and injurious racism that has affected and still affects people of color in our community.
  • 1/19/2019 My heart leapt with joy last night as my adult son was lamenting having to work on Monday. You see, he is a sales rep for an insurance company, and the business of selling insurance never rests, even for Martin Luther King Jr. Day. My response was to let him know that in our culture only government and school children are given the day off. To which he replied, “well, I think Martin Luther King Day is more important than Presidents Day”. Oh my heart yes, my young padawan is growing up and sensing the importance of the meaning of service and what it means to be a good citizen.
  • 1/12/2019 When I attended seminary, as a new student, I was given a glossary of words that are commonly used in religious circles, specifically for theology students. It was not just subject matter, I needed to worry about, and I also needed to learn a new language.
    Words such as Transubstantiation, Soteriology. Justification. Sanctification. Pneumatology, Ecclesiology, Narthex, Hermeneutics, Eschatology, Sacristy, Lectionary, and many others, tried to get the best of me. They all seemed Greek to me. (That’s a seminarian joke.) Back in the day, we also were required to take Greek and Hebrew. Kids have it easy these days. If you are a Lutheran seminarian (student) you are still required to take two languages, but they can be sign language or Spanish.
  • 1/5/2019 I have no idea what day of the week it is. It feels as though there have been a plethora of Fridays and Sundays, and too many Mondays. There have been far too few Tuesdays, Wednesdays, or Thursdays. Next week my calendar will be back to normal. Hopefully, I will be finding groove, a rhythm to the life I lead. 
    Betsy Reason reported that my New Year Resolution includes my word of the year, “nowing.” It is not simply being present and aware of what is in front of me, but also embracing the now of my life. Living not in the past, not in the future, but being grateful for the gifts that are in front of me in the present day. Of course, I have other resolutions such as eating better, exercising more, continuing to simplify the stuff collected in my home, laughing more, being kinder and reading more books. This list seems to my go to list, the one I struggle with and embrace at the same time.
  • 12/29/2018 On the eighth day of Christmas my true love gave to me, eight maids a milking plus the rest of the list: the swans, six geese a laying, five golden rings, four calling birds, three French hens and of course the obligatory partridge in a pear tree.
    If I were Julia Childs or Rhee Drumand I would be thrilled with the culinary shopping cart of poultry, dairy and fruit, and the gold rings could potentially buy some chocolate and champagne, just to round out the food groups. Christmas is filled with such hope and goodness, and then we hit the New Year!
  • 12/22/2018 “It is the most wonderful time of the year”, croons the song on my radio. I find myself toe tapping and humming along as if this were a mandate of some sort. Most of the holiday season, I agree with this sentiment. However, we are intelligent and empathetic to know that the truth of these words are not true for everyone.
    I wonder what Mary and Joseph thought that night when they found no room at the inn. How desperate and alone they must have felt. The weight of their decisions must have been heavy on their minds while the joy in their hearts must have felt like a holy tug-o-war.
    Believe me, I have been guilty as the next person to revel in Christmas holiday frivolity.
  • 12/15/2018 When the religious leaders saw the outrageous things he was doing, and heard all the children running and shouting through the Temple, “Hosanna to David’s Son!” they were up in arms and took him to task. “Do you hear what these children are saying?” Jesus said, “Yes, I hear them. And haven’t you read in God’s Word, ‘From the mouths of children and babies I’ll furnish a place of praise’?” Matthew 21:15-16 The Message (MSG)

    Admittedly, our worship on Sunday makes some of my older folk cringe. We are a loud and messy group. Liturgical, in our case anyway, does not mean staid and stuffy. In this house, Roots of Life, we do loud, we forgive, we show grace, and we love everyone. We do follow the four movements of the liturgical Lutheran worship; gather, word, table, and sending.
  • 12/8/2018 When we think of abundance, we tend to think of excess. At least that is where my mind usually goes. If I have an abundance of tomatoes in my garden, for instance, I can (put up) tomatoes, or make salsa and sauce. If I have an overabundance, I give them away to my neighbors and friends. I used to have a co-worker who grew zucchini every year. When each season gave way to harvest, mounds of zucchini would show up in the break room, begging to be taken and baked into bread and sending us to the zucchini Pinterest pages.
    Sometimes, the holidays send us into excess. More holiday baking, more gift giving (buying), more decorating, more fa-la-la-ing. Having just moved into a new home, I find myself having outdoor Christmas lighting envy. It is taking everything I have not to run to Lowes or Home Depot to buy a big blow up nativity set. After all, being a pastor means that my outdoor decorations need to show the reason for the season, not the Santa, reindeer or candy canes.
  • 12/1/2018 Not Carole King, not the Heinz Ketchup commercial, but Advent and the whole season, 24 days, is making us wait for Christmas. While people sincerely wish me a Merry Christmas, and advertisements slam my social media feeds, and fights break out over Santa Clause Houses, what the decorations look like this year and the calendar filling up with Christmas activities, a little piece of my heart and soul yearns for the peace, hope, joy and love of pure Advent. I have visions of calm and bright starry nights, the sound of logs crackling in the fireplace, and the taste of the first snowflakes on my lips; I yearn for the sound of peace on earth, goodwill toward all.
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Thursday, February 21, 2019

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