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Showing posts from March, 2017

Dare I Ask (Dare! Dare!)

I would like to emphasize how much I appreciate questions. As a pastor, questions help me to know how people are thinking around me. They point me to information that I might have that I could share. They provide a path for me to encourage discernment by and wisdom gathering in others.

I have previously answered questions here and here. These aren't two "good" questions. They were genuine questions that people asked of me and gave me time to ponder my answer.

Recently I did "Ask a Pastor Anything" or "Pastor in the Hot Seat" with a confirmation class. The group of 11-14 year (and a couple adults) asked the following questions:

- Were there any conflicts between people who believe in religion and people who believe in science? If so, what happened?

- What is theodicy?

- Could God have said things much differently and we misunderstood his teaching or mistranslated his ideas and, therefore, some things seen negatively could've been positive? (sic)

-…

A Good Yarn about Believing

At this time four years ago, I did not know how to crochet. I was in the middle of a very dark
depression that came on about two months after V--, my youngest, was born. Each day was a effort toward my goal of "everyone alive at the end of the day". I wanted a craft to do, something that didn't involve intense focus. The only handicraft I knew at the time was cross-stitching, which is not mindless.

I had started using a knitting loom in the fall. This is a round loom with pegs around which you loop the yarn. Using a hook, you pull stitches over one another. I made a scarf for my sister and some hats. Carrying around even the small loom, though, seemed awkward. I wanted to be one of the people with a small ball of yarn and needles in my bag that I could unobtrusively pull out during a meeting.

When my mother-in-law came in June 2013 to help out while Rob went to Ft. Rucker for 13 weeks, I asked her to teach me to crochet. I knew that she knew how and that she could show …

Childlike Vs. Childish

Last night, I was asked an excellent question. We read and meditated on this passage from Paul’s writing:
For we know only in part, and we prophesy only in part; but when the complete comes, the partial will come to an end. When I was a child, I spoke like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child; when I became an adult, I put an end to childish ways. For now we see in a mirror, dimly, but then we will see face to face. Now I know only in part; then I will know fully, even as I have been fully known. 1 Corinthians 13:9-12
Someone asked, “Why does that passage talk about children like that if Jesus said we have faith like a child?”
People were bringing even infants to him that he might touch them; and when the disciples saw it, they sternly ordered them not to do it.  But Jesus called for them and said, “Let the little children come to me, and do not stop them; for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God belongs. Truly I tell you, whoever does not receive the kin…

Guilt, Shame, and Ashes to Go

One of the struggles with Lent (and with being human) is that, in Western conversation and in spoken and written English, we have conflated guilt and shame. They are not the same. Furthermore, making them interchangeable does real spiritual and psychic harm to individuals and communities.

Regardless of official definition (denotation), the common understanding of shame (connotation) is to be embarrassed or regretful of who you are. This stems from being told or believing that bad choices or personal struggles are rooted in being a bad person. This isn't even a question of being human and, thus, prone to mistakes. In common parlance, shame is rooted, fundamentally, in being a bad person of little to no redeeming value.

When we hear people saying that people aren't "ashamed" anymore, what is usually meant is either 1)  people "like that" used to not be visible in society and I would prefer for that to be the case again OR 2) they should feel guilty for their c…