Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Christmas Pride & Joy

A little Christmas Card for you...

My kid's debut... Kinda Alfalfa like, don't ya think?

In the words of Tiny Tim..."God bless us, everyone."

Saturday, December 20, 2008

What to Do on This Last Week of Advent - Reach

I'm blessed to have the gifts of so many as a part of the congregation I serve. Our worship this Advent has centered around reaching for the Light that is coming into the world. And as we reach toward the Light, the Word, the Promised One, what is left for others to see is the star they need to follow.

Special thanks to Collins for his vision and insight. Below are words of interpretation he offered to set the stage for this image.

A painting of a star, a guiding light, hangs in the sanctuary. Two thousand years ago a star hung in God's sanctuary‐ a sanctuary of desert and sky, humanity and heaven, where anything was possible and even expected. The star was a beacon for those searching, those reaching. Those moving toward its radiance had expectation of wonderful things, amazing things‐ hope, joy, peace on earth.
Like those so long ago, we are reaching. With our hands and our hearts;
with our spirit and our flesh‐ we are reaching. Through our service. Through our faith. Through commitment‐ we are reaching. To the needy, the struggling, the imprisoned‐we are reaching. To the hungry, wounded and proud‐ we are reaching.
We, the body of Christ, are reaching for and with the light of Christ. In the name of Love, reach‐be a light in this world. Collins Dillard, Dec 2008

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

I'd a Given the Invocation If He Had Asked

What's the "purpose" driving this decision?

President-elect Obama has asked mega-Church pastor, purpose driven author Rick Warren to offer the invocation at the inauguration.

Who'd you expect? Rev'd Dr. Jeremiah Wright?


And why not...my stance of Dr. Wright has been previously stated...no need to rehash.

The larger question for me is this---now that Billy Graham is no longer able to serve as "pastor to the President," does this mean that "Pastor Rick" is?

I don't know what the right answer is to that ...or, is it another attempt to walk the center? Of course, that assumes one thinks "Pastor Rick" a moderate, which he is not.

One commentator noted that he's "Jerry Falwell in a Hawaiian shirt."


What's my problem?

Why pick a mega-church guy? That's so easy.
I don't know Rick, he may be a fine guy. He may not be. His theology does not inspire me, and more than a little bit of it offends me.

But this isn't about Rick Warren. He's no mystery.

This is about the "why" of a choice that is singularly the President-elect's to make.

The President-elect is want to say "we can disagree without being disagreeable." To be sure, that is true. Maybe that's way we he's going to try govern.

But really?...another middle-aged, overweight white guy...aren't there enough of us already?

Pick someone who labors long in the vineyard of the Lord and serves scores of God's children with passion and vision...not tens of thousands. Pick someone who knows their congregants by name. Pick someone who serves the least, last and lost everyday in person...pick somebody serving in the urban centers.

Pick a pastor who practices radical gospel hospitality.

Pick a clergywoman. What would be more validating that change has come than to seek the word of a clergywoman as the President is being sworn in?

Pick anyone who serves in these contexts and I'd stand and applaud...as it is it sends a signal as it relates to matters such as these--there ain't much change going on 'round here!

Bob Barker, Please C'mon Down!

Want to know the extraordinary thing about this clip?

That what occurred was displaced by the emotional unavailability of the host to recognize how extraordinary the moment was.

Somebody doesn't like his job.

Too Much Right Now

Yes, I know it's been awhile.

Too much.

Too many "oughts" are running my life right now. And any sense of "ought" related to sitting down and writing something is about the one "ought" I can say no to without feeling the weight of consequences that accompany noncompliance with any of the other "oughts" in my life demand it.

The perfect storm of oughts can be heavy on the soul -

...seasonal church pressures compounded by the financial realities of our time
..final papers to get graded for my seminary class by Thursday
...the thought that I have to compose something new and fresh around the Fourth Sunday of Advent, to say nothing of Christmas Eve
...I'm supposed to sing Christmas Eve, but I don't know what I want to do - something classic, something contemporary - ahhhhh! (any suggestions are welcome)
...I've been out 5 nights in a row -
...shopping still to do

And yet, life goes on, and I'm hanging in.

Any preacher will tell you that their sabbath is not on Sunday. The same is true for this season. The push and pull between vocational expectations (too often trapped in nostalgia more than good theology) and personal expectations (and to no one's surprise - too often trapped by nostalgia, too) make it difficult to experience something of the season for one's own soul as they are leading others through it.

Which is why, after I offer the benediction on Christmas Eve, I'm done until the new year. Beyond the brief family jaunt up into West Tennessee, I'm home...doing nothing and anything. I'm even taking advantage of the wonderful pastoral team I work with and giving the pulpit to one of my associates.

You know, when I was an associate, I swore I'd never do that if put in a position of power.

Oh be careful what you say you will or will not do.

So I'm guessing, after some rest and recreation, some posts will pop up before the end of the year.

I mean, posts other than this one which I'm too busy to write right now!