Why Being Nice to The Gays Won’t Save Your Church*

This past week, the Presbyterian Church (USA) meeting in Detroit, approved pastors being able to marry same sex partners in states where same sex marriage is legal.  According to Presbyterian polity, it still has to get the approval of the majority of presbyteries (there are 172) before it becomes the law. Judging Facebook and Twitter there were a lot of comments about how good this is and I agree with them.  But will this action, coupled with the approval of non celibate gays to become ordained a few years ago save the Presbyterian Church?  Will it save any church? I … Continue reading Why Being Nice to The Gays Won’t Save Your Church*

Sermon: “The Healing Power of Collard Greens”

This is a sermon I preached on Easter evening in 2005.  It is the text I will be preaching on this Sunday for the Third Sunday in Easter. Luke 24:13-35 April 10, 2005 Community of Grace Christian Church St. Paul, MN I love good food, and it probably shows. I consider myself lucky to be born in the family that I’m in, because I grew up with two wonderful cooking traditions. On my father’s side is the African American tradition of the Deep South. It’s a tradition of fried chicken, collard greens, mac and cheese, cornbread stuffing and sweet potato … Continue reading Sermon: “The Healing Power of Collard Greens”

Repost: I Miss the Old Mel White

The positive Mel White of old the “SpongeBob Squarepants of the gay community” is long gone. What’s left is a man that’s pretty pissed off at the church and when I say church, I mean the whole church. Continue reading Repost: I Miss the Old Mel White

On Monsters, Boston…and Daleks

A Presbyterian Pastor reflects on the British Science fiction series Dr. Who as a modern fairy tale about fighting monsters and then relates that to Jesus: I remember after the terrorist attacks of 9/11 how much I wanted to just march into Afghanistan or Iraq or anywhere really, and just blow things up. I wanted to cause someone the pain we as a nation were caused. I think many people felt that way. Toby Keith certainly expressed it in his song Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue. Do you ever feel that way? After the shootings at Newtown did … Continue reading On Monsters, Boston…and Daleks

On Holy Friendships

My thoughts these days are drifting towards relationships, or the lack thereof in churches. I’ve been thinking about this in light of a recent blog post on CivilPolitics.org on the dearth of cross-party friendships.  The post linked to a longer article in the Chronicle of Higher Education on the issue.  The author, Neil Gross notes that such friendships have benefits for the whole of society: President Obama last month took a group of Republican senators to dinner at the Jefferson Hotel, in Washington, to discuss the sequestration crisis and a wide range of other policy matters. The next day he … Continue reading On Holy Friendships

Sermon: “On Pastors and Pastures”

A sermon from Good Shepherd Sunday 2006. “On Pastors and Pastures” John 10:11-18, Psalm 23 May 7, 2006 Lake Harriet Christian Church Minneapolis, MN I have to “blame” our Associate Minister, Tammy Rottschaefer for this sermon. For a while she has commented on the problem with parts of the church today in that we don’t know how to be church together. Somehow, all that talking about being church, sunk into me. For the past few months, I’ve been thinking about what it means to be church at this time and place. I’ve also been thinking a lot about what it … Continue reading Sermon: “On Pastors and Pastures”

“A Tale of Four Marys:” A Good Friday Sermon

This is a sermon I gave at an ecumenical service in 2010. “A Tale of Four Marys” John 19:25 Good Friday April 2, 2010 Central Lutheran Church Minneapolis, MN   When I was asked to speak on the three Marys, I have to be honest that nothing was immediately coming to mind.  What could I say about these women?  And then I realized something: my mother was also a Mary.  My mother, born 76 years ago in Canonvanas, Puerto Rico was given the name Maria, Spanish for Mary.  Her name reminded me of a time when I was in pretty … Continue reading “A Tale of Four Marys:” A Good Friday Sermon

Good Friday: Now With Zombies!

It’s Holy Week, so that means I’m going to hear a number of pastors use their blog space to talk about how they don’t buy atonement.  They don’t believe that Jesus died for our sins, they don’t like using the cross which is considered a symbol of violence, they don’t like the focus on blood, and the list goes on. For someone like myself, this abandonment of the concept of antonement by some progressive Christians is somewhat un-nerving to me.  I grew up with the concept of what is called substitutional atonement.  In the African American churches I grew up … Continue reading Good Friday: Now With Zombies!

A Theology of Inclusion, Part One

The church where I serve as Associate Pastor is discerning becoming and Open and Affirming congregation. As we talk about this, I have been grappling with how to view this theologically.  I don’t consider myself the greatest bible scholar or theologian, but I do think that as Christians we have to give a clear response to why being inclusive to LGBT persons matter theologically. A lot of the times when I hear people talking about a church become more welcoming to gay folks, the reasoning can be pretty thing and sometimes feels barely Christian.  You will hear things like “Jesus … Continue reading A Theology of Inclusion, Part One