Life in Black and Blue

Crime is increasing Trigger happy policing Panic is spreading God know where we’re heading Oh, make me wanna holler They don’t understand -Inner City Blues, Marvin Gaye For the second time in two days we have heard of another police shooting of an African American.  Tuesday saw the killing of Alton Sterling in Baton Rouge, LA and last night Philando Castile in the St. Paul suburb of Falcon Heights.  While all of these kind of shootings have bothered me, the Falcon Heights shooting hit closer to home and not just because it was only a few miles from me. What … Continue reading Life in Black and Blue

When Does Grace End?

Social media is abuzz in the recent trial that convicted former Stanford student Brock Turner of the rape of a young woman.  What has everyone talking is the fact that the judge gave Turner a six month sentence and he might get out sooner for good behavior. To pour more gasoline on the fire, Turner’s father wrote a letter urging for leniency for what he considered “20 minutes of action.” Facebook is aflame.  Memes are going around with the young Turner’s photo calling him a rapist, others put him side by side with a poor white man who received a … Continue reading When Does Grace End?

What Does It Mean To Be Prophetic, Part Four

About a week ago, the church I am pastor at voted to become an Open and Affirming congregation, meaning it openly welcomes LGBT persons into the life of the church.  I think it was a big step for the church.  It might help people who were thinking of visiting the church to take a second look. But while I think it was a good thing and while I think it helped stressed God’s love for all, I don’t think it was a prophetic move. Do I think we were trying to witness to the world our intent to be like … Continue reading What Does It Mean To Be Prophetic, Part Four

God Is A Concept.

When I was in journalism class in high school, I remember seeing a poster in the teacher’s classroom that caught my attention.  It was one of those posters that shows something like a big sky or the stars at night.  At the bottom of the poster were these words: “God Is A Concept.” I really didn’t know what it meant.  I originally thought it was nice to talk about  God.  I remember talking to the teacher about it and while I can’t remember the words she said, the point was made that we didn’t have the same view of God.  … Continue reading God Is A Concept.

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”

On the WorldVision Retraction

Most of the people who read this blog know that I try to understand and respect the views of evangelicals and conservative Christians.  I came from that background and even though I’m a mainline Protestant, the theology that made me who I am is the evangelical faith of my youth.  Because of that and because I think God calls us to love our enemies, I want to give these folks some leeway even on issues that could affect me, primarily on issues of sexual identity.  I know and understand that we don’t see Scripture in the same way, so I … Continue reading On the WorldVision Retraction

By the Time I Get to Arizona

About a week ago, I wrote a post on same-sex marriage and how those of us who support it should act towards those that oppose it.  Can we be good winners to the losers? Some of the response to that post got me thinking (and agonizing) over this issue.  In two states, Kansas and Arizona, bills have made their way through the state legislature that would give people the right to refuse service to gays.  I think both bills are unconstitutional on their face and bring to mind the dreadful memories of Jim Crow. That said, these laws are the … Continue reading By the Time I Get to Arizona

A Few Thoughts on Dave Ramsey and Poverty

I don’t follow financial guru Dave Ramsey much.  I’ve heard him a few times on NPR, and I know he’s about offering folks some practical advice on debt and basically how to live financially.  I also know that he blends his faith into his talks on economics.  I think he does a good job with what he does; giving folks some hard truth when it comes to finances. Ramsey is facing some harsh criticism from some fellow Christians over a recent blog post on his website.  He shared a list from another site entitled “20 Things the Rich Do Every … Continue reading A Few Thoughts on Dave Ramsey and Poverty

Sermon: “Waiting to Exhale”

Here’s a sermon I preached in 2007 on Pentecost Sunday.

“Waiting to Exhale”
Act 2:1-21
May 27, 2007 (Pentecost Sunday)
Lake Harriet Christian Church
Minneapolis, MN

 

When I was about two years old, I was diagnosed with asthma.  From about age two until maybe age 9, I dealt with constant asthma attacks where I had hard time breathing.  I can remember sitting in the doctor’s office of Dr. Cory Cookingham, who was my allergy and asthma doctor, who would sometimes have to give me a shot of adrenalin to open up my constricted lungs.  More than once he worried if this didn’t work, that the hospital would be the next stop.

Growing up as a kid with asthma was not fun in the early 70s.  I still had a pretty full childhood, but there were things I was limited in doing.  My made sure all the schools I attended were clean and not dusty so as not to trigger an attack.  I remember when I was very young, not playing outdoors again for fear of an attack.

As I got older the spectre of asthma grew smaller.  I was able to play outdoors and have fun, no longer fearful for another attack.  In fact I went without an asthma attack for eight years until the summer I graduated high school.  I still have attacks few and far between, but I do carry an inhaler just in case. Continue reading “Sermon: “Waiting to Exhale””