A Strange Parade

Halloween has been, and always will be my favorite holiday.  The candy, the opportunity to cajole Heather into watching "The Shining" for the twelfth time, and the carving of pumpkins into jack-o-lanterns...somehow this holiday just gets me. I literally never get...

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Forgotten

It was billed as the fight of the century.  Muhammad Ali vs. George Foreman in Zaire…a fight referred to in its publicity as “The Rumble in the Jungle.”  Not only would it be one of the biggest fights of all time, but it also had the added element of being held in an...

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The Twist

You've probably heard this story before, but read on...just in case. In 1915, just over a century ago, San Diego was in the middle of a terrible drought. It had been years since they'd received a decent amount of rain and the Morena reservoir was quickly nearing...

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Quiet Glory

It happened quietly and without warning.     One Sunday I was up in the balcony to plug in our Christmas lights before church when I saw someone walking quietly through the empty sanctuary.  I recognized her as a young woman who had been attending recently with...

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Baseball and Advent

I was an awful baseball player as a child.  It wasn’t just that my hitting was terrible (it was) or that I couldn’t technically “throw the ball” (I couldn’t…I literally rolled it on the ground instead), or even that I was so bad at catching fly balls in the outfield....

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Even Stranger Things

The Netflix original show Stranger Things has been everywhere the past two months.  Especially this week, in response to the announcement that it would indeed return for a second season, this show which functions as an homage to all the great movies in the 1980’s has...

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Grout and Grace

I came to a liberating conclusion last week that I'd like to share with you.     I've finally realized after 12 years of botched home improvement projects, disastrous "fix-upper" ideas and way too many Home Depot trips that I am not gifted in doing house...

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The Samaritan

The Parable of the Good Samaritan.   It’s easily one of Jesus most famous stories, and a story that most people in our Western culture have likely heard regardless of whether or not they have ever attended church regularly.   It’s a story about caring for those in...

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Dividing Lines

They are here:  http://www.npr.org/sections/thetwo-way/2016/05/17/478389720/after-50-year-legal-struggle-mississippi-school-district-ordered-to-desegregate  And here:  http://www.sheboyganpress.com/story/news/local/2016/04/22/autistic-boy-cut-school-concert/83407046/...

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The “Queen Mary” and the Church

It wasn't the worst Thanksgiving ever, but it certainly wasn't the best. About 5 years ago, we decided that instead of cooking the Thanksgiving meal that year we would instead meet the extended family for a Thanksgiving brunch at the Queen Mary in Long Beach.  The...

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Least Direct Path

We took a lot of road trips as a family when I was growing up. Whether we flew some place and rented a car or just drove to the destination over the course of several days, it was a consistent marker of every summer that we spent at least two weeks driving around...

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Our sight

The reactions to our reading of the resurrection story were immediate: "Wait.  Why didn't they see this was what was going to happen?"   "Yeah...What's up them acting so unprepared for this moment?" "Isn't this exactly what he told them would happen?" "Right?  I mean,...

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The Body is a Book

It remains one of the most beautiful and truthful photographs I've ever seen-a picture taken by my sister years ago.* On the surface, it's a simple picture of an old woman's hands in mid-flight as she plays her piano.  Taken in black & white, the contrast in the...

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Cubs Games, Museums and Missed Opportunities

In retrospect, it wasn't the best vacation. Last summer the family and I were ready for some time together.  It had been a wildly busy year for all of us, and due to our busy schedules we had lived like roommates or co-workers rather than a family.  Piano lessons,...

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The weight of the world

I could tell just by the look on her face that she carried the weight of her world. Only a few minutes earlier I had been sitting in my office when I heard a knock at the door.  I opened it and looked out to see a family standing in the church hallway.  A father,...

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Captive of the Future

"I've got bad news for you," the dentist mumbled underneath his plastic face-guard that always looks strangely like the riot helmet of a police officer in Oakland.   "You've got deep pockets." (Honest to God... he said I have "deep pockets.")  And this is where the...

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#Tothetable – a response to terror

Last week as our church gathered, I wondered what to say about Paris, Beirut, Kenya and Baghdad- all these places in the past week that were wounded by violence and terror.  The questions swirled in my head as I drove those ten city blocks to church: "What do I say...

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Willing to Share

Next time you go into a store or restaurant, I want you to try something. I want you to be honest.   Now, what I mean by "honest" here is not that you don't steal from them (well, since this is in writing- go ahead and lets be honest in that way too.)  But, what I...

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A game of tag and the Kingdom of God

It was only a little more than two years ago that we got the news that our small worshipping community was going to find a new home here at Normal Heights UMC.  The Bishop had decided to appoint me as pastor here and to also orchestrate a "church transplant" that...

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