Month: May 2013

Notes From The Pastor’s Office #23 – From Brazil – “Church of the Black People”

Brazil has been amazing. Here's my first vlog from South America. Our evening activities took us to a Catholic mass. It's unlike any mass you've ever seen.


Boa noite (good evening)!

Off to Brazil!

There I am! Bags packed. Smile on face. Hat on head. From Columbus, to Chicago, to Miami, to Salvador, to Rio! Thanks to all for your thoughts, support and prayers. I'll keep in touch for Brazil!  

Off to Brazil!

There I am! Bags packed. Smile on face. Hat on head. From Columbus, to Chicago, to Miami, to Salvador, to Rio! Thanks to all for your thoughts, support and prayers. I'll keep in touch for Brazil!  


We’ve Given @JohnPiper Just What He Wanted

John Piper, stuck in a glass box

In the aftermath of this week's deadly tornadoes in Oklahoma, John Piper – @JohnPiper – tweeted some abusive words from scripture. He soon deleted them, and sent out a lackey to say, “John realized last night pretty quickly that what gives him comfort in the wake of tragedy is not what resonates with everyone.”

Piper is comforted by a God who brings his judgement in the form of death and destruction and calls it “mercy.”

The problem here is not that Piper tweeted this ignorant and foolish words in the midst of other's tragedy.

The problem is that we all took his bait.

Piper probably didn't set-out to stir a debate. He wanted to tout his idea of god (purposeful lower-case “G”). However, he believes that his theology is the correct theology – and who among us doesn't.

This story is exactly the kind of thing that makes him think he is doing the right thing. I think we can all agree that what he said this week isn't right.

However, his tweet began a debate. I believe he likes that. If he believes there is even a chance that someone might come to believe as he does, he likes the fact that happened.

In short, our “debate” gave him exactly what he wanted – confirmation that everything he believes is right.

Can we please – in the future – keep from feeding the theological trolls?


Thank You, @eJoelWatts, For Cleaning-Up My Sloppiness

My friend, Joel, is one of the smartest guys I know. He's written this book, and co-edited this one (check 'em out, won't you?). If I need some sight-read exegesis, I go to him.

Alright, slobber-fest over.

You'll remember this post containing this episode of my vlog (you should, since it was this morning) about this article from HuffPo:

First, I used shorthand for the footwashing because I was trying to keep the vlog under 5 minutes. People watch longer and pick up more of your information if your video is between 3-5 minutes. The exact details of that story were the casualty of that effort.

Second, I used the Pope's words incorrectly. I used a short-cut based on HuffPo's short-cut. Like making a copy of a copy, each version is worse than the last.

I made this mistake. As a responsible bloggger, I want to apologize for this sloppiness.

I realized just how sloppy it was because of the diligent scholarship of Joel.

In this post, he adds this response to my response to Pope Francis' Wednesday homily:

You get it. Il Papa is not actually saying our works redeem us. His claim is that all of creation is redeemed by the blood of Christ…to do good works.

I was impressed with the original blurb about the Pope's homily, because it showed how different this Pope is showing himself to be.

My vlog emphasized the Pope's recognition of the sacred in all of us – not just Christians. There are far too few prominent Christians making claims so “bold.”

As for Joel and I, we're cool. He's a scholar. I'm a pastor. Many of the skills required to do either of these things are interchangable, but we are inter-dependent on each other.

Pastors need scholars to stay informed. Scholars need pastors to stay grounded.

To sum up, I'm sorry for using a sloppy illustration. You can count on this not happening very often, from this point on.


Notes From The Pastor’s Office #22 – “Redeemed Atheists?”

This week, Pope Francis said atheists are just as redeemed by good works as Christians. I discuss that here.

Link to the HuffPo story.

Link to my Gervais post.



Oh Yeah, @rickygervais? Well, I Won’t See Your Movies Anymore

Tweet from @rickygervais


I am a fan of this man's work on the big and small screen.

I love both the US & UK versions of 'The Office.' I love his tiny roles in the 'Night at the Museum' movies. And even though it has a slightly anti-Christian message, I love 'The Invention of Lying.' In fact, I ink that movie was brilliant.

But I'm growing tired of his distinctly negative view of Christianity.

Yeah, much of Christianity has and continues to treat atheists – such as he is – like less than dirt. It's laughable how their arguments against atheists can so easily be made about them. I often find myself agreeing with many of the quips and retorts atheists make against my Christian brethren.

However, Ricky Gervais has used up all the good will I'm willing to give.

One of his latest rants was the gem pictured above.

I'm guessing he's avoided Satanists because of the sheer lack of them. I would also venture to guess that there might just be more Pentecostal, Lesbian UCC members (yeah, that's a thing) than there are Satanists.

Additionally, I've never heard Ricky speak an ill word against Satan.

It could exist, but it's the “Unicorn that farts glitter” of Ricky Gervais tweets.

The problem with Ricky Gervais – and others like Hitchens (God rest him) and Bill Maher – is the very large and largely ignorant brush with which they paint people of all faiths. That's the point where their idea of “tolerance” looks exactly like the intolerance they purportedly hate so very much.

I won't say I'll never see another one of his movies or TV shows. However, it is safe to say I won't be seeking out anything by him.

Thanks for reading.



I’m Back! Now I’m Off to #Brazil!

So, I'm basically done with my semester. That means I'll get back to bloggin'.

There's a sermon manuscript I'm gonna be posting, I might be posting another video blog before the end of the week.

However, by next Monday, I'll be in Brazil. Not Brazil, Indiana – as so many have quipped. Brazil, as in south of the Equator.

My social media will be blowin' up and – depending on wifi availability (they have it all over, but could be spotty) – I will be posting many #BrazilSpecial episodes of the video blog.

We are heading to some of Brazil's most beautiful and historic attractions, not the least of which is the 'Christ the Redeemer' statue.

I'm already geeking out, and it's still a week away!

'Christ the Redeemer'



SERMON from 5-5-13: “Those Who Love Me…” (VIDEO)

This is my first attempt to record and share a sermon on YouTube. It will not be the last.

I appreciate your patience as I tweak the sermon podcast to make it more visually and audibly appealing.


Shoot “The Ex Girlfriend” Zombie Target, TODAY! (VIDEO, NSFW)

I’m still on semi-hiatus from the blog for a while, but this was too important. WARNING: Images and video contained in this post are not suitable for viewing by all. ┬áPlease exercise discretion. The NRA had their big convention over this last weekend. ┬áNot only did people like Glenn Beck speak, but vendors from all

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