Category: faith



Pastors Swear, Too (WARNING: Explicit Language)

Nadia Bolz-Weber


I don't swear much, period.

I don't swear very much in everyday life, and I swear exponentially less on social media – but I do swear. It happens, and I don't get all bent out of shape when I do it.

In my opinion, God is an “adult” – so our hangups about a few words matter little to nothing to God.

After receiving some flack for swearing on social media, Nadia Bolz-Weber – the tattooed, bespectacled Lutheran clergy-person from Denver – decided to repost a blog entry she penned about the subject.

I would echo much-if-not-all of her reasoning. In particular, she speaks to the hyper-sterile, overly positive world of cultural Christianity. Of the needs of the real-world disciple, she says:

But there are other folks out there who are comforted by ambiguity, who need a Word of grace which is not covered in strawberry syrup. Who need the stark truth of what it means to be broken and blessed at the same time. Who are at home in the Biblical story; stories of anti-heroes and people who don’t get it; beloved prostitutes and rough fishermen. They tend to not really care that I use colorful language. If anything, they are relieved that they don’t have to watch what they say around this particular member of the Christian clergy.

When someone accidentally lets loose with some obscenity in front of me, my relpy is always, “Listen, seminary isn't charm school. That's the way I'll continue to operate, and encourage others to operate.

A “f-bomb” – used as sparingly and correctly as possible – may even help one in the midst of a particular trial.

Weeks after the death of my own son, I was called upon by local authorities to come and be present for a family who had discovered their husband and father had died in the night. The wife had collapsed on the stairs, as if she could go no further. The children were being comforted by other family members. The deceased's sister was visibly and audibly the most distraught. She had attempted CPR, in vain attempt to revive her brother.

She was wearing a sock cap, grey hoodie, acid-washed jeans and a belt-buckle that read “vagina” in the style of the Coca-Cola logo, and all she could bring herself to do was pace the floor, wipe her red and swollen eyes and cry out, “I tried to fucking save him! Why couldn't I fucking save him?!?”

After having just suddenly lost your brother, I'm not sure anyone could blame her.

Honestly, I went home and wove a tapestry, myself.

It is what was needed for her in the time. Eventually, she calmed down enough to accept some tissue from me and have a smoke (no, I didn't give her a sermon about not smoking, either).

Forest is a “bedroom community” and the family never really came back to the house they were renting.

Unfortunately, I know far too many people who would have made a point to say something like, “I know you are hurting, but that language isn't going to help.”

Wrong. It's not wrong to be concerned with the raunchy language of a serial offender – especially when that person is yourself. It's wrong to be so concerned with a few words that you cease to be useful to God and “the least of these.”

Anyway, you won't really ever see it from me on social media – and that's probably the last time you will see a word like “f***” on this blog. However, if the possibility of running into a word you find questionable is just to much for you to handle. I invite you to find the appropriate “unfollow” or “unfriend” button.

No hard feelings, though.

David Barton – @DavidBartonWB – Hoisted By His Own Petard

According to Wikipedia, a petard (peh-tard) is a French bomb meant to deal fatal damage upon one's enemy. Once in a while, a petardier would fail to detonate a petard far enough away from himself – and would, thereby, be hoisted in the air by the explosion. David Barton failed to get his petard far

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Oh, Let Me Answer That for You, @eJoelWatts

Joel has certainly taken a liking to the new Holy Father (evidenced here, here and here). He called out those of us who were quick to be pessimistic about this new Pope, once news began to spread about his demeaning comments about the LBGT community.  I was one of them, and I gave my mea culpa:

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Same @TheIRD, Different Day




The Institute on Religion & Democracy is at it again.  This time, they set their sights on Claremont School of Theology – a UMC seminary.

John Lomperis seized on a tidbit from the school and ranted (here) about how the school is effectively stealing from the Christian portion of the seminary budget to fund other non-Christian portions.  He uses intentionally divisive language – par for his course – in order to produce a scandal where none really exists.

Claremont responded with an article that the IRD – graciously, for them – posted on their blog, Juicy Ecumenism (still creeps me out).  Their claims are that the IRD unfairly characterized their recent restructuring and expansion plans – including plans to remove a cross.  They also claim that John Lomperis uses “provocative” language to make his points.

As a previous victim of the IRD’s reactionary carelessness, I was sympathetic to their plight.

The IRD has made a name for itself by sniping at anything that doesn’t fit perfectly into their idea of Christian faith.  They do use provocative language and innuendo in order to make their ideological foes look however they desire them to look – evil.  Since their inception – dating back to the Reagan Revolution and the Moral Majority – they have made it their job to suss out “marxism” within the ranks of United Methodist agencies.  Today, their main goal appears to be sussing out liberal influence, pointing at it in impotent rage or smug condescension, and asking for your money.

Given their particular brand of neo-conservative Christianity, I don’t even think we can call them Methodist, or Wesleyan, even.

Claremont ended their remarks with a nod to our national heritage and the need for actual ecumenism.  I hope the IRD listens:

Surely for the American experiment to succeed, Americans of differing religious viewpoints must learn to live and work together in harmony.  Religion can either continue to be the cause of conflict, or we can work together to make it the foundation for the needed harmony.  We believe that Jesus Christ calls Christians to the latter, being peacemakers and good neighbors.


SERMON from 2-24-13: “Last Words From The Cross: Behold Your Son”

This is the second of a seven-part series for the Lenten and Easter season. I got the idea from my father-in-law, who serves as Senior Pastor at Mesa First United Methodist Church, downtown Mesa, Arizona. John 19.25-27 25Jesus' mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene stood near the cross.

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Catholic Church Pro-Life, Unless $ On The Line

A malpractice lawsuit has exposed the Catholic as a fraudulent, hypocritical, money-grubbing cult. One man has sued a Catholic hospital for malpractice in the death of his wife and unborn twins. When the pregnant woman was brought into the emergency room, a blood clot was on the verge of causing a massive heart attack. The

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Mr. Tooley (Pot) – @MarkDTooley – I’m The Kettle

In response to a press conference that featured prominent clergy people from across the ecumenical spectrum, Institute on Religion & Democracy president Mark Tooley decided he needed to weigh in on it – as if we didn’t already know what he was going to think about it.  However, he didn’t just go to the point of saying

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The Case Against The Flag On The Chancel

(photo credit: Martin Doblemeier, Bonhoeffer) As we know from the stories of martyrs like Dietrich Bonhoeffer, the National Socialist Party of Germany – circa 1940 – was unforgiving to church leaders who opposed them. Including people such as Bonhoeffer and Karl Barth, many German clergy signed a mutual agreement – called the Barmen Declaration –

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Shane Claiborne on #SandyHook, the #NRA and #guncontrol

In an article published over the holiday, progressive theologian Shane Claiborne theorized what Jesus might say in the wake of the tragic events – such as happened in Newtown, CT.  They were strong words, which I felt needed to be shared:

After all, the Bible has a lot to say about loving enemies, and “Thou shalt not kill,” but doesn’t even mention the right to bear arms.

Many evangelicals and fundamentalist Christians like to point out that Mormonism – which considers itself a valid, Christian sect – is a cult.  I know far too many of the same people who default to the constitution in response to situations like Sandy Hook, rather than the Bible.  I call it the “cult of the Constitution.”  Listen to people like Glenn Beck and Kirk Cameron, and you will soon get the picture.  They take the Bible and historic Christianity – cram it all into an elementary understanding of the founding of this country – and default to the Constitution when they so choose.

It’s very convenient when you are attempting to hold on to a power structure, but wrong in the course of faithful Christianity.

The “cult of the Constitution” and the right to bear arms should always be understood in light of the life and example of Jesus Christ.

This is not an issue I intend on letting die another quiet death.  I may even say more on this beautifully and thoughtfully written article by Claiborne.


SERMON from 12-16-12: A Response to the Sandy Hook Elementary School Shooting

Psalm 126 1 When the Lord restored the fortunes of Zion,*
 we were like those who dream. 
2 Then our mouth was filled with laughter,
 and our tongue with shouts of joy;
then it was said among the nations,
 ‘The Lord has done great things for them.’ 
3 The Lord has done great things for us,

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