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Showing posts from December, 2011

Getting Ready for Israel

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In less than a week, I will travel to Israel. It has been a goal of mine to make this trek for years. I have long imagined what it might be like to see the western wall, to walk the Via Dolorosa, to visit the Chirch of the Nativity, to behold the Dome of the Rock and to wade in the Jordan River. While there, I will get to see so these and so many other incredible sites that speak directly to the history of my faith and the faith traditions of people throughout the world. It is mind boggling to think of the faithful people who have walked those streets and alleyways before me. It is overwhelming to consider the millions of pilgrims from three different faith traditions who have made this journey and have been transformed along the way.  I go to not only experience these amazing places, but also to interact with wonderful people who call that land their home. I travel to discover what it might be like to develop an interfaith program for college students from Indianapolis who represent e…

The Scandal of Christmas - Sermon - 12/24/11

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Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la. ‘Tis the season… for lights, for trimmings, for boxes, and bows, for presents wrapped under the tree,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la. ‘Tis the season… for parties, for eggnog, for fudge, and pumpkin pie, for family we see only once a year.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la ‘Tis the season… for hustling, for bustling, for to-do lists, and wish lists, for calendars packed with special events.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la ‘Tis the season… for shopping, for sales, for commercials, and traffic jams for stores overcrowded with holiday cheer?
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la ‘Tis the season.

The Scandal of Christmas

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Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la. ‘Tis the season… for lights, for trimmings, for boxes, and bows, for presents wrapped under the tree,
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la. ‘Tis the season… for parties, for eggnog, for fudge, and pumpkin pie, for family we see only once a year.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la ‘Tis the season… for hustling, for bustling, for to-do lists, and wish lists, for calendars packed with special events.
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la ‘Tis the season… for shopping, for sales, for commercials, and traffic jams for stores overcrowded with holiday cheer?
Fa-la-la-la-la, la-la, la-la ‘Tis the season.
Yes, we may laugh. But often, we arrive at this night overwhelmed, fatigued and perhaps even frazzled wondering where the season has gone.Many of us love this time of year, but somehow, somewhere along the way it can become little more than a nuisance and a hassle to our everyday lives.If pressed, others of us would admit that we do not like or maybe even dread when the calendar approaches mid-November.

New Narrative - Three Things

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In the quest to provide a new narrative for our children, I believe there are three things we can constantly speak into their lives no matter where we find ourselves or what our family circumstance might be. These three things may appear rather simple on the surface. However, they can prove to be a lifeline to a young person who is struggling with their personhood and the negative narratives that play over and over in their ears and mind.

1. "I believe in you." This is not only a statement of confidence in the person who is standing in front of you, it is also a statement about who that person is becoming. Saying this is not saying anything about someone's behavior or the quality of their choices. "I believe in you" can be spoken regardless of the circumstance. This is a statement about personhood. "I believe in the who you are." It is also a call for the one to whom you are speaking to accept the challenge to live into the person you see them to be.
2.…

New Narrative - The Courage to Persevere

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I love Christmas music. I love to sing along loudly in the car, in my home or even occasionally in the aisles of Target (yes, I really do it!). The music brings back so many fun memories of Christmases past - family, friends, gifts, reunions, lights, decorations, etc.

One of the memories that often comes flooding into my mind is of singing in our high school's annual Christmas Extravaganza concert. Christmas Ex, as it was lovingly called, was the big winter concert in which every singing group in our school participated. It was a ton of fun to learn the holiday music and put together such a wonderful holiday show for our small community. One of the best things about this show was participating in Choral Union. Choral Union was a combined choir of all of the choral students (literally hundreds) gathered to sing two or three holiday songs together at the close of the show. As someone who sang bass in high school, two Choral Union pieces stand out in my mind - "Carol of the Bell…

Expecting

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I have a wonderful friend who will deliver her first child any day now. The months of expecting are about to come to a close. Her doctors have said that the little one for whom she and her husband have been hoping for years is about to arrive and completely transform their home and their lives. The blessed event may even happen today!

I have known this amazing woman since she was a young teen, and I could not be more excited for anyone! This has been an incredibly long journey for her and her loving husband full of twists and turns, joys and sorrows. They are tremendous people and will be incredible parents.

Could there be a better season to welcome a new child into the world than Advent - the season of expectation; the beginning of the Christian year?

For during this season we are "all pregnant," as one of my colleagues recently put it. We are all, much like my friend, anticipating an event that has the power to change our homes and our lives. We are about to be transformed b…