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Location: Liverpool, NY

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Wednesday, August 25, 2004

Children's Sermon at a Funeral

We had a funeral here today for the mother of one of our parishioners. The woman was a dearly loved mother and wife, and especially a beloved grandmother. For the sermon, Fr. Turner, sat in a chair and had the kids come forward for a children's sermon. In a loving, pastoral, childlike way, he explained about life and death and new life in Jesus Christ. It was the first time I had seen a children's sermon at a funeral. It was a powerful moment. No sermon for adults was needed.

New Words Needed

I've grown tired of the words liberal, conservative and fundamentalist. I think I can safely say that those words in a discussion about varying Christian perspectives are no longer useful. They have become inflammatory.

And all of those words are subjective. In the Episcopal culture I have experienced here in the Diocese of CNY, everything that is evangelical, they call fundamentalist. I hate being called that. I've finally trained my rector to understand that. He gets it.

For me, fundamentalists are those whose women must where head coverings in church, or can't wear pants, or churches that use the KJV only, or believe that if you are saved you must speak in tongues, or believe that people cannot marry outside of their race, or believe that people of other races are inferior.

But then there are academic persons, for whom fundamentalism refers to a specific religious movement of the later part of the 19th century and early 20th. And there are a few others, who see the term as a positive one. A Christian fundamentalist is one who focuses on the essential beliefs of Christianity. Still others see it as derogatory, that fundamentalist means extremist.

There it is for you a spectrum of beliefs on fundamentalism. So if the term is really so subjective when used in religious discussion, why use it anymore? Has it lost its value? For me, the answer is yes.

But I still need new words. Liberal and conservative are terms falling to the same fate as fundamentalist. I need words that help create dialog with others of the Christian faith. and maybe even more so, to dialog with those outside of the Christian faith. What words do you use? I wonder, are there non-perspective based words that could help us describe ourselves and our relationship to other religious groups? Give me some helpful terms.

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Cheers for Cathedral's Gothic Splendour

Now this is my kind of church. I wish American Evangelicals weren't so uptight! This could be a big hit. Can't you just imagine a North Park Lager, or maybe a Covenant Church Porter, or an ECC Extra Stout, or a Waldenstrom Ale?

Evangelicals have a lot to learn from Anglicans. Of course, Anglicans have a lot to learn from Evangelicals too ... like good theology!

Friday, August 20, 2004


Have you ever used MyWay.com? Matt Drudge has begun linking to many news stories from myway.com. So today I was surfing around and started playing the Jumble, which led me to getting an email address, which led me to making a start page, which led me to emailing Xorey about it, which led me to putting a link on my blog. Check it out.

Thursday, August 19, 2004

Let's Talk About Sex

So I'm working on a new sermon series. Actually its reworking an old sermon series for a new context. God forbid that our people never hear about God's gift of sexuality from the pulpit. The Bible isn't silent on it and the pulpit should not be either.

I will be preaching that sexuality is God's gift for humanity to enjoy and that He gives us prohibitions out of His great love and desire to protect us.

How many sermons have you preached or heard about sexuality?

I made the logo about Sex & the Church first but my wife worried that it sounded like I would be talking about sexual abuse scandals, so I'll probably go with the Bible one. I'm thinking of using it for my newzjunky.com ad.

The best part of preaching is that I get to use one of my favorite jokes. Unfortunately it is an urban legend but funny nonetheless:

On July 20, 1969, commander of the Apollo 11 Lunar Module, Neil Armstrong was the first person to set foot on the moon. His first words after stepping on the moon, "That’s one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind", were televised to Earth and heard by millions. But just before he re-entered the lander, he made the enigmatic remark:

"Good luck, Mr. Gorsky." Many people at NASA thought it was a casual remark concerning some rival Soviet Cosmonaut. However, upon checking, there was no Gorsky in either the Russian or American space programs. Over the years many people questioned Armstrong as to what the "Good luck Mr. Gorsky" statement meant, but Armstrong always just smiled. On July 5, 1995, in Tampa Bay, Florida, while answering questions following a speech, a reporter brought up the 26 year old question to Armstrong. This time he finally responded. Mr. Gorsky had died and so Neil Armstrong felt he could answer the question.

In 1938 when he was a kid in a small Midwest town, he was playing baseball with a friend in the backyard. His friend hit a fly ball, which landed in his neighbor’s yard by the bedroom windows. His neighbors were Mr. and Mrs. Gorsky.

As he leaned down to pick up the ball, young Armstrong heard Mrs. Gorsky shouting at Mr. Gorsky. "Sex! You want sex?! You’ll get sex when the kid next door walks on the moon!"


What a weakass blog this has been this month. It's starting to look like Xorbok or Revinator's.

Tuesday, August 10, 2004

Jesus Came To Bring Division.

Have you ever read some of the stuff Jesus said? He never really sounds Episcopalian. For them, unity at all costs is one of their highest values. Yet Jesus said, ...

Luke 12:49 “I have come to bring fire on the earth, and how I wish it were already kindled! 50 But I have a baptism to undergo, and how distressed I am until it is completed! 51 Do you think I came to bring peace on earth? No, I tell you, but division. 52 From now on there will be five in one family divided against each other, three against two and two against three. 53 They will be divided, father against son and son against father, mother against daughter and daughter against mother, mother-in-law against daughter-in-law and daughter-in-law against mother-in-law.”

Have you ever had Jesus divide your house? Have you seen him do it elsewhere?

When I was 15 I had a conversion experience at a Baptist church. My first time going to a church any place other than Roman Catholic. I heard the gospel that day and went forward at an altar call. After that, I decided I was no longer Catholic. It got frosty in my house and it took years to recover from it. My mom was raised a strict Catholic, during the era where it was a sin just to go into another church that wasn't Catholic.

What do you think Jesus means by these words ... "I have come to bring fire ..." ... "Do you think I have come to bring peace ... No, ... division."? Do you think it means families and communities will be divided over following him? Or does he have something else in mind? Your stories and thoughts would be appreciated.

Friday, August 06, 2004


Took 4 other adults & 10 teens to Six Flags Darien Lake for Kingdom Bound, a 4 day Christian Music festival at a waterpark ... we only stayed for 2 days. A great time was had by all.

I have worked with youth on and off since 1990. I have often heard about how difficult working with teens can be and occasionally I have experienced it. But again this past weekend I was amazed at how the kids in my church are so well behaved.

These kids could not have been more polite and appreciative. Everything we did for them they said thank you ... repeatedly. Absolutely not a single disciplinary problem. They got along with each other, followed directions and had fun.

We saw FFH, The Denver Mile High Orchestra, Casting Crowns, Paul Baloche and Third Day in concert. And we heard a little bit of Lakita Garth. I rode the Superman rollercoaster. Remember Chevy Chase and Dan Akroyd in Spies Like Us, when they got off the space ship simulator and their faces were contorted? That was me.

I also spent a lot of time in the wave pool ... very relaxing.

In two weeks i will take another 20+ teens to Enchanted Forest Water Safari in Old Forge, NY for the weekend. Youth ministry is rough.