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Location: Liverpool, NY

"In my house, I'm a big deal. That's all that matters."


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Monday, August 29, 2005

Mondays at Our Home

Alyx and I have been having potlucks at our home on Monday nights this summer, inviting the people at ¡alive@5!. It started out with our neighbors and a couple of other families coming; however, last week we had 37 people and this week 32, with about 10 new people. It just keeps growing.

Last week we were all indoors and my house really isn't big enough for 37 people. Whoa! It was crowded. But that's how I like my home — total chaos, full of people and kids running around being loud. I really love it that way.

We ate outside in the backyard this evening. After several weeks of just your basic potluck, one guy volunteered last week to help with dinner. So he shows up tonight with his buddy. They unload their trucks with propane gas grills and burners, a couple dozen ears of corn, burgers, hot dogs, buns, salt potatoes, tables & chairs, a canopy, and a gift for Alyx and I. I was stunned.

Tonight we had a concert in my yard! Incredible! After dinner the guys unloaded their trucks further with a small sound board, speaker and guitars. They plugged those in with my kids' keyboard and jammed for awhile.

After tonight was over, I just sat in awe of all the ministry God is doing right here in my home. We've got people in the middle of divorces supported, a couple of schizophrenics & bi-polar persons from a half-way home making friends, several persons who are 'mildly churched' but have become excited about faith since joining us, we pray for people and several musicians have brought their guitars.

There's all this networking and relationship building between people who didn't know each other but are now friends and helping each other out. I'm at awe watching what God is doing in my midst. All this is happening and ¡alive@5! is coming to an end in five weeks. I'm wondering what God is up to here.

Psychotic Jokes

One of my half-way house friends, Vern, told a joke tonight: "What do crazy people do when they are lost in the woods? Answer: They follow the psychopath." You can only get away with telling that joke in front of a large group of people when you are bi-polar yourself.

I blogged about Vern previously. See my entry for May 23, 2005. He has firmly endeared himself to everyone at church. Vern is 19.

Vern said he looks forward to having his own TV show some day: Lifestyles of The Rich & Psychotic.

The Official Site of the Great New York State Fair

I went to The State Fair last week on Thursday. My band at church bought Alyx and I tickets to see Joy Williams, Jars of Clay and Steven Curtis Chapman in concert. I get a lot of love at church!

Here I am with my Mom and kids.

My son Carter, me & my Mom.

Me, Katelyn, Carter & Benjamin.
One of the high lights of going to The Fair is getting Pizze Fritte or Fried Dough, covered in sugar.

New York State schools start later in the year (after Labor Day) than most other places in the nation. In part, it is still because of the old agricultural influences and the State Fair. The Fair ends on Labor Day. Historically it been a place for farmers and their families to show off their best animals, produce, plants, baked goods, etc. There are still competitions with ribbons awarded to the winners in a variety of categories. In a bygone era, kids didn't start school until the fair was over with as they were too busy with the family farm and preparing for, working at and enjoying the fair.

..::Joy Williams::..

Joy Williams was the opening act with Jars of Clay and Steven Curtis Chapman to follow. She was fantastic! Joy has a tremendous voice, great music and a message to preach. However, she can't dance worth a lick. Somebody has to work with her on that. Her band was good too. I'd love to see her at some future evangelism event I direct.

When she started talking about her husband I was shocked. She looks like she's 12 ... maybe.

Official Site of Steven Curtis Chapman

This guy is really passionate for God but for me, his music just seemed so plastic. Now my wife said I liked Jars & Joy Williams better because they are Xer's and SCC is a boomer. That could be. But I just felt like I was at the Christian version of a Rick Springfield concert. However, I really admired a the guy for some things ...

Throughout his show, he gave props to Jars & Joy, making sure everyone knew that he didn't regard them as just opening acts who were second class musicians to him. That was very classy.

SCC and his wife have also adopted internationally multiple times and created a foundation called Shaohannah's Hope. Here is their mission statement from their web site:
To care for orphans by engaging the church and helping Christian families reduce the financial barrier to adoption.

We are dedicated to helping prospective adoptive parents overcome the financial barriers associated with adoption. We accomplish this by awarding financial grants to qualified families already in the process of adopting. The size of the grant awarded is determined by several factors, the most important being need.
You have to admire someone who sees what the Scripture says about caring for orphans and not only does care for orphans but provides other people with the resources to do the same. I pray that God makes him filthy rich because I think he'll do everything within his means to change the world and be a Kingdom influence.

Overall, tickets for the show with all three bands were $38.


was awesome. They minister to me with their music. There is something about their songs that when I listen to them they get inside my soul. I listen to them and they capture my imagination. I begin thinking about making music videos, or sermons I could preach with their music as part of the service. Certain songs just stir up all sorts of emotions within me. I loved their concert.

They were supposed to be second opening act leading to Steven Curtis Chapman but they were the high light for me. Steven's music is nice but Jars has depth of spirit that is intense and moving — no disrespect to SCC.

Interesting: one of the guitar players played a twelve string that had no pick-guard and had a hole worn into body — a literal hole as if it had been damaged! Another one of the band members played an electric guitar that was all chipped up and worn also. My friend Mike, who was with us, said, "You know you love a guitar when ..."

UPDATE: North Country Encounter

I updated my picture site of The North Country Encounter. The Encounter was an evangelistic outreach to northern New York and took place June 16-19, 2005 in Watertown, NY at the Watertown Municipal Arena. I had the privilege to coordinating this event with a ton of help from some great community leaders.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Proverbs from Weborg

"When morale is low, so are morals."

"Memory is half imagination."

Monday, August 22, 2005

Planned Parenthood

An older gentleman in my parish told me a story today. In 1972 he lived in Pierrepont Manor, NY, which is an extremely small, rural village in upstate NY. Village is an overstatement. It's essentially a four corners and doesn't have a thousand people living there. It's 20 minutes to the nearest shopping and deep in the heart of the snow belt (think 250+"). My friend lived on an unpaved road on the outskirts of this humble place.

He was a school teacher and late in the winter 1972 he and his wife had a baby girl. A joyous occasion. His wife spent a couple days in the hospital and they brought their healthy, beautiful baby girl home.

Within a week after being home a representative from Planned Parenthood came to the door. "Greetings Mrs. ...., I'm from Planned Parenthood. We understand you have had your second child. We want you to know that there are ways to prevent this from happening again and we can help you." She never said a word and immediately slammed the door shut. And then went on to have 2 more boys.


For what it's worth. That baby girl grew up to be a beautiful woman. She served in the US Army and is now out. She married a handsome young man, also a soldier, who came home from Iraq today for a 2 week furlough.

Sunday, August 21, 2005

Roadkill & Country Living

I didn't grow up in a rural area. It was pure suburbs in Liverpool ... a tract development with all the homes looking roughly the same by the same builder, middle class wealth, etc. Everything you can think of a 1980's built, middle class American suburbs is what we had.

After that, I lived in Chicago, very urban and then in the suburbs of Cleveland, a 1960's built suburb, with a little more affluence than what I had as a kid.

My mailing address is now Black River, NY. I don't actually live in the village of BR but on a 55 mph road outside of the village. My road is very busy as it leads up to Ft. Drum Army base.

The village of BR is very small, probably not a couple thousand people. It is just outside of Watertown, which is city of about 28k. It's over 200 years old, located in northern NY State, about 25 minutes to the north from the Thousand Islands Bridge leading into Canada and 15 minutes to the west from Lake Ontario. All around Watertown is rural and woodlands. Most of it was settled during colonial times. In Christian circles it is most known as the area where Charles Grandison Finney was converted and his revival preaching began.

My home is surround on two sides by corn fields. I now live a kind of rural life. I get my water from a well and have a septic tank, which I had pumped this week. I drive a John Deere. I burn my garbage in my backyard, and sometimes we just have a fire to sit around with friends. I get my drinking water once a week from a spring.

But today is a new bench mark for me in rural living. I'm not sure if it's a high or low mark in rural living, but certainly a landmark day in my life.

I'm going to eat road kill.

My neighbors are some of the most wonderful people on the globe. They are like family — don't even have to knock when they come in. They surprised me and came to church tonight. John told me he and his kids had a busy afternoon with my kids. His boys found fresh turkey roadkill, which they promptly brought home, like they do with lots of dead things. They performed an autopsy, dissecting it's head and stomach. FYI: turkeys eat berries, grasshoppers and dandy-longleg spiders. Turkey eyes are about the size of quarters and about a quarter of an inch thick. They couldn't find the brain — too much head trauma.

And so, they salvaged the turkey breasts and our wives are now cooking them on the Foreman grill. I'll report later on how it tastes . . . . .

10:25 pm It was good. A little tough but with a little salt it tasted like grilled turkey. John's boys ate it like candy. They also found a pheasant recently, which they ate the meat and kept carcassrcas in the freezer. They are going to boil it to keep the skeleton.

Ahhh country living.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

FLOCK FINDER: Employment finder for Pastors

Looking for a new ministry positions? Here's a web site with an excellent list of ministry employment related sites. Churchstaffing.com is a good one but there are a lot of resources here.

Friday, August 19, 2005

John Deere STX 38

One of my most favorite things to do is mow the lawn. I have 1.23 acres and it takes just over 3 hours to do the whole thing — lots of trees to maneuver around. It is very relaxing. I like the sense of completion the task gives me and to be able to see the tangible results.

That is something that is distinctly lacking in pastoral ministry. There's always more to do, and even if you have worked hard, you can't always see what you have done. The job is never finished. When mowing the yard, you eventually run out of real estate. Not so with being a pastor. There's always one more phone call, one more thing to prepare for, one more person to visit, one more meeting to attend, etc.

My John Deere STX 38 is pictured below. You can see part of the engine cover is missing on the front left. I've hit a few trees, bushes and things with it. I just got some super glue and am going to see if I can fix it. New covers cost like $200. I'm also watching ebay for someone parting out their mower.

I bought my tractor 3 years ago from Widrick Implements in Watertown, NY, owned by Jay Widrick. Jay is a fine Christian man, who goes to my favorite church in the North Country, Grace Community Church. He was very generous to the North Country Encounter. Thanks Jay!

Home Page for New England Seafarers Mission

The NE Seafarers Mission isn't the most well known Covenant ministry but it appears really exciting. Check out their site and pray for their ministry.

Covenant Churches Seeking Staff

Having been placed on irrevocable waivers by my team, I am about to be a pastoral free agent. Here are some random thoughts about seeking a call in The Covenant ...
  • Only the PacSouthwest, Canada and the Central Conferences have open calls listed on their website. The other Conferences need to get on the ball.
  • Whoever maintains the Seeking Staff page still hasn't done the simple task of making the churches names clickable links to their websites. C'mon people! This isn't rocket science.
  • There are 40 Senior/Lead/Solo pastor openings including 3 in Alaska and 2 in Canada. They are for churches of all sizes in all cliimates. Central Conference has 9 openings and the Midwest has 7.
  • Don't look for a job in the Eastern Time Zone: There's a total of 8 lead pastor & 2 staff openings.
  • The opening for Lunenberg, MA is still spelled wrong. It's Lunenburg, MA if you look for it on the map.
  • There are a slew of youth and/or childrens minister openings, including the potential wild ride as the BJB's youth associate. There are only about 5 positions that appear to focus on adults.
  • There's a Christian Counselor position open in Alaska.
  • Sherwood, OR wins the prize with 3 openings.
  • The most chic position still goes to North Miami, FL.
  • Seems to me that Lighthouse Church in Sarnia, ON is searching for a pastor but is not listed on the page.
Any suggestions about which ones to avoid?

My profile is marked 'open for call' as it has been for years but I don't get too many calls. Profiles don't give much data so on my profile I listed my web site URL where my resume is downloadable.

Saturday, August 13, 2005

Endings & New Beginnings

Tomorrow — well I guess it's today now since it's past mid night — during the services, my departure from Trinity Episcopal Church effective October 1 will be announced.

I was hired by the previous rector, who has since retired, to create an alternative worship experience using multimedia and a band, and to do youth ministry & evangelsim. The current church leadership wants to go in a new direction and not use any more of their endowment funds to pay me. The interim-rector, who has orchestrated this, has been exceedingly gracious and caring.

I will miss working with my band. I'm really proud of what we have accomplished together in the face of adversity. If you haven't seen them before watch them here. They're awesome! You'll need QuickTime.
My peeps are really brokenhearted. They've worked hard for this. That's the painful part for me. I haven't talked with all the youth yet. I love those kids and that will be excruciating.

My son Carter was sad today when I broke the news to him and Katelyn. He's a tenderhearted little guy. All my kids have loved ¡alive@5! and will miss it. But they understand that Daddy is not disappointed by this, no one's mad at me and I haven't done anything wrong to get fired. Their friends are still their friends, they'll just see them in other places. They could see some positives with it also.

On the other hand, I feel really good. I like change. I learned a ton and have grown a lot since being there. It has helped me heal from previous experiences and I won't leave this one wounded. I've met some incredible people and made friends. It allowed me the opportunity to coordinate the North Country Encounter (a 4 county-wide evangelistic crusade) and work with dozens of really great pastors and lay people. I feel this change will be good for my personal and family's spiritual well and I'm excited about that. I will be paid through the end of the year by Trinity. And if I move any time soon, I'll make tens of thousands of dollars profit on my house.

So what's next? I'll blog about that tomorrow. After my visit to Cooperstown, I'd love to live there and work at the Baseball Hall of Fame. I still work half time for an evangelist and am working on creating events in a couple of new cities for him. I also have a agreement with him through the end of the year so my needs are met. Overall, I thank God for this change and His great provision for my family.

What next Lord?

Satchel Paige's Rules For Staying Young - Wikipedia

Paige's rules originally appeared in the June 13, 1953 issue of Collier's. The version below is taken from his autobiography Maybe I'll Pitch Forever (as told to David Lipman, 1962):

1. Avoid fried meats which angry up the blood.
2. If your stomach disputes you, lie down and pacify it with cool thoughts.
3. Keep the juices flowing by jangling around gently as you move.
4. Go very light on the vices, such as carrying on in society — the social ramble ain't restful.
5. Avoid running at all times.
6. And don't look back -- something might be gaining on you.

Covenant Prayer & Evangelism Associates

I'm going to update my other site shortly with some new pictures and video clips. Before I take down the pictures of the Prayer & Evangelism Associates I thought I would post a link for them one more time. I'll keep them up for about a week longer. I'm going to get some new shots up of Kingdom Bound, Cooperstown and family.

I just love that picture of Roland Boyce, but then again I love Rol. The others are of Adam Edgerly, Gary Walter, Debbie Blue, One of the Seven Dwarfs named Sleepy a.k.a Art Greco, Julie Moraga, Rudy King, Rick Lindholtz and Rick Mylander. These are some of the finest people I know on the planet.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Blast from the past

My best friend in high school has come to visit me. Tomorrow we are going to the Baseball Hall of Fame. Here's a picture of us:

Me & Andy Wiltse, taken 8/10/05 at my parent's house.

We had dinner at my folks house last night and got to telling old stories of the trouble we were into. There's a somewhat infamous one where we held a huge drinking party on the railroad tracks behind the house. My mother came home and caught us two and some other friends absolutely drunk. We were 15. We can laugh now, but she almost killed us then.

My mother called me today and said, "Know what? I was YOUR age when that happened!" I'm 38. I can't imagine having a teenager, let alone a drunk one. My oldest is a nine year old girl. My poor mother has been through hell with us.

Things are looking up for me and Andy. I haven't been drunk or had more than 2 drinks in one setting since July 4, 1986 and Andy has been sober for about the last year through the help of AA. God is good.


Put your iPod on alert for new downloads ...

I've struck gold at this site. Tomight I watched Jim Cymbala preach about the need for prayer in our churches. There are hundreds mp3 downloads and a handful of video downloads.

I like video better. They aren't the highest quality videos. But I hooked up an s-video cable from my eMac to my TV and enjoyed a great sermon.

Note: the great scholar of revival J. Edwin Orr has some fascinating video. You'll also want to go to this little repository of interesting revival history video.

Oh, did I mention that they were free?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Trinity Church Garden Pictures

Memorial garden at Trinity Episcopal Church, Watertown, NY.

The garden was created with funds endowed to the church by the estate of Elizabeth Hass.

A statue of St. Francis in the church garden.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

My Cousin, Baseball & Boundaries

My cousin Eric is getting married to Maggie. I'm excited for them. They asked me to do the wedding, and being the family chaplain that I am, I will do it. But we had to negotiate terms first.

Of course, I require pre-marital preparation, church attendance and my biggest requirement is that they read the book Boundaries by Henry Cloud & John Townsend. They have to read and be able to summarize it in their own words. It's an absolute must: no book -- no wedding. I do that with every couple I work with. It is the absolute most important premarital prep book any couple can read.

Eric is a huge baseball fan and is a junky for baseball history. So his girlfriend decides they can get married in Cooperstown, NY, the home of the Baseball Hall of Fame at The Otesaga. I'm thinking that makes her a keeper.

By the way, have you ever been to Cooperstown? If not, drop what you're doing and go now. Just go. I promise you won't be sorry. I could be a walking commercial for Cooperstown. It is everything you imagine an historic, quaint, elegant, small upstate New York town to be. There's opera, historic sites, grand homes, exquisite inns, a gorgeous lake, fine dining, a great hospital & brewery, golfing, good schools, cultural/community events and a ton of community pride. Honest, the town wreaks beauty. If possible, drop everything now and move there. It's that good.

Pentecostal Church

I went to a Pentecostal church this morning. Faith Fellowship in Dexter with Pastor Paul Gmitter and his wonderful wife, Cheryl. What a great place. I loved how the teens made a mosh pit at the altar for the first song. They rocked.

Paul told about that recent news story about 1500 sheep going over a cliff. One sheep went in the wrong direction. The next ones were faced with a choice of following their master or the another sheep. They all followed the sheep. Some died. Some found a soft landing on top of the dead sheep and lived.

Choose this day who you will serve: The Master or another sheep?

Conversations About God III: God Deceives

Here is a recent quote from an article that has a Q & A with leading Episcopal heretic & Presiding Bishop Frank Tracy Griswold:
Q: In a world with so many religions, why should somebody choose Christianity over a hundred other religions?

A: Having been shaped and formed by the Christian religion, and seeing the person of Jesus as fundamental to my sense of self and the world around me, I would want to make that deep sense of the joy and life that I receive from Christ available more broadly. But God is not restricted to the church. I think it's interesting that Abraham has three children: Judaism, Christianity and Islam. And what does this say about God's capacity to be present in other religious traditions? I think one of the things Christianity does for me is give me a lens through which I can look at other religions and see where God might be at work. Compassion in the Buddhist tradition is not far removed from love in our religion. Certainly, Judaism and Islam at its best have the same core values, and all those core values are reflective of one divine reality.

This is very similar to my friend Sharon's position of all religions leading to the same God. Another issue I have with this position is that this makes God a deceiver.

Christianity is a religion believing that God has revealed Himself to humanity, and revealed Himself as the only way to salvation. Now if God does this repeatedly in in a variety of religions, he's lying to somebody.

Saturday, August 06, 2005

A conversation about God — Part II: Subjective

Another guy, Tannon, who is in his mid 20's, was also there. I think he's got a really kewl name. "Hi, my name is Tannon." There's just something suave and debonair about it. Anyway, ...

Tannon broke the ice saying something about how warm and touchy, feely I was. Note the sarcasm. "So PS, what are the other objections you have?" (The call me PS, as in Pastor Steve).

"Well, let me ask a question. Sharon, do you really believe all religions are heading in the same direction? Like what about cult type groups like — Jonestown ... Branch Davidians ... Extreme 'right wing' Muslims ... suicidal UFO groups ... those who don't believe in God ... religions requiring the sacrifice of babies, virgins or other humans ... Satanism ..."

"Now you're playing with me." she said. "Certainly those groups that hurt people and promote hate, are not recognizing God's goodness in each person. If they desecrate the dignity of another they aren't a valid religion."

"So some religions are in and some are out, some are valid and some aren't?" I asked. "Right." she said. "So who gets to decide whose in and whose out? How do you know which are authentic religions and which are not?" I wondered.

She knew where I was going with this. She suggested something about criteria and religions promoting love but stopped herself. "I know what you're going say next. 'Where do the standards come from?' I think we should get to decide. If it works for us ..." Her voice trailed off. She didn't even like what she was saying. The more she talked it out, the more obvious she hadn't critically thought it out and the more disappointed she became in her own lack of reasoning.

When she was pressed, even so gently by me, she realized that her position had no ultimate standard. It was purely subjective. The flaws in that were obvious.

And she really didn't know that much about other religions. It's easy to generalize when you're thinking about Christianity, Islam and Judaism. Sure, they all sound like they're heading in the same direction. But when I pressed about other religions, she really didn't have a clue about what they believed. They are so diverse and really cannot be meshed.

"To answer your question Tannon, another objection I have is the subjective nature of the position. It's really a made up religion in and of itself. It really is difficult to say all religions are heading in the same direction. Which then leads to the question about which ones are valid and which are not, which leads to the question of who gets to decide or who decides what the standards are by which we make an evaluation. Any answer you come up is just one person's opinion over another. It's purely subjective and lacks any ultimate standard.

"I like Christianity because it doesn't claim to be discovered by humans and based on human standards. Instead it claims that God revealed Himself to humanity for a relationship with them. He created them. They rebelled. He pursued them in love. Christianity is not about Christians claiming to be right and everyone else is wrong. Christianity is about God. I can't speak a lot about the 'rightness' of it over other belief systems. But I do feel loved and pursued by God, and compelled to follow him as best I know how."

That didn't really satisfy her but she wasn't satisfied with herself either. I'm not sure I like the answer either but it was the drivel that was pouring out of my mouth at the moment.

Glimpses bulletin #35: Young Mary Jones' Bible made a difference

This is a great story of how one young person's desire for a Bible, led to a whole movement that provides Bibles for millions of people.

I believe that every Christian church should give away Bibles freely and generously. If Jesus and his teachings are really as important as they suggest, if we really believe the Bible is in some way the Word of God Almighty Himself, then every Christian church should have them available. They should all be working together on this project and there ought to be a massive publicity campaign.

Churches ought to have reputations with everyone in their community that, "If anyone wants a Bible, stop by a church. They're free there with various sizes, styles and translations."

I have Bibles available at every worship service. If anyone from the North Country is reading this and you want a free Bible in a readable translation, and/or you want to be involved in a thought provoking Bible study — contact me immedately or stop by ¡alive@5!. I'll make your wish come true!

A conversation about God ... Part I: Arrogance

So it started something like this, standing around in a church kitchen, this women named Sharon says to me, "I believe there is a little bit of the divine in all of us. We need to recognize that in each other. Humans are all basically good. We are all on a journey to God but just taking different paths."

"I wish I could believe that." I said. "I really do. Doesn't it sound like bliss? Eternal salvation for everyone because we are all good. Our religions just don't matter because we're all going to the same place." I sighed heavy. "I just wish I could believe it. I wish I could. It honestly sounds wonderful. I really don't want anyone to go to hell, spending eternity apart from God. That sounds just so horrible. But I just can't seem to accept what you're saying."

Astonished, Sharon sputtered, "Why not? It's beautiful. Why don't you believe?"

"Well, first off, I don't like the arrogance of that position — " "What!?" she interrupted, in an incredulous, almost annoyed voice. "That's not arrogant. Arrogant is when you're telling everybody else they're going to hell. That's arrogant. That's saying everybody else but you is wrong. I'm saying they are all right. They all have part of the truth, part of the divine in them. They are allstrivingg for the same thing and journeying in the same direction, like roads starting in different locations, heading up a mountain toward the same pinnacle." She was convinced of her position.

I didn't know how to respond. Was there anything I could really say to think about it objectively? Despite her belief to the contrary, her position was no less arrogant than the exclusivist religions she attacked.

"I see your point" I said, "and feel how passionately you believe that. What you are saying is, if I tell someone else their religion is wrong and mine is right than I am arrogant."

"Exactly" she said.

"Your position has a theologicalphilosophicall name for it: Universalism, as in everyone is universally destined for the same place. Now many religions don't believe that. Certainly Christianity is one. Clearly the militant Islam movement would be another Jehovah's Witnesses only believe there will be 144,000 people in heaven. Mormon's aren't universalists either.

"Now that's just a small segment of religion but they believe differently than you. It seems arrogant, even a little patronizing to say to them, 'You are really close to being right. It's good you believe in God, but if you only understood that we all have the truth and part of the divine, we all believe in the same God, and we are all on the same journey to him.' It's like we're telling them that they aren't believing their own religion correctly.

"It's one thing to say 'You're flat out wrong.' but it seems even more arrogant when one who is not an adherent to their religion, says, 'You don't understand your own religion correctly.' Either way, your position is telling them they're wrong."

"No, no." she said. "I'm saying they are all right —"

Now I interrupted, "Yes, but, even though you are saying they are all right, they don't agree with you that all religions are on the same path and resent that you are saying that about their religion. From their perspective, you saying to them that all religions are right, is telling them that their religion is wrong because they don't believe that."

That was a tough one for her. She had to think for a long time to come to grips with the fact: what she thought was open minded and inclusive, was not received that way by the people she was being open minded and inclusive toward. In fact, they felt maligned. And that she was being the very thing she despised.

We cut carrots for the dinner in silence for awhile. I hate when that happens. There are others in the kitchen who began listening to the conversation. We started with a jovial group that had now turned quietly, uncomfortably, reflective. It's a little ominous feeling. It is very hard for someone who believes so vehemently about their position to come to realize the glaring weaknesses of it.
A conversation with God ... Part II is coming shortly.


I have a new goal: to get my own listing in Wikipedia under the article title: The Ultra Rev. Any idea what it takes to get listed there?

Friday, August 05, 2005

Welcome to The Land of the Ultra Rev

Newzjunky.com linked to my blog today. Covenant Blogs will also be putting me in their RSS feed. In fact, you may be reading this blog because you saw my name listed in one of these places.

I am a pastor ordained in the Evangelical Covenant Church, but serving in an Episcopal Church. I live in Black River, NY.

This blog consists of my various ramblings about theology, culture, my family & life and sometimes wine. Whilst I am thoroughly evangelical in theology, evangelical culture makes me nauseous and so I often like to poke fun at it. I also blog about the current Anglican crisis and the nonsensical organization called the Episcopal Church. I like to blog about God at work in my life. I have offended people on occasion and have been known to delete or change entries when the offended asks.

Why "theultrarev"? Here's the deal ... In the Anglican Church, they have various titles for varying callings within priesthood.

If you are a Deacon, you are called "Deacon ..." or "The Rev. ..."
If you are an Archdeacon, you are called "The Venerable ..."
If you are a Priest you are called "The Rev."
If you are a Dean of a cathedral or district, you are "The Very Rev."
If you are a Bishop, you are "The Right Rev."
If you are the Presiding Bishop, you are "The Most Rev." and you can also be called a Primate.

I just didn't want to be out done. When I was a pastor in Ohio I used to irreverently refer to myself as The Most Rev. Then one kind man in my church, whom I love and miss dearly, Ed Palmer, started sending me mail addressed to "The Ultra Rev. ..." and it stuck. So now I am the Bishop of My Desk, which is a relatively small diocese that I have a great deal of difficulty managing with one cantankerous clergyman.

I am considering a promotion to The Supreme Rev.

Thanks for visiting The Land of the Ultra Rev. Comments are encouraged.

Watertown N.Y. Breaking News | Newz Junky | Watertown BREAKING News and Information | North Country

Dear Friends at Newz Junky,

It was nice to see my blog on your site today. You are welcome. How did you find me? Just a google search?

PEACE -- theultrarev

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Kingdom Bound

I enjoyed the day yesterday at Six Flags Darien Lake in western New York at Kingdom Bound. We took 7 youth, 3 adults and me, who is someplace in between those two categories. Some observations ...

Robin Mark is even better in person than he is on CD, and he is phenomenal on CD. A friend of mine met him and got his picture taken with him. In his thick Irish brogue he said, "Seek His face."

I saw parts of several concerts: Pillar, Disciple, Skillet, Jason Upton, Toby Mac, Mercy Me, Out of Eden, Paul Baloche and Ken Freeman. . . . Freeman tells an incredible story about his horrific upbringing and now ministering as an evangelist . . . . Toby Mac does an absolutely incredible show. Now I may be biased because I met him before and he is so very nice but he is just so much fun and high energy . . . Out of Eden did nothing for me. They sang to background tracks and at one point screwed up the song, stopped it, laughed about it and started it over after talking to the sound guy. Not good . . . Pillar was really loud, and really hard core, but it was amazing to see this throng of several thousand teens and young adults, mostly male, singing passionately, banging their heads, pumping their fists, all in unison, to lyrics I couldn't completely understand but sounded overtly Christian. Amazing. . . .

My teens were really great like always. Absolutely no discipline problems and they are so good to each other. I love these kids. They introduced me to some other music. Have you heard of Flogging Molly -- an Irish punk band, so I'm told. I loved them.

Robin Hood is Dead.

I read to my children as many nights as I am able. Recently my seven year old son, Carter, and I have read the abridged editions of Huckleberry Finn, King Arthur and tonight, we finished Robin Hood. What a marvelous story of adventure, merrymaking and plenty of good Christian men enjoying ale at the Blue Boar Inn.

I recognize this is fiction and/or legend, and the characters are not necessarily real. But nonetheless, the author created them to think of themselves as good Christians. But what are the primary things these good Christian men do? The steal from the wealthy, albeit with their own sense of ethics -- value driven thievery, if you will. They fight and wrestle, play tricks and games and go out for adventures. They flirt with women and enjoy a lot of ale. These guys really know how to have a good time. I wonder if their life would have been considered mythical or an ideal, or were there others like them. I wonder how the Christian community of it's time period would have received these stories.

Robin Hood died in the last chapter tonight. Carter wept like he lost his best friend. Tomorrow we begin Tom Sawyer.