• The Met
  • The Art Renewal Center
  • William Bouguereau

  • My Favorite Art
  • Jeune Fille se Defendant Contre L'amour
    by William Bouguereau

  • Le_ravissement de Psyche
    by William Bouguereau

  • Flagellation de Notre Seigneur Jésus Christ
    by William Bouguereau
My Photo
Location: Liverpool, NY

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


About The Ultra Rev


Free Hit Counters

Powered by Blogger

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Sex is Good For You

The secret of being in rude health is intercourse.
National - theage.com.au

An interesting article that touts the health benefits of intercourse. It is from a non-religious perspective and also suggests heterosexual realtions have positive benefits that homosexual realtions do not. Knowing the designer as I do that's probably intentional.

Friday, April 21, 2006

Rescue Mission: Utica, NY

I had a delightful visit to the Resuce Mission yesterday in Utica. They are easily touching over 1000 lives per month there.

One very interesting ministry is how they are helping people who cannot manage money. For over 600 people a month, the Mission becomes their Representative-Payee where they manage the money of these persons. These are people who can pay their bills but if they were left to their own strength and choices would end up homeless because they wouldn't.

Overall, I was extraordinarily impressed with the staff and ministries of the Mission. If you were a person in need that had no place to go for help you would be very blessed to have these folks on your side. They care and appear to be very gifted.

Boing Boing: Don Cheadle's new Uganda doc Journey into Sunset

TechEBlog » Top 10 Strangest Home Gadgets

Saw this at Digg. I dig Digg.

The Seattle Times: Living: Eureka! He found his calling

FREE BIBLES! That's what the sign says outside his vacuum cleaner repair shop. Seems to me that sign ought to be out front of every CHURCH! Just a thought. I love business persons like this.

Friday, April 14, 2006

24/7 Prayer @ Grace Covenant Church in Clay, NY

Grace Covenant Church in Clay, NY is doing a 24/7 prayer room at the end of the month. I think my boy Matt from Cafe Kubal is the impetus behind this prayer movement.

journey covenant church

It's kind of like a new church being born. Cuyahoga Falls Covenant Church has changed it's name to journey covenant church. Pastor Xorey Johnsrud is a genius and I'm expecting big things to go along with the name change. He's done a great job restructuring the leadership along with the remodeling in the sanctuary that was incredible and he raises up leaders too. Kudos to him and Journey. "Don't stop believin' .... hold on to that feelin'"

Side note:
I did see Journey in concert at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse, NY sometime in the '80's. And 'yes' it was the real Journey with Steve Perry. I think Xorey should have the band come to a rededication service at the church and play some tunes. Instead of being like the Episcopals who are having U2 worship services, Xorey should have Journey worship services. Of course, it might be hard to work in "Lovin', Touchin', Squeezin'" but I'm sure Xorey could do it.

The Pocket Testament League official web site

Here's an evangelism ministry that is looking for missionaries to give away booklets of the Gospel of John in their everyday life. They provide the booklets — FREE — and you pay a small amount for postage. Then give them away.

The Pocket Testament League official web site

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Obesity & The Church

When was the last sermon you heard on gluttony? I don't think I have heard one recently, or ever. In fact, as outspoken and dangerous as I am in the pulpit, I don't think I have said anything about gluttony and/or obesity. Shame on me.

Where I live obesity is pandemic. It's so bad that the store ads in the Sunday newspaper have obese models. It's not funny or pretty. I was in Ottawa last weekend. We went to IKEA and the Museum of Science and Technology. IKEA was swamped. It was like 'Black Friday' here in the States but just a regular day at IKEA. Not only was I in a different country, I was in a different world. The vast majority of people were average shape. It wasn't like being in China or Japan or a south Miami beach where everyone is slender. But it wasn't like being in upstate New York where obesity — even morbid obesity — is commonplace.

I have a friend who lost a significant amount of weight recently and I got thinking, "Where was the church in her battle for health?" We have small groups and support groups for various addictions such as gambling, alcohol, porn or drugs, and we have groups for various life stage issues such as blended families, the divorced or widowed, singles, seniors, etc. But what about the overweight?

It's a complex issue to tackle. Like other similar substance abuse issues there are issues of genetics, family history, community pressures, psychology, physiology and personal choice. The issues are many and the degree that one is more strongly an influencer over another indiscerible and individual. The choice part is what makes it at least partly a sin issue but it's the other issues that make it not only that and require a compassionate, dignified response from the church.

Make no mistake obesity is an epidemic and increasingly so in teens and children. We live in a time where we cannot ignore the level to which this issue permeates our society and churches.

What could of or should have the church done for my friend? What can it do so that she doesn't have a relapse? And even if she did, how should the church address it?
  • To start with I think we need to address the elephant in the livingroom. Let's get over our embarrassment and fear of offending someone if we speak about it. We should worry more that our silence condones obesity, or even worse that it communicates we didn't notice or care?

    I think we're scared to talk about it. It appears we're pointing fingers publicly if we preach about it. If we address it from the pulpit, won't the overweight people in the congregation feel singled out and conspicuous? Yes but I'll bet they already feel conspicuous.

    To a degree I think that we fail to address obesity as evangelicals because we are partly Gnostics who value the 'spiritual' over the 'fleshly' or 'earthly'. That's wrong. The Levitical code of the Hebrew Bible with all it's dietary restrictions speaks to the character and heart of our God. His knowledge of the very number of the hairs on our head shows his concern for our body and health and well being.

    For the church to be silent on the issue of obesity is bereft of the character and heart of God and does harm. The Bible says that when we fail to do the good we know we ought to do it is sin.

  • Maybe start with a words of hope & grace, compassion and solidarity. There is forgiveness. No one is too far gone. For some the obesity has grown to such weight and been with them for so long that it appears insurmountable. Their shame, character failure, and sin is ever with them and staring them and everyone else in the face. Whenever a burden has become insurmountable, we have heard a lie from the pit of hell for nothing is too difficult for our God and His arm is not too short to save us. The first step to hope is the rejection of the lie that says that the problem can't be fixed. Preach it church!

    Most overweight persons already feel great shame and embarrassment for how they appear. For many their weight is a symptom of they feel about who they are as a person. The church needs to say you are valued and we want you in our community no matter what size you are or where you may be on your journey toward health. Your value to the people of God is not any less because of your obesity. You are still loved, still wanted and still treasured as a member of the church of Jesus Christ.

    We will stand with you on your journey toward healing. We may hold you accountable but we won't reject you. We are with you for the long haul no matter the failures or successes we are with you. You are family. You are my beloved people.

  • Perhaps a gentle word of concern or conviction and strong words of persuasion toward health. Let's create a church culture where obesity isn't normalized and accepted. Let's develop some sort of pastoral care methodology where we tell people that we desire health and wholeness for their body, we'll help them with the issues they face and we expect they be working on their issues.

  • Let's be honest and say that obesity for the Christian is a gospel issue. It does hurt our testimony and credibility as individuals when we are grossly overweight and our life appears out of control. Our ability to communicate to others is hindered when we appear addicted.

    The silence of the church to address such an epidemic also preaches to watching world. It says that we either do not care or haven't noticed that there is a problem, which is to say we appear unloving and ignorant.

    Pastors need to be the first to step up to and away from the plate. We need to lose weight for the sake of the Gospel. The obesity epidemic is no place more evident than at a clergy gathering. Our credibility is on the line.

  • Since obesity has become an epidemic I believe the church needs to respond with action. There are numerous concrete steps a parish could choose: a parish nurse, support groups, financial support to those in need of health care, exercise facilities and communities, health and wellness information distribution, etc. We must do something. A hands off approach and leaving it to be a personal matter is no longer right or healthy for our current culture.

  • Finally, the journey toward wholeness is an issue of justice. Good food costs more. Is that right? It may be a matter of supply and demand but the church can use its prophetic voice and demand righteousness.
We know that obesity kills just like smoking or other substance abuse. It's a slow form of suicide. It's time the church erupt from it's silence.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Waves of Grace - Home

This is the group I will be working with in northern Minnesota. Through their efforts and by the grace of God we will see evangelistic festivals all across the state.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Northern Minnesota

I just got a new job assignment today: coordinating evangelistic festivals for northern Minnesota. I'm already working on Utica, NY. I'd love to see one in Kingston, ON, Jamestown, NY and Oswego County, NY. And now I get Minnestota. God is doing some exciting things there and it should be great fun.

Several pastors who met together after Luis Palau held a festival in Minneapolis a couple of years ago. They all had a vision to see evangelistic festivals held across the top of the state. They formed a ministry called "Waves of Grace" and that vision will begin to come to life in 2007. It appears that we will see festivals happen in Duluth, Grand Rapids, Hibbing/Virginia, Bemidji, MN and in Grand Forks, ND — and possibly farther.

First northern New York, then northern Minnesota. There aren't a whole lot of places colder or more wintry. I'm guessing I eventually have a ministry calling in Siberia. Why God? What's wrong with Puerto Rico? Or how about I go to Guam with St. Brad? I'm not complaining. It's kind of funny ... my life ... frigid. Lord have mercy.


Did you watch Boston Legal last week? I love that show. I sat there and wondered how many pastors have ever gotten the "word salad" disease like Alan Shore. That could be really funny in the pulpit.

As I (by myself) watched the show begin and unfold I jumped from my seat and pointed at the TV shouting "I told you so!" Years ago, even before this blog existed but also on this blog, I predicted that the same arguments that apply to gay marriage rights can be applied to polygamy or polyamory. Hollywood sees it too.

Within a month's time, we have seen the beginning of Big Love of HBO, a show about man with 3 wives. I watched it. Let's just say it's better than the Book of Daniel but I'm not sure it will catch on. And we see Boston Legal having an episode about attorney Denise Bauer defending a polygamist family. I think we'll see more of it.

The district attorney had some interesting arguments against. What about health insurance? A man or woman has health insurance and it's offered to his/her spouse also. What happens when s/he has several?

I haven't seen the latest UCC commercial that welcomes all but I wonder if next year they will come out and welcome polygamous families.