Monday, May 13, 2013

Not really sure where I stand.

I haven't blogged here for 4 years and it might be another 4 before I blog here again. MN just passed an amendment that will allow gays to get married, and I'm a bit conflicted as to how I actually feel about that. Or maybe I'm not conflicted and but I think I should be and that's the source of this nagging feeling I have. Most parts of me want to say "Marriage Equality is awesome and how could that not be from God!". The part that I can't shake is the "but what about the clear and literal reading of multiple passages of scripture". The issue of human sexuality is actually something that has impacted me more than I ever thought it would. I've never struggled with thoughts of homosexuality, none of my close friends or family have (to my knowledge), and I don't even really have any close friends or acquaintances who are gay. Yet, I lost my dream job because of this issue. 2 years ago I was a campus minister for a college in Pennsylvania, and this ministry position was the result of a partnership between the local Presbyterian Church and the board of directors that was in charge of the campus ministry program on campus. Long story short, the PCUSA voted to allow ordination of openly gay pastors, the Presbyterian Church I was a member of had no intention of leaving the PCUSA, the board of directors didn't like that which strained the relationship, and since my job was dependent upon that relationship...I was put in a situation where I left my job and moved back to MN. So, as I ponder this issue and what it means for the country, the Church, and ultimately myself..I am left with a million more questions than answers. More questions than seems par for the course these days, my faith is now defined more by what I don't know that what I do. And that's okay! To be authentically myself; I think it's awesome for the country that gays are able to get married, equality is awesome and something we as a society should strive for. For the church, I think we have bigger issues to tackle than trying to legislate personal choice. And for myself, I don't know..

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Emergent Research

This semester I worked with a faculty adviser at my college (UW-Eau Claire) on some research.

Research here: Link (if you have problems viewing them let me know)

Our topic was, "The Emergent Church: Self-Identity Construction Through Conversation."

We produced a poster with our research that was presented at student research day at UWEC.

I also produced a paper.

The paper is a bit rough around the edges as it was for a grade and I wrote it during finals week. But this research hopefully set the ground work for future research for myself on the Emergent Church and hopefully the academic community as a whole. I know my adviser is working on some research this summer looking at the theological similarities between the Emergent Church and some older theologian.

Take a peek if you want and let me know what you think.


I has been a while since I have posted as I have been very busy. I just got married 2 weeks ago and plan to return to blogging here about my thoughts and musings on my spiritual journey.

A larger update will follow soon.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Desires for Home and Thoughts of the Christmas Season

Christmas is upon us but this time around it seems less real to me.

All I want though is to be with my family and make sure I am there for Krystal.

Her dad is getting brain surgery on Jan 6th and will be in the ICU for a week. This makes me realize the importance of family and the embrace of the time we have with them.

When I say family, I mean our family in Christ. Our time is so short and human life is so fragile I think we should spend less energy on things that divide and rather unify together and bring good to the world in the areas of social justice that Jesus talked about.

[i]Blogging note: I don't have large words and intensely philosophical ways to explain my thoughts like most "emergent" bloggers that I read, not that that is a bad thing. I just aim to say what I want to say in a way that I can say it.[/i]

I find it hard for me to stick to these things that I am talking about and I find it easier to look forward to the materialism that traditionally comes with Christmas. My mom has a good paying job for the first time in her life and I know that will have an effect on Christmas and I think apart of me is anticipating that. I am disgusted by that part of me. Because an even larger part of me loves the relational part of Christmas even more!

The past 2 years my family has gotten Krystal more gifts than me, which is the best gift they could give to me, seriously. That means the love her and accept her as one of the family. Not that their love is being measured in material possessions, rather my family is letting her be a part of our main Christmas tradition that is for our immediate family only...that means she is family which I love!

On a different note, I got my research grant(don't know if I have written about this or not...) which means I will be doing research on the Emergent movement and how it constructs its identity based on web submissions. A part of our research though will involve heading to Minneapolis and doing sit down interviews though which I am very excited about because of the potential for research and my own personal gain. I don't have much experience with this bodies of believers that I seem to want to identify with and this will be an excellent opportunity to get to know them!

So that is cool...
Musically I find myself drawn more towards bluegrass and folk as of late. I really think that I feel God moving in the notes. You can feel the passion and the expression behind the notes, and because I am relational, I feel God through that persons passion. This is why I want to get back into my Viola.

Enough for tangents...I think I am ready for bed now.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Political Frustrations

Shoot, now I just simply don't know who to vote fore.

It has been long enough, I can justify voting for Obama at this point. His policies just simply fall more in line with the Christianity that calls for social justice. The policy that he has that troubles me the most as with other Christians is his stance on abortion, he has essentially voted for infanticide they say, but he frames it as just being the natural progression of believing in a womans right to chose. It is interesting.

About the only "Christian" policy that McCain is his stance on abortion, at least a Christianity that I identify with.

But who says that Christians are even supposed to vote? Acting in humility might require full submission to God's will which might mean leaders that encourage persecution to us as Christians. I commonly find Christians who get their duty as an American to vote tied into their duty as a Christian to vote, but I don't really think they can be put in the same area. We have this mentality that the USA is some Christian nation and we as Christians need to make sure laws that favor us or God's law happen. I think those two things need to be separated, I am a Christian first not a Christian American or in some cases, an American Christian. I think the latter here is scary. I have seen some Christians essentially convince themselves that whoever is in power is in the best interests for Christianity. Now, I can't say for sure whether somebody is or not, but the process of somebody convincing themselves of this is placing an American identity over the identity that we are to have in Christ.

All in all, I will be voting, and I have selected a candidate. You might be able to guess who, but I'll leave you with a line from Mike Birbiglia...

"You'd be surprised..."

Thursday, October 9, 2008

I will stand up now...

and I will not step down.

I was doing my morning music devotion and I heard Stand Up by Everyday Sunday.

This reminded me of the whole start of this transformation. The reason I am more peaceful, more loving, and just more of somebody that I love and somebody that loves God in a different and radical way.

I worked at a "liberal" Lutheran Bible Camp, Camp Luther Crest. We sang this song for the staff musical. The song isn't important but the memories and the significance of it being the catalyst for the change in my life that is now!

I had a huge transformation from a "conservative" Christian who looked for fights with anybody on any silly little issue to, well...this!

You can swing by the blog I made while I was there to see the intense transformation I went!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Religion and Politics Part 2

I don't really know if a politician should be doing things that are not the things his/her consituents want. I think that even if a politician is religious, if they are representing a majority of people who are not religious, they need to be voting on legislation without their religious bias. If this is not possible, then I believe this politician should step down.

We have Senior W. claiming divine intervention and starting a war that he believes is God's will. Now this is fine and dandy as long as 51% of America agrees with this. I don't think this is the case and thus I don't think it is the right way to run a nation.

"But Dean, what are we to do about Romans 13?"

"1Everyone must submit himself to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. 2Consequently, he who rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves. 3For rulers hold no terror for those who do right, but for those who do wrong. Do you want to be free from fear of the one in authority? Then do what is right and he will commend you. 4For he is God's servant to do you good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for he does not bear the sword for nothing. He is God's servant, an agent of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer. 5Therefore, it is necessary to submit to the authorities, not only because of possible punishment but also because of conscience. 6This is also why you pay taxes, for the authorities are God's servants, who give their full time to governing. 7Give everyone what you owe him: If you owe taxes, pay taxes; if revenue, then revenue; if respect, then respect; if honor, then honor."

Many times I have had Christians tell me that this passage means that we need to blindly follow our governments but nowhere in this passage does this say that. Rather it says that governments are put in place by God to bring glory to Him and we should go a long with their glorification of God.

Also, this passage does not talk about why policitians should follow their religious convictions. The only way that I can see somebody interpreting it in this way would be to say that since policitians are appointed by God then they should do their best to follow God's teachings.

The problem with this point of view though in my opinion is that this leaves the leader of a nation in charge of interpreting scipture which is something humans have a history of doing fairly badly. (Examples: Salem Witch Trials, Crusades, Slavery, Women's Roles, and now Gays) The past does not bode well for leaders who have tried to interpret scripture. This is why I think it is a mighty dilema to have a politician voiting their religious convictions if they are not properly representing their constituents.

Wow, this got long winded...