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Showing posts from April, 2020

Many Hugs, Plenty of Tears

When I prayed at the end of my sermon, I stepped down off the little platform where I stand at the front of our sanctuary and walked straight into “the vestry.” One of the great things about sharing space with a Lutheran congregation is the incredible names they give to these rooms. We have a sacristy, a parlour, a nave, and everyone’s favourite: a narthex.

I typically give myself a thirty second breather at the end of the service by walking the music stand that holds my notes into this side room before heading back out to chat with people as they’re leaving the sanctuary. But on this particular morning, I needed more than thirty seconds, so I snuck out the back door and made my way through a narrow hallway, cut through the kitchen, and headed for an empty table near the back of the gymnasium where the final part of our service would take place: Discussion Groups.

(Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called The View From Here. Please follow this link and start reading at the o…

The Sermon

This post includes the full transcript of my sermon from February 11, 2018. If you would prefer to listen to the podcast, you can find it here. This is part of an ongoing series called The View From Here. Please follow this link and start reading at the oldest post, Fear and Trembling.

This morning’s scripture is from John 6:16-21.

When evening came, Jesus’ disciples went down to the lake, where they got into a boat and set off across the lake for Capernaum. By now it was dark, and Jesus had not yet joined them. A strong wind was blowing and the waters grew rough. When they had rowed about three or four miles, they saw Jesus approaching the boat, walking on the water; and they were frightened. But he said to them, “It is I; don’t be afraid.” Then they were willing to take him into the boat, and immediately the boat reached the shore where they were heading.

In November of 2000—so a little over 17 years ago—I gave a message called The Homophobic Church. It was the first time I had tackl…

The Day Before the Big Day

Today is February 10, 2018. Tomorrow I will preach a sermon on the intersection of same-sex attraction and Christian faith.

One morning earlier this week, I pulled into our church parking lot and saw one of our new Board members biking down the trail that runs adjacent to the church property. When the City of Waterloo first opened the trail, they posted signs indicating just how many people had walked or cycled along the trail in a given month, I suppose as a way of validating the public funds that were spent on its construction. Those signs are down now, because it’s become a bustling corridor through our city’s Uptown neighbourhoods and no one is asking questions anymore. But the fact that it’s February and we’ve had a significant snowfall this week made this Board member’s early morning appearance seem somewhat otherworldly.

(Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called The View From Here. Please follow this link and start reading at the oldest post, Fear and Trembling.)

She …

Our Reptilian Brains

Already at this early stage, I’m starting to feel pressure from some people to move this conversation along at a quicker pace. If I had to guess the reason behind this, I’d say it’s a fear that opening the door, even a crack, will end up being just the first of many steps down a path that will inevitably end up in our church becoming fully affirming. The impression I’m getting is that people don’t want to ‘waste their time’ if that’s where we’re going to end up, which is why they’re pushing for a speedier process; the unknown is just too uncomfortable. I don’t say this to minimize the specific questions or concerns people are raising, but to suggest that the fear of what might be could end up creating a barrier to learning and engaging with this issue one step at a time.

(Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called The View From Here. Please follow this link and start reading at the oldest post, Fear and Trembling.)

Someone in our congregation loaned me a book that helped me co…

Crop Damage

It’s only February 3 because I couldn’t fall asleep and am now sitting in the dark at my dining room table at 1:10am. When my mind started into its usual spin tonight, I told myself I’d take time during my son’s Saturday morning hockey practice to do this writing. It was a half-hearted attempt to trick my brain into letting me fall asleep. Needless to say, it didn’t work.

All of this is so hard.

For the past three days, I’ve been dealing with severe headaches that have started to settle in around noon and have grown in intensity throughout the course of the day. At first, my head feels like it’s in a vice grip; then, as if needing to escape the confines of my skull, the pain starts to radiate down into my jaw and straight through to my teeth. It’s not a pleasant sensation, to say the least.

(Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called The View From Here. Please follow this link and start reading at the oldest post, Fear and Trembling.)

My body is sending me strong signals that …

Just Barely Hanging On

This past Sunday was one of the most difficult mornings in my nineteen years as a pastor. And yes, I realize how overly dramatic that sounds.

The day started off as every Sunday does, with my alarm going off at 7:20am, starting my weekly routine of preparing for our morning service: Brewing a cup of tea, taking a seat on the couch in our living room to read over my notes in real-time before the rest of the family is up and scurrying around the house, and finally, driving across town to the church to connect with people before the service begins. There wasn’t anything out of the ordinary that morning—there was even the usual technical glitch when we were lining up our on-screen presentation—but as soon as the service started, I found myself unable to control my emotions.

(Note: This post is part of an ongoing series called The View From Here. Please follow this link and start reading at the oldest post, Fear and Trembling.)

If you don’t know anything about me beyond what you’ve read to …