Wednesday, June 27, 2007

so i preached...

I don't preach too often at the church where I'm youth pastor at (probably for a number of very good reasons!), but this past Sunday I got to throw all my cards on the table and share a message from the pulpit, that is the music stand in the elementary school gym where we have our worship gatherings. I preached a sermon titled "The Kingdom of God: God With Us." I explored and visited the text of Lamentations 3:15-26 as a meditative reading and responsive reading during different parts of the service, and preached on Luke 4:14-30.

If you'd like to download the sermon right click here and "save as" to download the sermon. If you'd like to stream the sermon, simply click here and you you'll be redirected to stream and listen now to the sermon.

Some of you may know that the last six weeks or so have been some difficult grandfather passed away just as finals were beginning for seminary, I got poison ivy so that I couldn't walk, my mother-in-law broke her ankle, and since Shey's only sister who requires full-time care as a result of a car accident a number of years ago was devoid of a care giver who could get around...Shey and I moved in to the in-laws house for a few days each week for a few weeks to help out. My youngest brother C-$$ graduated high school, and I had crazy papers to write to finish up school which all hit in a short amount of time. And as I was preaching and sharing about God being those who are down-and-out, the vulnerable, the blind, the poor and the downcast...I was moved deeply as I was realizing the depth to which God is with us in the midst of an embodied community.

I'm no great preacher, but I am thankful for the chances to share a little bit of where I am going in my journey with Christ in the midst of a larger community that I am a part of.

Hopefully the summer will slow down a bit from here. I'm trying to read some literature and novels along with some theology this summer and play a little Wii if I get a chance. Anybody read The Kite Runner? That's one of the highest on my list for the summer, it kind of skipped up the list after listening to a recent podcast with Greg Horton over at The Parish and with Wired Otherwise, just trying to chill out a bit for the first time in a while it seems...

Thursday, June 21, 2007

midnight gardening

okay, so it wasn't quite midnight...but it was easily11:30 before all was done. i didn't have a chance to water the garden yesterday, and it was quite warm the last couple of days, so i asked the lovely wife and great friend Ben Owsley (who is the son of the Owsley family whose apartment we are renting) to join me in a special activity of which i like to call "midnight gardening." we gathered up some headlamps, pointed the truck lights onto the garden and watered away. we laughed a lot and got some sweet pictures. here's a picture of the three of us doing what we do best:

and in this picture Ben and I are doing our best zombie killer impression:

and lastly a nice picture of Shey and Ben as we gathered our watering buckets in the back of the truck and headed back home:

i'm taking a class this weekend on the theology of the pastor, and then preaching on sunday. the sermon title is "The Kingdom of God: God with Us" and the text will be Luke 4:14-30. i'll be sharing some of the things going on with Shey and I as we've had some hard stuff happening with family, and preaching on the importance of both being in community and including and welcoming people into the community that Jesus talks about from Luke 4.

i've got some rollins stuff i'd like to share, but will probably have to wait until next week. we'll see.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

where it all started

Hey is where the garden started...with a rototiller given to me by a good friend's family (it's 18 years old) when they moved to Colorado (thanks to the Walls) and the lawnmower is borrowed from the family we are renting from. So starting from these pictures the evolution and creation of the garden begins. You can see the latest pictures from the garden in an earlier post below this one. This has been such a great time to be outside in beauty and putting my hands in the dirt. It has been wonderful, beautiful...and so much more than my words can convey. When you are out there, with the birds singing, your hands in the dirt, pulling weeds, seeing the new life of green plants shooting through the dark dirt after a cool rain, and seeing new life emerge from is a glorious thing to be a part of.

While I don't have a cherry tree, this poem by Wendell Berry in Given from his Sabbath poems of 2002, poem V, describes the beauty of walking in the garden amidst the life and light of nature, with birds and gardening together, what else could I hope for?:

The cherries turn ripe, ripe,
and the birds come: red-headed
and red-bellied woodpeckers,
blue jays, cedar waxwings,
robins--beautiful, hungry, wild
in our domestic tree. I pick
with the birds, gathering the red
cherries alight among the dark
leaves, my hands so sticky
with juice from the fruit will hardly
drop from them into the pail.
The birds pick as I pick, all
of us delighted in the weighty heights
-the fruit red ripe, the green leaves,
the blue sky and white clouds,
all tending to flight--making
the most of this sweetness against
the time when there will be none.

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Monday, June 04, 2007

not since third grade...

Well, not since third grade have i gotten poison ivy. And even then i didn't get it bad...well, after my visit to the doctor today, i learned that as you get older, your body becomes less capable of fighting off attacks compared to the younger years. And thus, I have for the first time become a walking, swollen-legged, puss-ing, poison-ivy getter. Below, you can see the's kind of gross, just for a heads up!

Sorry for the lack of blogging. These past six weeks have been some of the craziest since Shey and I have been together...and that is saying a lot considering some of the hardships we've been through with family and friends in the last couple of years of marriage, and dating. There has been some hardships with some friends, finals and final papers for seminary, my grandfather passed away, and my mother-in-law broke her ankle on Memorial Day. Which normally wouldn't be a big deal, but Shey's only sister was in a car accident almost seven years ago now, and she requires full-time care. So Shey and I have been trying to wrap up school, recover from the busy-ness of the end of the semester and my grandfather's passing (which there will be some posts to discuss in the future) and now caring for Shey's great family, which means her sister Emily and mom who now is the proud owner of seven screws and a metal plate in her ankle. It's been bananas. But you know, things have a way of working out. It's not easy, and a lot of times it isn't fun, and i certainly don't think "God brings us through this to teach us a lesson" or to "understand the hope of the future in heaven when things will be OK" but rather that when walking with God, we find strength to keep our heads up when they only seem to want to fall, and we find friends and community who will walk through the hardships with us when all we feel is alone. And most of all, we see that God has never left us.

Don't get me wrong, I hope things calm down soon. I hope that I can get my 25-page paper done on time. I hope that Shey or I don't have some sort of grand mental break-down. I hope that Shey's mom heals quickly. I hope my brother's graduation goes well this weekend. I hope this disgusting poison ivy goes away soon. I hope for many things, many things's funny, that in getting this poison ivy again for the first time in years (and I grew up in the country where we used to play in poison ivy and not care one bit and I never got it) sometimes I feel like I have come back to some of the same mysterious wonder in my understanding and view of God that enraptured me as a child. I don't always understand how or why this stuff happens, and sometimes I'm pissed about it, but this mystery wraps me up and brings me in even when I want to run away.

On a lighter note, and McCarty's if you're still out there reading...the garden is blooming and alive! (So far of course!) Thanks again for the seeds! I'll post some pics soon of the garden that has been a safe haven of joy for me, and a blessing to share with Shey as we endeavor to live more simply and sustainably. mmmmmm...squash, corn, zuccini, tomatoes, watermelons, cantelopes, and more!