Tuesday, May 29, 2012


This past weekend, Memorial Day weekend, Chris Hayes on MSNBC said this:

“Why do I feel so uncomfortable about the word ‘hero’?” Hayes said. “I feel uncomfortable about the word hero because it seems to me that it is so rhetorically proximate to justifications for more war. Um, and, I don’t want to obviously desecrate or disrespect memory of anyone that’s fallen, and obviously there are individual circumstances in which there is genuine, tremendous heroism, you know, hail of gunfire, rescuing fellow soldiers and things like that. But it seems to me that we marshal this word in a way that is problematic. But maybe I’m wrong about that.”

He rightly has received a ton of criticism for his comments about those who have lost their lives in defense of our nation.

The other day I was watching a segment from the movie The Longest Day, which is, perhaps, the definitely movie on the D-Day invasion.  There were numerous soldiers that, day, like most days in most wars, who lost their lives in the midst of combat.  Others, however, were blown up in airplanes before jumping out for action or who lost their lives on landing craft or in the water, before actually ever firing their gone.  There were others who lost their lives in the middle of doing amazing things.  They are all buried together and they are all heroes.  They all lost their lives serving their country.  We honored all of them on Memorial Day weekend.  They were there.  They showed up and the details of how they died are much less important than the plain and simple fact they died serving their nation.  And us.

Often, at least to me, the honoring of those who have died in the service of our nation is right and good.  I struggle with Caesar limelight of the day, however.  I struggle A LOT with many of them.  Politicians are the people who send people to war and, sadly, are often the first to take the credit for being heroes themselves for sending people to war.  The heroes were the ones on the battlefields putting themselves as risk.

Over the centuries many people in the role of ‘Caesar,’ send folks off to war in an attempt to further the agenda of Caesar.  How many young lives have been lost attempting to gain more living space for Caesar, or defending one’s own living space because some other nation’s ‘Caesar’ wanted your land. I’d like to say that never has an American President in the role of Caesar sent people to war for assistance in the polls, but I daresay, that would be untrue.  War is often great for politics.  It is, however, brutal because so many heroes lose their lives.

Chris Hayes greatly misspoke.   Greatly.  Those who have lost their lives in defense of our nation were, are, and will always be heroes.  Caesar, however, is a different story.

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Non-Partisan Political Ranting

I am, for one, happy the primaries are done in Kentucky and Indiana.  I was really getting sick of all the commercials.  They were, at least, pretty positive, but overdone.

Speaking of overdone, the one Mike Pence’s wife did over and over again about their first date was putting me into sugar shock.  I mean, it’s nice that it wasn’t a standard mean-spirited ad, but it was a bit much for me.

I have been, I am, and I will continue to be highly offended by the bogus ‘religious persecution’ tales we keep hearing.  This is why people are giving up on churches; they are tired of listening to nonsense from their leaders and from the pulpits.  It is shameful.

I think the larger national political issue is this.  People want the social services of the government and people do not want to actually pay for the social services of the government.  My phrase for this is that people what Democratic services at Republican prices.  People do not want THEIR retirement age raised, THEIR benefits to go down, etc.  They don’t really care if this happens to other people, but they don’t want it to happen to them.  At some point, we are either going to have to greatly revised benefits, eliminate benefits, or actually pay for the benefits.  Putting them on VISA, like we’ve been doing for the last 30 plus years, is not working.

I suspect Congress, both House and Senate, will be working on a lot of silly bills to get people to vote for or against nonsense all in trying to ambush one another for the upcoming elections.  Both parties do this and I do not understand why we pay people to write and push for bills that will not be passed.  I mean, seriously?

I have an observation about jury trials.  My prediction is that we are going to see an increasing number of hung juries.  In a society where ‘no compromise on anything’ is the new mantra, getting 100% is going to be almost impossible.  When there are people unwilling to ever give an inch on anything, society is in trouble.

I find it annoying when people use terms like “Socialist” or “Nazi,” as they are way over-blown and usually applied superficially.  What really drives me crazy is then people call someone a Socialist and a Nazi, considering they are to opposite ends of the political spectrum.  I’m wondering when they dropped Social Studies from schools?

A further thought:  Before anyone says someone is like Hitler or Stalin (in American politics) I think the person actually needs to do some studying of these two barbarians to see how incredibly evil they were and the breadth they went to be oppressive.  There is no one even remotely close to either of them on the political scene right now in American politics.

I have been reading some fundamentalist websites.  I should note that fundamentalism is often labeled as ‘conservative’ and it is anything but conservative.  If conservatism is holding treasured things of old and maintaining the tradition of things, fundamentalism is often the opposite.  The absolute literalism is not even remotely close to how the Bible was written or ever interpreted until more recent times.  It is not conservative.

But having said this, reading fundamentalist websites, there are more and more stories about Mormonism and they are not even remotely friendly toward the Church of Jesus Christ of the Latter Day Saints.  Actually, truth be told, they are down-right hostile.  I suspect they will push for either another candidate (3rd Party) in the general election or choose to not vote.  I do not believe they will vote for either Mitt Romney or Barack Obama.  Honestly, I believe Sarah Palin will run as an independent.  I think, philosophically, most of these folks are more aligned with Mr. Romney than they are Mr. Obama, but I suspect they will not be willing to vote for a Mormon.  A large number of people boycotted him at Liberty University’s graduation for his religious faith and I suspect they will for this as well.  Frankly, it’s very said that he is being singled out for his religious beliefs.

Lastly, it’s Memorial Day weekend when we remember those who have died in the service of our nation.  Let us pray for peace so the number of those who have died in the service of our nation can stop growing; and let us pray for the families of those who have lost loved ones.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

10 Annoyances

10.People who are crossing busy street and walking slowly, on an angle.  I understand that very often people cannot walk fast, but there is no reason why they have to walk on an angle and take twice as long!

9.People who go to the drive through window and order Thanksgiving Dinner.  Ugh.

8.Situation comedies that aren’t even remotely funny.

7.Restaurants that serve margarine and call it butter.

6.People who slow down at green lights in case they turn yellow.

5.Endlessly inane ‘Pac’ commercials.

4.The Mike Pence commercial.  It is painful and corny and doesn’t remind me even remotely of the guy who spoke at the Hanover commencement four years ago.

3.Polls that indicate who is going to win the election in November pretending that, right now, they matter.

2.NFL speculation on how great teams look while jogging around in pads.  I mean, really?

1.All the whining of the Facebook IPO.  People are upset that they didn’t become rich over night.  Seriously?

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

10 Tech Things I’ve Learned

I’ve learned some tech things over the years.  Some of them are even valuable.

1.If you put a lot of apps on your Droid phone it sucks up memory and makes the phone more difficult to use.  I found myself deleting a lot of fancier apps and going with the native ones.  The phone works better.  Who’d have thunk it?

2.Blogspot changed its look a bit and I was having difficulty finding how to put a new post on there.  Then I discovered Windows Live Writer on my computers and found it works really well.  Who knew?

3.Microsoft Word isn’t as bad as I thought it would be.  Maybe I’m mellowing or maybe Word Perfect had too many bugs of late, but I’m not unhappy with Word.  Actually, me saying this might be a prediction of end times.

4.Windows XP was good.  Windows Vista was a disaster.  I don’t know if I’m excited about Windows 8.  To be honest, I’m tired of upgrading.

5.I just got Nuance PDF Editor 8.0 and it is the first one that switches into a word processing mode allowing you to edit PDF documents a lot easier.  Adobe Acrobat isn’t as easy to use and, wow, it is expensive.  Nuance PDF Editor is $99 and a bargain.

6.  All the fuss about the Facebook IPO.  Facebook has grown a lot and there was a lot of hype.  My sense is that it might be a good stock to buy and keep for a few years.  Everyone is upset because they aren’t overnight millionaires.  Well, Mark made out okay….

7. A program Swift-To-Do-List is, I think a shareware kind of program and it works really well.  The cost is reasonable.

8.I have found a lot of good programs come via shareware.  They work well, don’t have a lot of junk on them, and are inexpensive.  I actually do not object to purchasing these as the creators of these programs deserve to make a living.

9.I am convinced the federal government will, at some point, crack down and put limits on the Internet.  The Republicans are currently leading this charge, but I’m not sure the Democrats are going to prove to be any better.  A lot of money is coming into Congress from ‘regulators.’ 

10.  I still think Firefox is the best browser.

Spiritual But Not Religious : Part II

Yesterday I spoke about cynicism and some things wrong with organized religion.  Perhaps, better said, my opinion as to some things that may be wrong.  I am not going to attest to being an expert on people’s thoughts or feelings.

There are things that are right, however.  Many things.

For one, in most churches most of the time there is a serious intent on preach and teach  the Gospel with great seriousness and commitment.  We may not always agree with one another as to the truth of the Gospel, but most everyone is committed to being faithful to their faith, their traditions, and the Bible.  I have never met anyone who has ever stood before a congregation with the fervent hope of lying through one’s teeth about the Bible or God.  Most everyone tries to preach and teach with a sense of integrity.

This means that most every church has something to offer most people.  There may be a great deal we do not believe or fathom or even believe.  However, there are usually kernels of truth and goodness being offered. 

Secondly, prayer takes place.

I sometimes think we forget the importance of prayer.  When people gather for Worship and pray, there is something amazing and good that takes place.  The Bible teaches us that where two or three are gathered, God is with them. There is great power and great truth to this.  God being Worshiped and prayed to is potent and good.

Churches are incredibly fallible----each and everyone one of them.  But they do offer something good and worthwhile.  Sometimes it takes a while to find one where we may ‘fit,’ but, chances are, there is one!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spiritual but not Religious: First in a Series of Observations

I have decided I want to make some observations on the largest growing ‘faith’ movement in the United States.  It is the group of people who call themselves ‘spiritual but not religious.’

Much has been written on this subject pro and con.  My observations are meant, hopefully, to be neutral enough for everyone to read, with the caveat that I have a bias.  I am the pastor of a church and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ.  I happen to appreciate by denominational family and support it, so, I am biased.  Having said that, however, I like to believe that I have an open enough mind and heart to listen to people who have varying perspectives.

My first observation today is really an attempt to understand why people are giving up on religion.  I think one of the reasons is because of cynicism.  There is a great deal to be cynical about in organized religion.

One of the most commonly watched videos on You Tube right now is a segment of a sermon preached by Pastor Charles L. Worley, the pastor of Providence Road Baptist Church in Maiden, North Carolina.  A segment of it can be viewed here:

Sermon Portion

I find his words to be revolting, as I suspect the majority of people who watch this do as well. 

Does he speak for all Christians?  No.

Does he speak for most Christians?  No, I don’t believe so.  I cannot fathom most people believing that any group of people should be herded behind electrified fences because of sexual orientation.

The problem is that he does speak for some Christians.  People in his church were saying “AMEN!” while he was preaching.  Westboro Baptist Church pickets  funerals of service people killed in combat proclaiming the deceased soldier is going to hell.  Their website is entitled, “Godhatesfags,’ and they do exist. 

People get disgusted with this kind of behavior from ‘Christians’ and presume the worst, so they stay away.

In recent years the Roman Catholic Bishops have gone down new roads and are rapidly emptying the pews of their churches.  The road they are going down has as much to do about God as do burgers and fries, but they are busily on the road to somewhere, I’m not sure where.

They have become overtly political and seem to have made contraception a leading issue in the upcoming election.  Their claims of religious persecution, as real as three dollar bills, ring hollow to many.  Recent attacks on nuns and the Girl Scouts are, if nothing else, bizarre.  Additionally, like the Southern Baptist Convention, they have purged seminaries of even remotely progressive thinkers and many of their best and brightest are gone.

On the left, the background is different, but has comparable results.

There are many good things about social justice and a sense of welcoming has been amazing and good.  People who feel unwelcomed at many churches, when they even look, has been good.  However, the one big missing piece is often a devotional piece.  Often Worship and spirituality are so carefully done to not offend that they end up being incredibly bland and unexciting.  Often simple things like prayer and Bible Study are overlooked for other things.  It is easier to get people to serve at Soup Kitchen than it often is to get them to Sunday School of Bible Study.

Finally, there is the political component.  Politicians love to tell us how much God is on their side.  Ugh.

I suspect many people are finding themselves spiritual but not religious because religion is falling short in some ways.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Faith Statements, Confirmation Class, 2012 at St. Marks

These are the Faith Statements shared at Worship on May 20, 2012 at St. Marks United Church of Christ.

The speakers are:

Bailey Schneidau

Callie Oakes

Chance Miller

Josie Myers

Monday Musings

In the past few days two major music legends have died.  Robin Gibb, who with his brothers, made up the Bee Gees, and Donna Summer. Both of them died far too young from cancer.  They both left indelible marks on the world of music and will be missed.

I watched a report today on the Staples Center in Los Angeles.  The two NBA teams and one NHL team all share the Staples Center and all are currently in the playoffs.  This means they need to change from one basketball court, to an ice rink, back to another basketball court and it’s all a time crunch.  Plus, of course, cleaning the place, providing food for patrons, and traffic.  An amazing job is being done by so many people.

I am increasingly coming to the conclusion that our society is incredibly cruel.  The woman who tans herself in New Jersey, for many people’s perception too much, has become a subject of ridicule and even abuse.  She is constant fodder for news media and late night talk show hosts.  Whatever one feels about her, leave her alone.  She has a family she loves and people who love her  and no one needs to be the subject of such ridicule.

I had fun on National Pun Day.  I feel punned out at the moment, but I am sure I will get over it.

I am having an increasingly difficult time watching the news and politics.  It seems like most of the news is about trivial nonsense and since so much of the news is about covering politics, it is a sad reminder that much of our political process is about trivial nonsense.  I’m at a point of choosing to purchase seasons of television shows I have not watched and watching them, and movies, instead of commercial television.  The news and the endlessly awful political ads are a constant source of annoyance to me. 

Madden 13 is going to include Tim Tebow “Tebowing,” which is cool.  I wonder if they will include having the Chargers go 1-3 in their first four games, Rex Ryan getting in trouble with the press, and the Giants playing badly until Tom Coughlin is on the hot seat.  I wish they still made the Madden series for PC.  I love playing John Madden Football.

I discovered Windows Live Writer for my blogging.  I do not know how I have missed this, but it’s great. 

Speaking of Windows and Microsoft, I have been increasingly using Microsoft products, most especially MS Word after years of dedication to WordPerfect.  I’m liking it fine and it does work well, but I do wish the world had chosen WordPerfect over Word.  When I find something really difficult and cannot figure out how to do it  in Word, I go back to WP and do it and save it as a Word document.  Old habits die hard.

Tom Cruise is coming out as a rock star in a movie.  Could anything be more painful?  I mean, seriously.  Cruise is one of those performers who always plays himself.  That is not a criticism.  Clint Eastwood always plays himself.  John Wayne always played himself.  Clint Eastwood never played himself as a rock star.  He did sing, early in his career, in “Paint Your Wagon,” but he never grew long hair and played himself as a rock star.  No one could ever possibly fathom the Duke growing his hair long and being “John Wayne, Rock Star.”  I actually have enjoyed all these performers.  Seeing him in the coming attractions, however, is painful.

I do want to see “The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel.”  It looks like fun.

The television season is mostly over.  To me, the best new show this year is “Person of Interest.”  I find that show increasingly complex and interesting.  Speaking of shows, “Mad Men,” has been really, really dull this year.  The highlight of the year was Lane beating up Pete, but that is about it.

I am finding myself, when having to take a poll or purchasing something that asks for my age, being higher and higher on the ‘old’ ladder.  I’m trying to figure out when this happened…

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The Next Generation

A few years ago I went to a lecture about generation cycles.  One of the premises was that the World War II generation really was the Greatest Generation.  I’d be hard pressed to say they weren’t.

Generations seem to go in cycles with different types of generations.  We now have a generation of young adults and young people and this person said that this group will be the next great  generation.  I am inclined to agree.


I am a Baby Boomer born pretty much right in the middle of the Baby Boom.  There are things I can say pro and con about my generation and other generations as well.  I am inclined to think there is good in every one of them but there is something special about this coming generation.

Every year I sit and listen to Faith Statements in church from these folks.  They are far, far ahead of where I was when I was in the 8th Grade.  They have levels of faith, and even more so, compassion than I did, perhaps still have.  They are much wiser than I was in the 8th grade and, I suspect, will be better adults.

They are loving in ways I never was and my generation wasn’t.  I do not say this flippantly or implying they are sexual.  Most of them are incredible modest,  fine people whose love encompasses other people.  My generation was grappling with racial issues this generation has never dealt with.  They see everyone as equal and there is no question about that.  In terms of acceptance of others, they embrace and accept others with a far greater ease than I did.  Much of who I am now was learned far later in life than them.

They also have a lower tolerance for nonsense and meaninglessness.  I am, of course, a big believer in organized religion and see much that is good within it.  At its best, of course, it serves God and not the institution.  For many, this is a struggle.  This generation not so much.  They do not get sucked into feeding institutions.  They simply don’t.  They remind us we are going to have to work harder.

A third thing is they value relationships greatly.  They see themselves humbly, as part of something bigger, and connection is important.

The lecturer, I believe was right.  Admire these young ones in our midst.  They may, in fact, be the next greatest generation.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Tragedy of Depression

I have been reading about the suicide death of Mary Richardson Kennedy, the estranged wife of Robert Kennedy, Jr.  It is a very sad story.

There are, of course stories about him and stories about her use of alcohol and drugs.  She had difficulties and a couple of arrests.  She also had lost every day custody of the children, from what I have read.  But underlying everything there seems to be another story, an explanation if you will, that is driving everything.  Mary Kennedy seems to have been suffering from severe and long term depression.

Several things about this whole story disturb me.

For one, there seems to be an almost fervent desire to make this story into a scandal.  There are stories of the Kennedy family tragedies, possible infidelity, as well as the stories of the drug use and alcohol usage.  Often lost in this, however, is the very sad reality that Mary Kennedy appears to have been suffering from depression for many years.  It is that illness that may have been behind marital problems, drug and alcohol issues, as well as her death.

Depression is a serious illness in our culture and it’s often an illness that people do not want to discuss.  People often perceive being depressed as a sign of personal weakness, or weakness of will, or a failure to be spiritual.  It is none of these things any more than any other disease comes from personal weakness or, poor will, or even spirituality.  Depression is a disease that afflicts many people and, unlike so many other diseases, people often choose not to be treated for depression.

People who get infections are usually perfectly willing to receive antibiotic treatments.  People who are diabetic are willing to be medicated, and high blood pressure is readily treated with medication.  People do not see their illnesses as a perception they are bad people in any way.  Everyone gets sick from something at some point.

But depression is often different.  People often believe that antidepressants are ‘happy pills’ that mask problems.  They are not.  They are effective medication to make depressed people feel normal.  No more and no less.  There ought not be any stigma attached to folks who are depressed or on medication for depression.

People like Mary Kennedy are people who were or are ill in our midst.  Her death ought not be sensationalized into some sense of scandal, but mourned.  She left behind four beautiful children and her family grieves for her loss.  She was a good person who suffered at the hands of a sinister and even deadly disease.

Thursday, May 17, 2012


I was reading that there is a movement afoot to tie Barack Obama with Jeremiah Wright.  Whether you like Wright  or not, he was a very successful and excellent pastor in the United Church of Christ for a long time.  Flawed?  Of course, but every pastor is.  Evil?  Not at all, but in his last years he was perceived as becoming increasingly angry and increasingly ‘radical.’  It was, in so many ways, very sad to see his sort of self-destruct.

Having said all this, we will have one candidate who is Mormon and one candidate who went to a church many people didn’t approve of.  I’d really like to see this campaign not be about their religious faith.  Surely there are other issues to grapple with!!!

There Are Good People

I’m finding that it is very easy to get negative.  I have found myself becoming increasingly negative over the years.  As our society has gotten coarser and often meaner, it has been a painful transformation.

Then there are good people who remind me that there are some amazingly good people in our midst. 

Rankin Paynter was at the Kmart in Winchester, Kentucky purchasing some items for his business.  The Kmart was in the process of closing and everything was on special.  Paynter thought about the merchandise in the store, his own success, and the fact that there were many needy people in the region.  He talked to the manager and purchased all the merchandise in the store.  ALL the merchandise in the store.

As all the merchandise was marked very low he had an opportunity to resell the items for a tidy profit-----but that was not his motive.  He gave it all away.  He knew the needs of the area and the needs are plentiful and the resources are limited.  He gave it all away to charity.  Many people will have new clothing, new shoes, new boots, new underwear, new towels, new sheets, new pots and pans, and such because of the generosity of Mr. Paynter. 

This morning I bid farewell and prayed for bunch of people from St. Marks heading to eastern Kentucky.  These 15 people are bring an immense about of skill to do work in one of the poorest regions of the country.  There work will be hard.  Actually, there work will be very hard.  They are paying their own ways to work down there and many are giving up work time and pay in order to serve others.  Money that could have been earned or spent having fun is being utilized to help people they have never met before.

There are Rankin Paynter’s we never hear about and there are many churches that send mission teams to many places.  Our world is filled with so many good people doing good things for other folks in need.  I see it all the time as my own church feeds and clothes so many people on a regular basis.  We are just one church among many who do these kinds of things.

There are good people.  Sometimes we just need to open our eyes to see them, and our hearts to learn from them.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

I Do Not Like to be Called Ignorant

I was recently reading an article about Bill Maher and I found myself annoyed.

Maher has become something of a hero to many people who are on the 'left.'  He is a comedian who does a great deal of political commentary.  He takes great delight in being offensive to people and using vulgar language on HBO.  I no longer have HBO so I don't watch his show any more.  I'm not really missing it.

I wonder if many fair minded people who are on the more progressive side of things are offended by him.  I suspect there are people who are more conservative who find themselves embarrassed by the often malevolent bigotry of Rush Limbaugh.  Limbaugh and Maher are often two sides of the same coin.  One speaks on things from the left and one speaks from things on the right.  Both are mean-spirited and like to call people names.

They both have many fans, however and that, to me, is rather sad.

One thing that disturbs me greatly these days about Maher is that he is something of an evangelizing atheist.  I am a minister so I obviously disagree with his theology or lack thereof.  I also respect his right to believe or not believe.  I respect his right to share his opinion with others.  One thing which does disturb me, however, is that he lumps all people of faith together and sees people of faith as ignorant.

He has a tendency to interview people and illustrate his points by using people who often make many of us who are people of faith cringe.  Within religious life, within the boundaries of purely rational thought and faith, there are people on both extremes.  There are people who can literally 'think themselves lost,' and become so caught up in their rational thought, they lose sight of their faith.  Conversely, there are others who 'feel themselves into lala land.'  When one's religious beliefs completely contradict science and history and you have to make things up to justify your position, lala land is very much present.

Maher loves to interview the lala land folks.  They are often easy to make fun of.  Conversely, he's also interviewed folks who have thought themselves lost.  They begin to argue themselves out of faith and it all gets very bizarre.

He never does get around to people who blend rationality and faith.  There are many people who are well educated, very rational people, who also are people of great faith.  They are people who find themselves often in the middle of a continuum without many extreme positions.  I like to consider myself in this.  I ted to think I lean toward the 'rational' side but I very much am a person of faith.  And as a person of faith, I do not like to be called ignorant.

Frankly, the lala land or overly rational folks shouldn't be mocked either.  People are on faith journeys and a life of faith is a life of ongoing conversion and change.  Where we are today may not be where we are tomorrow.

Perhaps Maher is a nice reminder that our society of almost craven meanness is not healthy, not good, and really needs to change.

Thursday, May 03, 2012

A Dirty Word in Church

You are probably wondering what word I’m going to drop here.  You may be disappointed, but it really is a dirty word in church.

The words is ‘but.’

We all use the word ‘but’ which literally means ‘on the contrary.’

We have all used the words, “I’m sorry,” and by themselves they are an apology.  When we say, “I’m sorry, but,” it is now a justification.  We all do this.  Check yourself the  next time you say, “I’m sorry,” and see if you add the word, ‘but’ to it.

Or, “I love you.  But.”  It really means, I don’t love you very much.

Whenever we use the word ‘but,’ we are saying, ‘on the contrary.’  “I loved the movie.”  But.

But is a dirty word in church.

“You are welcome here.”  “But.”

I sometimes wonder what the word but means in this context.  You are welcome here, but we don’t like your views on things very much.  Or your sexual orientation.  Or your political viewpoints.  Or your race, though churches are very clever in how they deal with this.  Or your economic status.  Or, you are a sinner and we church folks are not.

You are welcome here, but you need to get ‘fixed,’ to be just like us.

Which means, that you are not really welcome here.  You are welcome  here; on the contrary….

“You are welcome to have an important role in our church, but…”  This is generally aimed at women.  You are welcome to have an important role in our church but your lack of a penis means you are going to be limited in what you say, who you say it to, and what you do.  On the contrary, you are less important than we males are.

I have read and listened to a lot of the arguments about excluding women in leadership roles in churches.  They all seem to have the same premise.  We do not want women in leadership roles in churches so we are going to make things up and take history and the Bible out of context to ‘prove’ our point.  These arguments are really good.  But….  They are actually bogus.  They really are.

I have been pondering this a great deal of late.  We in the United Church of Christ don’t always recognize what we have.  When we say, “No matter who you are, you are welcome here,” we mean it.  We never add the word ‘but’ to the end of the sentence.

We are called radicals and crazy.

I think we are merely being a church of Christ.