Terrifying Silence: NASCAR edition

Let us pause and consider the Transfiguration within it’s scriptural context.

After Jesus’ infamous ‘Sermon on the Mount’, which intensified the law and declared himself as the fulfilment, he asks his inner-most circle of disciples ‘who do you say I am’.

Simeon Peter answers ‘the Christ, the Son of God’.
Thus, Peter is given the ‘keys’ to heaven and called the ‘rock upon which the church is built’.

Jesus continues sharing with these disciples his betrayal, arrest, passion, crucifixion, and death to come. Peter takes Jesus to the side and says ‘don’t talk like that’. Jesus rebukes Peter and continues to teach this sorrowful truth.

Jesus, Peter, James, and John are on the mountain top six days later.
Jesus is transfigured.
Jesus is with Moses and Elijah.
Jesus is truly the embodiment and fulfillment of the law AND the prophets.

Although the disciples have experienced the supernatural before, I imagine that Jesus literally glowing and standing with two deceased legends of Judaism would have been unusual, uncomfortable, and perhaps disconcerting. I envision the disciples stunned, standing in silence because Peter (who can be as dense as a rock) opens his mouth and inserts his foot again: “It is good for us to be here. We should…”

But, before Peter can finish, a disembodied voice attributed to God basically booms forth “Be Quiet. LISTEN.” The disciples fall to the ground terrified.

We, like Peter, can be as dense as rocks.
We, like the disciples, are not comfortable with silence.
We, like Peter, open our mouths and insert foot to fill the silence;
thus, we tend to listen to respond not to understand.

This silence can be terrifying.

Our discomfort with silence and simply how terrifying it can be became all too real on Monday evening for the NASCAR community.

But, lets rewind for a moment.

During the 2001 Daytona 500, the legend Dale Earnhardt Sr died in a crash on the final lap.

In 2002, we begun to watch NASCAR.

I choose the veteran Bill Elliott.

Amanda (my sister) choose the rookie Jimmie Johnson.

My mama choose South Bend raised, Purdue graduate, Hoosier, rookie…
Ryan Newman.

The 2020 Daytona 500 was on Monday evening.
It ended with a significant crash on the final lap, reminiscent of Dale Sr.

While seeking information from the broadcast and social media, I was yelling at the commentators who were simply fulfilling their vocation…. filling the silence. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 23, 2020 in Sermons


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Intensified Law, Sin Boldly

Our gospel is a continued except from Jesus’ infamous ‘Sermon on the Mount’.

Within the scripture,…

But Jesus’ tone has shifted.
Jesus denounces the rumor that he came to ‘abolish’ the law.

The Torah, teaching, is the first 5 Books in the Hebrew Bible (and Old Testament).
The Torah includes the Ten Commandments and the remaining legal code.

Who enjoys the law? Depends on the situation. 

According to Martin Luther and our Lutheran tradition, the legal code serves three purposes:

  1. Civil Law and Order
    It is a guideline for healthy interaction with God and neighbor while maintaining good order (and boundaries). In essence the legal code restrains us, especially from killing one another, due to the consequences. Honestly, in the words of Brandy Clarks’ Strips “the crime of passion aint worth the crime of fashion” (lol).
  2. A Mirror Reflecting Our Short-Comings
    Who enjoys seeing themselves in the mirror in the morning, without hair and make up done? NO ONE. The legal code is that mirror, which reflects to us the sins, failures, and short-comings we are reluctant to recognize and acknowledge.
  3. Points us to Christ
    Although the third use of the law is debated, after looking into the mirror, it points us to our need for God’s love, mercy, and grace through Jesus the Christ.

Jesus did not abolish the legal code, but intensified it while rebelling against the non-essentials. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 17, 2020 in Sermons


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Why I Am Single

It is amusing that I am often asked ‘why are you single’.

It is perhaps the most commonly posed question, second to ‘are you pregnant’.
I am not pregnant… I simply love carbs and tacos. Thank you. 

I have chosen singlehood at this time and am comfortable within it.
I have been single since deciding to divorce July 2014 and finalizing Feb. 2015.
During these 5+ years, I have not had a significant other or even been on a date.

Therefore, I decided with Valentine’s Day approaching to address the question.
The answer is not necessarily simplistic or short.

The question is often paired with a qualifier, including:

  • You are attractive/ intelligent.
  • You are established/successful.
  • You have a sense of humor/good personality.
  • You enjoy camping, mudding, shooting, whiskey, cigars, etc.

Thus, the simplistic, dismissive, and ‘easy’ response would be “I intimidate men”.

  1. I hope the majority of the male gender (CIS) would not be so easily intimidated by a woman who is able and willing to be at least their equal.
  2. It fails to recognize my singlehood as an active choice.
    If I chose to seek a significant other, I am confident that I could find a warm-bodied male who is able and willing. However, I am not confident that he would necessarily be the person I would need, or further want, as a partner in this life.

Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 13, 2020 in Singlehood


SALT Shaker!

The gospel is an excerpt from Jesus’ infamous ‘Sermon on the Mount’.

Jesus speaks of being a light, which is the emphasized imagery of this Time after the Epiphany that perhaps you have grown weary of hearing…
Well, pause and take a deep breath.

I am not talking about the light, instead the SALT.

Jesus tells the gathered crowd to be the salt of the earth,
but what does that mean?

I am intrigued at times about how language changes throughout the decades, not to mention the centuries and the millennia. For example:

If someone is ‘salty’, they are upset of bitter about something minor.
But, does Jesus want us to be bitter about insignificant things?
I don’t think so.

Or reflecting on my Western States Youth Gathering adventure with a friend from church, I can not help but recall ‘salt’. We noted youth, sorry ladies but primarily female youth, who were sweet as sugar when chaperone eyes were watching but behaving inappropriately and vindictively when those eyes were not. We nicknamed them ‘salt’, because although appearing to be sugar, they were something different. We might say they wore a mask, were two-faced, or the popular and often deserved criticism of Christians as being hypocrites.
But, does Jesus want us to be two-faced, hypocrites? I doubt it. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 10, 2020 in Sermons


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Jesus: Rebellious, Refining Light

It has been 40 days since Christmas.
It has been 40 days since the birth of Jesus the Christ.

It has been 40 days since the light of hope, peace, joy, and love bursted into our existence in the darkness of hopelessness, conflict, despair and anguish, and hatred and fear.

And yet, our ordinary daily routines have resumed.

The Advent preparations of our hearts and lives are a distant memory.

Those 12 days of Christmas have been celebrated and packed away.

This Time after the Epiphany, its lightbulb moments are dimming while flickering but once a week.

I imagine that it was similar for the newly formed Holy Family:
Joseph, Mary, and of course the infant Jesus.

According to the Catholic tradition, Joseph was a widower with children born of his previous union.

But as we know, Mary was a first-time parent. Perhaps within these 40 days, Mary was miraculously able to establish a routine and is a natural at the ‘parenting’ thing but I am confident that she is mentally, emotionally, and physically drained beyond exhaustion.

Yet, Jesus was circumcised and named on the 8th day after his birth, per Jewish custom.

And now, Jesus is presented in the temple on the 40th day after his birth, per Jewish custom. The presentation was essentially a return of the first-born son to God, who had claimed the first-born sons of Israel (current and future) during the original Passover in Egypt. The parents offered to God a prescribed sacrifice, due to the limited resources of the Holy Family their sacrifice was two turtle-doves or young pigeons.

The mysterious and awe-inspiring divine experience of Advent and Christmas are a memory. Our ordinary routines have resumed. Yes, even for the Holy Family.

But, within their Jewish custom, divine revelation would once again amaze Joseph and Mary. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on February 2, 2020 in Sermons


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The Darkness & The Light

Our Isaiah scripture is well-known and inter-connected with its paired scriptures, while embodying this ‘Time after Epiphany’ as the manifestation of God and the imagery of light.

Isaiah writes of those in darkness, which is directly echoed in our Matthew scripture. This darkness, however, is not historically ‘sin’. This darkness is the reality of their community as oppressed persons, who existed in injustice, hopelessness, conflict, despair and anguish, and hatred and fear. This was their darkness.

Yet, Isaiah reminds these people that the empire, and thus the oppressing forces, are temporary for they will see a great light.

This contrast of the dark and the light connects to a basic shared human experience that is not confided by the imaginary divisions of culture and language, race and ethnicity, nationality, socio-economic status, religious or non-religious adherence, generation and age, sexuality or gender identity, political affiliations, or etc. It is the anxious and fearful energy of being in the dark, for it is disorderly chaos of the unknown due to our lack of sight. However, when a source of light is introduced and we regain our sight, the anxious fear is relieved, the disorderly chaos becomes orderly stability, and the unknown becomes known.

This light is the light of our Advent candles: Hope, Peace, Joy, and Love. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 27, 2020 in Sermons


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What are You Seeking?

The Gospel according to John differs from those of Mark, Matthew, and Luke.

John begins with creation, which is brought into being through the WORD that is Christ.

John, similar to Mark, does not include a birth narrative.

John does include Jesus’ baptism, but it is through the witness of John the Baptist to his disciples instead of Jesus. This is where we enter into the gospel this morning.

John the Baptist is excited, this is the One for whom he prepared the way.

John’s disciples were excited for the Israelites had been waiting centuries for their Messiah to come.

And Jesus’ first words, his first impression made, in the gospel of John is a question.

As one who is inquisitive, I appreciate Jesus arriving on scene with a question especially the simplistic yet complex and vastly open ended question posed…
What are you looking for? Or better yet, What are you seeking?

These disciples of John respond ‘to know if you are the long awaited Messiah’. Read the rest of this entry »

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Posted by on January 21, 2020 in Sermons


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