Religious Manipulation in the Political Arena

The Prodigal Thought

american flag and bible

I have held my tongue for a very long time in commenting on something I believe is grievous within the evangelical church of America. But today I came across a 5,000+ word article written by evangelical theologian, Wayne Grudem, and it pushed me over the edge.

The article is entitled, “Why Voting for Donald Trump Is a Morally Good Choice.” Yes, just let that title sit there for a moment.

In it, Grudem lists a plethora (and I mean a plethora!) of reasons why Christians should vote for Donald Trump. More specifically, as the article title asserts, to vote for Trump is the morally good choice.

Hang with me for a moment as I process a couple of things, though not for 5,000+ words!

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Psalm 1

really good post here on Psalm 1!


tree_riverDuring my first week in the pulpit of Mount Hood Christian Center, I preached out of Psalm 1. And in it I shared a bit of vision. There are three points, inspired by the Psalm, that I would like our church to remember and be doing. And they are this:

  1. Delighting in God’s Word– Verse 2 tells us that the blessed person delights in God’s Word. I’m not a coffee drinker, but I do see people who are and they caress their cups and sip their drinks with such pleasure. If I can do anything as pastor I would hope to inspire the people of MHCC to approach the Word of God in the same manner. Reading the Bible is not as much of a duty as it is a DELIGHT.
  2. Looking for God’s Grace – We also learned that the blessed person is like a planted tree. And…

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Going Deeper with New Testament Greek: A Review

Great review here by Jacob on the new Greek Grammer Going Deeper with New Testament Greek. Definitely one for the Pastor’s book shelf!


51ZcbZ2h4ML._SX334_BO1,204,203,200_There’s simply no good textbook for third semester Greek. Yes, there are excellent grammars, intermediate grammars, workbooks, and more. Some of the standards, in my opinion, are David Alan Black’sIt’s Still Greek to Me, Daniel Wallace’sGreek Grammar Beyond the Basics, Herbert Bateman’sA Workbook for Intermediate Greek, and several others. Each of these works has its own unique strengths and weaknesses. I own them all. I use them all. I was taught in various Greek courses with them all. And I unequivocally recommend each one of them.

But when I started teaching Greek at my local church, I encountered a host of problems. The first was, “How do I teach Greek in a manner that keeps the class interesting for students that want to reap the benefits of knowing Greek but must plod through the difficult task of learning the language’s grammar?”

I accomplished this…

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The book of Revelation and Globalism?

from David DeSilva’s book Unholy Allegiances:

[The book of] Revelation moves us to think beyond our national borders and consider the global community, redrawing our mental maps of “us” vs “them” in light of the larger map of God’s reign extending from the center of the cosmos in God’s throne room out through and over “every kinship group and language group and people and race ” (Rev 5:7).  Revelation opens up our minds to the possibility of thinking beyond terms of national borders – boundaries that the dominant ideologies of this world had engraved deeply into our hearts.  In so doing, it opens us up to a global perspective on the church and to the perspectives of our sisters and brothers across the globe upon our own witness within our own nation.  Once again, we often depend upon the perspectives of people from outside our native systems even to have the opportunity to reflect critically upon those systems and their impact on people inside and outside of the same (101).

Seems like this is a huge critique of the current anti-immigration mentality of many an American today….

the latest with me

It has been really long time since I have done any serious blogging and I think there are a few reasons for that. Probably the main reason is much conversation and interaction much like what happened with blogging in the past has all but completely moved to Facebook. I can make a short post there about something and then have significant interactions in the comments section. This has made it challenging for me to keep up with blogging when any engergy I might have for writing out a post is taken up by Facebook. I know not all agree with that but it’s the reality of it all. Another reason is that I think I just got burned out and was dealing with a lot of emotional challenges to the difficulties my family and I had been facing, and not just emotionally but also financially and relationally. Between the time we left the Grand Canyon National Park around Easter of 2011 we have moved 10-11 times and once in a huge cross country move only to leave that situation in just less than a school year. That much transition is a lot for anyone to deal with (with the amount of stress we had to deal with, it really is a miracle I or Debbie never got hospitalized). I realize that many can write their way through these kinds of things and that serves to help them process it all, however, for me I just withdrew – I switched from blogging to facebooking…. Instead of hours blogging I was spending hours facebooking, and to my detriment I am afraid. One the one hand, a few friends I was able to chat with through the messenger setting helped me get through a lot of stuff, on the other hand it is hard to pull away and unplug. It’s the curse of the blessing I suppose. It’s part of the change that has happened too in the world of social media. I know a few folks who used to do a lot of blogging have closed down their blogs and left it altogether. Others left it up but have moved on to other things (like facebooking).

My Friend Scott is writing a book about stories of change. You can learn more here (and maybe even contribute). I and hoping to talk aout a change in this post (or some changes).

We’ve been through a lot of changes in our life in the last 5 years. We moved from Arizona to eastern North Carolina. Debbie has completed her Doctor of Ministry in Leadership from AGTS.  I have finally completed my Chaplain Residency (also known as Clinical Pastoral Education). But one huge change in all this is that on Monday, March 14th I start my first full time job with a good salary and benefits in over 10 years. Yes, you read that right. It has been over a decade that I have been either underemployed or altogether unemployed. In August of 2003 I quit a good full time job I had working with at-risk youth and youth with disabilites in Washington State to go to seminary in southwest Missouri (AGTS). From that time, until this Monday I did not have a full time job and really, had much trouble getting one. Yes, we pastored the church at the Canyon but it was bi-vocational (that usually means no salary) and worked part time jobs in the Park). It became more than we could handle and a bit more of a mess than we had ever intended. This was also during the economic recession that our country, in some ways, still hasn’t really pulled out of. We applied for new minsitry positions and even “secular” jobs but all to no avail. Until we were offered the chance to move to eatern North Carolina. That too was a big change. It sure has been a big adjustment to not only living on the East Coast but also the South, and then, there is eastern North Carolina. It has been a lot to handle. Thankfully, I had my CPE expreince to help us work through some of it and also to overcome it. Just as CPE is a process, so is life. I am still very much in process yet also making a change in vocational emphasis.  I had long wanted to be a Bible teacher of some sort (really to teach Bible overseas), who knows, this may still work out. For now, I am pursuing Chaplaincy. So far this has been a good option for me and u think a fruitful vocation that fits well with my personality and faith life. It represents yet another change too in that it has brought depth and breadth to my understanding of theology and the Bible and a change to how I think about these things. Whereas I did much reading related to biblical studies much reading now also involves some psycholgy and counseling materials that contribute to Chaplaincy work. I feel like I am in a paradigm shift right now and am not really able to explain  how or why. but as I learned in CPE, its all a process and one needs to be okay with that. Process often involves change and to benefit the most from change one must accept it, even embrace it.

Get Ordained, Pastor!

W.onderful W.orld of W.adholms

OrdainedThis may seem a bit radical for my fellowship (Assemblies of God), but I would like to go on the record as saying that  ordination ought to be the aim of every pastor and not because of education, credentials, or prestige, but because it offers a testimony of faithfulness (at some level). To be ordained (in my tradition) requires one to be in ministry for a minimum of 2 years and a few extra courses (if one didn’t go through one of our official schools). This is quite minimal. I was ordained at 25 and would have been ordained at 24 except I was short of the two years by a couple of weeks (don’t get me started on that one).

I have a friend who has changed fellowships after much praying and seeking and is in a LONG process of seeking ordination in her new fellowship (Anglican). I’ve spoken…

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