Saturday, December 22

First Admendment Suit

Orange County Register reports:

"Mission Viejo sophomore Chad Farnan and his parents filed a lawsuit Wednesday against Corbett alleging the Advanced Placement European history teacher made anti-Christian remarks during class in violation of the First Amendment's establishment clause, which prohibits the government from promoting religious intolerance."

Apparently Chad taped his teacher's comments. Some claim they are out of context. Others claim he's violated the First Amendment separation clause. Some current and former students what to keep Mr. Corbett while a smaller group wants to see him fired.

All I know about the case is what I've read in the OC Register and elsewhere. What I wonder about is whether the same support would have been shown for Chad had he decided to write a paper with Jesus as the main subject matter. My first thought is not!!!

Students First Amendment rights aren't protected at school. A number of rulings have shown this to be the case when it came to "freedom of speech". Newspapers, tee-shirts and other censorship takes place on a regular basis in schools. Should it surprise us that there is a dual standard when it comes to "freedom of religion"?

With this last weekend before Christmas on us let's remember that the baby, born to us, Emmanuel, Lord of Heaven and Earth; the one we worship said, "if they persecuted me they will persecute you". We should expect it, not be surprise by it, and embrace it for it is just another sign that we are our Lord's

Tuesday, December 18

Christmas Linebacker

This is good... funny in a sick sort of way LOL

On a more serious vein take a look at the video for Breath of Heaven.


Monday, December 17

Christmas Trees

Kruse Kronicle had an interesting link so here is mine... Sounds about right.

You Are a Traditional Christmas Tree

For a good Christmas, you don't have to re-invent the wheel.
You already have traditions, foods, and special things you bring out every year.

Wednesday, December 5

He who has ears...

Gary is amazing. He was in the front row at each of the ten performances of the Portland Singing Christmas Tree. He was the first to stand when we sang the Hallelujah Chorus. He touched many of us in the tree. He broke my heart. He reminded me of what Christ's coming is all about. For you see, Gary is doesn't hear the singing. He holds a balloon and feels the vibration of the music through it. Gary is mute yet he hears the gospel in Christ's birth clearer than many.

Christmas can become a bit stale even for a pastor. Oh, we may not want to admit it but it does. Busyness takes the place of meditative prayer. Programs rob families of necessary time. Familiar texts and can keep us from seeing a new word from God in Christ. It has happened to me in the past and probably in the future as well.

The second week of the Singing Christmas Tree found my voice better but my spirit dry. Not dry like stale bread, but dry like an un-basted, overcooked Christmas turkey that was left a couple of hours too long in the oven. Did I mention dry? My mind rehashed the list of things that had to get done for home and church. I was spiritually coasting, since I knew the Christmas story so well. Personal worship just wasn't. I was too much into getting things done to worry about that. I didn't doubt Christ's love, presence or power. I knew He was with me but a part of me wished He'd leave me alone so I could get things done.

This is where Saint Gary comes into play. As the children's choir sings the first verse of Silent Night Gary signs it without ever hearing a note of it. That was the breaking point for me. It was as if the Holy Spirit screamed to my heart, "Enough is enough." I found my agenda scoured away in Gary's tears. With apologies to our phenomenal director, perfect pitch and dynamics all that crucial. No longer were recalling the words the most important part of the evening. For in that moment, a God thing happened. I was brought back to what the music, tonal quality, word, dynamics and expression was all about—honoring and worshipping Jesus, Emmanuel, God with us.

Visiting with people after the performance many people expressed their thanks and told me how the choir did a great job. I'm glad they got so much out of the tree, but I found myself thinking of Gary and God's promise of renewal to Israel in Isaiah 35.

…say to those with fearful hearts,
"Be strong, do not fear;
your God will come,
he will come with vengeance;
with divine retribution
he will come to save you."

Then will the eyes of the blind be opened
and the ears of the deaf unstopped.

Then will the lame leap like a deer,
and the mute tongue shout for joy.
Water will gush forth in the wilderness
and streams in the desert.

I would pray for each of us that our eyes may be opened once more and that we might hear the news of Christmas with ears free of the brain-numbing message of our world.

Be at peace,


Sunday, November 25

That's My King

If you haven't seen this check it out. I love it. Wish I had used it today in worship, but it's on my short list for next year to be sure.


Thursday, November 22

Quick note--Thanksgiving

Ran across a great non sequitur cartoon on Wednesday. If you're too lazy to check the link here it is. I'm no longer a noob when it comes to the Portland Singing Christmas Tree. We had our first reheral in front of an audience and I felt much better about it. I'll be able to tell you more after Sunday night. There is a lot, LOT of standing, and with two performances this Friday, Saturday and Sunday, I hope, Monday, I don't need assisted boarding for our flight to Oakland. Phyllis' father's service will be Monday afternoon so we're heading down and will come back Wednesday afternoon. In time for choir practice, the last four performances of the Portland Singing Christmas Tree and the beginning of Advent. We would appreciate your prayers through this busy time for us.

God Bless and have a great tukeyday.


Friday, November 16

Personal Down Time

Things are going to be a bit quiet on this front for a couple of weeks. My better 4/5ths and I are in Portland Singing Christmas Tree which has 10 performances starting Friday after Turkey Day through the Saturday, December 1.

On top of this Phyllis and I received news today that her father passed so we will be going down to the Bay Area for the services. Keep us in your thoughts.


Wednesday, November 7

Another Presbytery takes action

Toby Brown has blogged about "Two Types of Presbyteries" and within 5 minutes of reading his blog I received the following letter from Rev. Brian Boisen, of Hope Presbyterian Church in Rouge River. Brian was in Sacramento with Rick and me, he is wonderful brother in the faith and a man of God. He's attempted to lead his congregation faithfully into and through difficult waters and…we'll I'll let you read what has occurred…

Letter dated November 7, 2007

"My dear brothers and sisters in Christ and colleagues in His ministry, I wanted to get this note to you before you all gather for presbytery this weekend. I’m writing to let you know about what has been happening with our congregation, Hope Presbyterian Church in Rogue River, and I am doing it to honor our relationship and shared work over the past number of years, and because I am sure it will be discussed at presbytery.

In a nutshell Hope has disaffiliated itself from the PC(USA) and placed itself within the Evangelical Presbyterian Church. In July our congregation voted to realign itself with the EPC with a 95% majority. Despite a number of reservations on the part of our session, we agreed to enter into the dismissal process approved by presbytery. We had a congenial meeting with the Conversation Team, and then waited till the September meeting of Presbytery Council to have a Resolution Team formed.

In the meantime we told presbytery that we were planning on filing for a summary judgment as to the legal ownership of our property. Back in 2006 one of our elders, a retired attorney, began to research the legal parameters of trusts, and he came back with the opinion that the PC(USA) does not have a legally valid claim on our assets. He hired an Oregon attorney to look over his research, and the attorney agreed with him. So, before entering into negotiations with presbytery about a “buy-out”, we decided to file for a summary judgment.

In October we got word that a Resolution Team was formed, and we scheduled a meeting. But then, an hour before our meeting, I received a phone call from the staff member assigned to the team, letting me know that they were canceling the meeting and that they were going to recommend the creation of an administrative commission – all because we had taken legal action against the presbytery. I asked why this was being identified as an obstacle now, since we have been up-front about it all along, but he didn’t answer my question. So that night our session gathered and discussed the matter, expressing our frustration that presbytery went against its own approved procedures. In fact, if you look in your presbytery packet at B-1-2 & 3, you’ll see that in September Council recognized both our legal action and the need for a Resolution Team, indicating that the one did not exclude the other.

And so, feeling that presbytery both broke faith with us and took a threatening posture through the intention of forming an administrative commission, we decided that we would cease our participation in the dismissal process and “renounce jurisdiction” over myself, our session, and our congregation. I spoke with representatives from the EPC, and their commission voted to receive us into full membership under those terms.

So now we consider ourselves full members of the EPC and its New Wineskin Presbytery. In fact, we participated in its first official meeting last week in Sacramento.

However we still need to resolve the matter of property. We had a date on the 19th for the presentation of oral arguments, but as of yesterday we learned that presbytery’s attorney asked for a six-week extension. Also we received letters from John Huenink recognizing the officers of Hope’s renouncing jurisdiction, but letting us know that he did not consider this an action of the whole congregation, indicating that now there is a PC(USA) leadership vacuum. We take this to indicate presbytery’s intention to fill that vacuum with an administrative commission authorized to assume original jurisdiction. None of this is happy, and yet we don’t agree with John’s views and we do not recognize PC(USA)’s authority, so ultimately we intend on keeping the course our congregation has chosen.

All this to say, we would appreciate your prayers – as well as any support you can give us as things are being discussed and decided on the floor of presbytery. I have no idea what is being planned for the meeting, but I have no doubt that some aggressive action will be proposed. If enough voices are raised calling for the demonstration of God’s grace and truth through Christ-like action, maybe it will change the results.

Thank you for your patience in reading this note, and thank you for your prayers and support – as well as your continued, faithful service to our Lord Jesus Christ and His gracious mission in our world. I dearly value our continued connection in the life and work we share in the Body of Christ!


Brian Boisen

Hope Presbyterian Church, Rogue River

Thursday, November 1


The sermon's not coming along so I thought I'd sit and catch up on a few blogs. I'm not simple but I don't go in for multi page reads, usually. I want something short and sweet. But, being a kid from the 60's, I remember the beginnings of racial tensions. I recalled discussions and stories about the voting rights act. I remember watching the news during the "long hot summer" of riots. So when I came across the Thoughts and Actions blog I read it.

No, it's not the whole story. No, it's not the total truth. Yes, it is one persons work and so acknowledged in the writing. But, it is a very well done overview of the issue itself from both sides. I encourage you to read it.


Wednesday, October 31

A Difference of Note

Being properly shamed into posting…thanks Toby, this one will be a couple of quick observations about the New Wineskins Convocation. Part of the meeting involved a "NWEPC Support Network Meeting" [Presbytery]. The docket and paper work was one page. If this sort of thing happened in Cascades, Staples, Office Max, and the whole lumber industry would be hurting more than they already are. Second, as Toby stated, Prayer was central, constant and a holy experience of the presence of the Father. Third, for me the biggie, there remains a sense of trust between our congregations. In Cascades, I've heard questions being followed by long, disruptive discussion. Similar questions at the convocation were met with, can we visit about those changes later and a head nod. There was no sense of dread about what may come out of the visit.

John Shuck, IMHO a wannabe theologian, has dubbed us New Winos; so be it. I would much rather be lumped into that category than the liberal wienie, whiners who seem to think "We are the World," Hillary Clinton, and boycotting the latest fast food chain will usher in the Kingdom of heaven. In the movie "Shallow Hal" Jack Black undergoes a life changing experience as he comes to experience and see truth. On the other hand the liberals, Jason Alexander, remains shallow and attempts to destroy the transformation. New Wineskins is the place in which we've experienced and seen the truth of what it means to be recaptured by Christ. We're not trying to make the Bible say what we want it to say. We're not trying to make God into our image. We're just happy remaining in His presence and following He who has adopted us.

If that steps on the toes of my progressive, socially engaged, liberal, and denominationally lock-stepped sisters and brothers in Christ tough.


Wednesday, August 22

Strange thoughts from a stranger mind

Last night I came up with a strange in not insane reality show. Gordon Ramsey Hell's ER. It combines the US love for medical shows, Scrubs etc with the angry show host. Of course I don't think I'd want to be a patient in the show...


Wednesday, August 8

Celebrate with me!

Being a life-long SF Giant fan there has been little to excite one this season.... except!!!


Wednesday, August 1

Who is Jesus?

Working on Colossians 2 I started to think about peoples various "opinions" about Jesus. Since I didn't have the time or skills to do "people on the street" interviews I did the next best thing--YouTube search. The one below is 10 minutes but I believe worth it.


Sunday, July 22

Delayed Response

I've never been known to be the sharpest knife in the drawer, so sometimes it takes me a while to respond to what I've read, heard, saw or experience. June 21st PCUSA congregations got a letter from the PCUSA Stated Clerk, Clifton Kirkpatrick and the General Assembly Council Executive Director, Linda Valentine. Here's my story….

A man and wife come to their pastor one Sunday after worship. They were members and regular in attendance. They gave to the church and attended various functions. But most folks knew things weren't all peaceful and joyous. The pastor felt she/he finally had the chance to see what was going on with them and perhaps be of help. Entering the office the wife was obviously the more upset. She had been crying while her husband looked very nonplussed and rather embarrassed by his wife's behavior.

"I don't know what the big deal is." He said as the two of them sat down. "I just don't get it."

Shocked, his wife looked at him and blurted out, "How can having an affair NOT be a BIG deal?"

The pastor took a deep breath. Nothing much surprised him/her but this really through her/him for a loop. He/she never saw this coming.

"It's not I don't LOVE you," the husband explained, "I promised to care for you and I do."

"How can you CARE for me and sleep with someone else?" she cried.

"I haven't violated my vow to you? Remember when you had the flu I took off work. I got a second job when you wanted to build on to the house. I support the family and attend all the kids Little League games." Isn't that what I promised?

"Um, if I can break in a moment," their pastor said looking at the husband, "what have you been smoking?" Before he could respond, the pastor continued. "Did you even listen to those vows?"

"What do you mean?" stammered the husband.

"'I take you to be my wife and I promise before God and these witnesses, to be your loving and faithful husband; in plenty and in want; in joy and in sorrow; in sickness and in health; as long as both shall live.' Those are vows you took."1 Declared the preacher. "What part of loving and faithful is unclear?"

"I am being loving and faithful." Countered the man. "I'm not subjecting her to unwanted attention. And just because I enjoy the company of another woman doesn't mean I'm unfaithful to her. SHE is the one who is my wife, not my lovers."

"LOVERS?" screamed the wife. "Plural? How many are you talking about?"

"Let's not get hung up in numbers, honey, the fact is that in my heart I am still faithful to you. I still love you. You're still the one I promised to live with." Then he turned to the pastor and said, "Do you have a list that defines loving and faithful?"

"Yeah! It's called the bible and common sense." He/she started to explain only to be interrupted.

"But the bible has polygamy and is open to interpretation, so I ask you again. Aren't my vows still intact, even though I don't live up to YOUR understanding of loving and faithful means? Isn't it the vow itself, not the behavior that is at stake here?

Let them with ears to hear, hear.



  1. Book of Common Worship p. 845

Friday, July 13

Talk about Stereotypes!!

I'm just like Ned Flanders!
I'm Ned Flanders, who are you? by

Sadly. as I went through the questions I had a feeling this world happen! [sigh!!]


Thursday, July 5

Missed by a quarter of a century

You Are 29 Years Old

Under 12: You are a kid at heart. You still have an optimistic life view - and you look at the world with awe.

13-19: You are a teenager at heart. You question authority and are still trying to find your place in this world.

20-29: You are a twentysomething at heart. You feel excited about what's to come... love, work, and new experiences.

30-39: You are a thirtysomething at heart. You've had a taste of success and true love, but you want more!

40+: You are a mature adult. You've been through most of the ups and downs of life already. Now you get to sit back and relax.

Time to Take Off...

My bride, youngest child (19), a friend and our middle kid and my favorite "daughter-in-law" are headed to beautiful Lake Tahoe for a week of sitting on our bums and relaxing. Standing in line for the latest Harry Potter movie (midnight show is a must); reading, naps, going to the beach, freezing our tush off in the lake and lounging around the pool will the extent of our excitement.

I may post a few pictures, maybe a comment or two, but in the words of the Genie in Aladdin, "I'm outta here..."


Friday, June 15

General Assembly Response

Well the GAC finally came out with a paper to answer the concerns of the New Wineskins and it isn't too much of a surprise. Take the time to read it but understand that they find nothing wrong with what's happened in the PCUSA. Of course they do throw those of us who don't agree a bone when they write, "...that there is always a gap between any denomination’s official positions and the views and practices of some ministers and members of that denomination."

Anyone who has read the statements of faith that come from those being received in our Presbyteries probably have realized this fact. I will say that they are quick in responding to comments. I emailed the link at the bottom of the PDF and got a response back in very short order.

Read it, respond to it and I'm sure they'll be more on this in the days to come.


Sunday, June 10

Dilbert is a Presby…

So, one of my favorite cartoons is Dilbert and today's (Sunday the 10th) struck me as particularly Presbyterian. Because of copyright concerns I've not pasted the cartoon here but instead have pasted NEW balloons which you may cut out and use to see the denominational aspect of the carton. Have a good week all.


Wednesday, June 6

Cascade's Process

It's on the table…

The Presbytery of the Cascades has officially presented it's process for congregation's considering leaving the PCUSA. I received mine in my presbytery packet today. After making sure there were no major revisions from what I'd already received I post it for the enlightenment, edification and whatever else you may glean from it.

(sorry for any formatting glitches)




The mission of the Presbytery of the Cascades is to serve God by nurturing, supporting, and celebrating our common ministries. Even in times of conflict, we seek to uphold one another, respecting each other’s integrity as we perceive the Biblical basis and Christian credibility of varied perspectives. It is the Presbytery’s desire to encourage peace and unity while minimizing confrontation between and among its congregations and members as we seek together to find and represent the will of Christ. In all that we do, it is our prayer that they will know we are Christians by our love.

These policies relate to congregations which may seek to withdraw from the Presbytery of the Cascades and the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.). The Presbytery desires to create a gracious process that is simple in administration. Our first goal is reconciliation. A conversation team will meet with the session and congregation to discern the situation and provide a nurturing, healing presence. If efforts to reconcile differences seem unsuccessful, the conversation team may recommend that the Presbytery Council form a resolution team to work with the congregation, either to continue the relationship with the Presbytery or to prepare a mutually satisfactory separation. If there is to be a separation, the resolution team will join the congregation in addressing such practical matters as pastor relationships to Presbytery, pensions, assets and liabilities including debt liquidation, and corporate status. When necessary, the resolution team may recommend that the Presbytery appoint an administrative commission to act for the Presbytery in delegated matters that address the specific situation of the congregation. The Presbytery itself is the only body empowered to approve a congregation’s dissolution or withdrawal.

With believers in every time and place, we rejoice that nothing in life or in death can separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.

Conversation Team

When the leadership of the Presbytery becomes aware, either through formal congregational action or through informal contacts with church leaders or members, that a congregation is in serious disagreement with the denomination, visitation will be offered to the congregation of a Conversation Team by the appropriate Committee on Ministry.

The purpose of the Conversation Team will be as follows:

1.To engage either the leaders of the congregation or the congregation as a whole, as circumstances dictate, in a time of prayer and conversation aimed at understanding the conflict and identifying steps toward reconciliation.

2.If the team determines that progress can be made toward reconciliation through continued and constructive dialogue, the team will engage in such dialogue.

3.In its dialogue with the church, the team will share matters for consideration with respect to implications for a church considering leaving the PCUSA and implications for the impact on the status of the Presbyterian minister of such church.

If, after dialogue, unresolved issues and concerns remain, the Committee on Ministry will recommend that Presbytery Council create a Resolution Team to work with the church.

If the offered visit is refused by the leadership of the congregation or by the congregation itself, Presbytery Council will immediately recommend to Presbytery the formation of an Administrative Commission with authority to act for Presbytery in matters delegated to the Administrative Commission.

Resolution Team

1. If the Conversation Team determines that its discourse with the church still leaves open issues and concerns, a Resolution Team established by Presbytery Council shall work with the church to achieve a mutually agreeable resolution.

2. Working in good faith toward a mutually agreeable resolution means that the Resolution Team as a representative of Presbytery and the congregation’s clergy and officers:

  • Are open and honest in all their dealings with each other;
  • Provide all requested relevant information and documents to each other on a timely basis;
  • Commit to protect the rights of the officers and members, if any, of the church who desire that the congregation remain loyal to the PCUSA, or who desire to remain congregants of another PCUSA church; and
  • That the congregation’s clergy and officers refrain from any unauthorized unilateral changes in the way their assets are held or managed.

3. A mutually agreeable resolution may result in clarification or mediation of the church’s connectional relationship to the Presbytery within the limits of the Book of Order and other binding requirements existent throughout the PCUSA and the Presbytery.

Or the mutually agreeable resolution may result in a recommendation to Presbytery that the congregation be separated from the Presbytery, be divided, dissolved, or be transferred to another Reformed denomination within the framework of the applicable Presbyterian requirements with due regard for the rights of and obligations of all interested parties.

Such a resolution shall:

  • Specify how the separation will affect assets, liabilities, including debt liquidations, pension, corporate, and other interests of the parties (including any group within the congregation which wishes to remain within the Presbytery) as well as the processes and procedures for the church to join another Presbytery or a Reformed denomination.
  • Be approved by secret ballot at a duly called congregational meeting where representatives of the Presbytery were present and given permission to speak and at least 50% of the members on the active roll were present and casting ballots.



  • In the historic language found in G-1.0300, it is clear that our form of government respects the right of individual conscience and “the rights of private judgment, in all matters that respect religion, as universal and unalienable.” It is recognized also that Presbyterians may differ in their opinions. In matters of differences of opinion, “a majority shall govern” (G-4.0301e). Dissents and protests and proposals for change are permissible, but defiance and schism are not permitted.
  • If a congregation seeks to leave the PCUSA, it is to be determined by the presbytery if the decision truly and accurately reflects the will of the majority of the members of the congregation and if so, whether there is a “loyal minority” of Presbyterians who do not choose to withdraw.
  • It is clear by the PCUSA Constitution (G-8.0201) that “all property held by or for a particular church ... is held in trust ... for the use and benefit of the Presbyterian Church (U.S.A.)” and an earlier explication of that “trust clause” provision has been affirmed by The Oregon Supreme Court. “Property” is considered to be both real and “personal” property held by a particular church, including church records, financial assets, and intangible assets. The name of a PCUSA congregation may not be continued to be used by a congregation which has withdrawn from the denomination without the permission of a presbytery.
  • A presbytery has authority and responsibility for “the mission and governance of the church throughout its geographical district” (G-11.0103) and has the power “to divide, dismiss, or dissolve churches in consultation with their members” and “to consider and act upon requests from congregations for permission to take the actions regarding real property as described in G-8.000."
  • A presbytery has authority to divide, dismiss, or dissolve a congregation (G-11.0103i). A congregation may be released from the PCUSA to another reformed denomination, but it may not be released to independent status.
  • Practical Considerations:
    • Tax Status: A congregation which ceases to be a PCUSA church is no longer included in the PCUSA’s “group revenue ruling” by which a Presbyterian congregation is granted 501(c)(3) non-profit tax-exempt status. Such status is required not only for exemption from tax payments to state and federal authorities and the filing of certain tax forms, but is required also for real estate tax exemption, for U. S. Postal Service bulk mailing permits, for grant-making foundations, and for the receipt of many forms of grants and bequests. Gifts to a church which does not have valid tax-exempt status may not be claimed as charitable contributions. Legal and other services will be needed to secure new 501(c)(3) status.
    • Corporate Status: A congregation which ceases to be a PCUSA church will need to revise its corporate status (which may require the filing of new articles of incorporation and bylaws).
    • Insurance: Since many PCUSA congregations have property and liability insurance which is available only to PCUSA congregations, new insurance provisions will need to be made, and it is an unwise congregation which is uninsured for even a minute.



  • A Presbyterian minister of the PCUSA is under the ecclesiastical authority of a presbytery. A Presbyterian minister’s ecclesiastical status is to be determined and approved by a presbytery and may not be “independent” of a presbytery.
  • A Presbyterian minister’s employment by a particular church may be only by a three-way contractual agreement between a minister, a congregation, and a presbytery (in cases of called-and-installed pastoral relationships) or between a minister, a session, and a presbytery (in cases of temporary pastoral relationships). The concurrence of all three bodies is required for an official pastoral relationship to exist.
  • While it is permissible for a Presbyterian minister to be granted permission to labor outside the bounds of the Presbytery or beyond the jurisdiction of the church, as in temporary service in another denomination (G-11.0411), it is made specific that “when a minister of this church continues or accepts membership of any character in another denomination, except as provided in G-11.0411, the presbytery shall record the fact, delete the minister’s name from the roll, and take such other action of an administrative character as may be required by the Constitution” (G-11.0416).
  • If a Presbyterian minister, “after consultation and notice, persists in a work disapproved by the governing body having jurisdiction, the governing body may presume that the officer has renounced the jurisdiction of this church” (G-6.0502), and the governing body may remove the minister from the roll of the governing body. The 2004 General Assembly adopted specific procedures regarding the implementation of the provisions of G-6.0502, but it is a presbytery alone which has authority in matters regarding the membership of ministers.
  • Practical Considerations:
  • [A minister considering departure from the PCUSA is advised to consult, with the advice of counsel encouraged, the provisions of the Board of Pensions plan (which are available at and to consult also with legal and tax professionals regarding the special tax issues which relate to clergypersons.]
    • Pension: A Presbyterian minister’s pension benefits are “vested,” and a member (or survivor of a member) of the Presbyterian Board of Pensions’ plan has a non-forfeitable right to receive a retirement pension based on contributions and increases once pension credits are vested.
    • Medical Insurance/Death-and-Disability: The Board of Pensions’ major medical plan and death-and-disability provisions require active participation in the plan, and participation is not available to ministers who are not on the roll of a presbytery. A member may be eligible to purchase continuation of medical benefits for a limited duration. Life (death) insurance and disability insurance policies are available commercially at varying rates.
    • Tax Issues: A Presbyterian minister is entitled to certain income-tax benefits and provisions due to his/her ecclesiastical status in the PCUSA. An “independent” minister may or may not be entitled to such benefits and provisions.
    • Insurance: A minister no longer serving a PCUSA congregation or no longer on the roll of the PCUSA should make arrangements for professional liability insurance coverage if continuing to engage in professional ministry.

Saturday, May 26

A great pic…unfortunately

Just got to post this link to PowerBlog because this car from Berkely would fit well here in Portland… LOL




Friday, May 4

Interesting quiz

Mined Splatterings linked to a quiz about matching yourself to a theologian. Interesting mix for myself in that it is equal between Calvin and Edwards.


Monday, April 9

Home at Last [revised]

My bad, a lot of homework and not enough caffeine will be my excuse. Apparently, I forgot to mention that the reason for the article on Johnny Hart was that he died the day before Easter. One of the reports is here.



Home at Last

Among the more faithful expressions of the faith is Johnny Hart whose ministry in this last decade or so has upset, comforted, enlightened and blessed many. He drew comics. BC and The Wizard of Id were his tools.

"BC" was a powerful expression of Johnny's faith in Christ. Our politically correct and fearful Oregonian pulled the comic years ago because of its Christian content. I got to read him via the net and Washingtonpost [kudos to them].

Without shame or apology, I'll admit that I've printed out his comics and put them on bulletin boards at our church. His Christmas, Palm Sunday, and Easter comics were usually able to summarize the truth in a quick easy manner.

Yesterday, for some reason, I didn't even look at his comic. Instead, during our cantata I thought, "Dang, I was going to get that and put it on the door."

God bless you Mr. Hart. You've done good. You've blessed the Body of Christ. Peace to your wife and daughters. I pray for more like you to take up the pen.



Saturday, April 7

Putting things in perspective

I can't help but notice that our branch of Christ's body isn't the only one with "issues". Check out the recent article from the UK Independent. Brings a whole new meaning to gutter talk.

Have a memorable Easter



Wednesday, March 21

A Great Story Unfolding

Ok! Here is a blog to start reading.

Go to "A Matter of Gravity" part 1 and get ready to be sucked into a great story not unlike Stephen King.



Saturday, March 10

Missional mindset

Becoming Missional has a couple of great vids to watch. Even if you're not into hip hop watch them both. It's worth the 10 minutes or less. Another blog from the same author with extremely easy and practical advice for dealing with homeless people.


Wednesday, March 7

Missional Memorial Service

This past week I did a memorial service for a woman who was a member of our church. She wasn't regular in her attendance due to work, family and work responsibilities but she kept up to date on items via the web and email.

What was an eye-opening revelation for me was that of the 90 or so people in attendance only a handful, mostly deacons who were helping out in the kitchen were from the church. Those who came were people whose lives she had touched in significant ways. A college professor, her mail carrier, neighbors and those who were students with her each had stories to share about the way she lived life. One young man recounted how he was one of her grandchildren, not biologically but in a deeper and more meaningful way. Others met her through her ministry in the area of crisis support and care.

The testimonies about her didn't surprise me. What I wondered is how many non-church members will come to my memorial service? How many lives, outside of the walls of the church have I touched significantly enough that they would take time out to come to my funeral. Who will attend your service? I haven't thought through all the ways that I can begin to take steps to form significant relationships with people outside of the church but I know I need too. One place to begin is to know the local baristas and something about their lives outside of their coffee shop. In this area what ways have worked for you?



Monday, February 19

You’re a Victim; I’m a Victim; Everyone’s a Victim…

Did you read about the man below?

“A man who was fired by IBM for visiting an adult chat room at work is suing the company for $5 million, claiming he is an Internet addict who deserves treatment and sympathy rather than dismissal.

James Pacenza, 58, of Montgomery, says he visits chat rooms to treat traumatic stress incurred in 1969 when he saw his best friend killed during an Army patrol in Vietnam.

In papers filed in federal court in White Plains, Pacenza said the stress caused him to become "a sex addict, and with the development of the Internet, an Internet addict." He claimed protection under the American with Disabilities Act.[1]

Just the latest in the “it’s not my fault, I can’t help myself, this is how God made me, nobody understands the trouble I’ve seen” approach to excusing the inexcusable. Before you get upset I am in favor of EEOC for the most part. I believe strongly in the ADA provisions but even these can get a bit wearisome when common sense is removed from the equation.

What has brought us to a place in our nation (I’m not going to speak for other cultures) in which we can so cavalierly persuade ourselves and others that we’re not to blame for things that we do? Parents don’t discipline enough. Parents spank their children. Schools are too tough on those who have problems concentrating. Schools don’t seek to engage the student as an equal part of the learning environment and program. It’s the police, men, women, gays, straights, religious right, liberals, Repubolcrats or Democans[2] that did this to me.

Are you part of this great cloud of victims? Maybe you feel you should hire an attorney and get in line with the others. Maybe you believe that in your case you really are the victim. Or maybe, just maybe it is time we got up, took responsibility for our own mess and went about solving the problem. I know it’s insensitive, so 19th century and probably just what the doctor ordered for a sick culture.



[1] accessed February 19, 2007

[2] The two parties are really just alike. It’s all about money and power/power and money. People rarely count except every other year. LOL

Sunday, February 11

orlando and home again

Back in church today, somewhat recovered from a flight that had 3 stops before Portland, I have had a little time to reflect on the convocation and what happened. I’ll echo what I wrote when I referenced Toby’s blog. It was a God thing.

Here was a group of people who spoke the same language; shared the same values and walked the walk of following Christ. We were in a group in which we didn’t have to wonder what someone meant when they used language. We were in a place where the word Father could be used to refer to God without rolled eyes and gasps about being insensitive. We were sisters and brothers who understood that our actions were going to be church-shattering.

What happens from here? That’s the question each congregation will have to ask themselves. It’s not enough that a pastor would like to affiliate with the EPC. It isn’t enough that a session is tired of the “stuff” out of Louisville and would like to be in a place where they own their building and aren’t embarrassed to be Presbyterian. God must lead each pastor, session, and congregation if this is to remain a God thing. And that is a scary prospect for some.

Here are few observation and lessons that I gleaned and which I imagine other congregations are having to think through as well.

  • If we don’t want to be missional let’s just forget it and stay where we are. We can die in the PCUSA just as quickly as in the EPC.

I, for one, don’t want to change from one outmoded, anachronistic bureaucracy for another outmoded, anachronistic bureaucracy. Each follower of Jesus who decides to take this step will have to be committed to doing the work of Jesus in the world around them.

  • The guiding principle when it comes to the property and assets are to behave as Jesus would.

That means we will be as wise as serpents and as harmless as doves. We can’t afford a $50,000 court battle but if God sees fit to remove the property from us so be it.

  • Some people won’t leave.

It may be they can’t worship apart from the building. There may be too many memories contained in that place. A few will see nothing wrong with the direction of the congregation. Others may just want to come to church for an hour on Sunday, go home and call it good.

  • God is good.

We know that God will bless where he leads. If it is to faithfully stay and fight for the purification of the PCUSA as the puritans did in England so be it. If it is to set off for a land that God will have to show, like our separatist pilgrim ancestors, so be it.

A last thought in this overly long post. It seems good to keep Dr. Sameh’s reminder from Acts in mind. "Stretch out your hand with healing power; may miraculous signs and wonders be done through the name of your holy servant Jesus.” (Acts 4:30)


Friday, February 9

A God thing

I am not going to repeat the good report of Toby Brown. Read his blog. I'll merely add that the last two days have been a God thing pure and simple



Thursday, February 1

Generational Differences

WOW, and I'm not talking about the Vista release, this was on January 23, 2007 and shows the difference between the next/current generations. Nothing on the site says anything about the sample size but a little searching on the Pew website and I found out it's based on 1501 interviews done September and early October last year.

Quick thoughts.

1. If this is valid then the parents of Gen Next have done as bad a job as other parents in instilling the care for others into their children. I am the father of three Gen Next'ers and I apologize for my role in any of these findings.

2. If this is valid then it's probably a good thing the Democrats won so that the state can take care of people because it seems the people don't give a rip about others.

3. If this is valid the vast majority of those in Gen Next are going to be sadly disappointed with their life. That means the opportunity to reach them for Christ will happen when the disillusionment sets in, I hope.

4. Both of these seem to go a long way in explaining a "commercial" mindset to seeking a congregation to attend. It may also explain part of the lack of joining that seems prevalent in these groups.

5. I would love to see this over against the "busters" and "boomers" or whatever the latest name is for my age.

May God preserve our nation and His Church through this time.
Here's the link to the report, HTML andPDF.