Showing posts from 2006

Portland is Strange

You gotta love Portland . It's a town of such contrasts and inconsistencies it makes you smile; just before you puke. Check out the news over Schumacher Furs & Outerwear's leaving downtown Portland . Their reason is the continual protest [see photo] against their product. The owner is quoted as saying, "Our clientele wants us to move. They do not feel safe coming to our store or to downtown," he says. "I do not feel safe coming in my own store." Now maybe it is just my strange way of looking at things but I wonder if I'd see the same sort of protests on NW Lovejoy would be tolerated by the great open-minded, free-thinking people of Portland . A decade ago, when protestors stood outside the Abortion Clinic with enlarged photos of aborted children they were shooed back by the courts. In downtown Portland would be customers have to force their way through screaming activists. Those who protest the death of innocents are labeled as terrorists. Consi

When Momma's Not Happy; Ain't Nobody Happy

Matthew 1:3 is an often-overlooked verse in the large story of Jesus' birth. "When Herod the king heard this, he was disturbed and troubled, and the whole of Jerusalem with him." But Jerusalem wasn't the only city troubled by this Jesus. Bethlehem is troubled. Soldiers murdered the boys in that town as a way to get rid of Jesus. Nazareth is troubled by Jesus as he returns and grows. Mark records how the citizens "took offence at him" and how "He could not do any miracles there, except lay his hands on a few sick people and heal them." Mark 6:3,5 NIV . In Luke's account of Jesus' teaching, they were so upset they ran him out of town in an attempt to kill him. Let's jump head 2000 years and you'll see that today Jesus still disturbs and troubles many towns and cities around our world. Most of us in Oregon remember the Eugene Fire Department's removal of Christmas trees. This year we saw, Sea-Tac Airport take upsetting an

Happy Birthday Mr. Lewis

Borrowing a page from my Classical Presbyterian brother let me add my birthday wishes to Dr. Lewis for his continued influence on those who would follow Jesus. Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday to you, Happy Birthday dear Clive.... Happy Birthday to you. Peace Alan

Borat & "the least of these"

So some of us have seen the advertisements for the movie, Borat. It seems to be mildly funny and probably crude. Well here's another take on it that is well worth the reading from Classical Presbyterian. One movie you probably should plan to see is The Nativity Story which was written, for the movie, by a Portland author Mike Rich who also wrote Radio and Finding Forrester . It comes out December 1. Peace, Alan

God sighting and Ads by Google

I ran across a news release about the Jesus' Seminar's traveling dog-and-pony-show that is taking place in Tennessee. I've read some of John Shuck's blogs*, he's the pastor at First Presbyterian of Elizabethton and I'd judge him as one who probably has a question or two about the existence of God let alone Jesus' divinity. What caught my attention was the side bar of "Ads by Google". I was immediately drawn to the fact that I could apply most of them to the press release in the article. Then I had to wonder if God wasn't trying to say something. You'll find the actual screen shot as separate post "God and Ads by Google. Kingsport Foreclosures —probably a service the Presbyterian Church may consider when Jesus Seminar type theology [I use that word very loosely] gains full sway. Kingsport Tn Job —the source of Shuck's next job such as school counselor, office manager or at-large Presbyterian spiritualist. Bristol Tennessee —Don'
Teachable Moments and Cats... Kenton has a couple of things of interest to our community . First is a group of homeless people who, from time-to-time, camp behind our building. It is dark, pretty quiet and nobody usually hassles them. Our neighbors are concerned, rightly so, since they too often leave than desirable items behind. Our Session is concerned due to liability issues and such. Secondly , We have Jasper. Jasper loves us. Jasper loves the homeless people, Jasper loves everyone along Chatham street . Jasper is a cat. Here’s how the two relate. As Preacher it usually falls to me to move any homeless folks along off of the church grounds. October 6, early in the morning, I started to hear some familiar voices outside the office window. Being on the second floor you can’t see where they usually sleep so I went to the door that overlooks the back and opened it to find four people. From the spread out blanket, pillows, the malt liquor cans on the ground and in the hands of two

Sacramento Presbyter

Bravery in Sacramento Sacramento Presbytery took an unprecedented step toward reclaiming the Protestant faith in the actions taken this past Saturday. At a called Presbytery meeting five hours of very difficult dicussion was held on four very difficult and important provisions. All of them passed. They were: To promote the peace, unity, and purity of our presbytery, we resolve that the Sacramento Presbytery holds that all candidates for ordination, installation, and/or membership in this Presbytery shall comply with all standards for ordination set forth in the Constitution of the (PCUSA) (G-1.0500), or shall be ineligible for ordination, installation, and/or membership. To promote the peace, unity, and purity of our presbytery, we resolve that the Sacramento Presbytery shall not receive into membership, nor recognize as a member, anyone who has been ordained or installed under a scruple (that is taking exception to any of the ordination standards as set forth in the Constitution of th
I'm back from Hawai'i , part fun and part sadness, as we left our youngest over there to attend the University of Hawai'i at Manoa. Go Warriors!! Part of me is still on Hawai'i time and part of me is focused on a wedding this weekend; Kenton's Fellowship Camp next weekend and a trip to England at the end of the month for the same wedding celebration. Yet the rest of the world won't hold still so here's where my thinking has been lately. First off if you haven't read what has been going on with Kirk of the Hills in Tulsa you need to check out Tom's Blog . This is the one from Thursday so to get the whole story you'll have to read a few before as well. Their discussion with Eastern Oklahoma Presbytery is far from over I am certain but nonetheless they took a major step with their move to disaffiliate themselves with the PCUSA. My take on this is that I am sorry th

Smoking #2 Are you kidding me?

Oh my goodness…. Do you know what brought down President Nixon? It was his failure to admit that he had interfered with the investigation. Do you know what made President Clinton a joke? It was the fact that everyone one knew he was lying and he just wouldn't own up to it. Now we have Davis Perkins explanation as to why the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation trying to explain publishing Griffen's book by saying, " the arguments supporting those claims merit careful consideration by serious-minded Christians and Americans concerned with truth and the meaning of their faith ." Did Perkins even read the " Venus Project " website in which Griffen explains where he got his interesting view of 9/11? And so more than 1/3rd of Americans polled believed that " federal officials assisted in the 9/11 terrorist attacks or took no action to stop them " that out of 1,010 people polled . I imagine a third of the people believe we never landed on the moon; that

FIle under "What are they smoking?"

Not having written for a while I was intrigued with a couple of items which passed through the web pipeline and across my desk. The first is Presbyterian Publishing Corporation. Push the "About us" button and you'll read the following: Building on the Reformed tradition, the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation seeks to glorify God by contributing to the spiritual and intellectual vitality of Christ's church. To that end, PPC publishes resources that advance religious scholarship, stimulate conversation about moral values, and inspire faithful living. " I would suggest they amend it to read "Ignoring our Reformed tradition, the Presbyterian Publishing Corporation seeks to undermine the spiritual and intellectual vitality of Christ's church. To that end, PPC publishes resources that advance speculative (at best) religious scholarship, push aside traditional moral values, and seek to derail any sense of faithfulness in following Jesus." Need an example

Tulsa Time

Tomorrow morning early… did I say early? We, I and two elders, head off to the warm country of Oklahoma to try to discern what is to happen within the Presbyterian Church. Kenton's Session endorsed the New Wineskins proposal a couple of months ago. We've read material, prayed about what is going on and chose to step out in faith and we believe obedience. What will happen? I honestly don't have a clue. What I hope happens is that God shows up and those of us who are there are captured by God's vision for His Holiness and what it means to follow His Son.  In fact, that's what I expect to happen.   What will that mean for our little spot in the kingdom here in North Portland?  I honestly don't have a clue. I imagine we will be challenged by the Holy Spirit to meet the needs of the world around us and preach Christ. DUH!! I also hope that those of us there will be able to express what God has done in and with us to those who weren't able to be there. What do YOU

Listen up Ladies

Listen up Ladies … Check out the Chicago Sun-Times article and then look for the information that you'll see around Kenton for your own Women of Faith conference. More information may be obtained from Pat Wheeler. The dates for Portland are October 13-14.

Learning from the MLP

WOW. I never thought I'd get so much from a MLP* sermon but as Bear Ride reminisced about returning to her family homestead I couldn't help but notice how her observations gave to me a real theological treat as well. In her discussion about Butterfield she mentions a store called "Butterfield Bible and Bait". She wrote, " Right here, in Butterfield, I knew that somewhere between the Bibles and the bait - a truly peculiar interpretation of the Gospel was taking shape: half a verse here and half a verse there – and pretty soon, voila! They had knit themselves a nice little theology and a dandy set of life’s priorities. …Might not actually bear any semblance to the core values of our faith or even a peripheral theme therein…but there you have it… ever-so-carefully gleaned from random portions of scripture: life’s priorities brought to you by those who 'Ran the Store': fishing and capitalism ." Thank you Ms. Ride because that's exactly how I view th

General Assembly Info.

Just a quick note to those with broadband and an interest in the upcoming General Assembly. The plenary sessions can be viewed with streaming video. Here's the link to the GA Docket and to a general page with the notification on the video. Pray for the meeting, watch the meeting and then pray some more.

Sometimes We Get it Right

If you'd read any of my blogs or know me you understand that I have some issues with the Presbyterian Church (USA) as a denomination. Admit the short-comings there are some things we do well and one of them is disaster relief. I was pleased to see the article about how our OGHS [One Great Hour of Sharing] money is already on the ground helping those who have suffered through the earthquake in Indonesia.  I hope you read it and keep those who grieve, who have survived and those who are helping in your prayers. Alan

It just might work...

Hope you'll read these two stories. The first is Berkeley's great article on the word games being played in preparation for General Assembly. The second, is about a New York court case concerning adultery. Now here's the great news for former pastor Tewell. He can simply claim that it's not against the Book of Order because he doesn't consider his seeking after other women a sin. Heck, I know half a dozen former pastors, many I considered good friends, who could get back in the denomination in a heartbeat if the ACC definition stands. Perhaps we should patent this idea and see if we can't sell it to our Roman Catholic brothers who are facing a whole bunch of grief over ordained staff who have preyed on others. It's a thought…

Teaching Tolerance in Portland: the Progressive style...

Ten thousand plus websites come up when you search "teaching tolerance" and Portland. Let Google search for "teach tolerance" and Portland and it drops to 1,300. Either way there are resources galore for those who are so inclined. But apparently they were lost on one poor progressive soul in front of Cleveland High School this May. Those Gideons who were at Cleveland were on the public sidewalk offering students a copy of the New Testament as they left school for the day. As usual, some took it and others didn't. Into this story enters our would-be progressive hero/savior. As I was told it , a truck pulled up with a man in it. He parked waiting for his children. My Gideon friend told me that he thought the guy could be trouble but he just went on with his distribution. After a while the man got out of his truck and went into the school to pick up his kids. He returned with the children, walking past the Gideon who offered a copy of the scripture to his children.

Immigration Reform for Believers

Immigration is a "hot button" issue today. Followers of Jesus are torn by the "christians" armed and waiting to report illegal's crossing the boarder to those who place water along their paths in order to keep them alive. The issue of amnesty, work visas and the like is a long, complicated and not really all that exciting a topic. However the Huntsville Times , ' Doug Mendenhall has a great vision on the topic. I urge you to take a read.

Playing with Legos

This is one of those links I could be filed in a lot of places. But it's here because it seems to hold some fun and promise for us right now. Enjoy! So this Easter you have made a promise to read the bible more. Good for you! But, you don't like to read. In fact, the last thing you've read cover-to-cover was a comic book. Well have I got the place for you. Check out and you'll discover just how creative some people can be with telling the story of Scripture. Who knows you may start searching for your own bricks and start working the story of how you met Jesus. Peace Red Cleric
Di coding Di Vinci On May 19 th the church will come under the influence and questions of those who have fallen head-long into the DaVinci Code trap. I've read the book. It's not bad but it's not great and it certainly isn't anywhere close to historically accurate. With this in mind bookmark this page because Ben Witherington III has done a great job in confronting the myths about Scriptures which Dan Brown has foisted on an unaware public. What should the church do with the book and movie? Perhaps like me you'll wait till it comes out on DVD and then watch it. Red Cleric
It's sort of like Goldfinger... but without the smokescreen Remember the cool Aston Martin Bond drove in that 1964 classic. I know this 11 year-old wanted a car with all the cool gadgets and weaponry "Q" could stuff into it. If you believe the UCC (United Church of Christ) "Q" has become a fundy, bringing his technological innovation to those churches not as progressive as themselves. The UCC have created a church as make-believe and transparently phony as rear-screen projection in the 1960's. "The Ad the Networks don't want you to see" is how they are promoting it on their site . Having downloaded and watched it I considered my response, when I read Jim Berkley's comments who summed up my thoughts for me. So read his blog and understand that all I can add to it is "ditto."

Angela Davis all over again

So the Redwoods Presbytery has decided that Rev. [I use the title loosely] Spahr acted in accord with her conscience when she participated in two marriages involving gay couples. That's fantastic!* Let me get this straight…if a pastor feels that in hers/his conscience it's okay to do something that is contrary to the Book of Order and the Confession? Gee whiz, that's great news. Not only can liberals ordain gays and boycott McDonald's, but the evangelical's can refuse to ordain women or baptize infants. Isn't it wonderful how our denomination has become more and more like those we regard as less enlightened than us, like the Southern Baptist? (Just kidding Mike, and Cork). I think it's fair to say that this decision, if it stands and it probably will, has paved the way for pastoral choices that go far beyond anything ever thought of. I hope you read the comment by Redwoods Presbytery's attorney, "You have a situation where any minister anywhere can
Lent and the Word of God I thought it wonderful to read this blurb from Pope Benedict the XVI. It is a statement that all followers of Jesus can get understand and say "Amen!" too. Sadly there will be more people who "give up" something for Lent than who "add to" their spiritual health. "Speaking to a crowd of about 12,000 people in St. Peter's Square on Ash Wednesday, the Holy Father added to his prepared text with an extemporaneous meditation on the significance of Lent. He said that the Christian's life must be nourished by God's Word, which is always alive and true. During this penitential season, he recommended that the faithful rely on the Gospel to "reinforce your conscience with the truth," and thus "reject the lies that poison mankind and give rise to all evils."[1] Don't let Lent overwhelm you with all the usual stuff of springtime. Instead make time to prepare your heart to meet Christ in new and en
What's Good for the Goose is Good for the Gander...or is it? What's good for the goose is good for the gander... or is it? Here's a suggestion that would never fly, probably should never be tried, might get myself in hot water with an entire world religion but here goes. What if the US decided to replicate the religious freedom of it staunch ally in our War on Terrorism , Saudi Arabia ? What would happen in this fine nation of ours? What would happen to our tradition and lately, IMHO, recent religion of 'tolerance beyond sense'? The first thing that would happen is that 1209 mosques would close their doors. Why, because those in Saudi Arabia who are not Muslims aren't allowed to have public places of worship. A report from the US Department of State in 2005 (the link to the site is below) says, " There exist no synagogues or churches in the country, and, while there have been no specific reports of physical violence against, or harassment of J
Did you ever wonder about.. Why we drive on parkways and park on driveways? Why the third hand on the watch called the second hand? Why does "fat chance" and "slim chance" mean the same thing? Why are they called "stands" when they are made for sitting? Why is it called "after dark" when it really is "after light"? How come abbreviated is such a long word? Which is easier, to say to the paralytic, ‘Your sins are forgiven,’ or to say, ‘Stand up and take your mat and walk’?" The bible study tonight will start looking at Mark 2. It’s a three part passage with verses 1-12 being about a man who is brought to Jesus by four others guys and Jesus heals him after telling him he is forgiven. The second section (vv. 13-17) deals with a tax-collector, sort of a Roman casual laborer, named Levi. He is called by Jesus