Pray This Prayer With Me: The Dead or Dying Time

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For some of us it’s the dead or dying time, which is the time when a lot of our loved ones are either dead or dying.

It’s difficult.  It’s depressing.  It’s agonizing.

We are grateful for life, but understand if we would have drawn up life differently than you created it to be.

There’s not much else to say or pray.



Hey Republican Conservative Christians, Where Are Your Scissors? (Think Thomas Jefferson)

Hey Republican Christians, where are your scissors?

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If you listen to Republican Christians you would think all the founding fathers think just like them.  Makes you wonder if they ever heard of Thomas Jefferson.

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I’m in Washington, D.C. to officiate at a wedding and I’m finding myself particularly grateful for Thomas Jefferson.   Jefferson, unlike today’s Republican Christians, did not claim to follow or believe all the Bible.  In fact, Jefferson, in his senior years, took a razor and cut out parts of the gospels which he didn’t agree.  OK, he didn’t use scissors.  You got me.  But, Jefferson did use the razor generously.

Jefferson’s condensed Bible excluded all miracles by Jesus and most mentions of the supernatural, including sections of the four gospels which contain the Resurrection and passages indicating Jesus was divine.

thomas jefferson Bible

Doesn’t sound anything at all like today’s conservative Christian Republicans!

There are things in the Bible which need to be ignored.  I don’t recommend using scissors or a razor to cut those texts out, but I do think it’s extremely important to be honest about the Bible.  And honesty requires admitting that some parts of the Bible are reprehensible and not worthy of our belief or practice.   What I find disturbing in the Bible is not the same as Jefferson’s list but like Jefferson I recognize the health of the world is connected to world religions critiquing their scripture.

The Resignation of John Boehner Scares Me as Much as a Liberal Rev Probably Scares Some People

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The resignation of John Boehner scares me.  The resignation of John Boehner scares me because it indicates just how much power and influence conservative Republicans have.  Conservative Republicans really scare me.   Conservative Republicans probably scare me as much as a liberal Rev scares conservative Republicans.

For the record, I am a liberal Christian and a liberal independent.

For the record, I would prefer not to be liberal.  Being liberal is not in my self interest.  And I would prefer not to be Christian.  Being Christian is not in my self interest.  Personally, Jesus makes me very uncomfortable.  I wish some conservative Christian Republicans could convince me that being Christian requires me to be a conservative Republican.

I don’t think Jesus was a moderate.

I don’t think any person or any group has all the truth but if I’m going to err I feel like I should err on the side of compassion.

What I Learned From Women Who Dumped Me


Just got back from a wonderful vacation to the Grand Tetons, Yellowstone and Glacier National Parks.  Wow!  The United States has incredible national parks.

Nothing like good scenery to make a great vacation.  Throw in some good books and you’ve got an off the chart vacation.

While enjoying the Teton sunset and sunrise, Yellowstone’s bison and geysers, and Glacier’s moose and bears, I read A Load of Hooey by Bob Odenkirk who is a legend in the comedy-writing world, winning Emmys and acclaim for his work on Saturday Night Live, Mr. Show with Bob and David, and many other seminal TV shows.  It was a laugh out loud book.  I love books that make me laugh out loud.

So I decided to do a Google search to find out if Odenkirk had written other books.  As it turns out, he has written a chapter in perhaps the funniest book I’ve ever read, What I’ve Learned From Women Who Dumped Me, edited by Ben Karlin, the Emmy award-winning former executive producer of The Daily Show and The Colbert Report.  For the book, Karlin  assembled a stellar lineup of men who have one thing in common: all have been dumped…and are willing to share their pain and the lessons learned.  Stephen Colbert writes perhaps the funniest chapter in the very funny book.  Don’t miss Colbert’s contribution.

Like most people, I have been dumped.  Very few people make it through life without getting dumped.  There are some people who marry their childhood sweethearts but those stories are few and far between.  The majority of us get rejected. Actually, “dumped” is a stronger word and a better description of what happened.

My first dump was a doozy.  I’m in the 11th grade and I go to high school and find my girlfriend is no longer my girlfriend.  She is walking down the hallway hand in hand with another boy.  Actually, she is walking down the hallway hand in hand with a cousin of mine.  Dumped for a cousin!  That’s a particularly bad way to get dumped.

I should have learned from the dumping but I didn’t.  What do I go and do?  I date another Moravian girl.  Back to back Moravian girls. Not good.  Not smart.

I date Moravian #2 girl for a pretty long time.  Then late one afternoon my mother sends me to the grocery store, located near a movie theatre, and who walks out of the movie theatre but my Moravian girlfriend, walking hand in hand with a guy, walking hand in hand with a Moravian guy.  I had a date with Moravian girl #2 in just a few hours and she is two-timing me.  And I was stupid enough to still go out with her that night.  Well, in retrospect, I wouldn’t call it a date.  More an opportunity to let off steam and tell her I was dumping her after she dumped me.

It’s not fun getting dumped.  But what we forget is most of us who have been dumped have also dumped others.

The best thing about getting dumped is it freed us up to meet the love of our life.  So there’s a very happy ending, at least for just about everybody.

The second best thing about getting dumped are the lessons we learned.  In my case, I finally learned the hard way to avoid Moravian girls.

Perhaps you are not familiar with Moravian girls and the Moravian Church. The Moravian Church is one of the oldest Protestant  denominations in the world, with its heritage dating back to the Bohemian Reformation in the fifteenth century.

John Wesley was impressed with the Moravians. In late 1735, Wesley was on a ship to America, having been invited to serve as a pastor to British colonists in Savannah, Georgia. When the weather went sour, the ship was in serious trouble. Wesley noticed a group of German Moravians, who were on their way to preach to American Indians, were not afraid at all. In fact, throughout the storm, they sang calmly. Impressive!

Other people have been impressed with the Moravians due to their Easter sunrise services, with marches through their cemeteries to the sound of triumphant trumpets and brass playing.

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Still others enjoy their Love Feasts, with Moravian buns and coffee served.

Wake Forest holds its annual Christmas Lovefeast in Wait Chapel on Sunday, December 6, 2009. The Lovefeast is a Moravian tradition that has been held at Wake Forest for over 40 years.

Catch a Love Feast during Advent and you will be blessed. Even better, stop in at The Tavern at Old Salem (Winston-Salem, North Carolina) and taste some delicious double crusted chicken pie. To die for.

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Be careful, though. If you have a son, warn him about the Moravian girls. Any double crusted chicken pie or love feast with them will end with a dump.