Moving Up, Moving On

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May 252017

Today is the final day for both of my kids at their current school. One finishes middle school, the other elementary school, so they are not just moving up, they are also moving on. I remember what that was like. It was an odd mixture of joy and grief. It feels good to work your way up to the point where you can move on, but it’s sad to say goodbye. It’s perfectly normal to feel both joy and grief. Healthy, even.

Which struck me as odd, because normally we think of grief as a bad thing. When’s the last time you heard someone say “Man, I’m grieving, and it’s good”? I’ve certainly never heard that. But I realized that sometimes, grief really is good. Without grief, there can be no progress. Without grief, my children never grow, never mature. Without grief, they don’t get to experience the joys of graduation, marriage, having a family of their own. They’d just end up sitting my basement doing, well, I don’t know what. But I know they wouldn’t be living. They’d just be existing, and that’s not what I want for them. Not at all.

No, I want my kids to live, and that means growing, and that means grieving too. That means grief isn’t just good, it’s vital. Because without grief, there can be no progress, and that would be the worst thing of all.

Logan. Wow.

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Mar 102017

I just got home from seeing Logan. As in, came home, at lunch, and sat down to type this. There are a lot of reviews that talk about why great Logan is so good. Feel free to read them. I just want to tell you how good it is.

It was amazing.

And when I say “amazing,” I mean it in the true sense of the word. It’s not amazing like the other Marvel movies, which are amazing because of the special effects, or because Iron Man is cute and funny. No, this one was amazing because of how emotionally powerful it was. This film packed such a wonderful emotional wallop that it left my whole family drained. I’m serious. None of us could get up when it was over. We had to sit and take some time to let it all sink. We couldn’t even speak until we got to the parking lot. It was amazing because I’m amazed that I could care so much about these characters, be so moved by this story, and feel so deeply throughout the course of the film.

Logan is not always easy to watch. It is gory, it is profane, and it shows heroes doing some awful things. But there is a beauty and a truth to this film that makes it deeper than any Marvel film yet. This is much more than a superhero movie. Films that are this moving don’t come around very often. Don’t skip it.

Big Game Challenge: Beat Hunger! And New England!

 Pastor  Comments Off on Big Game Challenge: Beat Hunger! And New England!
Feb 012017

You might know this already, but there’s a football game coming up on Sunday, and it’s a BIG one. It’s the Super Bowl, and our Atlanta Falcons are in it! Yay! They are playing the New England Patriots, and in the spirit of Christian love and the big game, Lutherans in my area are challenging the good folks in New England to a contest over something far more important than football: hunger.  That’s right, we’re in a contest with them to end hunger, and I don’t care if you’re Lutheran, atheist, football fan or you only watch the commercials. In this contest, everyone wins, because we’re feeding people…though I must admit I would like to raise more money than them.

Here’s what you do: follow this link to “Team Atlanta” and donate. That’s it. There’s a fun video on the Team Atlanta page and more information if you want it, but the big thing is to get on there and donate. Let’s help end hunger and beat New England!



 Pastor  Comments Off on Call
Jan 052017

People often ask about how pastors become pastors.  The answer is that we receive a call from God. The next question, of course, is “How does that work?” I’ve been asked that more times than I can count, but I have never felt like I’ve given a satisfactory answer. I’ve told my call story, and that seems to satisfy people at the time, but I’ve never been able to convey to anyone what it was actually like.

Fortunately, Disney has done it for me.

I’m not usually a fan of Disney movies, but Moana is an exception, and that’s because it is exceptional. It’s a very good movie, and without a doubt my favorite Disney movie (the new Star Wars movies do not count). Part of why I love Moana is that it is very much about call. Moana has a call, and her call reminds me very much of my own. Watch this clip, because it explains call better than anything I could ever say or write.

Take a look at these lyrics:

I’ve been standing at the edge of the water
‘Long as I can remember, never really knowing why
I wish I could be the perfect daughter
But I come back to the water, no matter how hard I try

Every turn I take, every trail I track
Every path I make, every road leads back
To the place I know, where I can not go
Though I long to be

See the line where the sky meets the sea it calls me
And no one knows, how far it goes
If the wind in my sail on the sea stays behind me
One day I’ll know, if I go there’s just no telling how far I’ll go

That’s exactly what it’s like to receive a call from God. You just keep hearing it, over and over, and it’s a voice you can’t ignore. You just can’t. That’s what the ocean does to Moana, and that was what God did to me. I just kept hearing God calling, over and over, and I just had to go be a pastor. I just had to. That’s how call works.

Now if you haven’t already, go see Moana. You’ll be glad you did.