About Me

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I LOVE God, I have been married for 5 years to a wonderful woman, I am a recent college graduate of Lakeland college with a degree in Religious Studies,I have currently foregone going to Seminary, but feel called to work with teens and young adults and do so at my local church, Vineyard CC, in Grafton, WI.

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Friday, May 27, 2011

I just wanted to Share a Poem

My wife and I happen to be moving. While I was packing stuff up I found a journal entry that I ripped out of a journal that I decided to give my wife. The entry was about how I felt about my call to ministry and the other changes that were going on in my life. Sometimes when we look back, even if it is only a couple of years, you can see how your thoughts have changed, stayed the same, or been re-enforced through that time. At the end of the entry I wrote a poem and I happen to really like it! I like it so much I feel like sharing it. I really hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

hide and Found
I have found LOVE once,
I have found LOVE twice,
                                                                                                         My Wife, Sarah
I have found LOVE three times,
                                                                                                          My Family and community
I have finally found LOVE in myself
                                                                                              before - when all I did was love myself
There was no JOY
                                                                                               For - I was alone!

-Peace and God's many Blessings upon you

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

the OUtcast, the Mistfit, the Marginalized, and the Broken = Punk

So, I was having trouble coming up with what to blog about the other day, as a result of not being used to taking all of my random thoughts and putting them into one coherent piece impactful enough for your consumption. What I did was make a list of topic ideas that I have been toying around with, but have not written about to help with the creative process. Although I have plenty of ideas that I cannot wait to write about, there have been somethings going on in the news that I cannot avoid writing about, even if they have been touched on by a million other bloggers (an over-exaggeration I am sure).

As a huge supporter of the LGBT community, I cannot avoid writing about the attacks on the our GLBT brothers and sisters as of late. If you watch the news, are from the mid-west, and are a Christian there are at least three issues that are note worthy. In West Bend, WI the local high school GSA has been denied official organizational standing by the school board. For more information on their fight: http://www.jsonline.com/news/education/121738394.html Likewise, recently, Sojourners magazine declined to run an add by a pro-homosexuality Christian organization named "Believe out Loud." YOu can check out this link for the response from Sojourners. http://blog.sojo.net/2011/05/09/a-statement-on-sojourners-mission-and-lgbtq-issues/ If you would like to see the add that they passed up, you can view it here. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P0buh-1quVs&feature=youtube_gdata_player Finally, Uganda is pursuing an onslaught of homophobic legislation. This legislation is being pursued in the name of God and in a genocidal fashion, making penalties for homosexual offenders gravely severe, up to the point of death. For more information please read here. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uganda_Anti-Homosexuality_Bill

I look at these issues and wonder to myself, why? Why do we continue to ignore the fact that we do more harm then good by doing things like this? Why do we tip toe around issues that should be confronted? In this day and age, we would never stand for racism being committed in our schools, so why is it ok to deny these children the right to a safe school because they were born differently or support those born differently? Just a note, I am aware that racism still exists, but my point is that we, as a society, are not tolerant of it and crimes committed in the name of racism are punished much more sever then if they were committed for other reasons. We need to stand up for our LGBT brothers and sisters, not push them down or to the side just to avoid angering the less tolerant.

The Punk community is filled with outcasts, misfits, marginalized, and broken people who are just looking for a home and people to understand them and fight for them. Interestingly enough, if you read the New Testament, particularly the words of Jesus, you will find that his ministry calls us to stand by just those people. Take for instance the Beatitudes.

1 And seeing the multitudes, aHe went up on a mountain, and when He was seated His disciples came to Him. 2 Then He opened His mouth and btaught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,
For they shall be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,
For fthey shall inherit the 1earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
For they shall be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,
For they shall obtain mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,
For they shall see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,
For they shall be called sons of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake,
For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Luke 5:1 - 12 (TNKJV)

These words of Jesus call for us to stand by just those people. In other words, when you include and love our GLBT community, you are doing the work of God. When you stand by them, when they are being discriminated against, you are doing the work of God. Our brothers and sisters were created this way and are tossed to the side, treated like second class citizens, and even killed because of that fact. This means the punk community acts more in the way of Jesus then some churches do, if held up to this standard. So, why can these normally secular group of people follow the way of Christ more then Christ's bride?

As a punk Christian, although they truly are not mutually exclusive, I feel doubly compelled to stand up for my neighbor and love them and welcome them into God's family, or stand by them when they are hurting. I encourage you to do the same. Take a stand. Speak up to your church leaders and remind them of what their call is and that you truly feel that being born LGBT does not exclude you from God's love or service of the church. Write a letter to your politicians urging them to stand up for our LGBT brothers and sisters both locally and globally! We have the numbers, http://www.deseretnews.com/article/700137150/Gallup-Poll-Majority-of-Americans-support-gay-marriage.html , shows that the majority of Americans believe that same-sex marriage should be allowed. So why are we not pushing for this recognition within our church walls, the place where the outcast should first be welcomed and loved?
I write this, not to anger, but because I love my neighbor and I cannot sit idly by and watch our church communities continue to push my loved ones to the side. In my understanding of all of Jesus' teachings the commandment to Love your neighbor as yourself trumps anything else that may be written by anyone else in the Bible.

In peace and Love, God's blessings upon you!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

That was an unlikely place to find an image of God's love . . . but it was

    As the title suggests we can find images of God's love in the strangest of places. This should really not be that much of a surprise to us Christians, after all our whole faith system stems from the central belief that God took human form and allowed others to crucify that human form (Jesus of Nazareth, just so there is no confusion) and through that death, death itself was conquered.
    This may seem, to some, like a morbid, vengeful  way to demonstrate love, but to me this is a beautiful act and one that offers us the opportunity to live our lives free of stigma and shame. If we look at it through the lens of Jesus as God incarnate, God is not sacrificing God's son, but God's self. God is making the decision for God's self, not for someone else. It is this image that we can find in the most amazing places. For instance, in an episode of "Criminal Minds."
    In the first season of "Criminal Minds" there is an episode called "Ride the Lightning." In this episode the BAU is presented with the task of interviewing a husband and wife cereal killer team to determine if there are anymore bodies berried undiscovered, after a 13th body is found a couple of days before their execution. The wife was only convicted of one murder, their son. As the episode plays out you discover that the woman, who is initially seen as a heartless killer, is in actuality a loving mother who offered herself up, so her child can live blameless and free from his father's crimes. By admitting to her son's murder and dying in the electric chair her son is able to be adopted by a different family and is reborn as a new person through her sacrifice. To add to the otherwise blatant imagery I am presenting to you, the members of the BAU, the eternal element of good in the show, discover the truth, that she is blameless and should not be put to death, must choose between her life and the life of her child. A decision that is nearly impossible to make ends with her execution.
    This mother's sacrifice of herself calls us to ask what we would do for our children. Could we go to our death innocent of any crime, just so others may live free from any corruption that would be caste upon them, as a result of others actions, and at no fault of their own?
    Jesus life, ministry, death, and resurrection offer us that same clean slate. Allow me to reiterate, we are offered a gift. We are offered love, forgiveness, and grace unconditionally and all we have to do is accept it. When we accept it, we get to use it, like when we get an iPod for a present. These are active things not inactive and should not be put on a shelf. So,we not only have to choose to open it, but then we must choose to use it. The Easter story is not just a soul thing, it is a life thing. This is not only seen in how easily it can be translated through fiction into a "real" life situation, but it is also seen in the knowledge that Jesus calls us to continue his ministry by using the love, forgiveness, and grace offered by God. This is a gift offered to ALL regardless of gender, sexual orientation, race, or nationality. God works in the strangest of ways and with all walks of life!
    Jesus demonstrated how hard it is to use this gift, but we are not expected to walk it perfectly like he did. We are allowed to mess up and when we do God is waiting for us with open arms. All we have to do is pull the forgiveness off of the shelf and use it. I thank God every day for these gifts because free will is a bitch, full of pitfalls and questionable choices. I for one, know that I have made a multitude of wrong choices, but also know that God loves me unconditionally and I know this through Jesus life, ministry, death, and resurrection.

As always, God's blessings and peace be with you.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Just an introduction to my thoughts


   I thought I would make my first entry short and sweet by introducing my thoughts a little more. One of the first things you might be wondering is why I said Punk in a subsidiary of Christianity. Well the answer is easy, the whole premise to punk music, lifestyle, and other eccentricities is a call out to the status quo that there are changes that need to be made and things that need to be said that aren't. This may be a rather simplistic explanation of the punk culture but as we continue this journey a expanded definition of this culture will be illustrated through my ideas and visions for the future. This relates to Christianity, how? When Jesus lived his words were just as radical as the words and ideas of the punk culture of now. Jesus and his disciples were nomads walking from city to city trading teachings, healing, and miracles for food and places to stay. Again, if you are aware of the punk lifestyle you will now of the traveling that is done and the connections that are made through the love of the music and the spread of a message.
   I see part of my call to ministry to reach out to the outcast, just as Jesus did. While this may sound like something you have heard before, I do truly mean these words. The Church should be a place that never closes. It should be a shelter for those who are downtrodden and pushed to the margins of society, ignored and bullied! The Church should not discriminate, it should be color blind, it should have no gender preference, and no sexual orientation preference! Jesus loved everyone and spread that message where he could and I am called to do the same.
    I recently saw a video where two punk kids were interviewed by Enoch magazine, http://www.dailymotion.com/video/x8ab3h_punk-rock-vs-the-church_shortfilms. They were asked about faith, the church, and being punk. One of the most startling things to me is that they mentioned how the Church closed its doors to them and did not offer them a place to stay when they went to a new town. All I can say is what are we doing? As a punk (hair, tattoos, piercings, and all) I know the stigma that would be offered to them as they pass through some church doors. I call out to all churches and say that is high and by time that we actually open our doors to the outcast just as Jesus showed love to the outcast, demonstrating the kingdom of Heaven to all those around him.
     These things are the things that I know the Church can and should offer. Likewise, I hope to have a hand in bringing on changes like these. With these final words I would like to thank you for reading my introduction and let you know that I look forward to sharing my future thoughts with you. Peace and God's blessings upon you my brothers and sisters.