A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Friday, July 30, 2010

Is "Mainline" a Dirty Word?

In my review of Scott Kisker's book, "Mainline or Methodist," I shared this observation:

For Scott, the label "mainline" as in mainline denominations like United Methodists, Presbyterians, and Lutherans, means that we have chosen an established path rather than a revolutionary path of living out our faith. For sure, mainline denominations have too often gone down that lazy status-quo path. However, for me, the label of mainline correctly identifies denominations such as the United Methodist Church as Christian communities that are willing to bring together a variety of points of views (left vs. right, democrat vs. republican, Michigan vs. Ohio State, etc.) and through scripture, reason, experience, and tradition, we can listen and help each other to discern God's voice.

The reason I see "mainline" in a positive way is because of something I saw on CNN today regarding a non-mainline pastor who is calling for all Christians to burn a Koran, Muslim's sacred book on September 11. This pastor claims that the Muslim religion is of the devil and should be stopped. OK, I do believe that the Christian faith is a particular faith that believes that Jesus Christ is the particular means by which we receive forgiveness of sins and eternal life, but that doesn't mean that I need to go out and burn books of a different religion in order to show that my religion is the only way. And to have this be done on September 11 when we remember those who died in the terrorist bombings which included Muslims, is appalling to say the least.
And please read this disclaimer: Not all mainline Christians are tolerant and not all non-mainline Christians are judgemental. However, one of the strengths of mainline Christianity is that it tends to embrace diversity while retaining the historic Christian faith.

Don't get me wrong. I understand the point that Scott Kisker in his book, "Mainline or Methodist" is making. Sometimes we too often use the word, "mainline" to refer to a pro-establishment description of what it means to be a Christian which is not what we find in the Gospels! But what I do like about this term is that it seeks to keep the church from moving into a judgemental, disrespectul, and triumphalist direction that does not honor God and would have us not love our neighbors as ourselves as Jesus taught us to do.

The pastor who wants to burn books on September 11 reminded me what I like the word, "mainline."

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The New Testament Word/Phrase of the Week

The New Testament bible scholar, Dr. Tom Wright, has produced a glossary of New Testament words/phrases that is really helpful for the study of scripture. What I like most about his definition of New Testament words is that he helps us to know what a Jewish person from the 1st century would have understood these words/phrases to mean. Too often, we allow our 21st century world view to get in the way of the original meaning.

Here is the New Testament word/phrase of the week: Justification

God's declaration, from his position as judge of all the world, that someone is in the right, despite universal sin. This declaration will be made on the last day on the basis of an entire life (Romans 2:1-16), but is brought forward into the present on the basis of Jesus' achievement, because sin has been dealt with through his cross (Romans 3:21 - 4:25); the means of this present justification is simply faith. This means, particularly, that Jews and Gentiles alike are full members of the family promise by God to Abraham (Galatians 3; Romans 4).


Monday, July 26, 2010

Post "Christmas in July" Reflections

Here are some of my reflections from the "Christmas in July" worship services which were held yesterday at Lancaster First United Methodist Church in Lancaster, Ohio. The picture with this post is Santa picking up the special Christmas gift from under the tree which ended up being our special offering check to be given toward our conference and district apportionments supporting missions and outreach in our surrounding area and throughout the world.
  • Our church needed a positive boost after a difficult winter/spring season in which we have been faced with some significant financial challenges. While not dismissing the severity of those challenges, many people who attended yesterday sensed joy and hope as a result of our "Christmas in July" fun.
  • It was wonderful to hear during one of our worship services a young child shout out, "Hi Santa!" as Santa made an appearance to help with our special offering announcement.
  • Seeing the church decorated like Christmas and having the large Santa sleigh in the front of the sanctuary was pretty special. It really did feel like Christmas!
  • A staff member told me in between two of the services, "What I like about today is you don't have to go through the long Christmas build-up that you do during the month of December." I agreed!
  • It was nice to get publicity on our event from the local newspaper. We also made it on a radio station.
  • Celebrating "Christmas in July" reminded our congregation that the good news of our faith isn't meant to be confined to one day or season but is meant to be lived out everyday.
  • Of course, the announcement of our special offering amount which will go toward our conference and district apportionments made for a nice moment of celebration during each worship service. Pastor Cheryl, with the help of Santa, opened a Christmas wrapped package that contained a check in the amount of $4,200.
  • By having this special Sunday, we reached a lot of people who wouldn't normally attend church on the last Sunday of July. This is usually a low attendance time of year and we attracted a lot of people to attend from our community. This was our "bring a friend to church" type of Sunday.
  • Partnering with the Lancaster Festival and having their musicians perform in worship was really special.
  • It was really fun to see so many people wear Christmas clothing to worship, including gaudy Christmas ties, Christmas sweaters, and Santa hats!
  • And last but not least, a member gave me a Christmas gift after the last worship service. Guess what it was? Fruit cake!

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Sunday Worship Preview - August 1

August 1 - (8:15 A.M. & 11:00 A.M. Traditional Services & 9:45 A.M. Praise Service) & Wednesday, August 4 (6:30 P.M. Casual Service @ Crossroads, 2095 Fair Avenue)

Sermon - "Martiarchs & Patriarchs - Jacob"

Features - 10th Sunday After Pentecost; Missionary Greetings from Rev. Kristin Markay, Milan Italy; & Holy Communion by Intinction

Scripture - Genesis 25:19-34 & 32:22-31 & John 4:7-15

Theme - Today, we begin a six part sermon sermons on five matriarchs and patriarchs from the Old Testament. We will focus on Jacob, Deborah, David, Jeremiah, Ruth, and Abraham. The bible is like a large family album and by reviewing this album we will be able to see how God was able to use imperfect people to accomplish his purposes. We begin the series by focusing on Jacob, the grandson of Abraham, who needed a powerful dream, a taste of his own medicine, and a wrestling match with God before he finally realized who he was created to be.

Friday, July 23, 2010

"Christmas in July" Prayer - July 25

This Sunday, July 25, Lancaster First United Methodist Church in Lancaster, Ohio will be celebrating "Christmas in July" for our worship services. The purpose of celebrating Christmas in the middle of the summer is to remind ourselves of the good news of the coming of Jesus Christ into the world and to receive a generous special offering which will go toward local and global outreach ministries. Whenever the church celebrates a "Feast Day" such as Christmas, I like to post the corresponding collect (worship prayer.)

While it feels strange for me to do this, here's the Christmas prayer as we prepare to celebrate Christ's birth this Sunday.

Prayer - Christmas
Eternal God, by the birth of Jesus Christ you gave yourself to the world. Grant that, being born in our hearts, he may save us from all our sins, and restore within us the image and likeness of our Creator, to whom be everlasting praise and glory, world without end. Amen.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

The All Important Approach to the Study of Scripture

Scot McKnight has a recent blog article on the topic of the Wesleyan quadrilateral, the Anglican/Wesleyan approach of interpreting and understanding the scriptures. His article reminded me of how important it is for us to utilize this study of scripture approach. Any other approach that doesn't take scripture/tradition/reason/experience seriously can easily lead us into an ill informed interpretation of scripture. But a note of caution here: this approach to the study of scripture requires effort and time, unlike the simplistic approach of "The bible says it, I believe it, that settles it!"

Of the four parts of the quadrilateral, tradition is perhaps the most difficult one to utilize because it requires a well rounded understanding and knowledge base of 2,000 years of how the church has interpreted various scripture passages and theological topics. Or we may cut ourselves short by focusing on only one era of church history such as the Reformation period while neglecting how the church has intepreted the scriptures from other historical periods.

The United Methodist Church offers this definition of the Wesleyan quadrilateral as John Wesley understood it.

Wesleyan Quadrilateral
The phrase which has relatively recently come into use to describe the principal factors that John Wesley believed illuminate the core of the Christian faith for the believer. Wesley did not formulate the succinct statement now commonly referred to as the Wesley Quadrilateral. Building on the Anglican theological tradition, Wesley added a fourth emphasis, experience. The resulting four components or "sides" of the quadrilateral are (1) Scripture, (2) tradition, (3) reason, and (4) experience. For United Methodists, Scripture is considered the primary source and standard for Christian doctrine. Tradition is experience and the witness of development and growth of the faith through the past centuries and in many nations and cultures. Experience is the individual's understanding and appropriating of the faith in the light of his or her own life. Through reason the individual Christian brings to bear on the Christian faith discerning and cogent thought. These four elements taken together bring the individual Christian to a mature and fulfilling understanding of the Christian faith and the required response of worship and service.

Source: A Dictionary for United Methodists, Alan K. Waltz, Copyright 1991, Abingdon Press.

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

The New Testament Word/Phrase of the Week

The New Testament bible scholar, Dr. Tom Wright, has produced a glossary of New Testament words/phrases that is really helpful for the study of scripture. What I like most about his definition of New Testament words is that he helps us to know what a Jewish person from the 1st century would have understood these words/phrases to mean. Too often, we allow our 21st century world view to get in the way of the original meaning.

Here is the New Testament word/phrase of the week: Resurrection

In most biblical thought, human bodies matter and are not merely disposable prisons for the soul. When ancient Israelites wrestled with the goodness and justice of YHWH, the creator, they ultimately came to insist that he must raise the dead (Isaiah 26:19; Daniel 12:2-3) - a suggestion firmly resisted by classical pagan thought. The longed-for return from exile was also spoken of in terms of YHWH raising drying bones to new life (Ezekiel 37:1-14). These ideas were developed in the second-Temple period, not least at times of martyrdom (e.g. II Maccabees 7). Resurrection was not just 'life after death', but a newly embodied life after 'life after death'; those at present dead were either 'asleep', or seen as 'souls', 'angels' or 'spirits', awaiting new embodiment.

The early Christian belief that Jesus had been raised form the dead was not that he had 'gone to heaven', or that he had been 'exalted', or was 'divine'; they believed all those as well, but each could have been expressed without mention of resurrection. Only the bodily resurrection of Jesus explains the rise of the early church, particularly its belief in Jesus' messiahship (which his crucifixion would have called into question). The early Christians believed that they themselves would be raised to a new, transformed bodily life at the time of the Lord's return or parousia (e.g. Philippians 3:20f.).

Monday, July 19, 2010

Finding Ways to Know Our Wesleyan Heritage

When I was a junior at Temple University in Philadelphia, two para-church ministry organizations, Inter-Varsity Fellowship and Campus Crusade for Christ, and a city church, Tenth Presbyterian Church outreach to area college students, had a huge impact on my spiritual growth during college life.

Raised in the United Methodist Church, I was blessed to have pastors, Sunday School teachers, and youth leaders who were able to articulate what United Methodists believe and seek to practice. So when I participated in the para-church organizations as well as a city church campus ministry during college, I was able to see where the United Methodist understanding of the Christian faith was similar as well as different from these campus ministries.

To the para-church ministries credit, for the most part, they sought to be ecumenical, respecting denominational differences, but every once in a while the leadership would say something critical about the practice of infant baptism or traditional/formal worship over against a more spontaneous type of worship (as if spontanaity is more "spiritual" than being structured.) These are just a couple of examples.

Yes, there were times when I felt like I was in the minority as a United Methodist, but thanks to the teachings/example of leaders in my home church, I was able to identity what these differences were which led me to appreciate my Wesleyan heritage while also benefiting from other perspectives through the campus ministries.

Sadly, according to recent studies, many of our United Methodist young people leave their home churches ill equipped to know, let alone appreciate their Wesleyan heritage. So when they encounter other theologies, Christian traditions, religions, or humanistic philosophies, they are often unable to contrast/compare. If someone would decide to leave the United Methodist Church, my deepest hope is that they at least know what they are leaving in terms of Christian theology and practice.

Over the years of pastoral ministry, I have found that people are hungry to know more about our Wesleyan heritage. A good example of this is whenever adults help with confirmation and they often say how they enjoy learning more about our United Methodist history, theology, and practice.

This is why I find this article regarding United Methodist youth very interesting. Here's a small portion of the article.

Losing Wesley

Church experts say some young people are simply growing out of the United Methodist Church.

According to the 2010 State of the Church Report, the median age of the population in the U.S. is 35, but the median age of attendees in the United Methodist Church is 57. And while 13 percent of the U.S. population is between the ages of 18 and 24, the denomination can claim only 5 percent in that age bracket.

Charles Harrison, CEO of the Youthworker Movement—a group launched in 2005 to connect United Methodist youth workers with those in other Wesleyan traditions—believes many churches have not provided consistent Wesleyan leadership. Instead, many youth leaders take kids to events hosted by nondenominational parachurch organizations, where they absorb a reformed, rather than Wesleyan theology.

Mr. Harrison, who is director of Perkins School of Youth Ministry in Dallas, began with his team of academics and ministers in the late 1990s trying to translate Methodism founder John Wesley’s work into youth ministry curriculum. Their question: What would John Wesley be doing if he were the youth minister in any of the churches we serve?

Their research focused on 11-year-olds (who generally are about to enter confirmation class) and twentysomethings who have just graduated from college. The majority of those interviewed were already involved in United Methodist youth groups and campus ministries, yet few were able to articulate who they were in terms of their faith.

“This caused us to start asking questions: Are we even doing the right things in youth group? Or are we even doing the right thing in campus ministry?” said Mr. Harrison. “We’ve got a lot of really great people doing youth ministry, but they don’t have any Wesleyan background, understanding or training.”

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Sunday Worship Preview - July 25

July 25 - (8:15 A.M. & 11:00 A.M. Traditional Services & 9:45 A.M. Praise Service) & Wednesday, July 28 (6:30 P.M. Casual Service @ Crossroads, 2095 Fair Avenue)

Sermon - "The Time Came"

Features - 9th Sunday After Pentecost; Christmas in July; Celebration of Our Christmas in July special offering; & Lancaster Festival Musicians

Scripture - Isaiah 9:2-7 & Luke 2:1-20

Theme - Why on earth are we celebrating Christmas in the heat of the summer? That’s a good question! On this Sunday, we will be singing Christmas carols, hearing the Christmas story from Luke’s Gospel, and enjoying the beautiful Christmas decorations in our sanctuary. But the best part will be when we get to open a very special Christmas present during worship. I wonder what it is.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

The British Open Is Reminding Us of Andrew, the Disciple

Isn't it great that by watching the British Open golf tournament this weekend, we can also grow in our faith?

This past Season of Lent, I preached a series of sermons on "The Crosses of Jesus." One of the crosses we focused on was St. Andrew's cross which is a cross Scotland, the host of this year's British Open uses as their national flag. Below is a portion of that sermon telling us about Andrew and his connection with Scotland and the golf tournament this weekend.

Here’s the brief story about Andrew. His name appears only fourteen times in the New Testament with only one of those references being outside of the four Gospels and that is in the Book of Acts. And of those fourteen references where Andrew’s name appears, three of them are simply where he’s included in a listing with the other twelve disciples.

But whenever Andrew’s name appears outside of those lists, there’s a common thread – he’s always bringing people to meet Jesus. If you remember, it’s Andrew who brought his brother, Simon Peter, to Jesus for the first time.

And it’s Andrew who brings a little boy to Jesus who happens to have five loaves and two fish. And with those five loaves and two fish, Jesus miraculously fed five thousand people with that little bit of food.

It’s Andrew, who with the help of the disciple, Phillip, tells Jesus about some people outside of the Jewish faith who wanted to meet Jesus.

So every time Andrew’s name is mentioned, he is about bringing people to Jesus and that’s why he is primarily known for evangelism. But the particular type of cross that bears his name is not primarily about evangelism, but about his humility.

You will notice that the St. Andrew’s cross is really an “X” shape which is very different from any of the other crosses. Church tradition tells us that following the time of the New Testament period, Andrew was crucified for his faith. And because of his tremendous humility he chose not to be crucified in the same way as Jesus. Instead, he was crucified upside down and that’s why we have this particular shaped cross.

Incidentally, Andrew’s brother, Simon Peter, also chose to be crucified in a similar way, but the shape of St. Peter’s cross is an upside down Latin cross. Both the cross of St. Peter and the cross of St. Andrew are symbols of their example of humility as followers of Jesus Christ.

And if you’re into history, you might be interested in this. Several centuries after Andrew died for his faith, tradition tells us that his relics were brought to Scotland by a missionary which is why St. Andrew is known as the Patron Saint of Scotland.

Even today people continue to make pilgrimages to this location in Scotland that is named after this saint. In fact, many pilgrims will be visiting there this July. These religious pilgrims are also known as golfers. And they will be at St. Andrew’s for this year’s British Open. If you watch the British Open this summer, I want you to think back to this message on St. Andrew’s Cross and how Andrew was known for his humility. Come to think of it, golf is a great way to keep a person humble.

Friday, July 16, 2010

What Question Will You Ask God?

I ran across a Larry King Live clip of an interview he had with Naomi Judd. She asked Larry, "What will be the first question you will want to ask God?"

Larry responds, "Do you have a son?"

In addition to being a very creative and witty answer, Larry King's question he would ask of God, "Do you have a son?" reminds me of the importance of the celebration of Christmas.
Christmas answers this question through Joseph who was willing to undergo the shame and ridicule of people who believed that Mary had sexual relations with someone other than Joseph. And through the shepherds who encountered angels who told them, "To you is born in the city of David, a Savior." And to the Gospel writers, Luke and Matthew who were willing to tell the virgin birth story at the risk of being misunderstood by Jewish readers who would have known about the pagan world who had similar stories of heroes conceived without a human father.

Here at Lancaster First UMC in Lancaster, Ohio, we will be celebrating "Christmas in July" on Sunday, July 25, not just because it will be fun to sing Christmas carols and put up Christmas decorations in the middle of summer, but to remind ourselves and to announce to our community that God does have a son, Jesus Christ.

O come let us adore him.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

The New Testament Word/Phrase of the Week

The New Testament bible scholar, Dr. Tom Wright, has produced a glossary of New Testament words/phrases that is really helpful for the study of scripture. What I like most about his definition of New Testament words is that he helps us to know what a Jewish person from the 1st century would have understood these words/phrases to mean. Too often, we allow our 21st century world view to get in the way of the original meaning.

Here is the New Testament word/phrase of the week: Life, Soul, Spirit

"Ancient people held many different views about what made human beings the special creatures they are. Some, including many Jews, believed that to be complete, humans needed bodies as well as inner selves. Others, including many influenced by the philosophy of Plato (fourth century B.C.), believed that the important part of a human was the 'soul' (Gk: psyche), which at death would be happily freed from its bodily prison. Confusingly for us, the same word 'psyche' is often used in the New Testament within a Jewish framework where it clearly means 'life' or 'true self', without implying a body/soul dualism that devalues the body. Human inwardness of experience and understanding can also be referred to as 'spirit'."

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Stewardship Reflections - Getting Ready for "Christmas in July"

Over the past two Sundays here at Lancaster First UMC, we have been focusing on how our denominational apportionment money is being used to bring transformation to our community and world in the name of Jesus Christ. The reason for this focus is due to our month long "Christmas in July" special offering which will go toward our apportionments at both the district and conference levels. On Sunday, July 25, during our "Christmas in July" worship celebration, we will be announcing our special offering total. It will be a very special day! Below is the article.
Leading Ideas is a free bi-weekly newsletter offered by the Lewis Center for Church Leadership at Wesley Theological Seminary. It is an excellent source of support and ideas. The March 31 edition featured an article by Cynthia Woolever that explores the question, "Why People Give." Here are ten reasons that emerge from a recent U.S. Congregational Survey.
"The most important is gratitude. About half said they give to the congregation because they feel a sense of gratitude for God's love and goodness. (49% said this is a major influence on giving decisions.) More than one in three worshipers say they give to support God's work in the world. Giving out of a sense of duty was the third most important influence. It motivated the giving of about one in three worshipers. The fourth most important influence rests on the church's teaching that the Bible instructs believers to support their congregation. One in four worshipers described this as a major influence. Finally, the last major influence in the top five is a sense of obligation to support the work of their local congregation."

"The remaining five factors rated by worshipers are less important in their motivations for giving. Hearing about specific needs was rated sixth (23%). The seventh most influential factor is a sense of gratitude for help that the worshiper and his or her family receive from their involvement; about one in five worshipers said this was a major influence. Very few worshipers rated the last two factors as major influences on congregational giving the congregation's or leader's urging to give and possible tax benefits

July 4th Sermon - "Sow What?"

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Sunday Worship Preview - July 18

July 18 - (8:15 A.M. & 11:00 A.M. Traditional Services & 9:45 A.M. Praise Service) & Wednesday, July 21 (6:30 P.M. Casual Service @ Crossroads, 2095 Fair Avenue)

Sermon - "Distracted By Many Things"

Features - 8th Sunday After Pentecost & Lay Hospital Visitation Team Commissioning

Scripture - Amos 8:1-12 & Luke 10:38-42

Theme - We live in a busy world with many distractions. It’s getting harder and harder to find time to cultivate a life of prayer, devotion, and obedience to Jesus Christ. By looking at the story of Jesus’ visit with the sisters, Mary and Martha, Luke shows us how to keep “the main thing the main thing.”

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The New Testament Word/Phrase of the Week

The New Testament bible scholar, Dr. Tom Wright, has produced a glossary of New Testament words/phrases that is really helpful for the study of scripture. What I like most about his definition of New Testament words is that he helps us to know what a Jewish person from the 1st century would have understood these words/phrases to mean. Too often, we allow our 21st century world view to get in the way of the original meaning.

Here is the New Testament word/phrase of the week: Heaven

Heaven is God's dimension of the created order (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 115:16; Matthew 6:9), whereas 'earth' is the world of space, time, and matter that we know. 'Heaven' thus sometimes stands, reverentially, for 'God' (as in Matthew's regular 'kingdom of heaven'). Normally hidden from human sight, heaven is occasionally revealed or unveiled so that people can see God's dimension of ordinary life (e.g. II Kings 6:17; Revelation 1:4-5). Heaven in the New Testament is thus not usually seen as the place where God's people go after death; at the end, the New Jerusalem descends from heaven to earth, joining the two dimensions for ever. 'Entering the kingdom of heaven' does not mean 'going to heaven after death', but belonging in the present to the people who steer their earthly course by the standards and purposes of heaven (cf. the Lord's Prayer: 'on earth as in heaven', Matthew 6:10), and who are assured of membership in the age to come.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Summer Reading - Finding Faith Connections

Summer is a time that many of us grab or download a good book to read. One Christian leader claims that pastors should spend at least thirty minutes everyday reading. A friend of mine who's a pastor recently commented that he wants to read non-religious books this summer to help separate his church work from his personal life. While I appreciate the need to separate church life from personal life, good books in general tend to touch on spiritual truths even if they aren't technically considered religious books.

I recently completed reading "The Art of Racing in the Rain" which touches on a lot of Christian/religious topics such as faith, life after death questions, and hope.

Presently, I'm reading a book by Scott Peck entitled, "A World Waiting to Be Born" which has a lot of connecting points with Christianity. It was wonderful to go to the park yesterday, sit on a bench in the shade, and read.

As we read books this summer, let's see how our faith is connected with what we are reading. It's amazing how thirty minutes can go by quickly.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Sunday Worship Preview - July 11

July 11 - (8:15 A.M. & 11:00 A.M. Traditional Services & 9:45 A.M. Praise Service) NOTE: Due to Vacation Bible School at our Crossroads facility, there will be no worship service on July 14.

Sermon - "Poured Out: Ministry With the Poor"

Features - 7th Sunday After Pentecost & Youth Mission Trips Commissioning (9:45)

Scripture - II Samuel 23:13-17 & Luke 7:36-50

Theme - We continue to prepare for our July 25 “Christmas In July” special offering, by welcoming our guest speaker, Rev. Beth Weisbrod who serves as the Director of Community Ministries of our Capitol Area South District. Beth will share with us how our denominational apportionment money at both the district and the conference levels are building bridges with the poor and transforming our communities and world for Jesus Christ.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Independence Day Prayer

Almighty God, you rule all the peoples of the earth. Inspire the minds of all women and men to whom you have committed the responsibility of government and leadership in the nations of the world. Give to them the vision of truth and justice, that by their counsel all nations and peoples may work together. Give to the people of our country zeal for justice and strength of forbearance, that we may use our liberty in accordance with your gracious will. We pray all these things through Jesus Christ. Amen.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Which Is the True Independence Day?

I posted this on July 2nd last year as well.

Which date do you think is the true Independence Day?

The contestants are...

July 2 - The day when the Continental Congress voted to declare complete independence from British rule.

July 4 - The day when the formal wording of the declaration was approved. (The signing didn't happen until August.)

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Kagan's Pending Nomination & Col. Tom Moe

Col. Tom Moe, a member of my church, First UMC in Lancaster, Ohio, testified today in the pending nomination of Elana Kagan to the Supreme Court. Captured in North Vietnam in January 1968, Tom was released in 1973. Two years later he earned a master's degree from Notre Dame, where he eventually served as professor of aerospace studies and commander of the Air Force ROTC program. He retired from the Air Force in fall 1995.

Regardless of the position you may have regarding Elana Kagan's nomination, watch this brief video of Tom Moe's comments today at the hearings in Washington.

June 27th Sermon - "Puzzling Parables: The Laborers in the Vineyard"