Pastors' Blog

Sep 21, 2017 - Amy Norton

“May the Force be with you,” the Jedi says to his companion. “And also with you,” all my Catholic friends replied. I didn’t get the joke.

Growing up a low-church Protestant in a majority-Catholic town, I didn’t know what the “Passing of the Peace” was. Eventually I went to Mass with one of my friends and learned about this element of the service, and when my own church tried it once (thanks to an interim, I believe), I thought, “huh, we’re trying a Catholic thing today, interesting...

Sep 14, 2017 - Kent French

Earlier this decade, a journalist name Kathryn Schulz wrote an intriguing and engaging book called, Being Wrong: Adventures in the Margin of Error. You can see her 18-minute TED talk here. Her main assumption is that we all mess up, we all make mistakes, we all misinterpret the signs around us. Her argument is that we like being right and that we have...

Sep 06, 2017 - Kent French

For the next several weeks, we will follow a series on the Elements of Worship, holding up and looking at each facet of our worship life and delving more deeply into what each part means. It begins with the practice of welcome.

If you've ever planned a dinner party, you know about all the thought and work that go into really good hospitality: figuring out the guest list, assessing the potential chemistry of the invitees, planning the menu, shopping for the ingredients, timing the meal...

Aug 31, 2017 - Amy Norton

Ever hear of the German term “schadenfreude”? It describes the sense of satisfaction or pleasure many of us feel at hearing of the misfortune of others (particularly of those whom we don’t like). “Well that’s karma for ya,” many of us will say to ourselves. But what about the opposite of schadenfreude? What about the sense of despair we feel when ‘bad people’ go unpunished? When karma seems to be taking the day off?

Most of us are familiar with the verse in Samuel, “'Vengeance is mine...

Aug 24, 2017 - Amy Norton

I remember as a kid loving to participate in my own bedtime story. My mom would start off by introducing the main characters, our two black labs, and then I’d help fill in the plot. Paddy and Casey got into all sorts of adventures, and I really enjoyed helping to tell the story rather than just listen to it.

There’s something unique about storytelling. Most, if not all, stories we tell serve a purpose. Whether it’s to help quiet a child’s mind before sleep, impart historical...

Aug 17, 2017 - Kent French

Imagine if you inherited a great fortune, one that had you financially set for the rest of your life, and yet, you had this gnawing sense of the gross and increasing economic inequality in the world around you?

Chuck Collins has been grappling with these issues for most of his life. At age 26, as an heir to the Oscar Mayer fortune, he gave away his trust fund to foundations and groups that he knew needed funding—organizations working for the environment, peace,...

Aug 10, 2017 - Kent French

A few years back, the well-known Christian preacher and writer Barbara Brown Taylor wrote a book called, An Altar in the World: A Geography of Faith. It’s a gem of a book about what it means to pay attention and find the sacred in our everyday lives, to cultivate our spiritual awareness in all that we do.

It starts with...

Aug 03, 2017 - Kent French

I spent some time around the caves in the Dead Sea region of Israel last week. It's dry and mind-numbingly hot there and definitely feels like the wilderness -- 106 degrees Fahrenheit during the day and 95 at night. It's hard to imagine how I would have fared if there hadn't been running water and a restaurant, not to mention air conditioning and a shaded swimming pool nearby. Although it's a little ways from where Elijah hid out in a cave as he fled the angry King Ahab and Queen Jezebel (...

Jul 26, 2017 - Amy Norton

My mother has the greenest thumb of anyone I’ve ever known. She has nursed many of my (seemingly) dead plants back to health, and delights in planning and tending her backyard garden. I was not blessed with my mother’s talent for gardening, however I can lay claim to at least a pale green thumb; as evidenced by the fact that I’ve managed to keep some of my house plants alive for the last four years and counting.

This year, I decided to try and grow vegetables. “Growing your own food...

Jul 20, 2017 - Amy Norton

There’s a siren outside, the air conditioner is running, I have West Wing re-runs streaming on a background window on my laptop as I work on building a spreadsheet, and my leg is covered in mosquito bites from an ill-advised evening walk along the river. There’s a lot going on. But isn’t there always a lot going on? Every day, every situation, every moment can feel like the culmination of a multitude of sensory input, emotional labor, mental tasks, fires to put out, futures to look toward,...

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