Tuesday, October 14, 2008

New Address for Blog

For those of you who have followed this blog... I'm moving it over to http://livingthequestions.wordpress.com.

The blog is moving because I have now made the transition from lay to clergy and am no longer at Trinity (they amazingly let me graduate...).  So please make the change with me and follow me over to WordPress.

So, I'll begin posting again now after a hiatus and look forward to hearing your comments on my running commentary on life and faith as it continues at livingthequestions.wordpress.com.

Thursday, August 07, 2008


For those of you wondering where the 2008 Presidential Candidates fall on the God-O-Meter, here's Belief.net's take on it:


Sunday, July 13, 2008

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Right and Wrong

I've had a lot of conversations lately with people who are struggling with what is right and what is wrong. Quite a few have primarily been wrestling with what is right particularly given their Christian faith. In essence they want to know what is a sin and what is not.

So I've been thinking (as somebody who is always looking for the right answer, looking to do what is right), sins are not purely checklists of things which are wrong. Sin is purely relational and I don't think we often get that (myself included). It isn't about following a list of things set out in the Bible as sins (although many are... but more about that later) and knowing that we are right and good... it's about being in relationship with one another, right relationship with one another.

Now, let's go back back to those items listed in the Bible as sins, as I said above, many are still sins. So now thinking about the relational framework, let's take adultery as an example. A woman cheats on her husband, commits adultery with another man (or even another woman). The problem is not only that it is adultery, but that she is in a relationship that is supposed to be characterized by trust and love (her relationship with her spouse or partner) and she has gone outside of that relationship, sharing a level of intimacy with another person. That breaks the trust with her spouse/partner and creates a huge rift in their relationship. But you may be saying that is only if he finds out... not true. The adulteress act causes her to constantly have her guard up around him, hoping he doesn't find out. She is not able to fully be with him, fully giving of himself, because she's always trying to make sure her act isn't found. It is entirely relational.

Every law, every command from God is not about setting up rules for us to follow but really about making sure we have the best possible relationships with one another. If I lie, if I cheat, if I steal... those cause relational problems with those around me. But, I will also argue that it isn't that cut and dry.

Let's say that I lie to a robber, telling them that there isn't anybody else in the apartment when a friend is down the hall. Maybe an extreme case, but if the robber takes my word and leaves, I have potentially protected my friend. But if sin is relational, it wasn't wrong for me to lie because I protected a friend from potential harm (especially from a robber).

While I'm sure that's a pretty easy case when most would agree, I think that as the cases get more and more difficult, we really want to do the right thing but aren't sure how to do that. So I argue that we begin to think more for ourselves, think more about relationships and what relationships are going to be hurt, how they are going to be hurt, if we take particular actions. I believe that if we begin to do that rather than following a list of "approved" sins, then we will be far better off. But perhaps I'm just in my own little world... =)

Monday, June 23, 2008

New TV

The last piece of my big graduation gift arrived today... The 40 inch flat screen pictured here. =)

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Birthday Adventures Part Three (Final)

So after returning home from the cemetery (see the previous two posts), I didn't do much for two hours but watch TV and try to take a birthday nap (that didn't happen, I was too highly caffinated after Starbucks).

Then in the early evening I went with several good friends to TGI Fridays for dinner where they sang to me, brought me ice cream and gave me red balloons (which I proudly wore the rest of the night).

After a small weather mishap, we were able to go play mini-golf... My friends were kind enough to let me win on my birthday (but I will note that Jes King had the most hole-in-ones... And Ladona had the highest score... John gave up at several points... And Andrea was our rock).

Following golf, we hit a few rounds in the cages (what kind of cages? you may ask.. Well, we all wore helmets... Padded... Hopefully not with lice).

And with that I am now off for some quality sleep before churchy church tomorrow... Which I think my brother, Kevin, should attend... Yes, You Kevin!!!

Birthday Adventures Part Two

More from the day...

After leaving Starbucks, we proceeded to Trinity Lutheran Cemetery (not to be confused with Trinity Lutheran Seminary). On the way there, we were behing a manure truck which smelled horrible, and then raced a Porsche (who do you think won?).

Upon arrival at the cemetery, we took pictures while Jes' tummy groaned. After seeing the dead people (most were named Rausch), we left in search of a bathroom. In good Christian love, the kind people at the Lighthouse Christian Bookstore of Marysville allowed us to use their potty. I looked around and decided very quickly that 95% of everything in there was cheese.. Not provolone, but swiss.

Now we are on our way back home... More adventure updates forthcoming.

Birthday Adventures Part One

It is now 2:30 PM on my 26th birthday... Here's what I've been doing...

The day began while finishing watching the movie Lars and the Real Girl with Jes and Ladona.

I then took a short sleep beginning at 2:00 AM until 8:00 AM. Then we went to the Grill and Skillet for brunch, I had french toast, hashbrowns, and coffee.

Then we went shopping at the JC Penny Outlet Store (where I bought nothing) and the Eddie Bauer Warehouse Store (where I bought green stuff).

Now I have Starbucks and we're on our way to a cemetery... More later.

Saturday, June 07, 2008


Since finishing classes and then a vacation in Florida, I really haven't had a whole lot to do (waiting on a job...). I've done a fair amount of reading, but I must admit that I've also watched a whole lot of TV. I'm pretty used to watching whichever shows I've recorded due to the limited amount of time I had in my schedule. But now that I have almost an unlimited amount of time, I've been flipping channels and that means I've also come across a fair amount of junky TV.

In the last couple of days I've flipped through Vh1 several times and often noticed that they've been doing a Bachelor marathon. So I've been watching every now and again and then tonight, with nothing else to do, I watched a few episodes.

Now, I recognize that the Bachelor has been on for many years and it's not a new phenomenon, but I've been intrigued by the whole process. For those of you not familiar with the show, the premise is that there is a bachelor who starts with 25 single women and through a process of dating and interaction selects one woman from the group to whom he proposes. But as I've watched, I've wondered how this is actually supposed to work. Part of marriage is about being able to be intimately vulnerable with your spouse and I cannot imagine anybody being able to do that fully with cameras recording every move. I will note that this is probably why no bachelor (that I know of) has every actually married the woman he's proposed to at the end of the show (the only one that has worked was actually a bachelorette, Trista and the man she met on the show, Ryan).

But beyond the ability (or lack thereof) to be vulnerable, one comment by a woman on tonight's episode struck me. In a one-on-one conversation with the bachelor, following a question of whether she was really interested, this woman told him that he was everything she wanted in a man. She didn't say that she wanted him, instead said that she wanted a projection that he fulfilled. I think there is a distinct difference between the two - the difference between wanting to be with one particular person as opposed to an idea that one particular person happens to fulfill.

I think in the end that's when real relationships happen (both romantic and friendship), when we want to be with the person that's in front of us, not when we want to be with a projection that person happens to fulfill. Because it is in the moment when we want to be with that person that we no longer view them as an object that fits something we want. It is then that we are truly in relationship, recognizing that no other person can take their place even if they have similar qualities.

So why do the relationships on the Bachelor never seem to work out? I think there are many reasons, but this may be one of them. But what about the rest of us who enter into relationship without cameras and the rest of the nation watching? Are we doing so because of something the person represents or because we truly want to be with that particular person?

Just some thoughts... =)