Showing posts from December, 2008

My Eyes Have Seen Your Salvation

I was six years old when I said the “Sinner’s Prayer” and became what some people might call a Christian. I remember that it was on a Sunday night after we’d returned home from church. I’d just heard for what was probably the hundredth time that unless I asked Jesus “to come into my heart” that I was destined to burn for all eternity in a lake of fire. I always tried to imagine what a lake of fire looked like exactly. It was difficult, because the only experience I’d ever had with lakes was to swim in them. I couldn’t figure out how in the world I would ever be able to swim in a lake of fire without getting burned to a crisp. Someone had told me that it wasn’t actually me that would be burning, but my immortal soul---forever and ever. This is just an aside, but isn’t that a wonderful thing to share with a kid? I wasn’t allowed to watch “Creature Feature,” a program that aired old 1930’s and 40’s horror movies like “The Wolfman,” and “Abbot and Costello Meet Dracula.” I guess

Advent: The Musical

The picture you see to your right was taken by me whilst sitting on the balcony of the 1st Baptist Church of Orlando.  I was sitting with a group from my church who had journeyed together to see FBCO's spectacular "Singing Christmas Tree" concert.  If you look closely you can see the words "Imagine" projected on to the massive curtains on the stage.  That was the theme for the show..."Imagine."  Before I go any further, I have to say that I enjoyed parts of the show. But here's the thing...  the fact that I could leave FBCO and say, "Man, I enjoyed the show," was a bit disconcerting.  I's a church, right?  Ah well, maybe I am just being a theological elitist.  What's a few dance numbers among believers, right?   I have to tell you, the show was professional.  It had dancers, singers, elaborate sets, props, and costumes---not to mention purloined Broadway tunes (they used a song from the original Willy Wonka movie).  M

The Lesson of James

T his is a picture of James and I that was taken by my wife. She insisted on taking it. We are standing in the library of my 125 year-old church--a library that also doubles as a huge reception/fellowship space. When this picture was taken, my church had just held its annual Christmas concert, which is only the biggest event of our entire year. We had over 530 gaily dressed folk at the concert, which was a record, apparently. There was a huge reception after the concert with four long tables filled with food, cookies, pastries, goodies, punch, eggnog and other assorted holiday fare.   James had been standing outside the library door, afraid to come inside and wanting to talk to me. Quite a few folks ignored him or walked around him until someone came inside and told me he wanted to see me. Here's the thing, James is a homeless man, who lives on the screened-in porch next to my office. The reason he is living on my office porch is complicated and almost entirely Mark's fault.

Thoughts On A Presbytery Meeting

The day after the winter meeting of the Central Florida Presbytery, the aspect of the Presbyterian Church (USA) of which I happen to be a member, I find myself a bit more sober than usual, and a bit conflicted. Honestly, I am not surprised that my presbytery voted to uphold the current language in our constitution, the Book of Order, which ostensibly prohibits homosexuals (and a few other folk, as well) from ordination as a deacon, elder or minister of the Word and Sacrament in the Presbyterian Church (USA).  My presbytery has overwhelmingly voted down similar attempts to change the ordination standards over the past few years, and the margin has not changed a great deal.   While I did not expect the outcome of the vote to be any different than in the past, I did expect some dialogue and a bit more debate.  Apparently, the presbytery staff anticipated that there would be as well.  There were three microphones set up in the meeting space.  The "blue" microphone was for thos