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Showing posts from January, 2013

Who Is This Man? - The Worst First Sermon Ever. Pt.1

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My first sermon was epic.

And when I say "epic," what I really mean is "not epic," but I like to pretend--especially in this moment--that it was epic in the regular sense of the word.

But it wasn't.

I actually cannot for the life of me remember what I preached.  I didn't write it down anywhere, and there are no recordings that exist of the event.

There was a video recording, however, which shall factor into this story momentarily, but that, too, went the way of the dodo at some point.  A fact that I do not lament in the least.

When I preached the aforementioned sermon I was filling the pulpit after the departure of my pastor and mentor, who had served the church for 17 years, three of which I was privileged to experience.  He was a kind and intelligent man, who could read in German, Greek probably Hebrew and of course had a command of English that was fairly impressive.

He read his sermons from a manuscript, though, anchored behind the pulpit---a custo…

Diners, Drive Ins & Dives - Nerd Alert Part 2

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This is the second installment of my review of a few of the Diners, Drive Ins & Dives locations that I have had the chance to visit.

This set of reviews includes another location from Florida (where I live), Georgia and Buffalo, NY.
The app that I have been using to locate all of the "Triple D" sites is created by MapMuse, and it offers great information on each restaurant, directions, photos, and a way to "check off" the locations that you've visited.  You can also "favorite" some of the ones you've visited to keep track of the very special places you'd like to visit again.  If you have a smart phone--you definitely need to download this app so that as you travel, you can always find a great "Triple D" location to visit.

Matthews Cafeteria, Tucker, GA
Season 3 - Episode 11

Matthews Cafeteria is a family owned business that was started in 1955 in Tucker, GA a suburb of Atlanta that is just a "stones throw" from Stone …

Who Is This Man? The Ecstasy & The Agony

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This Sunday is marked on the official church calendar as "Baptism of Our Lord Sunday"---the day that the church universal reflects on the meaning and implications of baptism, and looks to the example of Jesus to figure all of that out.   So, pretty important day.

Which makes the choice of my main Scripture a tad interesting, since I am basically focusing on what happens AFTER Jesus' baptism---an account in Luke chapter 4 where Jesus is led into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil.

I'll get to why I am preaching from that passage instead of the passage before it in just a moment.

Before we do that, however, let's get a little bit of the "story behind the story," so to speak:
15 The people were waiting expectantly and were all wondering in their hearts if John might possibly be the Messiah. 16 John answered them all, “I baptize you with[a] water. But one who is more powerful than I will come, the straps of whose sandals I am not worthy to untie. …

Louie Giglio & The Constantinization of the Left

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I was thrilled to hear that President Obama's inauguration team had invited Louie Giglio to deliver the benediction at Obama's 2nd inauguration.  Giglio is the pastor of Passion City Church in Atlanta, and the founder of the Passion Conferences which attract tens of thousands of students.  Giglio is also a committed activist, driven to stamp out human trafficking around the world.

In addition, Giglio is an evangelical Christian, who happens to be fairly theologically conservative.  Giglio has, however, spent the last 10-15 years devoted to motivating a new generation to follow Christ and do kingdom work in the world.   

His selection spoke to me of at least a symbolic gesture toward evangelical Christians from the Obama administration---a group that holds President Obama in fairly low esteem.  These are the kinds of things that I want to see from the President---reaching out to those who don't agree with him to help heal the divisions in our nation.

Then I heard the ne…

Diners Drive Ins & Dives Nerd Alert - Entry 1

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So here's the thing.  I have other interests other than pastoring and sermonizing although those things usually take up most of my blog.

I thought that for 2013 I would provide you fine folks with some other forms of light reading and do my best to comment on cultural phenomena, literary thingies, artistic stuff and perhaps a movie or music review now and again.


I've watched about two hundred and twelve episodes of the Food Network's perennially awesome show Diners, Drive Ins & Dives hosted by the perennially tattooed and spiky haired chef Guy Fieri (left).

It is, without a doubt, my favorite show that doesn't have zombies, football, car chases or explosions.  Come to think of it, if there was one show that had all of those things---I would probably never leave my man cave.

I haven't had the opportunity to visit all that many of the stops that the estimable Mr. Fieri has visited on the show those of us in the know call "Triple D," but I've bee…

In Pursuit of Edjumication

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I am living in a hotel room this week.

The wallpaper in my hotel room is textured, and patterned to look sort of like bamboo or rattan or something.

It was hung circa 1989, along with the colorful parrot portraits that preside over the two full sized beds in the room.  Said beds are festooned with perhaps the most garish bedspread I have ever seen in my life.

Check that.  I've seen worse.  I'm pretty sure Elvis had one more garish in the Jungle Room at Graceland---I saw a photo once.

The television in the room was state of the art----never.  It's one step lower than the sort of set that I had when I was a kid that had a dial on it to change the channel to one of the three channels (if you didn't count the UHF channels) that were on television.

And I am listening to Taylor Swift.

How did I get here?  When did I begin to settle for this sort of thing?  I am terrified of what this room would look like if I pulled out a portable black light and shown it all around.  Pe…

Who Is This Man (Week 2): The Gift of the Magi

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This Sunday is Epiphany, the official end of the 12 Days of Christmas, and the day before the NCAA football national championship game, and thus the end of the college football bowl season---which in our culture officially ends the holiday season.

Heck, Walgreens is already putting out their Valentine's Day cards, so who am I kidding, right?

Still, in some cultures Epiphany is a bigger deal than Christmas.  And in these cultures the rituals of gift giving are tied to wise men instead of a jolly old elf.  I have to admit, this isn't such a bad idea.

In many Latin American cultures the day is commonly known as Tres Reyes (Three Kings), and is celebrated by children filling their shoes with hay and then leaving them  by their bedroom doors the night before Epiphany in anticipation of receiving gifts on the morning of January 6th.  They hay is for the camels of the legendary Three Kings, of course.

In England the night before Epiphany was called Twelfth Night when the coal fro…