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Wednesday, March 14, 2018


" Let your word be ‘Yes, Yes’ or ‘No, No’; anything more than this comes from the evil one"
~ Jesus

"Be impeccable with your word. Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean." ~ Don Miguel Ruiz

The word and concept of "integrity" comes from the latin word "integer" which means "intact." Integrity is the same regardless of perspective. Without placing any moral or ethical value on integrity it simply means "what you see is what you get."

Common understandings of integrity include moral and ethical values like honesty, dependability, trustworthiness, etc. However, someone could theoretically have integrity in dishonesty and shiftlessness as well. If a scoundrel is truly a scoundrel, they have integrity.

The problem with labeling someone else's integrity is that we never know another person's inner life and intent. However, one way to assume intent is by consistency. If a person is consistent in their words and actions this gives us a glimpse at their integrity.  As Jesus said, we will know them "by their fruit."

The only integrity we can ever truly know and affect is our own. Are my words and actions true to who I really am? Do I act from my true identity and core values?  What is the fruit of my life?

Do I have integrity?

Wednesday, March 7, 2018

The Slippery Slope

There really is a slippery slope. It's not just something our parents, teachers, coaches, and other made up to keep us from doing stupid things.

You can't undo the past or return to it. Once a decision is made and action taken on that decision the consequences create new reality that leads to more decisions that are usually based on previous ones and the next thing you know you're sliding along wondering, "How did I get here?"

Notice in the previous paragraph there is no value on the decision made, even though my guess is that most of us automatically associate the slippery slope with bad decisions.  What if you make "good" decisions grounded in positive values? If so, the "here" of "How did I get here?" is a much more rewarding slide.

Maybe life itself is the slippery slope. Where we land ultimately depends on the choices we make.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018


coward : one who shows disgraceful fear or timidity ~ Merriam-Webster online dictionary

Are we all Scot Peterson?

Two weeks ago a School Resource Officer for Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida arrived at the school with gunfire taking place. Armed with a hand gun he took up a position outside the building because he thought the gunfire was somewhere outside the building. As we all now know, it wasn't.  The shooter was inside the school.

Deputy Peterson was suspended, subsequently resigned, and is now being called a coward by the news media, most state and national legislators, the NRA, and the President of the United States. Thank God we finally have a scapegoat. The problem with scapegoating is that we are always looking for and placing blame on someone else for our own fear.

Unexamined fear is at the core of cowardice. Fear does many things to us and leads us into dark places, whether physical, psychological, or verbal. Fear causes us to lash out at others. Fear paralyzes and keeps us from doing what we know is right. Fear is used as a call to arms as well as resignation and surrender. Ultimately fear, left unexamined, will lead to violence.

Perhaps our problem in the current turmoil over gun violence is similar to Deputy Peterson's. Are we taking up positions on the outside, looking for anybody and anything to blame instead of looking inside ourselves and examining our own fear and taking action?

Think about it! In one way or another, are we not all Scot Peterson?

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Post Parkland

One week ago today seventeen people, most of them teenagers, opened their eyes upon their final day. They went about their morning routines that led them into what promised to be a normal day of learning and teaching. Little did they know the premeditated violence and carnage awaiting them in the form of an assault weapon in the hands of a disturbed, angry white man.

Last night, with some of the students and teachers who lived through the horror in the gallery and others in route, their state legislature refused to even discuss a law to place restrictions on assault weapons, claiming procedural reasons. According to news sources they went on to approve a resolution declaring pornography a public health risk.

This tragic scenario of carnage-rage-inaction bathed in "thoughts and prayers"  has become a mantra, a script of fear, anger, violence, and delusion which we all chant and play our parts.

Last Sunday in my sermon I addressed this bloody quagmire in which we live from a biblical perspective. I invite you to listen.

If you don't take time to hear the sermon, the final charge to the congregation included the following quote from Walter Brueggemann.

The crisis in the U.S. Church has almost nothing to do with being liberal or conservative; it has everything to do with giving up on the faith and discipline of our Christian baptism and settling for a common, generic U.S. identity that is part patriotism, part consumerism, part violence, and part affluence. ~ Walter Brueggemann

However, this is not only true for Christians but for all people of faith from all religions, or no religion, to reclaim our true identities and human dignity.

We are not here to kill each other!