Memories of Mission Trips Pasts

In 1998, I was given the chance to go on a mission trip with the United Methodist Church to visit Rio De Janiero, Brazil. It was a world wind of effort of many people's parts for me to go on that trip. I remember my parents expediting a passport for me and a myriad of shots (Thanks, mom!) for anything and everything I could be exposed to in South America. Aside: Cold muscle shots hurt! I remember several weekend trips to meet the other youth going on the mission trip and the pastor and youth worker who would be chaperoning us. Getting to Brazil took over 12 hours, and required multiple … [Read more...]

The Parish of Saint Cuthbert

I don't know who Saint Cuthbert is. I do know that I have walked through the church yard of the Parish of Saint Cuthbert in Edinburgh, Scotland. My wife and I stayed in a nearby hotel during our honeymoon, and we took a stroll through the church yard one afternoon on the way back to our room. Vacationing in a country that can date historical sites back a thousand years is an interesting experience. It leads to a lot of interesting discussions about what "historic" means. In the US we discuss sites dating back to 1770s and consider that historic. In Scotland, you can find small church … [Read more...]

Speaking Truth

The message delivered at Goose Creek United Methodist Church on Sunday, June 6th. Scripture: Mark 7:24-30 After reading this passage, the first thought that came to me was the phrase, speaking truth to power. Most of us are familiar with that phrase from the American Civil Rights movement. The phrase also has a home in the Quaker Church. In the 1950s the Quaker Church used the phrase as part of the title for one of their books on non-violence. It was believed that the church had a responsibility to speak truth to power. Where earthly powers believed might made right, the church should … [Read more...]

Thoughts on 1st Sunday after Christmas

This last Sunday in church, the scripture lesson focused on Luke 2:22-40. This passage tells the story of Jesus' presentation at the temple. What changes a common occurrence in 1st century Jewish life from ordinary to extraordinary is the presence of Simeon and Anna in the temple and their reaction to Jesus being in that place. Simeon according to scriptures was a righteous and devout man who had been promised by God that he would not die until he saw the Messiah. Anna was a prophetess who was in her 80s and had been worshipping in the temple for decades since the death of her husband. Both … [Read more...]

A Community Prayer for Advent

In this season of Advent and in this season of expectation, we still carry the burdens and concerns of this world. We still worry about friends ands family members who are sick. We worry about the bills we need to pay. We are concerned about our families and wonder whether the world is getting worse for them and us. In the midst of all these concerns, we must remember that when we open our hearts to God, he gives us peace. And in this Advent season and in every day in our lives, we must make the choice between focusing on the peace God gives us or falling into despair over the … [Read more...]

What are your 2012 resolutions?

Every year at this time we make resolutions. After the holidays some want to diet so they will look great for the coming summer. Others want to work on their career goals. The common thread in most of our resolutions is that they are centered on self. For the most part there is not a thing wrong with that. More people should put forth effort on self betterment, and we should encourage each other to stick to our resolutions. The only addition we should make to our resolutions is to help others too. At some point on New Years Day I read an article by the Archbishop of Cantebury, Dr. Rowan … [Read more...]

When expectations fail

On October 23rd I had the privilege to deliver the message at the 8:45 and 11:15 services at Goose Creek UMC. The scripture lesson was Matthew 15:10-28. The major point of my message was that we can fail to meet the world's expectations and yet wonderfully succeed at living out God's call in our life. I've attached the message as a podcast if you want to listen. … [Read more...]

The Power of Forgiveness

One of the great joys of having a smart phone is access to news anytime I want it.  I pulled up the CNN app the other day and found an interesting article about Rev. Kelvin Croom and George Wallace.  While I actually enjoy history, I must admit that my American History class in high school was somewhat lacking.  We didn't get much past World War II, and it was an AP class.  I think I was one of the only people to score high enough to get college credit in the class.  As a result knowledge on the later lives of many of the more infamous figures of the Civil Rights movement requires me to take a … [Read more...]

A Real Good Samaritan

Welcome to my Christmas day blog post.  It's not even 2pm yet, and I'm exhausted.  It's been a great Christmas though, and it's helped me realize just how busy I've been this year.  For a while now, I wondered if the 'Living Arguments' category of my blog would ever get another article.  I found this article late last night while reading the BBC News.  Writer Bernard Hare shares his experience of a Good Samaritan who helps him reach home to see his dying mother. While reading the article I recognized that most of the actions of the Good … [Read more...]


I recently bought a Kindle.  That Kindle paid for itself with one International Herald Tribune article.  The article was about a man named As'ad Shaftari.  He was an intelligence officer in a Christian militia during Lebanon's  Civil War (1975-1990).  He is still feared in parts of the Muslim community for the torture and killings that was carried out on his orders and the lives he ended personally.  This is how Shaftari describes his mindset during that time: At the end of the week I would go to church, after killing and torturing, to confess, but it was futile. I didn’t see killing … [Read more...]