Archive for October 2006

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Called and Installed

Well, it’s official. I am finally called and installed as an associate pastor at Fox Valley Presbyterian Church. The service was wonderful—excellent preaching (thank you, Dave!); beautiful music; inspiring charges; the nine questions (what Presbyterian ministers are asked on these occasions); meaningful participants (my Dad and my Grandpa; sheet cake… After my family left this [...]

Budding Bonhoeffers

A new-found great joy in my new call: walking through the various classrooms on Sunday morning to see how wonderfully my lay-leaders and the kids are doing. This past week, we started a new unit (Moses and the Exodus, and how that story pre-figures the story of Jesus) for grades 1-5. The third grade was [...]

Apple Picking

Harderwyk Church, Holland MI

First, a note about names. In the 19th century, when Dutch immigrants arrived in western Michigan, many of them stayed in clumps with other people from their home villages. They might name a village, or even a church after that village. Thus, the name that looks strange at best to non-Dutch speakers. My dad was [...]


As a pastor’s kid and a pastor, I have the blessing of a nomadic church background. I’m not yet thirty, but as far as I can calculate I’ve been a member/regular attender of more than ten churches. (I’m guessing I can look forward to more being added to that list during my life as well.) [...]

Save my Show!

Help! I need all of my readers to start watching TV! I just heard that Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip, the new TV show that I really like, is down from the 12 million viewers who watched its premiere to 8 million viewers this past Monday. Here’s why we need to save this show: [...]

Lullabies for Zora

Erik and I were convinced that good lullaby music was already present in our pre-Zora music collection. Here’s a partial list of “lullabies” I compiled for her this week: Oh, Bury Me Not (Johnny Cash) When You Dream (Barenaked Ladies) Adoramus Te (Beth Nielsen Chapman) (Zora’s current favorite–she likes the resonant alto and bass voices) [...]

Prayer from a Former Life

My return from leave includes the task of finally unpacking boxes that have been earmarked for my office. Some of these boxes have been waiting since I packed up my teacher’s desk over a year ago. (I didn’t have room for much during my year-long residency position because I just had a cubicle.) In one box, [...]

Writing “Loving the Nearest Neighbor”

Tough Bible passages are par for the course when you’re a preacher. If you’ve read my most recent sermon, you know that it was a bit of a doozy. Pastor Carl (head pastor at Fox Valley) decided to do a sermon series on the Ten Commandments this fall. By the luck of the draw (analogies [...]

Loving the Nearest Neighbor

Exodus 20:14; Mark 10:1-12 Fox Valley Presbyterian Church October 8, 2006 A true confession to begin the sermon. (That ought to get your attention in a sermon about adultery!) I spend too much time reading advice columns. If I’m busy, the “Ask Amy” column might be the only thing I read in the Tribune. When [...]

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