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Archive for September, 2013

Getting around downtown St. Paul is pretty easy.  It’s basically a grid with easy access to the freeways.  I never get lost in St. Paul.  Minneapolis is another story.  Now it has sequentially numbered streets that run east and west and alphabetical avenues that run north and south. And you’d think it would be easy to get around, but there are a few problems. I know; I’ve lived and worked there.  There are lakes and parks and two way roads that turn into one ways.  There are Lyndales and Portlands and Hennepins thrown in there that make no numerical or alphabetical sense.  And there is constant construction.  So when you live in Minneapolis you get used to something that people almost always say when trying to explain directions:  “You can’t get there from here.” (more…)

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Theologian Frederick Buechner says, “With jokes and parables both, if you have to have it explained, don’t bother.”  Most of Jesus’ parables don’t need a lot of explanation to get the point.  Last week’s parables are great examples – the lost sheep and the lost coin.  We can easily see the love of God in searching for the lost.  But today’s parable is a difficult one – mostly because it seems to recommend to us actions that are dishonest and shady – even criminal.  In fact, it has been suggested that not only does the parable endorse this behavior, but that Jesus actually embodies it!   Perhaps this story is an exception to the “don’t bother explaining it” rule.  Let’s see what Jesus is revealing to us  . . . (more…)

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The case of the three young women kidnapped in Cleveland caught the attention of the nation because of the horrible stories of their captivity.  They are now found and free and reunited with their families.  But what was so tragic about this case was that for ten years those young women were held captive within 3 – 5 miles of their homes – that close to where their family and friends and school and jobs were.  For a decade, these women were living as prisoners in the shadows right in their own community.  And no one who had any ability to find them was looking too hard.  There were no Amber alerts for them when they went missing.  Police did not devote many resources to the search because they were considered runaways.  Their mothers thought they were dead.  The girls wrote letters for help that no one could read.  They were lost and no one was looking.

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I love today.  As much as I love summer – and we had a great one – I really love the familiarity and activity of the fall routine.  Summer is ending but I love Kick Off Sunday here at church because that means the beginning of things:  Sunday School and Bible Class and Choir and Wednesday activities and all the things that fuel us with the Spirit’s energy and help our faith and love to grow. (more…)

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Once again in today’s gospel we have Jesus and the Pharisees facing off in what seems to be an endless confrontation in the life of Christ.  They are always at odds, it would seem; they are operating with two completely different views of the kingdom.  The Pharisees are always watching Jesus, trying to trip him up, trying to catch him in some violation or inconsistency. It’s a conflict that didn’t stop until they finally had Jesus on the cross.  And it’s a conflict that continues among believers today and ends at the cross. (more…)

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