Second Town Hall Forum with Bp Hanson

What:  Second Town Hall Forum with Bp Hanson

When:  Sunday, March 7, 2010 at 4 pm Central time

Where:  Your computer (stream online), options to participate on Facebook and Twitter

Who:  Everyone is invited! 

See details here

If you are unable to watch “live,” it check back on Monday the 8th and the entire forum should be available for download.

The Color of Our Glasses – Part Two

The Color of Our Glasses – Part II

Photo of Tilikum from flickr:

News of the tragic death of the female whale trainer at Sea World in Orlando Florida has likely entered every home in America by now but the officials are still trying to sort out exactly what happened.  From a radio broadcast yesterday, I heard the Sheriff of Orange County Florida (Orlando area) ask first hand observers for any video footage they may have captured of the tragedy.  Officials are needing video evidence to piece together the details of the event.   Even though many people watched this tragedy unfold in front of them, the Sheriff says all of the first hand witnesses he interviewed have differing stories for what exactly happened.    I’ve heard of this phenomenon to exist in other instances where officials needing to put together the facts surrounding an event discover all of the witnesses’ stories to be different. 

One must wonder how who we are affects how we observe and interpret what we see and hear.  Did feelings about how beautiful and loving Shamu was during her show or during their “lunch with Shamu” affect how spectators saw the attack of Tilikum the killer whale?  Or did flashbacks from the movie “Jaws” influence how they saw the event unfold in front of them?  We probably will never know, but what we do know is that the Sheriff of Orange County Florida can’t seem to get the facts from those who saw it first hand.  What the Sheriff is doing now is sorting through a variety of hermeneutics, until he finds an actual video of the entire tragedy.  Who we are affects how we observe and what we understand.

Jesus, Mothering Hen

This Sunday’s Gospel reading contains a tragic, and beautiful lament.  It is also one of the few metaphors in the New Testament that is feminine.  Even if you are one who never clicks the Scripture hyperlink, I’m telling you:  this one is worth checking out.  So much to ponder!

There is a church in Jerusalem, at the foothills of the Mount of Olives, named for this Scripture passage.  It is called Dominus Flevit, The Lord Weeps.  There is a stunning mosaic in the altar which I am attaching here, but it is worth taking the visual tour

 Lord Jesus, gather us.  Make us willing.  Encircle us with your protection.  Amen.

Cherish Our Children

Cherish Our Children is a national Lutheran ministry prayer, education, relationship-building, and action to prevent child sexual exploitation.  It is based in Minneapolis, MN.

From their website:  We believe that “Love born of faith in Jesus Christ calls us all to attend to, discuss, resist, and reject the system of sexual exploitation.”  (ELCA Message on Commercial Sexual Exploitation, pg. 1.)

Read their weekly Wednesday Prayer installation for today, February 24, 2010 here.

Generous to All

Our second reading for the first Sunday in Lent (February 21, 2010) is a profound theology for Christianity.  Especially Romans 10:12, “For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; the same Lord is Lord of all and generous to all who call on him.”

What does it mean to be generous? 

Is it somehow different to be generous to all

Does it mean that God does not play favorites? 

And does that reassure you? 

…Or convict you?

One thing to remember in these 40 days of Lent is that Sundays are not a part of the Lenten season.  No somber time can outweigh the day we celebrate the resurrection.  God is indeed generous to all.

Gracious Lord, may your continual generosity hasten our repentance.  Amen.

The Color of our Glasses-Part One

Many of us do not recognize nor understand the term Hermeneutic, it is a strange sounding word, do you know what it means?  For me it was a relatively new term when I entered seminary.  Even though I had heard the term before, I had no reason to ever use it. Webster defines it as, “Interpretive; Explanatory; The science and methodology of interpretation, especially of Scriptural text.”

Over the next few weeks I plan to share a few of my thoughts on the meaning behind this term and concept behind understanding Scripture.  This term comes to the forefront for me as I walk with people who all have differing (and very faithful) interpretations of Biblical Scripture relative to the current day issue of homosexuality.  I invite any of you to walk with me as I discover again the significance of hermeneutics for our time. 

Once in a while, I forget my glasses before heading out the door (I only need them for reading).  When this  happens, I catch myself in a panic as soon as I realize I cannot read fine print without them.  If you are like me you simply cannot borrow someone else’s glasses, their glasses don’t allow me to see the way I believe I need to see.  But those same glasses do allow that person to see the way they need to see.  Our eye glasses, which we peer through, tend to be a specific prescription for each of us.  Another way to look at glasses is how differently tinted sun glasses will change how the landscape appears.  These references to glasses are part of how we will begin to understand the concept of hermeneutics, what does scripture look like to the next person, through their glasses, that may be different from my view?


Somewhere in the ebb and flow of time and space, from the Old to the New Testaments, the connotations of a veil changed.  First seen as modest, prudent, even essential for Moses, St Paul’s rhetoric in 2 Corinthians gives the idea that a veil is mostly an impediment.  A barrier.  Something that should be–or has been–done away with in Christ.

When you think of a veil, what images come to mind?  A bride in white?  A Muslim woman?  An erotic harem courtesan?  A female mourner? 

And for those of us who have never donned an actual, material veil, I wonder:  do we use invisible veils to cover our joy and radiance, our beauty or our pain, our sexuality, or to maintain our modesty?  How does our faith in Christ make sense of the Old veil of prudence and the unveiled boldness we claim in the New?

Lord Christ, reveal your glory in each shining face.  Amen.


Lent is just around the corner.  This year the journey begins next Wednesday, February 17th.  A new page was just created detailing our Lenten worship on Wednesday nights.  Information about our special Lenten Refugee project can be found as well.  Click on the tab entitled, “Lent 2010.”

MPR Feature: Ben Larson

Jan 14 Vigil for Haiti (Duluth, MN)

While driving home today from church, I caught this story on Minnesota Public Radio.  The hyperlink will take you to the feature article, with several photos. 

You can also listen to Ben’s wife, Renee, and cousin, Jonathan, recount the moving details of Ben’s last moments and their own journey home from Haiti by clicking the “AUDIO” link on the right side of the site. 

The 12 minute audio is titled, “Loved ones recall Ben Larson’s last day in Haiti.” 

The longer version is 40 minutes and is entitled, “MPR’s Tom Crann talks with Larson family (full interview).”