Last Friday before I left to go on a retreat with some of our youth group leaders, I went on a cleaning spree at home.

It felt good.

Piles were diminished, laundry was done, bathrooms were bleached, and the growing pile of bags for Goodwill was delivered.

That evening I put my feet up after a long day, and this article came across my news feed:

Dear World: Let’s Stop Giving Our Crap to the Poor

Basically, the argument of this article is that even the poorest of the world deserve to wear clothing or use items that are not ripped/stained/broken/unusable.  Their donation guideline was “if we give it away, it should be something we would use ourselves.”  That means if I am giving away a shirt because it has a hole in it and it’s stained and falling apart… maybe it’s time to lay it to rest.

pile of clothes

On one hand it hurts my heart to think of all those clothes somewhere in a landfill, and I want to say “maybe someone will use it for crafting or something else creative!!”

And to be clear, I have certainly bought things at Goodwill with a hole or two, fixed it myself, and declared it new and ready to use in our household.

But Goodwill/Salvation Army etc are not there for crafters or people who have the means and time to fix things…  These services primarily exist to serve the down-trodden, the over-worked and under-paid, and people who need help.

To use the words of the author: “The poor may not have wealth, but they have dignity.” Are we treating the poor with dignity when we donate?

So many churches have resales (including my church) and collect “lightly used” items for the less fortunate… but when we donate are we asking ourselves if ‘someone can really use this’, or are we looking for somewhere to dump our crap?

Read the article and see what you think.

Image from here.

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God Questions

Last week in our confirmation class, we invited the freshman to write down any questions they have about God.


If you ever think your freshman or teenager does not have ‘good’ religious questions, you’re wrong.  They have amazing questions, I promise.  Good luck answering them…

For fun, see a *sampling* of the questions below:

  • What happens when we die?
  • Why do bad things happen to good people?
  • Is our life predestined?
  • Why is it important to do good things for bad people?
  • Why are people faced with challenges that result in people dying?
  • Is the Bible 100 percent true?
  • Do your choices effect your fate or is your fate decided by God?
  • If God saved the Israelites when they were enslaved by the Egyptians, why didn’t God save the Jews from the Nazis?
  • Where do Presbyterians stand on the concept of Original Sin?
  • Does evolution not exist?  How do we reconcile what we know about fossils with what it says in the Bible?
  • Why is there a God?
  • Can people from other religions go to Heaven?
  • How do we know our religion is the right one?
  • Why did God create things like tiny bugs?  If God didn’t create them, then nothing would depend on them so why bother?
  • How do we know when God is really with us?
  • Can God really see what you will do when you are older?
  • Why do people commit suicide?  Can’t God help them?
  • If God created everything, why did God create the devil?
  • Does God actually hear prayers?
  • Does praying work?
  • What is the greater good that humans are always searching for in their lives?
  • Once I witnessed a little boy drown.  Why did he deserve to die when I get to live?
  • Why is God not there when we need you most?
  • Why is God not here?
  • When will the world end?
  • Why isn’t God here with us in person?
  • Why does God care so much?
  • When will our 2nd savior come?
  • Why do you punish people after they help or have come close to succeeding in something good?

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Religion is big stuff in Chicago

The whole “A” section (or most of it) of the Sunday Chicago Tribune is devoted today to the new Archbishop of Chicago, Blase Cupich.

Read up! He sounds like an interesting man.


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Different Gifts

A couple of weeks ago I preached a sermon on different gifts given to us by God.

Today, I clicked on a video that has been making it’s way around the internet, and I thought this man’s story is a perfect illustration to say that God gives different gifts to different people.

And, it’s a great pick me up if you’re in need this semi-dreary Monday.

Click here to watch a piece done by the San Francisco Globe entitled “Man With Cerebral Palsy Paints Masterpieces Using Only A Typewriter”.


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Filed under other media, random fun

Important read from The HuffPost

A friend of mine shared this letter/article from the Huffington Post. It’s a very important read for all of us. You may notice it was published a year ago, but it’s message stands the same.

Make sure you pass it on to someone who needs to hear this message.

Dear parents with young children in Church.

By Jamie Bruesehoff.

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Abraham and Sarah

I’m getting ready to preach this Sunday for our second week in the Narrative Lectionary.  Part of the duties that come along with preaching at CPC are planning many of the other details of worship as well.

So this afternoon I found myself on Google searching for “Hymns about Abraham and Sarah”.

This song popped up, and it’s actually pretty nice.  It’s definitely filed under the genre of classic Christian pop/rock music which is not always my favorite, but the message is PERFECT for my sermon this week from Genesis 12:1-9.

So listen up and get ahead of the rest of the class (haha)!


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Sacred in the Secular: the Last Day… 31!

Half way through this journey, I started wondering which song I would use on the last day.  It had to be something everybody knows, something with a positive message, something secular, something sacred, something… classic.

I found it.

My friends on this, our last day (for now) finding sacred messages in secular music, I leave you with the sacred message that we are all family.

Enjoy, and keep looking for the sacred in the secular.

“We Are Family”, by Sister Sledge

We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing [2x]

Everyone can see we’re together
As we walk on by
And we fly just like birds of a feather
I’m not telling no lie
All of the people around us to say
Can we be that close
Just let me state for the record
We’re giving love in a family dose, yeah

We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing [2x]

Living life is fun and we’ve just begun
To get our share of the world’s delights
High hopes we have for the future
And our goal’s in sight
No we don’t get depressed
Here’s what we call our golden rule
Have faith in you and the things you do
You won’t go wrong, oh no
This is our family Jewel, yeah

We are family
I got all my sisters with me
We are family
Get up everybody and sing [4x]

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