This blog is a way for me to explore those things which seem important for a spell. The topics are the kinds of stuff that my seminary friends and I would talk about, argue over, and try to resolve while we ate pizza or burritos and wrote research papers. They won’t all be churchy posts, but quite a few of them will be.
Follow me on Twitter as @fishesloaves2 for much shorter, often cruder, and certainly not as well-thought out posts. I have a warpity sense of humor and the filters are often set to “barely operating” when I post to Twitter.
I work with youth. One can’t be afraid of any topic when you work with youth. If you can’t stomach talking about the darker side of growing up (substance abuse, bullying, violence, self harm, sex, relationships, problem parents/teachers, mental health, LGBTQX issues, etc.) then don’t enter this kind of ministry. Or follow me on Twitter. There is no time to be a prude.
A little about me. I am:
Both techie and artsy. I have made a pretty significant hobby of going to school: M.Div. (2014) from Methodist Theological School in Ohio, MBA (2003) from Otterbein, BA English Lit (1999) from Otterbein, BSEET (1990) from WVU Tech. I did two community college degrees as part of the bachelors degrees, so there are 6 fancy pieces of paper around here somewhere.
Gainfully employed #1 – “Real job.” I am an engineer in the natural gas industry. I do a lot of spreadsheets. I swear a lot at Microsoft Word. I investigate why pipeline components fail, and I analyze lots of data as a result. I help out with technology projects related to my department’s work. I do work in or support peers in 7 states (OH, PA, MD, VA, KY, MA and IN), so I often travel.
Gainfully employed #2 – Ministry. I am the Youth Director at North Broadway UMC in Columbus, OH. Some folks call me the youth pastor, but since I am not ordained, the ‘pastor’ part is more honorific than reality (and related to when I held a “Student Associate Pastor” title as a seminary intern). I am not clergy, at least not yet and maybe not ever. It’s complicated.
A Progressive Christian. I believe that the core of the Christian faith is relationships, not rules. I believe that the gospel message is summed up by Jesus’ response to the question of the greatest commandment, the tie of social justice to a life well-lived, and words from the beginning and end of Jesus’ ministry, listed at the end of this post. I am a straight ally for LGBTQ folks, and my interest areas are calling out privilege, justice for marginalized persons, urban issues, poverty, children and youth.
A United Methodist. Argue all you want that the Wesleyan Quadrilateral isn’t Wesley’s. It is still how I approach things. Wesley has a lot of good to say. I like him, even when he is being an ass. The UMC is connectional, officially and mostly in real life, which I value very much. I wish things had worked out differently as far as ordination, but it was my choice to stop (for various reasons that I will discuss over a beer should we ever cross paths in real life). I still love the church; I’d have been a great pastor.
A nerd. I use Mac, iOS, and Linux outside of the office. Mac gets stuff done. iOS is a go-light wonder. Linux is a significant fling.
A husband and dad. My kids are the best. If I say anything mushy about my wife she will slap me.
Scriptures for thought. Much better than whatever some radio preacher told you from Leviticus.
Mt 22:36 “Teacher, which commandment in the law is the greatest?” 37 He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ 38 This is the greatest and first commandment. 39 And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”
Mt 25:35 for I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me something to drink, I was a stranger and you welcomed me, 36 I was naked and you gave me clothing, I was sick and you took care of me, I was in prison and you visited me’ … 40b ‘Truly I tell you, just as you did it to one of the least of these who are members of my family, you did it to me.’
Lk 4:16 When he came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, he went to the synagogue on the sabbath day, as was his custom. He stood up to read, 17 and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written: 18 “The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and recovery of sight to the blind, to let the oppressed go free, 19 to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.”
Jn 21:15 When they had finished breakfast, Jesus said to Simon Peter, “Simon son of John, do you love me more than these?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my lambs.” 16 A second time he said to him, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” He said to him, “Yes, Lord; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Tend my sheep.” 17 He said to him the third time, “Simon son of John, do you love me?” Peter felt hurt because he said to him the third time, “Do you love me?” And he said to him, “Lord, you know everything; you know that I love you.” Jesus said to him, “Feed my sheep.”