Pastor's Blog

October 26, 2019

There are parts of the Bible that read something like a sci-fi horror movie.  I remember at the age of 12, reading this description of the beast, rising out of the water in Revelation 13 and how scary it sounded at the time.   It turns out this is just one of the monsters in the Bible and, given the time of year, it seems appropriate to reflect on those monsters and the power we give them in our lives.  Take the Book of Job, where we hear about Leviathan, a giant sea creature, a fire-breathing serpent who appears in the Psalms as well.  “Comets pour out of his mouth, fireworks arc and branch.  Smoke erupts from his nostrils like steam from a boiling pot…flames of fire stream from his mouth….king of the ocean, king of the deep,” (Job 41, The Message).    

Then there’s the prophet Daniel who had a seriously bad dream one night when he saw a terrible monster with wings and four heads…a grisly horror [with] huge...

October 19, 2019

I’ve come to believe that, despite its darker side – Halloween can be redemptive! After all it’s the opportunity for children and adults alike to pretend and to role play.  But more than this, we get to face some of our fears, including the reality of evil, and the fear of death.   

I’m thinking about Anne Rice,perhaps the most well-known author of “vampire” novels, and who penned The Vampire Chronicles.  She has made millions on these dark gothic novels that tap into the human longing to escape death and find immortality.  In her books, the vampire characters are immortals who can kill or give eternal life through blood.  She describes a vampire as one who “is cast out into the darkness but refuses to give up on meaning….” and looking back, Rice says that “I [too] was groping through the darkness.”  

In an interview with Cindy Crosby (Christianity Today) Rice talks about how she lost a child to leukemia; and that...

May 6, 2017

We’ve all heard about the guy who said to his doctor, “It hurts when I do this.”  “Well then” says the doctor, “don’t do that!”  About five years ago, I went skiing with my family and had a mishap that hyper-extended my knee.  I was careful with it, and over time, the pain went away; but I notice that the pain returns if I’m not careful -- like last week when I was running up at Mount Hermon at a pastor’s conference.  Pass the ibuprofen please! 

As I sat at the kitchen table this week, icing my knee, I saw an LA Times article that seemed well timed: “Don’t’ Let the Realities of Life Run You Off Your Exercise Goals.”  The basic point of the article was that we don’t need to exercise until we’re in pain, we need to stop exercising when we’re in pain!  I’m not talking about the normal buildup of lactic acid that stimulates muscle growth.  I’m talking about the sharp pains we may feel with a knee, elbow, or back injury.  No amount of ice or ibuprofen is going to change the fact th...

April 13, 2016

“Frank talk, spirited debate, laughter, and love.”* That could be the description of a small group at St. John’s or even a conversation on the patio after Sunday worship, but it’s how Ed Catmull, president of Pixar Animation describes a “Braintrust meeting.”  It’s what they call a group of artists and filmmakers who come alongside a director as a new film is being “birthed” at the studio.  The Braintrust has no authority to make the director change course if something isn’t working – the Braintrust advises in a spirit of “frank talk, spirited debate, laughter, and love.”  They are not there to destroy the film.  They are trusted peers who believe in the artist and in the film, and want to see both succeed. 


As I read about the Braintrust in Catmull’s book, Creativity Inc., I was amazed that such teamwork and warm-hearted feedback existed in the hyper-competitive world of Hollywood filmmaking.   Catmull adds later, “you don’t have to work at Pixar to create a Braintr...

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