Thursday, July 28, 2005


As a few of you know, my full-time position as the Assistant Pastor at Broadway Church was only meant to be a temporary one. From the beginning, I was only supposed to be full-time for approximately 9 months and then either go to part-time or find another position elsewhere. Well, that was almost 4 years ago.

Serving in a smaller church, there are two full-time pastors here (me and my interim pastor). Come January though, my position will revert back to its original part-time state. As a result of this decision from the church, I have begun circulating my ministerial profile seeking a position as senior/sole pastor of a congregation. As my profile has been circulating for about 3 months, I've had some very interesting churches respond. One of those very interesting churches is located in Nashville, Tennessee.

Last Sunday night I participated in a conference call with the church in Nashville. After a long conversation, we said our pleasantries and said goodbye. Last night, the chair of the pastoral search committee called and left a message on my home voicemail stating that the committee was impressed with the conversation on Sunday night and would like to have me fly to Nashville for a more concentrated interview as well as hear me preach in a neutral pulpit (a "neutral pulpit" is a venue outside of the particular church where I preach a sermon for another congregation and the search committee is present among the worshippers to hear me preach).

I am very excited about this particular congregation and how it is we'll get along. While the search process takes time and I know I shouldn't already be daydreaming about a future that hasn't happened yet (i.e., me getting the job), I am as excited as a teenager the day before the state fair is to open. Please pray for me and the church during this discerning time.

I was telling a friend of mine who lives in Tennessee today about the possibility that I might move there. He lived in Los Angeles for a long time before moving back home. He told me that I am going to have to learn to better appreciate country music. I asked, "Do you mean I will get to appreciate it or that I'll have to appreciate it?" Laughing he said, "Yes." He also reinerated over and over to me, "Nashville isn't New York." Or, "Things are a bit slower here." And, "It'll be one heck of a change for you." But finally he said, "You're gonna love it here."

I am convinced that if the Lord is willing and the creek don't rise, that my friend may be right.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Mosquito Bites Everywhere

I went to the church's cabin on Saturday up at Lake Herriman State Park. It was a great cool and windy day. The sun was shining, the wind was stronger than a breeze and the day had "lazy" written all over it.

Realizing I was going to be lazy, I brought my laptop, a book, and had every intention of sleeping most of the afternoon. I also packed some sunscreen and brought some Off! bugspray. I hate bugspray but figured I'd be safe just the same.

When I got to the cabin (with 7 other cabinites), the wind was blowing so strong and the air was so cool, I thought I wouldn't need to apply any bugspray. So I didn't.

And when I got home, I looked down and wha-lah!- I was covered with bites. Today I still have the bites although they aren't as bright red as they were yesterday. And tomorrow, they'll almost be gone. But still.. I should've known better.

When More Folks are Reading your Blog

I have noticed a strange occurance. More and more people are reading my blog (although few ever respond to it). I know this by an internet counter thingy that tells me how often my blog is viewed and by the fact I get phone calls from all sorts of people saying, "Say, I've been checking out your blog every day." And, "How DARE you write that!"

It's that last often repeated comment that has taken me a bit by surprise. I am learning that some folks just freak out when they read something they don't like AND they tell me about it. I've written political commentary (that gets the most bad reactions), personal stories (you'd be amazed at who gets offended by this), and juvenille humor (which seems to only be funny to me, for some reason). Now mind you, I don't mind reactions but the reactions I get are over the phone! Or, emailed to me! No one ever really "comments" except for you Paul, thank you. And I've even offended him, go figure. And let me tell you, my mom even reads this thing and you oughta hear what she has to say (and mom, I still don't think Bush is good for this nation.)

So what has been my reaction? Actually, I've been more and more hesitant to actually write about stuff. Sure, amazing things have happened this last week (some freaky) and others not so amazing.

So I am left with some choices: be more selective with what I write about, be bland, be an ass and write whatever the heck I want to, be more articulate and still write whatever the heck I want to. I am thinking it should be the latter, but I tend to misstate my intentions (have always suffered from this malody). Still.. I am thinking I just need to be more witty with perhaps less juvenille humor.

I know whoever reads this will undoubtedly let me know how I am doing in my new endeavor. Look for me, I'll be writing more.

Working Together

I know I haven't posted in awhile, there have been lots of things going on around me and yet, nothing out of the ordinary and I just couldn't think of anything to write about (that I want everyone reading). ;)

Yesterday though, something really cool happened. My boss and I were having a meeting when he raised an issue that I myself was uncertain how to raise myself. You see, we had a major disagreement last week and yesterday we talked about it. Since the disagreement happened, we've had time to "cool off" and the discussion that followed was incredible. Both airing our concerns and yet in a relaxing professional way, we worked out the solution. It doesn't hurt that my interim pastor (my boss) is also a pyschotherapist. We talked about what concerned us in the least threatening environment I have ever been a party to.

We both shared our worries, concerns, and in a friendly way (we've become great friends, by the way), we were able to come to a resolution that was fair and honored the concerns raised. And, I realized that this interim pastor isn't just important for the congregation during our major pastoral transition, he's important to me too.

Now if I can just get him to create a blog, then you'd get to meet him too. ;)

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Double Checking the Blogroll

It's weird how so many blogs come and go. I try and keep my links current and when I went to check them this morning, I found 4 links that no longer worked. Crazy, right?

So I deleted them and added a couple more. I do like to keep interesting links on this thing. Some are indeed interesting, some are more kind of unnerving, while others are fabulous. I really don't have any particular formula for adding them other than I like the sites, they make me think, or they help me laugh.

If you have a fab link you'd like to recommend, drop me a note and let me know where it's at. Thanks!

From Andrew Sullivan..

This is his tribute to the Fourth of July. It's pretty cool.

"I believe in the pursuit of happiness. Not its attainment, nor its final definition, but its pursuit. I believe in the journey, not the arrival; in conversation, not monologues; in multiple questions rather than any single answer. I believe in the struggle to remake ourselves and challenge each other in the spirit of eternal forgiveness, in the awareness that none of us knows for sure what happiness truly is, but each of us knows the imperative to keep searching. I believe in the possibility of surprising joy, of serenity through pain, of homecoming through exile."

To read it all, go to

Monday, July 18, 2005

Best Written, Kinda Disturbing

I stood in line on Friday night to be one of the first folks to get and read the new Harry Potter novel. I had reserved a copy of it at the Barnes and Nobles on 66th and Broadway. Arriving early, I was marshalled downstairs where I stood in a serpentine line that wrapped itself all around and all over the lower level of the store. Having my book reserved, I wasn't one of those who stood in the same serpentine line on the second floor and nor was I one of the hundreds of folks standing in line and around the block outside of the store. Let me tell you, it was bedlam in that store- it seems there are many people like myself who just love the Harry Potter novels.

I got through the line pretty quick, once the line began to move. By 12:30pm, I had my book as I walked out of the store and towards the subway. Once I was home however, I was very tired and decided to dedicate my Saturday to reading the book. Waking at 9am, having breakfast and pouring my coffee, I sat down for an afternoon and early evening for that most famous of all wizards, Harry Potter.

Finishing the book around 2am with numerous breaks, I found myself both amazed at the writing (which made reading the book so easy) and the sad and disturbing tale Ms. Rowling wove this time around. I won't spoil any surprises (so this post will be short) but it seems everything has changed for Harry, Hermione, Ron, and the rest of the Hogwarts students. Given what has been set up for the last of the seven book series, it is bound to be a doozey and it was most certainly filled with great adventure.

I sure hope Ms. Rowling is already at work on her last novel. I'd hate to wait another 3-4 years for it- she put so much adventure and intrigue into this next-to-the-last one, that waiting patiently is sure going to take an act of magic on her part for us all.

Thursday, July 14, 2005

My Funny Friends

The music director at the church where I serve is a wonderful guy and we're great friends. And yet, when he replied to me in an email just now about something I wrote to him this morning, he had this joke tag line (and he knows I am from Oklahoma):

"A Texas State trooper pulled over an Oklahoma pickup on I-35. The trooper asked, "Got any ID?" The driver replied, "Bout' whut?"

Okay, okay, so it IS funny.


Crawford, Texas (not AP) - A tragic fire this morning destroyed the personal library of President George W. Bush. The fire began in the presidential bathroom where both of the books were kept. Both of his books have been lost.

A presidential spokesman said the president was devastated, as he had almost finished coloring the second one.

My Dream

I had one of the most real-feeling dreams I've had in a long time. In the dream, my eldest brother took me on a long journey, up and over, down and through, and then up again to an unfamiliar place. Standing near a city-like park, with benches and trees in small square plots interdespersed between different concrete paths, my brother said, "I have someone who wants to see you. But he doesn't have very long. Look.. here he comes now."

And I looked up and saw him. Walking with difficulty and dressed in a striped black suit, I immediately recognized him. It was my dad. I ran up to him and we embraced. We looked at each other and we both smiled big and bright. His eyes were as clear as the sky and he grabbed me by my shoulders and said, "I've missed you so much." Looking at him, with his wide smile and with an incredible sense of peace and calm, I said, "I've missed you too and I love you Dad." Then he said smiling, "I love you too, son. And don't worry, I'll be seeing you around. It'll be okay, David."

Then suddenly I awoke from the dream clutching my pillow with tears rolling down my cheeks, I was crying loud, hard, and uncontrollably.

My dad died on November 9, 1991. It has been almost 14 years and this dream felt the most real than I've ever had involving him and me. As I laid in bed, I thought about how my dad didn't see me graduate from college, or seminary. Nor did he witness my life-long pursuit of ministry where I now serve a church, in New York City, of all places.

Thinking about my dream, I have so many questions: Does God speak in our dreams? Or do our dreams reflect something deeper, so deep that only when a particular time comes, are we're ready to begin the journey of appreciation from someone who loved us very much? And/or, do these dreams happen when we need them to happen (or when its determined that we need them to happen) before something big happens in our lives? I am too nervous to dig too deep right now and my attempts at deconstruction seem to make the experience less a cause of joy. I am just going to wait- and appreciate the moment as best I can.

I feel blessed this morning and my prayers to God were full of thanksgiving for such a real and meaningful experience in my dream. I'll be looking forward to seeing my dad again- as he pops in and out of my slumber and I think about him in my waking hours.

Wednesday, July 13, 2005

When the Shortening Goes Bad

Last Sunday I was responsible for bringing the desserts for our after-church fellowship. I made three desserts: chocolate no bake cookies, Neiman Marcus bars, and a banana nut cake. The first two were great and everyone loved them. The banana nut cake was a different matter.

I have been trying to perfect my mama's signature cake. She has been making it all my life and her receipe is actually even older than she is. Created before mixers, it tells you how many strokes you are to beat the icing and cake mixture (no jokes, please,). Seeing how this recipe is so old and tastes so amazingly well, I've been trying for the past 4 years to make it.. and each time, something goes wrong.

The first time I tried to make it was a complete disaster. Subsequent attempts have been better. My last attempt I ran into problems: I ran out of extra confectioners sugar and, this is the kicker, my shortening was bad. I discovered it was bad only after it was baked and I tasted the cake and there was this slight metal taste to it. I was talking with a church member and had asked her if she too, thought there was something wrong with the shortening and she said, "Yeah, your shortening went bad."

She said that I shouldn't be too freaked out about it. She explained that she a can of 8-month old shortening in her icebox. "You keep it in the icebox?" I replied. To that she and everyone around her immediately put their cake down.

Actually, depending on what you use shortening for, some keep it in their icebox but if you use it for cakes, you are not to refridgerate it. However, where you do store it, it needs to never get hot which will make it turn bad quick. (Yeah, I read that on label.) My kitchen tends to get hot and when I called mom, she said that's why she keeps it under her sink.

Anyways, my banana nut cake sucked yet again. Next time though, it'll work- I am definitely stoked to make and have the best banana nut cake ever.

Friday, July 08, 2005

It's Almost Here!!!

I am so excited about the new Harry Potter novel hitting the stores on July 16th. Unfortunately, I didn't reserve a copy of the book yet, I will probably do that today. If you haven't yet, you can do so at

The last book I read in the Harry Potter series I paced myself and only read one chapter per sitting which allowed the book to stretch itself out. This time, I am going to do what I've done with the first 5 books.. I am going to inhale it. heh heh

"The Meaning of July Fourth for the Negro"

My mother's boyfriend send me this article about Fredrick Douglas who was invited to speak about the Fourth of July 5, 1852. What he said was both profound and incredibly courageous.

Thursday, July 07, 2005

It Sorta Sounds Okay...

Well, I finally did it. I put a sermon I preached from Sunday on the church website. Unfortunately, I knew I wouldn't be able to directly record into my mp3 player (it's too complicated to do from the pulpit) so I simply recorded it on a cassette player and then re-recorded it onto my mp3 player when I got home.

The sound is okay but there is this annoying hum in the background. Check it out, whatever .wav player you have should play it. The sermon is entitled, "Celebrating our Homeland," and it was preached on Sunday, July 3, 2005 at Broadway UCC here in New York City.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Now this is really cool..

Before you go to this link:

...know that you'll have to wait while the program loads
...once it does, click the 'Click Here to Start' words to load the program
...once it loads, holding the left mouse button, move your mouse up to go forward

The program is facinating.

UCC Backs Gay Marriage

Boy am I proud to be a member of the United Church of Christ!

Surely you've heard by now (or maybe not) but at General Synod yesterday (the annual meeting of the United Church of Christ), a resolution was passed that supports and affirms marriage for LGBT persons. Here is the news article from the NY Times.

Filed at 8:00 a.m. ET

ATLANTA (AP) -- The president of the United Church of Christ said his denomination ''acted courageously to declare freedom'' when it passed a resolution endorsing same-sex marriage on Independence Day.

The resolution calls on member churches of the liberal denomination's 1.3 million members to consider wedding policies ''that do not discriminate against couples based on gender.'' It also asks churches to consider supporting legislation granting equal marriage rights to gay and lesbian couples and to work against laws banning gay marriage.

The endorsement by the church's rule-making body Monday makes it the largest Christian denomination to endorse same-sex marriage. The vote is not binding on individual churches, but could cause some congregations to leave the fold.

''On this July Fourth the General Synod of the United Church of Christ has acted courageously to declare freedom, affirming marriage equality, affirming the civil rights of same gender couples to have their relationships recognized as marriages by the state, and encouraging our local churches to celebrate and bless those marriages,'' said the Rev. John H. Thomas, president of the United Church of Christ.

Roughly 80 percent of the representatives on the church's 884-member General Synod voted to approve the resolution Monday, a day after a committee recommended it.

A small group of conservative congregations had proposed an alternative resolution defining marriage as between a man and a woman, and suggested that supporting gay marriage could lead to the church's collapse.

The Rev. Brett Becker, who represents a group of more conservative churches, said it is possible his congregation at St. Paul United Church of Christ in Cibolo, Texas, will leave over the resolution.

''I would like to see us stay in the denomination and network for positive change,'' Becker said. ''However, many of my members have expressed very clearly that this decision would cause great consternation and that, if this happened, they would want to see us leave.''

Formed in 1957 and traditionally strong in New England, the United Church of Christ has a tradition of support for gays and lesbians. It is distinct from the more conservative Churches of Christ, which has some 2 million members in the U.S.

UCC churches are autonomous, meaning the General Synod does not create policy for its more than 5,700 congregations.

In the early 1970s, the denomination became the first major Christian church to ordain an openly gay minister. The church declared itself to be ''open and affirming'' of gays and lesbians 20 years ago.

''This is a significant moment,'' said the Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, of Cleveland, coordinator of a church coalition addressing gay and lesbian issues. She said the decision emphasizes that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people are ''spiritual people who love and are loved by God.''

But Becker does not think Monday's vote was representative of the wishes of most church members.

''If we had put it to a vote of the people in the pews, it would have failed overwhelmingly,'' he said. ''This is truly Independence Day for the UCC -- we have declared ourselves independent from the teachings of Jesus and the clear teachings of Scripture.''

Apple Cream Pie

I made this last night for a cookout I attended. Wowsers, it was really good!


1 cup of sugar
3 tablespoons of flour
1 teaspoon of vanilla
2 eggs
1 cup of sweet cream/condenced milk
1 pie shell
2 small apples, peeled and sliced
sprinkles of cinnamon and nutmeg

Heat oven to 425 degrees.
Mix the sugar, flour, vanilla, eggs, and sweet cream until smooth and creamy. Line unbaked pie shell with peeled and sliced apples. Pour mixture over apples. Sprinkle with cinnamon and nutmeg. Dot with butter.

Bake at 425 degrees for 15 minutes; then turn oven down to 325 degrees and bake for 30 minutes, or until the custard is set.