New blog site

April 7, 2015

Hi!  It’s been a long time- looks like six years since my last post here.

I’m now the Rector of a parish in California, and just now starting a blog mostly oriented towards unchurched folk.  At least, that’s what I think it will be, but who knows.

If you’d like to check it out, please stop by!

The first post will go up tomorrow!


On Shame

November 21, 2009

We’re studying shame in CPE right now. Apparently, shame is only now being studied even in the mental health field.

From CPE materials this week: “You cannot shame or belittle people into changing their behavior.” And what a realization for me to understand that guilt and shame are two different things. Shame: “the intensely painful feeling or experience of believing we are flawed and therefore unworthy of acceptance and belonging.”

Shame is the belief that we are not worth “good”; guilt is the belief that “the bad” is inconsistent with who we are in our core. If I feel guilt for eating a doughnut, I believe I am worth eating something more healthy. If I feel shame for eating a doughnut, I don’t feel I am worth eating anything more healthy, perhaps because I am worried that my spouse will not love me for being fat, or will not want to have sex with me.

Guilt can motivate long-term change; shame cannot. I’m not far enough into the cirriculum to understand how guilt might be effectively used, but my guess is that the Church and other cultural influences use shame far more than we use guilt.

“You aren’t worthy of God’s grace, therefore repent sinner.”

Read the rest of this entry »

Looking for Christ

November 21, 2008

As mentioned some time ago, I am no longer maintaining this site save for occassional odds and ends. Here is one of those, my senior seminary sermon. Note that the audio problems at the begin go away after a couple of minutes.

Gospel:  Luke 17:11-19

(If that doesn’t work, click here.)

My son is in third grade this year, and at Lee Elementary, that means that this is the year for the Hawaii program.  You see, each year at Lee Elementary, there is a designated play or show for each grade, a sort of liturgy for the kids (and their parents) to either look forward to or to dread, depending on their personality, gifts, and talents.  This particular year, Brian’s production was the history and culture of Hawaii.

Read the rest of this entry »

From New Church Revolution:

San Jose, CA, June 27, 2008: Shortly before noon on Friday, the General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church (PCUSA) voted to change ordination policies of the denomination. Up to now, requirements included “fidelity within the covenant of marriage between a man and a woman, or chastity in singleness.” The new passage simply states that candidates for ordination “pledge themselves to live lives obedient to Jesus Christ the Head of the Church, striving to follow where he leads through the witness of the Scriptures, and to understand the Scriptures through the instruction of the Confessions.” The motion will now be sent to the individual presbyteries (regional clusters of congregations) for ratification, and will need to pass by a simple majority in order to change the Book of Order (constitution).


Chasing Cars…

May 30, 2008

I love this song by Snow Patrol.  Especially this part:  “I need your grace, to remind me to find my own.”  That is so beautiful.  It reminds me of this post I wrote a few months ago, and especially of The Body’s Grace, by Rowan Williams.


We’ll do it all
On our own

We don’t need
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Read the rest of this entry »

I know, I know: I just said I was done writing for a while. But I have had something on my mind lately and I’ve decided to write this post, so maybe I’m pulling a Barbra Streisand…

What has caught my eye lately is all of the political fuss over Geraldine Ferraro and the Clinton campaign—the allegations of sexism and racism and the furor it has generated. It seems to me that much of the same stuff gets roiled up in church politics: secular advocacy rolls over into the church because we don’t (and shouldn’t) compartmentalize our lives between what happens in the public square and what happens in our houses of worship.

Perhaps what should happen, though, that doesn’t happen as often, is that we should take our gospel values into the public square (keeping the separation of church and state distinct, for reasons I’ve discussed elsewhere). Those values, I think, shed some light on the problems that have been raised in the recent political campaigns. Namely, inequality in power and the resulting injustice cannot be solved by obtaining and using the same kind of power that originally created the inequality. To do so is a little bit like using the military to oust a military dictator in a coup, and then putting another dictator in his place. Perhaps the new dictator has a different face, but he is still a dictator. It does not fundamentally change the dynamic of the power structure. Read the rest of this entry »

Yeah for California!!

May 23, 2008


Of course you’ve heard the news from California by now– there are plenty of sources to find the church’s reactions, good and bad, on it.

If you haven’t noticed, I’m slowing down on posting– I haven’t written much original material this year and am not likely to for a while.  Sign up for email subscription on the right if you don’t want to have to visit to see if I’ve posted everything.

I’m doing CPE (chaplaincy) this summer and then will turn my attention to my last year of seminary formation.  I’m sure something will prompt me to write every now and then, but I’m not going to make intentional efforts to keep the blog updated any more– at least for now.

Thanks for all your support, readership, and comments!