CFD Director's Blog

September 2014

Last week granddaughter Angelina and I attended two “youth movies” together, both based on popular novels. The first movie, The Fault in Our Stars,” (based on the John Green book) tells the tragic story of two young people, Hazel and Gus, coping with terminal cancers. Hazel Grace Lancaster lives with Stage 4 Thyroid cancer and must travel with an oxygen tank wherever she goes...

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August 2014

This past Spring I participated in two local continuing education opportunities: (1) a conference called “Inhabit” sponsored by The Seattle School of Theology and (2) a course on “Advocacy on the Margins” offered by Tierra Nueva, our Presbyterian mission in Burlington. In the two-day “Inhabit” conference we heard from speakers from around the world who are involved in new forms of ministry described by the metaphor of the “parish.” In this emerging model, congregations are not centered so much in church buildings that draw people to them...

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July 2014

Pastor Alan is teaching a class this summer on biblical texts that trouble us, based on his sermons. This class affords us the chance to talk more fully with Alan about several passages of the Bible that have troubled Christians. I’ve been reading an explosive book entitled The Ethical Challenge of Auschwitz and Hiroshima: Apocalypse or Utopia? that suggests that all of the ways we are used to reading the Bible should trouble us in light of the apocalyptic events of the 20th century...

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June 2014

The discussions that are now taking place in our congregation (Sunday morning on “Christian Marriage” and Wednesday evening on “Reading Everett in Light of Ephesians”) both turn in large measure on the question of biblical interpretation. How do we interpret the Bible in a changing world? The issue is not easy or straightforward but is crucial for living faithfully in today’s context...

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May 2014

The worst forest fire in American history occurred in the late summer of 1910 in the Northern Panhandle of Idaho and Northwest Montana, centered on the town of Wallace, Idaho. During a horrid drought that year, 30 small forest fires burning in Idaho and Montana, fueled by what ultimately became hurricane force winds, came together to form one maelstrom of uncontrollable destructive power that scoured millions of acres of prime forest...

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April 2014

Our 2014 Lenten Series “They Worshiped Him, But Some Doubted,” continues as an extended reflection on the Great Commis-sion (Matt. 28:16-20), which focuses squarely on disciple-making (we might call it with some justification “the Great Cate-chism”)...

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March 2014

Do you remember the first time you successfully rode a bicycle? I remember it so well. “Uncle Babe” was visiting our family just after Easter in 1958, the year all three of us kids received our spanking new Schwinn bicycles (mine was red!). He offered to teach me to ride it...

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February 2014

I’ve been attending the weekly Bible study of a Christian group on the campus of Everett Community College over the past two years. The kids are generally enthusiastic disciples of Jesus. Many are involved in their own congregations. Some are not Christian. Others are seekers. There are international students...

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January 2014

My first mentor in the faith, Rev. John McCullough, died on Nov. 18 at the age of 87. He was for 37 years the pastor of Bethany Community Church in Seattle, the only church I knew when my journey in Christ began...

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December 2013

The linchpin of Christian faith is the Incarnation—God becoming human. Surely Matthew’s breath was taken away as he recorded these words:  Behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream, saying...

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November 2013

Luke records the birth of the Church in Acts 2.  Peter had preached the Pentecost sermon and the Spirit had moved among the diverse multitude gathered in Jerusalem for the high holy days of Passover through Shavuot, the Feast of Weeks. These holy days reminded Jews of the salvation of God...

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October 2013

One of the most neglected themes of the Christian Gospel and of the ministry of Christian Formation and Discipleship is the role of the human imagination in faith. Think, for example, of the artistry of Scripture. Throughout Scripture—from the expansive poetry of Genesis 1 to the rapturous songs of worship...

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September 2013

This August Judy and I enjoyed a wonderful month of hiking on Mount Rainier, our favorite place in the world. Early in the month we trekked with granddaughter Angelina to the upper regions of the Skyline trail above Paradise...

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August 2013

Teenagers are amazing people. They know the heights of ecstasy and the depths of despair, the sublime fullness of friendship and the devastating brutality of rejection—sometimes all on the same day—and usually find a way to navigate through it all with grace...

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July 2013

As many of you know, ten of our youth group are attending the Triennium at Purdue University, July 15-20: Meeghan, Tori, Ashton, Keaton, Kendall, Jaques, Keeana, Emily, Kathryn, and Nathan. Marne Larson, Pastor Alan and I are the adult leaders who have the privilege of spending this time with these great young people we love so much....

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June 2013

In our effort to communicate the principles that form the basis for our strategies of Christian Formation and Discipleship, we come now to the second EMPOWERMENT PRINCIPLE, what we call “theReformation Principle,” summarized in the formulareformed and always being reformed by the Word of God...

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May 2013

Last month we introduced the concluding section of our theological outline of the principles underlying our ministry of Christian Formation and Discipleship, theEMPOWERMENT PRINCIPLES. We began to discuss the first of these principles, what we are called the Holy Spirit principle. This principle refers to...

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April 2013

We now come to the last major section of our theological outline of the principles of our ministry of Christian Formation and Discipleship. We call this last section EMPOWERMENT PRINCIPLES, which include (1) the Holy Spirit principle (the Holy Spirit transforming the community of faith into the image of Jesus Christ) and (2) the Reformed principle (we are called to be the church reformed and always being reformed by the Word and Spirit of God)...

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March 2013

As I continue to elaborate the underlying principles that guide our CFD ministry we come to the third EMBODIMENT PRINCIPLE, the Six Core Practices Principle. Not only do we embody Christian faithfulness by organizing our life together according to the Church’s Story (Church Season) and by participating in the Seven Special Events described...

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February 2013

Having looked last month at the first of two EMBODIMENT PRINCIPLES, the “Story Principle” (in which the Church Seasons give order to our CFD schedule) we now turn to the second:The Seven Special Events Principle. Each year our congregation celebrates our identity and our belief that our times are in God’s hands by...

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