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Four Reasons We Vaccinated Our Kids Against COVID-19

At the first chance possible we took Luke (10) and Zeke (7) to get vaccinated against COVID-19. There are four reasons we made this choice that I hope might encourage other parents to do the same.  First, we trust the science and data that has undeniably shown that vaccinations work. They reduce the risk of contracting COVID-19 and even if you have a breakthrough case, the chance of hospitalization or even death are drastically reduced. You can see the overwhelming data from California here: https://covid19.ca.gov/state-dashboard/#postvax-status  Without question, we have trusted our doctors and the regular immunization schedule for school. We get a flu shot every year. We give our kids Tylenol or Ibuprofen when they're sick. They’ve taken antibiotics as prescribed. We aren’t going to stop trusting our doctors now.  Second, we’re doing it to protect their grandparents and other adults with risk factors. While the risk of serious complications for them is quite low, it is high for t
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Ordination

I was ordained as a pastor on April 11, 2015. Here is a video of the service.

Literalism

"Literalism is usually the lowest and least level of meaning."                       Richard Rohr, Falling Upward , 106 It seems that the popular thought in Adventism today is that we need to take Scripture at "face value" and accept the "literal" meaning of the text. Those who do this are lauded for their great faith and trust in God and his word. However, as Richard Rohr suggests, this literalistic approach provides "the lowest and least level of meaning." I'd suggest that those who wrestle with Scripture, who challenge it, question it, even disagree with it, are the ones with great faith. They are willing to leave behind a faith that has answers for all the questions and instead embrace the mystery of God. Instead of being a virtue, a rigid literalism is actually a vice.

What Would Ellen White Say to Church Leaders?

This blog post was written for the Spectrum Blog and was posted on August 15, 2012 here . Last week I asked what Martin Luther King would say about the current ordination struggle. Today I am asking what Ellen White would say. In The Great Controversy, White writes about Martin Luther’s experience before the Diet of Worms. In this chapter, she hails Luther as a great model of faith who was willing to stand up for his convictions despite great opposition and risk of personal peril. During his trial at the Diet of Worms, Luther was told that he must either retract his writings or face severe consequences. White records Luther’s response: “The Reformer answered: ‘Since your most serene majesty and your high mightinesses require from me a clear, simple, and precise answer, I will give you one, and it is this: I cannot submit my faith either to the pope or to the councils, because it is clear as the day that they have frequently erred and contradicted each other. Unless

What Would MLK Say to Church Leaders?

This blog post was originally written for the Spectrum Blog and was posted on August 8, 2012 here .  I often find myself turning to the sermons and writings of Martin Luther King, Jr. when contemplating issues of justice. In light of the debate surrounding women’s ordination, I turned again to his writings, specifically his “Letter from Birmingham Jail,” [i] for guidance. In reading this letter again, I was struck at how relevant it is for the discussion today. The “Letter From Birmingham Jail” was written in response to a letter he received while in jail from eight white ministers. This letter was titled, “A Call For Unity,” in which the pastors urged King and others fighting for justice to pursue the matters through the courts and to abide by their decisions. They suggest that progress was being made and that the demonstrations were “unwise and untimely.” [ii] In eerily similar fashion, on June 29, the General Conference also issued their own “Appeal For Unity,” [

Is Being Unique A Virtue?

This blog post was originally written for Spectrum Blog and posted on their site on July 16, 2010 here . Should the Seventh-day Adventist Church strive to remain unique and distinctive in its beliefs and practices? Is our uniqueness a virtue? My guess is that the majority of Adventists would answer those questions with a hearty, “yes.” In fact, many of our institutions and ministries use the importance of remaining unique to justify their existence, raise funds, and sell their products. In contrast to this, I would like to suggest that the desire to remain unique is, in fact, negatively affecting our faith and witness and should not be one of our goals. If you look up the definition of “unique,” you will find phrases such as “highly unusual or rare,” or “radically distinctive.” If this is what it means to be unique, the fact that we have so many unique doctrines simply means that we have not been effective enough in our witness. Instead of being a virtue, our uniquen

Life of a Pastor

It was shaping up to be a long, draining Sabbath an Adventist pastor experiences quite often. I got up around 7am and didn't finish the day until 10pm (I did get a chance to sneak a nap in so that helped). Although too long, it provided a lot of thought-provoking experiences that made it manageable. The week turned out to be filled with good news. On Monday, a member had a baby so that was exciting. Another member had back surgery on Tuesday that went well. Wednesday, one of our members' sons was had a very rare and serious surgery. It literally took all day but by late afternoon we got the great news that everything had gone well. So, we were coming to church in a celebrative mood. Then, before Sabbath School started, a mother and daughter-in-law were crying and hugging each other because another daughter-in-law was given bad news about her cancer. The doctors have told her she has two months to live. This actual is quite typical in church. You have people coming full of prai