Amazon Ordering

•November 23, 2015 • Leave a Comment

You can place your Amazon orders AND help revjavadude’s cafe! Simply click on any of the items you see that link to Amazon. You will be taken to that item’s page on Amazon, and whether or not you want that particular item, EACH and ALL items you do purchase during that session will give a little love back to revjavadude’s cafe!

Here is an example.  This is one of our favorite French presses for making extraordinary coffee.  Most often folks think of a glass carafe with their press, but the double walled stainless steel construction of this one keeps the coffee warm for a longer period of time.  The press mechanism is sturdy, easy to clean, and makes yummy coffee!

To find our more or to purchase the press, click on its image.  ANY amazon shopping you do (even if you don’t want a French Press) will link back to us just by going through this item first.  Enjoy!

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Richard Rohr: Falling Upward

•October 16, 2015 • Leave a Comment

An incredibly thoughtful book:

I am interested in your thoughts!

Light at the End of the Tunnel

•March 13, 2009 • 3 Comments

Light at the End of the Tunnel

The tunnel has been long, but the light is shining brighter and brighter!  No trajedy or crisis, just a long journey of not having much time to do things that are important but non-essential.  It has been full and rich time, but I have to admit that I’m looking forward to having time to blog, review wines, and maybe even get some sleep!

We’ve added two new members to the church’s staff — Neil and Sue.  They are outstanding additions to our team, and will take so many things off of our plates.  I’m looking forward to having the chance to focus on so many things that have been neglected or attended to with limited energy and time.  We are not unique being short-staffed, but I am grateful that we are once again fully staffed!

It somehow seems appropriate that this “emergence” is happening during Lent.  It’s a season of journeying and of emerging.  This literal emergence certainly overlays my experience of Lent and Easter this year.

All this to say, the cafe is open again!  Revjavadude will be sipping a cup of coffee, the thoughts will be flowing, and the conversation will continue…

Drawing the Line

•October 8, 2008 • 3 Comments

     

“You’ve got to draw the line somewhere.”  “A line in the sand.”

Conventional wisdom, to be sure.  But is it Biblical?

Over and over again Jesus seemed to cross lines rather than draw lines.  Casting first stones, eating with unclean and outcasts, welcoming prodigals home against all conventions.  “No one comes to the Father but by me” might be considered a line, but there are many ways to understand those words of Jesus.  Really — there are.  I suppose hating my mother and brothers might also be a line that Jesus suggests.  Cross-bearing seems to be one, too.  Selling possessions, taking only one coat, and not storing up treasures probably qualify too.  Or do we consider those open to interpretation?  Which begs the question, why interpret those lines but not others?

I’m baiting the conversation, of course.  I am suspicious of certitude and those who are willing to claim to know the mind and heart of God.  There are lots of examples of line drawing on God’s part, but most of those lines seem to get blurred — by God.  “Don’t eat of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil for the day you eat of it you will die.”  They did eat.  They didn’t die.  God blurred that line.  “So the Lord said, ‘I will blot out the human beings I created…'”  But then God had a change of heart (or was it mind?) and remembered Noah.  Noah wasn’t blotted out.  Noah and his family were human beings.  God blurred that line.  I could go on and on, but the point has been made.  God might draw lines, but God also blurs lines.

So when people make absolute claims about what God will do and what God won’t do, I am suspicious of those claims.  I’m not sure that we can draw a line around God like that.

And if Jesus (or any other person of the Trinity) DOES draw a line, I wonder what shape that line is?

Stop Calling Me “Apostate”

•October 2, 2008 • 10 Comments

I am tired of the name calling by “Evangelicals.”  Many “conservatives” within the Presbyterian Church (USA) claim that we as a denomination are “apostate.”

Reluctantly, and with deep sorrow, we conclude that current renewal efforts within the Presbyterian Church (USA) are not capable of reversing the denomination’s plunge into apostasy.

— Board of Directors, The Presbyterian Lay Committee  July 4, 2006

Apostasy refers to an abandonment of the essentials of Christian faith.  Basically, they are saying that we in the PC(USA) are no longer Christian.  They are saying that I am no longer Christian.  They claim that the Bible is no longer authoritative for us (me) and that Jesus is no longer our (my) Lord and Savior.  They claim that we (I) have abandoned these essentials of our (my) faith.

Interestingly, these claims of “apostasy” always have come in the form of proclamation, publication, blog, or speech in front of an assembly.  Never once has a Presbyterian “Evangelical” said those things to me personally.  I have sat at dinner, at coffee, and even on long road trips with those who make these claims about our denomination, but they have never said it to ME.  Clearly I am a member of the “mainline” in the PCUSA.  I am not “Evangelical” as they use the word.  (I have been putting “Evangelical” in quotes because it is simply not fair that Christian “Conservatives” — whatever that means — have claimed a word that literally means “Gospel.”  I am “evangelical” in that I am saved, transformed, guided, and inspired by the Gospel.  But they don’t mean it that way…  Still, I’m not willing to give them the word, so it is in quotes to designate a particular use of the word as a self-ascribed title for conservative Christians.)  “Evangelicals” won’t tell ME that I am no longer Christian, but they will say that “the PC(USA)” has plunged into apostasy.

The boogie man doesn’t exist, dear “Evangelical” friends.  I AM a Christian.  Jesus IS my Lord and Savior.  I believe that the Bible IS the Word of God.  And you know that.

So stop calling us names.  Stop writing about “the Presbyterian Church (USA)” as apostate.  Stop making assertions about what we in the mainline of the PC(USA) believe when your claims are false.  It hurts not only us as individuals, it hurts the body of Christ.

There are lots of other Christians who do not believe exactly as you believe.  Jack Van Impe, Rod Parsley, Paul & Jan Crouch, Joyce Meyer, Creflo Dollar, Joel Osteen, and most likely the Baptist Preacher down the road.  And yet I have not seen your vitriol directed at them or their beliefs.  You don’t assert that they are “plunging into apostasy” or claim that they have wrong beliefs.  Sure, they’re not part of the “Presbyterian family,” but they ARE part of Christ’s family. 

And yet you somehow claim that I am NOT part of Christ’s family.  Or at least that because I believe that in God’s sovereignty God can call whomever God chooses to call into ministry (even if it’s not someone YOU would call) you assert that I am apostate (which is only a breath away from saying I am not a Christian).  Or that I am “plunging into apostasy” because I believe that Christ’s death on the cross was sufficient for ALL of God’s children and that it is up to God to choose who to welcome into God’s kingdom (even someone that does not profess faith in Jesus if God chooses to do that).

I can believe differently than you and still be part of the body of Christ.  I can believe differently from you and we can still be part of the same Presbyterian family.

Please, as my brother or sister in Christ, please stop calling me names.  Please stop this abusive plunge into the kind of division of the body that Paul spoke against over and over again… together we are the body of Christ.  As the body we need one another and simply must learn how to behave well with one another.  I don’t agree with your interpretaiton of Scripture, nor you with mine.  But as Christ’s own, we must clothe ourselves with compassion, kindness, humilty, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another…  (Col. 3:12f).

“Salvation Is Not Limited to a Single Demographic”

•September 14, 2008 • Leave a Comment

One of the things I like best about teaching in the local church is the wisdom and insight that comes from the gathered community.

Today’s discussion centered around two texts:

Romans 12:2 – “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your minds…”

1 Corinthians 9:19-23 – “…I have become all things to all people…”

The focus was the relationship between church and world/culture.  On one hand Paul posits pretty clear distinction from the world, warning the Romans to not conform.  On the other hand, Paul demonstrates that being as a Jew or being as a Gentile, being as one who is weak or one who is strong — it is all good as long as one is “conforming” for the purpose of the gospel.  Of course we had fun poking fun at Paul as the ultimate “flip flopper” who would never make it in today’s political realm.  “All things to all people…”  Can you imagine?!?

But if Paul’s purpose in being all things to all people is to lead them to conversion to Christian faith, do we make the leap that Paul “poses” as something he is not in order to draw someone into becoming something they are not?  Is it inauthentic?  And isn’t it “conforming,” albeit for a grand purpose?

We then talked about the difficult reality that not all people of Christian faith look like “us” (whatever that is).  Not all Christians are middle/upper-middle class, highly educated, suburban, etc.  And while there is some racial diversity in the group, we are overwhelmingly white.  Do we assume that Christians will be like “us?”  Of course that’s not the case, but often our “default” setting for what a Christian looks like is, well, something oddly like ourselves.

So we recalled that there are lots of different people who claim the “one” thing — Jesus is Lord.  That’s it.  That’s enough.

Really?  What about gay people who affirm “Jesus is Lord?”  What about fundamentalists?  Evangelicals?  Liberals?  Conservatives?  We affirm that women can lead us, but certainly not all Christians would agree.

Then he said it.  One of the most wonderful insights of the morning was Chad’s assertion that “salvation is not limited to a single demographic.”

That is a statement about not only a recognition of the reality of the Church, it is a fantastic affirmation of the sovereignty of God.  God’s gift of grace, gift of salvation is given to any and all that God chooses, not limited by our conceptions of who ought to be “in” and who ought to be “out.”  The limits of God’s grace that we assume or might desire are not God’s limits.  Thanks be to God!

I love the gift of theological reflection as a practice of the church.  Well done, Chad and the class this morning!

Politics

•August 30, 2008 • Leave a Comment

I posted an item on my facebook profile earlier today.  It is an article on McCain’s VP choice with the headline “McCain’s Palin pick is the epitome of tokenism.”  (Read article here)

I have been fascinated by the responses to that facebook posting.  As of this writing there are more than 20 posts in response to it.  Each response makes serious claims about why the choice of Palin was absurd or brilliant.  The comments are mostly reasoned, certainly passionate, and very partisan.  One cannot read a single post without being able to identify the writer as “Democrat” or “Republican” (at least in allegiance).  In the words of one writer, “Game on!”

What I am mostly intrigued with, though, is that all of the people writing are FRIENDS of mine — at least Facebook friends.  A few are college classmates, a few are parishioners, a few are colleagues from around the Presbyterian Church.  I know it’s not unique to me, but what is it about REAL LIFE (at least MY life) that we find ourselves in communities with people of such widely differing opinions and convictions?

Here is my mid-stream post in the ongoing facebook conversation:

Jeff Peterson-Davis at 7:58pm August 30
Game is on, for sure, and I definitely have opinions and convictions that place me on one “side” in the game. More on that in a moment…

What is most surprising to me in the “experience” arguement is that it has NOT been an argument that the Democratic party has used — it has been an arguement from the McCain team. They have been critical of O… Read Morebama claiming that his experience is insufficient to run the country. To further make their point, McCain has, on the record, talked about how significant the role of VP is and to have someone ready to take on the leadership of the country if something should happen to him. That’s where the rub comes… McCain has made the “experience” arguement, not Obama. To lay this back in the laps of the democrats is, well, simply silly.

I personally think Obama has the qualifications to be President. I would not have voted for him if I didn’t (be he black, white, green…). I like most of his platform, I like his convictions, I like his charisma, and I like the depth of his experience. Yes, experience. Not executive, but community organizing and legislative. That matters to me.

But something else that matters to me (and this is back to the beginning) is that there is enough space within our political system and within our community of “friends” (you’re all posting here because you are my Facebook Friends, after all) to have differences of opinion and have convictions that are different from one another. In facebo… Read Moreok and real life, I have FRIENDS of many different political ideologies. I consider that a gift — my life, my mind, my heart are all richer because of it.

So thanks for being friends engaging in conversation with one another. These things matter. They really do. We SHOULD take them seriously and have strong feelings and thoughts about these things. And as FRIENDS we can engage one another with respect, love, and good will.

Peace, friends…

–Jeff P-D

Politics are important.  I am very Calvinist here — politics simply must matter to people of faith.  But along with that is the conviction and understanding that when we engage in politics and any matter over which our opinions differ, we do so from within the place of community.  Respect, love, and forbearance are more than words — they are practices for our life together, particularly when we disagree.

It is a gift, indeed, to be friends with people who care enough to think and engage.  I wonder if perhaps this diversity of opinion, not just diversity of ethnicity, gender, etc., might be part of the very image of God (in which we were created).  If we consider that possibility, I wonder how it might shape the ways we relate to one another when we disagree…

Of this I am certain:  we will have many opportunities in this political season to put this into practice!  I wonder if we will…