The Table Is Ready

While they were eating, Jesus took bread, blessed it, broke it, and gave it to the disciples and said, “Take and eat. This is my body.” He took a cup, gave thanks, and gave it to them, saying, “Drink from this, all of you. This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many so that their sins may be forgiven. (Matthew 26:26-28 CEB)

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Maundy Thursday

The Last Supper 29

Today Christians around the world remember the Last Supper of Jesus Christ with his disciples.


Photo Credit: Last Supper 29 via Flickr by Waiting For The Word. Used Under the Creative Commons 2.0 License.

Surgery Update Part II

It has been about two weeks since my surgery so I think it is fitting for another update.  Things have been going well and I am on track to receive the processor in about a month.  I was out of work for about a week and I am getting back into my routine.  I get the occasional funny look from people when they notice I have a piece of medal in my head.  Some people ask about it and some just like to stare.  It is an interesting conversation starter.

Below are some pictures of my progress; don’t worry they are too grotesque.

 

Thanks for all of the tweets, emails, Facebook messages and the like; I truly appreciate them.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Edit: Spelling of Locutus of Borg. Thanks Tim J.

And You Wonder Why People Aren’t Christians: World Vision Edition

 

World Vision International has been in the news a lot lately.

Recap:

First the Christian charity came out and stated that they were going to hire openly gay employees; this caused a fire storm of both support and regret from people all over Christendom.  Two days later World Vision reversed their decision and even referred to it as a “mistake.”

In those two days after the initial announcement the internet was a buzz with people on one hand applauding the bold decision and on the other calling for a boycott of the organization.

As a matter of full disclosure, I sponsor two World Vision children and I am also a World Vision Child Ambassador.  I have the privilege to help people sponsor children from over 100 countries around the world.

I was saddened to hear that World Vision because of what seemed like a well planned boycott had to reverse its decision to ensure that they could still operate.  Rich Sterns the head of World Vision initially stated that 5000 children or roughly $2.1 million of donations had been dropped due to this so called “scandal.”  And if that wasn’t bad enough…

I saw this tweet today:

10,000 children sponsorship… gone…

10,000 children who had a relationship with individuals, families and even churches, now they don’t.

10,000 children were used as pawns in a game of “who’s holier than thou?”

10,000 children were cast off and forgotten….

10,000 children

To withhold sponsorship from children struggling to have the basics of life goes against the Gospel; plain and simple.

When my family and I write letters back and forth between the children we sponsor not once did they ever write back and ask if we were a homosexual couple… not once.  Not once did World Vision ask if we were a same sex couple or even supported same sex rights.

Rather our sponsored children would send us pictures of homes, chickens, flowers you name it,  adorned with the stickers that we had sent to them.  They tells us about their family life, school, and thank us for supporting them and their projects.

Do I agree with World Vision’s reversal?  No, but it is my belief that Christ called us to serve and love one another in his name no matter what.

Let’s stop debating homosexuality which for some reason the Church is absolutely fascinated with. Let’s get back to the gospel of joy, love, grace, hope, and reconciliation. That’s what matters to God, not the 6 verses (all of them out of context) that people love to point out about homosexuality.

There are more verses in the Bible about the treatment of slaves but you don’t see anyone trying to go back to that way of life.

There are more verses in the Bible about love and care for others that are obviously being over looked.

Let’s focus on the kids and after we solve world hurt and poverty then we can talk particulars.

Arguing about who is in and who is out in the Kingdom of God is why people aren’t lining up to be Christians; if this is the way Christians react to different ways of thinking then no wonder the church is shrinking.  The actions of those who dropped their sponsorship did more harm to Christianity than it did to “help save it” or “restore it back to Biblical principles.”

In the end no one “won” this fight.  It was the 10,000 children who lost.

The world around us is full of hurt and pain and this is what we chose to spend our time on.

 

I will continue to support World Vision because my two sponsored children are counting on me; will you join me?

If you want to sponsor a child perhaps one that was dropped you can click here.  You will be able to select the gender, country of origin, age, etc.  One of the children we sponsor has the same birthday as our four year old daughter; it’s a great way to share the love of Christ and have a personal connection to someone who is made in the very same image of God as you and I.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Edit 1: Link to sponsor children fix @ 3:35pm CST

4 Sermons, 1 Post

I realized that I had been falling down on my sermon uploading job so this post is extra special because it has four sermons in one mega post.

“If This Then That” (March 23, 2014- Romans 5:1-11)


“Born From Above” (March 16, 2014- John 3:1-17)


Ash Wednesday 2014 (March 5, 2014-Matthew 6:1-6, 16-20)


“The Unveiling”- Transfiguration Sunday (March 2, 2014)


Surgery Update

I want to thank everyone for their thoughts, prayers, Facebook messages, tweets and texts.

Everything with the surgery went well.  I am currently at home and resting, in a bit of pain but the meds are helping.  I have been sleeping, eating soup and crackers and watching a lot of Star Wars: Clone Wars on Netflix.

My beautiful and lovely wife has been a trooper; on top of being 4 months pregnant and having to take care of a 4 year old and an almost 2 year old, she has to be a nurse to me as well.  She is taking the “in sickness and health” vow seriously. :-)

Below are some pics from the big day; in the picture you will see my head bandaged that is coming off today.

 

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

What A Difference A Year Makes

One year ago today I pushed “Publish” to a letter to a major underwear company voicing my opinion about unattainable standards of sexuality and beauty thinking no one would ever read it; boy was I wrong.

In weeks and months that followed I have amassed nearly 4 million hits.  I can not tell you how thankful I am for all of the shares, tweets, likes, Facebook messages and emails I have received from people from all over the world.  This one letter set off a fire storm of interviews, phone calls and even landed me a segment on Headline News and CNN.  It was a fast paced and exciting time (all of this happen during Holy Week 2013).

To be honest I never set out to write a viral post; I was just a concerned dad who wanted his voice to be heard.  I wanted people to think about the messages the multi-billion dollar corporations were sending to young people, both girls and boys.

You never know what will “go viral” these days; express your opipions, stand up for those you can’t…. you never know who  might be listening.

Click here to see some of the interviews and videos I did.

Again, thank  you for supporting me and keep reading!

In Christ,

Rev. Evan


Number 12

For most of my life I have lived with the use of only one ear.  When I was around 10 or 11 or so, I developed a condition that over time my hearing gradually began to decrease in my right ear.  I didn’t have great hearing in that ear to begin with but it was getting worse.  It got to the point to where I could only hear about 10% on my right side.  I have been in and out of doctor’s offices more times than I can count.   The doctors know that my audio nerve is good but the bones that transmit the sound to the that nerve are not working. I have undergone 11 surgeries to try to repair or re-establish some hearing in my right side.

On March 27, I will have surgery number 12– step one of a Bone Anchored Hearing Aid.  (Pictured above and below)

The process is a simple one; a metal pin will be placed in the bone behind the ear.  Once it is set (about 6-12 weeks after placement) a processor will be attached to it.  The processor will pick up the sound and using the pin and the bone through bone conduction will send the sound to the audio nerve thus allowing me to hear on my right side.  I was able to have a simulated BAHA and it worked well; the world was so much louder :-)

I am looking forward to the prospect of having hearing in both ears again.  I will post pictures and updates from time to time so be sure to stay tuned!

The Next Step: Board Certification

Application for Board Certification

Nine months ago started a new (sorta) ministry path and accepted a position as a chaplain in Southeast Texas. Having completed four units of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) I had the training and skills to begin this new journey.  At first it was a bit of a “culture shock” from church based pastoral ministry but I am enjoying it.

As part of my position at the hospital I have worked for the last few months on completing my application to become a Board Certified Chaplain through the Association of Professional Chaplains.  Last week after a couple months of writing off and on, I submitted a large stack of papers, reflections and critiques as part of my application.

My goal is to sit before my certification board at the national conference in Anaheim, CA this June.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan

Look At The Picture

My latest for Sojourners. A big thanks to my brother in law Ben for his keen editing eye on this piece. Be sure to check out his site emergingdisciple.com


Residents wait in line to receive food aid distributed in the Yarmouk refugee camp on Jan. 31. UNRWA via Getty Images

Last week amid the closing of the Olympics, the national debt, and the latest pop culture ‘news,’ this photo was published that encapsulates the volume of pain and suffering that is happening in Syria. For years, the conflict in Syria has gone through its ebbs and flows; it has been in and out of the media’s attention. Even though thousands of people have been displaced and families have been forced to eat animal feed, this is not worthy for American front-page news. Sadly, travesties around the world, or even in our backyard, are categorized as “out of sight, out of mind.” Too often we are consumed by other things than those outside of our limited purview.

When I saw the photo of the suffering of the Syrians, I was shocked; I was shocked that so many people were in line to get food, shocked that despite their best efforts there is not enough food to go around. I felt sad for the people who, by no fault of their own, live in a country that is being ravaged by war, violence, greed, and power struggles. I felt embarrassed for all of the times I whined and complained about my own “problems.” All of them collectively wouldn’t even begin to compare to what people are facing in Syria at this very moment. I wanted to find a way to do something, to raise my voice for them … anything.

Where is the outcry on their behalf? Where are those standing up for the widows and the orphans? Why are the collective prayers and laments of the church not being raised for those facing distress and peril? Why are too many churches debating who is in and who is out, or who is right or who is wrong, rather than focusing on issues such as this? These questions and many more began to swirl in my head.

This is not how the world is supposed to be. People can be so hateful and power hungry that it leaves innocent people in the dust.

What happened to that “very good” world that is described in Genesis? Will it ever be the idyllic place we all hope and yearn for?

In Matthew 25 we find these prophetic words of Jesus; “Then those who are righteous will reply to him, ‘Lord, when did we see you hungry and feed you, or thirsty and give you a drink? When did we see you as a stranger and welcome you, or naked and give you clothes to wear? When did we see you sick or in prison and visit you?’ “Then the king will reply to them, ‘I assure you that when you have done it for one of the least of these brothers and sisters of mine, you have done it for me.’” (Common English Bible 2012).

The church has an obligation to the world. The church has an obligation to other people. Although we have enough problems in this country, it does not negate our duty to share the love of Christ to all people. Becoming a Christian expands our horizon, our world, our collective outlook. No longer are we to be self-centered; rather, by the ministry and indwelling of Christ, we have become new creations of selflessness.

I’m not saying that you have to wear sackcloth and throw ashes on your head; or, sell all your possessions and give it to the people of Syria. However, in our moments of selfishness, let’s remember those who struggle for day-to-day basics. Remember those who hunger for the food that we discard every day. Remember that we are not immune to the cries of the hurting and the forgotten in this world.

All people no matter their race, age, hair color, etc., are all created in the same image of God as you and I. Since all people are created in that image, we should not have predetermined boundaries on our love and grace. Looking at the world and all of its many issues and problems can be overwhelming, but we first and foremost must remember the call to be the hands and feet of God in the world.

When we think we don’t have enough, look at the picture.

When our children complain about dinner, show them the picture.

When the church is debating what to cut from the budget, look at the picture.

When more focus is on getting people in the door than helping those outside it, look at the picture.

As we journey into Lent, the season of emptying ourselves out to receive the Holy Spirit and journey with Jesus toward the cross in Jerusalem, may we find ways to help the poor and outcast.

May this picture be a reminder that just because we are not affected by it, people are suffering every day.

Come Holy Spirit come.

In Christ,

Rev. Evan