Writers feel 2 emotions about what they write: 1. This is the best thing ever written. 2. This is the worst thing. Usually in the same hour.— Jon Acuff (@JonAcuff) May 16, 2014
Hundreds of girls have been kidnapped in Nigeria because they had the audacity to want to get an education.
Be in prayer for these girls and that they might be brought back to their families safely. It’s hard to imagine that so many girls could be taken away. Social media as been buzzing trying to draw attention to this problem.
Sadly this problem is not just located in Africa but every day women, men and children are sold into modern day slavery and sex trafficking.
Despite all of the rhetoric and differences that get thrown around Christian circles there should be a united front from all followers of Christ. These girls (or any person for that matter) are not property to be bought and sold and exchanged for goods. If we truly believe in the divine presence of God indwells within all of humanity then we should be outraged at the actions of this terrorist group in Africa. Not just because they are a terrorist group but because they are stealing the innocence of these girls.
Pray for their safety, prayer for their families who struggle to cling to hope and pray that peace will come to earth and this never happens again.
Come, Holy Spirit, Come.
Follow the story on Twitter by searching the hastag #bringbackourgirls
A little over two years ago I started this blog. I had started writing a religious column for the local paper and I wanted to share those posts with people outside of Southeast Texas. Over time I began to add my sermons in audio form and even write more article that were only ever published on this site. Every once and a while someone would comment or like my post which was nice but it was for my own edification and sharing my understanding of the faith I hold so dear. I loved hearing from people (even people who disagreed with me); it was a good outlet for me.
In March 2013, evandolive.com got a little busier when my open letter to Victoria’s Secret went viral (to the tune of 4 million+ people). It was during this time that I had the idea for a book. I began thinking about how in all of marketing there is an element of fantasy and perfection and somewhere along the line society began to blur the two together. Don’t believe me? Try to find a Middle School aged boy who does not think that Axe Body Spray will attract the opposite sex. Why? Because this is the core of their marketing campaign. On top of that, how do people of faith respond when the image of God is being distorted to only encapsulate one body type or the so called “ideal body type”?
After working on a proposal, a detailed outline, numerous sample pages and various edits, I am happy to announce that I have entered into a contract with the Pilgrim Press, the publishing house for the United Church of Christ, to publish my first book!
I am very happy, excited, nervous and scared all at the same time.
As of now, the working title is The Distortion of the Imago Dei.
I have been busy getting my idea down on paper (via Google Drive) trying to synthesize it all.
I want to thank you for all of the support you have shown me over this past year; if my letter had not gone viral I am not sure I would be making this announcement today.
Thank you for all your support as I embark on this new journey!
Stay tuned for more updates!
OK… back to writing… I have a deadline to keep.
Photo Credit: “Baby You’re A Firework: Fireworks at Disneyland, Anaheim, California” by Kevin Dooley via Flickr. Used Under Creative Commons License 2.0
The Next Step: 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.
Sermon: “Blessings For All”
Below is a link to a sermon I preached on February 2, 2014 entitled “Blessings For All” based on Matthew 5:1-12
(Recorded by Voice Record Pro by Bej Bej Apps for iOS)
The Person Who Was Missing From The Nye/Ham Debate
The internet has been a buzz after the “Creation Debate” between Bill Nye the Science Guy and Ken Ham, the CEO of Answers in Genesis. The debate focused on the question “is creation a viable model of origins in today’s modern scientific era?”
Ham is the founder of the Creation Museum in Northern Kentucky which postulates the world was created how it is described in the book of Genesis and believes that the world is only 6000 or so years old (this model is known as Young Earth Creationist.) Nye showed another side stating that science and evolution were the models of creation that should be accepted.
Both people gave their reasoned arguments in a bevy of pictures, graphs and charts. They had their particular point of view and they were showing the world how they understood the world to work. Ham is a Christian literalist and Nye is a Scientist. Both are coming from completely different angles while looking at the same thing. On one hand you have Ham trying to make the model of Creation found in the Bible fit the world around him and on the other you have Nye who uses the empirical method to be certain about his beliefs. Both of these men were using their view to be the one that should be seen as true and authoritative. Here in lies the problem.
Alexander Campbell, one of the founders of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) articulated the notion of perception when he wrote:
“Just as if A, B and C should each put on different colored glasses; A puts on green spectacles, B yellow, and C blue; each one of them looks through his own glasses at a piece of white paper and concludes he is right, not remembering that he has his spectacles on. Thus to A it appears green, to B yellow and to C blue. They begin to argue on the subject, and it is impossible for any of them to convince another that he is wrong- each one feels a conviction next to absolute certainty that his opinion is right. But D, who has no spectacles on, and who is standing looking on during the contest very well knows that they are all wrong; he sees the spectacles on each man’s face and accounts for the difference.”
Throughout the debate I could not help but to think that one person was missing: the person who doesn’t see religion and science as mutually exclusive. Where was the person of faith who is OK with a bit of mystery in the world and OK with the notion that the world might not have been created in seven 24 hour days?
The problem with this type of debate is the same problem that people have with the political pundits in Washington: they are too polarizing. Both sides think they have it figured out. This is being played out in our society; a Gallup poll stated that 42% of voters claim to be Independent, while 31% affiliate with Democrats and 25% with the Republicans. People more and more do not like to be “nailed down” in one camp or another.
Some of the biggest complaints I hear from people not in the church or those who recently left is that some churches have “it all figured out” and leave no room for questioning or growing or new ways of looking at something. Learning, growing, shaping and forming our own ideals is something that we instill in children when we teach them critical thinking. Why do people in some churches feel they have to become robots of their church or pastor and just spit out what they have been told to believe?
The creation debate more than likely didn’t change anyone’s mind about how the world came to be. If anything those on either side felt their guy “won” and their view was shown in the best light. Then there are those who struggle with faith and how the world works in harmony together.
They were left out.
The way I see it is that both Ham and Nye missed the mark. Ham is using the Bible as a science book– the Bible is a book of faith and people’s experience with the Divine. Nye did not leave any room for mystery and faith; it was charts, graphs, facts and figures.
There has to be a balance made. Faith and Science do not have to be at odds with each other. The debate was too focused on facts and not on mystery. Where was the presenter who said “I’m not sure how this all happened, but I have faith?”
 Mark G. Toulouse, Joined in Discipleship: the Shaping of Contemporary Disciples Identity, rev. ed. (St. Louis, MO: Chalice Press, 1997), 42.
God Is Making All Things New
Below is an article I wrote for a newsletter for the hospital I am working for.
2013 has come to a close we find ourselves in the midst of 2014. Every year people resolve to make the New Year better, more fulfilling or even less hectic than the one before. These resolutions or promises are guides that will help us reach our goal of bettering ourselves, our family or our community. Some people want to exercise more, learn to cook or stop biting their nails. Others want to volunteer more, worship more fully or step out in faith by responding to a call or stirring of their heart. And yet some can be quite different like the woman who ate every meal at Starbucks for an entire year.
The New Year is a way to reflect on the life that has gone by in the previous year: the struggles, triumphs, blessings and heartaches that we have felt. All of these events and emotions form us into the person we are today. We are not the same person we were on January 1, 2013 and we will not be the same person on December 31,2014. We are being transformed and changed by the power of God and the experience we have with God through worship, nature, prayers, the sacraments and the scriptures.
Every day is a possibility to see how God is interacting with the world and in our lives.
In the Bible, at the end of the Book of Revelation, we find that God declares that one day God will make all things new. This is the declaration that is given to all of humanity. One of my favorite hymns, “This Is the Day of New Beginnings” speaks to the power of new beginnings and how we are not alone in them. The words are printed below.
This is a day of new beginnings,
time to remember and move on,
time to believe what love is bringing,
laying to rest the pain that’s gone.
For by the life and death of Jesus,
love’s mighty Spirit, now as then,
can make for us a world of difference
as faith and hope are born again.
Then let us, with the Spirit’s daring,
step from the past, and leave behind
our disappointment, guilt and grieving,
seeking new paths, and sure to find.
Christ is alive, and goes before us
to show and share what love can do.
This is a day of new beginnings;
our God is making all things new.
As we journey in 2014 not knowing what is ahead of us, let us go in faith and know that God will be with us every step of the way.
Rev. Evan Dolive
 Copyright © 1983 by Hope Publishing Co., Carol Stream, IL 60188. All rights reserved. Used by permission.; Words © 1975, 1995 Hope Publishing Co
One Post… Two Sermons
Below are two sermons I preached on January 12 and 19th. Enjoy!
“You Are Not Lacking” (January 19, 2014- I Cor. 1:1-9)
[audio http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/49fhp0iukn/you_are_not_lacking.mp3|titles=You Are Not Lacking|loop=no|animation=no]
“And The Spirit Descended” (January 12, 2014- Matthew 3:13-17)
[audio http://k007.kiwi6.com/hotlink/mkx6hjw5rw/spirit_descended.mp3|titles=And The Spirit Descended|loop=no|animation=no]
14 Books In 2014
My new year’s resolution is one that I think many people make: to read more.
I enjoy reading and I even have a Kindle.
I have an ever growing list of books that I want to read, should read and have been recommended to me but by consequence of having a full time job, preaching on Sundays, a wife and two kids, time is scarce.
So this year I am going to make a goal to read 14 books in the year 2014. I know to some avid readers out there 14 is the standard quota for a week but I am taking baby steps here.
I hope to write reviews on the books I read during this challenge and you never know maybe I will surpass my goal of 14.
If you have any recommendations for me feel free to comment below!
2014 Reading Challenge
Rev. Evan has
read 0 books toward his goal of 14 books.
read 0 books toward his goal of 14 books.
Picture: “Books HD” by Abeee via flickr. used under the Creative Commons License 2.0.
Sermon: “Hope Realized: Jesus The Light of the World”
Below is a link to a sermon I preached on Christmas Eve entitled “Hope Realized: Jesus The Light of the World” based on Isaiah 9:2-7.
(Recorded by Voice Record Pro by Bej Bej Apps for iOS)