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Don’t Vote

Don’t vote in this year’s presidential election. Apparently, from what people are telling me, both real choices are awful, and I hear there are two “third party” candidates that likely won’t get enough votes to win a single state. So here’s my advice: don’t cast a vote for president. Instead, cast votes that matter. The policies that most directly affect your neighbors (you know, the people Jesus told you to love) are decided at the state and local level. For Avoca, that means Representative Mike Carroll and Senator John Blake at the state level, and Representative Matt Cartwright at the federal level – along…
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Stop Shooting

It’s not often that I get overwhelmed by the news. Maybe this week is just overwhelming for me personally, and then hearing about death on the news sends me a little over the edge. Or maybe it’s just that I’ve got so much cognitive dissonance from knowing so many good people but seeing people do such amazingly horrible things on the news and the internet. There are a lot of things to feel this week, and events are pulling us in so many different directions that it’s hard to tell how to be peacemakers in the midst of the chaos….
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Starting a Business is Hard Work

Six months ago, I wasn't sure that I would ever see a coffee shop open in Avoca. Fortunately, I found someone who was willing and able to take on the role of managing this hypothetical coffee shop as a full-time job! We have an employee, a board of directors, even 501(c)(3) status. We don't yet have a building, but I hope that will change soon.  I recently described the place I'm at in this process as "skiing very quickly down a steep slope." I know how to ski, and I'm doing it pretty well. It's just that, at a certain…
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When I was working as a chaplain at Seven Ranges Boy Scout summer camp, we sang a song from Will Allen Dromgoole’s poem “The Bridge Builder.” It’s the best explanation I’ve heard for working with Boy Scouts: An old man going a lone highway, Came, at the evening cold and gray, To a chasm vast and deep and wide. Through which was flowing a sullen tide The old man crossed in the twilight dim, The sullen stream had no fear for him; But he turned when safe on the other side And built a bridge to span the tide. “Old…
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4 Reasons to Sing Christmas Carols During Advent

It’s easy for us pastor types to get upset about singing songs out of season. For the same reason that you shouldn’t sing Easter songs on Good Friday or during Lent (“Up from the grave he arose”? Not yet!), you shouldn’t sing Christmas songs in Advent. This is theologically sound and correct. It is the way we have celebrated Christmas for generations (before mass media Christmas music consumption). So why does just about every church sing Christmas carols during Advent? I haven’t done any real research on this, but I imagine it has to do with preparation. Christmas songs are…
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