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    The Morning After Blog

    From our Minister, John: Welcome to the Morning After. Preaching is created and offered and it’s a little awkward because you 'bare your soul' and it’s like you stand there buck naked, share what’s important to you, people get to peek and then walk away! It’s hard because it feels 'one way'. That is, I speak, people listen, and then choose to walk away or wander back, often with little comment one way or the other. 

    So here is a chance for me and our guest speakers to clarify, and for you to comment and for all of us to learn together! Thanks for sharing your thoughts, questions, or wonderings. This is a free space to engage!


    Reel Theology pt.5: Boyhood

    As I spoke on Sunday, I found it funny that just 24 hours earlier I was making sand castles on a beach.
    In the sermon I mentioned the phrase of Jesus: "No one who has their hand to the plough and looks backward is fit for the kingdom." It was Jesus' way of saying that if we are looking back in regret all the time, we cant be in the 'now' or in hope of the future. I say that should be on a sticky note for me! I need to hear that over and over again. The mother in Boyhood needed to too.

    I mentioned that I often forget to present certain ideas in my sermons and this past Sunday was no exception. One was that being a boy is a luxury, first world experience in many places. Boy soldiers are the ones we need to worry about; young boys who are taken and turned into soldiers forcibly. This tool of war is an abomination. Of course there is a luxury just by gender too, but that is another sermon.

    Secondly, I forgot to mention that about a dozen years ago as a single dad, I was walking through security at the airport with my kids after a visit with my folks. I shared that I broke down and my son asked why and I said; "sometimes I just feel like I havent been a good dad." ALL of us parents feel that at times, not unlike the mother in this movie. I hope parents can be graceful with themselves.

    Boyhood is a hugely complex movie, I drew my conclusions, and I hope you will too.

    What were some of yours?

    - John

    Mar 22 2015 - Boyhood


    Reel Theology pt.4: Wild

    On Sunday we talked about the movie Wild
    Everyone has a story of journey  - either a literal story of a trek or trip - or a figurative journey through some sort of hardship/shift in their lives. On Monday evening, we had the opportunity to share some of these stories. It was amazing to see the same themes present in Wild also present in our stories. It really is an archetypal story. 
    We talked about 4 take aways from the movie - but, there are certainly lots more.  

    1.      Walking is hard work – it’s the journey that’s important

    2.      Pay Attention – Feel what you need to feel

    3.      Let it go – we are probably carrying stuff we can leave behind

    4.      We are not alone – even when we’re alone, we're not alone

    What themes and questions did Wild raise for you?   

    - Sheena

    Mar 15 2015- Wild


    Reel Theology pt.3: Whiplash

    The most recent movie in our Reel Theology series, Whiplash, was hard to watch and certainly gave us a lot to think about. This movie caused me to reflect on the music mentors and teachers, good and bad, I had as a student of music. I also heard others talking about work, sports, and family relationships.

    What does it take for a student, or anyone for that matter, to be inspired to greatness? What kind of 
    personal fortitude does it take to overcome abuse and still achieve something amazing?

    This Lenten time we are in is an opportunity for personal reflection on our own call to whatever or 
    wherever the Spirit is leading us. With Jesus as our mentor/teacher, the example is set before us of 
    leadership that is bold and courageous and risk taking. Where is the Spirit leading you at that moment? What spark will it take to break open the possibilities of the best that you can be?

    -Nancy Chegus
     Director, Music Ministry

    Mar 8 2015 - Whiplash


    Reel Theology pt.2: The Theory of Everything

    I liked last week's movie! The Theory of Everything explores relationships, resiliency, science, faith, and the marriage of 'opposites.'

    I often feel as though the faith community has to 'bow' to science, and that we are seen as irrelevant, naive or ignorant. My sermon this past Sunday was about the acceptance of BOTH science and religion, working together as partners. I like that. Rohr calls this "third eye seeing",  where wisdom lay. I like that too!

    Rather than focusing on the relationship between faith and science, it may have been interesting to look at the relationship between Stephen and Jane. Is it possible that "I" could be so resilient, supportive, and loving? I truthfully don't know. Have you asked yourself the same question?

    We ended Sunday with the question: what is your theory of everything? For me it comes to Paul's letter, (Corinthians 1:1-12) and the reminder that of faith hope and love, love is the greatest of all (that is, God's love for us) That's where I put my money! (as they say)

    How about you? What's your "theory of everything"? Continue the conversation!

    - John

    Mar 1 2015 - Theory of Everything


    REEL Theology pt 1: Selma

    This Sunday's music was brilliant, as someone said after, 'they looked like they had fun" indeed.

    I was feeling sick which was too bad since the passion and inspiration of this movie was lost in my kleenex and throat lozenges.

    Selma certainly provoked the questions:

    Can anything good come out Selma (or Nazareth)? Yes, of course something can!

    What does prophecy require? Prophecy requires prophetic inside knowledge of systems, to transform those systems, to break rules, to bring change.

    How can movements take place? Movement can only happen when we build bridges to those who are different and yet similar in truth, like the arts, governments, business, etc.

    The experience of Ash Wednesday on the streets of Kensington was a metaphor for how and who we might become as a Hillhurst United city church. Literally building bridges with culture.

    What would I change? Not much since my health limited the passion of the day.

    Our annual financial meeting after was brilliant. It was an excellent presentation that spoke of our MOVEMENT, OUR BRIDGE, OUR PROPHETIC voice that answers the question can anything good come out of HUC. I say YES!

    - John

    Feb 22 2015 - Selma

    Feb 22 2015 - Selma - Special Speaker

    Feb 22 2015 - Selma