Saturday, January 31, 2009

Penn's Testimony

I posted about this last month but only had a link. I am posting the video because I'll be preaching about the authority of our witness and the message we share with folks in church this Sunday. This is a teaser to that sermon (or, for after the sermon). It'll make for good conversation.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Belated Video Weekly

As many of you know the church's DSL has been out all week and wasn't fixed by Verizon until today. So everything involving our website, enewsletter, and Video Weekly is notoriously late. Grr...!!

Anyways, here is the Video Weekly. If you received our eNewsletter, you'll notice the link in it doesn't work. That was my fault; I accidentally uploaded the audio sermon preached rather than the Video Weekly and YouTube couldn't process the .mp3 file. Now that Grrr...!! is my fault. Since then, the Video Weekly has been uploaded correctly and is available now for you here. I hope you enjoy it.

A rare mute monk order from Molalla, Oregon performing the hallelujah Chorus.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Benediction of Rev. Joseph Lowery

Yesterday's inauguration of President Barack Obama was incredible. From the prayers to the swearing in to the magnificent parties that followed, truly our nation has welcomed Obama in a way we haven't witnessed in a long time.

My favorite part of the inauguration was the benediction during the inauguration. The Rev. Joseph Lowery prayed this prayer:


God of our weary years, God of our silent tears, thou, who has brought us thus far along the way, thou, who has by thy might led us into the light, keep us forever in the path we pray, lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met thee, lest our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget thee.

Shadowed beneath thy hand, may we forever stand true to thee, oh God, and true to our native land.

We truly give thanks for the glorious experience we've shared this day.

We pray now, oh Lord, for your blessing upon thy servant Barack Obama, the 44th president of these United States, his family and his administration.

He has come to this high office at a low moment in the national, and indeed the global, fiscal climate. But because we know you got the whole world in your hands, we pray for not only our nation, but for the community of nations.

Our faith does not shrink though pressed by the flood of mortal ills.

For we know that, Lord, you are able and you're willing to work through faithful leadership to restore stability, mend our brokenness, heal our wounds, and deliver us from the exploitation of the poor, of the least of these, and from favoritism toward the rich, the elite of these.

We thank you for the empowering of thy servant, our 44th president, to inspire our nation to believe that yes we can work together to achieve a more perfect union.

And while we have sown the seeds of greed — the wind of greed and corruption, and even as we reap the whirlwind of social and economic disruption, we seek forgiveness and we come in a spirit of unity and solidarity to commit our support to our president by our willingness to make sacrifices, to respect your creation, to turn to each other and not on each other.

And now, Lord, in the complex arena of human relations, help us to make choices on the side of love, not hate; on the side of inclusion, not exclusion; tolerance, not intolerance.

And as we leave this mountain top, help us to hold on to the spirit of fellowship and the oneness of our family. Let us take that power back to our homes, our workplaces, our churches, our temples, our mosques, or wherever we seek your will.

Bless President Barack, First Lady Michelle. Look over our little angelic Sasha and Malia.

We go now to walk together as children, pledging that we won't get weary in the difficult days ahead. We know you will not leave us alone.

With your hands of power and your heart of love, help us then, now, Lord, to work for that day when nations shall not lift up sword against nation, when tanks will be beaten into tractors, when every man and every woman shall sit under his or her own vine and fig tree and none shall be afraid, when justice will roll down like waters and righteousness as a mighty stream.

Lord, in the memory of all the saints who from their labors rest, and in the joy of a new beginning, we ask you to help us work for that day when black will not be asked to get in back, when brown can stick around ... when yellow will be mellow ... when the red man can get ahead, man; and when white will embrace what is right. That all those who do justice and love mercy say Amen.

Friday, January 09, 2009

Whoops...Forgot to Post this

Here is our Video Weekly dated January 9, 2008.

Don't Walk By

I just found out that today there is a massive outreach to the homeless men, women, and children of New York City. A non-profit organization called New York City Relief is aiming to provide help and resources to the thousands of homeless New Yorkers who sleep in the parks and on the curbs of the city everyday. Even if you missed today's outreach effort, you can still help and make a difference. Visit the New York City Relief website to learn how you can make a difference.

And, watch the video clip below. It'll help put our faith into the homeless perspective.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Finley Tinnin, Rest in Peace

Today I learned from a post on the Baptist Temple Facebook page that my childhood pastor, the Rev. Dr. Finley Tinnin, died yesterday. Tears have welt up in my eyes as I think back on such a wonderful and loving pastor--one who was both a sympathetic leader and one who was also a bit aloof to a 15-year old kid curious about what life in the ministry would look like, as I first knew him.

I have these images in my head of his pastor's study. In it, books on walnut stained bookshelves surrounded the office. His dark wooden desk met any visitor as they entered his space, his place. The study was what you'd imagine a 1950's era study would look like (even though it was the early 80's). It was warm, neat, and organized (unlike my study). Sitting behind the desk but rising as I would come in, I was scared witless (for whatever reason, I felt like I was talking with a prophet whenever I spoke with him). He would extend a hand, gester for me to sit down with a smile gently which would put me at ease (somewhat).

I began going to see him after my Christian conversion. Afterall, it was he who baptized me. And, I felt a unique bond to him after the baptismal episode where, once immersed beneath the water, he tried to lift me up (all 6'9" of me) and me, upon his direction, moving my back leg so that I helped raise me up from the waters. The only thing, when I tried to do this, my foot slipped and we both fell back into the water, arms flaying, water spewing, and laughter erupting from the entire congregation.

Following my baptism, I immersed myself into the life of the church. I went to Sunday school, Sunday morning church and Sunday evening church. I went to Wednesday night youth night and Friday night prayer time. I attended Falls Creek Baptist Assembly and any and all church-related activities. And I did it because I wanted to do so. I loved Baptist Temple, Dr. Tinnin and my youth pastor, Steve McNeil.

Within a year, I began to have a sense that I belonged in ministry. As a result, Dr. Tinnin and I spoke often about my interpretation of this "call to ministry"--sometimes he'd refer me to my youth pastor, at other times, he'd quiz me about my intentions. When I turned 16 and I was still coming to see him, and somewhat convinced that this wasn't a passing phase, he led to me teach. Believing that an ability and love of teaching were always the confirmation that a person has been called to ministry, he directed me to teach Sunday school. From then on, I demonstrated a love and an ability for teaching that confirmed for him my place in ministry. And that began my lifelong journey in ministry.

Many years later, when I attended college after a stint in the US Air Force, Dr. Tinnin was my reference to a job where I was the Assistant Chaplain at the local Baptist Nursing Home, where I led worship and visited the residents. It was a ministry I held for 3-years and loved every minute of it. When Dr. Tinnin recommended me to the position, he told me what he wrote. He said, "If Bo wants to do this, he'll do a super job. You'll be glad you have him." I remember thinking how interesting a recommendation that was and how true I felt it represented me.

Since that time, much of my life and faith have changed. I doubt Dr. Tinnin would have recognized me today, had we kept in touch. Years and life experiences led me away from home and yet a part of home has always remained with me. I have thought of Dr. Tinnin when I have preached a long sermon (he tended to do that often) or when some crisis needs availing, I ask myself how he would have handled it (he was the consumate peacemaker).

I will miss Dr. Tinnin as will countless others who have been inspired by him. Many will remember his gentle ways, his deep convictions, and his faithfulness in ministry. As just about anyone who knew will tell you, there was something warm and amazing about him. And yet, for as long as I knew him, I didn't really ever know him well. But I think of him and know that he affected me in ways that no other person has done. He was kind and really good at what he did--and he did what he did for a loooooooong time. I hope that my ministry will be as long as fruitful as his was.