Featured Sermons

Christ the Gathering Point (John 4)

This is some of the text I used on Sunday. I ended up preaching a message that was pretty different in a lot of ways from what I originally prepared, but I thought I’d still post this because I wanted to share the general idea. If you’re interested in listening in on our Sunday Morning messages you can subscribe the the Camas Friends Church podcast available on iTunes.

From John 4.


Water is an essential part of life. It may be the essence of life. Without water life is impossible. Without access to clean water, life is miserable. When a baby is born, a mother’s water breaks. Wars have been fought over water. Racism fought around water fountains. People die daily because they lack water. People die when the mysterious power of water becomes unloosed and crashes into civilization.

When we witnees oppression we pray “let justice roll down like mighty waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.” Some of our most beautiful art, poetry, songwriting, you name has been inspired by water. Some know more than others that “Living water is a direct gift from God…[because] it means fresh water that hasn’t been controlled by human action…” (Doug Thorpe) The bible is filled with streams that make glad the city of God, floods, powerful seas that split, rivers and wells.

The Jordan River today is mostly sewage. Water can be polluted. Water that once offered life can become a source of sickness and unsafe to use.

“Water is never simply water. [In the bible] waters sing in poetry” (Doug Thorpe).

Featured Sermons The Biblical

Love Was the First Motion (John 1)

At our church for Lent we’re reflection on two interrelated questions “Who is Christ?” and “What Canst Thou Say (about this Christ)?” So there’s an inner tension in these two questions: what has been said about who Christ is? Who does he claim to be? Who do we say he is? And How have we experienced Christ? Who has this Christ been to us experientially? There’s a lot here to unpack, but here are our guiding queries:

  • Who is this Jesus that the many authors of Scripture portray?
  • Who is the Jesus we encounter in God’s Spirit?
  • Who is this whom we gather around and worship?
  • Who is this we attest to follow?
  • Who has Christ been to you?

So to start off the series I preached on the well-known John 1 passage “In the beginning was the word…”

It seemed like a good place to start. And then as I read the passage I got the knot in my stomach that has become pretty common for me. Questions arose: How do I explain such a difficult concept as the ‘incarnation?’ What is the message that God is speaking through this to us?  How do we understand this in a meaningful and compelling way? 

Blog Entries

Travelogue from Quaker Heritage Day (Audio)

This is probably the last of my Quaker Heritage Day reports, but a few Sundays back I shared during worship about our trip. If you’re interested you can listen to the Camas Friends Church podcast from that day: Travelogue from Quaker Heritage Day




Ancient Paths

Read this today and found it inspiring:

It is of the new things that men tire – of fashions and proposals and improvements and change. It is the old things that startle and intoxicate. It is the old things that are young. There is no skeptic who does not feel that many have doubted before. There is no rich and fickle man who does not feel that all his novelties are ancient. There is no worshipper of change who does not feel upon his neck the vast weight of the weariness of the universe. But we who do the old things are fed by nature with a perpetual infancy (The Napoleon of Notting Hill, GK Chesterton).

“Thus says the LORD: Stand at the crossroads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way lies; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls. (Jer 6:16)


Convergent Friends Featured

Remix Culture and the Church

During Quaker Heritage Day one of the key themes I discussed was the idea of remix culture recently written about by Lawrence Lessig in his book with the same title. ((You can download Remix for free from here)) Remix culture has a long history that began back with the advent of the record player (here is a lecture by Lessig covering some of this history). Much of remix culture is based on who has permission to publish and disseminate content? Remix has most clearly been developed through the advent of DJs and Hip-Hop culture, where sampling is heavily relied upon to create music. Here sampling is a building upon often well-known loops from other songs, which (at its best) carries the meaning (or subverts the meaning) from that original piece into a new and creative way.

Often in remix the artist transgresses the text’s original intent, blending it with other popular or personal “texts.” These new readings challenge “the sanctioned expert interpretations and readings of the text.” ((Jenkins 1992: 25)) Remix is the difference between Read-Only material (copy-write protected) and Read-Write (free or remix culture). The “one emphasizes learning. The other emphasizes learning by speaking. One preserves its integrity. The other teaches integrity. One emphasizes a hierarchy. The other hides the hierarchy.” ((Lessig 2008: 87)) Remix is about leveling the playing field for what counts as a legitimate production of culture; it does not have to come just from authorized places.