Saturday, November 28, 2009

No Longer Silent

No Longer Silent Tex Sample provides a helpful, clear, and brief argument, grounded in Scripture and tradition, for gay marriage.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Resettling Bhutanese Refugees in Madison

Thanks to the hard work of many local congregations, and especially the staff of LSS of Wisconsin, Madison is now a sub-office for refugee resettlement. Four families have already arrived in 2009, and we anticipate 125 refugees arriving in 2010. St. John Lutheran of Madison is the gracious host for the new office space for this sub-office.

Most if not all of the refugees arriving in Madison will be Bhutanese. These refugees have been in refugee camps in SE Nepal since 1991, around 18 years! They have been anticipating moving to a new country for a very long time.

Congregations and individuals in our synod have a variety of opportunities to welcome them and help with resettlement. These include:

1) Congregations can contact the refugee resettlement office to volunteer as co-sponsoring congregation. Congregations that co-sponsor a family commit to approximately six months of hands on support for a refugee family.

2) Individuals can volunteer to help with one-time or on-going tasks, like helping on move-in day when the family arrives and moves into their apartment, or as a bus buddy, helping refugees find their way around the city by bus.

3) Congregations or individuals can donated furniture, household goods, and clothing.

If you are interested in any of these possibilities, call Rebekah Johnson, 414.325.3098, or e-mail at

Thanks to Rebekah and many others who are making this a reality, where we have the opportunity in a very concrete way to fulfill the biblical mandate to welcome the stranger. If you are interested in speaking with congregations who already have experience with refugee resettlement, or are looking for a speaker on refugee resettlement, feel free to contact Pastor Clint Schnekloth, contact information below.

Top 15 Albums of the Decade

This is a completely unscientific, subjective list of what may be the best 15 albums of the last decade. I compiled the list by looking through what I have in my piles of CDs and on the hard drive. I've probably over-looked a ton of great music, and the list doesn't include any jazz. Maybe that requires a separate list. Anyway, here goes:

15. Dr. Dog- Fate
14. Neko Case- Middle Cyclone
13. Calexico- Carried to Dust
12. M.I.A.- Arular
11. Robert Plant/Alison Krauss- Raising Sand
10. Sinead O'Connor- Theology
9. Thom Yorke- Eraser
8. Bob Dylan- Love and Theft
7. Iron & Wine- Shepherd's Dog
6. The Decemberists- The Hazards of Love
5. Wilco- Live in Chicago
4. Gillian Welch- Time (Revelator)
3. Radiohead- In Rainbows
2. Rickie Lee Jones- Sermon on Exposition Boulevard
1. The National- Boxer

Monday, November 23, 2009

Paste's Top Ten Books of the Decade

Paste magazine came today, and they featured their "tops" of the decade. This intimidates me. I really like "top ten" lists for each year, but top ten for a decade starts to seem exhaustive.

That said, I liked their top ten for the decade in books, and I in large part agree with them. Here it is:

10. David Foster Wallace, Consider the Lobster and Other Essays: Hands down the best and most memorable collection of essays I have ever read in my whole life

9. Jonathan Safran Foer, Everything is Illuminated: Didn't read it, but I think we read one of his other novels in book group

8. Joan Didion, The Year of Magical Thinking: An amazing cartography of grief, it helped me think through grief in my own life and parish ministry

7. Craig Thompson, Blankets: A graphic novel that kind of defines the genre. Amazing. Seems like this genre is often autobiographical, but in this case it works very well.

6. Markus Zusak, The Book Thief: Haven't read it, though more than one person has recommended it to me.

5. Jeffrey Eugenides, Middlesex: Read this one in book group, great for discussion and profound on the immigrant experiences and change, among other things.

4. Marilynne Robinson, Gilead: This is the only book in the last decade, other than the Bible, that I read three times. I would have ranked it #1 on the list.

3. Cormac McCarthy, The Road: I listened to this as a book on a tape a few years ago, and I was riveted. I'd lengthen my drives to keep listening. It's amazing. I'd rank it #2, after Gilead.

2. Dave Eggers, A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius: I'd prefer to give this award to his book Zeitoun, but this one was good also. Dave Eggers is one of my heroes.

1. Michael Chabon, The Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay: Chabon is another one of my heroes. I've started this novel twice but haven't finished it yet. I would have ranked his Yiddish Policeman's Union as a tie with Gilead for #1.


Monday, November 16, 2009

Sunday, November 08, 2009

In The End, Fall Of Berlin Wall Was Gorbachev's Call : NPR

In The End, Fall Of Berlin Wall Was Gorbachev's Call : NPR

Thinking of these events in these days. I've got a signed copy of Gorbachev's Autobiography on my shelf, sat in line at a Barnes & Noble in Washington D.C. for a whole day to get it, back in the days when I was a seminary student with very few commitments and lots of time on my hands. Visiting the wall and check point charlie were some major travel experiences for us while in Germany... Great article to summarize and update readers on the historical ins and outs of the period.