Where did Jesus say: “Do not be afraid…except when you vote, then it’s ok.”


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If you vote for x, you’re really voting for y!  You have to vote for candidate y, otherwise the country is going to come to an end!  Yes, candidate z if imperfect, but certainly better than candidate w!  If you vote for x, you’re throwing your vote away!  If you vote for x, then you’ll be the one responsible for candidate y winning and the disaster their administration will be!

These are just some of the reasons I have been told as to why I have to vote for either Clinton or Trump.  Just fill in w, x, y, and z with candidate names of your choice.  It really doesn’t matter who you fill in – the logic given is the same.  I’m amazed that I have that much power that I can defy the laws the math with my vote.  Apparently my writing in a name for president has the power add a vote to both Clinton’s and Trump’s vote tally.  And at the same time, I’m told that I’m wasting my vote.  Amazing. I must be superman in order to do two opposing things at the same time.  Or maybe this is just a really Lutheran election.  Lutherans love to live in paradox.  We talk about being sinner and saint simultaneously.  Maybe this is the Lutheran election – my vote matters, but I’m throwing it away at the same time.

To all those who use any of the sayings at the beginning of this post, I have some questions for you.  These questions are really pertinent mostly for Christians who make these arguments.  Everyone else is off the hook here.

Since when did it become acceptable for Christians to live in fear or to vote based on fear?  We hear this fear from both major campaigns in their arguments – see the statements above.  We hear it in the arguments from supporters that if you vote for a third party candidate or write in someone, you’re actually voting for someone you didn’t actually vote for.  Yet the question remains, when did it become alright for Christians to live in fear?  Not just acceptable and alright, but fully embracing this kind of fear and rhetoric.

We claim a Christianity and a faith that is not based on fear.  Rather, Jesus told us not to be afraid, yet we hear plenty of voices that shout aloud the opposite of what Christ said when it comes to elections and voting and other areas of life. And from people who claim to be Jesus’ followers.

So what is it fellow Christians?  Do our ideals and beliefs matter?  Or should we just pitch them and admit we’re full of shit and instead be honest with the idea that while we like wearing the label of Christian (except for the cross thing), we actually believe that our salvation resides in a different savior – one who we elect? If that’s the case, we don’t follow the same religion.

How would this clinging to and speaking words based on fear be any different than the throngs who greeted Jesus at the gate of Jerusalem with palm branches?  They believed that Jesus was going to be a military or political leader who was going to bring political and military freedom – throwing off Roman rule through revolution.  They believed in Jesus as savior in a similar way that it seems that we as a society believe – that our salvation comes in the form of a political leader who will bring about political change through the established system.

I’ve got news for you – That’s not what Jesus was about.

Living in this type of fear and speaking about the election in this manner are not the Gospel.  This is not voting in a Christian way as far as I can tell.  I refuse to live in fear, or vote based on fear.  I hope you’ll join me in doing that – regardless of who you vote for.  Please, oh please though, don’t insult my intelligence by throwing contradictory arguments at me.  I’m not interested.  You want to have a conversation about the election, great.  I’m willing to do that.  I’m not willing to sit and listen to you throw fear around as a good reason to vote for your candidate.  It’s not a good reason.  And our salvation doesn’t reside in your candidate.

Walking in nature


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Walking in nature is something that I always look forward to.


And why shouldn’t I, nature often gives me a sense of life.  It feels like I am heading somewhere, even when the way may not be clear or is full of weeds along the journey.


Nature is refreshing – a way to connect with something larger.


Nature can be destructive – that’s a part of it too.  But I savor the moments when nature is something else – life giving.


Balanced Rock


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Balanced rock is one of the neatest things at Trough Creek State Park.  Here’s why:


Yes, it’s a rock that is literally balanced on the edge of a cliff.  No worries though, it ain’t gonna move – no matter how hard you push.

Which allows for people to do goofy things like this:


Or this:


Or you can get even more creative and do something like this:


If nothing else, you have learned that the Best men/boys are a bit crazy.

But that doesn’t change the fact that a large balanced rock is just plain crazy.


Keeping you in suspense


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During our hike around Trough Creek State Park, we came across a suspension bridge.


I like suspension bridges.  I think they are neat. Having said that, I also have a fear of heights, which makes for an interesting situation when I come to such a bridge.  In this case, I was able to enjoy the bridge since it wasn’t very high.

And so did the kids.


In case you were wondering, we love posing in goofy positions.

Copperas Stone


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After the overlook, we made our way to Trough Creek state park and explored.  First up was the Copperas Rock.


Your eyes are not deceiving you, the rock is a copper color.  This is due to the minerals in the rock.  Pretty neat.

BTW, Trough Creek state park is beautiful, in case you haven’t figured that out already.  Over the next few weeks, I’ll be sharing pictures from our time there.


Preach It!!!


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Ok, so here’s just a piece of the silly humor that I like.  We were walking along the little trail from the parking lot to the overlook and I saw a garbage can.  Yet, the garbage can looked unique.  Being a seminarian, I couldn’t help but convert the garbage can into something else – a pulpit.  It just looked perfect.


How about we do a catchy caption contest.  There are no prizes – except my eternal gratitude that you have a sense of humor also.  What do you think the caption should be on the picture?




We rented a cabin in the woods near Lake Raystown.  I’ve been told that it is the largest inland lake in Pennsylvania.  It’s shaped like a snake, yet has the beauty of a butterfly.

During out time there, we made our way to an overlook to enjoy the beauty.


There is some interesting history behind the lake.  We’ve heard stories that at the bottom of the lake is a town that was taken over by the Army Corp of Engineers in order to make the lake what it is today.  At the one end of the lake is a dam, which holds the millions of gallons of water.  I don’t know if the story is true, but I do know this – on a beautiful day, this view is gorgeous.


Every once in a while it’s wonderful to sit back and enjoy what the senses allow us to take in.