The demons' name is Legion. The problems that come together and create tragedy are legion. 

Please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The delivered sermon is often considerably different than the sermon notes which are included for convenience below.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

June 19, 2016- 5th Sunday after Pentecost

"Legion".  Text is from Luke 8:26-39

Click here for sermon audio




Good morning to you my sisters and brothers, saints and sinners, disciples of Christ and children of God.

Such a miracle. 

Jesus encounters a man running around without a stitch of clothes on, plagued by a demon and causing havoc, living in the tombs and just being a general nuisance, unable to be contained. Jesus called out the demon and asked his name: Legion the demon says... not a name so much as a descriptor. 

The demons' name is Legion. The problems that come together and create tragedy are legion. 

Please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The delivered sermon is often considerably different than the sermon notes which are included for convenience below.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

June 19, 2016- 5th Sunday after Pentecost

"Legion".  Text is from Luke 8:26-39

Click here for sermon audio




Good morning to you my sisters and brothers, saints and sinners, disciples of Christ and children of God.

Such a miracle. 

Jesus encounters a man running around without a stitch of clothes on, plagued by a demon and causing havoc, living in the tombs and just being a general nuisance, unable to be contained. Jesus called out the demon and asked his name: Legion the demon says... not a name so much as a descriptor. 

I'm angry. I'm very angry. So much conspired to make a tragedy take place. 

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This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

June 15, 2016 - 5th Wednesday after Pentecost

"Second Wednesday after Pentecost".  Text is from Isaiah 65:1-9 & Galatians 3:23-29

You've got your guest list all planned. Then someone unexpected and undesirable comes and misbehaves and crashes your party. Maybe you need to check your motives. 

Please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The delivered sermon is often considerably different than the sermon notes which are included for convenience below.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

June 12, 2016- 4th Sunday after Pentecost

"Dinner Guest".  Text is from Luke 7:36--8:3

Click here for sermon audio





Good morning to you my sisters and brothers, saints and sinners, disciples of Christ and children of God.

Just imagine that you have spent all day planning this dinner party to impress this new V.I.P. in town, who has accepted your invitation. You have made sure everything is just right, all the right people are sitting next to all the right other people, and the topic of conversation is going just as you planned. And then suddenly this strange and unexpected person shows up unannounced, certainly not someone you would ever have in your house but someone who takes attention away from all of your hard work making a fuss over your V.I.P. and making a rather embarrassing scene. And to top it all off, your guest humors them, feeding into the fuss and not acting like the person you thought you invited over to begin with! 

I cannot help thinking that this is what must have been going through the head of Simon the Pharisee's head as this woman, a woman of questionable morals and history, showed up, rubbing oil on Jesus' feet and washing them with her tears and her hair. Indeed, Jesus is not the man that Simon expected, the prophet, the holy man that he'd heard so much about. Simon was expecting someone he could have some deep theological conversation with, possibly some debate. But instead, there is this scene happening of a starkly different nature, and Simon is not at all happy with how things turn out. 

The same laws apply to kings and rulers as they do for all people. 

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This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

June 8, 2016 - 4th Wednesday after Pentecost

"Second Wednesday after Pentecost".  Text is from 2 Samuel 11:26--12:10, 13-15



Jesus healed the beloved servant of a gentile, breaking the Jewish norms, and inviting all to the table. In our confirmation, we become adult in the church, in service to all who are suffering.

Please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The delivered sermon is often considerably different than the sermon notes which are included for convenience below.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

May 29, 2016 - 2nd Sunday after Pentecost

"Confirmation and the Left Out".  Text is from Luke 7:1-10

Click here for sermon audio





Good morning to you my sisters and brothers, saints and sinners, disciples of Christ and children of God.

Our Gospel is about the faith of a Roman centurion, a citizen of the empire that has put the nation of Israel under their boot. This man is a gentile and probably has been a pagan for most of his life. And then he arrives in this city, Capernaum, which is a relatively minor village in Galilee, but a home for the primarily Jewish people, and it is one that he has come to love. 

And indeed, the people of Capernaum have come to love him as well, because they are the ones who reached out to find Jesus who they'd heard so much about, the man who heals the sick and has reputedly made other miracles happen. And although many view him as a rabbi or some other kind of Jewish Holy Man, the people of Capernaum have decided to take a chance and approach Jesus to help this man who they admire. This man who put the money forth so that they may study Torah and worship God with each other. 


The good work that we do is not just for people like us. 

This is an unrehearsed homily, so there is no accompanying text!  

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Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

May 25, 2016 - 2nd Wednesday after Pentecost

"Second Wednesday after Pentecost".  Text is from Luke 7:1-10



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The Trinity is a doctrine that attempts to define what God is. What matters most however, is what God is to us.  

Please listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The delivered sermon is often considerably different than the sermon notes which are included for convenience below.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

May 22, 2016 - Holy Trinity Sunday

"Ascended friend".  Text is from Luke 24:44-53

Click here for sermon audio





Good morning to you my sisters and brothers, saints and sinners, disciples of Christ and children of God.

Father, Son and Spirit.

God in three persons.

The trinity.  

Last Sunday we celebrated an evet in the life of the church, the coming of the Holy Spirit upon the followers of Jesus Christ. Today we celebrate a doctrine that arises based on our imperfect understanding of who God is, based on the words we from the mouth of Jesus Christ as spoken through his disciples and through the writers of the gospels, handed down to us through the centuries.

And our reading today consists of four very short verses in John which come from the section of the gospel known as the Farewell Discourse, that incredibly rich and lengthy dialogue that took place during the Last Supper in which Jesus explains to his disciples what is about to occur and what shall occur after he is gone. As we know, their lives were not all sunshine and daffodils after Jesus rose, but there is certainly some comfort to be found along the course of this dialogue, found in the gospel of John, also known as the Gospel of Love. 

One of these days I will be getting around to posting about each and every one of my tattoos and explain the symbolism behind each and every one.  Although there are at least a couple that I got because I just wanted to get them, but have managed to create post-symbolism after the fact. It's all about symbolism is it not? 

But I had to post about the most recent one, in honor of my grandmother, Myrtle Spigner, who died last January 2015. I'd been long trying to figure out what it was that I was going to get in her honor, particularly given that she was not especially fond of tattoos. Nevertheless, she still wanted to see what I had on me just so she could shake her head about it.  

And yet, she was such an integral part of my formation and identity, particularly with respect to my call to ministry. 

Myrtle Spigner was a devout Christian all her life, with an unwavering faith of a quality that I have rarely seen even in church. And when she passed away last year at the age of 91, I felt a deep and abiding loss.

She did not live to see me ordained, although she knew it was the path I was heading to, as my ordination finally came seven months later on August 30. 

The tattoo that I got in her honor, prominent on my left forearm, is a cross surrounded by crépe myrtle flowers. I made the design via Photoshop by splicing a metal cross tattoo flash art with a botanical drawing of crépe myrtle, which I diced and sliced and printed. The tattoo itself was done by East Bay Shorty who is a tattoo artist living in Bozeman, Montana (see East Bay Shorty's facebook page here) in two sessions, the first in March at my home in Richmond, California and finished on a trip I took to Bozeman in May.  


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 I think Momma Myrtle would be okay with this.

What does the Ascension--and by extension, the Resurrection--mean for us today? One thing it means is that the one who is to judge us is well known as a friend to sinners. 

lease listen to the sermon rather than read it.  The delivered sermon is often considerably different than the sermon notes which are included for convenience below.  

Sermon delivered at Lutheran Church of the Cross in Berkeley. 

May 8, 2016 - Ascension Sunday

"Ascended friend".  Text is from Luke 24:44-53

Click here for sermon audio





Good morning to you my sisters and brothers, saints and sinners, disciples of Christ and children of God.

We have spent the last few Sundays preparing ourselves for the departure of Jesus from among his disciples. Indeed, since he returned from the dead, he's made quite a number of his appearances, and we've gone back to the farewell discourse so we could remind ourselves about what Jesus told his faithful apostles what the departure means to them.  We've felt their anxieties, held their hands with their questions to Jesus, been with them to understand what was this mystery, that Jesus meant, that he would not be among us any more, that he would physically be taken up into the midst of God, while leaving his Holy Spirit among us to keep us company.  

And now that time is here. We see that Jesus is to arise into his glory, with his final words on earth shared among the fortunate few that were witness to his time on earth. We remember what he's told them, and through them, us: "Stick together. Love one another as I have loved you. I have to go to the Father. If you loved me, you would be happy for me that I go to the Father." And while we want to be happy for him, to us there is a certain feeling of loss, the same kind of feeling when a good friend or loved sibling decides to find better opportunities in another city. It pulls at our hearts.

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