Sermon delivered to St. Francis Lutheran Church
October 19, 2014 - Children's Sabbath (Nineteenth Sunday after Pentecost)

"Children" - Text from Matthew 19:13-15 




Greetings to you, my family in Christ, sisters and brothers, saints and sinners, children of God.

I am approaching 48 years old, and of course, it is not "old" by many measures, as many members of my beloved St. Francis family will remind me when I complain about the toils that age has thus far been having on me. But it does seem to be a kind of milestone in my life. Way back in 1989, over half my life ago, I tested positive for HIV, which pretty much eliminated the question of passing on my DNA to later generations, for fear of passing on the virus as well, and so any time I ever thought about the desire to have children, I pretty much moved forward from that thought. But now, in 2014, I am still around and in better health than ever, and my virus has been undetectable for probably the last five years. But I'm going to be 48 soon, and my spouse is going to be 60. And so the prospect of bringing a newborn child into this world now is also the prospect of approaching 70 when that child is in the midst of college. It will be a time that I hope to be beginning retirement and at least joining my husband's golden years in life.

The Prickly Guest - Sermon Pentecost +18 (A) 2014

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Sermon delivered to St. Frnacis Lutheran Church
October 12, 2014 - Eighteenth Sunday after Pentecost

"The Prickly Guest" - Text from Matthew 22:1-14 

 You should listen to the delivered sermon. The text is provided below for convenience, but as with any delivered sermon, I go off the text as the spirit leads me. 




Greetings to you, my family in Christ, sisters and brothers, saints and sinners, children of God.

wedding bowties.jpg

This week has been an impressive week for good news. I'm delighted to tell you, my Saint Francis family, that I have been recommended for a call to Emanuel Lutheran Church in Modesto. The call committee has presented its unanimous recommendation to the Church Council, who has approved it, and now it goes before the congregation itself. And while the significance of the fact that a pastor with a same-gender spouse would be called to an ELCA church in the central valley is not lost on me, part of my own identity is that I am a pastor who happens to have a same-gender spouse, and not a gay man first and a pastor second. Indeed, one of the wonderful things about the changes that have happened in our church in the years since the 2009 ELCA churchwide decision that my identity with regard to lifelong committed relationship with another human being is no longer the first consideration in whether or not I will be called as a minister of Jesus Christ in this church.

Sermon delivered to Hope Lutheran Church-El Sobrante
September 28, 2014 -Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost

"Let Go, Let God" - Text from Exodus 14:10-14, 21-29




Sermon delivered to St. Mark's Lutheran Church-Pleasant Hill
September 21, 2014 -Fifteenth Sunday after Pentecost

"Waiting for a Haircut" - Text from Matthew 20:1-16





Sermon delivered to St. Francis Lutheran Church-San Francisco
August 17, 2014 - Mary, Mother of God
"O.M.G. Mary" - Text from Luke 1:39-56





Sermon delivered to Lutheran Church of the Cross - Berkeley
August 10, 2014 - Ninth Sunday in Pentecost

"Dreams of Flying" - Text from Matthew 14:22-33




Greetings to you, my family in Christ, sisters and brothers, saints and sinners.

Cary Bass-Deschenes on Mount San Jacinto, in Palm Springs. Okay, so I'm not flying. But I'm way up high!

Do you remember your dreams? I don't always remember all of them, but there is one recurring theme I have in one of them, and it is probably one of those that a dream analyst would have a fun time with. In it I am somehow flying. I don't always know how it starts. Sometimes I just go up through the roof. Sometimes it's out a window. Sometimes I'll just find myself flying. And I'll be very high up in the air, and I will see all sorts of landscapes below me. Maybe city blocks, maybe farmlands, maybe roads. Sometimes ocean, sometimes mountains. In any case I am high in the air, and there's a feeling of complete weightlessness as I'm moving forward at a really fast speed.

And then what happens sometimes is that I realize at some point that I should not be able to fly at all, that it is entirely impossible, and I suddenly begin to drop out of the air. If I am lucky, I will realize I am dreaming right away, and wake up without any terrible fear. If not, I wind up waking up with a start, my heart racing, and grateful that I have not just wound up as a splat on the ground on whatever landscape I had just been flying over.

I don't know if other people have dreams like this, where you are flying or maybe doing some other impossible thing and and you remember that it is not some thing that you should be able to do and you are suddenly no longer able to do it. I have found in the past when I have had dreams like that it usually relates to the fact that I am doing some thing in my life that I had not ever expected possible and there I am, doing it.

Sermon delivered to Emanuel Lutheran Church in Modesto
August 3, 2014 - Eighth Sunday in Pentecost

"Evangelism and Feeding the 5000" - Text from Matthew 14:13-21




Mobile Action Ministries, Minneapolis.jpg

Greetings to you, my family in Christ, sisters and brothers, saints and sinners. Children of God.

I'm coming to you this Sunday after having spent a day after having returned from a four day mission redeveloper training in Minneapolis, so I may be a bit jet-lagged. Although, to be honest with you, it helped me with getting up early this morning so I could get over here in time for service.

Now if you're not familiar with what the ELCA defines as a mission redeveloper, let me give you some bit of insight about it. As you may be aware, and I am not sure that there are many of us who haven't become aware of it, church attendance for mainline churches has dropped tremendously over the last couple of decades. And at the same time ELCA, "Evangelical Lutheran Church of America" has been reevaluating its mission.

Sermon delivered to Christ Church Lutheran
April 7, 2013 - 2nd Sunday of Easter (C)

"Doubt" - Text from John 20:19-31




Doubting Thomas.jpgChrist has risen. Holy Week is over, all the work that led up to it can be put away. Now we can move onto other things, right? Well, not quite, and who would want to? Easter is a time of celebration for our glorious savior has returned and will raise us up in his kingdom. And we continue to proclaim that Christ has risen not one Sunday, but for the following 50 days, we get to go on living within his wondrous resurrection.


The Easter Season is about a remembrance and it is about the now and it is about the future of humankind. We are pointing in the forward direction in anticipation of that blessed event while at the same time looking back on it. And each successive Sunday in Easter we reflect on the never-ending story of the resurrection of our Lord and savior, and the season serves to position us in relation to the living God in the world now while pointing us to the glorious future to come.

The Empty Cross? Sermon - Good Friday 2013

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Sermon delivered to Christ Church Lutheran
March 29, 2013 - Good Friday

"The Empty Cross?" - Text from John 18:1-19:42 

 You should listen to the delivered sermon. The text is provided below for convenience, but as with any delivered sermon, I go off the text as the spirit leads me. 




Just this morning I got onto the BART train on the way here and listened to an altercation between a man in a wheelchair and another man who was carrying his backpack on his back, completely unaware that it was in the face of the other man. I have to admit, it annoys me as well when trains get crowded and people fail to realize that carrying their backpacks creates more of a sense of crowdedness. Although the backpacked man moved an the other wouldn't let it go, persisting in commentary about how rude others are. He was in the place of a disabled person in a world of able privilege, and ready to challenge anyone who would get in the way of his entitlement. Of his victimhood.


Passion -- Sermon-Passion Sunday 2013

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"Passion" - Sermon for Palm Sunday 2013

Sermon text: Luke 22:14-23:56

Click for link to audio version


Passion Sunday Childrens Sermon.JPG

Today is the day we remember the Passion of Christ And what does this word, passion mean to any of us, though? Many people of a certain age will see the word "Passion" and think of a Rod Stewart song from the 1980s or a perfume in a black bottle hawked by Elizabeth Taylor. Both the song and the perfume evoke a sense of the word passion that is much more in use and familiar to English speaking people in the world, that involves a desire centered around love and physical contact between two people. But this use of the word to which we've become accustomed bespeaks only a portion of the meaning of the word in English.


The English word passion is usually defined as any great, strong, powerful emotion, frequently romantic love or hate. While we think about passion for another human being, but we can also talk about a passion for a sport, like baseball. A passion for music, a passion for coin collecting, or birdwatching, or skiing. A passion for preaching or a passion for etymological meaning of English words. What's important to understand in this sense is that it involves an intensity of emotion, a feeling so strong that it can impact the long-term well-being of the person who is feeling it, maybe even change their lives for the better or worse.

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