Tuesday, February 21, 2017

the "other" do nots




"thou shalt not."

three words that, for many, seem to define the very essence of christianity, or even religion in general. i was thinking about this the other day as i was thinking about the fear that sometimes gets it's stiff grip on us and keeps us from moving forward or outward or upward or any-ward.  and i was thinking about fear, i remembered another "do not" commandment.  you won't find it on any list of the 10 commandments, even though it is a commandment given by Jesus himself.  you can find it in luke 12:32:

"do not be afraid, little flock.  for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the Kingdom."

do not be afraid.  there is a commandment i need to start being more careful to obey!  in a world full of tyrants and terror, i need to be reminded of Jesus' firm command.  it is not for me to be full of fear and worry.  why? because it isn't God's desire to punish us or crush us or let us rot, but Jesus says it is God's great joy to give us the Kingdom.  to bring us into a reign when there will be no more suffering.  when i start to live as if that is really true, i can start to really live.

which leads me to another "do not."  you can find this one in galatians 6:9:
"do not grow weary in doing what is right, for we will reap at harvest time, if we do not give up."
do not give up on doing the right thing.  standing up for the oppressed.  being an advocate for the marginalized.  telling the truth. putting others first. standing against racism and sexism and ageism and all the other isms that entitle some at the expense of others.  do not give up.  fight for equality, for freedom, for justice.  do not give up.  because there will be a harvest someday. and we will bear the fruit of this hard work, if we don't give up.  and what is it that compels us to work so diligently at doing the right thing?

that's the last "do not."  i'm quoting from romans 13:8-10 (the message):
" don’t run up debts, except for the huge debt of love you owe each other. when you love others, you complete what the law has been after all along. the law code—don’t sleep with another person’s spouse, don’t take someone’s life, don’t take what isn’t yours, don’t always be wanting what you don’t have, and any other “don’t” you can think of—finally adds up to this: love other people as well as you do yourself. you can’t go wrong when you love others. when you add up everything in the law code, the sum total is love."
do not stop loving.  we owe it to one another.  we are better when we worry less about splinters in other people's eyes, and pay attention to the giant branch sticking out of our own: we need to love more, better, deeper, more freely.  all the "do nots" come down to this in the end.  the old "do nots" are fine, but they aren't nearly as important as these:

do not be afraid.
do not quit doing the right thing.
do not stop loving.

do not.
 

Friday, January 13, 2017

no.matter.what.



it's been kinda quite here for some time now.  life has changed for me, in terms of how i need to manage my time and my writing.  i keep the blog alive, only because i hope to continue to use it as a way to write more, once i discover a healthier rhythm in this new season.  i'm working towards it.

in the meantime, my fanaticism for all things black and gold has not waned.  fan is still short for fanatic.  and while i haven't been posting my fanatical pictures and rantings this fall, i have been no less interested rabid.

so, as the steelers now finish preparations for their second playoff game of the season, against the kfc chefs, i just wanted to offer a subtle HERE WE GO STEELERS HERE WE GO!!!!!!!!  and a reminder that, no matter what happens, i'm a steelers fan for life!

also, watch this video and try not to punch a hole in the wall because of the sheer adrenaline coursing through your system.





and if you're still here, read this article by cam heyward.  awesome.

Thursday, December 29, 2016

stop-motion lego Christmas

check out this cool video that Jackson made out of legos, his camera, and some video software...


Saturday, December 24, 2016

a milinovich family christmas, 2016



one of my favorite Christmas traditions as a dad is the annual Christmas video we have made for the past 9 years now.  it is such a joy for me to put these together and watch my way through them, like a digital "ghost of Christmas past," walking me through the better part of the last decade.  directly below is this year's addition to the lineup, set to Pentatonix' "That's Christmas to Me."  the video begins with some ad libbing by Quinton, which is happening most of the time.  this advent,  he's been very concerned about the fact that the Bible never mentions a donkey in the story of Joseph and Mary traveling to Bethlehem.  so he decided to sing about it.  that's pretty normal in our house.  singing, dancing, merry-making: that's Christmas to us!  




and, in case you want to walk with me through Milinovich Christmases past, here are our previous eight:
























Wednesday, November 09, 2016

love one another.



as a pastor, i constantly struggle with what it means to pastor people with passionate differences of opinion.  the congregations i have served have always been made up of both red and blue, black and white, gay and straight, conservative and progressive, passionate and apathetic, and so on and so forth.  in the midst of these differences, i wrestle with how to love and act and speak in a way that welcomes all of this diversity of belief and thought.

when i find myself struggling with how to do this, my guide is always and ever Jesus.

and Jesus had one pretty major rule (he called it a new commandment): "love one another as i have loved you."

so on this day, when i am a bundle of emotions, and i find myself swinging between them freely and rapidly; when i find that i am blessed and humbled to be an american, but not nearly as proud as i have been before; when i see some of my facebook friends giving one another virtual high-fives, while others are openly weeping and wondering if there will still be a place for them in this country; when i wonder how to bring a congregation of people together in this new reality: i have one word:

love.

i beg of you to love one another.

if your guy "won" last night, you may be feeling a surge of victory and adrenaline because the system may finally have to take notice of the things that you feel are important that have been slipping away.  you may be tempted to taunt or demean others.  don't.  resist that temptation, and look for ways to connect with and love those who may be feeling hurt or even scared by the this result.  try to understand how this might feel to someone different from you.  and love them.

if your candidate "lost" last night, you may be feeling confused, angry, bitter, or deeply saddened. you may feel the temptation to lash out in that anger, to reduce this complex social reality to an over-simplified version of junior-high name-calling.  don't.  resist that temptation.  and look for ways to connect with and love those who may be rejoicing today, because for them this feels like a great step forward.  try to understand how this might feel to someone different from you.  and love them.

we need each other.  we need to listen and learn.  we need, of course, more than anything, to love.

finally, one way i do know to be a pastor to both red and blue, to both those who are celebrating and those who are grieving, is to remind you that i am with you.  that i am here for you.  that the church is home for all of us.  if you need to talk, please call or message me.  or stop in the office.  just know that you are loved, and that the great task before us has not changed: we must love as we have been loved.