Friday, January 20, 2017
Friday, January 13, 2017
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
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
Sunday, December 25, 2016
Saturday, December 24, 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
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:
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.
Wednesday, November 02, 2016
i'm not sure how many americans right now are feeling optimistic about the government. i know i'm not. in fact, while i didn't live through the civil war or anything, i have to think that faith in our elected leaders - indeed the whole system of electing them in the first place - is at one of its lowest points. i just don't have a great deal of confidence in those individuals who have been elected, or in those who want to be. i find myself slipping at times into what feels like a swamp of apathy: sinking, to be sure, but not sure that i care enough anymore to do much about it. i see this attitude all around me: in conversations, on social media, and in popular culture. perhaps there is no more clear indication of our nation's view of the government than this current election season, when we would teeter on electing liars and thieves, crooks and clowns.
which is why i was so startled as i sat down to read psalm 72 this morning. as i read the ancient song, i was stunned by its unabashed hopefulness in the government. of course, the government was the king, and in this case, the poet asks God to give judgment and righteousness to the king. but then it goes even further, in a kind of shameless confidence: "Let (the king) save the children of the needy...let him live as long as the sun...let him fall like rain upon the fresh-cut grass."
i understand that many are going to read messianic prophecy into this psalm, and i understand that if you go looking for Jesus in the words of the ancient hebrews, you can find (fore)shadows of him all over the place. but let us not forget that this is at a time in the history of the hebrew people when there was some pretty serious hope being put in the role of the king; that God could endow a leader with god-like gifts, to lead the people in righteousness and justice, deliverance and freedom.
so, at its core, this ancient song is a song of hope in the leaders of the nation. and that is jarring to me in my election-cycle-stupor. but there is something fundamentally critical in this song; something that i think many american christians have forgotten about. the prayer for the king in psalm 72 is a prayer for justice. it is a prayer for the poor. it is a prayer that those who receive the mantle of leadership of a nation will receive it with humility, with an eye out for the oppressed, and with the ability to crush the oppressors. it is an honest and almost desperate prayer. it reminds me that perhaps, rather than burying my head in the sand, or arguing about politics on social media, i should be busy praying for our leaders. i should vote, if i am prepared to engage in that civic gift/responsibility. and i should pray.
and it reminds me of one more thing, too. that we stand at a different moment in history than the poet-of-old. we can look through the lens of Jesus, who talked about a new kind of kingdom, in which the first are last and the poor are blessed. we know that there is no president, no ruler, no admiral or dictator who can separate us from the love of God through Jesus Christ, who is our King. Jesus brings justice to the oppressed. he heals the broken. he brings unity in the divided places. he brings hope to the places of despair. he falls like rain upon both the rich and the poor. he isn't republican or democrat or even american, for crying out loud. he is love and he is the one true king. we need not live in fear about who will win or what will happen if someone doesn't win. we don't need to live in fear about any of it, because the King is alive and well.