Celebrating Freedom and Prayer

I hope everyone had a great 4th of July holiday/week. The Hogan household spent it in stereotypical midwestern style by going to our local parade, BBQing all day and watching a great fireworks show at UCO. To fight off the heat of the afternoon we had a family “water-gun fight” in the backyard. Both of the boys really enjoyed it, but Kristi might have been targeted the most since she was the only girl. The evening was spent with our awesome neighbors, Mitch and Brittney. We invited them to dinner and everyone went to the fireworks show.

After I finished up cases at OU Med Center on Friday, the family packed up and made a late night run to Kristi’s parents in western Kansas. We spent the weekend with most of her family and Elijah & Noah had a blast playing and getting into trouble with their cousins. The dogs and I drove back to Edmond Sunday evening (thats around 12 hours of driving over the weekend for those keeping track).

Between the driving time and a rare evening of quiet, I had time to think about some of the things that occurred over the past couple of weeks. In keeping with their track record this year of landmark decisions, SCOTUS decided that DOMA was unconstitutional, effectively nullifying the key portions of the act that denied same-sex marriages the right to receive the same federal benefits and inclusions as heterosexual marriages. While this was going on a UMC bishop in effect ignored a request and therefore blocked the ordination process of a lesbian youth pastor in Austin by standing on technicality and the UMC’s Book of Discipline rather than the Bible. Hard to see the “Open Hearts. Open Minds. Open Doors.” motto there. Luckily, between my current church and my former church and Pastor Adam Hamilton, I find myself leaning towards more acceptance – which is interesting for those of you who have known me a long time. Hamilton gives a great way of thinking about these kind of issues in his sermons and blog. Here is a link to his eNote. I agree that there are several sections (5 by Pastor Hamilton’s count) of the Bible that condemn same-sex intimacy and that there are many sections that codify subordination and slavery of other people based upon their sex or color of their skin. As a society we have come to see slavery and discrimination as wrong, maybe even evil, but get hung up on homosexuality. Why is it that we go back to what is written in the Bible for this as unacceptable but slavery, subjugation, sacrifices, concubines, and polygamy (which were all accepted social practices in biblical times), we have come to condone and outlaw? I think Adam Hamilton describes it well “…whether these passages in the scripture actually capture the heart of God toward gay and lesbian people, or if they might be more like those scripture passages that accepted slavery and the subordination of women – a reflection of historic cultural norms not necessarily the heart of God.” I choose NOT to believe that the timeless Will of God includes segregating anyone but rather that we should follow the Great Commission (Matthew 28:16-20), the greatest Commandments (Mark 12:28-31), and the example in the Parable of the Good Samaritan (Luke 10:25-37).

On a completely different tangent, I have also been thinking about prayer recently. Mainly about how I don’t pray often enough. So, to challenge and give myself reminders for prayer, I volunteered to be on the leadership team for my Faith Mates Sunday class for prayer requests. Oddly enough, Crossings Community Church has started a sermon series on prayer this week. Ever get the feeling that the sermon series your church is on is directed squarely at you? It makes me think of another Adam Hamilton sermon in which he was comparing Islam to Christianity and pointed out several behaviors that Muslims do well (eg Praying 5 times a day and obligatory giving to those in need). When was the last time you prayed 5 times in a day? – and saying grace at meals doesn’t count – I think I will do my best to start praying every morning and evening and would like to help Elijah start some variety of night time prayer.

Till next time-

Getting a few of my toys arranged and ready for a day of smoking up some ribs and brisket

The boys decided I was more comfortable to sit on – I ended up wearing that sucker shortly after this picture

Noah thought the colorful fireworks were okay and pointed a lot, but he would scream and clap for the really loud ones

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