Saturday, February 25, 2006

Book Recommendation

I am currently wounded so if there are typos I will beg your forgiveness. I cut my left index finger fairly deeply. I have it splinted to keep the skin from moving around so that the cut can heal quickly. Makes typing a little more challenging. But enough of that.

I want to bring to your attention one of the best books on public speaking that I have ever read: "Speak Like Churchill Stand Like Lincoln: 21 Powerful Secrets of History's Greatest Speakers." The author, James C. Humes, has written speaches for five different presidents. The book is filled with practical tips for becoming an engaging speaker and driving your message home. It is also very readable, littered with anecdotes from the lives of people like Winston Churchill, Margaret Thatcher, Napolean Bonaparte, Benjamine Franklin, FDR and Ronald Reagan.

I heartily recommend it for anyone who ever has to give a presentation of any kind. I would also ask that, if you are thinking of purchasing the book online, you consider buying it through the Amazon bookstore at (look at the nav bar on the left side of the screen). A portion of the proceeds will support the mission and ministry of Journey of Life Lutheran church, where I find -- somewhat to my own surprise -- that I am the pastor.

Friday, February 3, 2006

Holy Communion could (maybe) use some changes...

WARNING - Funny or not, the following is intended to be humor. It's not even sarcasm with a point. I'm just being silly and hoping you laugh. But it's about a sacrament so you may not find it funny. Read on at your own risk.

So, as a pastor of a church, I am thinking about how to make things more attractive to people. I think, perhaps, Holy Communion is a place where we could institute some creative changes.

Currently we use red wine. We also offer white grape juice (still "fruit of the vine") for people who can't or prefer not to take red wine. We use a sweet red, but I think that's probably a little narrow-minded for our easy-going, 21st century society. I think that beginning in February I will offer a wider choice of wines. Perhaps a Merlot or a Cabernet Savignon as an all-around red choice and a simple Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio for the white. In the long run, we will probably need to expand our selection. A Pinot Noir or Shiraz for a wine with a little more bite. A Reisling would catch a few stragglers. And I suppose we should offer White Zinfandel, though I think White Zin is for people who think they ought to drink wine but would rather drink punch. Adding a Chianti would round out our selection rather nicely (as long as the whites are chilled). To really reach all members of the community, we should allow people to bring their own favorite wine to be stored at church (for a small pouring donation).

Then there's the bread. As we move into the church of the future, little round unleavened wafers pressed with a cross won't do. They aren't very tasty anyway. We should look at offering a variety of artisan breads. Crusty French. Warm, soft Italian. Perhaps a braided loaf for that special Sunday. While we're at it, we should probably offer some spreads or dipping sauces. Butter (or Smart Balance). Two or three varieties of olive oil should suffice -- regular, garlic, and some flavor of the month.

Now the Lord's Supper is starting to sound appealing. We could even put this in the paper and a nice glossy brochure.

To really take this all the way, we may even want to consider melting cheese on the bread.

But we'd have to use a real oven. Microwave ovens aren't real heat. They're not natural. I'm not sure if it would be real communion if we melted the cheese in a microwave.