Monday, June 26, 2006


I got my first wedding request today. Someone from outside the church. I was a bit surprised. Thought for sure it would be a funeral before a wedding. But with funerals you don't the option of declining, which you do with a wedding. I think I'm inclined to do it so long as they do the whole counseling thing, but I don't have any real resources for doing that. I'll try to get some research done before I have to call them back.

Sunday, June 25, 2006


It was our first Sunday in Coos Bay today. But it's not yet my first Sunday at Coos Bay UMC.

Last night we snuck over to the church with Melissa's parents. My name is on the sign: "Reverend David King". It was a little odd to see that. The pastor's study is pretty much cleared out. My business cards are almost made. My article for the church newsletter has been submitted. And on the table outside the sanctuary there was a scrapbook page displayed that featured Melissa and I at Annual Conference. Again, a little odd to see that. But it's not my Sunday yet.

Melissa and I went to the local Episcopal Church for worship. Only got lost in the liturgy once or twice. I met Father Steve, the rector, and Father Gene, the retired rector, as well as many other friendly folk. Hopefully we'll be able to work together on at least some eccumenical projects. They seemed agreeable.

Today was Elizabeth's last Sunday at Coos Bay UMC. She has served ably as and interim pastor for the past 5 months or so. Those I've talked to seem very thankful for her ministry. I'll meet her for the first time on Tuesday, and that's also when I'll start coming to the office.

We're getting settled in the house. Our cat, Turtle, has rejoined us after spending three years with Melissa's parents, and she is busy claiming every inch of the house as her own. I'm starting to do the same.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Humble Servant

I am truly feeling like a humble servant. i feel so unprepared to be a pastor. I guess that's how it's supposed to be. How could one possibly be prepared. I'm as ready as I can be, and yet, woefully unready.

I suppose it's not much different from most things done for the first time. Is a teacher really prepared for their first classroom? Is a supervisor really prepared to be "the boss" on day one? I imagine not.

So, feeling as unprepared as I do, I am deeply aware of the need for grace. And that in itself is a blessing.

Friday, June 16, 2006


The truck is here. All but the last few things are packed up. Now we're just waiting for folks to show up so we can get the piano moved on. Once that's done, the rest should be somewhat easier. But for now, we're just waiting.

In four days time we'll be in Coos Bay. I'm looking forward.

Monday, June 12, 2006

Well, most everything has happened since the last time I blogged. I graduated Iliff as a Master of Divinity on June 2nd. Then on June 7th, a was voted into probationary membership in the Oregon-Idaho Annual Conference of The United Methodist Church, giving me the right to vote as clergy. And on June 8th I was Commissioned by Bishop Robert Hoshibata, and made a reverand with full sacramental rights. On June 9th, I was appointed as pastor to First United Methodist Church of Coos Bay, effective July 1. Now I'm back in Denver, packing up things and preparing to move.

It's kind of a weird feeling. I've been waiting for all these things to come about, but I think none of it will really seem real until that first Sunday in Coos Bay. In the mean time, I've lost almost all track of the days of the week. I have no sort of regularity of schedule. I feel almost as though I exist outside of time. I'm hardly living; I'm simply moving.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

Ethics and the Law

Brian has an excellent point in the previous post, pointing out that the USAmerican corporate world general views ethics as minimum standards of behaviour. I think this concept is probably pretty close to the understanding in the general public. We tend to think of ethics as morality or even ethics as law, something that can be governed by a simple set of rules. But even a cursory study of Christian ethics will reveal that ethics and the law are not at all the same. We hope that they're in line most of the time. Murder is generally not ethical and is also against the law. But they are not always the same.

Ethics can force us to do something that is not required of us by the law. That is to say, sometimes the ethical choice requires more of us than a simple legal choice would. Legally, I can buy a Hummer and drive it continuously around the country 24 hours a day for no apparent reason. But ethically, since I know that driving my Hummer is polluting and uses scarse resources, perhaps I should only drive it when I have good reason.

Ethics can also force us to break the law, at times. There are plenty of unjust laws in the history of humanity. Sometimes, breaking these laws is the ethical choice. Breaking a law that enforces genocide is likely to be an ethical choice. But there are also some just laws that can in certain circumstances be ethically broken. Dietrich Bonhoeffer felt ethically obligated to support an attempt to assasinate Hitler, even though porhibitions on murder and conspiracy to commit murder are clearly just laws. Of course, when you make an ethical choice that breaks the law, you must be willing to accept the consequences of breaking the law. Martin Luther King, Jr. went to jail for his ethical choices that broke the law, for example.

In any case, my point is that it is high time that we stop taking the easy way out by only following the law and abdicating our responsibility as ethical beings.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Professional Ethics

BBC Story
NPR Story

It seems that soldiers in Iraq are now going to be taking basic ethics courses. My first thought on hearing this was, you mean they don't take ethics courses already? But then I remembered that many of my collegues in pastoral ministry haven't even taken ethics courses. Clearly some of our American CEOs are a bit lacking in ethics training too. And I'll bet that most Christians can't even tell you where to go in the Bible to find ethical teachings. (My first stop would be Matthew 5-7). Even in my whole career in academics, I myself have only taken one ethics course, and how much of it do I actually remember? So is it any suprise that our soldiers aren't receiving ethics training? Maybe we USAmericans need to take another look at how we do and teach ethics.