St. Mark's Pub Theology Logo

St. Mark's Pub Theology Logo

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Beer and Hymns Recap

Thanks to all who came to Beer and Hymns with Nativity Lutheran at Stanley's last night! We had a lot of fun, drank tasty brews, and ate delicious food. If you are interested in other congregations that do Beer and Hymns here are a few links.

Humble Walk:

Lydia's Place (this is a mission start and I am having trouble getting to their website. Here is the Facebook link. Please note that there are some pretty cool Luther Sem. professors that are in this band that plays!) :

I will keep you all updated with a meeting in January.

Advent Blessings,

Waiting for Help

Cars and me do not get along very well. I'll spare you the details, but this morning I discovered I had a flat tire when I really needed to be grocery shopping. After muttering a few obscenities underneath my breath I went back inside to scour the internet for the best deals and settled on a national chain that had a decent end of the year sale. However, I had to wait until 3:00pm for an appointment unless I wanted to wait there all day long. I took the appointment and began working on papers for my courses because it is finals week of all weeks! So I began to wait.

I went back outside at 1:30pm giving myself plenty of time in case an problem should arise...and of course it did. I emptied the trunk into the back seat (wow I have a lot of crap back there!) to get at the spare. I lifted up the false bottom to get at the spare tire and I discovered it had no air in it. Not enough to limp to a gas station to fill it, absolutely no air was in it. It was like a tire on a bike during the winter, you could squish the rubber down to the rim.

So I went to my neighbor's door and knocked hoping she could give me a ride to the nearest gas station to fill it up. I waited there pondering what would I do if she did not answer or could not help me. "I could walk or jog there, it wouldn't take too long. But then I probably wouldn't make my appointment" I told myself. It felt like forever as I played out different situations in my mind. And then she answered the door. "Of course I can help you Tom!"

We went and got the tire filled within 10 minutes. Now back to the business of changing the tire. I have changed many a tire, but this one was stubborn. Tried as I may, the lug nuts would not budge. I grew frustrated and in all honesty rather angry. Why today of all days?!?! So I did what any helpless person does, call AAA.

I placed the request for assistance and they said they would be there within an hour, officially making me late for my appointment. I called the tire shop and informed them. I waited in the car for the roadside assistance to call me when the mechanic was 5 minutes away. I paged through a magazine, thought about upcoming church services, and stressed about the homework that needed to get done. No phone call came. I sat there waiting.

And then all of a sudden a tow truck came. I hopped out and it stopped. The driver asked if I has called AAA and affirmed that he was sent to help. Within 10 minutes he changed the tire (he had an extended pipe that allowed for more leverage to loosen the lug nuts) and I was on my way to my appointment. And guess what I made it there on time. So here I am sitting in the lobby sipping on some weak, not so tasty coffee. But I am thankful that in all of my situations of waiting in need, help came. It arrived unannounced after long expectation.

My day thus far has been a day of Advent. In this church season we wait for God's coming to fulfill the covenants of old, sometimes patiently...sometimes not. We expect and have faith that God will be faithful to God's promises. The Hebrew word that expresses such faithfulness is "hesed." The New International Commentary of the Old Testament on the Psalms describes this word:

Hesed includes elements of love, mercy, fidelity, and kindness. Hesed is a relational term that describes both the internal character as well as external actions that are required to maintain a life sustaining relationship. While the term is used both of humans and God, in the Psalter it is above all a theological term that describes God's essential character as well as God's characteristic ways of acting - especially God's characteristic ways of acting in electing, delivering, and sustaining the people of Israel. Hesed is both who the Lord is and what the Lord does (NICOT, Psalms, 8).

The psalms of thanksgiving testify to such faithfulness, such hesed-ness. We see this word throughout the Bible, yet psalms of thanksgiving address God's tangible, concrete activity in the world. Rising from a crisis the psalmist fulfills their promise to praise God after God has saved them from calamity and woe. Advent is indeed a time of hesed-ness for God keeping the particular promise of coming to save us. God came two thousand years ago as a baby in Bethlehem and so we look into the future expecting that promise to come again...even if it means waiting for that help to come.

Waiting in the tire shop,

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

December Meeting

Pub Theology: Beer and Hymns will be this coming Monday at 7pm (12/8/15) at Stanley's in Northeast Minneapolis 

We will be joining Nativity Lutheran Church of St. Anthony as this is there event, but they have allowed us to join. The connection with this church, if you were wondering, is that one of the pastors used to be my teacher! 

There are only a few spots open. if you are interested, please email me asap!


Monday, November 24, 2014

November Recap

We discussed the following at our meeting:

  • “Not what we say about our blessings, but how we use them, is the true measure of our Thanksgiving.” – W.T. Purkiser
  • “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to God.” Philippians 4:6
  • How do you give thanksgiving daily and annually?
  • “A thankful heart is not only the greatest virtue, but the parent of all the other virtues.”                - Cicero
  • “It is as if praise has been quarantined both temporally and spatially to those one or two hours when communities of faith meet for official worship.” – Rev. Dr. Rolf Jacobson
  • Congratulations or praise for God?

Check your emails and the blog wall for an announcement about our December meeting!


Wednesday, November 5, 2014

October 2014 Recap

Pub Theologians,

Thanks for coming out on October 30th for our discussion concerning reformation and the church. This topic is of utmost importance for us to consider because as cultures and ideas shift, the church must discover itself anew in the midst of change. With Pastor Steve's retirement coming in mid-January, St. Mark's will be going through a mini-reformation if you will. I encourage you to lift up and voice your views to the pastoral staff and/or the new senior pastor.

Our next meeting is just over a week away, November 13th 6:30pm at Big Wood! Usually the meetings are about a month apart, however with people getting very busy with the holiday season, I thought we could squeeze a meeting in before Thanksgiving and then our next one would be before Christmas.

See you all soon!


Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Ready for Another Round?

Let the new year of Pub Theology begin!

To appropriately celebrate the Reformation, we will be meeting on Thursday October 30th from 6:30pm to 7:00pm. We will meet at our usual location Big Wood Brewery in White Bear Lake. 

I hope to see you all there!

"He was a wise man who invented beer." - Plato

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

I Work More Than One Day a Week!

When I tell people that I am an intern pastor they are interested in what exactly that all entails. I inform them that I pretty much do everything an ordained pastor does, except for baptizing people. The conversation usually goes on and on about something or another concerning being a pastor and my lifestyle. However, I was shocked when someone said to me, "It must be nice to only work one day a week." My jaw just about dropped. One day a week? No. Pastors most certainly do not work only one day a week, in fact often times we work everyday of the week in some form or another. I think it might be appropriate to give an example of a typical day in the life of the intern pastor to prove that we are quite busy.

6:20am Wake up, feed the dog, shower, shave, brush teeth
7:00am Walk the dog
7:30am Leave for church and eat a granola bar on the way to work
8:15am Arrive at church, check emails, check voice mail
8:30am Lead Tuesday morning women's Bible study
9:30am Check emails, send emails, gather items for worship planning in the afternoon
11:00am Pastoral care visit(s)
12:30pm Lunch
1:00pm Review sermon for Wednesday night worship
1:30pm Worship planning for the coming Wednesday and Sunday
2:00pm Plan "God's work. Our hands." events
3:00pm Drop a theology book off at a parishioner's house
3:30pm Beat rush hour traffic home
4:00pm Feed the dog and take the dog to the dog park
5:00pm Make and clean up dinner
6:30pm Sit down and relax with an adult beverage
7:30pm Do homework for my seminary course (it's on faith formation in congregations)
9:30pm Pray the on-call phone doesn't go off during the night and go to bed

I could copy that day over and over and over. It simply isn't true that a pastor works less than others throughout the week. If anything, work often has a bad habit of following us home. I often will check emails late at night, I'll write a sermon at 5:00am when my wife is opening up the bakery, when preaching I try and review it for at least an hour each day over the weekend. This is the most I have ever worked in my life...and I love it. The work I do is extremely rewarding and I wouldn't change it for the world, even though at times I feel like a 24 hour pastor.

Intern Tom