02/5/16
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Pierce Family Adventures 2016, Episode 1: “Fruit Poops.”

During a recent ride home from an afternoon of risking life and limb at IKEA , my eldest daughter informed us that she needed 100 of something for a school project in the morning. Being exhausted and poor, my wife and I began to make suggestions to our daughter based on what we had in the house. She vetoed many perfectly viable, but apparently dull suggestions. Fearing we may actually have to invest some energy in our daughter’s education, I had a moment of inspiration. I made a suggestion that not only garnered her approval, but may have changed her life.

“How about Fruit Loops?” I offered, feeling confident, but certainly not exuberant about my idea. She responded, aghast at the suggestion.

“DAD! GROSS! No. Not Bird poops.”

I will not pretend that suggesting bird poops is outside the realm of possibility for me. They are free, countable, and abundant depending on the season. However, in this case, I did NOT make that suggestion. I swiftly corrected my daughter and, relieved, she accepted the offer of the colorful cereal dwelling in our pantry. I would like to tell you that the rest of the ride home continued appropriately; but the damage had been done.

Even though my daughter possesses my wife’s sensibilities, she also has my sense of humor and the normal propensities of a second grader. After the horror connected to the word “poop” passed, the humor of the word took over. From the driver’s seat I began to hear giggling, as my daughter worked out the pun. “I said bird poops…that sounds like fruit loops…fruit loops…bird poops…” This revelation was repeated in various forms as she talked herself through the sounds–allowing her glee to move past giggling to wild cackling as I heard her say, rather too excitedly, “Fruit poops!”

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01/4/16
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PhD Pastors: An Interview with David Hamstra

This interview was conducted via email with my colleague and friend whom I’ve known since elementary school. Even during the early years of our education everybody knew David was smarter than than everybody else 😉  David is one of many pastors who hope to pursue advanced education and his conference’s approach to allowing him to do a PhD is rather innovative for Adventists. It’s also valuable for ministers and conferences wanting some idea of how approach the subject. Thanks to David and the Alberta Conference for allowing this interview to happen.

Okay, give me the biographical breakdown: How long have you pastored? Where have you pastored? How long have you been out of seminary?

I’ve been in full-time pastoral ministry for 10 years (if one year of volunteer youth work in Australia counts and seminary doesn’t). I’ve spent my entire professional career with the northernmost Adventist congregations of Alberta, Canada. I graduated from Andrews University with my MDiv in 2010.

2. The Dmin is the usual doctoral route for Adventist pastors, tell me a little about your decision to pursue a PhD instead.

I think of myself as a pastor whose ministry specialty is theology. My first call was to be a shepherd to the flock, and God hasn’t indicated that I should have any other carrier ambition. But in addition to that, during my MDiv, God also called me to work on a specific theological project. So for my advanced training, I knew that an academic doctorate would prepare me to make that theological contribution in a way that a DMin is simply not set up to do.

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08/5/14

Shampoop

Like most parents, freshly risen from a semi-restful night of slumber, I made my first stop the master bathroom to conduct my morning business.

Our spacious lavatory includes: a double-sink situation to minimize marital conflicts and a massive walk-in closet to contain piles of unwashed clothing. It also has a nice shower, with sliding glass door, to remove all hope of privacy when marauding children barge in and ask any number of questions vulnerable dads don’t feel like answering in the shower.

The most useful component of our master bath, however, has to be the commode with its own door. The commode not only contains our toilet, but the small room doubles as a library, reading nook, botanical garden (pending wife approval), and all purpose sanctuary/retreat center.

It was after a respite in our commode, still waking up, that I opened the door, stepped out into the commons area and beheld one of the most terrifying, panic-inducing, sights in all of parenting history: Continue reading

06/29/14

Awkward Girl Games

girlsFirst let me say that I appreciate the miracle of breastfeeding.

I support women who do it publicly (not in a creepy way) and give my wife the admiration she deserves for making that choice for our children–and even model it for our older girls in the hopes that, should they decide to be moms later in life (much much later), they will embrace the practice too.

So I shouldn’t have been as alarmed when my daughter and her friend began playing make-believe in the car on the way home from some church meetings. Continue reading

03/17/14

80% of Adventists Still Unsure When to Clap

clapWe’ve all been there. On a rare Sabbath morning a competent musician delivers an awe-inspiring rendition of a spiritual song ushering the congregation into the presence of God.

And upon their conclusion the congregation enters into the valley of wide-eyed uncertainty and indecision.

To clap or not to clap? THAT is the question.

Gratitude is not something commonly expressed in Adventist congregations. Taking a dutiful approach to ministry it is expected that you share your gifts on demand because God—or the Nominating Committee—says so.

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03/13/14

The Three Keys for a Successful Independent Adventist Ministry

We’ve all been disgruntled with church leadership from time and time. And despite the nagging desire to hightail it out of God’s remnant people we know that leaving church is not the best way to fix it.

We’ve all been disgruntled with church leadership from time and time. And despite the nagging desire to hightail it out of God’s remnant people we know that leaving church is not the best way to fix it.

Enter the “Independent Ministry”: the only theologically and ecclesiastically acceptable way to separate from the 90% of the Church that refuses to see and do things our way without losing our membership. Not only can we reform the church from the inside out like the Jesuits of old, but having an Independent Ministry offers other benefits such as:

1. Not “knowingly” collecting tithe dollars

2. Avoiding pesky peer reviews that would dare shed the light of scholarship on your unique truths

3. Being part of the remnant within the remnant

But how does a  non-credentialed, non-recognized expert with a personality disorder and a bee in their bonnet accomplish such a tremendous feat? I offer these Three Keys for Success:

Key One: Find a Common Item Everyone Uses and Link it to the Catholic Church

Many Protestants, including Adventists, panic whenever they find out something is linked to Catholicism therefore inadvertently making them members of the “Mother Church” every time they use it.

Just think of the terror that will ensure when people find out that the following items/activities make them pals of the Papacy:

1. Shopping at Walmart

2. Butter

3. Spoons

4. Steering Wheels

5. Reading Email Fwds

People will cry out as they realize their deception and wonder why their church never told them about such dangers, making you the real handler of truth instead of their church with all its fancy schmancy preachers, institutions, and credibility.

They will realize that  their church has been infiltrated and compromised since they use things–and even distribute things–like spoons and butter.

And didn’t the Conference President have a steering wheel in HIS car? And I think my pastor bought something at Walmart, and…congratulations you have now discredited the church without saying a word so you can’t be indicted.

Start “unknowingly” collecting those tithe dollars…but not before Key Two.

Key Number Two: Spend 5 minutes Linking the Catholic Church to Paganism

Protestants worth their salt already know this, so you shouldn’t belabor the point. Just talk about how weird all the “smells, bells, and chants” are in Catholicism and then mention that modern witchcraft uses a chalice in their services, and that the Catholic Eucharist does too which makes them one in the same.

This almost guarantees you support since not only is your audiences’ church Catholic but now pagan–so any time, talent, or money should really be sent to your ministry since its the only Christian one around and maybe, just maybe, they can play a part in bringing their old church in line with your view…I mean…the Gospel.

Now for the trickiest part, Key Three.

Key Three: Use an Old Typewriter to Write “Testimonies” to be Handed Out Covertly in Church Lobbies When the Pastor Isn’t Looking

The internet can be traced and DVDs and CDs are expensive to produce with any kind of quality. They will come later as you build your army of truth bearers, but for now you want to use the information superhighway within church lobbies.

Stealthily hand out typewritten copies of your findings with a nameless address people can write to recieve a booklet you have produced for $1.00. After a few hundred sales then you can start lecturing at small churches and taking up freewill offerings, which will lead to better materials in the form of various media.

It won’t take long for your street cred to build since many small churches don’t see their pastors every week and will gladly take a complete stranger’s word over theirs. In 6 months minimum you should start seeing and being a profit.

Good luck you and all your endeavors!

Photo credit: capn madd matt / Foter / CC BY-NC-SA

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11/3/13

Reason for New Bible Translations #712: Unicorns

family-bible


God brought them out of Egypt; he hath as it were the strength of an unicorn. Numbers 23v22, KJV

 

Canst thou bind the unicorn with his band in the furrow? or will he harrow the valleys after thee? Job 39v10, KJV

And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness. Is 34v7, KJV

See also KJV’s Deuteronomy 33v17, Numbers 24v8, Psalm 22v21, 29v6, 92v10

 

REASON: This isn’t Harry Potter. Scripture is powerful not magical.

Suggested Alternatives:
NIV
ESV
NKJV
ASV
11/3/13

Writing for Fun or Money?

pen-to-paperIts been awhile since I have posted, but perhaps it was a good break for me to gather my thoughts and line up the obscene amount of incoming projects at my finger tips.

I have been really wrestling between writing on assignment and writing for fun--not that the two have to be mutually exclusive.

Nor is writing something that’s pleasing to God out of the equation for either–I think both arenas can do that, which is why I wrestle as well.

I have two books in the works that have built in audiences–the third in my Peter Paul Pappenfuss series and the next “What We Believe” book that I hope to release with Pacific Press in time for GC 2015.

Both of these books are in one sense “on assignment”–both guarantee a paycheck at the end of the process. With my name on 7 books now I know my market fairly well. 

That paycheck is nice since we are expecting our third child in June and I plan on beginning a PhD at some point within the next couple years.

Its a good motivator when things get sluggish and its always nice to know the manuscript will sit upon a shelf in a bookstore.

In recent weeks I have also been offered a paid columnist position–my third outing as a paid monthly columnist–and am delighted that it offers a great deal of freedom…and that regular check.

However I do have a couple other projects I have tinkered with from time to time that really excite me.

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07/4/13

Why I Will stop Using Exclamation Points with “lol.”

lol.

Laugh out loud.

The excitement is implied in the text.

Laughing out loud is by definition an explosive expression of joy. It conjures up images of friends  reminicing on funny stories,  the newest Youtube video featuring someone injuring themselves in a stupid way, listening to a faux pas by the preacher and watching them scramble to recover, and reacting to funny posts I make on Facebook such as this:

banana

Hilarious.

So we laugh out loud.

lol.

Normal, healthy, boisterous expression of delight.

But then there are those who insist in placing a “!” after “lol”–and what was once a happy articulation of emotion, has now become the cry of the clinically insane.

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