June 2011

The Discussion Continues

After church today, several people asked me if it was my blog that Pastor George Hinman had referenced in receiving over 13,000 hits in matter of days. Unfortunately, my blog only gets around 600 hits a day.

However, I have noticed that my blog does get a fair amount of hits from people searching for things related to UPC, Jason Santos, and YMM. So I figure that I should also share the love and point you guys to what your are probably looking for, which is the place where you can “[Continue] the conversation about Jason Brian Santos, the June 12 vote, and the health of UPC.”

Please point your browsers to The JBS Discussion (http://jbsdiscussion.wordpress.com/) and continue the dialog, the issues we face don’t stop with today’s vote1.

I will probably have more to say at a later date, but for now, I’m just really exhausted. In the meantime, please continue to pray for the Church, Jason and his family, the students, parents, and staff of YMM, and for the long journey all of us have ahead.

JBS Discussion graphic by the always talented Shannon Erickson

  1. For those curious, the final vote was 245 For, 151 Against, and 24 Abstain 

Divergence with Hope

Events of the last few weeks, and in fact, the last few months have left me feeling uncertain at best about the church I grew up in as a kid and decided to return to as an adult after college. While I can see the path that has been laid out before us, I am not completely sure how I got on it or why it looks so strange to me. Today1, we, the congregation, will vote on the following motion2:

From jbsdiscussion.wordpress.com:

That the congregation of University Presbyterian Church approve the request of Rev. Jason Santos and the Session to dissolve the Associate Pastor relationship with the church.

Jason himself has noted, “I am, therefore, submitting my resignation and would ask that you would honor this decision.”

This leaves me at a divergence of two roads in a yellow wood, with both paths sucking hard-core. On the one hand, I want to honor Jason’s decision. However, I also do not believe that I can, in good conscience, vote to accept the recommendation of Session to dissolve the pastoral relationship.

In many ways, I feel like I can sympathize with how Pontius Pilate3 must have felt:

24 When Pilate saw that he was getting nowhere, but that instead an uproar was starting, he took water and washed his hands in front of the crowd. “I am innocent of this man’s blood,” he said. “It is your responsibility!”

Matthew 27:24

I so very much want to be able to wash my hands of this situation — and of this vote. Things have been done that I’m not happy with and that I don’t agree with. I want to be able to distance myself from this so I can say, “Ah ha! See! I told you so.”

But that would be the easy way out, and Christ never promised me an easy life.

Sometimes I wish Pilate would have done more. And yes, I know that Pilate plays a critical role in Christianity in this regard, he’s even mentioned by name in the Apostles’ Creed, which is significant. But I still imagine Pilate feeling helpless, and frustrated, and sad, and maybe even a little bit sick to his stomach — as I am now, because I don’t know what to do, I don’t know what to vote.

But I can’t simply sit on the couch and let the vote pass me by. Instead, this is where I take the road less traveled, the road that Pilate chose not to take. I’m choosing not to wash my hands of this.

If I could be awesome, like Paul was4, I would have written a letter like this to the congregation of UPC:

12 Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you. 13 Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other. 14 And we urge you, brothers and sisters, warn those who are idle and disruptive, encourage the disheartened, help the weak, be patient with everyone. 15 Make sure that nobody pays back wrong for wrong, but always strive to do what is good for each other and for everyone else.

16 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.

19 Do not quench the Spirit. 20 Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21 but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22 reject every kind of evil.

23 May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. 24 The one who calls you is faithful, and he will do it.

25 Brothers and sisters, pray for us. 26 Greet all God’s people with a holy kiss. 27 I charge you before the Lord to have this letter read to all the brothers and sisters.

28 The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you.

1 Thessalonians 5:12-28

I know this letter doesn’t say anything about how to vote. That would be easy. Instead, I see this letter as a reminder of how we are to act. We are to be supportive and patient, thankful and prayerful. We are to check out everything and not be gullible5. We are to remember that our God is faithful and he will do what he said he will do.

Tomorrow’s vote isn’t going to be easy. It’s going be hard. The next several months, and probably even years, are going to be hard and they’re going to require hupomeno — perseverance under misfortunes and trials while holding fast to one’s faith in Christ.

Maybe it’s for the best that I’m not Pilate. My hope is that if I don’t wash my hands of this, I can somehow do something good in the long run. My hope is that I can be part of the healing process, even if I was part of the problem.

Hope is a pretty powerful thing. I know God has a plan; and I know it wasn’t his first plan because we screwed that one up a long time ago, but I choose to believe that this plan will still be awesome.

  1. Sunday 

  2. Under what I’m assuming to be G-14.0612 in accordance with G-7.0304(a) of the Presbyterian Church (USA) Book of Order — which is the constitution of the church  

  3. and I’m not trying to subtlety suggest that Jason is Jesus Christ. If you think that, you’re missing the point 

  4. you might also remember that Paul’s life was not easy either 

  5. as Eugene Peterson’s The Message puts it 

Week 17

Day 113 (April 23rd)

Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States

Day 1141

50.0 mm || 1/60 || f/3.2 || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Golden, Colorado, United States

Day 115

Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States

Day 116

Vignette for Android
Renton, Washington, United States

Day 1172

15 sec || ISO1600 || NIKON D70
Golden, Colorado, United States

Day 118

Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States

Day 119 (April 29th)3

70.0 mm || 1/320 || f/4.5 || NIKON D70
Genesee, Colorado, United States

  1. From 2009, I think this was for an Oredigger article 

  2. Also from this day 2009, the results of a digital pinhole experiment 

  3. I apologize for slacking off this week, I was probably still editing Haiti photos. Fortunately I had good coverage, this time from 2006 

Week 16

Day 106 (April 16th)

18.0 mm || 1/100 || f/3.5 || ISO1600 || NIKON D7000
Port-de-Paix, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

Day 107

Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States

Day 108
No picture today 🙁

Day 109
No picture today, double suck 🙁 🙁

Day 110

Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States

Day 111

Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States

Day 112 (April 22nd)

Vignette for Android
Seattle, Washington, United States


Week 15

If you’re curious about my thoughts on Haiti, I’d encourage you to read what I wrote after I came back. Below is only a small glimmer of all the photos from Haiti I have posted on Flickr. Fun fact: I took about 3000 photos this year, which is ~100% more than I took last year. However, I only ended up publishing 613 photos, versus 582 last year, which is only 5.3% more. I also figured it takes me, on average, about 1 minute of editing time for every photo taken. Which is about right for the 40-50 hours of editing I put in for the Haiti photos this year.

Day 99 (April 9th)

31.0 mm || 1/3200 || f/4.0 || ISO400 || NIKON D7000
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

Day 100

120.0 mm || 1/50 || f/5.3 || ISO1600 || NIKON D7000
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

Day 101

32.0 mm || 1/500 || f/4.2 || ISO100 || NIKON D7000
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

Day 102

26.0 mm || 1/500 || f/4.5 || ISO100 || NIKON D7000
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

Day 103

130.0 mm || 1/640 || f/5.6 || ISO200 || NIKON D7000
Gonaïves, Artibonite, Haïti

Day 104

18.0 mm || 1/40 || f/4.5 || ISO1250 || NIKON D7000
Beau Champ, Nord-Ouest, Haïti

Day 105 (April 15th)

120.0 mm || 1/320 || f/5.3 || ISO200 || NIKON D7000
, Nord-Ouest, Haïti