In Solidarity with Jesus and His Mission

Stations of the Cross @ Mission Basilica San Diego de Alcala

  • Water in the Desert

    And so it goes…life on this planet is not possible without water. Same goes for external life. Baptism IS necessary for salvation. Water events, both in scarcity and abundance, require action and an enormous amount of reflection. It’s ironic that water is also reflective by nature and thus demands our attention; much like the human… Read more

  • Marriage Blessed and Ordained by God Alone

    We find ourselves, as Godly people of faith, enmeshed in another social upheaval regarding marriage.  First, the Bible and church tradition has consistently defined marriage, Holy Matrimony, as between a man and a women. Why? Because man and woman were created for each other.    Societies since the beginning of time have adopted roles for… Read more

  • Giving (and Receiving) Every Day…Not Just Tuesday

    I write today on Tuesday, November 29, 2022. Designated a ‘Giving Tuesday’ that began a decade ago to raise awareness of the need to enact radical generosity in the hearts and souls of people. This movement has grown to become global in scope, while remaining locally focused. If you are like me, your inbox and… Read more

  • God’s Provisions for Our Time in the Wilderness

    Reflection on Mark 1:9-15 In this Gospel passage, Mark tells the story of Jesus’ Baptism and immediate departure into the desert wilderness where Jesus will reside and be tempted by Satan. Jesus was led into the wilderness by the very Spirit of God, to a place where death was a very real possibility. He is… Read more

  • Transforming the Continuum of Care

    Unless you have been living in a cave for the past 10 months…the global pandemic has resulted in inequitable panic, concern, and impulsive reactions among government officials and the ‘health care’ community. The reactions and fear have not been unfounded. Millions worldwide have been impacted and many have died as a direct result of the… Read more

  • Christ The King

    We don’t often talk of kings much anymore in the US. After all we have been involved with this experiment called a democracy for a couple of centuries. In this form of government, there are no kings and are extensive guards and laws to prevent even our elected folks from acting like a king. So… Read more

Taste Communities

Fifteen years ago I began the trek toward ordination in the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA).  Turns out it was part of God’s plan for my life long before I was born.  Nevertheless, this trek yielded a new call for my life – to be a Minister of the Church of Christ in the Office of Word and Sacrament.  I thought at the time – 1996 – that I had a grasp on what that meant for me and the church.  There was even an elaborate, cumbersome and sometimes conflicting process by which committees and synods and seminaries would affirm and confirm this call to ministry.  This still exists in the ELCA today and because of abuse and misconduct in the clergy ranks of late – this process is even more burdensome – especially on families and spouses – but more on that some other time.

I have a weekly habit of searching through the archives and new releases on  If you have not found this gem of new inspirational and innovative thought paths and ideas then you should check it out.   In a recent post, Johanna Blakley, media researcher, discussed how media and advertising companies still use the same old demographics to understand audiences, but they’re becoming increasingly harder to track online.  As social media outgrows traditional media, and women users outnumber men, Blakley explained what changes are in store for the future of media.

Two first impressions – one is the realization that on social media sites like Facebook, women users vastly outnumber men.  Second, was the observation that people aggregate around things they ‘like.’  She called the aggregates – taste communities. While this may not be a new stream of thought – that people who like similar things gravitate towards one another – her observations about women being far out in front as users on social networks AND that like-minded people aggregate describes network of the Church of Christ as well – especially using old demographics to determine how to ‘advertise’ or proclaim your message.  (More on that later too. Hint: church leaders should address the thirst for God of the 18-24 age group equally to that of the 54+ age group.)

At least in the congregations I have been privileged to serve – participation among women far exceeds that of men AND in an almost predictable way – church congregations have been increasingly forming around ‘like’ issues.  Two examples:  First, is a study years back – by the Youth and Family Institute in Minneapolis, MN – where they asked people to indicate who was most formative in your coming to know Jesus Christ – 75% responded a woman – such as a mother, grandmother or wife.  Second, with the decline of denominational adherence, churches have developed and promoted core principles that inform their interpretation of Scriptures and structure for Word and Sacrament ministry.  These principles tend to be organized around key Scriptures that address ‘hot button’ social issues (like abortion and homosexuality)  which attract people of like mind and political affiliation.

So what is the true reality for our like-mindedness or aggregation as a church?  Our ‘likeness’ is we are all created in the image of God – male and female.  Our call from Christ himself to be baptized and to come to His table of grace creates a unity that nothing – no power nor principality can destroy.  Our present and future reality is that we are gathered people by the Holy Spirit – to aggregate around water, Word, bread and wine – to repent, taste and see that God is good.

The essence of the Church of Christ is that it is the first, best and most satisfying ‘taste community’ on the planet – in the universe.  In the bread and wine we meet the life-giving and forgiving Son of God – the true Messiah – the King of all that was, is today and will yet come – Jesus Christ.  At the table where the Word is grace and the Sacrament is Jesus himself – all other taste communities submit and are reconciled, invited and fed with the bread of life.

Through all the trials and tribulations of my trek to a Word and Sacrament ministry one thing remains clear – the true, lasting – forever and ever – taste community is the Holy Spirit gathers at the Table of Grace where Jesus is the host.   Somehow and in a clear manner – God through the power of the Holy Spirit – makes equal and unites the ‘like’ playing field of all creation through Jesus in, through and under our individual taste community as we come to His table.  So we can aggregate on Facebook around our ‘likes’, we can aggregate in our communities of faith as we wish on Sunday morning – yet what we taste and see – is Christ.  He does not see our ‘likes’ or individual ‘tastes’ – rather what matters is that on the great social network – Jesus ‘liked’ (loved) us first and gave his life for us so that we would have a wonderful sweet taste that the world so longs for.

As we say each week:  Now…Go in peace.  Serve the Lord!

One response to “Taste Communities”

  1. Thank you for this post. It was quite timely for me to have received and read at this time. I have become increasingly aware of my communities and the limits of my participations. Being solidly aware of potential volatilities for offenses intentionally or not, I have sought to be polite, careful and considerate, remembering and being aware of the intent and purpose of any given community I am in at the time. I have seen pained looks on faces when someone has made a “remark” which had no place in the community we find ourselves at the time. It is personally privately painful for me to know what has caused that look on someone’s face. Often these remarks have to do with hot bed issues such as homosexuality, etc. upon which you make note. I do have to note these indiscretions made by a few but have chosen not to address them. I believe it is the way for me to maintain civility even if others seemingly do not. Thank you.

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