Archive for March, 2012

Dr. Bersagel Braley

March 26, 2012

Our son-in-law, Matthew Bersagel Braley, has finished and defended his doctoral Thesis recently and expects to receive his Doctor of Philosophy degree from Emory University in Atlanta, Georgia.  We are excited for him and proud of his hard work in putting this dissertation together.  He has faced many life changing experiences over the years he has written this piece of original research. He has needed to work with and around those experiences. We admire his tenacity and his work ethic.  Congratulations to Matthew.

Dr. Bersagel Braley’s area of study includes the intersection of society and ethics.  He is currently a professor at Viterbo University in La Crosse.  He is the co-ordinator of their Servant Leadership Master’s program.  He also teaches ethics and values courses to undergraduates.  Sometimes we think of professors having “cushy” jobs.  we’ve enjoyed talking with him about the role of professors and what that all means in terms of time and commitments.  University politics isn’t always easy to navigate either.

A shout out also goes to our daughter, Kari, who worked full -time during the first years of this process and now has worked full-time at home with their two children, Nora and Matea, to give Matthew time to complete his work.  We congratulate her on a job well done.  I’m sure that her encouragement and support have played an important role in Matthew’s achieving this degree.

Congratulations to them both!

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Bible Verses

March 19, 2012

Last Sunday we were privileged to attend the installation of a young pastor in a congregation.  I had served as supply preacher in the congregation for several Sundays.  The Bishop was there to preach and to install.

The readings for the day included two of my favorite Bible Verses.  John 3:16  “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes on him might not perish but receive eternal life.”   The other was from Ephesians 2:8.  “For by grace you have been saved through faith; and this is not your own doing, it is the gift of God–not because of works, lest anyone should boast.”

At the welcome dinner afterward, I sat across from the Bishop.  He said, “Why is it that we get two great verses like that on the same Sunday?”

They are great verses.  They provide both comfort and challenge.  Comfort because they remind that God loves “the world.”  Not just believers.  Not just do-gooders, but the world.  The imperfect, sinning, cantankerous world in which we live.  God is in that world and God loves that world.  At the very least that means that God loves me who is a part of “the world.”  And this is a gift to the world.  Nothing we can do to earn that love of God.  Nothing we can believe to presume upon that love of God.  Nothing.  Eternal life is heaven to be sure, but it is also the full and abundant life God wants for us here and now.

Living that life isn’t easy.  We often succumb to the attempts to justify ourselves, prove ourselves.  But in the end it is God who justifies and who approves.

But it doesn’t stop there.  God saves us “for…”  Both the midweek Lenten service I attended and the Sunday sermon reminded me of that.  Annie Lamott likes to say, “God meets us where we are….but doesn’t leave us there.”  We are saved for those good works done in God’s name.  We are saved for that right living in God’s name.  We are saved for love for God and neighbor.  I John reminds us “We love because God first loved us.”

For me, these Bible verses are at the heart of what I believe.  My challenge is to live out of that heart.

Thanks to the readers who are still checking in on this blog.  I’m hoping to get back to a weekly posting.  May these days be days of preparation for your celebration of the death and resurrection of Jesus.