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Dan's Musings

Latest thoughts from First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood Pastor, Dan Baumgartner

Dan Baumgartner
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Wednesday, 15 May 2019 Category Dan's Musings
This is my 410th Musing for the ePres as Senior Pastor of Hollywood Presbyterian. And it is my final one. These brief columns have been a fun way to share thoughts on life, faith, reading, travel and people. They truly have been musings–not heavily researched or complete essays. Starting next Friday, this column will transition to “Musings from Our Leaders,” with a different elder writing each week.  I’ve been reflecting these last weeks, knowing that a big transition is near for me and ou...
Dan Baumgartner
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Thursday, 09 May 2019 Category Dan's Musings
Once again I am musing with you from 40,000 feet up. Literally. It's Tuesday morning, and I'm on a brightly-colored Southwest Air plane that will eventually deposit me in Missoula, Montana. Once a year I meet for a retreat with seven younger-than-me pastors, one of whom lives in Missoula. We will stay at a cabin about 40 minutes out of town. We will hike, talk, eat well, talk, worship, talk...you get the idea. This year we read two books to discuss during the week. One is Kate Bowler's Everythin...
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Friday, 03 May 2019 Category Dan's Musings
For the last thirty years, my quest in life has been to be one person. A whole person. It’s so tempting to be many different people and wear many hats.  I remember my years in business, trying to manage a career, be a good husband, tiptoe into fatherhood, stay connected with friends, serve as a church elder...I wanted to do it all. I needed to. I was juggling a million balls, but inside I felt like there was more to life. What might it look like to be ONE person? Just me. We can do the sam...
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Friday, 26 April 2019 Category Dan's Musings
I haven’t really counted them up yet, but I’m guessing that in 8 ½ years at Hollywood Presbyterian, I have preached roughly 400 sermons. Most of those were preached either 2 or 3 times, depending on our worship schedules. This means that along the way, you have heard me quote many people. I read a great deal, and inevitably that reading creeps into sermons. The names you hear most frequently from me are C.S. Lewis, N.T. Wright, Flannery O’Connor, Walker Percy, Eugene Peterson, Martin Luther King...
Dan Baumgartner
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Thursday, 18 April 2019 Category Dan's Musings
If Only   Channel 12’s reporter stands before the evening news van, mic in hand, stares into the camera’s bright light. Words roll out too smoothly: “Yes, Jim, I’m here on site at Golgotha, where days of rampant speculation pointed to some earth-shattering event taking place today, Friday. We’ve been here all afternoon with little to report, apart from an oddly early sunset. Besides that, just the usual creepy stuff from this particular neighborhood- funeral processions, weep...
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Friday, 12 April 2019 Category Dan's Musings
Many of the more liturgical traditions in the Christian Church, especially our Catholic brothers and sisters, have utilized a set of images called “The Stations of the Cross” for learning scripture, rehearsing the story of Christ’s passion and guidance for prayer and meditation. Christian retreat centers often feature a walk guided by paintings, engravings or symbols for the “stations,” or different moments on Jesus’ journey from his condemnation before Pilate through his burial.  The Catho...
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Friday, 05 April 2019 Category Dan's Musings
April 5, 2019 Dear Hollywood Pres community-It is with surprise, sadness and excitement that I write you this letter. There is no easy way to approach it: after 8 ½ years as the senior pastor at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, my time here is coming to a close. Anne and I will eventually be moving to Santa Rosa, CA and I will serve as the pastor of The Cove (Covenant Fellowship Presbyterian Church), pending their congregational vote at the end of this month. I will finish ...
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Thursday, 21 March 2019 Category Dan's Musings
I have this place. I may have mentioned it once in a sermon. It’s a “thin place.” That is the ancient Celtic Christian terminology for a place where God’s presence seems especially poignant. Their belief was that heaven resides just 3 feet above the earth, a sort of parallel universe, but that there are special “thin places” where even that distance is much smaller and human beings can sense the nearness of God in a palpable way.            ...
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Friday, 15 March 2019 Category Dan's Musings
Presidents Abraham Lincoln, Teddy Roosevelt, Franklin Roosevelt and Lyndon Johnson- what do they have in common? I was pondering this on vacation as I read Doris Kearns Goodwin's book Leadership in Turbulent Times.  Kearns is a prize-winning and bestselling historian who has previously written separately on these four presidents. In this book she uses "leadership" as the lens to view each of them. It is a fascinating study in many ways, but the thing which caught my eye in the biographical ...
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Thursday, 07 March 2019 Category Dan's Musings
Note: Within our PCUSA denomination, Hollywood Presbyterian has belonged to The Fellowship Community (TFC) since 2012. It is a network of the evangelical churches and leaders who remain in the denomination. I serve on the Board. Pastor Joel and Elders Liz Smith and Mac Heald joined me on February 19-21 for the annual national meeting.   (Tulsa, OK)  Some people have said–rightly–that the name is utterly redundant: The Fellowship Community. That redundancy was on full display at the Feb...
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