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Dan's Musings

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

Dan Baumgartner
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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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Thursday, 28 February 2019 Category Dan's Musings
“Share where you were born, and then the farthest you have ever been from that point.”  It was a simple assignment for dinner conversation when the Deacons and Elders met together for an hour this week.  It made me think about distant places I had been.  My first thought was “Inner Mongolia.”  Upon review later, I was actually much farther away from Seattle when I was on Lake Victoria in Kenya. But Inner Mongolia had occupied my thoughts, and I was remembering a trip in 2002....
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Tuesday, 12 February 2019 Category Dan's Musings
Next week I will be in Tulsa, OK for the National Gathering of The Fellowship Community (TFC). I’ll be accompanied by Pastor Joel and elders Mac Heald and Liz Smith. It promises to be a very engaging week with 225 people from around the country. For your review, TFC is the networking group of evangelical churches and leaders within the PCUSA. Hollywood Pres is a member, and I am on the Board. (For a reminder of the non-political use of the word “evangelical,” see my September 28, 2018 Musing her...
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Thursday, 07 February 2019 Category Dan's Musings
The eminent philosopher Dr. Seuss once said:       “The more that you read, the more things you will know.         The more that you learn, the more places you’ll go.” Our staff at Hollywood Pres does a significant amount of reading and discussing. At pastoral staff meetings, all-staff meetings and staff retreats we are always reading something together. Often it is scripture, but magazine articles, poetry, theology, literature, histo...
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Friday, 25 January 2019 Category Dan's Musings
So the daughter asks her dad the question: “But Daddy, why do I have to keep doing the right thing when it doesn’t seem to make a difference?”  And Dad hems and haws and finally settles on “I’m not sure, honey, that’s just the way God set things up.”             Out of a child’s mouth comes the question that is not just cute, but quite theologically profound. And out of a father’s lips comes the answer that does not actually avoid the...
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Friday, 18 January 2019 Category Dan's Musings
Q:  How many years have you been at Hollywood Presbyterian?A:  I just passed 8 years at the beginning of November.  Q: You know the Hollywood congregation very well by now. What is something                you really love about this church?A: The mix of people is astounding. I haven’t really been in a similar place with the diversity of age, style, ethnicity, economics, background. Absolutely amazing!          ...
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Wednesday, 09 January 2019 Category Dan's Musings
             You’ve probably noticed that my Friday “Musing” is often related in some way to my Sunday sermon. A person can only muse on so many things at once. So I can’t promise that you won’t hear a bit more of this on a Sunday.  As I reflect on starting a new year, I’ve thought about things to change in my own life and things that need to stay the same.   More than ever I’m convinced that every one of us has certain longings, deep in our so...
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Friday, 04 January 2019 Category Dan's Musings
Whoosh! The holidays have passed. What a season at Hollywood Presbyterian! Truly. Christmas craft night, community art project, Wednesday chapel services, our first ever Longest Night service, choir concert, Advent Sunday worship, Christmas Eve family service (including maximum adrenaline levels) and the candlelight 10pm service. Kids’ choirs, bells, candles, guitars, organs, John 1, carols, dimmed lights, joy, incarnation. Where does one go from here? On December 30th our choir san...
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