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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, 12 April 2018 Category Dan's Musings
“Mom, I’m alive. Come pick me up.”  That message was the joyful finale to a story which began on Easter afternoon in Griffith Park. I told it at the Lord’s Lighthouse on Sunday.  Some kids were playing in the park, managed to enter an area that was fenced off and climbed onto the roof of an off-limits old maintenance building. Thirteen-year old Jesse Hernandez was jumping on some boards covering a large pipe when they gave way, and he fell twenty-five feet down into a large sewer syst...
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Tuesday, 27 March 2018 Category Dan's Musings
Carl Sandburg once said “Poetry is an echo, asking a shadow to dance.” The best poetry paints pictures, moves and stirs us even when we don’t totally understand it.  I don’t consider myself a poet, though I love poetry.  Two or three time a year I will scratch out a few lines or the outline of something to come back to later.  Occasionally a real poem emerges.  However, every year since 2001 I have “received” a poem during Lent. I never really sit down to think about it, but ...
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Friday, 23 March 2018 Category Dan's Musings
Life is full at Hollywood Presbyterian.  Having made it through the Westboro Baptist pickets, the Ides of March, the LA Marathon Sunday, Lenten Small Groups and Wednesday evening services in Wylie Chapel we find ourselves rather abruptly staring at Palm Sunday. It is the beginning of Holy Week. This means that as next week unfolds, we will follow Jesus on the way to the cross. That journey is prayed through, studied and ruminated on in various ways in the worshipping life of our community....
Dan Baumgartner
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Friday, 16 March 2018 Category Dan's Musings
Sometimes when God speaks, I recognize his voice because the message gets repeated. And repeated. And repeated. It’s part of God’s pattern with me, no doubt because of my inability (or unwillingness) to hear things the first time. In the last couple of weeks the message coming through seems to be: trust. The topic has persistently surfaced in different settings. When Anne and I had a few days off, I heard it during a quiet time of prayer: Do you trust Me?  In two different conversations th...
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Friday, 09 March 2018 Category Dan's Musings
In the end, it was mostly a non-issue. When we heard last week that the Westboro Baptist folks would be bringing their abrasive and hate-filled picket signs to Hollywood, and to Hollywood Presbyterian specifically, we needed to do a number of things. Talk to our staff and elders. Do some research with other churches and pastors. Talk to an attorney. Pray- lots of prayer. Write a letter to inform the congregation. Communicate with the LAPD. Strategize. Pray- lots of prayer. We didn't really know...
Dan Baumgartner
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Thursday, 01 March 2018 Category Dan's Musings
The picture above shows me at the sanctuary I worshiped in last Sunday- a little unorthodox, I know. After returning from a very full week in Atlanta leading a conference, Anne and I headed to the desert for the weekend. Sunday morning found us hiking in Joshua Tree National Park, a place of stunning beauty. What an amazingly creative God we worship!             While Joshua Tree has many well-marked hiking trails, it is also possible to s...
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Friday, 23 February 2018 Category Dan's Musings
(Atlanta, Georgia)-   I’ve been here since Monday night at the National Gathering of The Fellowship Community, the theologically evangelical churches within our PCUSA denomination. Hollywood Presbyterian is a member of the group.  I’m serving on the Board, and had a great deal of involvement in pulling this gathering together.  Hollywood elders Shay Case, Mac Heald and Jack Hardgrave made the trip with me, and Dr. Michael Bruner led a terrific workshop. About 220 elders and p...
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Friday, 16 February 2018 Category Dan's Musings
“Hey there’s a smudge on your forehead, some dirt or something.” The grocery store clerk is trying to be helpful.  But I’m standing in a busy market with a line of customers growing behind me. I don’t know how to respond. How do I explain that it’s not a smudge, but the mark of Ash Wednesday ashes?             How do I explain that it’s a tradition Jesus’ people have practiced for century upon century?      &n...
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Friday, 09 February 2018 Category Dan's Musings
The Beat poet Allen Ginsberg once said “The only thing that can save the world is the reclaiming of the awareness of the world. That's what poetry does.”  I like that. “Reclaiming an awareness of the world.”  Poems notice things, or cause us to notice. Poetry forces a reader to slow down to consider every word on the page.  There are few things as unsatisfying as rushing through the reading of a poem, because you miss everything. Poetry puts words to feelings, stirs the imaginat...
Dan Baumgartner
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Wednesday, 31 January 2018 Category Dan's Musings
At last Sunday’s Annual Meeting of the Congregation, Pastor Dan was slated to give a five minute “Word of Encouragement.”  What follows is a rough approximation of what he shared:                                                     &nb...
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