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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, 09 November 2017 Category Dan's Musings
I’ve now been the Senior Pastor at Hollywood Presbyterian for seven years. Seven years. That’s a very biblical number. Jacob served Laban for seven years to get Rachel as a wife, but then was tricked into serving seven more and ended up with two wives! Joseph interpreted Pharaoh’s dream about seven good years and seven years of famine. Israel was instructed to let the land rest (sabbath) every seven years. There was to be a special time every seventh year, when debts were canceled and slaves giv...
Dan Baumgartner
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Friday, 03 November 2017 Category Dan's Musings
My dad died last weekend. We've known it was coming for the last year. And thanks to so many of you for your prayers and notes, they have been a great encouragement. His death, and our hurried trip to Seattle to be with my mom and siblings, left me with time to muse- in airports, on airplanes and on morning runs. The word that keeps coming up is...tension.I don’t mean anxiety producing, heart attack inducing nervous tension, but rather the holding together of things that seem paradoxical or even...
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Friday, 27 October 2017 Category Dan's Musings
October 2017, San Diego, California. Outside of the downtown First Presbyterian Church, much like in Hollywood, the noise of a nearby freeway never wavers and the presence of homeless friends on the nearby streets is noticeable. Inside the church, two dozen Presbyterian pastors sit in a large circle. I am one of them. There are both men and women, the youngest around 30 years old and the most senior 70-something. They represent large, medium and small churches around the country- downtown urban ...
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Friday, 20 October 2017 Category Dan's Musings
Most of you know that Hollywood Presbyterian is a member of The Fellowship Community. This is the group of evangelical pastors, elders and churches who remain in the PCUSA denomination. I have served on the Board of TFC for the last two years. The original version of the article below was sent around the country a couple weeks ago. The first part may sound familiar to you, but not the rest. One of my reads this year was a novel, The Cellist of Sarajevo. It’s based on a true story from the terri...
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Thursday, 12 October 2017 Category Dan's Musings
This week I was with a pastor friend who, like me, has kids in their 20’s. At some point in our conversation he blurted out “When is the Church going to realize that young people aren’t interested in talking about the Church, but they are interested in talking about God?” I kept thinking about that question. It definitely highlights a generational shift.  For many younger people “the Church” means tradition, an institution, an emphasis on rules and a lot of time talking about things t...
Mike Mccauley
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Thursday, 21 September 2017 Category Dan's Musings
By now, you are well aware that I am a “word” person. I am drawn to reading and writing. I love to consider vocabulary options, am interested in etymologies and enjoy digging into texts, Biblical and otherwise. Which may make me a philologist. I love words- which makes me a logophile. However, my interest in these things goes beyond academic exercise. Words are so important, but in our world today seem increasingly disposable. Words are mindlessly thrown out, redefined on a whim, taken back, c...
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Wednesday, 13 September 2017 Category Dan's Musings
Our Hollywood culture pumps out celebrities by the truckload. We etch their names onto sidewalk stars and placard their portraits on four-story billboards. It is in the very DNA of our environment, the propensity to place people on tall pedestals. But this week I found myself wondering- who do I really look up to? My musing continued at a Personnel Team meeting at Hollywood Presbyterian Tuesday night. We began the meeting with a devotional look at Micah 6:6-8, which ends with the famous eighth...
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Thursday, 07 September 2017 Category Dan's Musings
Michelangelo, Unfinished Slaves (Atlas) 1508 in the corridor of The Accademia Galley (Florence, Italy) near his David statue.       What’s the deal? Everywhere I turn in my life, there are building projects going on. If you haven’t noticed, half of Hollywood is under construction. When I go back to Seattle to visit, I enter the land of re-routed streets and more construction cranes (by 50%) than anywhere else in the country. Even my own neighborhood here in LA is now...
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Thursday, 31 August 2017 Category Dan's Musings
The Psalmist wrote “I will call on Him as long as I live (116:2).”  Most of us would probably read, sing or agree with this thought without a second glance. “I will call on Him as long as I live.” This sentence kept popping up this week. If you stop and think, it is a promise not unlike a wedding vow, to follow the Lord through thick and thin, in good times and in bad. Right now, it is easy to find plenty of both in our world. Catastrophic flooding in Asia. Disastrous rains in Texas. Raci...
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Wednesday, 23 August 2017 Category Dan's Musings
Evelyn Underhill was an Anglican Christian in England who was born in 1875 and died in 1941. A prolific and profoundly intelligent writer of novels, poetry and theology, Underhill was what some would call a “mystic.”  Her deep faith, also reflected in invitations to lecture on spirituality at Oxford and through correspondence with many people, was partially expressed in powerful visions, symbols and experiences.    Underhill’s book The Ways of the Spirit was published after her ...
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