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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 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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Friday, 18 August 2017 Category Dan's Musings
Greetings! I just returned from three weeks of vacation, and I’m proud to say I accomplished my main goal- I never put on a pair of long pants! Anne and I flew up to the Pacific Northwest and started our time with a week at a quiet cabin on Vashon Island, a 15-minute ferry ride out of Seattle. It was a great way to begin. It took me a couple days ro realize how much I needed a break from the city. Big cities have a way of quietly bearing down on you, and Los Angeles is no exception. Sitting on a...
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Thursday, 27 July 2017 Category Dan's Musings
By Maddie Mitchellweiler   My first day of work started with a funeral. I arrived at FPCH chipper and ready to get started as the Young Adult Ministries Intern. Proudly pulling in to the staff lot, I noticed the other lots were full, but didn’t think much of it, knowing there were always all kinds of events going on around campus. I trekked up the stairs to meet with Pastor Joel and we talked eagerly, discussing vision and praying through how God might be breathing new life into our Colle...
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Friday, 21 July 2017 Category Dan's Musings
"Whoever has ears to hear, let them hear."  Jesus said it a number of times. And the truth is, many people I talk to desire this above anything else- to hear.  From God. “If I could just hear from God, just know what he wants me to do, I’d do it in a heartbeat,” we say, with the utmost sincerity. But sometimes it seems like God isn’t speaking. What do we do then? Sometimes we just fill the celestial airwaves with our voices. We just keep asking and asking and asking. Keep knockin...
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Friday, 14 July 2017 Category Dan's Musings
I’m weary of the shouting. Can we just talk? My week has been full of reminders of our inability to have conversation. I heard the story of an incident at a seminary where a respected professor was part of a diverse panel discussion, and some students at the event began to loudly boo him. Worse yet, not one of the other speakers on stage lifted a finger to reprimand the audience. I pick up the newspaper and read about city development hearings where people on different sides of an issue literall...
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Wednesday, 05 July 2017 Category Dan's Musings
In a word- yes. Our beliefs matter because the way we choose to live will be based on something. Everyone’s life is based on something. It might be as simple as the desire to be happy, or the compulsion to satisfy certain appetites. Decisions made to support those goals will cause life to go in a particular direction.  Someone else may make choices based on a complicated philosophical or religious belief system, and their life will take a different path. But everyone bases their life on som...
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