Category Archives: From the Pastor

A blog of thoughts from Pastor Karl

Homosexuality: Church, Scripture, Society Session 2: Scripture


  1. Opening Prayer
  2. Review
    • Three legged stool of Christian ethics: Tradition, Scripture, Culture
      • ethics around slavery, banking, remarriage, female leadership have changed over the centuries within the church as the culture has changed, scripture that had been used to support one point of view was either seen as not contextually relevant to a very different world or other scripture seemed more relevant
      • Christian Ethics is always about faithful living, not salvation. We don’t try to live perfect lives in order to get to heaven. We try to live faithful lives as we wait for the Kingdom of God. Why? Because faithful lives bring us closest to the presence of God.
        • Christian Ethics is about trying to create something like the Kingdom of God in the middle of the Kingdom of Man.
    • Sweep of history in the church , understanding our heterosexuality from unnatural to natural
      • Should homosexuality be reconsidered, too?
    • Why didn’t the ELCA just decide this issue for us in 2009?
  3. The Kingdom of God
    • What does this phrase refer to?
    • What do you picture when you hear this phrase? What will the Kingdom of God look like?
    • Read Matthew 5:1-11,
      • How does Jesus describe the Kingdom of God?
    • Why is this a good discussion to have now in this lesson?
  4. Genesis 19:1-11
    • Retell the story
    • What is the point of this story?
    • What is disturbing about this story?
    • What is the role of sexuality in this story?
    • What is the sin of Sodom?
      • OT and NT references
    • Does this story speak to us today about the faithfulness of homosexuality?
    • What scholars say.
    • Another story for home, Judges 19:16-30

Continue reading Homosexuality: Church, Scripture, Society Session 2: Scripture

Homosexuality: Church, Scripture, Society Session 1: Church

Homosexuality: Church, Scripture, Society

Session 1: Church

  1. Opening Prayer
  2. Outline of class
    • Three legged stool of Christian ethics: Tradition, Scripture, Culture
    • Session 1-Church, Session 2, 3-Scripture, Session 4, 5-Society
    • Covenant
      • Respectful language, empathy for each other, don’t assume what you think you know about your neighbor, careful sharing
      • I am not trying to convince you about this.
      • Taping the first three classes, no confidentiality
    • Goals
      • Council alone can decide whether this church can bless same sex marriage. Pastors are forbidden by our bishop to do so even outside of the church unless our church council grants permission.
      • To inform our congregation and give space for discussion and discernment on this issue.
      • To enable our council to create a clear statement of welcome to the homosexual community with the limits of our welcome stated.

Continue reading Homosexuality: Church, Scripture, Society Session 1: Church


Change is good. Change is hard. Change is a part of living because if you “ain’t” changing you are dying. Pick your cliche about change. Depending on the change that you are thinking about, one of them has likely applied. The huge changes in our society can both excite us and worry us. Who would have predicted just twenty years ago that gay marriage would be a thing? The huge changes in science daily alter our lives. The first smartphone was released just eight years ago, now it is hard for me to imagine life without one. What will I be saying that about eight years from now? Huge changes in our economy eliminate jobs for some and create opportunities for others. A robotics scientist in a lengthy interview on Fresh Air, predicted that robots would change warehousing in ten years so much that nearly all big company warehouse jobs would be eliminated. What would that mean to the thousands of Columbus workers in the large warehouses that ring our city? And of course all of our personal lives are constantly changing. When I came to Messiah in 2003 I had three kids in high school. Now, those three kids have given me three grandkids. Other changes that happen in our personal lives are less joyful, the death of a relationship, friendship, friend or family member. Continue reading Changes

From the pastor…August, 2015

I was called to Messiah to be the pastor in June of 2003, just weeks before Vacation Bible School was to begin. This place was frantic as Catherine, our Children’s Minister was running about getting last minute details in place. Catherine had already resigned because her husband, a newly ordained pastor, was called out of state. Her right hand “man”, Alicia Keiber, all of 24 or so, had promised to pull off VBS in  her absence. That year, VBS went off without a hitch with Alicia running the show, as have the eleven other VBS’s since that first one. I don’t ever remember hiring Alicia. By the end of my first month here, no one could imagine anyone else doing it better. She has been our Children’s Minister now for over twelve years. Continue reading From the pastor…August, 2015



REMINDER copyPlease be patient with the construction of our worship space. Our sanctuary renewal is causing us to ask for the understanding of the congregation as well as our visitors. We are unable to video the worship service or record the sermons to post online because the video equipment is not available to us. We will post the service  again as soon as we are able to access our equipment. Be sure to stay with us for more videos in the near future.

In Support of Gay Marriage

I celebrate with many today, the Supreme Court Decision making civil laws defining marriage as solely between a man and woman, illegal. I support without reservation the legal right for homosexual couples to marry. This is not a new position for me, but one that I have held since the mid 90’s when the issue was first brought to my attention. Therefore, I did not support the 2004 Defense of Marriage Act in Ohio. Continue reading In Support of Gay Marriage

Summer at Messiah

It is summer, well almost. To say that Messiah goes to sleep during the summer is far from accurate. While some ministries take a well deserved break, many continue to go strong while others begin. Here is a rundown of our summer activities.

Resting-All but one of our choirs take the summer off. After a great Pentecost and season of Easter worship, they deserve it. Messiah Night takes the summer off, but don’t worry Chef Marty is planning a great menu for the year ahead as are our education leaders for Messiah Night programming. Preschool is out for the summer, but we will be busy searching for a new preschool director with the retirement of Pat Hazelwood. Messiah will miss Pat and we are thankful for her hard work and innovative ideas. My bible studies, Wednesday morning and evening and Thursday morning are resting, too. This goes along with my two weeks of vacation I take in the summer time.

Going strongWorship is the one thing that doesn’t stop, ever. All of the volunteers and staff that give their time and talents for worship to be a good gift for God and for us, are working just as hard as ever. Worship Leader Michelle Tuozzo is gathering all combinations of our members for unique special music offerings, too, while our choirs rest this summer. The 8:00 and 9:30 service will even head outside a few times. There is no reason ever to miss worship if you are in town. Even sleeping in is allowed, as the 4:30 Worship on Sunday will provide a good place for you to praise God after a lazy summer morning. Sunday School too continues in the summer for children during the 9:30 worship. Our Quilters and Rebecca’s Circle still meet. All of our property concerns continue in the summer with the added responsibility of landscaping needs. Our office still hums, too, from 8:30 till 4:30, but our doors might be locked so bring your phone so we can come and open the door for you. None of our servant ministries take a break in the summer either, because the poor and people on the margins always need care. Joseph’s Coat, HEART and our meals served at First English, Faith on Eighth, Y Family Shelter and the Ronald McDonald House continue in the summer.

Cranking up in the summer-Our Senior Saints Choir become travelling singers, as they prepare secular and religious offerings for nursing homes and other venues during the summer. Young and old join the Saints who practice on Wednesday mornings as they prepare to share their good gift to an appreciative audience. Member and Counselor Roberta Johns is starting a new small group this summer after her class on Wednesday night, What do you want to be when you grow up? was so well received. Our Community Garden is providing a place to enjoy God’s creation and creative work for us and for our neighbors. And, hundreds of neighbors will find us as we host a monthly Produce Market at Messiah, working with HEART and Mid Ohio Foodbank to feed those whose incomes don’t stretch far enough to meet their basic needs. Our softball team, that plays on Monday nights, needs your support in the summer. Our youth will be heading out to two mission trips in June. And, the biggest ministry of the summer Vacation Bible School is on the last week of June. Our VBS is one the largest  in Reynoldsburg with almost 200 kids served by nearly 100 volunteers over the week.

This list is not exhaustive. I am sure I left some things out. Just be assured that though things are different in the summer, the pace is still going strong. So, enjoy the summer, but still find time to worship and serve the God who made us and hopes so much for us. Peace, Pastor Karl

This Side of Heaven

I don’t think you need to go to church to go to heaven. I don’t think you need to go to church to become a “better” person, at least better by the world’s definition. I don’t think you need to go to church to live a “good” life, at least good by the world’s definition. I accept that the church is disappointing at times. Churches can and do suffer from any number of maladies: the worship is half hearted, the pastor is distracted or simply inept, the enthusiasm is sapped, the ministries are inward focused, the priorities are worldly, the people are crabby and grumpy, the risen Christ is hard to see. All of this is to preface what I am about to say, by making clear I am not delusional about the church.

Continue reading This Side of Heaven