All posts by Michael

About Michael

Mike was called to be the Vicar of St. Alban's Episcopal Church in Wickenburg, AZ, and started this call on February 1, 2024. Before taking a call as clergy, Mike worked in IT for almost 25 years, variously working as a back- and front-end web developer, database developer and manager, and as a business analyst. If he's not engaged in the work of the church, you can find him on a motorcycle, enjoying the ride, or training for an upcoming BikeMS ride. Mike holds a Bachelor of Arts in Classical History from Seattle Pacific University, and a Masters of Divinity from Fuller Theological Seminary. He attended Sewanee School of Theology for a year of Anglican Studies in the Fall of 2022, and graduated in May of 2023. Mike was ordained as a Transitional Deacon in the Episcopal Diocese of Arizona on January 20th, 2024, and will be ordained to the priesthood on July 27, 2024.

11Feb/24

Points of View

This is the epiphany, the nature and mission of Christ is revealed to those three disciples in this transfiguration on the mountaintop. And it is revealed to those of us hearing the story after the fact. Jesus is the messiah, the chosen one of Israel, the salvation of all humanity. 

But what does the identity of Jesus of Nazareth as the messiah reveal to us about ourselves? We most definitely are not the messiah, so we are unlikely to be joined by Moses and Elijah and be transfigured on the top of a mountain.  

As with many of the stories we encounter in the Gospels, Peter’s responses tend to be the example that so many of us can relate to.

21Jan/24

Tickled Pink

Over the centuries, several people have done the exact same thing as what Paul was suggesting, selling their possessions and camping out on a mountain top, waiting for the second coming of Jesus. These people made a decision that was guided by some form of hope, even within a life that is filled with daily responsibilities and duties. Partly because they saw it as a salvation from their present struggles. For them, future hope bested their present reality. And because of that, their hope came with a sense of urgency.

23Oct/23

Live a Little

And so, Paul is admonishing believers in Corinth for living with the same mindset: “This life is all we have, so let’s live a little! We aren’t going to be resurrected, so let’s make this life all that it should be!” And, because of this mindset, they were spending time with those of “bad company,” which was clearly corrupting their morals. The rend result was that the witness of their faith in Christ was indistinguishable from those with whom they were spending time.

20Oct/23

Seeing the Unseen

I am gifted with a great imagination, and an analytical mind, and getting out of the boat, like Peter, to walk on the water toward a promise God has given me, makes me realize just how big those waves of doubt and uncertainty can be. Like a heads up display, I see every possible scenario, both good and bad, with its probability firmly floating above the wave, either granting hope, or threatening impending doom. 

13Oct/23

I am a Rock? I am an Island?

As adults we often don’t realize just how many of our decisions are based on similar attempts at fitting in, at defining our identity, at finding our role within our social context. Did I come to this church because it provides the best theological teaching, or because it offers the best programs, or the best adult groups? Did I take this job because I love doing it, or because this type of job pays more money than one that I love to do – and by extrapolation, more money will allow me to get what I really crave?

06Oct/23

The Way Home

So, to me, for someone to say that they are “spiritual, but not religious,” means that they are saying something to the effect of “I’m a human being.” 

Of course, I’m being deliberately obtuse with my own question, because what people generally want to convey with that statement is that they simply do not subscribe to any form of organized religion, and prefer to find their own method of making sense of the world; that they do not find any meaning in the structures others have created, but prefer to create their own order within the chaos.

01Oct/23

Do Be Do

It is entirely possible to do the will of the Father without being moved by what we are doing. We can follow all the requirements of a good and just society, without caring about the interests of others. We can do all of these things, but care only about looking good, which is precisely the opposite of what Paul was asking of the believers in Philippi.

24Jul/22

Kingdoms

If you were to ask any random person on the street about a prayer that they could recite from memory, the Lord’s Prayer would make the top five. It seems that this is a prayer that everyone, whether they attend church now, or only as a child, has committed to memory. And as is often the case when we have committed words and phrases to rote memory, we often quit reflecting on their meanings and purpose.