Pastor Darian

Author's details

Name: Pastor Darian
Date registered: June 5, 2012

Latest posts

  1. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to Monica: Dipping Our Toes Into the Past — October 16, 2014
  2. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to Chandler: When One Part Suffers — October 9, 2014
  3. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to Joey: “Cool” Changes — October 2, 2014
  4. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to Phoebe: Telling the Truth — September 19, 2014
  5. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to Ross and Rachel: Waiting At the Gate — September 11, 2014

Most commented posts

  1. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to John Coffey — 1 comment
  2. Pastor Darian's Musings: The Duties of a 1913 Preacher in Cleveland, MS — 1 comment

Author's posts listings

Oct 16 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to Monica: Dipping Our Toes Into the Past

Original post at

In season 4 of Friends, one of Monica’s dreams comes true: Chip Matthews asks her out on a date.

Chip and Monica went to the same high school where Chip was the “it” guy. Good-looking and football-playing, Chip was the guy the girls wanted to date—including Monica, who ran in a different circle from Chip. More than a decade after graduating, Monica and Chip run into each other in New York City. He asks for her number. He calls her. He asks her out. She giggles and claps her hands. And we’re less than five minutes into the episode! How different would our lives be if we moved at a sitcom pace?

The night of the date arrives. Monica gushes about Chip’s motorcycle and giggles at everything he says—until they sit down for dinner. The more Chip talks, the more Monica begins to wonder how old he actually is. He talks about pranks he and his friends recently pulled. Monica grows weary and tries to change the conversation.

Monica: Enough about high school Tell me about you. I don’t even know where you work.
Chip: You know where I work. The movie theater.
Monica: You still work at the movie theater? (cue audience chuckle)
Chip: Yeah, why would I quit such a good job? Free popcorn and candy! (cue audience laughter)
Monica: (pause) You don’t still live with your parents, do you? (cue audience chuckle)
Chip: Yes, but I can stay out as late as I want! (cue audience laughter)*

Ten minutes later, Monica shares with her friends that she dumped “the most popular guy” after dinner. In the course of trying to go back to a high school dream, she realizes how good her current life is.

During the month of October, the Old Testament lectionary on Sunday mornings has focused on Moses. Physically, Moses had to lead and organize a throng of people on a trip across seas and deserts. Spiritually, he had to serve as a mediator of God and the people. Emotionally, he had to listen to the regrets and “what ifs” of people who wondered what it would be like to go back to Egypt. When temptation would arise to turn around and go back, he had to help the people see how much better the present was than the past.

Monica had to dip her toes into the past to see how blessed she was in the present. She discovered that what had once seemed so glamorous was actually a turn-off. Sometimes we have to do the same in order to learn. God is merciful to us just as he was to the Israelites in all of their hindsight wonderings and wanderings.

When we find ourselves dwelling on a world that used to be or might have been, let us take a moment to look around at the beauty of today. For what are we grateful that’s right in front of us? If would could bring a Chip Matthews of our past into the present, would we really want for him to stay? Let us look back in gratitude and look forward with anticipation—especially when we have an eternal “Friend” sharing the present with us.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

* YouTube clip of Chip's and Monica's date:

Permanent link to this article:

Oct 09 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to Chandler: When One Part Suffers

Original post at

Every decade has its most memorable moments in television.

Some of us may remember when little Ricky was born on I Love Lucy. Or when Lucy ate all the chocolate. Or when Lucy crushed the grapes. Or anything associated with the redheaded Lucy.

For the soap opera inclined, there was that big wedding of Luke and Laura on General Hospital.

More recently, there was the final season of Breaking Bad. Since I know nothing about the show other than it was popular, I don’t know what happened in the series finale. Apparently, though, it was something as “big” and “memorable” as the show itself.

In the 1990s and early 2000s, Friends had many such moments. The first post I wrote in this blog series was about the budding romance of Ross and Rachel. Season 2 found them hopelessly in love, and season 3 found them hopelessly annoyed with each other. As memorable as their first kiss was their breakup. As memorable as their breakup was the sudden change in dynamics of the close-knit friends.

The most obviously affected “friend” was Chandler. He started smoking again. Monica, Phoebe, and Joey reprimanded him for resurrecting such an unhealthy habit. When they asked him why, his response was more drama than comedy.

“This is just like my parents’ divorce, when I started smoking in the first place.”

The change in his friends’ relationship reminded him of his parents’ divorce. With the revival of those emotions came his same attempt at coping—the bad habit of smoking. Even though Chandler was not the one “suffering” like Ross and Rachel, their suffering caused him to suffer, too.

If one part suffers, all the parts suffer with it; if one part gets the glory, all the parts celebrate with it. You are the body of Christ and parts of each other.

1 Corinthians 12:26-27 (Common English Bible)

When Paul preached to the early Church about their connectedness, he addressed a larger body of “friends.” He had painted for them a timeless metaphor of their gifts being a human body. After describing how their gifts might complement each other, he also reveals how affected they will be by each other. Like Chandler, many of the Corinthians were upset. There was division among them. There was fear of the future. There was reversion to past habits surrounding immorality and idols. To those who were backsliding, Paul sent this warning: your behavior affects more than just you.

In our churches and communities, conflict is inevitable. Disagreements will happen. Some friendships blossom while others deteriorate. We feel the effects of one another’s pain. Another person’s pain reminds us of our own hurts. How do we move forward?

Paul responds with one word: love. The very next chapter is 1 Corinthians 13. This is not a love confined to the romantic love a couple getting married. This is a detailed, complex love that spans brothers, sisters, fathers, mothers, husbands, wives….. and friends.

Find a way to love each other even if you are hurting.

Find a way to love even if you have to draw new boundaries.

Find a way to love even if relationships have to change.

Find a way to love.

As Ross and Rachel saw their friends suffering, they realized that they would have to find a way to love each other in a new way. Their friends helped them and each other to do so. With time, Chandler quit smoking again.

In the body of Christ, we can lean on one another to move forward instead of letting each other’s hurts draw us backward.

In the family of God, we can draw from his love to learn how to love each other—even when it hurts.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

Permanent link to this article:

Oct 02 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to Joey: “Cool” Changes

Original post at

The TV show, Friends, reminds me of how quickly what’s “cool” can change.

In season 2, Chandler and Joey get into a petty fight that ends with Joey moving out. Since he is now a working actor with a regular gig on a soap opera, Joey moves into a “fab” apartment. The friends, minus a moping Chandler, come over to see his new “digs.” After a tour of a living room filled with statues of animals and leopard-skin rugs, Joey insists on showing them the bathroom. Apprehensive, the friends follow him. On the wall beside the toilet is a telephone.

Someone declares, “Joey, there’ a phone in your bathroom.”

Joey replies, “I know! Isn’t that so cool?”

Monica says, “Promise me you will never call me from that phone.”

Nearly 20 years have passed since Joey moved into an apartment with a landline in the bathroom. If that same apartment were “cool” today, it would need a Bluetooth speaker for a cell phone and a charging station. Joey would have the option of talking on the phone or listening to music or hearing the weather report. There may even be speakers built into the walls and a waterproof case for the phone to go in the shower. Joey’s boxy phone on the wall would no longer be “cool” by most standards.

The day that I graduated from college, the father of one of my friends asked about my plans for the future. When I told him about graduate school and a ministerial career, he nodded and said, “That’s rad.” As in a shortened version of “radical.” As in another way of saying, “Cool.” I remember thinking to myself, “That is so 1990, but at least he’s trying to speak my language.”

There’s a season for everything
And a time for every matter
Under the heavens…*

Ecclesiastes is wise in its simplicity: everything changes. Nothing stays the same. Cultures shift. Phones become computers. Computers talk. Language evolves. What’s “cool” changes and how we describe something’s “coolness” changes, too.

Like any other organization, churches find themselves with a difficult dilemma amid cultural shifts. Where are the boxy landlines in the bathrooms that need to be uninstalled? What sacred pieces of our history do we need to maintain?

The gospel of Jesus Christ is timeless. The message of salvation does not change. Much of worship services do need to hold on to some of the traditions that connect us to our past. What does need to change is how we communicate that story so that we can be relevant to different generations. Where many of our churches have stumbled is in speaking only the language of Leave It to Beaver when we’re trying to reach folks who prefer translations of The Big Bang Theory. We can also err on the side of ignoring listeners of The Andy Griffith Show and only talking to How I Met Your Mother linguists.

Followers of Christ have to be multilingual and adaptive to seasons. We can get very comfortable in certain times and seasons to the point of complacency. Complacency causes us to get stuck in a rut. If we’re not careful, churches will find themselves on a landline in a bathroom, oblivious to new ways of communicating the good news.

Let us be willing to grow with the changes of life. May the wind of God’s Holy Spirit keep us in the “cool” as disciples, as churches, and as children of God.

All good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

* Ecclesiastes 3:1 (Common English Translation)

Permanent link to this article:

Sep 19 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to Phoebe: Telling the Truth

Original post at

This is the second of a four-part series inspired by the TV show, Friends. While every character has their perks, the one who has taught me the most is Phoebe. Here is just one gospel lesson from her.

In the world of Friends, all you need are a guitar and an idea to become a musician. You don't really need to know how to play that guitar. And the songs you write don't have to make sense. If Phoebe Buffay can land a regular gig at a New York coffeehouse, you believe that all of us can, too.

Phoebe is the free-spirited massage therapist who keeps  patrons of Central Perk "entertained" with unconventional songs about smelly cats. In an episode that aired after the Super Bowl in 1996, Phoebe has a big break. A local librarian asks her to sing for a children's reading hour.

Phoebe composes some songs on kid-friendly topics: grandparents, making good choices, and barnyard animals. The music is catchy and simple, but the lyrics are more complex. The following song about a cow is a perfect example.

In Phoebe's world, songs about grandparents include aging and death. Songs about animals include what happens when they disappear from the farm. Songs about good choices include thoughts on dating and adult relationships.

The parents are not happy, and Phoebe finds herself back to the one gig at Central Perk. The forward-thinking and handsome librarian loves what Phoebe tries to do. He tells her that the kids love her because she tells them the truth. Of course, in the world of TV, he also kisses Phoebe and takes her on a date.

At the end of the episode, Phoebe steps up to a microphone when a little boy runs into the coffee shop. He yells, "Excuse me! Is this where the lady who tells the truth sings?" Phoebe waves and says, "Yes, that's me." The little boy runs back outside, whistles, and says, "She's in here! Come on!" All the kids from the library then run into Central Perk to listen to someone brave enough to tell them the truth in song.

Educating children is one of life's greatest challenges. We love their innocence, yet we don't want them to be naive. We want to protect them, yet we know that they sometimes have to learn life lessons the hard way.

I write to you, children,
Because you know the Father.
I write to you, fathers,
Because you know him who is from the beginning.
I write to you, young people,
Because you are strong
And the word of God abides in you,
And you have overcome the evil one.

(I John 2:14, New Revised Standard Version)

The apostle, John, recognizes the different maturity levels of his readers. Some are more like children, some are more like parents, and some are more like young adults in the faith. He wants to teach all of them through this letter, but such instruction is a challenge. How much should he "water down," and how much should he say forthrightly?

In the Church, I think we're often guilty of watering down truth to the point of flooding. Like Phoebe's young listeners, we want to know more about the cow and the chicken than just what the song, "Old McDonald Had a Farm," taught. Sometimes we get stuck in a rut of reading the same Bible stories and talking about the same topics that we overlook deeper truths of God's Word.

If we listen closely to children, and if we truly pay attention to their questions, we may be able to gauge how much to say and when. There are no simple answers or timelines that work for everyone. Children often lead us in what to teach them and when--when we listen, when we pay attention.

Phoebe and the handsome librarian paid closer attention to the curiosity of her young fans than their parents. As a result, the children trusted her to tell them the truth in song. May our homes and churches be havens where children know they will both hear Truth and feel protected at the same time. May all of us as children of the Heavenly Father nurture a spirit of curiosity that keeps us learning and growing together in the Truth of his Word.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

Permanent link to this article:

Sep 11 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: The Gospel According to Ross and Rachel: Waiting At the Gate

Original post at

Dearly Beloved Readers: This is the first in a series of “gospel” reflections on the TV show, Friends. Even if you didn’t care for the show or have never seen it, I hope that you read along to seek the gospel in all kinds of media & art.

When I was a teenager, I would join thousands of other Americans at Central Perk every Thursday evening to learn from Ross, Monica, Rachel, Chandler, Joey, and Phoebe.

Twenty years after its premiere, and ten years after the series finale, the TV show, Friends, is one of those beloved worlds that many of us still enjoy visiting. I don’t remember if the friends ever went to church, but the Church could certainly learn a lot from them about community.

They laughed together and taught each other to laugh at their mistakes.

They got mad at each other.

They moved away from each other.

They reconciled with each other.

Friends reminded us that all relationships are complicated.

No matter how vehemently they disagreed with each other, they always returned to that one, rusty orange couch at Central Perk to recapture the unity of their community. They lived in a TV world where a waitress and an unemployed actor could amazingly afford expensive apartments in New York City. No matter how fictitious the circumstances, their community was real.

One of the best-known storylines was the relationship of Ross and Rachel. He liked her. She was oblivious. She liked him. He was oblivious. They finally start dating. They’re in love with each other. They break up. They’re still in love with each other. Repeat for multiple seasons.

One of my favorite scenes in that relationship is in the final episode of season 1. While Ross is on his way to China, Chandler accidentally tells Rachel that Ross is in love with her. After a lot of pacing, thinking, coffee drinking, and talking, Rachel heads to the airport to welcome Ross home. She pushes her way to the gate, and the show ends with her standing at the gate, holding a bouquet of flowers, and waiting for him.

That episode aired in 1995. In September of 2001, the way we greet one another at airports changed. After September 11, 2001, Rachel was no longer able to stand at the arrival gate to welcome Ross home. She had to join all of us on the outside of the security gates. We learned to live with new boundaries. We made changes for everyone’s safety.

Boundaries don’t cause us to love one another less. Rachel’s eagerness to see Ross would not have waned if she had to wait a few more minutes to see him. Boundaries are in place to protect us. Boundaries work for everyone’s well being.

When the people saw the sign that he had done, they began to say, “This is indeed the prophet who is to come into the world.” When Jesus realized that they were about to come and take him by force to make him king, he withdrew again to the mountain by himself. (John 6:14-15, New Revised Standard Version)

Jesus was so present, so available, and so compassionate towards people that we overlook how wisely he set boundaries. In this story from John’s gospel, he knows that being made king was not the best plan for redeeming God’s people, so he pulled back. He protected himself, and he protected us. He didn’t love us less when he went “outside the gates” to pray. His love only increased.

Let us not be afraid of boundaries in our relationships. Instead, let us make health-full decisions in how we relate to one another. Let us learn from the example of Christ Jesus how to be the “friends” he called us to be.

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

Permanent link to this article:

Sep 04 2014

Pastor Darian's Musings: Insight From Isaac: And His "Click" Memories

Original post at

Insight From Isaac: And His “Click” Memories

Two years ago, I met a white lab named after a hurricane. Thankfully he did not act like a hurricane, so I adopted him. He adopted me. Now I write about him, and you are kind enough to read about him.  

Isaac and I frequently walk at a nearby college campus. Since school has been back in session, Isaac seems to believe that he, too, is a college student. He desperately tries to assert his independence. We walk in the neighborhoods, and he’s the ideal pet. We step onto the college campus, and he puts his nose to the ground and fights for the lead. Last week, I noticed that my hands and wrists were sore from his pulling on the leash.

That’s when I pulled out the old “clicker,” and we went back to “obedience school.”

Isaac’s training used a clicking noise to let him know when he’d done something correctly. We hadn’t used it in over a year, and I wondered if it would be of any help.

The passage of time did not matter. The first time Isaac heard that clicking noise, he became the opposite of a hurricane. He cooperated. He was willing to follow. Amazingly, he was happy. I used it throughout the walk, and the memory of that clicking noise produced a docile, obedient pup. Not only did he remember what the click represented. He felt secure in its memory.

11 But I will remember the Lord’s deeds;
Yes, I will remember your wondrous acts from times long past.
12 I will meditate on all your works;
I will ponder your deeds.
13 God, your way is holiness!
Who is as great a god as you, God?
14 You are the God who works wonders;
You have demonstrated your strength among all peoples.
15 With your mighty arm you redeemed your people;
Redeemed the children of Jacob and Joseph.
(Psalm 77:11-15, Common English Bible)

All of us, whether canine or human, are guilty of forgetfulness. We interact with so many people and have so many memories that it’s impossible to remember every detail of our lives. We’re human. We forget.

Yet the psalmist echoes a word throughout Scripture: Remember. Remember what God has done for you.

As Isaac found comfort in the memory of the “click,” God fills our days with opportunities for reassurance. Are we too busy to pay attention to what God brings forward from our memory?

When you stop at a red light, do you remember the time you ran a red light and almost had an accident? Take comfort in the memory that God was, and is, with you.

When you sit down for a meal, do you remember the sacrifices of your parents and grandparents who survived the Great Depression with barely any food to eat?  Take comfort in the memory that God did, and does, provide.

When you recite The Apostle’s Creed in Sunday morning worship, do you remember that those words would not be reality without the sacrificial love of Jesus Christ?  Take comfort in the memory of what Christ has given, and still gives, to us each day.

Trying to live in the past can be detrimental and filled with regret. The past itself is not bad. The past can be one of our greatest teachers when God’s hand is in our memories.

Would you pause with me today to hear God’s “clicks?”

all good things to each of you,
Pastor Darian

This is one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite bands, Over the Rhine. The chorus is simple: “I’m looking forward to looking back on this day.” Enjoy, friends.

Permanent link to this article:

Older posts «