Most people associate St. Francis of Assisi with the blessing of animals. But his prayer, “Lord, make me an instrument of thy peace…” is a fitting biography of his life. As a child, he was a student of the priests of St. George’s at Assisi – but spent more time with Troubadours. He had a wonderful relationship with his mom – but a tenuous one with his father who had plans for his life.

Francis had a ready wit, love to sing and buy and wear fine clothes. He was also often found in the company of beautiful women. He was very generous with his father’s money – and even at an early age was known to be sympathetic to the poor.

When he was about twenty, he went out with the townsmen to fight the Perugians (a neighboring town) in a petty skirmish that was frequent between rival cities. The Assisians were defeated and Francis was held captive for more than a year and became ill. The illness got him thinking about life and eternity – and he promised to change.
When his health returned, he forgot his vow and began searching for fame and fortune by embracing a military career. The night before he set off with a knight – he had a dream of a vast hall hung with armor marked with the Cross. “These,” a voice said, “are for you and your soldiers.” “I know I shall be a great warrior and prince,” exclaimed Francis misinterpreting the dream. A second dream told him to turn back and “serve the Master not the nation” – and he did.

Francis embraced a “wife” (poverty) and set up camp outside town where he welcomed anyone in need. Many of his first converts to the Franciscan Order were military veterans returning from war. They were broken individuals – in body, mind and spirit – and Francis took them in and helped them in the healing process. They wandered the country serving God and the church.

They were a very different kind of army – true soldiers of the cross – willing to serve and sacrifice to bring just a little bit more of God’s kingdom to earth.

Me Ke Aloha,
Pastor Mitch


Raising Awareness is Not Enough

Social Media and the Mainstream Media (TV, radio, newspapers) are raising your children, shaping their values and deeply influencing you and your values.

While “kneegate” is in the forefront today, if you go back over the past few years you will see a marked increase in “raising awareness of social issues.” And the mainstream media is not neutral – and social media is anything but neutral.

Our church body is a Synod. That means we agree to walk together with Jesus. We come from different backgrounds, have different ideas about things – but the one thing we have in common is the same thing we believe is enough to hold us together: JESUS! It is not easy to be a Synod. It means I have to listen to you (even when I disagree) and you have to listen to me (even when you disagree). In those holy conversations – we look beyond the person and the words and seek to find a commong ground not based on me or my ideas or you or your ideas – but Jesus.

“Raising Awareness” means nothing if there is no conversation, no plan of action to actually do something. And the reason there is no conversation or plan is because that would be too hard. It is easier to just expect everyone to accept what we say is true and shut out the voices of those who see things differently. Everyone has a right to speak their mind. And everyone has a write to protest. But everyone also has the right to protest the protest (and so on, infinitum).

Until I see you as a “unique and unreproducible miracle of God” who Jesus died for – I will not value you or your thoughts. Once Jesus breaks down the barriers in my heart and shows me who you are – then I will stand up, take my hands away from my ears, look into your eyes and listen. And if you can learn to see me the way Jesus does – we can have a conversation. We will not just “Raise Awareness” – we will seek actual peace and justice together.  That is real change.

Me Ke Aloha,
Pastor Mitch