Monday, April 07, 2008

Methodist Blogger Profile: Larry Oksten

Larry Oksten of Forever in Blue Jeans

I am married to Ginny, who is my best friend, and we have two boys…Kyle and David. I am a third career pastor. I was a Respiratory Therapist, which is where I met my wife. I was then a computer programmer for IBM. I went to Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary. I am a HUGE Philly Sports fan, especially the Eagles and Phillies. I am scheduled to be ordained in May. And finally, I believe the church is at its best when we are out in the world taking care of the least, last, and lost.

Why do you blog?
I started blogging because I needed to be more disciplined and I also have been convinced from an early age that I would be a great writer some day. This tied these two interests together for me. Although I now know that the great American writer thing is probably out of the question.

What has been your best blogging experience?
Actually being able to walk up to a colleague as we were about to start our Ordination interviews and saying “Hey I am PastorBlueJeans”. It has given me a connection to people in a different and very cool way.

What would be your main advice to a novice blogger?
Do it because you want to, not because there is a “need” for YOUR ideas on the internet. I have only recently really got into a flow with blogging and it is because I truly have an idea of what I want to say. In the end, you do this for you and it does not matter if one person reads it or one hundred do. Although I must say it is very nice to read comments from people to know that someone is ACTUALLY reading!

If you could only read three blogs a day, what would they be?
This changes from week to week but I think in a pinch it would be (I love Sports!) (I know, I know it seems like pandering…but I really love the views and the resulting comments) Recently I have found this site just what I need to feed my mind.

Who are your spiritual heroes?
John Wesley, the more I read and the more I know about him the more I understand I am Wesleyan for a reason.

Dr Craig Keener. A professor of mine from Eastern Baptist Theological Seminary (now Palmer). He taught me so much but he tied passion and scholarship and Spirituality together in an incredible way for me.

My Granny- She taught me at an early age about what I now view as a theology of relationship

What are you reading at the moment?
Red Letter Christians Tony Campolo
The Nine (Inside the Secret World of the Supreme court) Jeffrey Toobin
Obsession Jonathan Kellerman

What is your favorite hymn and why?
UMH #593 Here I am Lord – Because it was the first and remains one of the only Hymns that makes me cry every time I sing it. It is so powerful and meaningful to me and my walk with the Lord.

Can you name a major moral, political, or intellectual issue on which you've ever changed your mind?
Yes I can, several in fact. So for the sake of brevity I will list but a few. My view on abortion has changed completely in the last 10 years. I am , what I consider to be very pro-life, but all life, the unborn and the born. This also ties into another issues that I have changed my mind on and my final position is still evolving but I find myself moving more and more closely to a “war is bad” view. I am right now in the just war camp but am trying to determine what makes for a “just” war.

What philosophical thesis do you think is most important to combat?
I would like to combat the belief that seems to exist in much of America that we are the most important nation in the world. It is a belief that we are the chosen nation. It creeps into our politics and our religious beliefs and it is dangerous.

If you could effect one major change in the governing of your country, what would it be?
I believe the country needs a viable third party. The two party system is not working for us presently.

If you could effect one major policy change in the United Methodist Church, what would it be?
I believe the episcopacy needs to be changed. I believe a term limit system would be very beneficial for the church

What would be your most important piece of advice about life?
Life is adventure that is meant to be shared in community. We need each other.

What, if anything, do you worry about?
I worry that about my boys, I hope and pray that I am being a good father to them and providing them with what they need. I also worry that I am being faithful with the gifts that God has given me.

If you were to relive your life to this point, is there anything that you'd do differently?
Probably not. I have made some mistakes but they have all led me to the life I have now and the wonderful family and friends that I have now.

Where would you most like to live (other than where you do now)?
At our cottage in the South Seaville Camp Meeting

What do you like doing in your spare time?
Read, Cook, Watch the Philadelphia Eagles

What is your most treasured possession?
Not a possession at all, but my wife. She is my world. All I have is simply better because she is with me.

What talent would you most like to have?
I have always wanted to be able to shoot webs like Spiderman. It would make travelling to the conference office so much easier.

If you could have any three guests, past or present, to dinner, who would they be?
Martin Luther King Jr.,
Mac Powell(Third Day is one of the reasons I am a pastor),
Jackie Robinson


the reverend mommy said...

Welcome, PB in J.
Whoo hoo!

~c. said...

I totally concur on the 3rd party thing. I would love to see a more legitimate Labor Party refocus our energies on solutions.

Nice profile.

gavin richardson said...

i affirm the love of the philadephia eagles