Saturday, March 11, 2023


Provocations III:  Bringing Christendom back to Christianity


Christendom has done away with Christianity, without being quite aware of it. The consequence is that, if anything is to be done, one must try again to introduce Christianity into Christendom.

[Source: quoted in Protestant Thought in the 19th Century by Claude Welch p.295]


The Bible is very easy to understand. But we Christians are a bunch of scheming swindlers. We pretend to be unable to understand it because we know very well that the minute we understand, we are obliged to act accordingly.

[Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard]


The established Church is far more dangerous to Christianity than any heresy or schism. We play at Christianity.  We use all the orthodox Christian terminology –but everything, everything without character.  Yes, we are simply not fit to shape a heresy or schism.  There is something frightful in the fact that the most dangerous thing of all, playing at Christianity, is never included in the heresies or schisms.  [Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard]


“Why do people in church seem like cheerful, brainless tourists on a packaged tour of the Absolute? … Does anyone have the foggiest idea what sort of power we blithely invoke? Or, as I suspect, does no one believe a word of it?


The churches are children playing on the floor with their chemistry sets, mixing up a batch of TNT to kill a Sunday morning. It is madness to wear ladies’ straw hats and velvet hats to church; we should all be wearing crash helmets.


Ushers should issue life preservers and signal flares; they should lash us to our pews. For the sleeping god may wake someday and take offense, or the waking god may draw us to where we can never return.”

[Source: Annie Dillard, Teaching a Stone to Talk: Expeditions and Encounters (New York: Harper & Row, 1982), pp. 40-41.]


The artwork is entitled: ‘The Choice.”  The artist is Lauren Wright Pittman [].  Kierkegaard and Dillard are challenging us with a choice:  playing at Christianity or following the Christ.  We play at Christianity when our buildings become more important than our mission to serve the marginalized. 


In the 21st Century the Church continues to have an ‘edifice complex.’  Just try and ask a congregation to let go of it building and worship with an congregation two blocks away and imagine the feedback!  Why not repurpose one’s building for mission or sell it and use the funds to assist others? 


Christendom is the right side of this artwork – the oft opulent institutional Church.  The left side of this artwork is the serving Church willing to pour itself out for the sake of the world.  Christendom often plays at Christianity.  Are we willing during this Lenten Season to take an honest look at our congregations and challenge one another to be Church and not just play at Christianity? 


Rev. Kenn Storck, March 9, 2023

Friday, February 24, 2023


Provocations: Lenten Encounters with Kierkegaard


Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813–1855) was a Danish philosopher and theologian who lived and wrote during the nineteenth century. Kierkegaard's writings focused on death, purpose, and the human condition. The philosophers Plato, Kant, and Schelling influenced Kierkegaard’s work. Often considered the father of existentialism, Kierkegaard influenced existentialist philosophers throughout the nineteenth century and twentieth century, including Nietzsche and Jean-Paul Sartre.

[Source: Master Class:]

+ + +

Ash Wednesday - Provocation I – “The Half Dose”

Kierkegaard loved to use analogies in this quote Soren asks us to imagine a kind of medicine in which the person receives a half-dose for fear that a full dose might be too much.  So the person receives a half-dose:

                                             + + +

“After all, at least it is something.” What a tragedy!

So it is with today’s Christianity. As with everything qualified by and either/or - the half has the very opposite effect from the whole. But we as Christians go on practicing this well-intentioned half-hearted act from generation to generation.  We produce Christians by the millions, are proud of it – yet have not inkling that we are doing just exactly the opposite of what we intend to do. …

The greatest danger to Christianity is, I contend, not heresies, heterodoxies, not atheists, not profane secularism – no, but the kind of orthodoxy which is cordial, mediocrity served up sweet.  There is nothing that so insidiously displaces the majestic as cordiality.  Perpetually polite, so small. So nice, tampering and meddling and tampering some more—the result is majesty is completely defrauded – of course, only a little bit.

And right there is the danger, for the infinite is more disposed to a violent attack than becoming a little bit degraded – amid smiling, Christians politeness.  And yet this politeness is what our Christianity amount to.  But the very essence of Christianity is utterly opposed to this mediocrity, in which it does not so much die as dwindle away.

[Source: Provocations: Spiritual Writings of Kierkegaard complied by Charles E. Moore and published by The Plough Publication House] 

+  + +

On this Ash Wednesday we begin our walk through Lent: “we are dust and to dust we will return” -  will we take the full dose or will Christian politeness see our faith slowly dwindle away?

Rev. Kenn Storck

Ash Wednesday


Sunday, February 12, 2023


Longing Distance


An earthbound grain of sand in the vast cosmic expanse


A child’s hunger in a dark night


Andromeda strains the naked eye


The Syrian soldier ten years in prison


A mustard seed planted near a towering redwood


A weed that creeps through the crack in the sidewalk


Spring edging the snowbanks of winter


A dog waiting for the return of its master


Voyager beeping signals into interstellar space


These yearnings span vast distances

in the enigmatic web of life.

Kenn Storck

February 12, 2023

Saturday, February 4, 2023

After the Fall

Snakes are so scary.

And Eve is to blame.

All women in childbirth

Will always have pain.


So cursed is the ground.

The soil from which we came.

We end as an ash heap.

That’s all that remains.


Yet, Augustine & Anselm,

They misread the Scripture.

And wrought guilt and shame

To their brothers and sisters.


What finally broke through

After 1600 years:

We are born out of blessing

Not meant for the biers.


The image of the Divine

In each and everyone

Indeed, we are now

God’s daughters and sons.


Then what about evil

The hurts we inflict.

When ousted from Eden

What God did predict:


It is part of human nature.

It is good gone awry:

The twin within each of us,

Dr. Jekyll, Mister Hyde.


The good Wolf, the bad Wolf

As the shamans explain:

Which will we feed?

Which will we name?


Just maybe there is good

In the holy dark unknown.

The mystics will lead us

And finally, we’ll be home.


Kenn Storck / December 2022

Sunday, January 22, 2023




If owls delivered messages

in the cathedrals of our day.

Would we respond to such wisdom

and journey in a new way?


If visitors from other worlds

made themselves known.

Would we be worse or better?

What goodness would be sown?


If unicorns flew in the air

like Pegasus of old.

Would it expand imagination?

So new stories could be told.


What if each one of us

awoke to only sky?

Would we find our connection

within the web of life?


Kenn Storck

January 22, 2023

Sunday, January 8, 2023




The pale face

of a homeless man.

A ragged clothed child

walks the Appalachian Mountain.


The empty church sanctuary

six days a week.

The women in Pakistan

no shoes on her feet.


The silver-gold chalices

gracing church altars.

While penniless prisoners

end up as paupers.


The slight racist comment

that is spoken in fun

while mothers of color

worry about their sons.


A Pope dies with honor

-      abuses ignored,

while victims cry out

in the Vatican Courtyard.


Those now in power

no longer heed laws.

Lie your way into Congress

and you’ll be installed.


The churches grow silent.

Christian Nationalism thrives

as Democracy is disabled

changing our lives.


Kenn Storck

written: January 6, 2023

Friday, January 6, 2023

 The Journey Of The Magi 

by T.S. Eliot

A cold coming we had of it,
Just the worst time of the year
For a journey, and such a long journey:
The ways deep and the weather sharp,
The very dead of winter.’
And the camels galled, sore-footed, refractory,
Lying down in the melting snow.
There were times we regretted
The summer palaces on slopes, the terraces,
And the silken girls bringing sherbet.
Then the camel men cursing and grumbling
and running away, and wanting their liquor and women,
And the night-fires going out, and the lack of shelters,
And the cities hostile and the towns unfriendly
And the villages dirty and charging high prices:
A hard time we had of it.
At the end we preferred to travel all night,
Sleeping in snatches,
With the voices singing in our ears, saying
That this was all folly.

Then at dawn we came down to a temperate valley,
Wet, below the snow line, smelling of vegetation;
With a running stream and a water-mill beating the darkness,
And three trees on the low sky,
And an old white horse galloped away in the meadow.
Then we came to a tavern with vine-leaves over the lintel,
Six hands at an open door dicing for pieces of silver,
And feet kicking the empty wine-skins.
But there was no information, and so we continued
And arriving at evening, not a moment too soon
Finding the place; it was (you might say) satisfactory.

All this was a long time ago, I remember,
And I would do it again, but set down
This set down
This: were we led all that way for
Birth or Death? There was a Birth, certainly
We had evidence and no doubt. I had seen birth and death,
But had thought they were different; this Birth was
Hard and bitter agony for us, like Death, our death.
We returned to our places, these Kingdoms,
But no longer at ease here, in the old dispensation,
With an alien people clutching their gods.
I should be glad of another death.

T.S. Eliot, Collected Poems, 1909-1962 (Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, 1991).