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Hey, this is the personal and professional site for Jay Winters, Lutheran pastor and campus minister. I'd love to hear from you, so comment or email me ( jay @ jwinters.com ) or use one of the icons below.

Being a Campus Missionary Site Director


I am a site director for Lutheran Campus Initiative, which means that this year, my church at University Lutheran in Tallahassee, FL - home to the campuses of Florida State University, Florida A&M University, and Tallahassee Community College - is joined by two outstanding women who have given a year of their lives to learn and apply that learning to spreading the Gospel of Jesus Christ to those campuses.

Last week I demanded (something that I get to do, I guess) that they write blogs about their experience getting settled in to Tallahassee and starting ministry here. Those excellent things are found at:

Iowa Girl Meets World


Missionary on the Move

I figure it is only fair that I do the same and take some of my own medicine and blog a little about my experiences settling in with having their presence here.

First thing - They’re awesome - Even though I can hardly say that I really know them, so far the two campus missionaries have really impressed me with their attitudes and motivations. I can tell that they both have that sense of “being on an adventure with Jesus” that is so necessary if you’re going to do this kind of work.  

Second thing - Woah! - I thought I had most of the general stuff about their year planned out for them, but I’m finding that after years upon years of working with students and parishioners with relatively little time to give to the grind of ministry work, that I’ve underestimated what the two campus missionaries can do.  This is going to be a huge part of my own personal growth this year, adjusting to team ministry and its differences and challenges.

Third thing - So excited for the Church - After I helped put this program together with Pastor Daniel Prugh, we piloted the program at the University of Florida in Gainesville.  While that was cool and all, I didn’t get to see first-hand the kind of impact that campus missionaries can have.  There is a whole new world of possibilities out there (that have always been there) that the Holy Spirit is showing me now. 

Fourth thing - Help Support Katie and Mary - Our campus missionaries have to raise their own support.  Please consider visiting the University Lutheran giving page and donating $25 to help Katie and Mary do what they do here in Tallahassee!

Posted on Saturday, July 12th 2014

Trainwreck 1979 by Death From Above 1979

It’s [Videos again!] Music Friday

Posted on Friday, July 11th 2014

Rain Damage by Grieves

It’s [Videos again] Music Friday!

Posted on Friday, July 11th 2014

Get Hurt by the Gaslight Anthem

It’s [Videos again] Music Friday!

Posted on Friday, July 11th 2014

What could they get you to say?

Amnesty International recently had to do some backpedaling for making an ad featuring Iggy Pop and the Dalai Lama saying things that they would (hopefully) never say - like Iggy Pop saying that Justin Bieber is the future of rock and roll. 

What would be the thing that YOU would never say unless they tortured you?

Posted on Tuesday, June 24th 2014

Victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.

William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury

Posted on Monday, June 16th 2014

This Fathers’ Day, Beware of Cartoons

I’m barely a father, but I am one. She’s due October 9th, and I’m excited (if not a little nervous) to be a dad. A part of that excitement has been examining culture’s expectations of what it means to be a father. And, to be honest, I’m a little disappointed. Most of the “fatherhood” stuff that I have seen has been…well…quite frankly, a little demeaning.  

Acknowledging that I’m new to the game, I considered this stuff in the light of my father and other father figures who I look up to. Oddly, I couldn’t find the fathers of “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” as my ideal picture of what fatherhood was supposed to be. Nor did I find most of the Americana-mega-church YouTube videos to cast fatherhood in a particularly positive light. The pictures of fathers that my friends posted on their social media feeds and the cartoon of fatherhood that I saw in most videos seemed to tell a different story. 

The American cartoon version of fatherhood seems to include the following: Massive debt, need for retreat and escape into meaningless hobbies, loss of actual or presumed virility, and surrender. Hmn. I wonder why we have an epidemic of children without active fathers in their lives. 

I get the argument. Fathers [and husbands for that matter] are supposed to sacrifice all, including themselves. This is quite possibly the most quintessentially masculine things about us - to lay down our lives for those whom we love. But I’m not sure that popular culture gets that. And in this case, the caricature is far different from the photo. 

So, I’d like to put this down on the internet so that my daughter one day might read it (and prove that whatever you put on the internet never goes away):

Don’t let me get away with the cartoon version of fatherhood. Instead, hold me, as God holds me, to being a noble, wise, understanding father. Hold me to sacrificing myself for you and your mother. Hold me to that account, and be ready to forgive me, but don’t sell me out to some cheapened version of what fatherhood could mean. Instead, let my vocation as your father mean something beautiful - while flawed and in need of the same Savior that you need. 

Posted on Sunday, June 15th 2014

If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: ‘Hold on!’

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son!

If by Rudyard Kipling

Posted on Sunday, June 15th 2014

This Week in Generations - June 3

This week’s generational news was mostly about Millennials, surprise surprise, and mostly about their economic habits.

Posted on Tuesday, June 3rd 2014

Get A Rope - Theology of the Cross Thursdays - Thesis 7

Last time we looked at Thesis 6 and “when God’s work isn’t sinless” (it’s when He allows us to do it, btw).  Today we’re looking at the other side of that coin, as Luther likes to do with his theses, presenting another couplet of theology - this time talking about keeping our human pride in check.


Thesis 7 of Martin Luther’s Heidelberg Disputation (the Theology of the Cross): The works of the righteous would be mortal sins if they would not be feared as mortal sins by the righteous themselves out of pious fear of God.

I remember one of my seminary profs telling a story about a young, recently ordained pastor who took to the practice of communing himself during the communion service (while this is not entirely uncommon, most Lutheran pastors are communed by an elder or communion assistant, not by themselves).  The young pastor was so enthralled with the idea that he let loose that one day during communion he thought “Look, the hand of Christ (his own hand, functioning within the office of the ministry ordained by the Church), feeding me the Body of Christ.”  

If you’re feeling uneasy after hearing that story, you’re not alone. A lot of us were, just hearing this story, and so was my prof who was there when the young man was telling the story.  My prof pulled the young man aside later, and while cleaning up some of the young pastor’s theological presuppositions said, “well, yeah, maybe, but don’t start believing in that too much.” 

We can all get stuck in this notion that our works are holy works because they are done within the will and purpose of God.  When I pray, it’s not an unholy act.  When I speak the Word of God, or help my neighbor with his plumbing, or simply provide community and love to someone - those things are being done within the will and purpose of God.  It is as if the “Hand of Christ” is at work in my hands.  But I get a little creeped out by people who “believe in that too much”.  It’s not that its wrong, but it is that there is more to the story.  The “more to the story” is that you’re a sinful being who is only allowed these “Hands of Christ” moments because of God’s grace.

One of my favorite pieces of liturgical garb hasn’t really ever been available to Christian pastors.  In fact, this piece of liturgical garb hasn’t been available since the destruction of the last temple in Jerusalem.  The piece of liturgical costuming is this: a rope. It’s a piece full of meaning and practicality.  

When the people of Israel were involved in temple worship, they would select a priest who would go into the Holy of Holies in order to offer sacrifices and complete rites and offerings.  This priest who was selected would be the only one who was considered to be allowed into the Holy of Holies for that time period. Nobody else was to gain access. But what would happen if the old boy would have a heart attack or a brain aneurysm in there? Or what if God decided that He was just going to fricassee him for being a sinner in the holy place of God?  Well, you couldn’t go in to get him, so what they did was tie a rope to his leg so that they could drag him out if they needed.  

What Luther is stating in this thesis is simple: Get a rope. Get something to anchor you in the proper fear and respect that you should have for God, and then go into His service - reading His Word, praying, helping your neighbor.  Your works will be less likely to turn into abject wicked sinfulness if you make sure that your rope is tied to your foot with the recognition that God can end your life now…and should…but doesn’t, and has invited you into His presence for the sake of Jesus.

Posted on Thursday, May 29th 2014