Showing posts from August, 2015

Invocation for Rally Sunday

This is the time of year when many churches hold Rally Sunday, the day when many programs and ministries return after a summer off, especially educational activities. Below is a small piece of our own celebration, which is happening today.

Teaching God, by your Word we are guided and by your instruction we are led. We strive to listen carefully for the voice of Christ mediated by your Spirit. Speak to us in silence and song, through scripture and into our own lives. We prepare to re-enter a world seeking direction and presence, and in our listening may we be attentive to how you call us to serve others, and to share your message of love and justice with all. Here we are as your students; we open our hearts and minds to you. Amen.

August 2015 Pop Culture Roundup

A jumbo-sized Roundup for August...

1. The 8th series of the newer Doctor Who was finally added to Netflix this month, which allowed Coffeewife and I to fully catch up in preparation for the newest episodes premiering in September. We weren't sure what to expect from the Peter Capaldi version of the Doctor, although I'd heard and read some things beforehand. He's certainly much less of a wacky Doctor than Tennant or Smith, with more existential angst and a little curmudgeon thrown in. I don't think that he'll be my favorite, but I still like the change of pace, less so the change to the theme song. So now, with the exception of the latest Christmas episode, we're completely caught up and ready for the newest season.

2. I read Being Mortal by Atul Gawande this month. Gawande is a surgeon writing about the proper role of medicine as people consider questions surrounding life in later years or when facing terminal illness. He shares a variety of patients' stori…

Invocation for Pentecost 14

Based on John 6:56-69

God of spirit and life, we greet this new day in anticipation of what you will speak into our lives. As we ponder how you are present to us in Christ, we are at times perplexed, at times inspired, at times comforted, and at times challenged. We wonder how we may live by your Word to us when at times we're not sure we're up for accepting its implications. Yet this same word calls us to a renewed life in which you are our foundation in whom we trust. Open us to your Spirit, and by it may we live in love and truth. Amen.

A Fall Reading List

Much to my surprise, I finished my summer reading list earlier this month. Between all the running around my family has done these past few months and my needing to meet some writing deadlines, I thought that finishing even half the stack would have been a satisfying achievement. But now here I am, my nightstand looking somewhat bare, thinking about what I'd like to read next.

The thing about reading lists, of course, is that they don't have to be confined to any one season. A lot of people make them just for summer under the reasoning that things aren't as busy, but I'm all about tackling a new list now that fall is approaching.

So here's what I'm planning to read between now and the end of the year:

Stagg vs. Yost: The Birth of Cutthroat Football by John KrykEndzone: The Rise, Fall and Return of Michigan Football by John U. BaconAn Introduction to Womanist Biblical Interpretation by Nayasha JuniorSolutions and Other Problems by Allie BroshBefriending Silence

New Sacred - A UCC Blog

The United Church of Christ is starting a new blog called New Sacred. It will feature a variety of writers from across the denomination and will focus on issues related to progressive theology, justice issues, church practice, and culture.

I'm pleased to share that I will be a regular contributor to this venture. My writing will appear there at least once a month. I'll give readers a heads-up when my posts appear, but you really should just bookmark it and read it every day. There are some thoughtful and talented people who will be lending their voices to this project. I'm fortunate to be in their company.

The blog launches on September 1st. Be sure to check it out.

Vintage CC: Ten Ways Theatre Prepared Me for Ministry

Coffeeson wraps up his time playing one of the Lost Boys in Peter Pan this weekend. It's his first role, and he's had a blast. It caused me to remember this post from February 2012, where I cull ten lessons from my own theatre days that I think apply well to my current vocation.

I was heavily involved in theatre in high school and college. Jan's post about being a cheerleader inspired me to write this. Here are ten things I learned in theatre that prepared me to be a pastor.

1. Get to know your role and play it well.

2. No matter what size the part, you're all in this together.

3. Bad reviews and performances happen.

4. You're not above correction or further training.

5. Even though sometimes you think or wish otherwise, you're not the Director.

6. Practice, practice, practice.

7. Don't overdo it.

8. Don't half-ass it.

9. Know when and how to enter and exit a scene.

10. Sometimes, you just have to improvise.

Church as Unapologetic Community

If you were a first-time visitor at my church a few Sundays ago, you might have been a little confused. We were saying goodbye to our Director of Christian Education that day, so worship was not what it typically is. She was preaching, I was liturgist, and we had a special farewell as part of the service that included gifts given and a special prayer of blessing said for her, followed by a potluck lunch. We'd also just wrapped our Vacation Bible School, so there was a video recap shown while the offering was collected.

Having this as a first-time experience might leave you wondering about our church, and whether you should give it another go a week later. To one unfamiliar with our community, you wouldn't have seen us as we usually are. Granted, the order of service was what it always is, complete with hymns, responsive and unison prayers, a children's time, an offering, and a sermon. Maybe this would have been enough to get the gist of what we do on Sundays. But there wa…

Small Sips Is Carpet's Enemy

Only three? Drew McIntyre offers three myths about younger clergy. I'm sure he kept it to three because he was pressed for time:
Myth #1: Young clergy = young families  One of the most persistent myths about young clergy is that if a church hires (or a bishop sends) a young pastor, young people and their families will instantly flock to the church. This is a serious fallacy. While a young pastor *could* be especially insightful in reaching young adults for Christ, discipling them and building relationships with them, it won’t matter a hill of beans if the church itself is not invested in doing the same. If you have never asked a Christian young adult what they think about the world or what they are looking for (if at all!) in a faith community, you need to rethink if you really want young adults in your church.

Reality: A young pastor can help, but it takes a congregation dedicated to knowing, investing in and serving with young adults to reach young adults. If you are praying for a…

The Search for Summer

I have several soapboxes onto which I like to climb if prompted. This happens more often on social media than it does on here, but it does happen, and I'm not all that shy about it if I really get going. I can get pretty passionate about people not being jerks to my LGBTQ friends, the importance of public education, disassembling the stigma around mental illness, and clergy self-care. These are probably the top issues that can get me rankled for various reasons. I mean, yeah, there are tons of others that I have opinions about, but I think that these set me off much more.

There's one other that has really been weighing on me, particularly because it's affecting our household quite a bit at the moment: summer.

Okay. This doesn't seem like it belongs in the same group as those other things I mentioned. Maybe it has some tie-ins to self-care, but in a different way. I should probably explain myself.

Coffeeson is in a play. He's been taking theatre classes for about a…

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