04/4/19 I gave a talk on centering prayer and the fruits of the Spirit last night at another church in the area. Those gathered and I had a discussion about the many ways the “church at large” has undermined its witness and mission by its very public failings such as clergy misconduct and various institutional squabbles. The “public at large,” especially younger people, are, understandably, keeping their distance. Here are some random thoughts about this: Can we step back and recognize that, in spite of some very public failings, many many churches are doing their humble and devoted best with a very challenging mandate——-to deepen people’s engagement with the life and teachings of Jesus of Nazareth? In that life and in those teachings are to be found an ocean of beauty and truth to explore. In that life and in those teachings are all the wisdom humanity will ever need for its thriving. The witness of the church at large to this for over 20 centuries now has been imperfect…and remains so. And yet……what more meaningful work could we ever attempt? In the “earthen vessel” of the church at large is held a treasure. Confessing its many failings, the church at large must humbly profess, again and again, “we have seen his glory…full of grace and truth. Not because of any merit on our part. In our engagement with this Jesus, we have found a doorway into an unshakable hope for our world. We are not perfect, but we have glimpsed something perfect. We deeply trust that if you join us in looking at Jesus, you’ll see it too.” Seems to me that if we in the church at large can maintain clarity on these two things, confessing our imperfection while professing Jesus’ perfection, the numbers of folks who may be inclined to listen to us these days might grow.
03/6/19 Lent has begun. There is plenty of advice out there about fasting from this or that—-food of course, noise, tailgating, being angry, being greedy and so on. But if it’s your relationship with God you want to strengthen or deepen, do what you would do to strengthen or deepen your relationship with anyone else. Make time for it. Make a daily appointment—-10 minutes, 30 minutes. Look for ways to express what you carry inside, all the feelings—-gratitude, worry, despair, delight. Look for ways to listen—-read poetry, a devotional guide, look up TED talks on topics related to the spiritual dimension of life, Scripture of course. Oh yes—-silence. God speaks in the silence. Don’t try to hear God speaking. Just trust that, as the Bible says, “deep speaks to deep.” Trust that your soul is tuned to God’s frequency, and that God is assuring your soul how precious it is to God. Being still for a few minutes in a stance of open hearted silence is a way to receive that assurance and treasure it. Finally of course—-worship. I will look forward to welcoming you!
02/28/19 I am in one of my branch offices which serves various coffee drinks, cupping in my hands the warmth of the hot brew in a paper cup. It’s 14 degrees outside. I see lots of people ordering cold drinks. I am baffled.
02/8/19 REALLY looking forward to the centering prayer workshop at the church tomorrow. A wonderful group of 15 folks signed up to attend. PLUS—-I bought some FARM TO MARKET CHOCOLATE CHERRY BREAD for our little snack table. I might eat it all by myself.
02/4/19 I am coming to the “blogosphere” about ten years late. One of my children, when I said recently that I was going to begin blogging replied, “Welcome to 2006!” That’s about right I guess. This blog wouldn’t be happening but for the question posed to me by my friend Howard who has been re-formatting the church website. “Do you want me to provide a way for you to blog?” he asked. So here I am! Welcome to my blog!
I’ll be feeling my way here for what might be shared in this space. You already have easy access to my weekly sermons elsewhere in this website, so sermonic musings (at least semi-organized and developed) here may not be what I want to be about. But there may be the occasional random theological observation or a brief reflection of a spiritual nature.
There might be an occasional reference to a current event in the news, or something related to the sports page. The teams I follow are mainly the locals—–Royals, Chiefs, K-State. Our local MLS Soccer franchise is a pretty big deal with a passionate fan base and I am hoping to get to a game this year to immerse myself in that. I am not a frequent “attender” of sporting events, which makes it a real treat when I do attend——-usually a handful of Royals games each summer.
In considering the matter of what might appear here I will be asking myself what you, friend, might be looking for when you click the link to get here. Whether you have known me for years as a pastor or friend or family member, or whether you are a visitor to this site, my sense at this point is that I will begin by simply being myself—at the risk of being a bore.
That leaves me lots of room to move around in. So prepare to be dazzled when I manage to be astute! But you may thank me for the little things too. I may occasionally point you to some local restaurants (for hashbrowns—Waffle House and Eggtc and for onion rings—-Winsteads, Sonic, Snak Shak, The Peanut, and any KC BBQ restaurant of your choosing)
When I read something worth sharing, I’ll share it. When I get a bright idea, I’ll put it out here. When I come across a fabulous book, I’ll let you know. (For starters—Sayings of the Desert Fathers, edited by Ward.) When I see a movie I like, I’ll recommend it. (For starters—At Eternity’s Gate.)
Until next time——grace for your day