Saturday, January 26, 2013

Waiting for it to thaw...

              I got up this morning to a beautiful thin glace of light-reflecting ice covering the world outside my window. Before venturing out for my Saturday morning errands, I was required to take time to wait…wait for it to thaw.

              In my life as a minister, at times that is where I stand. I stand waiting for people to thaw, to warm up, to take notice of the heat and fire of the Holy Spirit that is a burning ember within them. The waiting is very hard, like waiting for a diaper-baby to take its first toddling steps.

              Since I had to wait, I found myself standing by the window looking out on the frozen lawn, and there I saw a flash of bright red cardinal, then the brilliant blue of a fat jay, then the rust colored belly of a beak-bobbing robin. Along the gray tree trunk of a side-frozen oak tree, an ebony and white dappled woodpecker hooked his red-head up and down as he trailed towards the top branches searching for breakfast. My feathered friends reminded me.

              There is great beauty in the world, and it is easier to see when you are waiting. That is if you  are willing to take the time to look for it. In God’s time the thaw will come. God’s people will burn hot. The embers of God’s Holy Spirit do not burn from fuel that will burn away, but that fire burns from the fuel of God’s love of which there is no end.

              Lord, as I wait for the thaw…let me see the beauty. Help me wait with patience.

Thursday, January 17, 2013


I read Bishop Goodpaster’s blog today where he listed four areas of leadership, where when we are accomplished at them, we should be enabled to be a more missional church. They were:

  • focus
  • simplify
  • collaborate
  • adapt

Bishop gave us discipling questions to contemplate, and I got stumped with the first one. Focus. Over the last years, we pastors have been asked to consider ourselves to be more mission oriented and to lead our churches in this vain. We have been told to stop maintaining our current organizational structures and become more like missionaries working out of mission stations.

Here is a problem. For so many years we have been asked to “support” missions, missionaries, and mission work. Now we are being asked to be the missionaries. Don’t get me wrong, I believe that this is the right approach. It is just that it very difficult to change the mindset of the average church goer from supporter of to actual missionary.

The church has been completely instrumental in developing this mindset over the years. My question is how do we change the focus of church goers? Until we do get the focus changed, our efforts at being a missional church where we can simplify, collaborate and adapt will be seriously hampered.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Gun Control

              In the wake of the horrible mass killings of 2012, the subject of "gun control" has been a hot topic both in the media and around our house. People are passionate on this subject. Me, not so much. I am as inflamed as anybody over the massacre of the innocent children and teachers at the Sandy Hook Elementary school on December 14, 2012. I believe it was an act of a seriously disturbed person, one who was off his rocker and not in control of his actions. I know some disagree with me.

              The horrific incident has caused the opposite poles of the gun control issue to become vocal and in some cases ridiculous. If raising the consciousness of the public is one of the aims of the rhetoric, mine has been raised. On the one side I've heard anti-gun people proclaim, "something has to be done," while the other side, the pro-gun people echo, "American's have 2nd amendment rights." I been amazed at the venom that has spewed forth, from gun owners being depicted as being apt to turn one day into a baby-killer to anti-gun enthusiasts being labeled communists. To me it's absurdity at the expense of the memory of innocent people.

              Fact is, and it is a sad fact, such atrocities as happened at Sandy Hook will likely happen again, because mentally disturbed people will still do horrible, crazy things.

              Personally, I do not like guns. My sister took her own life with a hand gun. I will forever be haunted by the question that if it hadn't been in her possession at the time, would she have made the hasty, rash and deadly decision she made, or could she have waited and been reasoned with. I'll never know. As I said, I do not like guns, but I know that there are people, who are law-abiding, mentally whole, and who enjoy collecting, owning, trading, shooting, and working on guns. My sister was one of them.

              So I must ask myself, should my feelings and dislike for guns out weigh another's legal right to pursue his or her own enjoyments and hobbies?

              I know that guns are deadly, but so are other things; like neglecting the mentally ill...while we argue about (and spend great amounts of money on) guns.