Praying for Charleston

The only response I can manage right now to to a story like this in the New York Times, is deep sadness, anger and prayer.

  • “A gunman … opened fire at the Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church, one of the nation’s oldest black churches, on Wednesday evening, killing nine.
  • Police arrested the suspect in Shelby, N.C., a town east of Charlotte and just north of the South Carolina state line.
  • The Rev. Clementa Pinckney, the church’s pastor and a state senator, was killed, according to the minority leader of the State House of Representatives.
  • The police said the other victims in the Charleston church shooting were six women and two men.
  • The Charleston police chief, Greg Mullen, called the attack a hate crime.”

It is senseless…

Will you pause to pray?

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The Biggest Bulldozer in the World (or I Can Do All Things)

At a recent bedtime, I read Bulldozers (Mighty Machines) to our children as one of our stories. After reading, my son stood up and said excitedly,

“One day, I going to drive the biggest bulldozer in the world!”

I replied with a smile, “You sure could.”

In those brief moments, I was struck at how wide the possibilities are for him at three years old. He really could drive the biggest bulldozer in the world one day. Then I considered this possibility for myself. Would I ever drive the biggest bulldozer in the world? It seems a bit little less likely that I would ever would. The reality is that the choices that we make open some possibilities in the future and close others.

Part of the amazing power of the gospel is that I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me. Even, one day, drive the biggest bulldozer in the world.

Some Things Change and Some Things Stay the Same

It has been 649 days since my last blog post.

Much has changed since then.

  • Our children are 3 and 2, respectively.
  • I switched from WordPress.com to a WordPress installation, thereby starting over on traffic and links.
  • I am beginning my third year as the pastor appointed to serve First UMC of El Dorado, KS.
  • We have a brand new back lawn and a new roof at the parsonage.
  • I am a member of the Great Plains Annual Conference.

What has not changed is that I am blogging to contribute to the renewal of the church. My hope is that this  will be accomplished by:

  • Making resources available which I have developed for use in the local church
  • Contributing to a middle way / extreme center theological position online
  • Sharing who I am with the congregation to which I am appointed and the annual conference in which I serve.
  • Sharing a distinct voice with background of serving as an appointed pastor for six years at The United Methodist Church of the Resurrection and currently at First UMC El Dorado.

Will you please share your thoughts,  feelings and opinions about what will help accomplish this purpose?

New Appointment: My Most Common Response

An occurrence that is becoming more and more common as the weeks go on is people congratulating me on my new appointment. There are a myriad factors that are playing in to this transition. While there is a lot going on for our family, I simply try to recognize both the opportunities and challenges in this transition in a few short sentences. This usually ends up being an appropriate length in the conversation. Here is what I find myself sharing most often, “I am excited about the opportunities to get to know the church and community in El Dorado. There will be a loss of leaving Resurrection and the Kansas City area. It is going to be really good.”

What else might be helpful to share?

Power of Environment: I Want to Work Here

Latte swirl2

Image via Wikipedia

At one of my favorite coffee shops, I overheard a group of students say to the barista,

“We’re going to work here when we get old enough.”

I was struck by the power of this statement. The environment and culture is so enjoyable that someone would want to work there in the future. Not just be present or come from time to time, but commit time in the future to working to create the space for other people.

I hope to lead congregations with a similar culture. I hope that people don’t just come to worship or take part in ministry activities because it is nice or fills some niche in their life. I hope that people are so engaged by the the purpose and culture of the congregation that they want to help make space for others to share what they have experienced.