Saturday, October 29, 2005

All Saints and other musings

As I prepare to put the pieces of the sermon together it seems I am a little overly attracted to the humorous side of death. In the United Methodist Church we have moved toward a higher liturgy in the years since the 1850s and are making some changes back to what might be called low-liturgy. In some ways it seems that just as the Episcopals call themselves Catholic-light, I think of the UMC as Episcopal-light. But we celebrate on November 1 All Saints Day. this is a day to remember the saints of the church. In the Catholic church there is a panopoly of saints. What's more intriguing is that the UMC has even more than the Catholics. You see when John Wesley was talking about saints he determined that anyone who was seeking after Jesus Christ, as Lord and Savior (or Saviour for you Queen's English folks), was to be considered a saint.
That makes a very interesting dilemma in my head. What does it mean for me to be saintly? Can I think of myself in the same category as St. Francis, St. Augustine, or Mother Theresa? I am not as charitable to the animals, nor do I have stigmata as St. Francis. I am not nearly as debauched, nor therefore as reformed, let alone as articulate and as much of an apologist as St. Augustine. I haven't led my life dedicated to the poor and needy of a region (any region). Do I have anything that resembles a saintly faith, one that is earnestly trying to seek after God? I will try to dive too deep into those depths at this point for fear of despair. But, I will try to pick it up today and do a little more research and study of the scriptures, add in some prayer and a few pastoral conversations.
The ironic thing in one sense is that I started out wanting to write some about football, american and international, as I watch the Premier League games on Fox Soccer Channel and get excited about the array of college games on TV today too. is God reviving the saints in each of those places too? I know God is present, and real in each, so it makes for a very interesting preponderance.

Friday, October 28, 2005


I started out doing a blog with such good intent, and some decent ideas, if not always the best ones. I have tried to avoid the craze of memes and have managed to only add a couple of the various "You Are..." with graphic and explanation, to the blog. I would have to say that the advice I have seen more than one time on the interviews with Locusts and Honey seem to indicate that blogging more than less is to the benefit of all. As I flip through the pages of the various blogs I try to read I find that I am considering dropping some of them that don't blog as often. There is even one of them that a friend does on livejournal that hasn't been updated since July 10th...whatg is the deal with that?
I have pondered the musings of friends, and viewed the pictures of family and friends that people post. I wonder at the safety of sharing *any* information on the web, and still again feel the safety of hiding behind my own computer. It is a strange day in American culture.
I have several topics I have been storing up and maybe as I try to keep from fading into oblivion with another blog that has been abandoned I will try to write on those. Maybe I ought to share some of the process I use when preparing sermons, or continue sharing on the various meetings I attend. I wonder whether an online Bible Study would generate any more interest, with comments and such, or whether that would better be operated through the phpBB boards...which would mean more learning about computer technology and I can't keep up with what I already know.
Anybody got some ideas about what we ought to be talking about?


Thursday, October 27, 2005

Vanity Check

Who Links Here

Man, I have no clue whether I am effective or not...but let's get to checking on who thinks I might have something to say.

Friday, October 21, 2005

More on Revitalizing the Church

So there are a few items out there that are designed to look more closely at what the church is doing to help revitalize itself.

I want to look at exists in theory and preliminary stages and the other is done.

The first is the California Pacific Annual Conference
"Covenant for Vital Ministry".

At the moment the pastor's evaluation is done and the pastors are expected to review themselves by January 3, 2006 and submit the form to the conference office. The second part of it is a process by which the pastor and the local church outlines the goals and expectations for the coming year. A great tool if we can get it together and put it back to the conference in time. The third part is not done yet, while a team is preparing the document, and it is the self-evaluation of the church. We have had such a tool already to look at where a church is in its life cycle (check out the Board of Congregagtional Development page - Comprehensive Plan: Life Cycle Chart): new church start, developing, self-sustaining (4 categories), Transitioning, revitalizing, closing. But, I think the new tool will be able to help the church look at itself more critically. I just hope it has to do with more than numbers, things like discipleship and the fruits thereof in the community, not just the local church.

The other document I want to share with you is one from the Baltimore Washington Annual Conference that seeks to do some of the same things the California Pacific Annual Conference is in the process of making.
Take a look at the "Discipleship Adventure" and the "Strive for Five".

What are the possibilities for your church in the various structures?


Wednesday, October 12, 2005


Sorry for the long time between posts. I can't say that I really have a good excuse, just the reason for the delay. I spent last week on vacation. I didn't go anyplace amazing or see anything major. I simply went back to the place where I grew up. I spent the week at my grandma's house, three blocks from my folks, and went to see them through the day to watch TV, vegetate and simply unwind. I was ready to hit something, anyone, at the simplest comment, smirk, etc. It was bad. I got to relive the beauty of God's glory we call the Eastern Sierra, Bishop, to be exact. I watched the quail run through the yards, the birds gather at the birdfeeders in colors of red, orange, brown and so many more. I saw cows and horses and a mule or two (it is the mule capital of the world after all). I saw a wolf, or a very well fed coyote in the alfalfa fields. I watched the Tule Elk gather south of Big Pine and laze through the days. I caught up with some of my former campers and visited with them over dinner. I went to the church that approved me for ministry and taught me much about who I was and has helped shape who I am.
That is this post - who I am. I discovered a little more about me. I am still working on trying to discern what to do with the knowledge.
-I like me.
-I am good at being a pastor, teaching, and as a husband.
-I was afraid of too many things, unneccessarily and I needed to let go of that fear.
-Acupuncture is sound in the understanding, but is not for my body. Massage is the best stress relief I have found. (and thus, the best holistic health medicine I know)
-I am an agent of change. (this has some major implications and I hope to make them good changes and helpful, even if not the most graceful)
-I dearly love my wife, and made the best choice of my life when I married her.
-I love my job, and especially love teaching the Bible, through study, conversation, and preaching.
-I am a mountain boy, friend to the cold and the dry climate that comes with 4000 feet above sea level and more.
-I have a lot of work left to do in this life.
-Life without prayer and consistent study of the scriptures for personal work, not just church work makes me very dangerous to myself and others.
-God is ever faithful.

Just my musings on the week that has gone to prep for Exodus.