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Showing posts from February, 2012

The Wisdom of Wilderness

A reflection on the readings for Lent 1B - Mark 1:9-13 (14-15)

In those days Jesus came from Nazareth of Galilee and was baptized by John in the Jordan. And just as he was coming up out of the water, he saw the heavens torn apart and the Spirit descending like a dove on him. And a voice came from heaven, "You are my Son, the Beloved; with you I am well pleased." And the Spirit immediately drove him out into the wilderness. He was in the wilderness forty days, tempted by Satan; and he was with the wild beasts; and the angels waited on him.

One of the great preachers of our time is Dr. Fred Craddock. Craddock tells a story about vacationing with his wife one summer in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. One night they found a quiet little restaurant, where they looked forward to a private meal. While they were waiting for their food, they noticed a distinguished looking, white-haired man moving from table to table, visiting with the guests. Before long the man did come over to their table.

RevGals Friday Five: Empty

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Sally, over at the RevGals offers this Friday Five I have been pondering this Friday Five over and over in my mind, but I am coming up with nothing, so I am wondering; what do you do when you feel empty of all creativity and unable to make/do anything? This is a completely open question, the only rule is name 5 things that fill/ inspire you
1. Reading often inspires me
2. Clergy conferences and other learning opportunities can offer me ways to "fill the well"
3. Walking can stir my thought process when ever I feel blocked
4. Engaging other people and inviting them into the creative process
5. Meditating and spending time in silence often moves me in interesting directions

Monday Morning Musings

A week from today I will be on my way to New York City to attend my second United Nations Commission on the Status of Women. Last year I learned a great deal from attending this event and the many paralle events offered by hundreds of NGO's. This year I will offer two workshops as parallel events sponsored by the Episcopal Church Center. Both workshops pertain to the WordsMatter Expansive Language Project.

One workshop is for the young adults who are coming as the Episcopal Delegation of Young Adults to the United Nations. We will spend 5 hours sharing stories and engaging the conversation guide process. (More about the WordsMatter Project go here This, and other articles on the WordsMatter.Episcopal blog discuss the project and the UNCSW). The second workshop will be offered on Thursday, March 1 from 10am to 11:30am and will be open to the public, although regisration is necessary.

For a full listing of all the NGO parallel events offered at the UNCSW go here NGOCSW. The e…

Transformed in Mystery

A reflection on the readings for Last Epiphany, The Feast of the Transfiguration: 2 Kings 2:1-12, Mark 9:2-9

A delightful video appeared on the news Saturday morning. The story told of a couple of young men in St. Pete Beach, Florida, who were wakeboarding – water skiing on a single board, without the accompanying ropes, in the wave created by a speed boat – one young man was filming the other as he skied.
Suddenly two dolphins appeared, leaping high out of the water then diving back in. The dolphins raced along in the wave near the man skiing, with a playful intentionality, with no other purpose than to have fun. And then quite easily the dolphins caught up with the speed boat, astonishing everyone who watched.

The video is pure delight – catching the dolphins in and out of the water – simply playing. Moments like these, when the beauty of nature breaks into the world of human beings, surprising us and delighting us, are mystical moments. Caught by surprise mystical moments burst o…

RevGal Friday Five: Freedom!

Jan, over at RevGals has recently been released from six weeks of wearing a sling to allow her shoulder to heal after surgery. As a result she is experiencing a new sense of "Freedom" and offers this Friday Five:

1. physical - six years ago I suffered from a terrible infection that landed me in the hospital for eleven days followed by nine weeks of antibiotics four times a day via self injected pic line. Being released from that pic line was a similar sense of freedom as Jan expresses.

2. spiritual - spiritual freedom. Curious. I could probably go in many different directions with this one, but given the short amount of time I have this morning, I'll go with the first thing that pops into my mind. Here in Dearborn we live in an active, intentional, interfaith city. I like that, it reflects the best of what this country has to offer and enables me to grow more deeply in my faith through relationships with other faiths.

3. emotional - this kind of freedom comes, I think, …

As You Go

In preparation for our retreat last weekend the vestry and I read Peter Steinke's book, A Door Set Open. In the book Steinke places significant emphasis on "Mission."

Our retreat was led by Jim Gettel a consultant who has worked with me in the past. I find Jim's approach to leadership, scripture, faith, discipleship, and mission inspiring.

I have pondered mission for the better part of the past eleven years. What does mission really mean?

I began my journey pondering mission with books by Diana Butler Bass: From Nomads to Pilgrims and Christianity for the Rest of Us. Her work has been transformational for me, and has inspired much of the work I have done in congregations.

Nonetheless, I have found a need to have someone who remains outside the congregation, someone not me guide the leadership through the work needed to move into a missional mode. It's not that this work is impossible for a priest/rector/pastor to do. It's just that as a solo priest/pastor I…

Healing, Called to Serve

A reflection on the readings for Epiphany 5B, Mark 1:29-39

Five and half years ago I suffered a life threatening illness. From a fractured tooth came an abscess, from the abscess came an infection that ran 2-1/2 inches through my jaw bone. The infection followed the nerve in my jaw, leaving me unable to feel most of my bottom lip and teeth. The infection then travelled up the side of my face. All of this developed over the course of one week, taking me from a dentist who thought I had TMJ to a hospital room and a team of doctors including a surgeon, an internist, and an infectious disease specialist. At first the hospital attempted to cure me with IV antibiotics. But 48 hours later, with the infection increasing, I was prepped and waiting for surgery.

I remember waiting for the surgery; it was about 5:00 in the evening. I was taken down to the surgical unit and left in this holding area. Alone. Well alone except for some guy in surgical attire who was tinkering on some piece of equipm…