Where now?

Brothers and Sisters-This has been a busy but productive week. We had our first session meeting of the year, the annual report is printed and ready for distribution this coming Sunday at the congregational meeting, and I got some writing done on my dissertation. Busy but productive. I discussed my intentions for the coming year with the session and I wanted to share this with you. First, we watched this video about Appreciative Inquiry and talked a little bit about the process. I invite you follow the above link to watch the same material. The video is an overview of the process I would like us to start. I explained to the session that we aren't walking in the dark and would be using Mark Lau Branson's book, Memories, Hopes, and Conversations as a guide in this process. Mark's book describes his experience with AI and the second edition includes several examples of churches that have used the process in their context. I know Mark through Zoom conversation and he and m

New Year Resolutions

“And we all, with unveiled face, beholding the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from one degree of glory to another. For this comes from the Lord who is the Spirit.” [ 2 Corinthians 3:18 ]  Did you make a New Year's resolution? It's the time of year we look at ourselves and plan for the coming 365 days. The think is, resolutions, transformation, and change are hard. This shouldn't be any kind of revelation or epiphany. I mean, we all go through changes in life. Sometimes changes are pushed upon us and other times we decide ourselves to begin those changes. Regardless of the impetus, change is hard. My doctoral advisor, Alan, talks about our default behaviors and ways of seeing the world. Changing those defaults and developing a new behavior or outlook is so terribly hard because of the ruts we make for ourselves. I know it's that way for me. I came into this new year with the resolution to be more mindful about how I live and the acti

We've always done it that way

The last two session meetings we have had some great discussion. Last month we talked about a different way to think about the church as more present and active in the world rather than the world coming to us. This month we talked about the baggage that we try to carry forward and how that impedes our passage to the future. I think, when we talk about baggage, our thoughts turn to those old habits and perspectives that have been with us for years. This morning I read an article that suggests baggage can be thought of in a different way. this article gave me something to think about. Calling something baggage doesn't necessarily mean it's old. Basically, the church, or any organization, needs to be always looking both forward and backward at the same time. This is to say that we need to look at what we've done as soon as we've done it and consider how that translates into moving forward. This is not saying that we need to get rid of activities or methods once we us


This past Sunday we read the story of Lazarus and the rich man . I described this parable as dealing with vision--opening our eyes so see, truly see, the person right in front of us. I talked about how this changed vision can change everything as we begin to see and value others. This morning I got a phone call from a person who I mentor. Kim and I talked about how God was making Godself known in her life in amazing ways. We talked about a vision she had for a ministry in the area in which she lives. We talked about how she might go to her pastor and talk with him about resources, support, and discernment for her vision. What a good conversation! My spirit has been stirring to discern a guiding vision for Auburn Presbyterian. It seems like this is the time and season to begin casting vision . I believe that God is drawing APC in a direction and we are ripe to set out on a journey, but I struggle to give definition to that vision. The thing is, and that link points it out, churches


This is an excellent post on the value of the neighborhood. Some really great suggestions to be found.

Life's challenges

Friends-Has life ever dealt you challenges? I know I have had my share and my family is experiencing some difficulties right now. So what do you do? It seems to me that the first thing that a person needs to do is recognize that something happened, something isn't right, or there has been a difficult change. It surprises me the number of people who deny their problems and difficulties. How often have you had someone tell you it's not a problem or they're getting along just fine when they are clearly struggling. I believe part of this is related to a world that longs for a quick fix, which leads me to my next thought. Even when we have a challenge, there's an impulse to deal with it as quickly as possible. No one likes pain and we want deny the pain that life brings. We expect ourselves to cope with life and life's challenges on our own, quickly and efficiently so we can get back to the business of life. Perhaps this is related to the fast food culture we live

a Needful Thing

Friends-I had a couple weeks of vacation that were great. We went to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan all the way to the end of the land. DeTour, Michigan is a great place for us to get away, recover, and recharge.  The town is on the DeTour Passage in Lake Huron that gives way to Lake Superior. There is a lot of ship traffic through his area as large boats make their way up to the Soo Locks. Of course, there are a lot of light houses in the area and this is visible from the little town. Away for vacation is why there've been no blog posts lately. But I'm back. I was reading an article from The Atlantic last week and it was pretty interesting . I think most of us are aware of the decline in churches as a whole and the voices that clamor for community. This article discusses some groups that have gotten together and tried to make a community around itself-they gather just to gather. This is an interesting experiment. These groups have come to find that church wit