In response to the whole "spiritual but not religious" conversation (links within my link), I just want to say exactly what Pam said. That, and the funeral home in town sends all the grieving "spiritual but not religious" families to me for memorial services, and it's all sacred to me.
Ministry is a wonderful vocation, a calling, a journey. It is also a job, and it has occupational hazards that are pretty well known. Stress and overeating, and caffeine addiction, perhaps. But there are some pretty obvious risks associated with being accessible to the public and trying to help those on the edge. We hear… Continue reading Risky Business
A colleague (thanks, Mark!) sent me a link today about some Catholic Sisters who give one another space to face illness and death with peace and dignity. Note especially this section: Dr. McCann [who works closely with the sisters] said that the sisters’ religious faith insulated them from existential suffering — the “Why me?” refrain… Continue reading Beyond Anger
"Me too." After I'm sorry, those are the two most prevalent words I've heard the past few days. The number of women and their partners who have experienced miscarriage is staggering, although it shouldn't be surprising from the statistics. An estimated one in four pregnancies ends in miscarriage (although many are within the first month,… Continue reading Mourning Miscarriage, or not
I tried to go without commenting on this, but found that I couldn't resist. And yes, that means I run the risk of doing the very thing I'm advising against. Generally, I think it's not a good idea for pastors to get involved in giving sexual advice, certainly not to large crowds at a time.… Continue reading Pastors and Sexual Advice
I know, I sound a little... Clintonian here, but I have a question about the meaning of pastoral contact. You see, according to our guidelines for appointment, clergy covenant, and countless other documents, After the change of appointment, the outgoing pastor will not have pastoral contact with any member of the congregation without the invitation… Continue reading I did not have pastoral relations with that woman!
As I predicted, my sweet old lady in the nursing home is still living, and more miserable than ever, although she's wonderfully lucid and frank and quite funny (Well, I don't care what the nurse's name is, I'm just telling you he was good-looking. And he's the one who did my bath today). I went… Continue reading Caught in the Act
I evangelized in Starbucks today. Yep. First, I had a funeral this morning, under very difficult circumstances. As in the family was estranged from one another and rather than sharing bittersweet memories of the deceased took the opportunity to air some grievances that probably really needed to be aired. I hope I brought a little… Continue reading The mission field
I mean that in a good way. Last week at church may have been one of my best services, but today was one of those days that reminds me why I'm a *pastor* and not just a preacher/worship leader. It is Heritage Sunday, and my sermon (unrecorded) focused on "coming together"-- our denomination coming together… Continue reading One of Those Days
Every so often, people wonder (sometimes aloud, and sometimes even to my face) about the necessity of all those years of schooling. Did I really need to study philosophy and religion for four years in undergraduate and three years in graduate school, or was that a waste? they ask. Doesn't God just speak to the… Continue reading The Importance of Theology