In Search Of Mitford

somewhere

To The Good People Of Mitford, NC -You may be classified as fictional characters living in an imaginary place, but after reading all nine books in Jan Karon's series featuring so many of you during the last two decades, I feel as though I've you've taken on the status of my second home. I've had five addresses since I first met you all when a good friend pressed a just-off-the-press copy of At Home In Mitford (the 1994 Lion Press edition) into my hands. I've imagined myself living among … [Read more...]

Mona Lisa In A Plastic Orange Frame

frame

He told them a story. Then he told them another one."The kingdom of heaven is like a mustard seed," he said. "The kingdom of heaven is like yeast kneaded into dough."Jesus told them stories meant to help their souls awaken to the life to which he came to invite them. He told them stories that held up a mirror that allowed them an unfiltered look at who some of them really were, instead of who they pretended to be.I've been thinking about the way in which we tell stories about God to … [Read more...]

The Grinch @ Seminary

grinchheart

This quarter at Northern Seminary, I took a class for which I had low enthusiasm before I walked in the door back in September. In fact, the words "low enthusiasm" might be overstating it a bit. If it hadn't been required to complete my degree, I would have probably found a way to avoid taking this course altogether.However, you can't opt out of core theology courses when you are enrolled in seminary.I'm not anti-theology. I noted in my first paper for my Theology I course this quarter … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage – Part 3

"How are you doing?" There's a lot of different ways in which those words can be voiced ranging from a casual aside with no desire for an answer to the way the pastor of the church we'd attended for a year and a half asked it of me. It sounded as though he really wanted to know because he really cared about the state of my soul.I hesitated for a moment. Could I trust him? I'd worked hard with the help of the Holy Spirit using the gfits and training of an excellent counselor to unpack some of … [Read more...]

The Paradox Of Retreat

1 siena sign

In military terms, a retreat is the decision for an army to withdraw because they're losing a battle. In Evangelical church circles, a retreat is a weekend packed to the rafters with activity, teaching and relationship-building.Jesus often retreated from the go-go-go of his ministry to seek his Father in solitude. Solitude was the life-giving marrow of his ministry as the Spirit shaping his communion with the Father. His withdrawl into retreat was an advance for him. Solitude was not about … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage: Part 2

If you attended a church service this weekend, you may have been sitting in a roomful of suitcases. There's no way to tell what percentage of people in a given congregation are schlepping baggage from a previous negative church experience, but I suspect the numbers would startle even veteran church leaders. Bad baggage is often eagerly recycled by leaders. This may serve the needs of the organization. It may even be called good pastoral care by some leaders, who rationalize that putting hurting … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage: Part 1

Sam Surv

I've heard via the always-reliable Interwebz that as many as 7,000 people have left Mars Hill Church in Seattle in recent months. The implosion in a church doesn't have to be as painfully dramatic and public as the one in Seattle for a person to leave a broken congregation with a lovely parting gift: at least one piece of new baggage.What's inside that baggage? Hurt, anger, sadness, disillusionment, grief, damaged trust, traumatized faith, and fractured relationships. And you know what? … [Read more...]


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