How does a person get well?  What is healing?  Does God really heal miraculously?  How does western medicine cooperate with the healing process?  How does one maintain spiritual health when the body appears to be suffering from un-health? Perhaps an even better question:  what IS health anyway? I’ve got a lot of these questions racing through my mind after the last few months in particular of seeing many dear friends and relatives get hit hard by various illnesses, some absolutely… Read more

I was enormously privileged this year over the Christmas break to enjoy visits from my three sons, their gorgeous wives and significant others, and my three grandchildren, Joshua, 2 1/2; his brother Samuel, 13 months (my oldest son’s children), and Kate, 1 1/2, (my middle son’s child). I have not had the opportunity to spend much time with any of the grandchildren.  The two grandsons lived most of the last year in France and Colombia, and have now moved to… Read more

Well, the challenging week continues, but I’m beginning to see some daylight.  I took yesterday off, declined to meet with some people over important issues because I knew I shouldn’t trust my insight in this exhausted state, and then worked outside in the flower beds for much of the afternoon.  I cleaned out the beds with summer/fall plants, now dead from front.  Onto the compost heap. I looked sadly at the house plants I had put on the front and… Read more

A few weeks ago, a horrific terrorist attack left a number of people dead and wounded in Mumbai, India. I didn’t pay a whole lot of attention to this–it was just another piece of bad news filling the newspapers and airways. My inner response, “It doesn’t really affect me anyway.” Then I got an email from my oldest son who has been doing some graduate work in France. One of his classmate’s father was injured in the attack. Although the… Read more

So, yesterday morning I write about my state of being so empty.  Yesterday afternoon, my son who lives in France phoned to tell me his youngest son, Samuel, is in the hospital in Fontainebleau with a high fever that they can’t bring down and a possible kidney/bladder infection.  I told Jonathan that he developed something like that when he was four or five but no cause was ever found.  Later, Jonathan phoned again and said that the pediatrician over there… Read more

It’s a tough, tough time for the nation.  We are well into a huge economic crisis and the people who are going to get hit the very hardest are those living on the edge with no reserves to fall back upon.  The more vulnerable ones live paycheck to paycheck, sometimes even taking out payday loans to cover emergencies–and those loans have unbelievably damaging interest rates, thus pushing already precarious financial positions into real calamity. No reserves–that’s the problem.  Nothing to… Read more

“Oh! You better watch out, You better not cry, You better not pout, I’m telling you why: Santa Claus is coming to town! He’s making a list, He’s checking it twice, He’s gonna find out who’s naughty or nice. Santa Claus is coming to town! He sees you when you’re sleeping, He knows when you’re awake. He knows when you’ve been bad or good, So be good for goodness sake!” The words to that song drive me over the edge… Read more

I’m working on hanging in. Just feel slammed by learning just a week ago that our church Administrative Assistant has a fast growing and always fatal liver cancer. No warning, symptoms only started a week before the diagnosis. Aggressive treatment may buy her some time. Right now, it seems to be harder on me than on her. She’s just been doing this work for the church for a short period of time, but we had already formed a good friendship… Read more

As I continue to ponder the challenges of being a pastor, I find myself really, really bugged by something.  I recently heard from a friend who is pastoring a small, struggling church in the Midwest.  She mentioned that she has only a 50% approval rate by the congregation and was not sure of her future in the church or in the ministry as an ordained clergy (she is not United Methodist, but is part of a denomination where she must… Read more

While I was working out in the yard today, on this gorgeous November afternoon after a glorious morning of worship at my church, I felt the tentacle of paranoia began to wrap around my soul and pull me into that place of darkness and fear. I’ve been re-reading the past few days the beautifully written book called “Leaving Church” by Barbara Brown Taylor, an ordained Episcopal priest who decided to leave her parish and her life as a priest.  Our… Read more

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