theilluminationdilemma

stand at the crossroads and look; ask for the ancient paths, ask where the good way is, and walk in it, and you will find rest for your souls

Tag: Teaching

Jonah, Links, etc

  1. Lots of good feedback from my teaching on Jonah. You can listen to Jonah 2 here and Jonah 3 here.
  2. Sojourn staff is almost done blogging through the Psalms…catch up, or check it out here.
  3. The dark side of social media: bullying made this pro retire
  4. The Most Literate Cities in the US
  5. Justin Zoradi on Comparison (The Thief of Joy)

Provocative Quotes and Links

  1. “California is America on Fast-Forward”
  2. “The Failure of DIY Spirituality”
  3. “Heathens are Beating CRU at Their Own Game”
  4. “Stuff Christian College Kids DON’T Like”
  5. “Jonah: A Gospel for Rebels/Teaching”

Books, Music, Fatigue, Worship, and Why You Should Peak at 65

  1. Expressing yourself through books
  2. Sufjan Stevens and the ongoing tensions of “Christian” music
  3. Fatigue is your enemy
  4. Why you should peak at 65
  5. My thoughts on Worship/Advent Conspiracy from this past Sunday

Humbling

If there is one thing I’ve learned in ministry so far it is this: don’t go into ministry expecting your ego to get pumped up.

Ministry is incredibly humbling.

Sure there are those few who write some books and influence thousands and who make some money who might have an inflated sense of self. But if you want strokes than be a movie star, or a politician, or a lawyer or just about anything besides a pastor.

I am humbled in about a hundred different ways each week, but one of the most humbling aspects of being a pastor/campus minister/teacher/preacher is this:

I can teach someone a truth in a thousand ways (through teaching, modeling, conversations, etc), and then they go to some conference, or listen to a podcast, or go to a different church and all of a sudden the heavens open and everything makes sense.

Humbling.

I get really frustrated by those moments. My frustration probably has something to do with a need to be in control or liked or thought of a certain way.

But, whatever my issues are, it doesn’t change the fact that they got it. Something finally clicked and they are growing, evolving, changing, living differently. It just wasn’t because of me.

Humbling.

Surrender, Stress, Redemption, and, of course, the Giants

  1. Jon Acuff has some excellent words on surrender and “unlearning” God
  2. The Facebook generation still reads…a lot
  3. Scot McKnight and the stress of ministry
  4. Stan Bunger on Redemption stories and the Giants
  5. Finally, some thoughts on obedience (Loving Obedience/Oct 14)

Call Me, Maybe and Some Thoughts on Minimalism

There’s a popular pop song at the moment titled “Call Me, Maybe” (if you want to see an incredible version of the song, CLICK HERE). When it comes on the car I don’t change the channel (it is rather catchy), but my curmudgeonly (soon to be a dad) self gets all riled up. I yell at the male character in the song: “Don’t call maybe, DO IT. Let your yes be yes, and your no be no!”

I actually used this very point in my teaching this past Sunday (you can listen here).

We live in a “maybe” culture, and the result is cluttered, careless words. Rabbi Joseph Telushkin says: “We choose our clothes more carefully than we choose our words.”

Which, of course, leads to some thoughts on minimalism. For Amy and I this has become our new obsession. We began to have some talks about simplifying our life when  our good friend Ryan alerted me to this blog, which sent me over the edge.

Now, we are adding a child to our family and with such an addition comes stuff. And yet our goal is to simplify, minimize our stuff, and have a more orderly home. Or at least a less cluttered home.

Talking about words this week at REUNION made me think about the beauty of “yes” and “no”. When Jesus speaks about words, speech, and commitments in Matthew 5, I find many connection to minimalism…this is minimalist speech. Doesn’t mean we don’t talk or that we have nothing to say.

But our speech is simple, careful, uncluttered.

This is a goal for all of life, perhaps Jesus was on to something by beginning with how we use our words.

Weddings and Other Updates

A couple of quick updates:

  • I’ll have more to say about this later in the week, but I got to speak yesterday at REUNION on grief. Fun topic! Amy and I shared part of our story of the last year…it was pretty powerful and I think it opened up a lot of stuff for people in our community.
  • On a totally different note: Friday and Saturday were dedicated to preparations and the actual wedding of Dustin and his new bride, Rachelle. Dustin’s been on staff with Sojourn for two school years now, and he’s been an incredible team member (helped get us started at Northeastern and off the ground at UMB). Love these guys and so happy for their marriage. They chose well!
  • Lots of writing and prepping to do before Friday, which is when week one of vacation starts!

Resurrection (Thoughts on Teaching and 35 Weeks of Luke)

This past Sunday our church partner, [REUNION], wrapped up a 35 week series on the book of Luke. It was long, but fruitful journey. I had the privilege of teaching 5 or 6 of those weeks. Most recently, week 34 to be exact, I got to speak on the resurrection.

Now, in some ways this is a home run for preachers…who doesn’t get excited to teach the resurrection?! On the other hand, there is a good amount of fear and trembling that goes along with the subject matter. What if the skies don’t open up? What if people shrug their shoulders and say “that was nice”? What if no one is moved?

This is not meant to be a critique of sermons or preachers, but as I was preparing I knew we needed a story. As it turned out there was a great story in our community that couldn’t have dovetailed any more perfectly.

Nancy told her story and she told it well, and probably the most important thing I said all day, and the thing people likely remember the most, was “that’s the power of the resurrection” after she had finished.

We need good teaching and people who can sermonize well, but how powerful and effective is a story? Amazing. And humbling from a teaching perspective. But, so important to the life of a community. Thank you Nancy!

*you can listen to it all here.

5 Links…

  1. Grant on baseball movies and why the problem with Moneyball is me, not the movie
  2. Nick Kristoff on the importance of parenthood in the eradication of poverty
  3. Shane Hipps on Rob Bell’s departure from Mars Hill (but really on Grief and Joy, Loneliness and Leadership)
  4. Sarah Beth Stepanian dropping some wisdom (fruit)
  5. My teaching at REUNION on 01/08/12

Ordinary Time

I had the privilege to speak at REUNION this past Sunday on Luke 9:28-50. A lot is going on in the text, but I stumbled across something new (to me) in the process of preparing.

In the Catholic Church (and other “high” church traditions that use a liturgical calendar), the season, or period of time, in between Advent/Christmas and Lent/Easter is called:

Ordinary Time!

Which is awesome. Literally, this has some Latin root tied to the idea of counting a period of time, so it really refers to how many Sundays there are from Epiphany to Ash Wednesday.

It’s also grown to refer to a general down-swing in the Church Calendar. Advent and Lent are High (or Strong) seasons, and the time in between is Ordinary.

This is fascinating for a couple of reasons. First, there’s something to recognizing the natural rhythm of highs and lows in life and building that into the church calendar.

Second, as a “clergy” I respect the recognition that ministry in High seasons needs to be followed by a slower pace for a time (like summer is for Campus Ministers).

But I also think there’s a part of us that views High Seasons as better. We like the spectacular and the exciting but dread the mundane and the regular. Or, to use the Luke text as an example, we want to stay on the mountain and avoid the “real world” full of stubborn demons and quarrelsome people.

Now, check this out. Each season has a symbolic color…these can differ depending on traditions, but, the Catholic Church, for example, uses violet for Advent.

And it uses green for Ordinary Time.

Green which represents, rebirth, new life, even resurrection.

How awesome is that! Perhaps it’s the moments, the seasons, the periods of time that feel the most like drudgery, like a fight, that seem mundane and unspectacular that are the fertile ground for something new, for a resurrection.

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