Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Monday, September 06, 2010

Prayer

From facebook group Unapologetically Episcopalian

Almighty God, you have so linked our lives one with another that all we do affects, for good or ill, all other lives: So guide us in the work we do, that we may do it not for self alone, but for the common good; and, as we seek a proper return for our own labor, make us mindful of the rightful aspirations of other workers, and arouse our concern for those who are out of work; through Jesus Christ our Lord, who lives and reigns with you and the Holy Spirit, one God, for ever and ever. Amen.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Things I've learned as Rector

I have been a rector (head priest of a congregation) for a little over a year now. I am inspired to share a few things I've learned and/or relearned by my friend Liz over at Stick and Snakes. So, in no particular order I have learned in leadership to:

  • Pray

    • My father once told me that the only way to do ministry is to work on your relationship with God. As that relationship blossoms it over flows to the people around you. This is so true that I can't emphasize it enough. When I have been consistent in my prayers, the more on top of administrative tasks I have been, offered better pastoral care, and have made and led the congregation to make better decisions.

  • Trust is the currency of leadership
    • No one will follow if they don't trust you. Without trust it takes anywhere from twice to six times as long to do anything. On the other hand, if people trust you then you can get a lot done very fast. You'll ultimately see change happen faster if you spend a year building trust, then if you start changing things the moment you walk in the door.

  • Build trust through little things

    • Jesus said in a parable somewhere that the one who can be trusted with little things can be trusted with bigger things. He was talking about leadership there. You can build trust with a congregation by taking care of small things like showing up on time, being prepared, and doing what you say you will do. Even if it is something as small as remembering to email someone to set up a meeting time, the more you consistently deliver on the actions you say you are going to take, the more people will trust you.*

  • To inspire change or transformation, start with yourself.

    • A mentor of mine once said for everything you ask a parish to change, change two things about yourself. I would add not only change yourself, but don't talk about it either. Simply do it and let people notice it on their own. I have lost 35 pounds over the last year and it has increased my leadership credibility; not because I'm thinner, rather because they see I can stick to something and produce results. Plus, if I am able to keep a commitment to myself, then I am more likely to keep the commitments I make to them.

  • Preach what you believe.

    • This too is from my dad, but again he is right. If for a half a moment you preach by your words or deeds something you don't believe, the congregation will smell it and you will have blown all your credibility. It is better to say you have no clue what a particular scripture means while in the pulpit, or to say you believe something that 90 percent of the congregation will disagree with, then to preach something you do not believe.

*For a further discussion on trust see Stephen M. R. Covey's book Leading at the Speed of Trust.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Sermon and Baptism for Pentecost 3

Luke 7:36-8:3
Pentecost 3, Year C, 13 June 2009 Part 1


Pentecost 3, Year C 13 June 2010, Part II


Baptism

Monday, May 31, 2010

P90X

I decided to do the P90X training program. After watching the infomercial during repeated bouts of insomnia, and losing about 35 pounds through WeightWatchers I decided to give it a shot. I got the DVDs about a month ago, but I have waited to start because of the birth of the twins. I have also gained about 5 pounds back during the last few weeks with the birth and all.

Tonight was day one of the 90 days of P90X. I took my photos and did the Chest and Back work out. It is basically an hour's worth of push-ups and pull-ups. Right now, I am not doing as many reps as the folks on the DVD and I am using a chair for the pull-ups. However, my goal is to be able to do 15 pull-ups unassisted by the end of the 90 days. After the the Chest and Back work out you do the Ab Ripper X workout. I am gassed, especially my core. Tomorrow is plyometrics.

So why am I doing this. Well, for health reasons both diabetes and heart disease run in both sides of my family. It is imperative I watch my health, or I might not be around to see my great-grandaughter become President of the United States some day. Furthermore, and most importantly, I want my kids to be able to trust me. If I can't keep a commitment to myself--a simple commitment to exercises 6 days a week, then how can they trust me to keep the commitments I make to them. Why would they keep commitments they make to me? So, I am testing myself. I want to know how deep my ability to honor my commitments runs. I'll post at least once a week on my progress. We'll find out how much intestinal fortitude I have.

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Easter 5, Year C

Easter 5, Year C, 3 May 2010

Acts 11:1-18 | Psalm 148 | Revelation 21:1-6 | John 13:31-35

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Easter 3, Year C John 21:1-19

Sermon for Easter 3, Year C

I borrowed the joke at the beginning from fishingjokes.com

Thursday, April 01, 2010

A Poem for Maundy Thursday

Pottery
towels
and water

a community gathered
in prayer
in humility
in joy
in pain

Prayers said
in hope for presence
in hope for grace
in hope for exploding mercy

Scriptures read
utterance for the sake of re-membrance
spoken word for the sake of re-collection
re-building, re-forming, re-shaping in the image

In the image of
one who kneels
one who washes feet
one who...
from his knees leads a revolution

So we
gathered in prayer
kneel and wash,
we do as the One did
as the One does

So we can go and do likewise
So we can lead from our knees
So we can love as the One loves

Pottery
towels
and water

meager things
humble acts
by such things are empires toppled
by such acts, the Kingdom of God is built

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Lent V, Year C

The sermon is in two parts so that I could fit it to YouTubes limits.



Sunday, March 21, 2010

Great Quote

“The church, in short, has a role to play only here and now; so if it wants a role model for its operations, it should imitate the kingdom’s present, nonjudgmental way of doing business, not its final one. It definitely should not attempt, in this world, to do the kind of sorting out that the kingdom so plainly refuses to do until the next. But alas, beginning right in apostolic time – indeed, beginning even in Scripture itself – excommunication has been one of the church’s favorite indoor sports. Second in popularity only to jumping to conclusions about who should be given the heave-ho first. The practice of tossing out rotten types while the net is still in the water has been almost everybody’s idea of a terrific way to further the kingdom. Everybody’s, that is, except Jesus’ — the one who put the church in the business of being fishers of men to begin with. The net result, to use an apt phrase for such ineptness, has been an operation that looks as if it is being run more by his competitors than by his partners” – Robert Capon, Kingdom, Judgment, Grace (128).

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Ash Wednesday Sermon

Sorry folks. We didn't video this one, but here is the text.

“Will you call this a fast, a day acceptable to the LORD?”

I speak with you in the Name of God who forgives all Sins.

I am always struck by the irony of the readings for Ash Wednesday. On the day that the church calls us to a time of heightened piety, a time of heightened spiritual practice, the church has chosen scriptures that remind us of both Jesus' and Isaiah's warnings against piety. I should say their warnings against false piety, because neither Jesus nor Isaiah are saying that we should not practice the three pillars of Lent: prayer, fasting, and giving alms. Rather, they are calling us to right piety, practices of faith that are righteous. Old Testament Scholar Walter Brueggemann describes righteousness as the characteristic of God to bring about life, not God bring about God's own life; rather God bring about life for others. Therefore, for our lenten practice to be righteous it cannot be selfish and or merely self-serving. It must bring about life for others.

Another way to look at this is from the viewpoint of sin. Sin is simply us being disconnected from God. This separation is made manifest in our disconnection from our neighbors, our fellow human beings. We eat while others go hungry. We are free while others are held captive to oppressive poverty and injustice. We visit each other when we are sick while others grow increasingly lonely and isolated. Ash Wednesday and the journey of Lent is an opportunity to be reconciled to God, to be reconnected with the power that created and loves all there is. This reconnection, this return to our source, is made manifest in our reconnection with our neighbors. St. Claire once said that Jesus gave us just two commands: Love God, love neighbor. When we do one we learn to do the other.

In a moment I am going to invite you the observance of a Holy Lent. I urge you not only to practice the three pillars of lent—prayer, fasting, and charity—but to craft your observance so that life is given to others. If you fast from food, then feed someone else. If you fast from watching TV, then play with your kids or help them with their homework. If you fast from road rage on the highway, encourage others to drive safely as well. If you take on exercise as a discipline, invite others to join you at the gym. If you decide to study a book of the bible this Lent, gather some friends for coffee and discuss it.

The prophet Isaiah poetically describes what our fast should be:
Is not this the fast that I choose: to loose the bonds of injustice, to undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free,and to break every yoke? Is it not to share your bread with the hungry, and bring the homeless poor into your house; when you see the naked, to cover them, and not to hide yourself from your own kin? Then your light shall break forth like the dawn, and your healing shall spring up quickly; your vindicator shall go before you,the glory of the LORD shall be your rear guard. Then you shall call, and the LORD will answer;you shall cry for help, and he will say, Here I am.


May our fast always be so. May our worship always be so. May our lives always be so. Amen!