Tag Archive | slow down

Special Sanctuary

This post is short, but don’t let that fool you. My affection is sincere!

I’ve just started reading Jan Richardson’s new book In the Sanctuary of Women. It’s FAB-ulous. It’s my new daily morning reading.

I’ve already informed my mother that she’s getting it for Mother’s Day. Ladies, look out: I’m itching for an excuse to give this one to friends!

Food as Sacrament

Today in worship, our scripture is from Exodus 12 (the Passover) and Matthew 26 (the Last Supper).

These passages point to a meal – not a worship ritual, but a household meal – as a way in which God comes close to us and a way in which we practice our faith

It’s not unusual to talk about food during the season of Lent; the season of Lent is often when we give up something tasty as our Lenten sacrifice.

But what if, instead of giving something up, we were to be intentional about practicing our faith with every bite?

What if we were to see each mouthful as holy, as a way in which God comes near to us?

Would it change the way we eat? shop? cook?

What do you think? Offer your comments below.

Weekly Wrap-up (2)

… for the week ending 6 February 2011

I am grateful for :: Advil. (I have a terrible toothache.)

On my mind today :: building raised beds so I’ll be ready to plant this spring.

I am seeing :: huge sheets of beadboard that I picked up from Lowe’s on Saturday.

I am hearing :: utter silence. (It’s lovely.)

I am thinking :: that Bruce Willis makes me laugh. This afternoon, I watched RED (a little Sunday afternoon brain-break) and remembered that I enjoy Willis more when he’s funny than when he’s die-hard. Of course, that could just be nostalgia for my childhood memories of Moonlighting … anybody remember that one?

I am hoping :: that I don’t have to travel to Effingham twice this week (for two separate meetings).

I am noticing :: that all my research into food ethics keep telling me the same things over and over again, from a bunch of different sources.

From FPC, Golconda :: the congregation was still talking about Stone Soup this week. Their enthusiasm reminds me that efforts in the service of fresh and meaningful worship are not in vain.

From my writing desk :: my “new year’s resolution” to be more intentional about my writing is yielding fruit. I’m finding the daily discipline of it a challenge, but I’m still committed.

From the home front :: I’ll be spending a couple of hours each day this week putting beadboard on the bathroom walls and painting. It should be quite a transformation and I’m very excited that within a couple of weeks, the bathroom may no longer look frightening.

I am wearing :: my black Chicos-wear. (It’s the ultimate pastor’s uniform.)

I am reading :: Food and Faith: justice, joy and daily bread. (I’m still not done yet.)

I am creating :: a Lenten study series on food ethics.

My favorite thing this week :: The Future of Food and King Corn, both of which I watched in preparation for our Lenten study on Food Ethics.

The Word :: “Let everything that breathes praise the Lord! Praise the Lord!” (Psalm 150: 6)

What’s ahead next week :: talking “ag” with Eric on Monday (for the Lenten study), a Presbytery meeting (on Thursday), FPC Game night (Wednesday), a session meeting (Sunday), and hopefully some bathroom remodeling.

Whew! Well, friends: that’s a wrap-up of my week. How has yours been?


It’s NOT a Vacation!

Beginning tomorrow, I’m on study leave.

Study leave?

Yes, study leave. Study leave allows the pastor to get away from pastoral duties.

So, it’s a vacation.

No. It’s NOT a vacation. Study leave allows the pastor to get away from pastoral duties, in order to improve their skills for ministry.

What do you mean?

Study leave allows the pastor to go to workshops or attend conferences or attend continuing education classes. Study leave give the pastor the time and resources to engage in conversations about ministry and faith and the church with other ministers and with scholars. Study leave is time for continuing education. It’s NOT a vacation.

Want to know more? Below are some guidelines that are put out by the Presbytery of Shenango. Enjoy.




From shenango.org:

The churches of the Presbytery provide for study leave/continuing education time and expenses in the terms of call of pastors.  All calls for ordained pastors shall include a minimum of 1.) 2 weeks annual study leave time and 2.) $750 (as of 2000) expense allowance for said study leave.

A planned study leave/continuing education program is of great value in helping pastors to maintain and to improve skills required for their ministry.  A study leave/continuing education program should benefit each participating congregation, the pastor, and the church at large.  The intent is to provide stronger leadership for the local churches through pastors who are kept abreast of new developments and programs in the various areas of ministry, and to provide stimulation for pastors to continue their spiritual and mental growth by contact with scholars, teachers, and other pastors.

The Session has responsibility, as part of their leadership of the church, to encourage and support their pastor in continually updating his/her skills so as best to minister to the congregation.

The following are the guidelines/procedure for study leave/continuing education:

Study leave/continuing education time and expenses may be used annually or may be accumulated in accordance with the terms of call.  Accumulated study leave/continuing education expenses may be used for a study leave of less duration than the accumulated time; e.g., a pastor with four weeks accumulated time and money might choose to use the entire sum for a two week study leave, provided the expenses are documented.

Each year the pastor shall make a request to the Session for:

Use the study leave/continuing education, proposing a special plan of study to the Session.

As an alternative, accumulate the study leave for future use.  If the pastor chooses this option he/she shall submit a general plan of how he/she intends to use the accumulated leave at a later date.

In addition to the study leave expenses, the local church continues the pastor’s salary, defrays any cost of pulpit supply (one Sunday for each week of study leave), and meets the expense of other necessary pastoral services during the study leave.

Study leave time may not be used for vacation purposes.

Travel, food, lodging, registration, and related expense incurred during study leave/continuing education may be chargeable to the study leave expense allowance.  Additional expenses shall be negotiated between the pastor and the Session.

At the next scheduled Session meeting after each study leave/continuing education, the pastor shall submit a verbal or written evaluation of the study leave/continuing education to the Session.  A copy shall be forwarded to the Chairperson of the Committee on Ministry.

Additional information on possible study leave/continuing education options is available at the Presbytery Office.

Every pastor is expected to use study leave time to attend General Assembly as visitor within the first 5 years of ministry.

Unused study leave time and money are cancelled at the termination of the call.

Resolutions Are for Chumps?

Blogger Ashley Ambirge recently wrote a blog post entitled: “Resolutions Are For Chumps. I Choose Revolution.” The basic theme of that particular essay was that we don’t actually need all the things we think we need.

The wheels in my brain started to move and I began to consider the ways in which we mark the beginning of a new year. Almost always it seems like we’re making resolutions to be better, to whip ourselves into shape based on the expectations that culture or other people set for us.

For example, have you ever heard a variation on these themes before?

– This year I’m going to lose weight.

– This year I’m going to get organized.

– This year I’m going to improve my financial situation.

Now, I’m not suggesting that New Year’s resolutions are a bad thing. But I wonder if they don’t feed our tendency to let the opinions of others overrule our own inner wisdom. Would it be possible to come up with a New Year’s resolution that, rather than imposing an artificially constructed expectation on ourselves from the outside, would help us be more attentive to the longing of our hearts and the wisdom of our souls?

I’m going to suggest a commitment to a daily practice of attentiveness. Whether it’s silence, meditation, prayer, journaling or any number of other disciplines … committing to a practice that helps you listen to yourself (and to the Spirit of God within you) will be healthier, more authentic, and more freeing than any other resolution I know of.

Anyway, it’s just a thought.

Happy New Year, friends!


Daily Advent Devotional

As the holiday season approaches, the frenzy spins faster and faster as it swings us toward the year’s end. But in ancient times, this season was intended to evoke a quiet thoughtfulness in us rather than a frenzy. It was to be a time of slowing down, of resting, of renewing our strength. After the harvest, when the world becomes cold and seemingly barren, there is life that is resting and waiting to germinate.

In the upcoming days and weeks, I invite you to be intentional about finding some time for quiet thoughtfulness. In fact, I even have a suggestion for how to do so. Take a few minutes out of your day and take a Daily Advent Retreat. Use this online devotional tool to help you carve out time for reflection, in the midst of all the holiday hustle and bustle.

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