14 October 2013

On Silence and Learning

Last week I had two experiences of silence.  Both were extraordinary moments for me.

13 October 2013

Sermon for the Twenty-first Sunday after Pentecost

The story read at the beginning of this sermon is "Where Are The Nine?" from The Way of the Wolf by Martin Bell.

04 October 2013

2013 Book List: October Update

Here's the list of books I've read in 2013, updated monthly (more or less), for fun or for some sort of edification, professional or otherwise. Recommended titles are in bold, and formats are +(Kindle/eBook), *(audio/iPod).

*1.  The Big Sleep (Philip Marlowe #1) by Raymond Chandler
2.  The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien
+3.  A Failure of Nerve:  Leadership in the Age of the Quick Fix by Edwin Friedman
4.  Love Wins:  A Book about Heaven, Hell and the Fate of Every Person Who Ever Lived by Rob Bell.
5.  Dead Beat (The Dresden Files, #7) by Jim Butcher
6.  A Memory of Light (The Wheel of Time #14) by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson
*7.  The Defenders and Other Stories by Phillip K. Dick
+8.  Orthodoxy by G.K. Chesterton
9.  Proven Guilty (The Dresden Files, #8) by Jim Butcher
+10.  Dust:  Jacob's Ladder Trilogy #1 by Elizabeth Bear
*11.  The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and Other Stories by F. Scott Fitzgerald.
+12.  The Orthodox Heretic by Peter Rollins
13.  White Night (The Dresden Files #9) by Jim Butcher
14.  Redshirts by John Scalzi
*15.  Firestarter by Stephen King
16.  Small Favor (The Dresden Files #10) by Jim Butcher
17.  Turn Coat (The Dresden Files #11) by Jim Butcher
18.  Changes (The Dresden Files #12) by Jim Butcher
19.  Side Jobs (The Dresden Files #.5) by Jim Butcher
*20.  Eifelheim by Michael Flynn
21.  Ghost Story (The Dresden Files #13) by Jim Butcher
22.  Where God Meets Man:  Luther's Down-to-Earth Approach to the Gospel by Gerhard O. Forde
*23.  Team of Rivals:  The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns Goodwin
24.  Cold Days (The Dresden Files #14) by Jim Butcher
*25.  Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell
*26.  World War Z:  An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks
27.  Cryptonomicon by Neal Stephenson
+28.  By Paths Untrodden by James Honig
29.  Evensong by Gail Goodwin
*30.  Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
+31.  Broken Hallelujahs: Why Popular Music Matters to Those Seeking God by Christian Scharen
*32.  Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
33.  Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson
+34.  The Magician's Assistant by Ann Patchett
+35.  Click2Save:  The Digital Ministry Bible by Elizabeth Drescher & Keith Anderson
36.  The Ragamuffin Gospel:  Good News for the Bedraggled, Beat-Up and Burnt-Out by Brennan Manning
37.  Ender's Shadow by Orson Scott Card
*38.  Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card
39.  The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
40.  Doctor Sleep by Stephen King

Friday Five: Roots and Wings Edition

This week's RevGalBlogPals Friday Five, from 3dogmom:
I’ve just returned from an extended road trip, a portion of which included travel through ancestral homelands. While I was gone our son’s first child, Hunter, was born, making me mindful of the gift that our roots can offer to us as we venture through life. That juxtaposition inspires today’s Friday Five.
At a baby shower honoring Hunter guests filled out a card full of hopes and wishes for his life. Thinking about whatever new life may be touching yours (the birth of a child, a marriage, a new call…), choose five wishes from the following and do the same. (For instance, I wrote for Hunter, “I hope you laugh at your grandfather’s jokes.)
I hope you: learn, grow, remember, laugh, get, follow, aren’t afraid, love, respect, try to, never forget, become, experience. 
Bonus: what hopes did someone in your life offer to you that have stayed with and inspired you?

02 October 2013

Healthy Pastor, Healthy Church

My denomination's provider of health insurance and retirement benefits has spent most of the past few years preparing to shift with the Affordable Care Act, and one of the resulting changes is a four-tiered health insurance plan rather than the single option previously provided to rostered leaders in the ELCA.  Among rostered leaders, this has produced some hand-wringing and consternation, and I hate to say there's good reason for it:  many fear that congregations, upon learning that more inexpensive options are available, will automatically dive to the cheapest plan to save money.  While being fiscally responsible is quite often commendable, in this instance I'd like to offer some thoughts about why paying less may cost congregations more in the long run.