Learning from the Failures

Learning from the Failures

Experimenting with new ideas is risky.  Sometimes the experiment works and we end up with something beautiful.  Sometimes it all blows up.  Yet even in that explosion we learn and discover new things that can take us to the next place, the next experiment, the next step in following God. The past few months have caused me to really think about the person that I am and how I function as a pastor, leader, follower of Christ, friend, and person.  And here’s the deal, I am far from perfect.  I have flaws. What I am learning about my flaws is that I need to be real about them and even embrace them. It’s only then that I and others can work within who God has made me.  Wonderful, broken, beautiful me. There are lots of great things about me too. This isn’t a pity party or a fishing expedition for compliments.  This is me naming in vulnerability that I am not perfect.  I am a sinner, I am a human, I am a work in progress, I am a beautiful mess, I am not ashamed of who I am. Our task as a church is to grow into who God created us to be.  We walk together in faith, holding each other accountable.  We know each other, the good and the bad, the ugly and the beautiful, the mediocre and the excellent.  It is a gift to know oneself, to be known by others and in all of it to be sure of God’s love.  This is the community we are building here in Southeast Portland Parish and I’m glad it...
Passing down Wisdom

Passing down Wisdom

One of the things I love most about our new collaborative parish between a new church start and a traditional church is the amazing ways I learn from the people in our community.  Just this week I was blown away by the depth and theological understanding of the folks at bible study.  Then the United Methodist Women gathered, I don’t think anyone else in the room besides me was under 80.  Our conversation about what it means to be women and the real ways they shared about their lives was incredibly insightful.  When they then linked to the curse of Eve and started discussing that theologically I knew I was in the presence of women who take their faith seriously. I learned so much that day and was challenged to think differently and go deeper in my own understandings. The group that gathers around the table at dinner is a shade younger than the folks I encountered at UMW, and yet the wisdom and understanding is just as deep.  We have a couple in our community who are 10 years or more younger than I am, and they regularly share about their faith experience and view of the world that has me just soaking up the wisdom.  Our kids often help me see God more clearly as they join their voices to the conversations too. Our community has a richness built from our wide experiences and common willingness to think deeply and share vulnerably. We see the vastness of God more clearly when we learn about God from a wide array of other.  It helps us from only seeing a God who...
Practicing

Practicing

My life is a series of practices for whatever God is unfolding next.  So tonight I practiced democracy by attending the local neighborhood association meeting.  This afternoon I practiced the art of celebrating life and grieving at a funeral for a guinea pig attended by a handful of neighborhood kiddos.  And each week around the table we practice community by sharing with one another over a meal. Showing up in the local places of decision making and community is the core of our democracy.  It’s a place where I always learn so much and where my voice and influence can make a difference in the world. Since we’re serving a new neighborhood now through the Southeast Portland Parish Jeff and I have decided to divide and conquer.  So tonight he went to Sellwood and I went to Woodstock.  He met the county sheriff and I met our state representative.  I learned about a new service opportunity for our community.  And we both found ways to get involved in the work of connecting the values of the Southeast Portland Parish to what God is already doing in these neighborhoods. Yesterday one of our daughter’s guinea pigs died of cancer.  She was given to us by dear friends who could no longer keep her due to allergies in their family.  She was cared for by several of the kiddos who live near us when we traveled.  So when she died there were a number of sad children.  And I started planning a funeral for a guinea pig.  This afternoon a handful of us made rock art for her grave depicting things we remembered about...