Showing posts from January, 2011

Wait, wait, there's still time...why spiritual direction matters to clergy

Toward the end of Working the Angles, Eugene Peterson touched on the changes he noticed when he began meeting with a Spiritual Director.

First, he experienced an increase in spontaneity. someone was now shouldering part of load to attend to his spiritual condition, assessing health and pathology. It wasn't just his responsibility. I take this to also mean that he could also afford to be less super serious.

Second, in spiritual direction, he found more concern for who he was as a person, not what he did (and I add not what someone else wanted or needed from him). He could bring the totally mundane and ordinary stuff to the spiritual director and not bore others with the nuances of his every day life. The third thing Peterson mentions is the immediacy and timing and intimacy of a conversation- as opposed to reading the pages of a book, albeit a spiritual classic. This is not to say that spiritual reading is unimportant- it just cannot offer what spiritual direction can.

What I like mo…

Why the Bad Reputation of "Lone-Ranger" Ministry?

Being a "lone-ranger" in ministry has long been one of the deadly sins of church consultants and leadership gurus. I just have to ask, why?

After all, the guy did good. Stop beating up on him. The metaphor is a poor one and a misnomer anyway. Dude was not alone. He hung heavily with Tonto, his Native American friend, companion, and guide.

Like steroids in baseball, we get it: lone-ranger = baaad, non-lone ranger= goood. So if the lone-ranger wasn't really that bad as a super-hero, why does the metaphor to ministry keep happening. I can only make a guess that those who use the term really know what they're taking about by being there themselves. Maybe they haven't seen the show.

No, I really don't think Lone Ranger was ever a worthy model for ministry, for good or ill. We could say the same thing for Superman and Superwoman and the Power Rangers. It seems that many, many more clergy of all ages and genders and ethnic backgrounds are really closer to patterning …

Joy is Possible Wherever You Are on the Journey

Last week, January 6, or Epiphany, marks the culmination of the kings’ long journey from the East, their long-awaited arrival at Bethlehem, at the child Jesus’ house. When the star finally stopped, the narrative in Matthew 2 notes that these wise ones were “filled with joy.” It's too easy to completely miss joy at this point in the narrative and maybe at this point in January, 2011.
There’s a certain relief in finishing anything. But the text clearly states that the outcome of the trip was one of joy as the travelers were finally able to present their gifts to the boy king. This has helped to assess things spiritually at least. How did December go? Was there something life-giving in it? Did I receive any of the peace and love and joy that I wished others and also sang, taught, prayed, and talked about over the last month?
It is God’s joy in us, an overabundance of it, that moves us toward joy. Authentic joy is our birthright as beloved children of God. It's too easy to mis…