...self care is never a selfish act- it is simply good stewardship of the only gift I have, the gift I was put on earth to offer to others. Anytime we can listen to true self and give it the care it requires, we do so not only for ourselves but for the many others whose lives we touch.

Parker J. Palmer, Let Your Life Speak

Thursday, November 10, 2011

The Church of Lucy and Ethel

"So we feed the ecclesiastic furnaces our burned-out wrecks: tired leaders, disillusioned ministers, fatigued congregations- marshaling them to dance longer, march faster, pray harder, cry louder in earnest for God to come...We must be brave enough to stop if we are to see change... Our structures must serve us, not us serve them." Kester Brewin, Signs of Emergence

The signs of the industrial/factory church of the last century:
  1. Strategies are tied to organizational control, market share, and the efficiency model.
  2. Better metrics or measurements provides an improved Body of Christ.
  3. Spirituality is nothing by itself, but is one variable among many.
  4. There is no such thing as "overflowing cups," as these are a dangerous waste of scarce reserves.
  5. Motivation is fear-based- since we engage ministry in order to survive.
  6. Heavy emphasis on explanatory process of statistical and trends analysis.
  7. Vision is connected with deficiencies and needs, not gifts, strengths, or abundance.
In the closed system of assembly-line production, like Lucy and Ethel, you're pretty much on your own! Do you think Jesus of Nazareth would waste time sharing God- presence with two or three believers? Or breathing out the Holy Spirit for his close friends to receive? What about the water welling up in Jesus' people with life- now and forever? It's the Spirit, the Holy Wind of God, that pushes us out into new mission, not different to the story in the Acts of the Apostles. That Source, not the results, make it worth our time to listen, to discern, and to go.

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Having been in ordained ministry in the UMC for 34 years, I've experienced the truth that although, clergy are frequently present for others, no one can offer what they don't have.That's why if you're a clergy person, you need someone who will listen to you. Not the random next closest person available, but rather someone like a spiritual director, a therapist, a peer who can be fully present to you. I hope the links and posts you find here will give you ideas, humor, hope and encouragement. Scott Endress

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If you want a formula for making the best of the less-than-perfect and making the most of what you have been given, then begin to compare your lot to what you were before you were born, and it will empower you with wonder every time. John Claypool

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