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Showing posts from May, 2016

Does the Pastor Have a Pastor?

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Let your mind wander through your life, and let it notice what is hasn't noticed yet.
 L. Roger Owens

In his book, Abba, Give Me a Word (2012), L. Roger Owens tells the story of his journey in spiritual direction. The volume is one of a kind: I know of no other practicing United Methodist Pastor who has authored a book on his or her work as a directee.
Let the tremendous benefits to personal well-being and ministry outweigh whatever barriers you have.  Begin, Owens, suggests, by writing a "longing list," noting what you want, the things you are longing for. Do this for three days, writing for five minutes each time without over-thinking. "Just write." Eventually, we will probably move from a new roof or car or suit to things like peace, quiet, healing, God. The fuel for spiritual direction is our spiritual yearning for more of God. This longing is more important than the obstacles we might construct to seeking spiritual direction.

Thus, in the "Finding&q…

Goodbye Birds, Emilie Griffin

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Emilie Griffin's volume, Goodbye Birds and Other Poems (2014), is an authentic witness to an exuberant faith lived deeply and well. The themes and metaphors are far ranging and relevant. For example, the book's namesake, Goodbye Birds, is a comment on the ecological disaster of the "deep petroleum roar," while The Loss of Monarchs and other Puzzlements, refers to global warming affecting all living things: "Across the blue world, summer extends." But the little, powerful volume is also the fruit of life-long reflective and lived faith in Christ. As an octogenarian and one who suffers from Rheumatoid Arthritis, Griffin patiently, courageously, makes her way on walker up to the front of the room to speak about her life and writing. Griffin has earned that right to speak of aging, God, and spirituality. But it's also her gift: This is what you may call if you like to give names to things a spirituality of rheumatoid arthritis: the human spirit, fueled b…

Please Wait

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They also serve who only stand and wait. John Milton, quoted in Griffin, Doors Into Prayer.

My mother, Judy Endress, died earlier this year, in January, 2016. Instead of ruminating about making changes, the best decisions I am making are about self-care here and now, and living well through this experience of loss. For clergy who cannot avoid facing death, dying, and grief as apart of their ministry, it is especially important to make our well being the priority. Take time by: scheduling a private retreat,  seeking a skilled counselor  going to a spiritual director listening to the waves roar and the birds echo  Grief is not easy nor is it temporary. There's no "getting over it," nor is there a solace that removes the reality of the loss. There's no "cheering up" or feeling good because the deceased lived relatively happy and long, or died some kind of hero. There is not a pill nor a therapist nor a Bible verse that is going make it all better, to take our grief a…