Monthly Archives: May 2007

Memorial Day ’07

I was recently sent a bunch of pictures of an art installation/protest in Chicago’s Grant Park. I thought it appropriate to share some of them here this morning as we remember all of the men and women who have served and who currently serve our country. Thanks to the American Friends Service Committee for putting this project together.

Boots lined up in Grant Park to represent the more than 3,000 American Soldiers who have now been killed in Iraq.

Sandals and other shoes to represent the unknown number of Iraqi civilian causalities.

The installation also included panels naming and telling the stories of Iraqi civilians who have been killed.

Today as we remember all of the men and women who have sacrificed on behalf of the United States I also pause and mourn all of the lives lost in this conflict.


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Celebrating Life

Last week I celebrated my second unnoficial anniversary with Ridge Church as I attended my third staff retreat.

This weekend Heather and I made a very quick trip back to Kansas to celebrate my mom’s graduation from Seminary.

This afternoon I met with a couple who will be celebrating their 50th wedding anniversary in a couple of weeks by renewing their vows.

There are so many things to celebrate and there is so much to be thankful for. What are you celebrating? For what are you thankful?

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Planning Retreat

I’m at the Gray Goose Inn in Chesterton, IN on a staff planning retreat this week with the program staff from Ridge UMC. We take a three day retreat each May and do visioning, calendaring, and strategic planning for the next 12-18 months. We also play, relax, share meals together and work on team building within the staff. These retreats are a special time and, I think, vitally important to the continued growth and development of us as individual staff people and to the church in general.

If you are a member of a church, what would you like to think your staff is accomplishing during a retreat like this? What kinds of things would you like them to be exploring/ planning.

If you are a staff person or pastor at another church, what types of things would you hope to gain from a retreat such as these?

In what ways do you think we as humans could benefit from retreats like this for our personal and family lives?

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Emerging Discussion

My friend Mark has recently begun a series of posts about the Emerging Movement within the church. They’re some posts worth checking out.

Intro: What is the Emerging Church?
What is the Emerging Church? Vol 1
What is the Emerging Church? Vol 2
What is the Emerging Church? Vol 3

Initially he’s been sharing videos that others have done discussing this movement. He’s contemplating doing some videos of his own – maybe in discussion form with someone else.

This morning he emailed me to ask some questions and I thought I’d pass some of those along. Feel free to share thoughts with him on this series or to post general comments about the Emerging Church here.

Mark’s email this morning…

By posting video clips of others’ statements on my blog, I’m trying to have an actual discussion of what the emerging church is. From the horse’s mouth, you hear their thoughts, etc. In this way, I am trying to avoid my filtering lenses, yet I do offer commentary to help the reader/viewer understand what they’re hearing. Besides, it seems much more in the vein of the emerging movement…a virtual discussion.

My last entry(ies) will be me. I think I’m going to do a video of myself…I’d like to do it as a discussion with someone else! I will offer more commentary, etc. in text after that in a conclusion. The bad part of the virtual discussion is that I have a limited resource of finding videos that are already discussing the emerging church; therefore, the topics and foci of the discussion are led not by me (how post-Modern is that!?!). In closing, I’ll do more of “my” thing.

Is this helpful? Would it be better to just throw out my opinion in text next to others’ opinions in text? Perhaps this question needs to be asked after I’m finished, but I wanted some input so I could adapt in process if I needed to

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Day of Interfaith Youth Service

Sunday was the 4th Annual Day of Interfaith Youth Service in Northwest Indiana. This year 76 middle school and high school students from the Jewish, Christian, Hindu, Muslim, and Sikh faith traditions gathered to both talk about the call to serve within their faith tradition and to serve the communities of Lake County Indiana.

I have been blessed to coordinate this project for the last four years now and have a wonderful time with it. I have met fantastic young people from throughout the region, have learned a lot about the needs in our area, seen some amazing interactions between young people of different faith traditions, learned more about faith traditions other than my own, and learned how to better articulate my faith while growing more closely to God through the experience.

Questions I’ll continue to ponder over the next few weeks now – I would love your reflections:

What other experiences exist in our communities to intentionally interact with and learn about “the other?”

What other opportunities are there to gather with total strangers to serve those in need? To serve in general?

In what ways can events like the Day of Interfaith Youth Service happen more regularly and for larger groups of people?

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Man’s Best Friend

I got an email from my mom last Thursday, just a quick note that said something to the effect of, “Call your dad today when you get a chance. Maggie died last night. We buried her this morning.”

Maggie was the Clinger family dog, an English Setter who was a great pet for years. In fact she was just weeks away from her 14th birthday when she passed. We got her as a pup when I was 13 years old. She started her life in our family as an outdoor dog; she was a hunter, a runner, a pond swimmer, a cow-chaser and a cow-pie roller. As she aged she eventually became an indoor dog and would commute with my dad upstairs to their office for work each day where she remained sprawled out on the couch for as long as my dad would sit in front of the computer. Here’s a photo of her doing one of her favorite things – it was taken January a little more than a year ago.

So I called my dad last Wednesday afternoon to check in. He had known that it would just be a matter of time before Maggie passed, she had been sick, it had even become a bit of a chore to watch her and take care of her over the course of the previous week. Neither his knowledge of these things nor my knowledge of his knowledge of these things made the phone conversation any easier for either of us. At times us Clinger men can be big teddy bears and while we tried to keep our conversation light we both cried, we both got choked up, and I know that I was glad to be talking to my dad.

As I grew up my dad helped me develop my appreciation for dogs. Heather and I now have a dog of our own and it’s been said that these creatures are man’s best friend. While I love my dog, as I hung up the phone with my dad last Wednesday, I realized that I was most thankful for the friendship that I shared with him, one of this man’s truly best friends.

A picture of him with my momma (another great dog lover and friend to this man) from that same trip to Kansas last January.

And one more of my dad and his dog… what a pair!


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On A Mission

I’ve been doing a lot of work the last couple of weeks on preparing for our youth mission opportunities at Ridge UMC this Summer. We’re piloting a new program for middle school students called M&M (Missions ‘n Munster – get it?) and we’re taking our senior high group on a Mission Trip to Slidell, LA. You can read more about these opportunities here. I’m really excited about them both!

I’ve also recently rediscovered a video put together by one of our youth after last year’s trip to Slidell. Check it out below. Also take a look at some of our pics from that week.

I love working with our youth and I love serving through missions. Needless to say I’ve been having a lot of fun putting together the details for these experiences this summer and I can’t wait for them to get underway!

Oh, and on a side note. When I was in Slidell this March I stopped by the home that we put the wall on in July. They were within a couple of weeks of moving back in. I’ll add some pics from home in the next day or two.

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