Heather and I are traveling back to Kansas this week for the United Methodist Church of the Resurrection’s Contemporary Worship and Leadership Institutes. These two events are held back to back and I’m looking forward to them both. I’ll try to blog throughout the course of the week as a way of processing what I’m hearing/learning.
Things I’m interested in learning while attending the conference:
1) How does a church the size of COR track and assimilate newcomers into the life of their congregation.
2) In what ways does COR, as a large church with a very corporate structure, utilize the leadership of laity in visioning, planning, and leading events.
3) How do others grow their churches (and different ministries within the church) both in numbers and in depth of relationship with God and others.
Heather and I will also be staying with my parents and will get a chance to see her family a little bit as well. All in all it promises to be a good week.
For a couple of weeks now Heather and I had been planning to run our first 5K this morning, but we had to change plans a little bit earlier this week.
We found out on Monday that Allan Byrne, a former pastor in the North Indiana Conference had passed away. Allan and his wife Mary Beth were donors to a scholarship at Garrett-Evangelical that Heather was fortunate enough to receive while we were students. We have also been blessed to get to know Allan and Mary Beth over the last couple of years. The memorial service for Allan was this morning in South Bend and she knew that she needed to go.
So, Heather and I weren’t able to run in the “official” 5K that we had planned on this morning. But, we ran our first 5K together this afternoon out on the trail behind our place. Going in I had two goals:
To finish (without walking)
To finish in less than 35:00 minutes. I had felt pretty good in training this week and had begun to think that I might even be able to finish in under 30:00 minutes.
Heather and I both finished
And I was thrilled with my time!
A little bit more than a month ago I wrote about a series of sermons Steve and I were doing called “Being a Good Neighbor” This morning I wanted to take a minute to share the sermons from the series and reflect on some of the follow-up that we received.
Here are the five sermons from the series if you’d like to give them a read:
8/26 – Two Different Paths – Steve
9/2 – The Misunderstood Jew – Steve
9/9 – Our Hindu Neighbors – Jeff
9/16 – Our Muslim Neighbors – Jeff
9/23 – The Radically Inclusive Faith of Jesus – Steve
We received a wide variety of feedback during the series; some people were greatly appreciative of the way in which we addressed issues and answered questions they had and others were challenged to their core by some of the things that were said.
If you’re looking to kill a little time, read these sermons and let me know your thoughts.
Last weekend a group of about 40 people from the church headed out to the Indiana Dunes for a fantastic weekend of camping. It was really a wonderful weekend on a number of levels!
Bob was our master fire builder!
Matt explained the wonders of the world to inquiring minds.
We had a great game of wiffle ball on the beach on Saturday morning.
Meal time was always a lot of fun! Emilie is having a blast…
We had some fantastic campfires.
And we had a great time worshipping outdoors on Sunday morning.
Heather and I have been talking about running a 5K since we started trying to “be runners” in mid-June. Originally we had thought about a race in the area on Thanksgiving Day. However, a friend of ours recently invited us to run a 5K sponsored by her church. It’s being sponsored to raise money for their Youth Mission Programs, it’s only got a $10 entry fee, and it seems to be in a non-threatening setting, what with it being at a church and all. So, next Saturday morning, the 29th we’re going to hit the road and see what we can do.
I have two main goals:
1) to finish – to not have to walk
2) to finish in less than 35 minutes.
Both of these feel like reasonable goals at this point as I’ve run 2.8 miles several times now and finished anywhere between 27:28 and 29:05. I am getting excited though – and am feeling quite nervous at the same time. I’ll let you know how it turns out.
By the time I was a sophomore in high school (the ’95-’96 school year) I was relatively confident that God was calling me to be an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. I’ve been working on it ever since, but I’m still not quite there.
I went to college planning to go to seminary afterward, I began the ordination process while in college, and I have worked through it as quickly as is humanly possible. If all goes well over the next 5 and 1/2 months I should know by early March whether or not I’ll be ordained this year, 12 years after I decided that this was what God was calling me to do with my life.
Over these next 5 and 1/2 months I need to:
Submit a bunch of paperwork to the Annual Conference
Have a background check
Have my financial situation investigated
Have a medical report completed
Do a short and long term plan for continuing education
Write a spiritual autobiography
Write and record a sermon on the November 11th Lectionary Texts
Complete written theological questions
Host a member of the Board of Ordained Ministry for a context visit
Attend several continuing education events
Interview with the Board of Ordained Ministry.
If all of that is done to the satisfaction of the Board I will be ordained on May 31st, 2008 (which happens to be my dad’s birthday!).
I’m looking forward to finishing up this work and moving forward through the process. It has at times been frustrating and trying and at times has been rewarding and encouraging. After 12 years though, I’m ready to be done with this journey that I have been on for approximately 43% of my years.
I recently came across artist Chris Jordan’s current installation via the Do Better Blog.
Of this currenty project Jordan writes:
This new series looks at contemporary American culture through the austere lens of statistics. Each image portrays a specific quantity of something: fifteen million sheets of office paper (five minutes of paper use); 106,000 aluminum cans (thirty seconds of can consumption) and so on. My hope is that images representing these quantities might have a different effect than the raw numbers alone, such as we find daily in articles and books. Statistics can feel abstract and anesthetizing, making it difficult to connect with and make meaning of 3.6 million SUV sales in one year, for example, or 2.3 million Americans in prison, or 426,000 cell phones retired every day. This project visually examines these vast and bizarre measures of our society, in large intricately detailed prints assembled from thousands of smaller photographs. My underlying desire is to affirm and sanctify the crucial role of the individual in a society that is increasingly enormous, incomprehensible, and overwhelming.
My only caveat about this series is that the prints must be seen in person to be experienced the way they are intended. As with any large artwork, their scale carries a vital part of their substance which is lost in these little web images. Hopefully the JPEGs displayed here might be enough to arouse your curiosity to attend an exhibition, or to arrange one if you are in a position to do so. The series is a work in progress, and new images will be posted as they are completed, so please stay tuned.
~chris jordan, Seattle, 2007
The most striking for me visually is this piece, shown in three images. It depicts 106,000 aluminum cans, the number used in the US every 30 seconds.
If anyone has any pull, I’d love to see this installation in the Chicago area!