Monthly Archives: May 2008

North Indiana Annual Conference

I am down in West Lafayette, IN for my last trip to Annual Conference in North Indiana. It is an exciting time as myself and nine others will be ordained on Saturday morning. Nine of us have been going through the process together for the last three years and have grown quite close. It is also a sad time as it will also be my last opportunity to connect with and to even see many of these people before moving back to Kansas.

Last night was the clergy session, at which an official vote was taken to approve those of us being ordained as full members of the clergy session. It’s really the last official step before being Ordained on Saturday morning.

Tomorrow family will be driving from around the country to join and celebrate with me. Tomorrow evening and Saturday morning many from Ridge UMC will be driving down to be present for this celebration. I have been humbled and honored to learn of all of the people planning on coming and I look forward to seeing everyone soon.

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Name That Blog

In about a month now I’ll be headed back to Kansas and as a non-Indiana resident it will be time to create a new blog (I’m also planning on switching to WordPress at that time).

So, I’m running a little “name-that-blog” contest. I’m not sure if there is a prize other than bragging rights, but that should be good enough right?!

Without your help I’ll probably just go with jeffclinger.wordpress.com, but I’d love to be more creative than that.

So, comment with your suggestions and we’ll see what comes from it!

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Memorial Day 2008

As I prepare to become a father later this year I find myself reflecting today on those in my family who have come before.

I remember Grandpa Clinger and his rock solid nature. I remember his strength, his caring presence, and his clear-cut sense of what was right and wrong (even though he was always willing to err on the side of grace). I remember his love for his wife, for his family, and for his community. I remember how he wouldn’t hesitate to help a neighbor or anyone who needed a hand.

I remember Grandma Clinger and her gentle spirit, her deep faith, and her great sense of humor. I remember getting her going to the point where she’d laugh so hard she had to take off her glasses and wipe her tears. I remember her patting my enlarging (and large) belly and asking, “what are you planning to do with this?” – always with a twinkle in her eye. I remember the newspaper articles that she would cut out and mail when she thought of us. I remember the emails she’d send once we got her the mail station. I remember the genuine love she showed her family and her friends.

I remember Grandma Rademaker and her always giving, serving, caring nature. I remember how “recreational eating” was a family pastime because she always wanted to make sure that everyone always had (more than) enough of their favorites. I remember her desire to know about what was happening with her grandkids and her desire to spoil them with gifts and affection. I remember her contagious laughter that could always get others laughing.

As I remember today, I find myself feeling grateful and hopeful. I am grateful for these persons who have lived and loved in ways that have shaped me. I am hopeful for how their legacy will shape the life of Baby Clinger and many others for years to come.

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Please Silence Your Cell Phones

Heather and I joined a friend at the CSO on Friday night. Before the show started a voice came over the loud speaker and said, “Hello and welcome to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra. Unless your ring tone happens to be a selection from one of this evening’s themes, please make sure to silence it or turn it off now.” There was a ripple of chuckles through the crowd as the evening began with this light hearted reminder.

I much preferred this to the Kerasotes Theater’s daunting “we’re always watching you” message they run before each movie.

And I found myself wondering, how often do the things we communicate as a church come across in more of this daunting “big brother is watching you” tone than a light-hearted and playful one? I imagine it would be to our benefit to name those ways in which we don’t communicate well and to seek to remedy them. Think about your particular setting, is it the invitation to get people to sign in, the invitation to the offering, the invitation to pass the peace? Are there other messages you send that you think could be communicated more clearly and light heartedly?

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Memorial Day Weekend Fun

This weekend is shaping up to be a weekend full of fun times.

This evening Heather and I are going to catch a late show of Indiana Jones with a friend of ours.

Tomorrow we’re heading up to Chicago with that same friend to enjoy some fun in the city. Another friend is meeting us for dinner then and we’re going to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra with her.

We’ve been invited over to cook out with some people from the church on Saturday and I’m looking forward to that as well.

Sunday afternoon I’m taking Heather to the airport for a little girls get-a-way with her mom and her sister.

Monday evening then our young adult group is cooking out to celebrate Memorial Day.

In the midst of it all we’re also finalizing things on the sale of our house here and getting closer to finding one in KC. It is a crazy time, but there is so much going on that is good and fun that it’s hard not to be smiling!

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The Nature of God (some more)

Last month I posted some follow-up to a great series of questions that were asked in youth group. The youth who initially asked those questions has commented on that original post and asked me to elaborate a bit more. Thanks for keeping the conversation going Kurt!

I thought I’d elaborate here so others could comment as well. When I say that God is moving toward good and calling all of creation to move toward good I’m drawing upon several sources.

First of all, I’m looking at scripture. The Genesis accounts of creation that speak of God creating in God’s image and labeling as good are instructive of the goodness of God. Throughout God’s relationship with Israel God is constantly calling people back to the covenant’s that they made, calling them to live lives of faithfulness. In the person of Jesus we see the goodness of God’s love manifest in a remarkable way as Jesus reaches out to those who are hurting, challenges those who are oppressing, and seeks to make the goodness of God known in all he does. In the book of Revelation we read of God’s promise for a new heaven and a new earth that will come. God created and it was good, God calls humanity to be faithful partners in that work for good, Jesus comes and teaches and models the goodness of God, and we are promised that a new heaven and a new earth will be created, again through the goodness of God.

Additonally, I see God’s work for good throughout God’s creation. Each spring I see new life growing out of what appears to be death. Even in the fall, as days get shorter and the temperatures get colder, I understand that the dormant season our planet goes through is an important part of the good of recreation that comes in the spring.

And I have experienced the goodness of God working in my own heart. When I have wronged someone I feel a tug on my heart to make the injustice right, to apologize to the one I’ve hurt. When I am living unjustly and I learn of how my actions negatively affect others, I feel something within myself wanting desperately to change for the better. I have experienced these feelings often enough and have come to understand them as the presence of God calling me to be a better person, calling me toward goodness.

Recently, when asked what my personal motto was, I declared, “God loves us exactly the way we are… but doesn’t want us to stay that way.” I’m probably borrowing that from someone else, but I believe it to be true. I believe that God, in all of God’s goodness loves us unconditionally, despite all of our shortcomings and faults. However, I also believe that God, as a part of moving all of creation toward good, calls us to be better and better people each day and works within our hearts to shape and transform us into those persons God would have us be.

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Carrotmob & Justice in the Burbs

This morning was the last of our Justice in the Burbs series at Ridge. As a whole, I think the series went really well. I’ll have the last sermon up online sometime tomorrow. For now, the first three can be found here.

While catching up on bloglines this afternoon I stumbled upon this video of a fascinating idea. It’s a bit long, and gets odd from about 4:30 – 5:30, but is worth checking out if you can take ten minutes out of your schedule.

Carrotmob Makes It Rain from carrotmob on Vimeo.

I’m excited to see how this story will continue to unfold and will follow it at carrotmob.org. Check it out for yourself!

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