One of my greatest hopes in writing is that I connect with readers, causing them to think, pray, give thanks and learn. I also hope that comments will help me do the same. I continue to marvel at what some people seek when they peruse their favorite search engine. This post is devoted to what curious people find topically interesting about my thoughts and writing.
Currently I am collecting my thoughts for another season of writing. My time at First Lutheran Community Church in Port Orchard is probably in its last months. I am hopefully moving away from interim ministry and finding a calling that will allow me some creative space while remaining close to congregational life.
Here are a few posts that continue to receive looks:
Does God Change? I think many people wonder about the nature of the God of the Hebrew and Christian Bible. I have found over the years that the way people answer this question says more about their attitude toward change than their attitude toward God. According to the biblical witness, the answer can be both yes and no, which maddens some and delights others. The emotional response doesn't matter, the complexity of the nature of God is a given. Human understandings of change are insufficient to be projected on God, but God's passion and love for people and pursuit of keeping promises should not be lost on frustration of God not performing to human expectation.
Ten Commandments Mnemonic Sometimes I have something to share with the world that is actually practical for ministry use. I can't take credit for it. Nate Hanson, a pastoral colleague in South Dakota, shared this memory application with me about 10 years ago. In my discussions about the 10 Commandments, I learned that most people in the congregations I serve don't elevate them to the 4th person in the Trinity, yet they treat them like wisdom literature; they want to learn more about their nuance and life application, yet they don't want to resort to fear-based memory work that dulls the wisdom.
"We are a warm and friendly church." After serving 10 congregations and consulting with many others, I've only encountered one congregation who would not agree with this statement. I think congregations are finally starting to experience some dissonance of the false nature of the positive friendly statement. In most congregational cultures, people are friendly with each other, and therefore often project that personal feeling of friendliness and mistake it for hospitality. Congregations struggle with hospitality, and the dissonance has not peaked. Maybe a mass closing of congregations will make congregations take notice in Oldline Protestantism, because hospitality practices are slow to change if there is change at all. But the hits on this blog post at least have me curious about the perception of hospitality. I've been wondering if the time is right for a deeper discussion of whether it's appropriate to call a congregation a family. I tend to believe no in the view of my teacher Pat Keifert. I don't think the family image for congregation has done well for the church, and I'm not sure if it's faithful, either.