Something a little different if you don’t mind…
In June 2017, my family will have an opportunity to go on an international mission trip to Nicaragua. The trip is being coordinated through our church, New Community Church, in partnership with Agros International. This trip is the seventh team from our church to go into Nicaragua to build relationships that both support and encourage the people there who are working hard to move out of extreme poverty using loans provided by Agros International. Continue reading
welcome to the machine
I wrote previously how chaplains need to be productive, and how to do that. I now want to unravel all that. Productivity may be how we prove our worth to our employers, however it can also run counter to how we do that, and even to our ability to do that. Continue reading
I wanted to pass along my thanks to all of my readers. This blog has reached far beyond where I thought it could. I’ve had over 18,000 visitors this year from every continent in the world. Thank you!
This year – and this month – have been especially busy so I haven’t had the time to write as I want, but look for something soon. Keep sharing!
God bless you, wherever you are. Continue in the good work that God has for you to do.
here we see a Chaplain being productive…
If you’re a professional chaplain you have probably heard this phrase: “Let’s talk about your productivity.” For anyone the “productivity” talk is uncomfortable. For chaplains this talk is often more uncomfortable because what we “do” and “produce” can be very hard to grasp. Continue reading
Hospital and Hospice Chaplain Kerry Egan was recently featured in an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air. The interview concerns her new book based on insights she’s had over the years working with dying patients. It’s not only a great look at chaplaincy for those who’ve never encountered it, but full of great “a-ha” moments for those of us serving as Chaplains.
Some highlights are found here.
Hear the Fresh Air program for October 31, 2016
Source: Kerry Egan On Fresh Air: ‘On Living’ : Shots – Health News : NPR
***trigger alert: as this is a post about colorful language, be aware that there is colorful language abounding after the jump***
Clergy, sometimes it’s OK to use swear words. That’s the summary. For the full text click below, but language aboundeth herein…
“And what rough beast, its hour come round at last, Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” W.B. Yeats, The Second Coming
***update 9/29/16: The New York Times recently published a very good article that explores this topic more in depth and personally, and I highly recommend reading it (link in the text). I still beat it by a few days though!***
This election year has been a tumultuous one for too many reasons to mention. It has definitely been the most polarizing of any in recent memory. It’s impact will be felt long past the tenure of whichever candidate wins in November in our country as a whole, but specifically among those who call themselves Evangelical Christians.
Previously, at least in conservative Evangelical circles, the choice for president was fairly clear and rote: you could only vote Republican. The Democratic party was basically equated with everything that Evangelicalism was not. It was pro-choice, supported by the ACLU, sought to keep the bible, prayer and creationism out of our schools, pushed agendas such as gay rights and “big government”, and was generally seen as the party of left-leaning atheists, elites, and mainline pseudo-Christians. Republicans were the voice of “real” Christians at the political level. It valued proper moral and ethical behavior grounded by Judeo-Christian fundamentals not only in our country but in its leadership.
2016 is changing all that. Drastically. Continue reading
A while ago an email drifted through my inbox from The Gospel Coalition. Ususally I delete them, mostly because I find most of them to be uninteresting or not that helpful. Thankfully they list the subjects of the email right off, so you can delete them fairly quickly. But this one caught my attention, because one of the articles in the email was called “Moms, Don’t Trust Your Fickle Feelings“.
“OK”, I thought, “don’t rush to judgment – see what they say.”
And I got mad. Continue reading
Ezekiel eating the scroll (Eze. 3:1)
OK quick – what are the first three books of the Bible? Was Paul one of the twelve disciples? Did Abraham lead the Israelites out of Egypt?
If you can’t answer these questions (though I really hope you can) you shouldn’t be surprised. Research has shown that most Americans know very little about the Bible – presumably much less than what was known a generation ago.
“…A Famine in the Land”
Pastors, authors and pundits are saying that we are in a famine in terms of our biblical literacy. This famine is not due to lack of access though. According to the Barna Group, “Nearly nine out of 10 adults and teens report owning a Bible, a proportion that has held steady over six years.” The problem comes in that according to the same research only about 35% of those responding read the Bible once a week or more, and over 40% read it less than once a year if at all (not counting reading in church). Because the Bible isn’t read routinely by many in our society, we’ve lost that knowledge of it that was once considered a given. Continue reading
photo: A.Kumm-Hanson, Iceland 2016
From Amy Kumm-Hanson; I thought her words spoke a great deal about the difference between the nature of Chaplaincy and its place in ministry.
Chaplaincy is not a cerebral ministry of long hours spent in a pastor’s study in preparation for preaching. It is holding hands through bed rails and wearing isolation gowns and being willing to literally stand in suffering with God’s beloveds. It is not about translating Hebrew or Greek from ancient texts, but about translating scripture into something now that matters to the mother who is delivering her stillborn child or the son losing his father to cancer.
The theology of the cross is particularly apparent to me in my hospital work. This theology holds that God’s love for all of creation is most clearly seen in the act of dying on the cross. That God did the most human thing of all, which is to die. The theological conviction that shapes my ministry as a chaplain is that God knows what it is to suffer and to die, and there is no place that God is unwilling to go, even death. This is good news for all of us who feel immersed in suffering, our own or that of others.
Read her whole post here.