Friday, November 30, 2007

Dreaming of a Church, Part Two

Okay, time to start dreaming again.

In a previous post, I talked about what kind of church I am interested in. I wanted to do some more thinking about this, so here it goes.

  • It would be a place where church is not a place, but a people on the move. I know this sounds incredibly cliche, but I want to do things like have theological chats in coffee shops. But I want to go farther than that. I know some emerging churches do things like "theology pubs" which are cool, and I want to do one: in a gay bar.

    Before you consider me daft, remember this: I am gay and I have met a lot of people in the bars. Community of Grace was Open and Affirming and few went to our services. I learned the hard way that many people have been hurt by church, so asking them to come to church ain't gonna work. So, why not bring it to them? I've been thinking about asking one of local bars to allow me to host something where people can talk and chat about Jesus, God or whatever else.

    Would people wonder what this crazy pastor is doing? Yes, but they think that way already. Next.
More to come...

Belay That Post

You know, I could say that my last post was written by my evil twin, Dwight. The thing is, I'm an only child so I don't think could make that stick.

I don't think racism has anything to do with my predicament. It took 24 hours and the haze of depression to tell me otherwise.

That said, that doesn't mean I'm feeling better about my predicament. I just know that the reason behind it was wrong.

I'm not going to go into my thoughts here at this point. Actually, I think it might be time to seek some wiser counsel. Just keep me in your prayers.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Race, Mainline and Emergent, Part One

Growing up as a young black man in the seventies and eighties, my parents always reminded me that it was a rough world out there for African Americans. My especially, grew up in the Jim Crow South, so he knew racism upfront in the form of segregated schools, restaurants and hotels. My mom, who grew up in Puerto Rico, didn't face as much racism back home, but did get noticed for her accent once she hit the mainland.

As a kid growing up in the aftermath of the civil rights movement, I didn't always take heed to my parents warnings. Outright segregation had been outlawed and blacks and whites were getting along for the most part. Racism was something of the past, or so I thought.

These days, I am not so sure. Oh, I still believe that outright racism is dead and buried, but the ghosts still linger on, and I think I've found a place where those ghosts reside:

The church.

I don't make this assumption lightly, but I've wondered at times that as I move about in a largely white denomination, if race gets in the way of my advancing. I have seen some of my colleagues find positions with little ease, while at times I feel that I have to jump several hoops to even be considered. For example, I've known a few people who have found interim positions without having interim training, and yet when I ask about positions, I am told more often than not that I need training. Now, in most cases my colleagues are in different denominations, but the fact is, they tend to have an easier entry into pastoral positions than I do.

A few weeks ago, I was having a conversation with a Lutheran pastor friend of mine. She was surprised that I haven't been "snapped up" because I am African American and because I preach well. I couldn't answer why that hasn't been the case. I know that I am not perfect and have things to work on, but I also know that I have skills and have been ignored when opportunities come calling.

I then start to think about the wider church. Look around, especially in mainline bodies and you will find that persons of color seldom pastor churches that are majority white. It just doesn't happen that much.

I don't think that there is some conspiracy against me. I don't think there are people sitting in some denominational office saying "We've got to keep this black man away from our white Christians." What I think is happening is more unintentional and based on assumptions more than anything else. I think a lot of people from those sitting in the pews to those in middle judicatories think they know black people and think they know their congregation. I tend to think some people see a black guy like me and think I will want to be among my own kind in some inner city church, instead of out in the burbs. They also think that congregations are not so welcoming to people like me, so they steer me away from such churches. They assume the parishioners will be racist and make my life a living hell. I also think some people in those churches are afraid that they will say something that will be construed as racist and that I will get mad...yada, yada, yada.

The thing is, I just want to be a pastor. I like urban churches, but I would settle for a suburban church. I just want to frickn' preach the gospel. I just want to do ministry with people. I wish people would stop looking at my skin and just see Dennis frickin' Sanders.

I think one the problems with living in Minnesota is that white people are really scared of dealing with race. They think they are so "progressive" that they don't want to admit they might have some issues to work on. At least in the South people are honest. The thing is, I don't really care about all the hangups. I mean, none of us are perfect and yes, even black people have racial and ethnic issues to deal with. Maybe we should just deal with them as the broken people that we are and stop trying being so perfect.

I don't know if the people who have to deal with calling a pastor can ever get over themselves. And I don't know how long I can wait. I would love to do ministry here in Minnesota, but if I keep hitting the same locked doors, then maybe it's time to "shake the dust off my feet" and move on to greener pastures.

I majored in journalism when I was in college. One day a friend of mine said there were jobs available as copy editors at the college newspaper. I was excitied and went to the newspaper where the editor told me there were no openings. My friend was amazed since she had heard her boss say they needed more people.

It's been nearly twenty years since that happened and I can still remember it. I hope that this isn't history repeating itself.

All I want to be is be a pastor. That's all.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

It's All About Relationships or Jesus and Java

Sometimes the best teachers are not the ones that have PhDs.

For the last few years, I have been blessed to know Tammy. She is the Associate at Lake Harriet Christian and is truly a woman that is deeply connected to God. She is a licensed minister in the Disciples, which means that sometimes she gets looked down on because she wasn't seminary trained like most of us. She might have not been trained at a seminary, but she has learned from life, which sadly is sometimes more than what some of us ordained folks have.

We tend to spend a lot of time talking about things, especially church. One thing that has stayed with me is her belief that church is all about relationships, or at least it should be. A friend and pillar in the church remarked a few months back that when her father died a few years ago, the pastor she called was not the Senior Minister, but Tammy-because Tammy was in relationship with her.

I have to admit, when I was with Community of Grace, I wasn't really interested in relationships. I was trained to do good sermons, to learn how to do exegesis, to do good pastoral care, and all the rest, but I wasn't taught how to be a good friend to people. The result is that more often than not I was interested in bringing people to church than I was in simply being Christ to them.

As I look at the Disciple churches here in Minnesota, I worry that we tend to be more concerned about getting members than we are about being like Jesus. Jesus seemed to create followers not by offering some cool program, but by simply reaching out to people. He seemed to connect with people and care for them.

I'm beginning to wonder if some of the best ways to be church is to have a conversation with a friend over coffee than it is about trying to get them to come to church. (Which is good, since I love coffee.)

What I like about the whole emergent conversation is that in many ways, it is trying to bring back the sense of incarnation, the Word made flesh. I remember thinking how wonderful it was that God became flesh, became one of us. And the thing is, God continues to enflesh God's self in God's creation all the time. The Holy can come while sipping a latte with a friend or stranger.

Something to think about...

Tuesday Prayer

Another Tuesday prayer from Erik. Again, if you are interested in using these prayers, please email him.

Tuesday prayer based on texts for the First Sunday of Advent:

Isaiah 2:1-5
Psalm 122 (1)
Romans 13:11-14
Matthew 24:36-44

Start us on a journey to wholeness, Lord;
root us in your Word;
nourish us with living water.

We doze in the ways we've always done things--
Rouse us, Lord, in preparation for your arrival.
Help us to dress light-ly, to work for just peace,
to live in ways that honor you, your creation, and our neighbors.

We need you, and we are waiting.

© 2007 Erik Doughty. Permission to reproduce this work is granted only when the author is credited.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Married Black Male seeks Community...

Hi, my name is Dennis Sanders and I'm a Disciples of Christ pastor living in Minnesota. I am also seeking standing in the UCC.

I've been kind of in limbo doing some supply preaching as I figure out where God might be leading me next. One place I feel led is church planting, but more than simply planting a church and seeing if people come. I'm looking at really bringing community in some shape or form (that seems to be what the church is all about according to Acts 2). I'm looking at gathering folks to come together for prayer, worship and mission and to do as our General Minister and President Sharon Watkins has said, bring the church to the world and not the world to the church.

I'm really interested in doing things like fostering relationships with people and sharing my faith in ways that aren't basically a way of recruitment, having time for prayer gatherings with others in the community, offering contemplative worship and space for silence and mission into the wider world through our offerings and ourselves.

I guess I'm trying to see if there are any other fellow travelers in the DOC and UCC who would be interested in journeying together and being a church plant. I have to believe there are people in the Cities who hunger for want to make churches a true community and not a club.

If you live the Twin Cities (or know someone who lives in the Twin Cities) and are interested, please let me know.

Prayerfully waiting...

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Happy Thanksgiving

Last night, I helped a dear friend of mine by being an fill-in ringer in his bell choir at a Methodist Church in town. We played "Come Ye Thankful People Come." I wanted to leave you with that hymn on this Thanksgiving. Thanks be to God!

Come, ye thankful people, come,
Raise the song of harvest home;
All is safely gathered in,
Ere the winter storms begin.
God our Maker doth provide
For our wants to be supplied;
Come to God's own temple, come,
Raise the song of harvest home.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Get to Planning

"A dream is a goal without a plan."

Someone on a social networking site I frequent said that today regarding something not related to church. It made me think about my own goals of being a minister in a church and especially my interest in planting a new church...again. I've been talking about dreams recently on this blog, but I think I need to stop dreaming and start doing.

When I started Community of Grace, I did it without any planning. I just asked people if they were interested to do this thing I was interested in and it started. That's classic ADHD me, but that's really not the way I should have done things. I should have taken time to meet with people who have started churches, talked extensively with the Regional staff and local churches and find a group of people who would commit to being a part of this community for a period of time. But before all of that, I needed to spell out what kind of church God was calling me to plant.

Dreams are nice, but they are just that...dreams. They don't really have a plan to them. Visions are more thought out...and tend to be more God centered than human centered dreams.

So, I will be chatting sometime in the future with the pastors at Mercy Seat in Minneapolis and maybe chatting with some members of the Twin Cities Emergent Cohort. Gather the information and develop a plan. The sticky is chatting with the local congregations who are are in a state of change (several of them are without or soon going to be without pastors) and might not be receptive to some upstart church that they fear would take away members. But maybe talking to them will help, and I truly believe it takes a village to plant a church.

To heck with dreaming...I'm going to vision!

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Tuesday Prayer

My best friend Erik is a confirmed liturgy geek. We met in seminary and he was my first love. He is trying to be patient as the ELCA tries work on the whole "practicing gay clergy" issue so that he can finish his seminary training and be a pastor. In the meantime, this good Lutheran is writing weekly prayers. I asked him if I could share these prayers and he said "yes" provided people ask permission first. You can do that by emailing him.

Here is his prayer for Christ the King Sunday.
Tuesday prayer based on texts for Christ the King Sunday:

Jeremiah 23:1-6
Psalm 46 (Ps. 46:10)
Colossians 1:11-20
Luke 23:33-43

The cross became your throne, Christ Jesus;
in those moments your life became our life
and the power of death died with you.
We live, though, now and not-yet;
your people, yet still pulled by powers and vices;
old habits, bitter grudges, illness and grief.
We strike out on our own
and find ourselves overwhelmed, discouraged.

Hold us together, Lord, when we are scattered.
Drive away our fear, even as the earth changes before us.
Make our wars, of bullets and ideas, end.
Silence the chatter pervading our lives
if it distracts us from you.
Direct us; remind us; entice us again to love you,
to love one another,
to listen for the Holy Spirit's guidance,
to care for the earth, and
to serve our neighbors.

© 2007 Erik Doughty. Permission to reproduce this work is granted only when the author is credited.

Dreaming of A Church

So, I've been thinking about what kind of church I want to be a part of and do ministry with. I am leaning towards a church plant since that's what in my heart, but I am open towards an existing church. One of the big problems with Community of Grace is that I didn't do any thinking of what I wanted from a church. This time, I want to really think about this.

So here are some of my thoughts and dreams.

  • A Church that is truly made up of friends. A church that is community. Acts 2:42-47 says:
    42They devoted themselves to the apostles' teaching and to the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer. 43Everyone was filled with awe, and many wonders and miraculous signs were done by the apostles. 44All the believers were together and had everything in common. 45Selling their possessions and goods, they gave to anyone as he had need. 46Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, 47praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved.

    Church is not a place where we go once a week; it is truly a gathered community who share life together. When I was still with Community of Grace, we didn't do that as much. I had a sense of wanting to pray together more. I would want a place where we gather some time other than Sunday for prayer and/or mission. Lake Harriet Christian Church models this to some extent. The Associate Minister has a prayer ministry that meets every Wednesday for prayer and song. She has helped foster community through this simple act on a weekly basis.

    In the future, when I meet people, I don't want to invite them to church, meaning come once a week to see someone in a "dress." I want to be in relationship with them and help them see Jesus and be Jesus to them.

    I've begun reading the Emergent Manifesto of Hope. Tony Jones starts it off by talking about how the early leaders of the Emerging Church were at basis friends and how that is a model for the church. That's what I want for this church-not to be a country club, but a true fellowship of people.
  • A place where the pastor does mission with the congregation not for them. Recently, I interviewed for a pastoral position at a small congregation. I was very interested in the congregation. More than once, they said they wanted someone that could grow the church. I said that I wanted to be somewhere where I could do minsitry with the congregation. I ended up not getting the position. I don't know why, but I do wonder if how I viewed mission was different from what the search committee wanted. I believe pastors should be involved in mission and evangelism. If they are doing that, they aren't doint their job. But the problem is the pastor becomes the paid evangelist or community organizer that does all the work for the congregation. That's not what we read in the book of Acts or how Jesus schooled his disciples. The problem is that when you get the pastor doing all the heavy lifting, then the pastor gets worn out and bitter at the congregation and the congregation gets mad that the pastor hasn't brought more people to the church. I think that pastors these days need to be more teachers than CEOs who train the congregation to be leaders and provide them with resources. If someone expects to come to a this church and have the pastor do everything, then they have come to the wrong church. I will say it again, church is about community, it isn't a performance.
  • Worship would be vital to the congregation (and sometimes the pastor will preach). The church would be a place where worship is a vital part of the life of the church, but not central. In most churches, all of the energy focuses on one time, the Sunday worship service. Everything else is ancillary. I think in this age, we have to see the church as a web, where worship is one point in the life-not the only one or the main one. Some people will only come to a small group or mission project. Some will only come to a Bible Study that meets in a bar or coffeehouse. We need to respect how people come to meet Christ and not try to shoehorn them into one method.

    That said, worship is an important aspect in the life the church since it is where we come together to give thanks to God. I want to worship that allows God to speak in many ways; through the preaching of the Word, the breaking of the Bread and the singing of the songs. I want to see more music, more times for contemplative worship and so on. Worship can't been the soley way the church expresses itself, but it still needs to do it well. To see how this is done well see Church of the Apostles.

There is more that I want to share, but that's all for now. More later...

Monday, November 19, 2007

Shame and Trust

A friend contacted me on Facebook recently. She and I went to China together back in 1999 when we were both in seminary. She is in her second pastorate in Colorado and seems to be doing well.

I haven't contacted her yet.

I know I should, but something keeps me from wanting to type a few words from my laptop to her. The sad thing, is that I know what that is that is keep me from doing this:


I have a sense of shame about where I am in regards to my calling as a pastor. I mean, I guess I could say, "Oh I haven't been up to much, just had a bad experience as a youth pastor, started a church that went down in flames and now I'm basically just doing supply preaching. How are you?"

A lot of shame comes from expectations or should I say not meeting expectations. I expected to be a hot commodity. Being a black kid in a white denomination that wants to appear diverse, I was kind of expecting to be snapped up. That didn't happen. One day I will go into the whole sorted story, but suffice to say, a lot of the past few years has been me trying to find someway to live out my call.

When things don't turn out as expected, you start to wonder if something is your fault. You start to see yourself as defective and maybe not up to snuff in being a pastor.

But the thing is, while it has been rough and dissapointing, I also have learned things along the way. My disasterous experience as a youth minister (there were actually two experiences) taught me that youth ministry was not my strength, and that you need to work with pastors that play well with others. My failed church start honed my skills in planning worship, preaching and developing a heightened sense of mission.

The thing is, maybe if I had a normal path as a pastor, I would have not developed the skills I have acquired in this odd journey.

My pastor friend Mary noted that you have to have confidence in what you do, because any potential church can smell desparation a mile away. I think she's right. That's the one thing that I need to work on more, my own confidence. That's not easy, but I think I am learning and getting better.

The shame is still there. But maybe I can work to see that God is with me and has called me. And God has given me the gifts to do what I am called to do. Maybe in time the shame will lessen.

I do need to write my pastor friend soon...

Sunday, November 18, 2007

More on the Disciples and the Emerging Church

Well, it seems like someone in my denomination is paying attention to this Emerging Church business. Disciplesworld, ran a story on the Emerging Church and focused on the story of Missiongathering, a DOC church start in San Diego. Still snooping....

Sunday (Half) Sermon- November 18, 2007

Today was the 90th anniversary celebration of Lake Harriet Christian Church, a church that I have attended. I teamed preached this morning with Tammy, the Associate Pastor. Here is my half of the sermon.


James 2:14-26

November 18, 2007

Lake Harriet Christian Church

Minneapolis, MN

When Tammy told me that this was the passage we would focus on this Sunday, I was both looking forward to it, and dreading it. This is kind of the whole thing I have with the book of James: I love it because the writer puts such concern on care for the poor, but un-nerved by its seeming emphasis on works over faith. I truly believe that we are loved by God and there is nothing we can do about that. I am not alone in feeling some ambivalence about James. Martin Luther who talked so much about “faith alone,” said of this book, “I almost feel like throwing Jimmy into the stove.”

So what is this all about? Are we supposed to go to soup kitchens in order to get God's love?

Short answer is no. We are loved by God regardless if we are the most perfect person in all the world or the biggest loser. But we do go to show our love for God, and also to show that are faith is still alive.

In doing some research on this text, I found out that most common mistakes someone does is to try to compare the Apostle Paul's condemnation of works to what James is talking about. However, Paul was talking about religious rituals that some thought had to be done to become part of the family of God. Paul didn't not believe such works were necessary to please God. Paul was talking about the front end, how someone can come into faith. James is talking more about discipleship-how one lives a life as a follower of Christ. James assumes that most of the listeners to his writing are already involved in the life of the church. So for Paul, works was something that could prevent someone from becoming a follower of Christ. For James, works was the evidence of faith in the life of a Christian. Of course, they are loved by God, but how are they responding to that love? That was what James was asking.

James is pretty blunt. Faith without works is dead. No sugar coating that. Works was not what made one a follower of Christ, but it was the proof that one was a follower.

James had no patience with those who saw people without daily food and did nothing but give poor platitudes.

So what does this have to do with this church? Well, lots. Lake Harriet is at an interesting place. Today, we are celebrating 90 years as a church. Ninety years, that is quite an accomplishment. We are also trying to discern our future as a congregation. As this congregation makes its way to the century mark, I'd like to offer some advice if I may. It's pretty short and to the point. Love God, love others, do justice. That's it. There is no doubt that this congregation loves God. I see it in those who come on Wednesday nights for prayer, and from the wonderful words I hear from the elders at the Table as share communion. I hear it in the sermons that come not from pastor-types like myself and Tammy, but from those of you like CJ and Karin and Wanda, who have shared what God is telling them to the wider community.

I also think we love others. We have prayed for people near and far. People we know and people we don't know. I have seen the congregation welcome people regardless of their sexual orientation and make them part of the family. When you get a call from 10 people who pray for you right then and there, you know you are loved.

We do justice. We have been a part of Minnesota Foodshare, bought gifts for persons with HIV/AIDS, walked on a grey day in the CROP Walk and raised money for three pigs to help feed people in other parts of the world.

So my message is this: don't stop. Do more. As a congregation, we need to look more into how we can help the poor and discarded. And again, I say don't stop. A few years ago, I wrote a newsstory about several Baptist churches in the Washington,DC area that chose to open their membership to African Americans. One pastor commented that those churches that decided to extend hospitality to all were still in existence. Those that did not were now only remembered in the historical records. The truth of the matter is, these churches died long before they closed their doors because they did not do works that help others.

Do you want to know how you can be a witness and maybe even help the congregation grow? Do justice. Show your love for God, by caring for the poor, by welcoming everyone who walks into the doors of this church as a child of God. Fail to do this and your faith is empty and dead. People want to be a part of community where faith is vital and alive; a church that is dead tells people that God is not present in this place.

On Thursday, we will all sit down and eat lots of turkey. Thanksgiving is a day we give thanks. Let me throw something to you: do works of justice is way of showing our thanks to God for God has done in our lives. As the theologian, Karl Barth once said:

Grace and gratitude belong together like heaven and earth. Grace evokes gratitude like the voice an echo. Gratitude follows grace like thunder lightning.”

If we believe what God has done through Jesus Christ has saved us, then we will want to express that in giving thanks-not simply in words , but in actions of love towards others.

Happy Anniversary, Lake Harriet. Keep doing what your doing, and do more. Do justice. Love mercy. Walk humbly with God. Thanks be to God. Amen.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Why I am Still a Disciple (Part One)

There are days that I wonder why in the world I belong to this crazy group called the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). Over the last few years, I have had a lot of temptation to leave. not because of any issue, but because the our little family seems so messed up. Maybe it's just because I am in Minnesota, the land of, as my Lutheran husband likes to state, "Lutheran, Catholic or Other," but we Disciples are in a bad state here. It's a tough climate for a church to grow in and I should know, as the pastor of a church start that failed. All of the congregations are small and losing members. They are struggling in various ways. In the recent past, we have been disconnected from each other and as a pastor in this denomination in this part of the world, you feel alone, cutoff from any help or advice from the Region or from local churches.

There are a lot of reasons that we are in this state (not the state of Minnesota), reasons that I think are bigger and more complex than I want to believe. For someone who is very missional and wants to explore new ways of being church in this time, it can be very frustrating and one feels like jumping this ship and finding one that has less holes.

But here I remain, not because I'm a sadomasicist, but because as messed up as the Disciples are, this little denomination has a hold on me. I am a Disciple.

So, I've been wondering what makes me stay? I could think of several reasons, but only one comes to mind right now:

Communion every Sunday.

Sounds odd, but that is what does it. We Disciples aren't fancy with our communion like our Lutheran friends, but it is still vital. In our tradition, it is the laity that comes forward with the bread and wine and say the words of institution and lead the prayer. I am always amazed at how these people, with no seminary education can make this time so holy.

I truly believe God reveals Godself in a very real way through the sacrements. The sermon can be the worse sermon imaginable, but the simple sharing of bread and wine, can make the service the best worship ever. Week after week, we go to the table to be reminded of God's goodness, of God coming to earth to live with us, die for us, and give us life. Reminded of God's goodness, we go and share the message in word and deed.

I have some dear friend who is a Presbyterian pastor. For a time I visited the congregation where she was a minister. Her preaching is phenomenal and strong. However, the congregation only had communion a few times during the year. She explained why this was citing Calvin. If you have communion too much, it loses meaning. While I respect her reasoning, it made no sense to me, since I had communion every Sunday and it never lost meaning to me.

Alexander Campbell, one of the founders of the Disciples wrote this concerning gathering at the Table:

“You, my brother, once an alien, are now a citizen of heaven; once a stranger, are now brought home to the family of God. You have owned my Lord as your Lord, my people as your people. Under Jesus the Messiah we are one. Mutually embraced in the Everlasting arms, I embrace you in mine: thy sorrows shall be my sorrows, and thy joys my joys. Joint debtors to the favor of God and the love of Jesus, we shall jointly suffer with him, that we may jointly reign with him. Let us, then, renew our strength, remember our King, and hold fast to our boasted hope unshaken to the end.”

The act of communion reminds us that this is not my Table, but God's the one who brings us all together; who loves us all the time. All are welcome at the Table.

So, that's why I remain a Disciple.

Thursday, November 15, 2007


I really hate waiting. Several years ago,my friend Scott noted that I tend to have a bit of a linear way of thinking: that is, I tend to think a + b =c. Thing is, life doesn't always work that way and in my life it certainly doesn't happen that way AT ALL.

But I keep expecting it to.

When I graduated from seminary a few years ago, I expected to find a church and be a pastor. That hasn't happened the way I expected. So, because I so wanted to be a pastor, I worked to create a church. It worked for a while, but in the end, I created something in name only that had no true community.

At the same time that I had this supposed drive to be a pastor in a church, I also had some fear of being a pastor. I had seen someone who modeled being a minister rather poorly and in some way, I internalized this fear of being like this person. So, I took jobs in churches that were really not suited for me, because I wanted to be in the church, but afraid of the whole pastor thing.

Right now, with Community of Grace gone the way of the dodo and no prospects of open pulpits in the near future,I am in this ambiguous time and of course, being a linear, logical person, this just drives me batty. I get restless because I am not doing anything, at least it seems. Then there is there fear that nothing will ever change, that all that I have worked for will be for naught and that God is pulling a some sick joke on me.

I've had some good conversations with two women that have helped me. One said I need to intentional in what I want: which in my view is a called position in a church. She figured out my fears about being called and that I have to be honest in what I truly want. The other woman is another pastor friend that told me that I need to believe in myself because people can smell desparation.

So, I need to face my fears and that's the hard thing. I've had a few expereinces before and just after ordination where I was viewed in a poor light. I think all the experiences took a hit to my psyche. And they still do, because I don't know if the people in the pews really like me. It's a fear that I constantly deal with. It's not all in my head- in true Minnesota nice fashion, I have people be nice to me in my face and talk about me behind my back.

But regardless of what they think, I have to believe that I can do this, and I can. I can preach and teach. I can lead worship and I know I can be pastoral when the time is right.

But I still have to wait and that can take a toll on self-esteem because as time passes, you wonder why people are ignoring you or so it seems.

I know that when I have to wait, I start looking for things to do. Recently I've been asked about helping to start another church again and I've been working with the this Lutheran pastor-cautiously. At first I thought this might be God working, but what if it is just me wanting to do something. The negative reactions of two people close to me have me wondering. Maybe I need to tell this person, no way and just sit and wait?

I don't know. I do feel excited to do something. I have this dream (or vision) of creating some kind of emergent community that had good worship along with my Lutheran pastor friend's small groups/house church. It's still in a dream stage right now. Will it happen? I dunno.

Life was supposed to be sooooo much simpler...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Disciples of Christ and the Emerging Church

For the past few weeks, I've been chatting with a Lutheran pastor that is interested in the Emerging Church. I've been interested in the movement as well. I've noticed that there are groups for Lutheran Emergents and Presbyterian Emergents. Hell, there is even something for Anabaptist Emergents. But I have googled my brains out trying to find a group for Disciples interested in this. There is at least one faith community- Missiongathering- that is Emergent, so maybe I will chat with them. The whole talk of a missional church that is living as a community is something I think is sorely needed in the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ). I will do some more investigating...