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Showing posts from December, 2008

Looking Back, Looking Forward

I read the following devotional this morning. It is written for the last day of the month, a time to reflect on the recent past. I think it applies just as well looking back on an entire year, while anticipating a new year. I invite you to spend a few moments today in self-examination.

To what extent have I identified God's work in my life: in making me more compassionate toward the needs of individuals? In giving me resolve to do what I can to remedy the deep ills of society, particularly all forms of abuse and exploitation that demean God's daughters and sons? In giving me greater spiritual discernment while at prayer, particularly in the study of the Scriptures?

Have I prayed earnestly for peace, and given thanks for all who seek to bring it about? How have I worked toward it in my own community? In my own family?

To what extent have I worked to preserve and protect the physical world around me, by conserving its resources and refraining from those practices that upset …

words are necessary

kathleen's memorial service was outstanding this afternoon. so many people were there, laughing, crying, remembering, celebrating. many people shared memories and messages of hope. the service lasted two hours: scriptures were read, hymns sung (in english and spanish), lives shared. as i traveled home, this depeche mode from my high school days played on the radio:

Words like violence
Break the silence
Come crashing in
Into my little world
Painful to me
Pierce right through me
Cant you understand
Oh my little girl

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

Vows are spoken
To be broken
Feelings are intense
Words are trivial
Pleasures remain
So does the pain
Words are meaningless
And forgettable

All I ever wanted
All I ever needed
Is here in my arms
Words are very unnecessary
They can only do harm

i have no idea what the song is about-- whether this guy wants to be alone in the quiet, share the silence with another, i dunno. but the irony was t…

success in ministry

next week is prosper umc's church conference, sort of the annual business meeting of the church. reports are given, my compensation is voted on, the concluding year is discussed, looking forward to the next. part of my preparation for the conference is putting together membership reports. last year our total membership was 380-something. so then we add those who have joined: youth confirmed and adults. some were baptized; others transferred from other churches. if the adults have children baptized elsewhere they are counted in another column. we count baptisms of children, youth, and adults. these numbers, plus things like average attendance, indebtedness, sunday school, and value of property are inputed into a spreadsheet, presumably the purpose of which is to gauge the church's-- and the pastor's-- "success" for the year.

the problem with this is that numbers seldom reflect what is actually going on in the church. if they did, we would automatically kno…