Thursday, April 29, 2010

Women In Ministry Survey

My son Luke took an informal survey using a google survey instrument. Take a look for yourself and draw your own conclusions. Seems to me that women in ministry is not as big of a deal to this generation as it was to mine.


Summary See complete responses Your Gender

Status at NPTS

Male Female

Student Faculty

53 46% 63 54%

102 88% 14 12%

13 11% 103 89%

01. Does Gender affect one's call to ministry according to scripture?

Yes No

02. Are there aspects or areas in ministry where women do better than men or men better than women because of their gender?

Yes 56 48% No 60 52%

http://spreadsheets.google.com/gform?key=0AhDfnUU7iQNqdG5lbE5vQUMzU051bGNlc3hxeXhQRlE&hl=en&pli=1&gridId=0#chart Page 1 of 4Edit form - [ Covenant History: Women In Ministry Survey ] - Google Docs 4/29/10 3:59 PM

02B. If Yes, what are these aspects or areas?

Did not say yes to above question Other

03. Has your gender affected your call process?

58 50% 58 50%

Yes No No, because I am not in the call process 63

30 23

04. Have you experienced sexism in ministry BEFORE coming to NPTS?

Yes, all the time Yes, often Yes, but very little Not at all

Not Sure

05. Have you experienced sexism in ministry SINCE coming to NPTS?

2 2% 39 34% 45 39% 10 9% 20 17%

0 0% 22 19% 56 48% 21 18% 17 15%

Yes, all the time Yes, often Yes, but very little Not at all

Not Sure

06. Has this affected your personal call to ministry?

26% 20% 54%

http://spreadsheets.google.com/gform?key=0AhDfnUU7iQNqdG5lbE5vQUMzU051bGNlc3hxeXhQRlE&hl=en&pli=1&gridId=0#chart Page 2 of 4

Edit form - [ Covenant History: Women In Ministry Survey ] - Google Docs 4/29/10 3:59 PM

07. Do you feel this issue will ever be resolved?

08. Is NPTS addressing this issue?

It is already Yes, and very soon Yes, but not for a quite a long time No, because this issue will always divide the church Other

4 3%

6 5% 50 43% 19 16% 37 32%

09. Is the Evangelical Covenant Church, at the Denominational Level, addressing this issue?

Yes, and doing so well Yes, but could do much more No, and not nearly enough Not at all Other

10. Do you think the 1976 resolution to ordain women was a good decision for the Covenant Church?

Yes 24 No 76 Not Sure 16

21% 66% 14%

Yes, and doing so well Yes, but could do much more No, and not nearly enough Not at all Other

42 36% 48 41% 4 3% 0 0% 22 19%

19 16% 66 57% 7 6% 0 0% 24 21%

Yes 105 91% No 11% Not Sure 10 9%

http://spreadsheets.google.com/gform?key=0AhDfnUU7iQNqdG5lbE5vQUMzU051bGNlc3hxeXhQRlE&hl=en&pli=1&gridId=0#chart Page 3 of 4

Edit form - [ Covenant History: Women In Ministry Survey ] - Google Docs 4/29/10 3:59 PM

11. How do questions regarding women and ministry relate to the broader feminist movement?

12. The most important issue the Covenant is facing today is...

13. My position of Women in Ministry is

Number of daily responses

Women in Ministry Other

12 10% 104 90%

They are unrelated They might be related The broader feminist movement helped contribute to the ordination of women These movements are contradictory Other

6 5% 31 27% 58 50%

3 3% 18 16%

Women should be affirmed to all levels of ministry, without exception Women should be affirmed to all levels of ministry EXCEPT FOR head/lead/senior pastor Women should be affirmed to levels of leadership only over other women Women should be in no leadership positions in ministry

111 96% 5 4% 0 0% 0 0%

http://spreadsheets.google.com/gform?key=0AhDfnUU7iQNqdG5lbE5vQUMzU051bGNlc3hxeXhQRlE&hl=en&pli=1&gridId=0#chart Page 4 of 4

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Didn't Know That's Where it Started!

Dad's Candles

A love of candles was something my dad passed on to me, and probably to my sister and brother as well. A candle was always lit in his study and near his reading chair at home. He scrounged candle stubs from church, filling box after box over the years. These are nice, beeswax candles that burn well. When they moved from their condo into the Covenant Retirement Community, I think he broke the rules by lighting candles. But he did give away boxes (yes plural) of candles to me. That was ten years ago. I moved my last box of candles with me to Santa Barbara in 2005, and it still has a number of candles left. Today I lit a new candle in my office and thought of Dad.

The lone flame is quieting and calming. I don't have it lit while having conversations or meetings. It's just for me while reading, praying and writing. I think of it as a reminder of the Holy Spirit's presence with me. So I'm sure when this box runs out, and all of Dad's candles are gone, I'll start scrounging up my own stash of candle-stubs. Kids, watch out for what you might inherit from your dad!

Monday, April 26, 2010

Covenant Cross-overs

It used to happen frequently in Minneapolis, where there are 20+ Covenant churches. A new face would show up on a Sunday, compliment me for our music and then they would return again and again. When I would ask if they were new in town, the answer would go something like this "No, we've been in the community for a long time and are members at _______ Covenant Church, but we are just taking a break from the church right now." And, if pressed, they would tell me that they were having difficulties with the music, the youth program, the pastor, a leadership initiative, or something else.
The ethical question I have is this; should a receiving pastor be sure to talk with the sending pastor about the status change of these people? Clearly a couple-Sunday visit is not the cause for that kind of conversation, but multiple month presence surely is. Should there be more transparency in the churn of members between churches? Does pastoral silence fuel the perpetuation of disgruntled churchmanship and shallow discipleship? How do we move beyond being providers of service to shepherds of the flock? Maybe this would be a good Midwinter Conference conversation.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Holy Spirit Leading: the No's

Acts 16:6-15 is a great text illustrating how the Holy Spirit guiding Paul, Silas and Timothy through Asia Minor into Macedonia...with a lot of no's. Paul's original plan was to extend church planting in Asia Minor, but he was blocked till he arrived at Troas where he heard the call in the vision: Come and Help Us!
There are often a lot more no's than yes's. Most of us have experienced more failures than successes, more losses than wins, more defeats than victories. But isn't that God's way? I'm a lot more teachable during and after losses than in the midst of wins and victories. It seems that hubris is so close at hand when I win, and mercy and grace are closer when I lose.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Gary Walters

I'm in my motel room, caffeinated, fed, showered and dressed for a day of meetings at Mission Springs Bible Camp here in Santa Cruz, California. The Ministerium met yesterday and it was pretty powerful. I have been absent for too many years. I heard testimonies of God's call on the lives of men and women to be ordained and listened to a profound lecture on the in's and out's of pastoral confidentiality.
Last night we gathered in the chapel at Mission Springs for a season (long time) of loud singing led by a very good band. My legs got tired after about 4 songs in a row. I do wonder why we sing so many songs for such a long time? By the time we were done with the song set, I forgot what we sang at the beginning since there was no printed program. It is a different way of worshiping I think; getting the heart stirred by a phrase or two but not language depth. Anyway, I'm trying to learn. Lisa was with me and helps me appreciate that which is newer and unknown.
But the capstone of the evening was Gary Walters, President of the ECC. I wrote some notes on my iPhone to capture the essence of what he said:
"To be missional is to follow the heart of God into the world."

God wants us to say the three things to the world that he says:
1. "I know you"
2. "I love you"
3. "You were meant for this"

Gary challenged us with three questions from the three statements above:
1. In following God into the world, how are you using the three statements above?
2. In following God into the world, will you go beyond where you are comfortable to places where you are uncomfortable?
3. Will you go beyond speaking about the love of God into living it?

Gary's vision for the ECC is:
More disciples among more populations in a more just and caring world.

What impressed me is the echo in my heart as he spoke. At MCC, this is what is happening in so many ways and places, principally through the initiatives of Jon Lemmond and the Pastor for Gospel Action and Lisa Holmlund in her leadership of mission trips focussing on Compassion, Mercy and Justice. MCC is trying to follow God into the world in which we live. We are not doing it perfectly yet, but making exciting inroads, partnering with those engaged in ministries and discovering new and emerging ministries and missions here and globally.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Staff retreat

Six hours together around a table! The staff gathered together today at a church member's home for an all-day time under the leadership of Alan Forsman. The focus was on what do we need to do and be to sustain health in the church? Great ideas, free sharing, lots of laughter...now a full head of ideas!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Disruptive Theology

The coffee is on, the candle is lit, I'm ready to read, pray and be quiet in my morning routine. The door opens and my secretary asks if I know about the water pouring down the street from the church property. We walk around the campus and find a newly-born lake between the children's wing and the gym. The water valve must be turned off, but it's located in the middle of a bubbling pool of water and mud. My secretary leans in to try to reach it, but I can't let her do that, so I maneuver into the shrubbery on top of roots to reach the shut-off handle and get it. Then it started to rain! Now the leaking water is off, the plumbers have been called and I'm back in my chair. Waiting.

Monday, April 19, 2010

3-beach day

Today I went to the beach 3 times; once in the morning to talk and pray with a friend, in the afternoon to walk and swim (didn't swim cause the wind was too cold), and then tonight after dinner with Martha walking our route from Starbucks to the beach and then through the lower village.
It was a day in which I thought a lot about my dad and how much I miss him. I talked with my mom in Minnesota and we recalled funny swimming stories about Dad (how much he disliked swimming at life-guarded beaches). I miss the calls we used to make to each other just to talk about church and his fatherly interest in me. I would not wish him back with what Parkinson's did to his body. I'm just missing him.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

This is fun

Saturday, April 17, 2010


We are celebrating Pentecost early this year. In the preaching/worship series on the Holy Spirit, we have gone from Resurrection, to chapter 1 of Acts (waiting and praying) and now into chapter 2 of the filling of the Holy Spirit.
What a fun word: fill. It is so ubiquitous. We use fill for all sorts of things and concepts every day; from gas tanks to application forms. We use fill as an active verb; something we do. We use fill passively; as when something happens to us and we get filled with anger, fear, sadness. We are experts in filling. So what does it mean when God fills us? Where are we active participants and where are we passive recipients? How do you cooperate with God's filling of you with his Spirit?

Friday, April 16, 2010

Expedia Warning

She is a church member and friend. Her daughter needed to fly back to England on Saturday. Now the Icelandic volcano is grounding 17,000 flights. But she had her bases covered because she purchased her tickets through Expedia and purchased flight insurance for a time just like this. She told me that when she called the Expedia flight insurance office, she was kept on hold, stalled and finally debated with about whether her daughter's flight was cancelled, saying they thought it was just delayed and they would not pay.
So why get insurance?

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Great April Fools!

Pure Theology

I'm about to begin studying today for Sunday's sermon on Acts 2, but could not help reflect on last night's Confirmation class. The topic was the Creeds of the Church: Apostles' and Nicene. 7 students divided into three groups for each of the articles. I asked them to determine what they could find out about each person of the Trinity from their article. You can see the energy they used as they posted their findings on the white-board!

Then, at the end of the class, one girl raised her hand and said ponderingly; "So, does this mean God created Satan?"

Wednesday, April 14, 2010


An electric high performance roadster for $130,000!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010


In a book I'm reading Incarnate Leadership by Bill Robinson, he references the Nordstrom Company employee handbook as an illustration of an organization driven by values versus rules:Welcome to Nordstrom

We're glad to have you with our Company. Our number one goal is to provide outstanding customer service. Set both your personal and professional goals high. We have great confidence in your ability to achieve them.

Nordstrom Rules: Rule #1: Use good judgment in all situations. There will be no additional rules.

Please feel free to ask your department manager, store manager, or division general manager any question at any time.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

New Signs in New York

ABC news tonight featured a flurry of new signs popping up all over the country by a group of anonymous artists called Trustocorp. I could not help but laugh at this one....it's not Gospel!

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Efrem Smith interview

Untitled from rooted wings on Vimeo.

Jim Hawkinson posted this very informative and revealing interview with Efrem Smith, the proposed candidate for the Superintendency of the Pacific Southwest Conference. Take the 36minutes that this video is to listen to the heart of this pastor.

Do Not Depart but Wait Together

Departing is so easy...and so attractive. After a stressful time or particularly draining period of life, my impulse is to pull away, step back, get distance and re-group. While some of this is clearly healthy and wise (sabbath rest-keeping) another part is not so healthy. It cuts people off and breaks relationships. It builds walls and closes communication. We call that the "back door" of the church.
Over years of ministry in four congregations I have observed this centripetal and centrifugal force, one force that pulls us together inward and an opposing forces that spins us outward and alone. Nothing fuels that more than stress, conflict, loss and pain. And there is no place where that is more evident in scripture than Acts 1, when Jesus announced that he was leaving and a new chapter of their life as disciples was beginning without his physical presence.
I'm guessing that a number of his followers were saying in their heads "OK, that's it...I'm out of here!" And that's why Jesus commanded them to not leave Jerusalem, but to wait for the promise of the Father.
The altar-piece shows the eleven plus another (Matthias) gathered, waiting, together, intertwined. Where are you waiting together?

Tuesday, April 06, 2010

The "spirit" of Spirit Airline

This belongs to the category of "are you kidding" see link...

What's with the rage?

Christianity Today just printed a great article about the rage and anger prevalent in the Tea Party community, many of whom are active Christians. I can't hear the issues through the harsh and angry voices.

Saturday, April 03, 2010

Christ is Risen!!

Giving Church Another Chance

I have had to learn to swim differently in California. I swam competitively in high school and college in clear pools with defined lanes and lines. We swam in straight lines with smooth strokes and faces underwater. That does not work in the ocean with waves and kelp beds and currents. A good friend who is a distance, ocean swimmer taught me how to swim again, with my head up and a different kind of stroke. I had to re-learn swimming.
Todd Hunter had to re-practice the Christian faith. In his 2010 book "Giving the Church Another Chance; finding new meaning in spiritual practices" he narrates an insider's journey through various churches, denominations and leadership roles. He began as a Methodist, then Calvary Chapel, then Vineyard, then a desert period of re-evaluation. This is not a mud-slinging book at the mistakes in his prior churches, but a grateful tribute to leaders and mentors, and a confession of his own spiritual shallowness. He stepped out of the organized church for a period of time, only to be drawn back into the Anglican Mission in America.
What I so appreciated about Hunter is his invitation to look at what is already in practice in most churches, and re-practice them with new eyes and new hearts. His 10 chapters would be a great tool for a discipleship group.
Thanks Todd...Christ is risen!

Thursday, April 01, 2010

Good Friday

There is no way to Easter except through the darkness of Friday.

Liturgy vs Lei-tourgeia

In Todd Hunter's new book "Giving Church Another Chance; finding new meaning in spiritual practices" he explores the "familiar" components of worship in fresh ways with fresh eyes. In chapter 6 titled "Following Liturgy" he explores the meaning of the word "liturgy" as the "people's work" versus the structure of the Sunday morning event. He writes the the proper understanding of liturgy makes "Christian worship and service inseparable."
I read this chapter on Maundy Thursday morning, getting ready for the service tonight, Good Friday and Easter. This is a high-performance weekend for most of us pastors. We need to "get it right" and make a good impression on first-time visitors who are checking out the church after some long absences.
Tonight we will be having a service of foot-washing, a meal together around tables followed by communion where we will serve each other.
But today is also the day where Jon Lemmond and some members of MCC are joining a local ministry called WillBridge washing the feet of the homeless, not symbolically, but therapeutically with a podiatrist on hand. After a long footwash, they are fitted with new shoes, given a meal and offered social services in the courtyard of the hall. The line stretched almost a block long. This was the marriage of worship + service = liturgy.

On These Rancorous Times

Alan Roxburgh write prophetically and pastorally to these turbulent times and holy week in his blog. I was particularly challenged when he wrote:
"It’s hard to believe we are in Holy Week, walking with the One who chose not to fight in all the usual ways but to embrace and give his life for a radically different imagination. The anger and blame among Christians of differing views seems to make a lie of the Cross."

Pope and Sex Abuse

I read with sadness the daily articles about the growing scandal of sex abuse within the Roman Catholic Church around the world. On the one hand I am not surprised at the human condition. We are frail and vulnerable creatures and whatever our clothing, nationality, or religion, we are tempted and sometimes yield to temptations.
But the two worlds collide when it comes to accountability and transparency. As I read the articles, I wonder "Don't they get it? Doesn't Pope Benedict get the fact that he is losing world-wide credibility here?" And then I wonder "Do I get it? Do I get how deep is the system within the church that shields the Pope from that very accountability I take for granted?" He is the "head of state" of a different kind of political entity not unlike a king or queen. I'm not sure either of us "gets it."

eXTReMe Tracker