Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Lyon: contemporary to ancient

 Martha and I walked miles today in Lyon, a new city for us. We walked along the Rhone River to the Museum of Contemporary Art, which was totally devoted to the French artist Robert Combas (above). We met our old friend Ken Satterberg and new friend Adrienne Satterberg for lunch at the museum and then walked back into the old city (where we are staying) to see the Museum of Printmaking (l'imprimerie) which was a fascinating look back on Martha's medium, though it was principally devoted to the making of books and the evolving techniques of etching, font, and the mechanics. Below is an all-wood printing press that operates on the same principle as Martha's.

Now we are taking a break before walking again to meet Santa Barbara missionary, Dorothy Johnson for dinner tonight with other French friends in the art world. Is there a theme developing so far? All good!

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Welcoming or Distracting?

Does standing at the door before a Sunday worship service help prepare the pastor and congregation or distract? My practice has been to make sure the facility is set up and ready long before the first person arrives (including making the coffee!) and then going into my office to read, go over the sermon, bulletin and pray...lots of prayer. I prepare like an introvert.
Recently a worshiper suggested how welcoming it is for her to have a pastor outside the door, on the patio or front steps greeting incoming worshipers. So I tried it. One of the first persons I met was a visitor who asked me if our church participated in a national prayer day? We did not organize and event, so she proceeded to admonish my lax leadership and prayer life in a nation in need of prayer. After maybe 5 minutes of admonition, I headed back to my office to settle down.
What works for you?

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Ascension Sunday

Ascension Sunday declares that we are a good news people in a bad news world. The bad news is everywhere. The good news is that Jesus did not vanish, but return. The text I'm preaching is Ephesians 1:15-23 which is Paul's prayer for a church under pressure. What hit me about this picture is the inadvertent nimbus that frames the whole scene. As I head off for a time away, I'm looking for the nimbus!

Monday, May 14, 2012

Being Grandpa

We leave next week for France and had this slight window to drive to San Diego to see Isaac & Anna...and of course, Elise. It's been one of those ideal days with no real schedule (other than unloading a moving van Isaac's friend drove into town with last night at 1:30 a.m. with Isaac). But all day we just hung around Elise, letting her schedule be our schedule.
Normally I'm pretty time/task driven. I like to check off my list the things I got done on my last day off before France, but this, oh this, was so much better and sweeter. She is taking on a unique personality. And most of all, she likes me! That goes in the bank!

Sunday, May 06, 2012


A thought provoking article in today's New York Times explores the unintended causes and consequences of a world where we outsource almost everything to professional. The newest professional resource for us is a "wantologist." This speciality helps us explore what we really want or don't want. They help us examine if we are "floating" to what we want or "navigating." While the first response can be a laugh or a sneer, think about how many experts we regularly revert to for help: therapists, trainers, after school tutors, executive coaches (I use one), nannies, etc. We find nothing wrong in paying a professional to help us complete a task or process.
Where the article gets intriguing is in looking at why? Why do we have so many professionals helping us navigate life? Because we've lost community. We don't have the multigenerational, multi-skilled community of family and friends to speak wisdom into our lives. Instead we shop, pay and walk away.
Does outsourcing go as far as the church? Absolutely. With web access, we can find the speakers and topics we want and stream them live into our lives anytime anywhere. I think that one of the causes of the decreased response to church membership and joining is an outsourced spiritual life. I can listen to Francis Chan while walking alone on the beach. That's the up-side and the down-side (I'm alone). Community is messy. Community does not meet my schedules and goes places I'm not interested in. Community makes demands and teaches me to listen to others. Community is not about me, but outsourcing is.

Saturday, May 05, 2012

Abiding & Pruning

Who doesn't like the image of abiding? The cool shade of a vine arbor with dappled light sparkling through is appealing. Resting, nesting and being still seems like a nice alternative to the frantic living many of us get swept up into. Abiding under a blanket near a fire with a good book and a good friend. That's nice. That's appealing.
But abiding follows another verb....pruning. No thank you. I like my branches and leaves and intertwiningness. I don't like cut branches and the scars left from hacked limbs. Denuded vines look ugly and stumpy, sitting there all alone in the dirt. But according to Jesus (John 15) abiding follows pruning. And the pruning is not self-service. I can't prune myself any more than I can do surgery on myself. I'm too timid and can't see the big picture of me.
But it's the abiding following the pruning that brings life and fruit into the branches. Been pruned lately? Abiding? I hope so.

eXTReMe Tracker