I got a fancy camera for Christmas. Determined not to be that person who has a nice camera and never takes it out of auto, I signed up for a photography class. What it taught me is that I’m going to have to practice a lot before I can get the results I want. So I’ve taken up a photo-a-day challenge. I headed over to fatmumslim, whose daily photo challenges are really for Instagram, but I figured they’d do just as well for my purposes. Here were the prompts for this week:
In the last few weeks, I’ve had the opportunity to share a few conversations about ministry in spaces more public than the usual coffeeshop discussions and back room clergy meetings. I thought I’d share two of those here.
1. Below you’ll find a video of a program I did with the Rev. Dr. James C. Howell, senior pastor of Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina, and, incidentally, my dad. We had put together a cross-generational conversation on where the church has been and where the church is going for an event at Union Presbyterian Seminary in Charlotte back in the fall, and we reprised that conversation (or a version of it, anyway) at his church. We cover everything from worship to missions to ethics to church buildings and more. I’m eager to hear your thoughts on some of the questions we explore!
This sermon was preached at Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, NC on Sunday, January 18, 2015, the day before Martin Luther King, Jr. Day. The text was 1 Samuel 3:1-11.
The new movie Selma portrays the Reverend Doctor Martin Luther King, Jr. not just as a civil rights leader but as a man with a calling from God. Dr. King is remembered today as a political figure and an activist, but the creators of Selma remind us that he was also a pastor, a man of God.
Have few desires. — Lao Tzu
I have a confession to make.
I have a problem with buying clothes.
I could be wrong, but if I had to guess, I’d say that if you know me, you might not expect this to be an issue. Then again, maybe everyone has always known this and I’m just now catching up at age 27.
I’ve always wrestled with clothing. I was a tomboy for most of my childhood, always choosing comfort over style. I didn’t even wear jeans until I was 19 because I’d never found any that were comfortable to me.
On Saturday, I will run my first half marathon.
And then, I will never run again.
Just kidding. But no, I am not going to become a long-distance runner. I have said for years, “I run, but I’m not a runner.” I’m sticking to that even with over 170 miles logged in the last 12 weeks.
As it turns out, I hate running. OK, to clarify: I hate long-distance running. I know some people love it and find it relaxing, but I am not one of those people. My 10-miler this past Saturday was sheer torture. 1 hour, 41 minutes, and 24 seconds of torture (that put me at 10’08″/mi, and literally my only goal in this process has been to stay under 10 minutes a mile, so that made it worse). I called my boyfriend about something else right afterwards and surprised myself by bursting into tears.
This sermon was preached on Sunday, November 2, 2014, All Saints’ Sunday at Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, North Carolina. The Scripture used was Revelation 7:9-17.
The American gospel hymn turned jazz standard “When the Saints Go Marching In” was arguably one of the biggest hits of the 20th century. It’s hard for me to believe that it was written in the last 100 years, because it seems like one of those songs that has always existed. Whether you are Christian or not, whether you know jazz or not, it is extremely unlikely that you’ve never heard this song.
This sermon was preached at Centenary United Methodist Church in Winston-Salem, NC on Sunday, October 5, 2014, All Saints’ Sunday. The text was Matthew 21:33-46.
What a sweet potato actually looks like, sometimes.
No political figure or corporate executive today could hold a candle to Jesus’ ability to avoid a question. Jesus almost never gives a straight answer, either to his friends or to his enemies. Instead, he answers a question with another question, tells a rambling story, or writes in the dirt.
But time and time again throughout the Gospels, the problem is not that Jesus doesn’t give an answer. The problem is that Jesus doesn’t give the answer his questioners want to hear. He knows this will happen, and so Jesus does what Emily Dickinson said in a poem: “Tell all the truth but tell it slant.”