Summer is in full swing in Florida. Heat. Humidity. Afternoon showers followed by even more humidity. it's summer! I have been working as Organizing Pastor for a new church start near Amelia Island, Florida. We recently made the decision that this work will not continue, so I am seeking another call and wondering what's next. In the meantime, I am doing some interim work for a congregation that has just begun to search for a new pastor.
Just finished Greg Garrett's The Other Jesus. Everyone probably ought to read it.
In fiction, couldn't put down Welcome to the Fallen Paradise by Dayne Sherman. Read it in almost one sitting. Good southern stuff.
John S. Kloppenborg's Q The Earliest Gospel. Interesting, especially the connections between Q and James.
Douglas Ottati's Theology for Liberal Presbyterians and Other Endangered Species, which I heartily recommend, even for those who will need help getting past that word in the title. I'm with him: either we believe and trust grace, or we don't!
Martin Thielen's What's the Least I Can Believe and Still Be a Christian? Turned out to be less than I had hoped it would be, but still helpful. Would be fun to do a short term discussion with a group.
Right now, I'm indulging myself (Yes, I know it's Lent.) by reading the first four years of New Stories from the South, a collection of stories I've been reading at Christmas for years. Finally got the first four years I didn't have and and treating myself.
I know you can't go home again. Most days, I don't even want to. But I did this past weekend. Our trip back to Kentucky to perform a wedding took us back to where life together began for Deanna and me. The son of our oldest friends was the groom. Those friends who used to eat brownies and watch Dallas at our house after football games on Friday nights have lived and worked in Elizabethtown since we all lived there together. They go to the same church. She works in the same enterprise. He retired from teaching and now works in his church (So you know he's crazy.). We, on the other hand, moved from there to Indiana in 1980 and from Indiana to Tennessee, back to Kentucky, to Mississippi, back to Kentucky, to Alabama, and now to Florida. Every time we go back there to visit, I wonder what our lives might have been if we had stayed there. There is a lot to be said for stability and long-term relationships. I can't say much of it, but there is a lot to be said for it. As I wandered through those beautiful rolling hills that are central Kentucky, I always wonder what life would have been if I had stayed there. But then I remember that it was God's call that took me away from there and that it is God's call that continues to sustain me where I am. Our choir is about to sing an arrangement of a favorite old song of mine: Give Me Jesus. One of the things that song says over and over is "You may have all this world; give me Jesus." I think I'm hearing something in those words I haven't heard before. Something like, "OK, if you mean that, stop looking back at what was and be thankful for what is. If you really mean to follow me, then follow where I'm going." OK. You may have all this world, even the places I sometimes wish I were. I receive much in return: an abiding presence that sustains me; a call to work that challenges me; a voice that shakes me out of looking back and reminds me that here and now are gifts, too.