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've never done much series preaching until this summer. I usually follow the lectionary and have always been amazed at how it fits the life and work of the church--a testament to those who work so hard to plan it. This summer, though, I decided to try something different. I asked folks at the new church I serve to submit questions about the church, its ministry, their faith, pretty much whatever was on their minds and promised that I'd plan summer worship around them. Almost immediately after sending out the request for questions, I wondered what I had done. What if they ask about _____? (Fill in the blank with your worst fear, and you'll be where I was several weeks ago!) What if they don't ask anything? No real problem there, I suppose. The lectionary didn't go away, I just chose not to use it this summer. This little experiment has worked out better than I had thought it might. I got enough questions to plan worship for five Sundays in July and August. Someone wanted to know about banners and art in worship. Someone else wanted to know about children and their role in the life of the church. This week, I'm having fun. Someone had heard me say several times that I don't understand why everyone doesn't want to be a Presbyterian. Makes sense to me! The questioner asked me to talk about what that means and why I think the Presbyterian version of faith ought to be attractive to others. Next week we'll talk about times when our faith changes relationships, and we'll finish the series (unless additional questions come in for August) with end time issues. It's been a fun series so far. I'm looking ahead to what the lectionary offers for late August and beyond, so I'll be back in my comfort zone before long. Hopefully, there is Gospel to proclaim in all of it. I'm sure someone will let me know.