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.
As a new church pastor, I get to have lots of fun doing Bible study with people who haven't done it all their lives. We're doing a study of Paul's letter to the Romans this fall, and several participants are new to the process. I'm always amused when people feel the need to apologize when they begin a new thing like that. I've tried to assure them that an apology is not at all required. Most of my experience with Bible study in established congregations has amounted to people swapping the same understandings they've always had and expect everyone else to have too. While we are fortunate to have some folks in our new congregation here with solid and mature understandings of Scripture, we are also fortunate to have folks without those gifts who want to know more about what the Bible says and how it says it. Our study is enriched by both groups. It's fun to see people who had decided they couldn't understand Scripture make meaningful contributions that help all of us understand more about what God has to say to us and how Scripture helps say it. It's especially fun when people new to the process have no reservations about asking questions or for clarification. We may not always (or ever) agree as a group, but we surely do learn from one another!