10Q10Q -- faith, life, rethinking church, following Jesus...stuff

Come join in the discussion of faith at the Koinonia Page where scripture and life intersect in conversation and exploration. Visit on Facebook, Twitter, and Dave's Web Page too! I'd welcome your company at Palmyra First United Methodist Church, where I hang out, too, come and see!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Wisdom of the Elders

     Relationships are life. (I'm tempted to talk about God and earlier blog entries, weaving these life giving connections into the theme of relationships, but I'll let you do that.)   Reflecting on and living in the changed reality of my Dad's death I am touched by wisdom.  Wisdom born in relationship.  Wisdom of those who have lost a father.  Wisdom from friends seasoned by pain.  Wisdom from friends ready to trust my emotional need of the moment.  Wisdom from family who are making a journey through the same territory. All elders, of sorts, if not by age, then by virtue of their wisdom.
     Dad's wisdom is glistening through the memories, conversations, prayers and support.  His is truly as a generational and spiritual elder.  It is a wisdom that has shaped me, as well as guided me.  And, as wisdom does, it surprises me with It's appearance and relevance.
     There was another elder, this week. One beyond the list above, and one I've just met.  Samuel White, grandson of a slave, pre-civil-rights-born, friend of our Rural Missions home owner.  Samuel told us stories about his history and connections, about his wisdom incubated in both pain and joy, freedom and limitation. (Shown here with homeowner Maria Haywood.)  His was wisdom rooted in a very different place and situation.  It was less familiar and enriching.
     What my father and other elders have taught me with lives and language is that relationships are life.  In relationship we love, grieve, grow, suffer, learn, lean, believe, trust and so much more.  The tasks of life are valuable and yet, always secondary to relationships.
     What my mission week has reminded me is that there is a Love that will not let me go.  I know it as my mission friends live out the love of Jesus, being real Church, in a difficult week.  I know it as I hear Samuel proudly recount his history, pain and all.   I know it as I remember the wisdom of my Dad, and so many other elders, a great cloud of witnesses, who have loved me.  Thank you all.
      Who are the elders, teachers and guides in your life?  I'd love to learn from your wisdom.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

In Memorium...Man & Mission

My Dad died yesterday morning.  It's been the predictable whirlwind of calls and questions since.  There is much to say, but right now a partial and maybe disjointed reflection.
      I will miss Dad.  He taught me faith and fun, play and serious stuff.   I have many fond memories of moments like when I didn't know what to do with the mentally challenged kid's pestering everyday on my walk home from the school bus, Dad said to tell him, "Cease and desist or you will be the perpetrator of a disastrous incident."  He was teaching me humor, compassion and language all at once.
    Here on the mission trip I have seen the true power of Church as the group has come around me and my family offering compassion, care, help with any transportation, funds,... in short showing me the love of God in practical ways.  Thank you team.  It means the world to me.   (Some from back-home church have even helped via e-methods.  Thank you too.)
     Family is the most important part of the reflection as my wife Penny has offered care and my and her  behalf to Mom and others.  Thank you sweetheart.  And family that has encouraged me to stay in mission, or do whatever I need to do.  Thank you.  Perhaps family most for sharing the foundation together of the love of Jesus in practical and enduring ways that gives us hope and joy even in the face of death.
    Dad died today.  It's hard and good.  It's challenging and easy.  It's faith and practical stuff.  It's part of life and faith.  One thing I know is that his faith in the practical and enduring love of Jesus served him well in life and is lifting him into joy even now.  So to you Dad, Thanks and I Love You.

Monday, July 23, 2012

New & Good

here's always something new and good in the day,  that's just how God does things.  Today the team talked about "New & Good."  We found relationships with homeowners, and one another. We related about new experiences.  We shared about gifts in spite of challenges.  We told stories of a variety of gifts in the day, none fully anticipated, all good, and together, an abundance of treasure.
     Monday's on the mission trip often are slow and feel less productive than most of us like, because we're getting situated with supplies and tasks.  Monday's are frequently challenging because working with our hands in the heat is not the daily occupation for the majority of our team.  Monday's are sometimes tough as we puzzle out where the lost team left off and where we need to pick up.  And with all of those realities we found an extravagance of God-given gifts.
     Reflecting on this we connected to Exodus 25 and the Exodus in general as a mission trip.  Israel was on a mission and even had some building plans along the way.  We are on a mission trip of another kind, but both trips were missions from God and connected to all of life.  Both adventures had gifts.  Both journeys have times of challenge and ease.
      What mission are you on?  What is God doing on your mission?  In other words... what's New & Good?

See more pictures at PFUMC's Facebook site

Sunday, July 22, 2012

All In

unday is a cross-cultural, deep-faith experience here in the Sea Islands territory, at Wesley UMC, Hollywood, SC.  These people bring all of life and all their energy to praising God and the sanctuary rocks holiness with music, participation and preaching.  More than that it's contagious.
     This week the congregation was celebrating their pastor's, Keith Hunter's,  three years of ministry here and his return for a fourth.  The District Superintendent preached about who's in and who's out.  And the reality of God's love, is that, through Jesus, everyone is in.
      The afternoon took us to Charleston, SC for a walk in the historic district and for dinner.  More relationships and "being" activity (I talked about those the past two days.).  Tomorrow begins the work and the primary work is being God's people showing the love of Jesus in practical ways.  A piece of that will show up in home repair.  The rest in caring conversation with families and cooperative work together as a mission team.
     Stay tuned for more. Right now I wonder how my faith is "all in?"  How is my life completely invested in life-changing Love?  How about yours?

To Be or Not To Be ...

o Be or Not To Be ... not To do or Ta Da.  Life and mission trips are all about being.  Being with God.  Being with people.  Being in the moment.  Being in the community and culture around me.  Being real.  I frequently find that a challenge, coming from a daily world that encourages "to do" rather than "to be".
     At home I have a "to do" list on my computer.  (I can still access it now, but I don't need it.  Yippee!)  I have a "to do" list in meetings.  I have a "to do" list at home.  And when I finish my "to do's"  I celebrate with "ta da's!"  My middle class world is build on accomplishment and my ancient-future faith is founded on "to be",  being in the moment, who and what God asks.  And it never fails to surprise me how well "to be" works, when I let it.
      Last night we practiced "being" as a team with dinner and no agenda, but conversation and being together.  Today we'll practice "being."  as we visit a United Methodist Church that celebrates and worships from another cultural perspective.  (Southern, African American, protestant, rural...)  And we'll have fun just being with them and in the moment.
      God said "seek my Kingdom first and all else will fall into place"  (My paraphrase of Mt. 6:33)  And it works!  I wonder what "to do's" I'm carrying around inside my head and heart that keep me from enjoying the gift of being today.  Maybe that's part of the mission.  How about you?  What's on your "to be" list today?

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Car Trip -- Another Leg of the Journey

on’t worry about anything, but pray about everything. With thankful hearts offer up your prayers and requests to God.

This word starts my day along with a little reading about a reluctant people on a 40 year camping trip (the Exodus story).  So on the road again to new places and new conversations (some of them with myself, most with others and God.)

I have a life where I've grown in noticing power beyond my own, that is at work for good in my life.  I've learned more about that force by following Jesus.  An interesting, challenging, fun, hard, joyous, struggling, stumbling, partying, communal road for sure.  Today the road just happens to include a car and north and south Carolina.  The journey continues.

What's starting your day today?  What's new and Good?

Friday, July 20, 2012

From the Road

Al driving, Rick navigating and me, unseen
photographer enjoying the ride.
      Traveling means a day of conversation and getting to know more about Al & Rick.  Traveling means lots of traffic, sitting and scenery.  Traveling means we're closer to our destination and never far from home, with two iphones and a droid.
       Hillsville, Virginia is our stopping place for the night.  That means dinner with the group at Applebees, with laughter, conversation and rain.  It means an amazing waiter, Troy,  with a memory gift.  He took orders for a table of 10, split the checks and got everything right including to whom the meals went.  It also means getting to know a little about everyone with fun, fellowship and time together.  That's a great foundation for a week of relationships and work.
      Given I'm starting my third month of weight watchers the day's highlight was fresh fruit at the motel (no points!) and a chance to Skype with my most prized relationship, my wife, Penny.
       A good day filled with the gifts of God.  What did your day hold?

Heading Outward

I'm on the road this morning to build relationships and homes.  Setting out to help when experiences tell me I'll receive more than I give.  Excited to to travel and sad to leave home.  That's the stuff of life and holy things...mixes...gifts...adventure.

I am so grateful for opportunities that take me beyond myself.  Beyond my schedule. My needs.  My routine.  My abilities.  Because, that puts me in a place to learn, grow, trust, connect and love.  Thanks be to God for such a day today.

I'll post more this week as I can.  Now I've got to go put on my sneaks and get going. Joy on the Journey.  Dave.