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!

Saturday, December 21, 2013

4 Steps to Handling Divisive Issues

Bishop John Schol speaks passionately about a church for all people.  I echo his call for creative, faithful, gracious Love.  I believe there are 4 practical steps to handling hard issues that divide us.

1- Talk to real people.   No important issue is theoretical for a follower of Jesus.  Each one has complexities and real lives involved.  We don't have to agree, but we do need to talk together, understand one another and respect one another. This takes love lived in honest, face-to-face, relationships.

2- Seek to understand first.  Seek to understand different viewpoints well enough that you can articulate all sides of the conversation to the satisfaction of your partners in debate.  Without compassionate understanding we cannot love.

3- Lean into discomfort.   I trust we all hold the beliefs that we feel are most logical, faithful and practical...even when we differ.   My experience is that you will not change my beliefs and opinions, nor I yours, with a tirade, a condemnation, a bible verse, or even a lengthy passionate presentation.  It took me a lifetime to get to where I stand.  Changing strong opinion takes trust, new experiences and time.  Trust, new experience and time requires staying in difficult and uncomfortable conversations and relationships. Lean in with love.

4- Love boldly and Trust God.  I may be wrong on any opinion or belief.  I don't think I am or I wouldn't hold the position that I do.  I trust you are in a similar place.  I do know that a biblical theme and a consistent action of Jesus is to love others boldly. This often disturbed others and prompted disagreement.   I don't have to agree with someone in order to demonstrate love.  I just have to give of myself and trust that God is bigger than my beliefs & yours, my fears & yours, my passions & yours... God is bigger than anything.  If God is not bigger than all this, then we're just arguing over opinions that hold little ultimate importance.

I intend to love all, work for wholeness in the church, and follow Jesus with everything I've got.  I think Bishop Schol has articulated these truths in a difficult season.  I invite your to the journey, and I'd love to hear your thoughts along the way.

Monday, December 2, 2013

5 Shots at Disease

     "This may hurt!"  In the muscle, and not... the shots began.  Polio, Yellow Fever, Hepatitis, Meningitis, Tetanus, and then add the meds for Malaria, "Traveler's Diarrhea" (nice name for a bad situation) and all to get to Kenya.
     I am so grateful that I have generous people supporting me with prayers, gifts and encouragement.  It makes the shots a bit easier.  Thank you.
     Today began the medical process that will continue well past the Feb. 6, 2014 departure.  Month's ago began the process that is preparing me to be a part of the teaching team, who are preparing pastors to fulfill their calling.
      A sore arm is a small price to pay for health of body and many spirits.

Monday, November 11, 2013

Conversation #2: Don't Mock-Be Real

Moments after posting "4 Tips to Life-Giving Conversation" a friend messaged me (imagine that, my thoughts a conversation starter :-).  He asked if I'd seen this video link below.  I hadn't.  I clicked.  I learned.  Now, I've shared...

Some conversations are hard...so true!  All of us encounter hard conversations...equally true (unless we're hiding from them, and that will kill us)!  "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free," are familiar words and the One who spoke them was all about Love and Truth.  That's why this is so important and effective.

What are your hard conversations?  How might you begin to hold them with the necessary people?

P.S.  Thanks KB

4 Tips to Life-Giving Conversation

Brian McLaren's brief video offers a bit of truth that me thrive in community, be it church, civic, family, friends...any community.   I believe that the following four things give me mindful guidance for entering into my conversations and reflecting on my conversations.  (FYI  I know I don't do all of these, all the time,  with all of my abilities...and yet I'm working on it.):

  1. Listen First: I seek to take time to really listen so that I  understand the other's viewpoint to their satisfaction.  A coaching colleague of mine relayed the acronym W.A.I.T.  (Why Am I Talking) as a reminder to listen first and to talk with purpose;
  2. Open to Learning: I admit that conversation can't truly happen when my conclusions begin an exchange.  It's worth considering "I may be wrong" or "I may be able to learn something new."  I've never been disappointed by finding that I knew all there was to know, or by not learning something new about the topic at hand or the person with whom I was talking;
  3. Honesty Sharing:  I find that after listening and openness, it's critical to be honest in expressing my personal beliefs, perspectives, and opinions with neutral language, as well as appropriate passion.  When I fail to be me,  I cheat others from listening and learning.  I also often feel powerless.  Neither is good or necessary;
  4. Love Generously: I don't need to agree with you to love you.  In healthy conversations my love/respect won't be misconstrued for approval of all you have said.  We all believe what we do because we think it's right, the best option.  We all have convictions and passions and no one has all the answers, so we do well to begin and end with gracious love that respects our conversation partner's experience, convictions and person.  

 What helps you have better conversations?

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

What Do You Choose?

What do you choose each day?  Love?  Anger?  Patience?  Isolation?  I don't like to believe I get to choose, because then I'm responsible.  But Jesus did say Come and see, and Follow me and both of them a choice.

I want to invite you to choose, life, love, joy, peace, wholeness and all that is good.  A friend shared a video, This Is Water  that's worth the 9:23min to be reminded and inspired about our daily choices.

Here's another good link on choices!

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

When Life Hurts... Love Works!

I'm disturbed by what I see around me.  At so many levels we fight, not debate, with callousness and brinksmanship that frightens me. 
I believe that our different opinions are a gift and worth listening to and that when we're creative and loving we can find ways work together. I don't mean always compromising to the least common denominator, but collaborating in ways that lift everyone up.

I believe that our fears too often drive us.  Fears (like mine in writing this) that others will attack, call names, agitate, or ambush.  Fears that if we don't defend our convictions with violence and vitriol we have somehow abdicated our beliefs and failed.  Fears of all shapes and sizes that weasel their way deep into our hearts and minds.

I believe that perfect Love trumps fear every time.  I believe that it's OK to be hold differing viewpoints.  I believe that variety is interesting and designed by God.  I believe that I get stronger in conversation with others, especially when I am challenged with thoughtful, caring, creative and kind debate rather than the spirit of gridlocked, self-interested, aggressiveness I see and experience too frequently around me.

I hold many opinions on things. I wouldn't hold them if I didn't think they were the best to be had. (And my challengers, I trust believe the same of their opinions.) However, honesty, history and humility call on me to hold my opinions loosely enough to love and grow in relationship with others. And truthfully, I've had some of my opinions changed in my life.

Bottom line for me is Live Love, which begins with God and extends to all I meet.  And that shapes my opinions on Food Stamps, Faith, Guns, Gays, and so much more.  I like what I believe, and I might be wrong.  My beliefs are born of painful and joyous experience, logical and creative thinking, fears and confidences, and so much more.  

Today I pray for two things:  
      First, healing for us all that we might find many places 
            of creativity, safety and peace; and 
      Second, for many good conversations... 
            that will challenge, affirm, provoke, and heal.
I'd love to continue the conversation with you.  Peace on the Journey.

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

What Would You Do If You Couldn't Fail?

     What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?  How would that choice or action share Jesus’ Love with others?

     I recently began asking that question of many things.  I know some of my habits and patterns as a pastor were formed when Sundays didn't have community sports, when most stores were closed on Sunday, and when photocopy machines weren't in the church office.   I now photocopy, text, preach-from-a-tablet, use a Smartphone and find good things in all these changes.  Yet, all my ways of living the love of Jesus don’t reflect the changes in the world around.  So I've been asking, “What needs to be updated to fit in God’s world?”  God says, “See, I’m doing a new thing!” (Is.43:19)

     When I started as a pastor 30 years ago I could visit a whole list of shut-ins in an afternoon because they were always home and lived in the community near the church.  Now they are spread out and their retirement communities have worship, buses to the doctor & store, activities and assistive tools allowing family to include them in offsite activities.  All great things, and now finding one or two shut-ins available in an afternoon can be a challenge.  So when I asked, “How can the church show care to these folks?” we, a community of caring, began using a team of people and one-on-one communion “friendship” visits. I focused on special needs, hospitals, requests and crises, all of which are often our shut-ins.  It’s not perfect yet, but it’s an adaptation in progress.  Jesus says that all of us are to be a part of, “Love one another.” (John 13:34)

     Another question I've had to ask myself is, “What am I unwilling to change in order to share Jesus’ love?”  I want to say “nothing,” but my actions may say differently.  I want to learn how to put everything in God’s hands.  Faith wisdom says, “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding.” (Prov. 3:5)

     Our church has a recent meeting about building modifications including a strong vote pursuing a redesigned, welcoming entrance, a change, so that we can get a barrier or two out of the way of sharing Jesus’ love.  That is a celebration!  What else do we hold onto?  What other ways of being the church and doing ministry do we need to ask these questions of?

     This year we had a Vacation Bible School meeting and asked these same questions and changed our strategy from a 5 weeknight pattern to a one day festival event.  Why?  Because we don’t want to fail in sharing Jesus’ love.  Because people’s schedules have changed dramatically since we began a weeknight pattern.  Because we believe that we were listening to God’s voice leading in new ways.  Because the word of God says, “My mother and my brothers are those who hear the word of God and do it.” (Lk.8:21)

     For me I want to care for all and sometimes hesitate to change out of fear that I’ll be uncaring.  Fear, I know, isn't God’s way of working and yet it sometimes gets in my way.  For me sometimes I want more information about things that are hard to measure, and yet I know that God works first with transformation and doesn't lead with information.  Failing to follow God out of perceived lack of information is putting information higher than faith in God.  The wisdom of scripture reminds us to put God first and says, “But more than anything else, put God’s work first and do what he wants. Then the other things will be yours as well.” (Mt. 6:33)

     It is simple and yet complicated.  Simple is, “Love God and love neighbor.” (Lk.10:27)  Complicated is in the how. So back to my original question, beyond the complications, “What would you do if you knew you couldn't fail?  How would that choice share Jesus’ Love?

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Holy Shopping Moments

     By grace I am happy, relaxed, fulfilled & strong in Christ.   This gift, given during a shopping prayer.
     Shopping with my wife, we parted ways and I was strolling, looking, waiting, and wandering.  Having lapped the store, I lapsed into a conversation with God, as much from boredom as from holy intention.  In this place, in this moment, I noticed these four gifts of happiness, relaxation, fulfillment and strength in my life.
My observation began morphing into a breath prayer spoken to the rhythm of my feet.  The process sounds simple and quick.  In practice, it was clumsy, distracted and quirky.  The serendipity, I arrived in a state of peace with the prayer sentence opening this blog entry.
     Equipped and refocused, words shifted toward images, in my impromptu encounter, set to the routine beat of my gate.  I began to imagine scriptures with each word and their visual counterparts.
     "Happy" lept to ancient wisdom that reminds that "from the rising of the sun, to it's setting, the name of the Lord is to be praised."  Viscerally & visually the warmth of noonday sun lifting my spirit, as it has many times swimming, hiking, working, or moving from office to car and beyond, emerged in my mind's eye.
     "Relaxed" flowed into "Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and not your own understanding," as I pictured the sun setting over lake & landscape.
     "Fulfilled" evoked God's promise to Abraham, that his descendants would be more numerous than the stars.
      And "Strength" brought memories of my father quoting the Psalmist "I lift my eyes to the hills, where does my help come from?  My help comes from the Lord." as we approached the beauty of sunrises over vacation encountered mountains.
     Full of peace and images I finished my shopping feeling blessed.  Reunited with my wife and finished our adventure together.  Arriving home I set out to draw.  My art a faint reflection of the gift I continue to carry.  Prayer in the midst of life is like that for me.  Surprising.  Life-giving.  Challenging--I'm still living into the gift, praying the prayer, and sharing the peace.
     What gifts have you received, prayers prayed, and journeys begun?  Happy & Holy Shopping! ;-)

Friday, May 10, 2013

Where am I Going?

Where are you going?  I think, when I run, and this question was on my mind as Coda (the dog) and I (the person) were running our 5K loop this morning.

My mission, this morning, was dog training in an exercise format.  That meant we didn't run straight when Coda wasn't executing a reasonable "heel", I'd change directions, turning around, run up a driveway and back, to help her watch her handler--that would be me.

When we came to a construction site, and it frightened her, we circled back to the worker by the truck, to stop for her to be petted.  I asked first, and then let him know that I wanted to train a dog that was comfortable around workers.  Also I shared I didn't think that they needed a skittish or aggressive dog near job sites.  He petted.  I thanked.  On we ran.

We took purposeful detours for traffic, puppies, and children along the way.  All so that we accomplished the mission.  And then I began to notice how much this is like life, leadership, parenting and so much more.  I was teaching my dog good citizenship and it mean that my agenda had to adapt in the circumstances of the experience (the run).

As a parent, grandparent, friend, leader, pastor, neighbor, and person,  I often have to adapt to be a good, loving citizen of the world.   I'm always pursuing my mission (life purpose, goals, integrity-- pick the term most helpful for you, they work about the same for me) even when the tasks and path need to adapt.

I believe that I have a valuable purpose in life and it's what life's all about in many vital ways.  (Think either it's God given, how I'm made, connected to the cosmos... like before, don't get hung up on the word here.)  For me it's all about living love with humility, justice and kindness while using the things that make me me (faith, music, ideas, ADD, energy, broad-inclusive thinking, ...).  That's how I seek to live.

I always need help with that.  I always have to adapt the strategies, agendas and tools of any given day to accomplish my purpose well.  I'm always diminished if I get off track with that big goal, because I become a little less me  (a little less missional, a little less what God wants, a little less what I'm designed for... pick again).

So, in all things, I work to include those around me.  Sometimes I play games with my grand kids or students that I would never choose for my own amusement, but I choose them for love.  I do some things with my wife because it's fun to be with her, and love her, not because the activity is my first choice.  (Like the days she inquires, "Wouldn't it be fun to work in the flower beds today?")  And I'm still on my mission of living love... of using my uniqueness... even with the detours and unanticipated choices!

And sometimes, I need to say, "no" or change directions, just like I do with Coda (the dog) on runs.  And sometimes I run, knowing the mission isn't increased speed, or hill work, but a pet that can be a suitable companion in living love.

Who am I?  Who is my handler, or who am I watching?  Does your identity, or mission work with the groups I find yourself in?  How often do I get off track?  What simple invitations might I offer or respond to, so that I am true to my path and respectful of those with whom I find myself?  I asked these questions this morning.  Maybe they have some value for you.   Let me know how your run is going!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Is Poverty a Non-Issue?

"Love God & Neighbor" -- Jesus
    I continue to be puzzled by poverty.  If we'd all do what we were taught as kids poverty would be a non-issue.  If we each were honest with ourselves and each other we would be far less likely to blame the poor for being poor.  If those of us who say we follow Jesus, took our imitation of Jesus seriously we wouldn't rest until those on the margins were treated with justice.  If....
     But I get stopped when I try to understand the complexities of economics, politics, and relationships.  I can see easily the inequities and problematic patterns of poverty , yet it's easy to justify my own inaction with relationships like family needs, politics that tap my self-interest, or fearing doing more harm than good in challenging economic realities.
    So the question is this, "Is poverty a non-issue?"  Because... it's not my fault...it's not my job...it's too big... or  we've loved one-another so well that it's gone.
    I would like to be able to give the "it's gone" answer, but that's not possible yet.   I'd like to say I never answer in any of the other ways, but that wouldn't be completely truthful.  Yet I would still like to work toward solving the poverty puzzle.  That's why I jump start my action with faith and  Circles, a cool national poverty initiative, supported by my church, that works to help people move from poverty to self-sustaining life;  it makes aims to give everyone enough money, friends, and meaning in their lives.
    That's why my wife and I work at living generously.  Like the strangers who have received lunch from my spouse.  Like, the tenth of our income that we plan to give away every year, as a minimum. So even when I fall short, I'm aware, growing, and, I hope, making a difference in my soul and for others.
    How do you deal with poverty?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

The Church in the Dumpster

The Church in the Dumpster
The Church in the dumpster is there because we (meaning Christian congregations) put more energy in preserving what have rather than being who Jesus calls us to be.
The Church in the dumpster is there because when we serve with Love, everyone—no exceptions, we could reclaim a dumpster for our building and tradition and we could flourish.
The church is in the dumpster… does it describe what is or what could be?
“Love one another”,  “Love the stranger”, “Love your enemy,”  I hear Jesus say.
Then I listen to my sisters and brothers argue over entrances, dollars, preferences, traditions, and opinions without ever asking what following Jesus in this place would look like.  I hear too often hear ultimatums and too seldom here self-less love.  That feels harsh to write, and harsher to live.
The church is in the dumpster is my vision.  Yes, it’s in the low places, the hard places, the places I’m reluctant to go … the places Jesus hung out loving, and serving.  He did say, “The first will be last and the last first” so why is that so hard to apply to traditions, buildings, worship styles, habits and patterns?  (That’s a whole book!)
We could put a steeple on our dumpster and love people radically, serve people authentically, and walk with people humbly and grow a community of Jesus followers, a church.  Yet, when we preserve our buildings, preferences, traditions and habits, the church shrinks.   Anyone else getting the hint? What do you think?
10,000 Joys on the Journey, Dave the Wobbly Disciple of Jesus.

P.S.  I’m going to be thinking more about “The Radical Sayings of Jesus” over the next few weeks as I tell others Good News and invite us all to serve with love.  Tune in to the podcasts or join me in our gatherings for worship.
PSPS.  A colleague, Pastor Lynn Hackman,  wrote an interesting related blog post.

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Go Big (with a) Big God

Good News!  Jesus is alive and no one believed it.  Don't believe me?  Check out Luke 24.  Empty tombs and angels didn't convince the women or the men.  It took conversation, community and connection with Jesus.

It's good news that no one believed at first, because that means I'm not unusually slow.  It means that there is hope for us all.  It drives home the point that God's love is bigger than expected.

Everybody came with too tiny expectations.  God came with Big Plans.  I'm challenged to Go Big with a Big God.  That's Easter for me.  It's all the stuff we usually talk about and so much more.  How will you Go big with a big God today?

Friday, March 29, 2013

Good Friday Video

      Good Friday is hard to explain and understand for many.  Here is a video to offer images instead of words. Good Friday in Video Images 

  • What is meaningful to you about Good Friday?  
  • What is perplexing or difficult?
Some other Links:

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Uncertainty and Holy Thursday

It's Holy Thursday, I'm reflecting on John chapter 8 and this day, just because I happen to be reading through the Gospel of John right now, and two challenges come to my attention:

  1. To follow, pay attention to, what God has to say.
  2. To lovingly identify things that are not God-stuff, Love-stuff, so that they don't define my path.
I got here noticing these verses and their relationship to one another:
  • “If any of you have never sinned, then go ahead and throw the first stone at her!” John 8:7
  • “I am the light for the world! Follow me, and you won’t be walking in the dark”  John 8:12
  • "You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.”  John 8:32
  • "God’s children listen to God’s words."  John 8:47
And by noticing with how I yearn to throw stones.  Stones like "I'm right" and "you're wrong."  Stones of apathy and safety in the face of injustice.  Stones chiseled from my fears and brokenness.

I want to speak like Jesus to the Pharisees and say "I say just what the father has taught me" (vs.28c), when at least as often, if not more,  I need to hear Jesus speaking to me just like he spoke to the Pharisees.

This begs the question, "How do I know when I'm speaking Jesus stuff, God's Word, and how do I know when it's just the stones I long to throw, my own words?"  In short the answer is, it's not easy to know.  The starting place is prayer, study, community and relationship.

I struggle with this question especially living in divisive times where people in all quarters do battle for ideological supremacy with gleeful harshness.   I don't like the way Jesus was attacked.  I don't like how I see people within and beyond the church treat each other at times.  

Yet, didn't Jesus and the Pharisees look at the same scripture coming away with differing interpretations?  And didn't Jesus challenge them with loving boldness?    It's not new, but how do I pay attention to God, to truth, to light, to Love? How do I know when I'm speaking God-stuff with love?

I have some tools I use:
  • I pondered the Wesleyan Quadrilateral as a tool from my tribe to help me sort this out.  This does help me in the relationship and study.  But it doesn't prevent my prejudice.  It's a filter not guarantor of love.
  • I considered my study tools, commentaries, bibles, articles and books.  They too help, acknowledging they are sometimes in part mirror on my preferences, and in part a window on truth.
  • I thought and think often of my covenant community as a touchstone of accuracy.  Yet I know being in covenant doesn't always mean agreement.  And my tribe may not always be right, even though we seek the Light.
So here's where I've landed, as I watch the drama of Holy Thursday unfold. I definitely don't want to be the guy that betrays truth, light and love.  And I don't want to get in line to join the opposition that will crucify Love.  So for me it comes down to choosing and speaking with gracious love.  A love that encircles to include, rather than a love that circles-up to exclude.  A love that encircles with respect, conversation and a shared journey.

I'm talking about gracious love like that woman, in the opening story of John 8, experienced.  She was guilty of adultery.  This was not disputed.  It was legal and socially appropriate to stone her to death.  This was not in question.  Yet grace, restoration and hope were added by Jesus.  I can't help but notice and want to emulate that.

I'm talking about owning my place in the community's conversations about things like state's rights, gay marriage and gun control.  I'm seeking to put grace, restoration and hope there too.  Right now for me that means I think state's rights and federal power will always be in tension; that being gay is not wrong, immoral or against what the bible teaches;  that guns have a place with our second amendment, but love and care have a larger place that requires thoughtful limits and accountability.  And in my place giving thanks for grace that has brought me this far and even greater grace that continues to grow and refine me.

I'm talking about people who think differently that do I.  I want you to know loud and clear that I love you.  You keep me sharp.  You are God's children.  We need one another.  When you tick me off I will need your grace and love, as well as God's.
I'm talking about acknowledging that we all think our own beliefs are correct, or we wouldn't believe them.  And with that nod to reality, trusting that in conversation and community we can, with the Light Who Walks With Us, work together.  We can honor and respect one another.  We must hold holy and civil conversations.  And God is plenty big to handle it all.

That's how I'm leaning into my two Holy Week challenges.  What are the invitations and challenges of the day for you?

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Beyond Discouragement... Me... I Believe...

     I found myself a bit discouraged and spent some prayer and reflective time seeking to understand and adjust my path. What was revealed, or that I discovered (depending on your theological preference), was that I was not being true to who God had made me to be, who I truly am. In that insight and gift I jotted down what "I believe" as a marker of who I am. It's a work in progress...

  •  I believe in Living Love (God & Neighbor… like Jesus)
  • I believe God’s bottom line is Love not judgment.
  • I believe the Holy Spirit convicts, God judges and it’s my job to love.  I will claim loving and allow you to respond to your part.
  • I believe the Church is the Body of Christ (it’s about community).  I’ll be my part of the Body, and I’ll gladly help you with prayer, encouragement , &  equipment to be yours.
  • I believe we each are responsible for our gifts &  calling, and that together we’re responsible to be the Church…Loving & serving… great command & commission together.
  • I believe rest & play are part of God’s design & calling.  Less than that is brokenness, sin, & simply doesn't work very well.
  •   I believe Love is more powerful than any strategic plan & more attractive too.  I also believe that a gracious goal is good.
  • I believe that if I can’t speak with love I should pray until I can and so that I can…neither avoidance or aggression is loving.
  • I believe that if what I do isn't good news to outsiders and those hurting, I’m missing something vital.
  • I believe faith’s design is simple… Live Love.  We complicate it with fear, and I know that perfect love casts out fear.
  • I believe the bible is powerful—I take it very seriously.  I believe it is most powerful & true when I take it seriously & not literally.
  • I believe love & creativity have been the hallmarks of the Church in health, and that fear & control have been evident when we struggle.
  • I believe we owe the world no apology for Jesus’ Love and a big apology when we fail to live that love convincingly.
  • I believe God is big enough for us to love God & one another, even when we define the details differently.
  • I believe God loves everyone, no exceptions.
  • I believe I’m still growing and will express my faith differently tomorrow from how I have today.  That’s growth, not uncertainty!
  • I believe I’m as screwy and broken as the next person and always need God’s help, forgiveness & grace.  I need others as co-journeyers and co-adventurers in this faith expedition.
  • I believe that someone won’t like what I believe and that’s OK.  I’d love to hear your beliefs and talk over coffee.  If, however, you want to complain about my beliefs or attack them or me, please see your therapist first, not me! ;-)
  • You see I believe God made me, God loves me and God cares for me.  I believe that God has called me, the Church has confirmed that call and the Spirit is shaping me.  I believe I’m forgiven even when I don’t feel that way.
     In short, I believe in living love. It is in this place I focus, I grow and I trust God.  
     How about you?