Recently I helped inter the remains of almost 300 persons who had been lingering, unclaimed, on storage closet shelves in the county coroner’s office. Some of them had been there since the 1940s. Most are men; some are women. Maybe a third bear the name of “Baby Boy/Girl, Unknown.” Our city cemetery made space available for them all in a new public crypt.
Mark has been a constant puzzle to me. I didn’t much care for it for a long time. His sense of urgency and spareness of narrative left me feeling I was reading the Cliff Notes of scripture. That began to change a few years ago when I took a hard look at whether Mark was as immediately this and immediately that as I assumed.
This is an article about worship in traditions other than one’s own, but it begins with CPE. Most clergy have benefitted from, or endured, at least one unit of Clinical Pastoral Education (CPE) during their seminary years. It’s a form of onsite practical education, most often in a hospital, in pastoral counseling. I don’t know what the curriculum is like these days.
What are supply
clergy? Are they merely ordained persons who are authorized to use the
costume, magic words and hand motions needed to legitimize an hour of
worship while the life of the congregation goes along without them quite
well, thank you very much?
last Saturday and Sunday I celebrated at the parish from which I
retired three and a half years ago. The rector was away at camp, and
his normal sources of backup were otherwise engaged. I imagine it took
some courage on his part to even ask me. To tell the truth, I was a
little nervous about it too. Things are done differently now. The
conversation in our Tuesday morning lectionary group. It began with the
usual quandary about how best to preach to those who come only once or twice a
year. One of our group enthused about how when they hear that Jesus rose from
the dead it will, or at least can, change their lives forever. He's seen
little rural church I serve, along with two other retired clergy, has
two dozen members, if you carefully count everyone whether there or
not. No one is young. The church growth gang (now called church
transformation) calls it a declining and dying congregation. The thing
is, it's been there for over a hundred years and has never had more than
a couple dozen me
have a friend who washes windows for a living. I don't know what he used
to do. According to him he raised horses, made a lot of money, owned
everything he wanted and drank heavily. He more or less stumbled into
Jesus through an introduction from another friend of mine, an Adventist
pastor. Now he and Jesus are tight, he's been sober for five or six
years, and he
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