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.
In a few weeks, my partner Daniel and I will celebrate five years of marriage. Since we live in Minnesota, where same-sex marriage is not legal, it was not something recognized by the state. But our marriage, our joining together, was blessed by the church. We had our ceremony at an Episcopal church in the southern Twin Cities suburbs.
One of the bishops recently elected in our jurisdiction has been touted for his skills in growing a church, which currently has more than 1,100 people in worship. The problem is that when he started at the church they were already at more than 700 in worship. Now I am not trying to dismiss his growth, because it is impressive, but he already had a huge start.
A discussion I’ve been part of on Facebook illustrates something that I have said before on numerous occasions: ultimately, for those approaching the Bible as a sacred text, one has to choose between showing respect for the Bible above all, or giving ultimate authority to a doctrine of Biblical inerrancy.
My dad is an expert in negotiation. Sadly, I'm not sure I learned much from him. I can't haggle for a lower price on a car. I can't negotiate a salary. My chief negotiating technique is the "cave in." Not good.
I've been reading the New Testament all this summer, reading a few chapters a day and writing about them. I decided to use a version of the Bible I hadn't read before (just to mix it up a little), so I chose the Common English Bible.
I don't know why, really, especially after something I heard last month. At the Stewardship Conference I attended, one of the speakers actually admonished us, "If you don't like pastoral care, you should find another line of work."
I've been doing a lot of spiritual wrestling of late. A few months into a new position, I feel like I should be "doing" more, helping the church take bold, new steps, that sort of thing. But I don't have much clarity about what steps to take or in what direction.