is concerned with encouraging a struggling congregation to stand firm, endure
and persevere. Wendell Berry refers to the "art
of the commonplace," a phrase that for pastors brings to mind the art,
craft and skills by which we cultivate the common everyday life our people are
called to live and share--and which will enable them to stand firm. It is about
the mundane and about community.
In Paul's second letter to the church in Thessolonica he warns the
Christians there about hanging out with followers of Jesus who are
living in idleness, and since laziness is one of my key struggles in
life, it hit me right between the eyes this cold fall Monday morning.
One of the problems with moving forward is that there are times that require looking back--and not with nostalgia.
I was recently visiting with a friend who is a Vietnam veteran, describing "then" and "now."
described it like this: "When I came home, I sort of put all that
stuff in a package. You know, when I was in country, we always said
"When I get back to the world, I'm gonna...etc. etc." It was sort of
like Vietnam was "another world."
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
Most Americans have a desire for more forgiveness in their lives, but
they are more critical when choosing whom to forgive, according to a
Sixty-two percent of American adults said they need
more forgiveness in their personal lives, and 94 percent wanted to see
more forgiveness in the country, according to a study by the
Michigan-based Fetzer Institute.
Accumulation of wealth beyond meeting our basic needs doesn’t make us more content, studies show. Dr. Michael Finkelstein says that contentment takes practice. Think back on a time when you felt a sense of contentment, he says—it likely didn’t come from material possessions. “Our task is to simply discover where [contentment] resides” and focus on those times and places. It helps to “practice thinking, believing, and saying that you’re grateful and thankful for what you’ve been given” (excerpt from Slow Medicine: Hope and Healing for Chronic Illness in Utne, July).