"Why you even invite us to any of this," asked Richard, "if you’re just gonna humiliate us and throw us out anyway?"
I was taught that my labors as a minister don’t count for my own spiritual life. Realizing that this is untrue has brought me great relief and joy.
I’ve been an associate minister for two years. I love associate ministry. While I understand that it is a stepping stone for a lot of people, I feel deeply called to this role--both in general and in the specific context of the church I serve. I used to be in solo ministry. When I made the transition, there were surprisingly few bumps--in large part due to my wonderful colleagues. And one of the big differences between solo and staff ministry is the increase in opportunities to work collaboratively. Another is that I no longer preach every Sunday.
My church's adult Sunday school class ended up doing a six-week study of one of John Ortberg’s inspirational and easy-to-read books. A member of the class loved the book and wanted to share and teach it—and who can argue with six weeks off as a teacher? Before that, we’d been through many of N.T. Wright’s “For Everyone” study guides, and we'd organized a successful unit on Islam and Christianity, taught well by an instructor from our county college. We’ve read Adam Hamilton; we've added online conversation to our Lenten study. Now what?
Our Bible study group was looking at the women at the tomb, and I joked, “We don’t need Jesus today, he’s not in this story.” I was unprepared for the wave of grief that washed over me.
In his love for the law, the psalmist is effusive and sensual; with a few word changes, verse 103 could be said to a lover.