"There is an intellectual desire, an eros of the mind. Without it there would arise no questioning, no inquiry, no wonder." Bernard Lonergan

"It seems clear that humans cannot significantly reduce or mitigate the dangers inherent in their use of life by ccumulating more information or better theories or by achieving greater predictability or more caution in their scientific and industrial work. To treat life as less than a miracle is to give up on it." Wendell Berry

"Do not be afraid, my little flock, for it is the Father's good pleasure to give you the kingdom." Luke 12:32

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

PatorOnPoint on ChurchNext.tv

I recently did a 50 minute interview with Chris Yaw, an Episcopal clergyman.  He operates a site called ChurchNext.  You can learn all about him and their work at http://churchnext.tv .  Very good site.  Very good interviews.  Very interesting people.

Anyway, for what it is worth, here is the interview.  It is a lot about my new call to White Memorial Presbyterian Church (though it has been nearly 18 months now.  I wonder when it is no longer new???)

May grace abound.

Monday, January 28, 2013

Links You Should Read

Two stories that rise out of our church for this week...

One is a story about Tom Gupton, a dear soul who was a good friend.  This is a lovely article about one of Raleigh's early medical pioneers...

Dr. Tom Gupton

And this piece about Wheels4Hope and my friend John Bush. 

John Bush and Wheels4Hope

As Lent approaches, maybe a good question might be this one for all of us:  how are we using our gifts to help the lives of others?

Are we healing?

Are we sharing?

Are we trying to make a difference in our community, one life at a time?

How is Jesus calling us, all of us, to love our neighbors in new and innovative ways?

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Links to Start a New Year and Resolutions

Some links that have caught my eye in past days.  Some very local and heartwarming, some about violence and how people of consciousness and faith might respond.

Let's start with the heartwarming ones, a reminder that there are great things, acts of love, and good families in our midst.

My friends, WMPC members, the Batchelors.  A story about fathers, sons, and scouting. 
Raleigh Family Boasts 7 Eagle Scouts

One of the most touching moments of the past month for me, personally, happened right after Christmas.  We usually ask our kids, "what was the most special day of the last week, what was your favorite part of the movie, etc.?"  We asked, "what was the best part of Christmas?"  Seeing their grandparents.  Going to the movie to see The Hobbit.  Getting a new doll.  And then one of the children, the most often tender-hearted one, said, "One of my favorites was giving that guy our car."  It may have been prideful, but I said, "Amen."  He remembered giving our car to Wheels 4 Hope as part of their 31 cars in 31 days in December.  Our car went to a single dad.  Somehow that feels right after it was a car that carted our children all over the state and nation.  White Memorial Members - we are still looking for a member of our church to donate a car for a Step-Up graduate in conjunction with Step-Up Sunday on January 20.  What a great way to begin a new year!  Give a car and change a life.  Check out their website and ask how you might help:

Several of you have asked me as to whether or not the Presbyterian Church has ever made a statement about assault weapons and our culture's preoccupation with violence and our appalling murder rates.  Here is a link to a recent statement and to a larger statment by the denomination in 2010.
In the Aftermath of Two Mass Shootings This Week

Several of you have asked me about who I turned to after the shootings in Newtown, who did I listen to?  In my opinion Alec Evans, an old and trusted friend, is the moral conscious on the issue of gun-violence.  Alec is Pastor at Second Presbyterian in Richmond (http://2presrichmond.org/), but before he was in Richmond he was in Blacksburg where in 2007 he worked with the Blacksburg Police and notified families following the mass murders at Virginia Tech.  He is a leader in the field of police chaplaincy, gun safety, and public policy.  He knows the terror of mass shootings because he walked through the fire.   Here is a link to his sermon.  I have listened to it several times, and I find a glorious strength in it.  I look forward to listening to him on the issue in the future and to supporting the causes he has championed in the past.  Go to this website, and scroll down to "A Moment of Truth" and give this 26 minutes of your time.  It is worth it.  Thank you, Alec.  Thank you, friend.  Indeed, may it be so!

And, if you are still reading, here is something from our church newsletter this week, something I wrote about resolutions:

Resolutions by definition require resolve.  Resolve implies commitment, strategy, and focus.  Resolve implies continuing attempts to fix a problem or get ahead of a vexation.  Breaking the word down into its parts re-confirms the definition.  “Re,” as in another attempt means to try again.  “Solve” means solution.   Resolve means to try fix a problem or to confront a challenge again.  Resolutions around new year are attempts to address the complaints that follow us year to year.

                Personally speaking, I always make New Year’s resolutions.  I continue to try and solve the frustrations of the past.  I think we all should, actually.   Why should we continue to be subject to unsatisfying things?  Why wouldn’t we want to be free of vexations and disappointments?

                Trouble is that often times we name the problem that we would like to resolve but fail to address the problem with the resolution itself.   I fail most often when I don’t go right ahead and make the resolution part of my daily routine or discipline.  What happens if we resolve to pray daily in the new year but fail to buy or check-out a book of prayers to guide our prayers for the new year?  Or fail to put prayer into our daily calendars or weekly plans?  The result would be that we wouldn’t pray and this resolution like many others would go unfulfilled.  The resolution is two steps, really:  the first is resolving in the first place; the second is actually crafting a plan and committing the time to seeing it done.

                What resolutions are we going to make as a church this year?  Well the specifics remain to be seen, but the early returns are promising.  In the immediate weeks we’ll be highlighting the final phase of our 2013 budget effort – “A Future With Hope.”  The weeks following will see a commitment to conversations around our strategic planning processes.  And soon we’ll aim our focus upon Easter itself and the great celebration of our Christian year.

                In all ways our commitment as we begin 2013 remains strong: to proclaim God’s word, to care for one another, to serve neighbors in need, and to give place and space for the formation of disciples at  White Memorial Presbyterian Church.  Happy new year friends!  May we resolve to share in the year to come and proclaim the glories of God’s mercy, hospitality, and love!