Tag Archives: UMC

Study Leave, Part 1

Today, I am two weeks into my study leave. I am sitting in a local coffee shop in Tuscon, Arizona. I walked earlier this morning here and have been drinking coffee, reading and writing while looking at the Catalina mountains. A beautiful day, the sky is bright blue with clouds drifting across. The mountains dominated the view majestic and strong.

Certainly I am not in Kansas. I am here with Andrew staying with friends that make these few days possible. Often I am not good about accepting invitations. I love offering them, but making myself get out of my own routine and rut is not always easy. When my friends found out I would have this study leave they immediately invited us to come down and stay with them. Having offered numerous times, I was excited and blessed to say yes.

Tuscon offers the right amount of warm days and cool nights to enjoy. The sun shines bright and the landscape so different than I am used to.

Even the United Methodist Church I attended looks much different than the churches in the midwest. The sanctuary looks out upon the mountains.


Different scenery and different climate don’t necessarily make me think differently, but allow my imagination to go in new ways. My heart and spirit soars looking at the mountains and taking in those amazing saguaro cactus. I am breathing and praying and pondering and wondering and being amazed at this wonderful world we live in.

So today, I am grateful for the warm sun, the blue sky, the green cacti and the space and time to read, write, rest and ponder anew God’s amazing grace.















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A Year of Gratitude End of May +++

I missed writing my prompt for our year of gratitude last week. I was attending the Festival of Homiletics in Minneapolis and posted two blogs, and had planned a third. Obviously not done! So I have a whole lot of gratitude, many random thoughts and a few things I want to share.

The Festival, as always was inspiritational and filled my “cup” both spiritually and intellectually. I am deeply grateful for all those who make this event possible every year. This was my fifth time to attend, and I have never been disappointed. The theme was “Preaching as Moral Imagination.” You can find my thoughts from the first couple of days here and here. The preachers were wonderful and challenging.

Some quotes that I continue to ponder from Anna Carter Florence:

(When speaking of Zaccheaus) “What Zaccheaus wanted was an unobstructed view of Jesus and what he got was an unobstructed view of Jesus in his life.”

As preachers, like Zaccheaus we need to learn to climb trees, “to try and see Jesus in the text, in the people, in the world, in each other, in the hard covnersation and in the meetings.”

So I am thankful for time away, for time to worship and learn and reconnect to the art and practice of preaching.

This week I am grateful for the clergy and laity that met at the Church of Resurrection to ponder and consider a way forward in the United Methodist Church. What’s next? UMC Next gathered people from every annual conference in the United States to pray, to have conversation and begin to discern a way forwawrd that would truly be open and inclusive for all. You can find the details of their meeting and their commitments here

I am deeply thankful for all those who gathered together and did the hard work to move the United Methodist Church in the United States in a new direction. I am personally committed to doing whatever I can to be part of this new direction.

This weekend is Memorial Day and I will give thanks for all those who have gone before me. I will decorate the graves of those I loved, and tell stories and laugh and maybe even shed or two.

What will you being thanks for in the next few days? What groups, or institutions or people are you grateful for their leadership and their commitment and their vision?

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