“What is your blog’s hook?” That’s the question a pastor/writer friend of mine (the very gifted MaryAnn McKibben Dana) asked after she looked at my first post. I’d enlisted her to give me some feedback on the blog and she responded with a variety of helpful format suggestions. She also added this helpful content tip. She said it would be useful to complete this sentence: “This is a space for…” Moreover, she shared, I might want to finish that sentence in my next post.
So here we go. What is this blog a space for?
1. It will, at times, be a space for my thoughts on life in general. As I wrote in my kick-off post, I am interested above all in addressing what binds human beings together in a larger human community. The quick answer to that, of course, is love; love that cares enough to become vulnerable for the sake of the other; love that finds embodiment in life as it is lived.
Part of the common experience of being human is that we all have certain people and things that bring joy, color, and passion to our lives. So in this blog you’ll hear about people that are important to me: my wonderful wife and colleague in ministry, Judith; my two lovely and bright daughters, Rebecca and Martha; and you will meet some of my other family and friends along the way. You’ll get a sense of how I understand myself as husband, father, son, friend, and citizen.
You’ll also hear about some of the things I enjoy, including music, movies, books, and sports. As l comment on them, I will from time to time post links to songs, movie clips, and the like. Also, because I believe it is important for all of us to participate in the political sphere, you may occasionally be treated to my opinions on issues of the day. Those issues, too, are part of life and how love finds embodiment. (But please note: my views are not necessarily those of the entire congregation or the particular denomination in which I serve).
2. This blog will also be a space for my thoughts on pastoral ministry. I’ll reflect on what it means to live out God’s call to serve as a pastor in a congregation—preaching, teaching, praying, caring, leading, and thinking theologically about the challenges and opportunities life brings. I will at least occasionally post sermons or prayers.
The context in which I do ministry at this time is Immanuel Presbyterian Church in McLean, Virginia. So my reflections will primarily be shaped by my experience with that congregation and others I’ve served. But my hope is that what is most particular is also most universal.
As I share my thoughts about pastoral ministry, I hope to provide you a glimpse into what Lillian Daniel and Martin Copenhaver have called This Odd and Wondrous Calling. By the way, if you are not a pastor, that book will give you a great window into what it’s like to be an ordained minister. If you are a pastor, I trust you’ll find strength and hope from what Daniel and Copenhaver relate from their own experiences. (I don’t get a commission on sales of that book, but I ought to. I recommend it often enough!)
3. Finally, this blog will be a space for my thoughts on living in a body. One of the learnings that I’ve finally really internalized (when the pupil is ready, the teacher will appear) in the past year is this: When it comes to a body, you and I only get one. It is up to us to take care of it.
The body and the soul are integrally connected. It is the place where the soul dwells. So I do well to do my part to make sure it is in good working order. This means I have to be mindful about the food and drink I put into it, my commitment to exercise it, and my need to rest it. I’ll share thoughts on my ongoing fitness journey in hopes that it might inspire yours.
A question you might be asking yourself right about now is, “So what does all of this have to do with Serving a Scarred God?” I’ll share some perspectives on that in my next post.