Practicing Hospitality

November 23, 2013

When I was a pastor, we had people over. A lot. For dinner, for dessert, for coffee, for conversation. We were often opening our home to people. Christmas parties, Superbowl parties, pizza parties, BBQs, lasagna suppers. There was one young couple in Illinois who ate dinner at our house several nights a week. And in Illinois, I often made dinner for a girl I was discipling, even though dinner was often just Hamburger Helper.

I can’t seem to help it. I like to have people over. I like to cook. I like to set the table. I like to plan. I like the conversation over long meals.

But recently, with my son’s arrival and my movement into a new season of ministry, using that gift hasn’t been as much of an option. For starters, the ready pool of people we could have over shrank with no longer pastoring a church. And then there was the baby I tended to that demanded more attention that would take from guests at my table. And the exhaustion. And something more- something that is harder to define and identify. There was a shrinking back from this gift of mine. A pulling away from hosting and inviting, inviting and hosting. A pulling inward. Read the rest of this entry »

Questions About Change

November 15, 2013

OK- my plans to pick up writing here again have not materialized as quickly as I planned. Life gets so busy sometimes. But I do have plans to remedy this situation and actually have a pretty good strategy to start writing again. Thanks for the patience and those of you who connected with me to let me know you had missed me. It means a lot to hear that and makes me want to write another post!

 

I got to connect with a dear friend this morning. This is a friend I have known now for years. We met in our summer intensive Greek class with the world’s worst Greek teacher and suffered through the hours upon hours of eating, drinking, and dreaming in Greek. I’m pretty sure that kind of suffering induces a bond that few others would understand. Adam and I have remained friends through the years of seminary and beyond, through ministries and ministry changes, through challenges and triumphs, through long distances and long silences. He’s the type of person where we can pick where we left off. And I still smile at the memory of him walking into the lounge at the seminary after class, and flipping over chairs re-enacting Jesus in the temple flipping tables, as Adam protested the current state of the Church and it’s disregard for the passions of God. Adam then sat in the middle of the room hunched over and mad until our other friend, Paul, and I coaxed him to join us. It’s been tremendous to watch God take Adam’s passion for the poor and hungry and turn it into a breathtaking vocation that has traveled the world and interacted with many cultures and people. In some ways, I’m pretty sure Adam has had a pretty rockstar vocation- only not in the way so many Christians view “rockstar pastors.” Adam’s work has had a depth of meaning that I confess I am sometimes jealous of.

And now Adam is planting a church. And I couldn’t be more excited for him. And more scared.¬† Read the rest of this entry »

Finding Compassion

November 8, 2013

Oh my- it has been a very full fall season for me and my writing has suffered! Fear not, faithful reader, I will be making an effort to return to it regularly. Thanks so much for the comments and interactions I have had over these last weeks with those of you have found God speaking to you through some little thing I my have written. It means a lot to hear those things! I write for myself, but if in the off chance someone else might find Jesus in an entry, that’s a gift.

***

Early in October, I attended a meeting of colleagues. That’s not the unusual part. That happens regularly if you know anything about my life. What was unusual was what happened there.

But let me back up first. This monthly meeting is not one of my favorite ones. I go because it’s right to go. I go because it’s part of my job as a someone ordained to go. I go because it’s something that I can do during this “meantime season” of my life. However, this meeting became very difficult to go to because someone is there who is not my friend.

It’s my problem really. It’s the same story that all of us have. This person hurt me and got away with it and I’m left wallowing in the after-effects. It happens over and over again to so many of us. Because we are humans and we hurt each other. It just is a reality of life.

Read the rest of this entry »