Archive for May, 2014

…or at least I hope so.

This coming Sunday I will retire as a parish deacon after 32 years.  It’s a mind-numbing number for me.

The Church – well, the people of the Church—have comforted me through divorce and illness, celebrated when I have had books published and tolerated the many reincarnations my life has taken. Some have served as parents to me when I have needed it most which has been pretty often.

I have appeared at services in three-inch patent leather heels and in a wheelchair (yes, there may be a connection).  I have been lovingly accepted by most and barely tolerated by others (that’s life in a church – or in the world).  I have offended some, caused at least three people that I know of to leave the church, and given others reasons to stay, or so I am told.

Not being “the rector,” I have always had the advantage of being able to say things that the rector could not, and I’ve done it often and am glad that this element of calculated craziness has pervaded my ministry.  I cannot remember anything I’ve said that I’ve regretted.  It was a memorable moment indeed when I was privileged to use the Gospel and sermons as a means of arguing for the human right of all to marry.

I have only sung during a sermon once.  I was told it was not a good idea.

I have served with rectors who have become bishops and who are at the beginning of their ministry.  Interims and others.  I’ve liked a lot of them and learned from all of them.

I have preached – and will continue to preach – from my gut, from my heart, from my woundedness, and from my awe and joy.  I have tried to explain and understand Jesus.  I have struggled with Scripture and have been humbled at what I’ve found there.  I have found words of faith and honesty from the Great Writers that take my breath away.  I value my Lutheran roots every day and do not like the Easter Vigil.  Craziness to many, I know.

All of this time, the parishioners I have tried most to reach are the ones like me – the doubters, the one for whom religion and faith is not easy, the people who probably think too much and read a lot and who love words.  You are the closest to my heart.  I look for you from the pulpit.

I have done children’s sermons.  Not. My. Thing.  (Although I still wish I had brought in the live eagle instead of just a picture. The dog worked out well.  And the puppets…well not as well.)

And now I’m “Writer-in-Residence” and this feels just fine.  I will still be in the pulpit every month, and doing blogs on Epistles and Epiphanies and other writing.

Preaching Sunday on how to forge an “unapologetic Christianity” – crazy elements promised.

Take a listen to Paul here.  Oh, that horn solo…..



See you in church



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