Thoughts and ramblings about life, faith, culture and following Jesus...
I Am A Sheepdog
I have decided to rename this blog The Sheepdog Blog. A few years ago, I was in conversation with my District Superintendent regarding what it means to be a pastor. He suggested that, as we follow the True Shepherd (Jesus), we are called as clergy to be the sheepdog - keeping watch over the flock, helping to keep them on the path, and sometimes barking, but never biting. He reminded me that sheepdogs get kicked, bit, and even maimed at times as the sheep try to go their own way off the path the shepherd has set before them. The sheepdog will always put the sheep first, protecting them at all costs, and making sure they know where the safe places are. In my time as a pastor (going on 8 years now!), I have come to realize this reality and have taken the call to be a sheepdog as a way of life.
I probably don't need to tell you that social media has been ablaze with reasons why Millennials are not attending church (see here and here). And there have been multitudes of Facebook and Twitter arguments about who is right and wrong about divided issues. Peeling the layers behind the heated discussions that have been filling our Twitter feeds and Facebook walls over the past few weeks reveals a deeper issue that I believe is the key to the success (or failure) of those who consider ourselves to be Christ followers to effectively communicate the Good News of Jesus Christ. More specifically, for United Methodists to live out our mission to make disciples of Jesus Christ for the transformation of the world.
The issue at stake is community, the connectedness of people to one another and to God. Today, our society is so connected (via technology) that we have become disconnected, even isolated when it comes to authentic, face to face connection with one another. What we gain …
I'm just about a week from being able to go home and be with my family. I've completed two and a half weeks of Chaplain Initial Military Training (Basic Training for Chaplains), and have learned a lot so far. Today is a day "off" (we don't get days off... just more time to get work done) because of the ice and snow we received overnight. Down here, a little snow causes big problems. In Michigan, we don't have much concern for this little accumulation but we have the equipment to move it around and melt it.
A few things I've learned this week:
In the Army, it's always your fault. Even if it's not.A haircut each week makes the day go much better (and keeps the sergeant happy)Not getting a haircut means everyone has an opportunity to "learn" (do push-ups) with you. FYI I was not the one who didn't get a cut, so not my fault (oh wait, bullet point one...).Waking up at 4am means bedtime by 8pm.Staying up until 11pm to catch the Grammy&…