Last night, I woke up at 3 AM and thought, “The monks are getting ready to pray now.” Vigils, the first time the monks at New Melleray Abbey gather for prayer, happens at 3:30 AM. I’m an early riser, but 3:30 in the morning is early. The monastery church is dark, except for the lights in the visitors’ area and a small light for the monks who . . .
I wanted my sabbatical to begin with a time of quiet and prayer, so here at the start I went to New Melleray Abbey in Eastern Iowa. New Melleray is a Trappist monastery, and they’re devoted to a contemplative life of prayer and silence. I arrived on Monday, and I’ll leave on Friday.
People are often curious, who’ve never experienced this, . . .
Church Encounter Series
During the summer, when I visit other churches, I'm sharing what I experience here. Today I returned to the First Christian Church in my hometown of Washington, Missouri. My teen years were spent among these folks, and even though the building and location are different from when I was there, a lot seems familiar. A whole lot of different . . .
193 Miles on the Katy Trail
Men usually need a shared activity when they get together. Guys aren't into sitting and sharing; we've got to do something. When my Dad and I get together we ride bikes. Here on the first week of my sabbatical we took a trip down the Katy Trail in Missouri. We've done this three times before, riding and staying along the trail. . . .
Church Encounter Series
It's my plan to visit a different church each Sunday this summer. Pastors don't often get to see how things are done in other churches, so this summer is, for me, a feast of new church experiences. I'll try to share something from each experience here.
My first church visit happened while I was on the road. While traveling from . . .
i.e.- How did you get so lucky to get three months off of work?
During the preparations for this time, I’ve had a few ask me, “What’s a sabbatical?” It’s a fair question; they’re asking, “What exactly is this thing you’re doing?” A sabbatical is a period of paid leave for learning and travel. Sabbatical comes from the Hebrew word Sabbath (or Shabbat), which means to cease, stop, or rest. A key part of . . .
Giving up, for a time, preaching a weekly sermon.
The church where I worshiped during college had several retired ministers as members. I learned that they really missed having something to say because anytime they were given a role in worship they couldn’t stop talking. What was to be a two minute offering appeal lasted seven or eight minutes. The quick mission announcement reached . . .