My Many First Days

First days are often memorable.  Usually they are scheduled well in advance. Often they go according to plan.  This was the case for me yesterday (September 17), which was my first day to preach in a congregation affiliated with the Presbyterian Church (USA) since 2010. First days can, however, be a bit more complicated and colorful as the last two months of my life illustrate: August 7 was officially my first day of work at the Wesley Mission Center, but my participation in a July 26 Read More …

Starting My Last Semester as a Student

Exactly a year ago I wrote a blog post titled "My Transition from Professor to Student" to tell the world I was returning to the classroom as a student in order to earn another degree.  Tomorrow I start the fourth and what I plan to be my final semester as a MBA student at Texas Woman's University. Original Plan When I started this program I was working for a for profit company for the first (and, so far, the only) time in my life.  The MBA was an easy choice for professional development Read More …

I’m Back: My Return to Ministry

Today, I am pleased to announce my return to ministry.  In just a few weeks I will begin serving as Director of Social Enterprise at the Wesley Mission Center (WMC) in Mansfield, Texas. In sharing the news with those closest to me, I am answering the same important questions over and over again. What exactly will you be doing? When did you become a Methodist? What about your love of education? Director of Social Enterprise Social enterprise is a term that has increased in Read More …

My Transition from Professor to Student

While I have always believed in and committed myself to the task of lifelong learning, I have also wrongly concluded - more than once - that my formal educational journey was complete. Wrong The first time I decided I had finished my formal education was in 1998 when I earned my undergraduate degree.  I was already in the workforce, and had been advancing without a degree.  With the addition of a bachelor's degree I felt confident I had all I needed. Just 18 months later, I was back in Read More …

Be the Church

Not being the church should not be an option. All who follow the Way of Jesus are called to be authentic in their following by being themselves, being proud, and being the church. It is always time to co-create with God; make real God's realm on earth; and advocate for justice for all of God's people. So What? Being the church is never an individual adventure; it is always a shared journey.  It requires a genuine concern for all humans and a commitment to embody love for God Read More …

View from the Pew: 8 New Sacred Spaces

As someone who has spent most of my adult life serving local congregations, the opportunities to visit other faith communities for worship have been few and far between.  In recent months, however, I have been able to participate in worship in many sacred spaces as a guest. In my final post of 2015 I shared eight images from my "view from the pew" series.  Since the start of 2016, I have been fortunate enough to visit an additional eight congregations.  Images of these experiences Read More …

Unique Opportunity to Learn About World Religions

Religious literacy is an essential interpersonal competency for all who seek to live well and to relate effectively to other people.  The lack of basic religious literacy continues to fuel isolation, hate, and even violence. My belief that all people need to expand their religious literacy beyond their own religion to the world's great religions has inspired me to teach world religions at the college level eighteen times (and counting!). While I cannot invite you to audit my class, I can Read More …

Returning to the Classroom

2016 is well underway. In just a few more days I will return to the virtual university classroom.  This semester I will be teaching three completely full sections of Introduction to World Religions at Hodges University (my 16th, 17th, and 18th times to teach a course on world religions since accepting this adjunct role in 2011).   So What? Most regular readers of my blog are religiously literate about their own religion.  I wonder, however, how religiously literate you are when Read More …

So Many Life Changes

Whether or not you have ever heard of the Social Readjustment Rating Scale also known as the Holmes and Rahe Stress Scale, you are likely familiar with the idea that people who experience many significant life changes in a relatively short period of time are at an increased risk for illness.  This scale is a well known and frequently utilized way to self-assess the amount of change a person has experienced.  Each life change has a numeric score associated with it, and the total of all scores Read More …

Ministry Reflection: Getting Started in the UCC

On June 30, I concluded 4+ years of service as Director of Adult Education at Naples United Church of Christ (a tenure that also included a shorter stint as IT Manager).  This ministry role was my first in the United Church of Christ after serving congregations affiliated with the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), Lutheran (ELCA), and Presbyterian (PCUSA) traditions. Naples UCC Naples UCC is among the flagship churches in the United Church of Christ denomination. Just over 1% Read More …