I'm in the news this week for some of my work at the Greenfield Public Library. The library is working on documenting the local impact of the pandemic in Franklin County. I've helped to create the program, worked on the list of questions, with the interviews, and as needed.
From a personal and pastoral perspective, I think it's important both remember and document what this time has meant for our friends and neighbors. The way each of us, and our community, makes meaning about this time is really important, because it will likely prove to be such a pivotal turning point for our society and the world.
There is a before and an after.
I pray the after comes soon.
My latest post for the UCC: What Data Do We Study Now In This COVID-19 World?
I was interested in thinking about what sorts of data the church needs to consider in this new time? Or, said more poetically, what are the stones on which we build the church?
Traditionally, the church looks at things like baptisms, buildings, and church budgets to determine how the church is impacting the world. I argue that this approach is no longer sufficient.
I posted this a month ago, when the virus death toll was 50k people and today is over 100k.
I am more convinced that it is the right time to reconsider our assumptions about church and faith.
Looking ahead, I plan on reconsidering my theological and church ideas in the light of this new world.
Every couple months I write a post for the UCC’s Vital Signs and Statistics blog. I’m always trying to take interesting material I find in books, articles, or other media and then give them a religious slant.
So often, I find myself thinking: ok, but what does that mean for church?
Here are my posts from 2017.
Putting together this list now, with much hindsight, I see a pattern to my thoughts. I began the year wondering how to make sense of our collective life, then thought about faithful response, and then about how to keep hopeful.
This weekend, July 29, I'll be presenting a talk at the Pioneer Valley History Camp. I'm working on a project looking at the winners and losers of the Great Awakening, here in western Mass. I've been really interested in looking at the life of Rev. William Rand, of Sunderland, who lost his job after opposing the Great Awakening and its traveling preachers.
For more information about the event visit: here.
I'm planning on posting more after the event.
Over the span of a year, I read dozens of blogs, hundreds of church related stories, and am on the look out for stories that are worth passing along. A few days ago, I combed through my email to see, what I had passed along to friends, family and colleagues in ministry. Here are the best from 2014.
The year's headline might be: being church was tough again this year.
One of my clergy buddies sent me this link in March:
This month, dear reader, I'm taking a brief break from these weekly updates to work on a new novel that's been kicking around in my brain. I'll try to post occasional updates, but suspect my writing brain will be tired from all the exercise required to write 50,000 words in 30 days.
For those unfamiliar with the practice here's a link: http://nanowrimo.org/
I heard the founders of this organization give a talk on Youtube recently, in which they said something like, creative projects so rarely have a deadline. The genius of this program is it gives people a deadline to meet, a chance to risk creating something, and a community to become a part of during the struggle. That almost sounds like what the church could be, at least if the mission, is seeking something like justice, or offering mercy, or showing love to the world.
So, dear readers, wish me luck!
And, if I might give you some homework for the month, find a deadline for something that matters to you, be it in church or your life. Give yourself both permission and a reason to take the leap and fight the good fight.