December 24, 2010

The Christmas Story

(via CMS)

Christmas Eve Welcome

This is one of those thoughts that just hits you while you are still half asleep... so I'm not sure how good it is, but if any of my pastor-type friends want to use it or adapt it, please do -

We come excited
We come exhausted,
Welcome to this place

We come hopeful
We come humble
Welcome to this place

We come with deepest longing
We come distracted
Welcome to this place

We come wondering
We come wrestling
Welcome to this place

We come compassionate
We come confused
Welcome to this place

We come joyful
We come just happy to have made it through another day
Welcome to this place

We come faithful
We come fearful
Welcome to this place

to one and all
to this place
where we can be who we are
confident that God meets us
as we are

Welcome to this night
Where angels sing
and shepherds seek
welcoming a King
born in Bethlehem, long ago
called Emmanuel:
and Still Is With Us
Welcoming us
 receiving us
  redeeming us
even on this Holy Night

Welcome to this place

December 13, 2010

this week's round-up (december 12)

Another catch-up week, further delayed by yesterday's snowstorm:

The question every church must honestly answer: Do You Want to Get Well?

When it's raining, enjoy the rain - Joe Trippi's reflection on Elizabeth Edwards.

Making Membership Mean Something. (via CTG) I've struggled with this idea - do you go with the "high expectation" membership standards of Ginghamsburg and others with multi-week membership classes, or with the Resurrection model (2-3 hour introduction in one afternoon). (Note: Resurrection's membership is also "high expectation" they make very clear the expectation that membership is about responsibility, not privilege and members are expected to attend every week, give proportionally, engage in service and learning opportunities, they just present it in a different package - "belong before believe").

20 Questions for Reviewing 2010. I haven't sat down and answered these, but it is a great set of questions to really get you to think about the year and help clarify your values, accomplishments, and expectations.

Also from Levite Chronicles: I Hate Communication. Great reminder that the oft used phrase, "we need more communication" is fundamentally mis-communication for "we need more explanation", "we need more affirmation", "we need more persuasion", "we need more confession", etc.

On a slightly different tangent - Seth Godin writes how You Will Be Misunderstood. Also worth reading from Seth, Everyone and No One.

A must read for introverts and extroverts alike: Advent for the Intorvert.

What the empire runs on: Why You Should Use Google Apps with a Personal Domain.

Jeremy Smith with more on the UMC Call to Action Report. I get his concerns, but so far I'm not too worried about them; I'd like to believe there is a way to maintain Methodist accountability while easing up on some of the administrative rules. I was speaking with a friend last week, who brought up a greater point of how does the Call to Action report speak to the UMC as a global church - the material is clearly focused on North American congregations; how might we learn from our sisters and brothers in regions where the church is dramatically growing (ie Africa), and might we use that to become a truly global connection, letting go of the traditional US hegemony*?

*Yeah, I was a debate nerd in high school, so from time-to-time I like to bust out words like hegemony.

Another one from my favorite hasidic reggae singer celebrating the miracle of the Maccabee revolt.

Admittedly I enjoy this way more than I probably should, but it's got to be done:

And for something a little more serious - Sufjan Stevens "O Come, O Come, Emmanuel" (because it IS still advent).