Like a phoenix . . .
The Sojourning Pilgrim has been sojourning. Quite the wilderness. Many changes, too many to list.
And learning to become a wounded healer.
Just thought I'd let you know . . .
What jogged my thought pattern is a book I'm reading. The quote is "A sojourner is one who listens and encourages us to talk about the real pain and struggles in the wilderness."
And the followup quote - "Our sojourner needs to be someone we trust with our pain and story and be an active listener."
I've been in the wilderness. I'm learning to listen . . .
The Pilgrim . . .
So far . . .
Hunting Season has been a blast.
A week (Mol) in Burnet. 4 pigs, good food, time away, plenty of work on camp, blinds, and my feeder. The weather was mostly pretty warm.
This last week/weekend (Wednesday - Sunday) Gary and Greg and I went to McAlester on a traditional deer hunt. Recurve bows - stick and a string - archery without training wheels. Saw some deer, flung one arrow - missed.
Realized on Sunday, on the way home, that I had not heard one lick of political or financial news for 5 days. And the world didn't stop turning . . .
I need to get back in the habit of visiting this thing every day.
election upon us
Is it just me, of have you found any Republicans who are voting "for" McCain. Everyone I've asked so far are voting "against" Obama.
I might be wrong . . .
Never too late . . .
I've been gone for a while.
Just one explanation - divorce.
My last post was over a year ago. The last months have been a life transition of epic proportions.
And now I am in a different place.
My plan is to find my voice again on this blog, and not to wallow in the past.
I wonder . . .
Sojourning into a new life.
Ok - Don't get so excited . . .
I just saw something interesting today . . . This doesn't mean I'm going to start writing again.
I went across the street to get a haircut, and there was a short wait. I didn't want to look at any of the magazines, so I took a gander at the others who were sitting in the chairs. A couple of children, one older man, and a young man. She was working on his mohawk - and then I noticed she was shaving off his mohawk - and then I heard her say "Iraq." His last haircut in the States before he ships out.
I felt a chill . . .
And I told him to be careful . . .
Ok - so maybe I'll say something . . .
I've been in a self-imposed exile from blogging. Lots of reasons - not that anyone other than me really needs to know. I've told a few - that's enough . . .
Anyway - it arrived in the mail this afternoon. My very own, personalized
AARP Application Form
Just thought you'd want to know . . .
I may post for a while - thinking of a post (or two) under the title "Things I've Learned by 50 . . ."
Back from the mountains.
Sorry that the last post didn’t work so well. Blogger isn’t letting me post an entire thought from here – probably something to do with the settings on this computer. I am going to try to post from Word, so here goes.
Back to Sunday. I preached to three churches on Sunday – a small mission church for early service (about 30 in attendance), then at Timotei’s church for the late service (he estimated that there were 1000 in attendance). That evening, I drove to Hunedoara, and preached to about 120 in their evening service. At that service, I found myself just a little weepy – I suspect the jet lag was catching up a little, but I had the strangest feeling of homesickness – not so much for Enid or the States, but for Sunday nights like I remember them from 20 and 30 years ago.
The spirit of these people is amazing – they have so very little in terms of possessions, but they have wonderful family life, and their dedication to their faith is inspiring. I think perhaps because they have so little, they rely on their faith more than those of us who possess so very much.
Monday morning we traveled up into the mountains for the pastor’s retreat. It was an idyllic retreat setting – small, intimate cabins, with a small meeting area for the group. Larry and I both commented about how wonderful their fellowship is – these pastors love one another, and enjoy spending time with one another – I think they don’t get to do so very often. We were also quite amazed at how well our different teaching areas related to the other – I talked about using spiritual gifts in building the church, and he spoke on the pastor’s devotional life. We had a wonderful two days, and are now back in Deva, waiting for evening service. I think both of us are slated to preach – short sermons – this evening.
Here’s hoping this works.
musufir and hunedoara
I tried to blog this last night, and Blogger saw fit to erase the entire entry. Let's try again.
pace . . .
What you see as title is pronounced "pache" - it is from the latin for peace, and in the churches this morning, it was offered as greeting from each christian to one another as you and I would say, "Mornin'." There is an ancient christian tradition called "passing the peace," and I experienced that very thing this morning.We left the house just before 9. Went to Timotei's church, and there we sent Larry on his way with Timotei's associate, and Tomotei and I left for the "granddaughter" church (church started out of a church that they started several years ago). There were about 30 in this little mission, and they were already underway when we arrived. We were introduced, and I brought a short message from Romans 1:16-17 - "For I am not ashamed of the gospel . . ." Then we returned to Timotei's church, and I preached to 1000 people in a rather large sanctuary. The 100 voice choir was magnificent, we shared communion (I kept my little cup - just slipped it into my jacket pocket), and then I preached a little longer sermon from Romans 8 - "For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory that is to be revealed in us . . ." Afterwards, I stood at the back of the church and shook hands with about 700 of the 1000 who were present. Pace, pace . . .I am impressed by these Romanian Christians - they do more with quite meager resources than we ever thought about doing with our rather vast resources. Their's is not a faith of convenience - they really rely on their faith, their church, a word about the gospel - to dispel some of the physical gloom they experience every day. Most of these people are poor - there's no simple way to say it.More later, it's time for lunch . . .
At home in Deva
Larry and I arrived in Deva just about an hour ago. 30 hours of travel - I tried to sleep on the plane, but that's not much good. Jet lag is hitting, and I'm about to turn into bed.There is an 8 hour differential between here and central standard time. It's 11:00 pm on Saturday here, so it's about 3:pm in Enid.Our host and family are wonderful - such a sweet family. The plan is for me to preach 3 times tomorrow - we'll see. The good news is that I have my own bed.More tomorrow.
The Pilgrim Sojourns to Romania . . .
I am making final preparations to leave for Romania this Friday morning. I will be traveling with three other pastors to Bucharest, and then Larry Stevens and I will travel on to Deva, some 150 miles west (in the mountains). There, he and I will preach and lead a pastor's conference with some 20 Romanian pastors for three days. We will journey back to Bucharest, and minister there for another couple of days before we return to the States on the 13th.
I covet your prayers.
I do not make these long trips casually. Partly because I do not travel well on airlines for long distances. And I miss my bed when I am gone. But I feel the hand of God in this, and I need to make this trip.
Sharing ministry with pastors whom I do not know is not daunting, except in the sense that I do not currently know their needs, or what they might best profit from as I am there. I can talk about any number of subjects - what is the most profitable for them??? There will be a distinct language barrier (although several of them speak rather good English) and they live in rather meager accomodations. But I understand their spirit is good, and so I expect to profit as much as will they.
I do not know if I will have internet access, but should I, I will attempt to post to this site.
The Sojourning Pilgrim
On the eve before Christmas eve . . .
Just a couple of thoughts about the season . . .Many are adept at making much to do about the "reason for the season." So much of the ballyhoo comes from the integration of politics into Christianity. My concerns are somewhat deeper than all of that . . .And they follow, somewhat, the themes for my two sermons tomorrow. That's right - I am preaching twice tomorrow!! What a concept. Regular morning worship, and our traditional Christmas Eve. service. I hope faithful Christians will attend evening services, even though they've "already been to church" that day . . .
The two themes - A.M. worship takes off on the Micah text - "little Bethlehem", and the gospel - the "smallness of the child" within Mary - to contemplate the smallness of the good news within all of us. Nothing grandious - Christ comes into our hearts in small ways. The title is "from one of the little clans," and I will have something of a special word for my church regarding God's choice of us to bear the "good news."
P.M. worship - takes off on the scriptural statement - first given by Isaiah, and later restated by the shepherds - "for unto us . . ." The gospel is for us. I don't think we really stop to contemplate that truth sometimes. It is "for us." Plenty to ponder there, me thinks.I wish you a wonderful Christmas celebration - with family, friends, fellow worshippers.
If you live in Oklahoma, and are wondering what to do with your evening tonight, you could do worse than making the drive to Enid to listen to the Enid Symphony Orchestra and Chorus presentation of Handel's Messiah. Last night was the first performance, and the final performance will be this evening at 7:00, Symphony Hall.The Messiah is a rather long piece, but at Christmas, most groups who perform this wonderful work do mainly the Christmas portion - the first part of the piece, and then add a couple of scenes from the end, including the Hallelujah Chorus. That's the way it's being performed in this setting.The soloists are rather good, and the chorus ain't bad, either. Tickets are $15, and I'm sure there are still seats available.
good news, bad news
First, the good news - the weather service has cancelled the Winter Weather Warning for our region. Whew!!! Now the bad news - we are now under a "blizzard" warning.A moment ago, in an effort to get down my driveway, I had to shovel a 14 inch drift of snow (in order to roll down hill). I'll certainly work off a few of those holiday pounds tonight and tomorrow . . . and Saturday - shoveling snow. Ain't it grand . . .
Where in the World have I been . . .
Absentee blogger sought - and finally found . . .
Well, hunting season isn't over, but the trips are done for now. The fall take - three turkeys, four hogs, three deer. The freezers are full - now it's time to starting chasing the dogs as we hunt pheasants - news from the high plains is that there aren't any quail . . .
I have caught up somewhat on sermon posting - still missing one, but you can catch up on several on the Cornerstone Pulpit.Snow in Enid - of course, unless your head is in the clouds, you seen the reports on the news - they're saying that we're going to get between 8 and 12 inches today. So far, I can report that they're probably on track . . .Advent starts Sunday - I'm really not ready for this - think I'll work from the Old Testament for the Sundays of Advent - and then hit the gospel on Christmas Eve. It should be interesting, especially since the sermon resources I typically rely upon have nothing to say about the OT.
I feel that I need to apologize to you for my blogging absence - I have been licking my wounds and grieving the loss of a friend over some things I said in a sermon, which was of course, published on a blog. Blogging is a transparent sort of thing, and I cringe when I am attacked for what I have to say. But, I will take the advice of other friends, and crawl back into the saddle with my opinions - such as they are . . . During the Advent season, I intend to have a few things to say about the season.
Thanks for checking back in . . .
Good Ol' Boys, Ellie Mae, and Squeaky the Chicken
Back from McAlester.
Gary Shields, Greg Shields, Mike Dotson, and the Sojourning Pilgrim (aka. - Doc) made our way to beautiful southeastern Oklahoma this past Wednesday for the annual McAlester Traditional Archery Hunt. Traditional archery, as defined by Bill Starry (game biologist in that area) is a "stick and a string hunt" - and Starry was wearing a shirt that said "Traditional Archery - archery without training wheels".
We borrowed a pop-up camper, and pulled into the Army Ammunition Depot in McAlester. We camped next to a covered picnic area with two tables, and were joined on one side by a fellow named Mike, and on the other side by a fellow named Tom and his sister, Janis. Later her husband, Tracy, caught up with the group. I can only describe all these people as "good ole boys" (Not Janis).
That first evening, Greg was our chef, and we enjoyed a sumptous meal of pork chops and mixed veggies. While we were eating, Tom and Janis opened up their "Showtime Rotisseri" (I didn't know anyone actually bought those things - you know the infomercial - Ron Popeil - "set it, and forget it") Anyway, they put this chicken in the rotisseri, and set it, and it started cooking. After a bit, we heard this squeak - how do you say this in type - "int, innnnn". Over the next hour, that squeak got louder and longer with each occurrence. To the point that we named that chicken "squeaky."
And then later that evening, one of us commented to Tom about the unusualness of a woman who uses traditional archery gear to hunt, and Tom said, "Yeah, my brother-in-law definitely married Ellie Mae Clampett." The name rather stuck for the rest of the weekend - especially after she started talking about "eatin possum and armadillo."
I'd tell you more, but suffice it to say that there was much laughter over these five evenings.
Toward the end of an eventful week (or not) . . .
While I am avoiding writing my sermon (and I might add, "successfully avoiding"), I'll tell you about the grand highlight of the week - a trip to Missouri on Monday and Tuesday for the CBF of Missouri Pastor's Conference. I had been looking forward to this one all year, for the speaker was our dear, wonderful Bishop Will Willimon.He was tremendous. Tired, but tremendous. His luggage didn't arrive until Tuesday, and he was running on about 2 hours of sleep when he started lecturing on Monday afternoon. But still, with half his brain tied behind his back, he was magnificent. And who knew he was so funny. He kept us in stitches.Willimon did something for me. Commenting consistently about Mark's gospel (since we're in year B, and the gospel is Mark), Willimon "desanitized" Jesus for me a little - uncovered some of the "earthiness" of our Lord, and generally gave me the idea that if the clergy feels beat up by the congregation, they have no one to blame but themselves.
My favorite line from the sessions was from his story about a student who stopped him to express concern about a theological point she was struggling with. His response - grasp her by the elbow, and say, "Thank God you came to a liberal, mainline minister with this concern." I think I'll put a derivative of that on the back of my business cards - in italics. "Thank God you found a liberal, mainline minister."
Happy Birthday, Dad!!
Today would have been Dad's 81st Birthday.
Happy Birthday, Dad!!!!
Ragweed and the Hunting Dog . . .
I can report that the ragweed in Jefferson, OK is "world class" this year.
As Deer season is approaching, I had need and opportunity this morning to travel north, for the expressed purpose of hanging a deer stand. I decided to double up on the opportunity, and so I took Amy on her first field outing. She was so excited. I didn't run a check cord on her - just let her run loose. She never strayed farther than about 50 yds from me, coming back to check on me regularly as we walked through the fields. She flushed some meadowlarks, smelled every different kind of flower, and ran through a covey of quail. She is so small, and the weeds were so tall, she literally bounced from place to place around the field. She had a blast.
I got my deer stand hung, and a feeder.
And I sniffed a snoot-full of ragweed.
a report from the front lines . . .
First off - I saw gasoline for $2.11 this morning. I filled up for $2.15 yesterday. I feel like I live in Walmart - the prices keep falling . . .Spoke to the Dean at the college yesterday. I had an experience last week where my new obligation to be at the college conflicted with my perceived need to be a pastor, and I didn't like that feeling. So, I told him that I won't be teaching again come spring. I shared with him all the things I like about teaching, and the things that I don't like - how I have gotten past nearly everything I don't like, but that I wouldn't be able to get past this feeling when I am needed in both places at the same time.As an afterthought as I was leaving his office, we discussed the possibility of me teaching an "on-line" class. I kinda like that idea - can fit the teaching more into my hit-and-miss daily schedule, get to use the computer, and will be bringing in a little cash to boot. We'll see . . .It looks like Enid has a football team. They've won the first two games - got behind this last Friday night, and then they took control and won the game. This week will be something of a test, and then week 4 is the real deal - against Tulsa Union.We've had a little cool snap - it got down into the upper 40's last night. It's supposed to be warmer by the weekend. Anyway, the grass is slowing down a bit . . .Amy has reached the "brat" stage. She looks at me, and says, "I don't have to do what you say." We may have to introduce her to "Mr. Shock Collar" sooner than I wanted to. I think tomorrow I'll take her north early in the morning and let her run in the pheasant field. I'm looking forward to the look on her face when she gets her first whiff of pheasant. And I'll hang a deer stand.Headed to Missouri for a pastor's conference on Sunday evening. Will Willimon is the speaker - he's a guru to most moderate pastors. I'm really looking forward to it.
That's all for now . . .