Benedictine Spirituality

In January, I did a two day spiritual retreat at a Benedictine Monastery and came back invigorated for the coming season.

I’ve done many spiritual retreats before, but never one so structured and “other” than what I was used to.  The Benedictines practice the daily office – a rhythm of 7 worship gatherings a day (starting at 4:50am!  Youzers) and they sing Gregorian chant style.

A few observations:

– Monastic life has no parallel in the protestant tradition.  It is distinctly Catholic and was a reminder of just how wide and diverse God’s Kingdom is.

– 4:50am.  Are you kidding me?  It felt crazy, until I came into a beautiful candlelit chapel, chanted 3 psalms in a row and sang inviting God’s guidance, protection and presence this day.  It was the right start to avoid the usual mental “to do” list.

– Benedictine spirituality incorporates repetition and physicality that protestants lack.  3 or 4 times per service, 7 times per day, we bowed and sang, “Glory be to the Father, to his Son Jesus and to the Spirit who resides in our hearts. Amen.”  We sang this at the end of every Psalm and every Hymn.  We sang it in a bowing position to show our subservience to God.  A powerful experience, proclaiming allegience well over a dozen times a day, while bowing down.

Continue reading “Benedictine Spirituality”

Exactly Human Sized Stories

Last year I went to a story telling workshop by Ira Glass, host of “This American Life” and in my opinion, the finest story teller alive today.

His goal:  find stories that are exactly human sized.

I think this is exactly the challenge for modern preachers.

Our media thrives on sensationalizing and caricaturing, (The recent Charlie Sheen spectacle being an obvious example.)

Ira Glass challenges us to not fall into the media trap, which produces cynicism in its viewers, but rather to find stories that are exactly human sized.

every day people.  extraordinary stories.

I love that.

Continue reading “Exactly Human Sized Stories”

Top 5 challenges of a MHP

I polled 12 local MHPs to hear of their top challenges and I’d sure love to hear yours.

We listed our challenges so we could meet frequently to tackle them together – receive some outside input and then discuss our way to some concrete solutions.

I’ve noticed that most guys in smaller churches are sharp, they’re just stretched thin and really benefit from collective wisdom.  So here are our identified top challenges.  What are yours?

1) Spiritual rhythm. Spiritual practices: approach and freqency.  Sabbaths, retreats, daily practices etc.  Soul health/refreshment type conversation based on spiritual refreshment and recreation.

2) Working through discouragement when people don’t like you, get mad at you, or leave your church.  Or when numbers and momentum seem to be going in the wrong direction.
Continue reading “Top 5 challenges of a MHP”

The multi hat pastor

2011:  I’m 5 1/2 years into leading a local church.

I (mostly) love it 🙂

In the past 17 years, I’ve been a chaplain in a level 1 trauma hospital, served at a ranch for teens in trouble,  worked in crisis intervention in a highly under resourced city.

But nothing has been as difficult as my role as lead pastor

I’ve looked around for resources that mostly come in the form of conferences and podcasts.  I hear those guys (who, for the record, have excellent teaching), but I wish I could get them in a room to ask a bunch of questions.

Continue reading “The multi hat pastor”