December, 2015

Dear Ones,

As always I am in disbelief that another year will soon pass. It is this time of year many are consumed by deciding which behaviors they will change for the new year or making resolutions. I stopped making resolutions a long time ago. I focus on the Roman god Janus. Looking back as well as looking forward. I've learned a lot about myself, and you, over the past year, particularly in the past few months.

Looking back I'm able to pick out a few major lessons like sometimes ego can blind you to realities, email stinks, most of the time, to communicate effectively, and that when relationships break we can repair them instead of throwing them away. Looking ahead I've decided to change a few things. Taking the next step in caring for my health as well as making a few adjustments in my ministry are commitments I'll be making.

I'm presently engaged in changing and enhancing my sermon writing and delivery. I've realized that writing and delivering sermons has become more like an errand for me. My sermons fill the space and serve their function. But I see sermon writing as a craft, one that exercises passion and wish to return to that. Many ministers face this dilemma sooner or later. If I allow my ego to step aside I will better be able to inspire.

My generation is very comfortable with email and social media to communicate. The problem is that others feel differently and perhaps see a phone call or face to face contact as the best way to communicate. Recognizing that email allows the misinterpretation of tone and intent I'm committing to using email less this year which will save me headache and heartache in my ministry.

Like precious furniture I have some relationships in the congregation in storage waiting for repair. We all do or say things that effect our relationships even if there was no intention present. I am no different. I do believe that when something we care for is broken we should fix it rather than throw it away. I'm committed to begin this work.

Reflecting on where and who we have been and where and who we would like to be may be a comfortable process this time of year. I hope you, too, might take this time for discernment. It is right and meaningful work. May each of be blessed in the New Year.

Blessings, Rev. CJ

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