Category Archives: Along the Journey

Stories from and about The Center for Lifelong Learning.

Jesus Didn’t Die to Perpetuate an Institution: The Mother of All Culture Shifts

By Jan Edmiston, DMin ’01 and 222nd General Assembly Co-moderator Candidate with T. Denise Anderson

Repeat after me:

It’s not – and never again will be – about getting new members.

On the heels of Mothers’ Day, I’ve been thinking about a couple of important and unimportant things:

An historic Mother Church is counting down to a terrible anniversary in forty days.

KFC’s biggest sales day is – not kidding about this – Mothers’ Day. Lots of moms got buckets of chicken for Mothers’ Day. Continue reading Jesus Didn’t Die to Perpetuate an Institution: The Mother of All Culture Shifts

Saturday Night Service and Sunday Sabbath

By Marci Glass, MDiv ’08

A few years ago, our congregation changed our monthly worship “rhythm.” Once a month, we worship Saturday at 5 pm and then take the next Sunday as an intentional day of Sabbath rest.

On the Sunday when we don’t worship, people are invited to be intentional about how they spend their “day off.” It is not another day to work. It is a day to be present and experience joy. It is a day to enjoy God’s creation and the relationships we treasure

On a typical Sabbath Sunday at our house, I go for a hike and then read the Sunday New York Times at my favorite coffee shop. In warmer months, my family will drive up to the Payette River and Justin and Elliott kayak while I read a book on the bank of the river. Then we make dinner together and maybe watch a movie.

Sabbath days are great days, because they seem to last much longer than a normal day. Continue reading Saturday Night Service and Sunday Sabbath

On the “Forever Young Urban Pastors” and coming to the Table

By Jihyun Oh, MDiv ’06

We now call ourselves the “Forever Young Urban Pastors” group. We used to be the Young Urban Pastors group. And when I was invited to join the group in 2009 for the gathering in Seattle, I was still in my mid-30’s, and (especially) by PC(USA) standards, was still considered a young adult.

The invitation to be part of this covenant community came at a key time in my life. I was at the end of my first call. While my work as an Associate Pastor of a congregation had reaffirmed a deep sense of call to ministry within me, it had also been difficult. Halfway through the 2-year call, I had realized that moving to a new city expecting to have the support for ministry that I needed through emails and phones calls had been a bad assumption. It had been a bit of a perfect storm – the circumstances within my call, the circumstances within my own life, my bad assumptions about what I needed as a support system while in ministry – and there were days when I wondered whether I was losing my mind. In response to this, I had been actively trying to build a web of support for myself when I ran across a friend in an airport. After hearing of my plight, he asked whether I would be interested in being a part of this group. Continue reading On the “Forever Young Urban Pastors” and coming to the Table

Children Aren’t Disposable

By Laura M. Cheifetz, Vice President of Church and Public Relations, Presbyterian Publishing Corporation

I have been thinking a lot about children lately. (Not about having them. About the children who already exist.) Children coming across the U.S. border, fleeing violence. Children huddled inside shelters in Gaza, or playing on the beach, unprotected from the war raging around them. Children who become accustomed to running down to the bomb shelter when a siren goes off. Children who don’t have enough to eat during the summers when there is no school lunch program, or who go to school each day from a homeless shelter. Children who are unintended casualties of drone attacks in Pakistan. Children whose homes are more dangerous than their schools.

We can blame it on their parents’ poor decisions, or their neighborhoods. We can blame it on their governments, whether those governments are Honduras or Guatemala, or involve Hamas. But too many people think of children as disposable.

We would never call children disposable, not out loud. We love children, we say. Continue reading Children Aren’t Disposable

God of the Flood

By Karen Ware Jackson, MDiv ’08

This is a sermon preached 3/31/15 at Faith Presbyterian Church, Greensboro, NC. In light of the recent flood in Houston and numerous others around the world, we thought this sermon would be appropriate this week.

Psalm 29 deals with God’s power with particularly strong imagery around floods. God “shatters the cedars of Lebanon… convulses the oaks…. strips the forests bare… shakes the wilderness…sits enthroned atop the flood waters…”

These images are meant to amaze us with God’s power, possibly to comfort us that even in our weakness God is mighty. But I can’t help but be reminded that Fear is the cousin of Awe. Continue reading God of the Flood