Tuesday, December 30, 2008

The Runaway Pastor: Prologue?

It wasn’t as if he didn’t care. Indeed, there were many people and things he loved. And he could remember days when a painful depression cursed his every waking thought. No, it wasn’t that.

A nagging web stretched across his path, more disgusting--intimidating--than limiting. It must be cleared away, lest the fibers smother his existence—the question proving to have no proper answer.

Having lived with fiery passion dictating his actions, his every moment; he feared his life held no more tinder. A widening gulf appeared before him; the expanse between his life, and his purpose, seemed insurmountable. A man may, after all, own loves, yet loose direction.

Perhaps this fearsome abyss was that which drove him out from himself--seeking some resuscitating-bracing breath, something after which to dream--for longing was missing in his living.

Friday, December 26, 2008


In my novel, The Runaway Pastor, there is a scene where Trent is asked by a new friend about his faith. Here is the question, and how Trent approaches his answer.

“Talk to me about your faith, Trent.”

She followed his eyes as he looked out over the sea and the moon, and toward the stars. “Love made all of this. Love so intense it reaches out to you and me and says ‘love me back!’ And I do. I love Love back. And Carman—that woman we met today lying on the street—has been so unloved, that Love begged me to love her. So I did.”

“That’s…that’s beautiful. I think. Does this love have a name, or a religious circle where it hangs out?” Kim asked.

“I think Love’s name is Jesus. And I’m not sure where He hangs out anymore.”

So what is your response to this method of Trent sharing his faith?
Will an answer like this ever meet the need expressed by the questioner?
Why didn't Trent use Jesus' name until pushed for the identity of "Love?"
Would you ever use such an indirect approach to answer such a question about your fatih? Why, or why not?

I've been wanting to get some feedback on various sections of the book, so here is an invitation for you to start a conversation.

Are there any other snippets of the novel you'd like to see discussed?


Sunday, December 21, 2008

Christmas Magic

A little boy runs to his room on Christmas eve; he climbs up into his bed and underneath the covers. He waits for sleep to claim his excited mind. And as he listens, he hears a stirring in the front room--and he knows who is there. It's the one he met on the courthouse square, wearing the red suit with the white beard. He's come into the boy's house at night. Yet there is no fear. The child is certain the stranger will leave only blessings.

Morning breaks and with wondering eyes he steps into the front room, looking under the tree. Mystery; magic fills the air. He sees it in the misty eyes of his mother and the smile of his father. He feels it in his sisters' giggles. And peace breaks-out.

Growing-up takes the magic out of Christmas. We are certain we will get our gifts because we have our place in the family or business. We buy because we know we should and enjoy doing it. But do we expect anyone to sneak into the place we live--quietly, mysteriously, impossibly--leaving blessings behind? Is there room for a pregnant virgin, or singing angels? Do we listen for Mary's song declaring justice?

Or do we think that any gift, or any good will come only because we vote for change, or work for income, or earn the love of our dear ones? Is there room for magic, mystery or spirit stuff in your adult world this Christmas?

"Unless you become like children..."

Saturday, December 13, 2008

More of The Runaway Pastor: Part Four--Parable of the Gym

Well, here is another section of Trent's parable. Thanks for the comments on the last one. This one is a little more edgy than the last, yet, I think it has a lot of truth in it. Trent was hurting when he wrote this, so I guess we can expect him to be a bit to-the-point.

So let me know what you think.


Thursday, December 11, 2008

Sparks Flying

I remember when I was a kid, scooting my feet across carpet, and chasing my older sisters at the same time, in order to experience the joy of "shocking" them with the spark that would fly off of my finger, and into them. Flash! Out of no where, I was a source of light creating, electricity transferring energy!

During Advent, in these dark days, our church has been reading the longing scriptures of the season. "O that you would make the earth tremble." O how we want to see God do something, and when we are honest, there are at least days when we doubt his moving amongst us. Yet, week after week, as we read from Isaiah and the Psalms, from the Gospel and an epistle--we see that God is up to something.

It seems sad that those who received the assurances of God's coming in the prophets, never saw Jesus. In fact their great great grandchildren's great great grandchildren didn't see him! Think of it! All of their longing, and all of God's promising, did not enter their own reality?!

Must I always see the answers to my prayers in order to believe God is up to something? I want to pray--like so much scooting of my feet over carpet--and then see God at work. O God, give me faith to understand that I may not enjoy the answers to my prayers. That some future generation may reap blessings from my prayers, and not me. But in all things, keep my feet scooting across the carpets and my heart convinced that in some miraculous way, you are sending a shock-wave into some tomorrow.

Somehow I see Michelangelo's Sistine Chapel masterpiece showing God's finger and Adam's. Reaching, aren't we?...ever longing and reaching. As is God.

Well, I plan to post another section of the >Parable of the Gym this Saturday sometime. We have had some good conversations. Thanks to those bold enough to converse on-line. This next entry is a tough questioning of a lot I've given my life to.

Grace and peace to you, and keep the sparks flying!!

Saturday, December 6, 2008

More of The Runaway Pastor: Part Three--Parable of the Gym

Well, here it is, Part 3 of Trent's Parable of the Gym. This part of Trent's journal entry may be a bit more controversial. That is not the goal. However, his thoughts are shared by more and more leaders in the church.

A friend sent me the link to the article below. It is from Pastor Walt Kalstead of Phoenix, AZ. Walt pastors a mega church there, and I challenge you to read how his heart is being changed in this article entitled "Showtime." Please check it out! What he says is more important than what I write here.

I've had a handful of opportunities to interview at churches pushing a thousand in attendance during my ministry. It has been a long time, however, since I've had any interest in such churches. I am not saying larger churches are not viable, I am saying two things. First, I'm not a capable enough CEO to do such ministry. And second, a church needing a CEO doesn't interest me.

Well, anyway, click the above link to the third of five parts of Trent's Parable of the Gym. Please comment after reading. Your emails are nice, but the conversation we could have here with your insights will be more stimulating.

Grace and peace to you.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Winter's Bad Rap

I don't know what is so bad about winter. So many comments flying about regarding how much people "hate the cold." I settled into the season with a different frame of mind this year. Here are the things I like about winter where I live.

We have a fire in our living room 24-7 as long as the cold remains. I like a fire, and the old coffee pot filled with sizzling water sitting on top of the wood stove. I love the way our dog curls up near the hearth, and the ticking sound the stove makes as it heats up with fresh fuel. I love carrying in the wood we cut and split last winter and spring. I love teamwork with my son as we tend the fire, one or the other feeding the flames when needed.

Where I live the woods have a different life in the winter. You can see through the canopy for great distances when the leaves are down. You can hear the squirrels skittering across branches, or turkeys from the next valley down stream. I'm able to hike with a vast public land nearly all to myself, with no mosquitoes or thoughts of poisonous vipers we have in these woods. My body warms with climbs and descents in our hills, making a few layers of clothing plenty even in our coldest weather.

I like the family times, when there is nowhere else to be, and we sit with music ringing off the walls of our cabin. Guitars and voices, hand drums and smiles mixing into some warm mystical joy. I like the goose down comforter my wife and I sleep beneath and the cool air in our cabin bedroom when we wake in the dark mornings.

I've lived in places that were warmer, and winter was nice...like spring just longer. I've lived in colder places, where heating was controlled by someone down the street, and I could see the puffs of breath from our children as we tucked them in under many layers of quilt. I have found joy in all of those places and times. I smile as I remember them. I just can't find any reason why weather should bring any complaints from those of us who honor its founder.

When I lived in Arizona, I once walked with a life long resident across a long portion of pavement in the heat of a 115 degree day. I asked him if he ever tired of the intense summer heat. I'll never forget his answer. "David, I learned long ago never to pay homage to the weather."

I guess that may be why I am finding such joy in the first fluffy snows, and the cool breezes with stars behind them, and the joyful energy of my German Shepherd as she runs and plays through her favorite time of the year. Life is too good to complain about weather. There's joy in the air...

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Christmas for The Runaway Pastor

This has been an interesting experiment. My site counter shows many people showing up here, and downloading the book chapters or parts of the Parable of the Gym that Trent wrote. Hundreds of people! People have been active on the site from every corner of the US. It is exciting to see. However, while I can see what states and cities are logging on, and how many minutes and pages they visit, and how many clicks into the book happen, I have no list of followers. I'd like to know who is out there.

OK, here are three ways you can tell me you exist. First, you can be a follower. The process for this is way easier than you may think. If you've never done this, but are interested in The Runaway Pastor, do me a favor and identify yourself.

Second, you can comment! It is also an easy process. And you can remain anonymous doing either of these if you name yourself accordingly. But I know these two things seem a bit risky to some of you...you don't want to be seen in the cyberworld. So, there is another option...

Finally, you can simply email me. I'd love to hear from you, whatever you think. This too is very simple. Below my profile, way down the right hand side bar, you will find "Send me an email." And that is where you click and email me.

Also, if you let me know your contact information, I am beginning to build a list of people who would want to know when the book is published. I would love to autograph books that early "followers" buy. (As well as those who otherwise notify me of their interest in the book now.) Remember, I need your contact info, so if you are a follower, but leave me no email or other contact info, I cannot find you.

All I want for Christmas is a good list of those mystery people in points around the country (and globe) who are following the progress of this novel's publication. (I couldn't make those words fit into the "Two Front Teeth" song, but you could try.)

Grace and peace to you!


Monday, December 1, 2008

More of The Runaway Pastor: Part Two--Parable of the Gym

Here is the second part of Trent's journal entry--The Parable of the Gym.

If you have not yet read the first seven chapters of The Runaway Pastor, please begin there by following the link in the top right hand box.

Peace to you.