August 2010

There is Endless Potential in the Clay

When I was a student at Duke Divinity School, I considered becoming an archaeologist.

Note: This is the tenth post in a 10-part series, drawn from Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: Reflections on Health, produced by the Clergy Health Initiative and distributed at the 2010 United Methodist Annual Conferences in North Carolina.  Each reflection is tied to the lectionary.

September 5, 2010
Jeremiah 18:1-11, Psalm 139 • Just like the clay in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.

Living Wholly in Christian Community

The sermon was delivered, hands had been shaken, and the church doors were locked for the day. Now, it was time for the pastor’s favorite part of the week – Sunday afternoon.

Note: This is the ninth post in a 10-part series, drawn from Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: Reflections on Health, produced by the Clergy Health Initiative and distributed at the 2010 United Methodist Annual Conferences in North Carolina.  Each reflection is tied to the lectionary; we will publish each reflection a week in advance of the Sunday to which it is tied.

August 29, 2010
Hebrews 13:1-8, 15-16 • Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Rural Medicine and Rural Ministry

Anne, a high school classmate of mine, has settled in the Vermont countryside, where she raises her two daughters and indulges her love of horses and motorcycles.

Anne, a high school classmate of mine, has settled in the Vermont countryside, where she raises her two daughters and indulges her love of horses and motorcycles. We keep in touch on Facebook, where she linked to this recent article about rural health care — more precisely, about the challenge of finding young physicians with the gifts and passion (one might even say the call) to work in a rural area.

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Freedom from Infirmity

In his woodcut, “Pilgrim’s Progress,” the artist Robert Hodgell depicts a man bent over, not unlike the woman in today’s scripture from Luke.

Note: This is the eighth post in a 10-part series, drawn from Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: Reflections on Health, produced by the Clergy Health Initiative and distributed at the 2010 United Methodist Annual Conferences in North Carolina.  Each reflection is tied to the lectionary; we will publish each reflection a week in advance of the Sunday to which it is tied.

August 22, 2010
Luke 13:10-17 • When he laid his hands on her, immediately she stood up straight and began praising God.

The Contest of Faith and the Christian Athlete

As a teacher of early Christian history, I often hear students who have an introductory knowledge of the early Church pose two criticisms of the Church Fathers.

Note: This is the seventh post in a 10-part series, drawn from Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: Reflections on Health, produced by the Clergy Health Initiative and distributed at the 2010 United Methodist Annual Conferences in North Carolina.  Each reflection is tied to the lectionary; we will publish each reflection a week in advance of the Sunday to which it is tied.

August 15, 2010
Hebrews 11:29-12:2 • Let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us.

Clergy Health Takes Center Stage

When the New York Times covers an issue, heads turn. And as a result, the media — and the country — now is taking a closer look at the rising concern over clergy health.

Last week, Times reporter Paul Vitello published a front-page article, Taking a Break from the Lord’s Work.  In it, he highlights the effects that stress and round-the-clock job responsibilities can have on clergy.  Without support, some burn out and leave the church, but many others struggle to maintain balance, seemingly alone.  The challenge then for the church, and for congregations everywhere is to find ways to alleviate the stress.

Strength in Numbers

There are many versions of Christianity that hold the faith to be merely a matter of belief.

Note: This is the sixth post in a 10-part series, drawn from Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: Reflections on Health, produced by the Clergy Health Initiative and distributed at the 2010 United Methodist Annual Conferences in North Carolina.  Each reflection is tied to the lectionary; we will publish each reflection a week in advance of the Sunday to which it is tied.

August 8, 2010
Luke 12:32-40 • Sell your possessions, and give alms.

Being Rich Toward God

One word holds together the assigned gospel, epistle, and Old Testament lessons for this week: greed – the unhealthy, human tendency to trust primarily in ourselves and what we can acquire rather than putting our trust in God.

Note: This is the fifth post in a 10-part series, drawn from Connecting the Mind, Body and Spirit: Reflections on Health, produced by the Clergy Health Initiative and distributed at the 2010 United Methodist Annual Conferences in North Carolina.  Each reflection is tied to the lectionary; we will publish each reflection a week in advance of the Sunday to which it is tied.

August 1, 2010
Hosea 11:1-11, Colossians 3:1-11, Luke 12:13-21 • Put t
o death, therefore, whatever in you is earthly.