Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving! This holiday has a dark conception. Native Americans likely think differently of this holiday than others. I do not wish to trivialize the impact the arrival of Europeans had on the indigenous population of this continent. Nonetheless, I confess that I look forward to this day every year. This culture needs a holiday that is mostly absent of our consumer instinct–though the following Friday never is and it certainly isn't absent of gluttony! But like I said, I look forward to this day because we need to stop and reflect on what we're grateful for.

I'm convinced that gratitude is a practice that we all could use more of. Today, I'm grateful for too much to list here. But I will share a few things with you.

First, thanks for reading this. I appreciate you stopping by.

Second, if you are a Christian I recommend two books by Native American authors. Black Elk Speaks by John Neihardt and Rescuing the Gospel from the Cowboys by Richard Twiss. And you should really listen to A Tribe Called Red.

Third, one my favorite writers, Seth Godin has published a free Thanksgiving reader. It's chalk full of gratitude inducing quotes, poems, etc.

Last, I leave you with a prayer that my family and I pray around our table almost daily:
Creator God,
We thank you for the hands that have prepared this food
From the soil to the table
Bless it to our bodies
And our bodies to your service
May we be we grateful for all we have
And generous with all we've been given.
In Jesus' name we pray,
Practice gratitude.


Last summer, the team of leaders on colleges and universities that I have the privilege of supervising met to discuss how we might better partner together. To this point each of their ministries had different names and agendas that did not significantly clarify their mission or define their community. We decided to find something we could share as we re-imagined our work together. We decided on Commonplace. Here's a video we put together to share a bit of why we do what we do:

With God

I often get asked how I ended up in the Episcopal Church. Much of it has to do with what we do when we gather on Sundays–what we call, "worship."

I grew up in a Christian congregation that most would call evangelical. My extended family are mostly Pentecostals.

Evangelicals primarily interpret their liturgy as something for God. We are worshiping God, God is the receiver of our worship.

Pentecostal and charismatic traditions add another layer of this, believing that the Holy Spirit indwells herself in individuals in particular manifestations in response to worship.

While there are aspects to both evangelical and pentecostal worship that I love–and, quite frankly, miss badly, they are easily made into sanctified commercial relationships with the divine. That, I'm not a fan of.

On the other hand, Episcopalians–and presumably other more "liturgical" traditions, primarily interpret their liturgy as something with God. We are working with God in worship. There is an absence of commodification that means a lot to me. Now, its often painfully dull and long but the aspect of action with God is beautiful.

This distinction is critical for understanding the primary difference of posture and approach to these worship styles. It does not mean they're exclusive of each other but they allude to a different starting point and that makes a big difference to me.

NOTE: I did a series on worship with my friend, Mike a while back. There's a lot more on this subject there.

Writing Again

Been a little quiet around here for awhile. I haven't blogged for several months. At the beginning of May my mind was mostly made up that I would stop writing here. And then I met someone at an event I spoke at recently. She quietly approached me, introduced herself and said that she hoped I would continue blogging. Her kind words about frank writing from a unique perspective stuck with me.

After months of internal debate I decided to start blogging again. It's not the flattery that made me decide to blog again, though that may have got the conversation started in my head. It's because I really enjoy writing for myself. It's good for me too. A space to spread out my thoughts and clarify them for myself is helpful for someone who finds themselves writing and talking a ton for their work.

But here's the deal, this is a blog on the interwebs. It's public. Of course I'm not writing just for myself! That's what a journal is for. I'm not so self absorbed that I would write just to have an audience. In any case, that audience would have gone elsewhere with months of neglect. Rather, I hope to start conversations, swap ideas and share things that might be helpful for others and create a spark or the next time you and I talk over coffee.

If this blog is still in your feed reader (does anyone use those anymore?) you'll see this show up. I'm not going to push this out in other social media for awhile. I'd prefer to get these muscles moving again, find my new writing stride and then let others know.

That's it for now.