St. Patrick’s Day Archive

The following is my 2009 St. Patrick’s Day entry. I thought I’d share it again…

Today is St. Patrick’s Day. For those of you who know me well, you are fully aware that this is my favorite holiday. Of course, I prefer the secular-style celebrations that focus on great food (Irish stew, bangers and mash, etc) and wonderful beverages (a pint of Guinness). However, the true celebration is to honor St. Patrick (a former slave in Ireland, turned missionary in Ireland…taking the message of the Cross to the very people who had enslaved him…pretty incredible stuff). I do believe we can honor St. Patrick while enjoying our food and drink! So, today let us honor St. Patrick and celebrate with great joy with friends and family!

I thought it would be fitting to end this post with a prayer that has been credited to St. Patrick:

May the Strength of God guide us.
May the Power of God preserve us.
May the Wisdom of God instruct us.
May the Hand of God protect us.
May the Way of God direct us.
May the Shield of God defend us.
May the Angels of God guard us.
– Against the snares of the evil one.

May Christ be with us!
May Christ be before us!
May Christ be in us,
Christ be over all!

May Thy Grace, Lord,
Always be ours,
This day, O Lord, and forevermore. Amen.

I Believe in a Thing Called Love

The other day, I read an article in my hometown newspaper giving a glimpse of what happened at a Christian youth gathering over the weekend. The headline associated with the article has to do with the popularity of a particular t-shirt at the event.

That article inspired the following tweet: “they will know we are Christians by our t-shirts, bumper-stickers, picket signs…and if that doesn’t work, maybe we could love one another?”

Seriously? 7,000 students gather to worship, learn, grow, etc…and this is what the reporter takes away from the event?

Sure, the article did elaborate on more than the t-shirts. But, the attention grabber…the headline was about…t-shirts!

Christian t-shirts are great. But, for some, that’s as far as they get in sharing their faith. For some, this is what it means to “let your light shine before people, so they can see the good things you do and praise your Father who is in heaven” (Matthew 5:16, CEB).

Okay, so on second thought, maybe Christian t-shirts are not great. Let’s call a spade a spade. Most Christian t-shirts are cheesy. They play off of something in popular culture and “Christianize” it…trying to redeem it…trying to say, “look, we’re hip, we’re cool, we’re relevant”. And, generally, it’s lame.

Maybe Christian t-shirts are just another example of an  “adventure in missing the point”?

To me, it makes more sense to take the money one would spend on a Christian t-shirt and use it to help feed the hungry, clothe the naked, provide shelter for those without, care for orphans and widows, to provide for the needs of those in our communities. But, hey, maybe that’s just me.

I believe in a thing called love. And, when I think of love, I think of the actions that are a result of that love. So, if a Christian t-shirt remind the person wearing it to love God and others, maybe they aren’t so bad. But, if that is the extent of their “loving God and others”, then we might have a problem.

“I give you a new commandment: Love each other. Just as I have loved you, so you also must love each other. This is how everyone will know that you are my disciples, when you love each other.” (John 13:34-35, CEB)

Examples of lame Christian t-shirts:

Current Reading List

Every so often, I have someone ask me, “Hey, what are you reading?” So, I thought I would share my current reading list with those who check out this blog. Just so you know, I tend to read several books at the same time. With my current reading list, I will include some “recently completed” books as well. I would be more than happy to share my thoughts on any of  these books, if you are interested.

Reading the Bible Again for the First Time: Taking the Bible Seriously but not Literally by Marcus Borg.

Minding the Good Ground: A Theology for Church Renewal by Jason Vickers

I Am A Follower: The Way, Truth, and Life of Following Jesus by Leonard Sweet

Insurrection: To Believe is Human, To Doubt, Divine by Peter Rollins

How (Not) to Speak of God by Peter Rollins

Hip-Hop Redemption: Finding God in the Rhythm and the Rhyme by Ralph Basui Watkins

Hijacked: Responding to the Partisan Church Divide by Mike Slaughter and Charles Gutenson

The Church Is Flat: The Relational Ecclesiology of the Emerging Church Movement by Tony Jones

Unfair: Why the Christian View of Gays Doesn’t Work by John Shore

Fall to Grace: A Revolution of God, Self, and Society by Jay Bakker

The Visible Man: A Novel by Chuck Klosterman


Are You an Encourager?

Just a few days ago, one of my ministry mentors passed away after having a heart attack. As I reflect back on my experiences with the Rev. Dr. Donald C. Lacy, I am reminded most of how he continually encouraged me throughout my ministry.

We worked together for only a short period of time at Yorktown United Methodist Church. But, in that short time, we developed a lasting friendship and relationship as mentor/mentee.

Dr. Lacy found ways to speak words of wisdom and encouragement throughout my ministry. When I left Yorktown to take a full-time position at Elkhart Trinity UMC, he was one of the voices that helped me discern that call. While in Elkhart, he would call, write letters, and even visited and took me out to lunch at some top-secret restaurant/club on the Notre Dame campus (I swear…there was security…and you had to have a special password to get in the front door…seriously!). When I moved from Elkhart back to Muncie to take a position at Center Chapel UMC, he was one of the first to make a phone call. That phone call was quickly followed by a lunch here (he always invited me to “the OG…I know you like that place” he would say), a breakfast there, letters of encouragement, etc.

When we moved from Muncie to Lafayette Christ UMC, again, he was one of the first to call, to send letters of encouragement, and the like.

Heck, he even gave me a couple of “shout outs” in one of his books!

One of the practices/disciplines that Dr. Lacy practiced was a daily service of communion and intercession. Throughout my ministry, about once every three months, I would receive a letter from Dr. Lacy, with an order of worship from one of these services, where he would have written out a prayer for me, my family, my ministry, and my church.

I couldn’t help but feel honored and encouraged after receiving one of Dr. Lacy’s letters.

Probably the biggest lesson I learned from Dr. Lacy was the importance of encouraging others. So, this morning, as I reflect on my friendship with Dr. Lacy, I find myself asking…”Who am I intentionally encouraging?”, and “Who are my encouragers?”

Rev. Dr. Donald Charles Lacy