A country lawyer with only 1 year of formal schooling, Lincoln found himself in the middle of the greatest conflict in American history. When elected, he was called a country bumpkin and a disgrace. By the time the Civil War ended (1860-1865), 529,000 men out of a country of 32 million lost their lives. Every family was touched by the agony. Despite the pressure, his spiritual development was astounding during those years. How was this possible? Lincoln’s Melancholy: How Depression Challenged a President and Fueled His Greatness by Joshua Schenk, records how Lincoln struggled with serious depression from a very young age. Yet, he notes, his pain fueled his greatness and propelled growth. He was able to integrate his deep feelings, his melancholy, and his failures into a larger purpose. His lifelong journey involved integrating his gifts and talents, which were so powerful, with his sadness and depression. In photos, we can observe he. Read more.
The Rule of St. Benedict teaches us about the value of stability, that is, staying in one community over the long-haul. I have been in the New Life Fellowship Church community in Queens (www.newlifefellowship.org) for over 23 years. A lot transpires in 23 years. I have wanted to quit the community more than once and run. I am glad, by God’s grace, that I did not. My failures, weaknesses, mistakes and sins over these years have all been lived out in our fellowship. I love and am grateful for the opportunity to learn and to be part of such a rich, wonderful group of people. The following is a short video of our past year that we showed at our annual meetings of members last Sunday afternoon. I thought you might enjoy it: NLF Highlights 2009-2010 from New Life Fellowship Plus on Vimeo.
It is ironic that Christmas is often the time we as pastors find ourselves least centered on Jesus. With the emergence of social media and new technologies, this problem has reached proportions. The following is an adaption of my top 10 lessons for leadership applied to this Advent season. 1. Be yourself. You and I are uniquely crafted by God to lead. That means we cannot do what others can. You may be able to do more or less. The great challenge of leadership is to calmly differentiate your “true self” from the demands and voices around you. Discern the desires, vision, pace, and mission the Father has given as you lead. Take off Saul’s armor. How much activity can you sustain without losing your soul? And remember, “to live unfaithfully to yourself is to cause others great damage” (Rumi). 2. Your first work is to be contemplative before God (to be with him). Our. Read more.
Perhaps the most significant thing that emerged from me out of my four days with the Trappists revolved around the theme of “THE DIFFICULT LOVE OF LOVING OUR ENEMIES” This was the theme of Father Dominic’s conferences. His basic thesis was that if silence and solitude with God does not lead to greater love for our enemies, then it is not worth much. UGH! I have been serving as a leader seeking to build Christian community for over 22 years at New Life. I am under no illusions around the suffering involved in modeling the love of Christ as a church. When I discovered the monastic tradition over 7 years ago, what came alive in me was contemplation with God – apart from other people. While I love our people, the connection to a greater love for people has not been a major part of this 7+ year journey. Geri, more than once, has suggested to. Read more.