Our marriages are meant to be our first ambition in life. When we marry we make a vow to love our spouse exclusively until we die. That vow informs every decision we will make the rest of our lives. When a man or woman take a monastic vow, they take years to move through a process that typically takes 6-8 years. First, they are observers, then postulants, and eventually novices. After that they take temporary vows, usually for two to three years, until they finally make permanent vows. At that point, they change their name, divest themselves of all their wealth, and commit to be part of a particular community the rest of their lives. Every decision they make from that point forward is informed by that vow. In the same way, if we are married, we have made a vow. That vow informs every decision we make. The pace of the church, and. Read more.
I presided yesterday over the installation of Rich Villodas as my successor at New Life Fellowship Church. It was one of the highlights of my 26 years there as the Founder/Senior Pastor. An installation is like a wedding in which two parties make vows. While that analogy is helpful, I believe the term “covenant” (i.e. a solemn agreement between two parties) is a better term to use when framing a pastor’s relationship with a congregation. While a covenant is not always permanent like a vow, it implies responsibilities, obligations, and privileges. It is a promise, a trust. I learned from some of my Anglican and Presbyterian friends about their process and theology. This, in turn, helped me to shape the installation around the public making of a solemn covenant. It was deeply moving and powerful. A number of people asked me if I would make the text of the covenant agreement available. Here it. Read more.
Out of the experience of our daughter’s wedding last Saturday, we realized there is such a thing as an “Emotionally Healthy Wedding.” Here are a few reflections as to what made it such a distinct, rich experience: 1. We Gave a Gift of a Fixed Amount of Money and Let Go. Because this was a gift, they controlled the wedding, not us. There were no strings attached. They made the decisions and asked us for input along the way 2. We Were Aware of and Managed Our Own Anxieties. There were plenty of things to worry about, from 6 inches of rain the day before our outdoor wedding, to the groom’s grandfather dying 4 days before the big day, to other people’s attitudes that were challenging. We paid attention to it and responded appropriately. 3. We Rejoiced. This was not simply a weekend event, or nine months of preparation, but a lifetime of labor in. Read more.