Southern Heights Presbyterian Church

5750 South 40th Street - Lincoln, NE - 402-421-3704 Worship Sundays at 10:30

A loving and welcoming faith community located at 40th and Old Cheney Road in South Lincoln, Nebraska, Southern Heights Presbyterian Church is a member of the Presbyterian Church (USA).

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#abookaweekforlent The End of Lent

When I was young...like, really young...my parents would have to hide my books, place me outside, and lock the door on me. (Don't fret, it was a fenced in back yard, in full view of the kitchen window. Plus it was the early 1980's. No worries). They would do this because they loved me, and they wanted to make sure that I spent time playing outside.

Let me repeat that: My parents would hide my books and lock me outside to make sure that I played outside. 

I share this story simply because I think that it illustrates how important reading has always been to me. How much I love reading. How much I love the knowledge of non-fiction books and the worlds and people opened up to me through fiction books. How important books and reading to me have always been. 

Which is why I am sad, truly sad, to say that my title for this post is:

#epicfail

Here we are, on the Monday after Easter, and, as I sit at my desk, sucking down the much needed cup of coffee, I must take a moment to confess: My little Lenten experiment/discipline of reading a book a week for Lent was a total and complete failure. I only read two and a half books out of my planned seven. (Well, not a complete failure then, I suppose, since I did get some reading done...)

I suppose that part of it was that I shouldn't have chosen a 400 page autobiography to kick it off (which only happened because I had been on the library waiting list for two months for that book, and there was about a four month long waiting list behind me. I didn't want to lose the chance to read it!). And part of it was the reality of the lack of reading time available when you take a three year old on a train trip to Chicago for a week. And part of it is that the only time that I have to myself is those quiet hours between when Little Man goes to bed and when I do, but that lately he's been fighting that magical time, and wanting me sitting right there beside him as he falls asleep. And part of it was the reality of the busyness of the season of Lent, particularly Holy Week. And part of it, quite frankly, was the fact that I simply set the bar pretty high. 

I know all of these things, and they make pretty good excuses for not doing the reading that I had planned on doing...but I don't want excuses. Because I wanted to read. I wanted to stretch myself to make and find the time in my life schedule to do the reading that I want to do.

I'm always saying that you make time for that which is really important to you....what does the fact that I only got two and a half books read during my planned period of reading seven books because I simply didn't have the time say about the importance of books and reading to me?

It can't be that it's not important. As I illustrated above, books and reading have always been very important to me. But, even with having challenged myself, I just simply couldn't find the time, or the energy, to do the reading that I had wanted to do. 

#graceabounds

But maybe I should have titled this post this, instead. Grace abounds. Because, more than anything else, this little experiment of mine has challenged me to think about that thing that I always say about making time for the things that are important to you, quite frankly often in judgement when others simply state that "I would love to, but I just don't have time". I guess I always figured that it was an excuse. A cop-out. a nice way of getting out of something. But, the reality is that, in our world today, it very much so is a possibility that someone simply doesn't have time to make time for the things that are important to them. Because there's a whole lot of things that are important...we're all just making judgement calls on what is more, or the most, important for us.

Sometimes, we'll mess it up. Sometimes we won't get it right. And sometimes we'll feel as if we're missing out on something that we desperately need, and look with longing on in it. 

But, in the midst of all of that, it's important to remember that grace abounds. 

Grace abounds when we have to make judgement calls about what is more important than something else. Grace abounds when we get it wrong. Grace abounds when others get it wrong. 

Grace abounds...and hopefully we'll figure it out and get it right. 

And now, I will take some time...and read a book. 

#abookaweekforlent week 1

Pioneer Girl 
The Annotated Autobiography of Laura Ingalls Wilder

When I first heard that this book was going to be released, I was excited. Flat out excited. Like so many women and girls, I grew up on the Little House series, reading and dreaming about life on the prairie in a little sod cabin. When I was young, on one of my family's epic summer vacations, we went to DeSmet, South Dakota, and to the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum there, where we learned more about the life that the Ingalls family lived there. I remember being particularly struck by the description and the demonstration about how the family (and most other residents of DeSmet that winter) would twist hay into sticks for fuel in order to survive, a process that would cause their hands to bleed.

And it's with that memory that I begin my reflections on this book. As autobiographies go, it is beautiful and unique because it, quite literally, is Laura's memoirs that she decided to sit down one day and write. It's not the more polished versions that were marketed to magazines and periodicals (the story of which is lovingly detailed by the editor of this edition), but instead is complete with poor spellings, rambling thoughts, and stories that are out of order. In that way, it is an incredibly nostalgic look at life on the prairie post Civil War, just as the frontier was opening up. It's a look back at a life, a story to share so that the story will not be forgotten. 
It's also nostalgic, in a way, for us who grew up on the books, because it gives us an inside look at the life depicted in the fictional family's life. It also helps us to understand a bit better, perhaps, some of the decisions that the family made as far as the constant moving and changing of careers, locations, and so on. 

But that's where the nostalgia also become so not nostalgic. Because the stories that are shared through this autobiography aren't the polished, moral-laden, children's stories, but instead are the hard and harsh realities that families and individuals really faced on the frontier. Starvation, isolation, death, and so much more. Much has been made in reviews of the stories revealed about Wilder's experiences in Iowa (a chapter of her life that was completely left out of the books), stories that definitely torpedo any illusions that we might have about how idyllic life at the time was. 

The story that is told here is real. It is really real. Beautifully so, as it describes a life that was not only lived, but survived and celebrated. It tells a story of how important family and community and faith are to tackling and surviving the chaos of the realities of life (in fact, I would say that it is safe to say that without any one of these three, the family simply wouldn't have made it, at least not coming out on the other end as strong as they did). It is beautifully real because it is the truth of life, not the polished versions that we like to tell...but the honest truth of what makes us who we are. 

And what a beautiful thing that is. 

#abookaweekforlent week .5

Last week, I posted about my #abookaweekforlent personal Lenten discipline/project. This week, I am going to share with you about the first book that I read for it. Because of the lag time in the posts (the introductory post coming about during the first full week of Lent, which is actually the week that I read the second book), posts will come about two weeks after the week I read a book. So, the first book, which I read the week of Ash Wednesday, is being posted during the second full week of Lent. Clear as mud?

The main reason for this lag is that it gives me a little bit of time after I read a book to digest it and think about my reaction to it and develop more fully some thoughts about it. 

So, here we go.

 
20150304_092826.jpg

I picked this book up on a whim, actually, one evening as LittleMan and I were drifting aimlessly through the aisles of Target. There it sat on the shelf and, as much as they say that you can't judge a book by it's cover, the reality is that sometimes you buy a book just based off of the cover. And the cover drew me in. 

I took it home, and it sat for a few days, until, one evening, as I sat near LittleMan's bed as he drifted off to sleep, I started to read.

And, from the beginning, the story drew me in as much as the cover had. The book is told in two stories, the story of what happened in the house in the 1890's, and the story of what is happening in the house in the current day. It is also told from the perspective of a number of different characters, which the author does quick successfully. 

There's a few places where the author I think lost a few great opportunities to expand the narrative, trim the narrative, or a make a character more sympathetic. There's also a character who gets dropped out of the conclusion entirely, leading me to wonder where he went...as I had fully expected him to return to the house shortly, and his arrival would have changed the course of the story significantly. 

All that said, though...those are minor nitpicks. Because the real gift of this story is the underlying narrative of dealing with grief, and the lengths that people will go to in order to avoid losing a beloved person (particularly a child). It also delves deeply in the affect that grief has on us, our physical, mental, and emotional state, and how it can mess with our entire sense of reality, morality, and self.
Of course, I can't give away too much without giving up the whole plot of the novel, but I think that the very concept is thought provoking and worthy of a bit more reflection and thought....particularly the idea of how far we are willing to go to avoid dealing with loss and grief.

I am particularly intrigued by this aspect of the book because I believe that grief and loss is something that we, in our culture today, do not deal with very well. We have distanced ourselves from death quite significantly, and, in many ways, we have sanitized death to the point that it seems unreal. We do everything within our power to put off death, often to the point where I question if it is more about avoiding the loss than giving the person life. 
Children, in particular, are not exposed to death, or often even illness, so that the first time that they end up attending a funeral, often as an adult, they don't know what to do or how to react. 
The goal of living forever has become the ideal (or perhaps always has been), but we don't think about the cost of immortality. 

I think that, as hard as it is to lose someone (and trust me, I have experienced great personal loss in my own life), grief is compounded by our cultural avoidance of it...and, as a result, the pain and the emotional cost is growing. 
On the other hand, if we were able to work towards a healthier sense and understanding of death, dying, and what we believe and understand about it all...well, I think that it would lead us to, in general, a healthier grieving process and, overall, a healthier and happier outlook on our own lives.

What do you think?

Warning: This book does have paranormal themes and has a bit of violence, some involving children. Also, it describes the death of children. It's an important plot point, which the novel hinges on, but if it's something that acutely bothers you, you might want to give the book a pass. 

#abookaweekforlent

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” - Ferris Bueller

A friend and I were recently talking about the movies that were nominated to receive Oscars. We were talking about the movies that we had heard about and which ones we wanted to see. She asked me if I had seen any of them, and I found myself scoffing and saying, “I don’t get to watch movies anymore.” And then I realized that I had recently said the same thing about any number of different things that I love to do. I’ve said it as if these things were

“I don’t get to do that anymore.”
It’s code for “I’m too busy.”
It’s code for “I’ve got too much else to do.”
And it’s time for that to stop.

Our lives have become so incredibly busy. Between work, family, activities, and so on and so forth, it seems that we have something to do every moment of every day.
There are things and people that are pulling at us from all directions, demanding our time, our energy, our attention.
And as we go along, living in the midst of this incredible busyness, we start to drop things out of our lives that we see as things that we can do later...things that we later see as luxuries and not necessities. Things like reading, spending time with our significant other, coffee and conversation with friends...even prayer.

But the reality is that these very things that we drop out of our lives in order to make room for the busyness of our lives...they are the very things that we need in our lives in order to have the strength and the stamina to handle the busyness of our lives. They are things that take us outside of ourselves and feed our souls. They are the things that renew our spirits and expand our horizons.
We need these things in order to sustain our lives. We need these things in our lives in order to enjoy our lives.
We need these things.

And so, for me, I’ve decided to do something about it. For the season of Lent this year, I have chosen to take on a spiritual discipline of reading. I’ve set the bar pretty high, I know...I’ve challenged myself to read at least one book a week (fiction, non-fiction, whatever) in order to get me back in the rhythm of taking the time to read. I am hopeful that I will find myself renewed in many ways at the end of this 6 and a half week period of time.
Will you join me in the Lenten discipline of challenging yourself to engage in something that you love and that renews you? I pray that, if you do, you too may find yourself renewed and lifted up in many ways.

A Prayer for General Assembly

Every two years, the denomination of which Southern Heights Presbyterian Church is a member holds its national denominational gathering. This gathering, called General Assembly, is part family reunion (as Presbyterians from all over the nation gather in one place...it really is amazing to go and be a part of it and see people from around the country, some whom you haven’t seen for years, some whom you’ve never met, and feel an incredible connection to them), part intense worship (worship is held everyday, sometimes more than once, and the opening worship service (held on the first day of business) in particular is powerful and amazing), and part business meeting as the denomination comes together to discern the direction, mission, ministry, and stance of the larger church in numerous ways.

It is an amazing and wonderful experience, one which I hope that every Presbyterian has the opportunity to participate in either as commissioner (voting delegate), advisory delegate, staff, advocate, or observer.

As the General Assembly convenes, it is important to recognize and remember that this is not some distant body that is making pronouncements and decisions from afar and delivering them from on high, but it is the gathered body of the whole denomination discerning God’s will for the denomination together. We are a denomination that is both connectional and representative, and this is (hopefully) represented well in the way that things “go down” at General Assembly, from the way that overtures (items of business) are brought to the floor for discussion and the way that the business itself is conducted (I will defend to my dying day that the Holy Spirit can speak to us through our use of Parliamentary Procedure, if we allow it).

It is in that understanding of what happens at General Assembly that I offer my prayer for GA, which convenes its 221st session this weekend in Detroit.

I Pray:

  • That the body will be led to choose the moderator and vice-moderator to lead and guide and moderate the work of the General Assembly during this next week and also to be a representative and ambassador of the larger church over the next two years. (For more information on the three candidates who are standing for Moderator, please see Bruce Reyes-Chow’s (moderator of the 218th General Assembly) 10 questions of the moderator candidates.
  • That the commissioners and advisory delegates may all prayerfully discern all the decisions (difficult and easy...and there are plenty of both!!) that lay before them this week, and that they may seek God’s will above their own.
  • That the discussions, deliberations, and debates may be civil and helpful in every way.
  • That the members of the larger church remember that the General Assembly is not some distant body, but that we are all a part of the General Assembly of the PC(USA), and that the people who have gathered are our representatives in the voting of the business of the General Assembly. (And that we remember that no vote that changes the Book of Order is final until is passes a majority of the Presbyteries).
  • That we may hold fast to the idea of the Peace, Purity, and Unity of the church, and seek ways to work and live together in community even when we disagree on decisions that are made.
  • That the staff and volunteers of the Presbyterian Mission Agency, Office of the General Assembly, Committee on Local Arrangements, and all the other various committees and organizations that I have not mentioned that are working throughout this week be given strength, energy and stamina...and that they have a chance to rest and renew when this is all over. (Trust me, this is huge! I worked as very junior staff at two General Assemblies (2001 and 2002), and the staff and volunteers that make this huge event run are the unsung heroes of GA. If you’re there this week, be sure to say “Thank you”. It means a whole lot!)

May these this all be my prayer.

May the God of Grace be with the gathered manifestation of the PC(USA) in Detroit this week.

Amen.

 

PS. For anyone interested in the business facing General Assembly this week, you can check out PCBiz (or the iOS app with the same name!), the official clearinghouse for all information regarding the business of the assembly (including votes!) There’s also primers on many of the “big” issues (Divestment, Middle East, Synods, Marriage, etc) that can be found here. Please remember, though, that there are several other important items being discussed that don't have the "wow" factor that has drawn attention to the ones listed in the primers.

PPS. If you really want to geek out, you can check out the livestream of the worship services and plenary sessions.

PPPS. You can also talk to me about the business before the assembly. I’d love to chat about the various items of business with you!!!


**Thoughts published here are mine and mine alone, and may or may not represent the thoughts or opinions of Southern Heights Presbyterian Church, Homestead Presbytery, Synod of Lakes and Prairies, or the Presbyterian Church (USA)**

**Comments will be moderated for civility. Remember to discuss ideas, and not people...and never type anything here that you wouldn't say to your grandmother**



We're All A Little Weird

Ah...the 90's...I thought it was a good look. ;-)

Ah...the 90's...I thought it was a good look. ;-)

This blog posting was inspired by the theme of this year's Vacation Bible School and what we're teaching our kids about God's love for all of God's children...

Take a look at the picture on the right...That's me at 17, taken during the fall semester of my Senior year in High School as part of a special spread in the yearbook.

I had transferred schools to this one a little over a year before this picture was taken, and was pretty sure that I was invisible. I had my friends, don’t get me wrong, but I was invisible in the sense that I was one small fish in a great big fish pond, full of other fish who were much cooler, much more popular, and much more...everything...than I was. Plus, they had all been together for years before I arrived on the scene.
I was a nobody, at best. Easily ignored, blending into the background, moving on the outside of the circles and cliques in school.
And I kind of liked it that way. I was just coming out on the other side of a pretty bad bought of bullying, wherein my daily life was tormented by a girl who used to be my friend, so being an invisible nobody was a good thing. I could be who I was, authentically me, and not worry about trying to fit in or be who or how other people expected me to be.
And so I did my own thing and I was my own person...and I didn’t worry much about what other people thought or said about me (because I was mostly convinced that they didn’t).
So, you can imagine my surprise when the results of the Senior Superlatives Survey came out (you know, that survey of sorts that goes into the Senior section of the high school yearbook, where the Senior class votes on who they think is going to be the most successful, who is the prettiest, who is going to be the first married...that sort of thing), and I found that I had been “honored” with a Superlative.
Take a look at the caption from the next page of the yearbook, shall we?. 

Forever immortalized in the yearbook...

Forever immortalized in the yearbook...

Yup...that’s me...
Weirdest.

Weirdest.
I remember thinking, “Well, I guess I’m not invisible! I must have made some sort of an impression on the rest of my class.” It was an odd point of pride, I think, to be noticed when I thought that I was so invisible.
But, at the same time, I couldn’t help but feel that it was some kind of insult. A slap in the face.
Weirdest.
Like, “Ooh, look, there’s Leanne...she’s so weeeirrrrd!”

In our culture and society, “weird” is a term that usually is intended to convey something quite negative. “Normal” is good, “extraordinary” (“normal” with a gold star) is better...“weird” is quite bad. If something is “weird” then it is bizarre, freakish, so strange and out of the ordinary that it’s to be disdained and set aside.

Suddenly, I did care about what people thought about me. A whole lot.
I wondered and worried and fretted: Why did they think I was weird? Was it the way that I dressed? Was it the way that I acted? Was it the way that I talked or thought or...What was it about me that was so incredibly weird that I was being held up as the weirdest girl in the senior class?
I stopped being so carefree about being authentically me, and went out of my way to prove to people (and myself) that I didn’t care what they thought about me by being an exaggerated caricature of me (read: I got even weirder). It was almost like I was saying to the world, “You think I’m weird? I’ll show you weird,” putting up a front so that I got to be classified as “weird” on my own terms, instead of it being a label slapped on me by others.

It took me a long time to get over it, to pull back the act and start being me again. But, today, the Leanne that you see is the Leanne that I am. No acts, no pretending, no masks, no pretentions. Just me. Authentically me.

And, nearly 20 years later, I’m still weird. It’s true. I am. I am weird.
But you know what? It’s not just me.
You’re weird.
He’s weird.
She’s weird...
We’re all a little weird.

And that’s okay...because, despite what my high school self thought, and despite how our society deems it and terms it, I believe that being weird just means being different in some way. Having something about you that doesn’t fit the “norm” that our culture or society sets out. And the flat out truth is that no matter what, there is something about you that is “weird”. That doesn’t “fit.”
You’re “weird” if you’re a high school kid who listens to old-school jazz.
You’re “weird” if you’re a college student who gets up early on Sunday mornings to go to church.
You’re “weird” if you’re a stay-at-home-dad who takes the kids to the zoo while mom is at the office; you’re “weird” if you’re that mom at the office while dad is at the zoo with the kids.
You’re “weird” if you are a boy who is a ballet dancer or a girl who plays football.
You’re “weird” if you don’t want to get married, or if you do but don’t want to have kids, or if you do and want to have many, many kids.

You’re “weird” if you look, dress, walk, talk, dance, think, act different than what our society, culture, or peer group tells us is how we should.

You’re weird.
And that’s okay...because we are who God created us to be, differences, even weirdness, and all.

In the first story of creation, found in Genesis 1, we are told that, when God created human beings, God created them in God’s own image and likeness. And when God looked at the human beings that were created, God saw that we were very good.
More than that, the Psalmist writes in Psalm 139 that God not only created us and built us into who we are and that we are “wonderfully and fearfully made” (v.14), but that God is intimately acquainted with our everyday lives and actions (v.3), with us and in us in all that we do (and that, perhaps, God has foreseen/predestined what we are going to do...but I’ll leave that discussion for another time).

And Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 12 that each of us is gifted with different gifts and talents and abilities and skills, activated by the Spirit for the common good as the Spirit chooses (vv.4-7,11).

Time and again, throughout scripture, we are told that God made us as beautiful reflections of God’s image and likeness in this world, that we are gifted and commissioned by God through the Spirit to do the tasks and the work that God calls us to, and that God is with us and in us in our daily journeys and works and lives...
If we believe in that, how can being “weird” be anything but being who God has called, sent, and ordained us to be in this world for God’s purpose?

I’m glad to be weird, because I am glad to be who God created me to be. Being weird has enabled me to do the things that I have been called to in this world, in my work and in my relationships with others. Being weird has allowed me to be open to seeing and embracing when others don’t fit the norms and boxes of this world, and instead see them as God sees them.
I am glad to be weird, because I am glad to be who God created me to be.

I hope that you embrace who God has made you to be, too, weirdness and all, you beautiful, wonderful, amazing image of God’s likeness in this world, you.


**Thoughts published here are mine and mine alone, and may or may not represent the thoughts or opinions of Southern Heights Presbyterian Church, Homestead Presbytery, Synod of Lakes and Prairies, or the Presbyterian Church (USA)**

**Comments will be moderated for civility. Remember to discuss ideas, and not people...and never type anything here that you wouldn't say to your grandmother**


Thoughts on a Presbytery

Every year, it is the responsibility of the local church to provide training for those who are called to serve as officers on the boards of the church. This training is to provide a framework of understanding of the ministries of those offices and boards, and to set us all in the right direction as we seek to serve our churches.
This training varies widely from church to church, ranging from cursory (“Here, read the Book of Order”) to intense (multiple weeks of several hour long lectures detailing the work of the church). Sometimes, a church doesn’t feel like it has the resources available to provide adequate training for its officers, and so does nothing at all.

Out of a desire to provide in depth, yet not cumbersome or boring, training for our officers, four churches from the area partnered together to sponsor a joint training event, a day where we could come together to talk about what it means to serve the church through the ministries of Session and Deacons, and discuss ways and means to go about it. Along the way, leadership from these four churches (SHPC, Fourth-Lincoln, Eastridge, and First-Nebraska City) were joined in the planning by leadership from several other churches (including Good Shepherd and Heritage) and Homestead Presbytery as we worked together to provide a quality training event that would enrich and embolden those who were called to serve in these specific ways.
And so, on January 11th, over 85 Deacons, Ruling Elders and Teaching Elders from around Homestead Presbytery (with some additional leadership from West Virginia!) came together at Southern Heights for the First Annual Homestead Presbytery Officer Training.
The day was a great celebration of ministry and community, as we gathered around tables, discussed and discerned how God was calling us to serve our individual churches through the ministries and the work of our offices.

This event, I believe, is a prime example of exactly what a Presbytery is all about.
Most often, when we think about “Presbytery”, we think about the quarterly meetings of commissioners who gather together to debate and discuss and vote on business and polity matters. Frequently, when we think about “Presbytery”, we think about the staff and the structure of our polity.
But, a Presbytery is more than meetings and committees. It is more than staff and polity.
A Presbytery is people.
More specifically, a Presbytery is the collection of people, as represented by the individual Presbyterian churches in a region, who all come together to share in a common, collaborative ministry. A ministry that we cannot accomplish on our own, but that we can work together to build and create into something amazing in our area.
A ministry that manifests itself in ways like a joint training event, where officers from churches across the region are strengthened in their ability to engage in ministry in their own community. A ministry that manifests itself in ways like a commonly held camp, where children, youth, and even adults, can come together to learn and grow in faith, love, and knowledge of God. A ministry that manifests itself in ways like financial and structural support of churches of all sizes, in whatever situation they find themselves in, so that they can be a great witness to Christ’s love in their own unique and amazing ways. A ministry that manifests itself in the building up and supporting of the work and the ministries of individual churches.

I am proud to be a part of a church structure which allows for, and encourages, this kind of shared ministry. I am honored to be able to work in collaboration with our sisters and brothers across the Presbytery to accomplish great things. And I am excited for the collective support that we give to the work of the Presbytery and for the collective support that engages and encourages us in the things that we are doing here at Southern Heights.


**Thoughts published here are mine and mine alone, and may or may not represent the thoughts or opinions of Southern Heights Presbyterian Church, Homestead Presbytery, Synod of Lakes and Prairies, or the Presbyterian Church (USA)**

**Comments will be moderated for civility. Remember to discuss ideas, and not people...and never type anything here that you wouldn't say to your grandmother**


New Year, New Resolutions

It’s an annual tradition.

Every year, on December 31st, we make a list of resolutions, things that we promise ourselves or others for the coming year. We start out with lofty goals and high hopes, thinking that this year, yes this year!, will be the year that we change our lives and start fresh. We list out the things that we will and will not do...and, then every year, often as early as January 2nd, we feel like huge failures because we have ate the second slice of pie, not yet made it to the gym, caved and had the cigarette.

We give up, give in, shrug our shoulders and think...well, maybe next year.

Yes, I think that it is safe to say that the rise and fall of our New Year’s Resolutions is a time honored and well worn tradition.

But what if we thought about our New Year’s Resolutions differently? What if, instead of listing out the things that we will and won’t do, we listed the ways that we would strive to be? What if it was truly about changing our lives, instead of just our habits and patterns?

What if we simply resolved to laugh more, love fearlessly, give unconditionally? To care for ourselves the way that we care for others, and vice versa? To give ourselves the courage to dream and to dare and the grace when we make mistakes?

What would that look like? How would it, could it, change our lives?

 

This New Year, I invite you to join me on a journey of intentional resolutions to change our lives for the good. Join me in making resolutions of ways of being, as we look to live into who and what God has called us to be.


And may God Bless you, deeply and fully, in and into this New Year!


**Thoughts published here are mine and mine alone, and may or may not represent the thoughts or opinions of Southern Heights Presbyterian Church, Homestead Presbytery, Synod of Lakes and Prairies, or the Presbyterian Church (USA)**

**Comments will be moderated for civility. Remember to discuss ideas, and not people...and never type anything here that you wouldn't say to your grandmother**


Our Call

To be crossposted on the Food Forest Blog. There's some exciting conversations happening over there...

My family and I moved to Lincoln just under a year ago as I received the call to serve Southern Heights Presbyterian Church (SHPC) at the corner of 40th and Old Cheney Road.

When I arrived, I was excited to learn about this innovative collaboration between SHPC, Community CROPS and Nature Explore as the three organizations joined together to create something new and exciting for the community.

Since that time, as I talk with people throughout the region and nation about what it is that we are doing on the South two acres of our property, the question inevitably is asked, “Why are you doing this?” The question is never asked negatively, but honestly out of curiosity, as it is something that is unknown to most communities and they want to know why it is that a church and a pastor would invest time, energy, land and resources to such a project.

My response simply is, “It’s what we’re called to do.”

And I truly believe that.

In a future post, I will share why I, personally, feel called to this work...but today, I feel that it is important for me to stress that it’s not just me, but the community of SHPC that believes this.

We believe that we are called by God to care for the great creation that God has given us. And, as a result, we are active and proactive in our conservation efforts. We work to reduce our consumption, waste and energy usage. We use post consumer recycled products where we can, and where we can’t, we make sure that what we do use is recyclable or biodegradable. We invest in sustainable growing efforts around the globe, and we support and endorse the the “Fair Trade” industry.

We also believe that we are called, through the teachings of Christ, to care for people in a number of ways, one of which is to feed those who are hungry. We do this in a number of different ways, including (but not limited to) by supporting the work of the Community Food Pantry financially and through donations of food and by cooking and serving meals at The Gathering Place on a regular basis.

As people of faith, we believe that we are called to live out those callings (and more) in all that we do: in our worship, in our work and in our play, in our thoughts, our words, and our deeds.

And so, when we were given the chance to engage these two callings (care of creation and care of people through food) in one project? It seemed the perfect opportunity to live out what we feel called to, and engaging in and supporting the work of Food Forest is one way that we strive to do so.

I am so glad that you are joining us in on this journey as we work together, each for our own reasons, to care for and nurture creation and to share food with our neighbors and community.

 


**Thoughts published here are mine and mine alone, and may or may not represent the thoughts or opinions of Southern Heights Presbyterian Church, Homestead Presbytery, Synod of Lakes and Prairies, or the Presbyterian Church (USA)**

**Comments will be moderated for civility. Remember to discuss ideas, and not people...and never type anything here that you wouldn't say to your grandmother**


“He has told you, human one, what is good and what the Lord requires from you: to do justice, embrace faithful love, and walk humbly with your God.” — Micah 6:8 CEB