Since my last posting, a lot has been going on; it's been a while since that last posting, definitely. What have I been up to? The week of Jan. 21st, I spent a week in St. Louis at Covenant Seminary working on my doctoral work. On Jan. 15th, I submitted my fall project which consisted of 60 pages and a two-page bibliography. The project was nearly all-consuming this last fall and explored the virtues of Loyalty and Affection in the writings of Wendell Berry. Also, in the project, I interviewed eight of my pastor friends in Lincoln who have served a combined total of 158 years in pastoral work (each in one place). The question I asked these eight men was what has held them in their places of service for as long as they have been. The general themes from the interviews revolved around: 1) having faithful and loyal friends with whom to do ministry; 2) collaborative work, a sense that "we are in this together" and we are attacking problems together; and 3) that the work is united around a sense of a greater purpose and mission. These were described as the primary "human factors" that held these pastors in their local church settings for as long as they had been in those places. My hope was that in identifying these "factors," that all Christ followers would have a deeper sense of what meaningful work, characterized by excellence, faithfulness and relative longevity in their workplaces, might look like for Christians. In other words, as a fellow pastor with these men, my commitment was to help equip God's people to seeing their lives as being shaped by "calling" to all that we put our hands to.
Well, the project was wonderful and full of meaning and joy, but also it took a lot out of me! So I've laid off the blogging a bit, also I've taken some time off from my doctoral work, hoping to give it a little rest as I have a very full spring. By June when I travel to my next doctoral co-hort meeting in Chicago, hopefully I will have been able to ramp up some by then. In the meantime, from time to time, I've been asked to blog on the ministry site, The Washington Institute, of one of my doctoral mentors Steven Garber. I'm excited about this opportunity and look forward to expanding my writing ministry some.