Rector’s Sabbatical Blog

Coming & Going

I’m on a puddle-jumper flight from Houston to Tulsa. The ceiling on this aircraft is about one inch taller than I am so I am thankful to have shrunk an inch in these later years, otherwise I wouldn’t fit. Air travel is an exercise in faith and trust. We don’t know who the pilot is. We don’t know the mechanics who worked on the plane. We don’t know all the ground support for takeoff and landing. But we trust the system and to some extent, we have faith in the system. 

When we board an aircraft, we don’t demand to see the pilot’s credentials. “Prove to me that you have 10,000 hours IFR multi-engine experience.” We don’t insist that all the mechanics have clean records and up to date training. Yet many people today require the same kind of proof for the existence of God. To me, this is both ironic and sad. 


From the Heart

I attended two other churches the first two weeks away and last weekend I went fishing with my brother and best friend in Missouri. Stopping by church this week, I saw B. J., Carol and Ken. I have run into other parish members in other venues too. I miss everyone. Sundays just aren’t the same.

Seminary training is still infected with the 1970s concept of “professionalism” and the idea of the minister as a quasi-therapist. In this approach, the clergy is to maintain a professional distance from members of the parish. While I acknowledge the importance of professional boundaries, and I strive to maintain them, it seems that such an approach is simply not Christ-like.



I have now attended two non-denominational churches. The first thing I learned was never to wear a hearing aid. I can hear the rock band perfectly well with cotton stuffed in my ear and the sermon is perfectly audible without any sound absorbing material or personal amplification. The first experience consisted of 30 minutes of “contemporary” music followed by 90 minutes of “the message.” The second time at a large church on the southbound side of the Broken Arrow expressway, the timeframe was 20 minutes of music, 5 minute giving appeal and 40 minutes of the message.

The lyrics of the music reminded me of the gloss about country music; you know, “my girlfriend left me, my pickup ran out of gas and my dog died…” Here is the basis for lyrics in the music I have experienced to date, “I was a loser, Jesus died for me, now I’m a winner…” Wrap these around a few Bible verses, set to music in 4:4 time with four chord progression in a major key, add thumping bass and drums, and voilà, you have music that will earn the writer a mansion just down the road from my house. Forget mansions in heaven. Earth mansions are better.

Once you accept that there is a power out there greater than ourselves, let’s call it “God” for now, then the fundamental question is “Why are we here?”