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Pieces of Me

Disclaimer: There are many other faith traditions not mentioned here. These are just the ones I’ve experienced in my life so far.

The United Methodist Church has taught me to be open and accepting. The sense of community on a global, national and local level is engaging. Every church is connected to the others through hundreds of networks, agencies, Facebook pages, websites and prayer. That enables a level of social justice and action that is unparalleled.

The Baptist church has taught me how important it is to define what I believe. I love asking questions, doubting God at times and comfortable that I’ll never have all the answers. But it’s also important to verbalize and communicate the things I do believe. I’ve learned the value of spending quiet time with God each day.

Non-denominational churches have taught me its okay to break the rules sometimes. It’s humbling to depend on God for everything, especially as a new faith community is planted. Their creative innovation and dynamic preaching always impacts me.

The Orthodox Church has taught me dedication and consistency.

The Pentecostal church has taught me to look beyond their sometimes unusual behavior to see people truly touched by the presence of the Holy Spirit. When I anticipate and expect the Holy Spirit to show up, I’m taken to an entirely new level of communion with God.

The United Church of Christ has taught me the deep human value of full acceptance and unconditional love.

The Emergent movement has taught me that we need to intentionally rethink everything we do.

The Seeker movement has taught me how important it is for life-long church members to understand where a person new to faith is coming from.

Judaism has taught me the worth of telling your story and knowing your heritage.

These experiences have and will to continue to add a much deeper, fuller expression to my faith. And instead of competition and comparison, I want to believe we need every single expression of faith. We need all kinds of churches to connect with all kinds of people.

Same goes for music & worship styles.

What faith traditions have shaped you?


Most Read

Why Some Experienced Clergy (and Lay People) Have a Hard Time When Younger Clergy Take Renewal Leave

This is a guest post from my very own dad! He's a United Methodist pastor serving in Bend, Oregon. I enjoy chatting church leadership with my dad and it's fascinating to see how our generational differences bring different perspectives to our calling as pastor. We need each generation to walk with each other as we figure it out in this new world. We've been reflecting lately as I finished up a renewal leave and he prepares to retire this June. 
By David Beckett
I fall into the category of experienced clergy which is a polite way of saying I am old. I’ve been pastoring for nearly 40 years. When I was a young pastor my role models were mostly white males who presented an image of success that equated with dedication, overwork, and sacrifice. My first senior pastor talked about the 20 hr/wk he invested in sermon preparation. And he expected his staff to work beyond their stated hours. During those three years of full time seminary and a large youth group I put in up to 80 hr/…

Why pastors need collaboration, not competition

There's competition in every industry. Some get promoted over others. Some work incredibly hard but their gifts go unnoticed. Others do good work and people assume they're fine but underneath, they feel like they could never be honest about how hard life is in this season. People spend more energy figuring out how they measure up in a work culture instead of doing the actual work.

Competition itself implies there are two sides.

I remember field days at my elementary school in Alaska. The half-frozen spring ground was covered with clumps of dirty gray snow. Jackets were thrown on the ground as the fourth graders tried to beat the fifth graders at tug of war. Rope burns were shrugged off as sweat dripped down our young faces. We were determined to beat those fifth graders. Our pride was on the line.

Whether you're a fourth grader or an ad manager at a fancy marketing agency or a senator trying out for attorney general, competition runs deep in our DNA.

We want to be the bes…

99 sheep

Reading Matthew 18:10-14 on this cloudy Anchorage summer morning. Parable of the Lost Sheep. A guy owns 100 sheep. They belong to him. These sheep are loyal and depend on their owner for everything. But then one wanders away. I wonder if this sheep wandered on purpose or accident?

The guy leaves the 99 sheep grazing on the hillside to look for the sheep who got lost. One word in verse 13 jumped out to me. "Andifhe finds [the sheep]...he is happier about that one sheep than about the 99 that did no wander off." IF he finds it. This guy who owns the sheep probably knows the hillside very well and knows his sheep's behavioral patterns. But he may not find this lost sheep. 

When someone wanders off, it's up to them if they want to get found. 

When it comes to our connection to God, some of us may wander on accident. Or on purpose. 

We wait for someone to rescue us. Bring us back. Make it okay. But we have to turn towards the one rescuing us. God will leave the other 99 sheep…