AMERICA the home of the free! All people are equal! Justice for All! The leader of the World!
My eighth grade English class was a life changer for me. My English teacher told us that we were black and the white man viewed us as low class and ignorant. She told us that we were not ignorant and we had the ability to be great leaders, business owners, and even President of the United States of America. I have shared this with my Co-Horts in previous chats. That class year was the pivotal point in my life that sparked my need to get what I desired from this world. So I set my mind to be the first Negro to attend a White high school near my area. Well, I was among the second group of Negros to attend, because integration took effect the year before my high school year. I was aware of the Civil Rights Movement with Dr. Martin Luther King and the Black Panther Movement. My Founding Pastor, Rev. Dr. William A. Lawson, was involved with King and ministered to the Black Panthers. (more…)
Starting Point (Personal Interests)
As a child, and certainly into early adulthood, I was possessed of a decided lack of tolerance for ambiguity:
- I distinctly remember my mother often giving me what she called ‘advance organizers’, verbal cues about what was going to happen in the future, so that I could be adequately prepared for whatever was coming next, good or bad.
- In the Dr’s office, I could never stand to look away when I was about to get a shot – like they always tell children to do – not knowing exactly when the pinch of the needle was coming was far worse than the pinch itself. (this is still true!)
- Like many in my generation, the Star Wars saga had a formational place in my childhood: I had a viscerally negative reaction to the Obi-wan Kenobi telling Luke Skywalker in The Empire Strikes Back that what he had toll him about Darth Vader killing his father was ‘True, from a certain point of view’. I remember this still, because I had such a difficult time reconciling what, in my view at the time, was a clear lie to Luke, with my love and respect for Obi-Wan….. ‘How could he lie?’ I really didn’t understand.
- I was a serious rule-follower as a child and even as a teenager, not mostly because I was so good or morally upright, but because it was physically uncomfortable for me to break the rules. (more…)
The “Cape Town Advance” was a requirement for students in Portland Seminary’s Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and Global Perspectives program. A group of more than 60 gathered together in South Africa for a wide variety of cross-cultural experiences and seminars.
Photography is a powerful communication tool. Below are 19 black and white images that are a window into the 2017 Cape Town Advance. (more…)
Chip Stapleton is many things: a husband, a father, a pastor, a coach, a collaborator and an encourager. A native of Western Pennsylvania, he has lived with his wife, Traci, in Connecticut, Pennsylvania, Wisconsin, North Carolina, and for the past 7+ years have lived, with their 4 boys (Charlie, Jack, Ian & Henry) in Mansfield, MA where he is the pastor of the Good Shepherd Presbyterian Church.
In God’s good Kingdom, some people minister like trees, long-standing, rooted in a community. They embody words of Wendell Berry, “stay years if you would know… the genius of the place.” Others, however, are called to go. Katy is one of those pilgrims. A global nomad, Katy grew up as a fifth generation Colorado native, attended college and seminary and was ordained in Tennessee, met and married a guy from Pennsylvania, ministered for ten years and birthed a child in Kenya, served as a children’s pastor in a small church in Kentucky, and currently ministers to college students in a university library in Orange County, California, where she’s also the neighborhood engagement team leader for her local church. She is preparing to make another move this summer; this time to the heart of America, Indianapolis, and hoping to root long-term there. She and her husband, Kip, have two delightful boys, a college sophomore and high school sophomore. (more…)
‘My First Sermon’ (above) by Sir John Everett Millais
When we happened upon the Guildhall Art Gallery during a break one afternoon from our meetings in London – ‘happening upon’ an gallery containing both famous works of Art and an Roman archaeological site, is the kind of thing that you see in movies or hear in other people’s stories, but it really happened to us this day – I was immediately drawn to the above painting, My First Sermon by Sir John Everett Millais.
As I wandered around London, suitcase in tow, sleep deprived and trying to find my hotel, I was intrigued by the culture. In my wanderings: I wondered at the homes crammed together, marveled at the ancient architecture, and bantered with the 4 taxi drivers who encouraged me to walk instead of taxi since it was “just around the corner.”
When I finally got to the hotel, my roommate, Mary, and I became engaged in a lively discussion about women in church leadership, which ironically we were both studying for our dissertation. As I met the rest of the team, I was pleasantly surprised by the friendliness and comradery of the leaders and my teammates. (more…)
“Reflection in its highest form is an oasis from a world filled with noises, voices, colors and distractions.”
I’ll begin by saying that the advance was a profound and life-changing experience. The lectures were all excellent. Steve Chalk’s concept of being embedded into a community is a compelling idea especially as it relates to the field of church planting. Additionally, Jeremy Crossly exemplified reaching a particular demographic; David Male encouraged that it is possible to work across denominational borders and Dr. Mary Kate Morris’ image of the hand on the door step stirred my heart. It was Dr. Keith Ward’s lecture—actually one small section—that inspired me to look more closely at the signs of life without color and the usual background noises. It is with this in mind that I made my visual ethnographic presentation—Signs of Life. (more…)
As she stepped through the doorway onto the Virgin Atlantic plane, she imagined crossing the wardrobe threshold into Narnia. While she’d travelled internationally, and even lived overseas, she’d never flown across the sea by herself. What was she doing? she asked herself. Why did she dare embark on this adventure? Should she grab a fur coat as she walked through the wardrobe into the forest, as she moved down the aisle to find seat 43E?
Moving into a temporary time and place, especially for the purpose of re-creation, is known as liminality. Explored by Victor Turner in the 1960s, liminality is a threshold, a place of crossing over. Liminality is that in-between place, a time/place of transition; the place between departure and arrival. Liminal is what happens during camps or retreats (or Advances!), as we’re pulled out of ordinary routines into something temporarily disruptive, in order to return changed to our place. Liminality is transformative rituals– baptisms, weddings, which move us from one reality to a new reality.
In the midst of political turmoil, religious upheaval and economic uncertainty, I’m brought before the presence of God – I’m brought to a place of identity – a place of surrender. As the world spins and my generation convenes on the steps of cathedrals and coffee shops, I’m challenged to lean into the cries of my culture and understand their heartbeat. Steven Bevans, author of Models of Contextual Theology, reveals, “Christianity, if it is to be faithful to its deepest roots and to its most basic instinct, must continue God’s incarnation in Jesus by becoming contextual.” In the midst of societal degeneration, leadership deterioration and church failure, I have been challenged to be the contextual incarnation of Christ. (more…)
Anticipation. Excitement. Trepidation. Anxiety. These are a few of the things I felt when I boarded the plane headed to London to join my cohort of 10, two previous cohorts, professors, administrators, and our lead mentor for the Doctor of Ministry in Leadership and Global Perspectives England Advance 2016. That’s a huge title, isn’t it? Normally I shorten it to DMin LGP Advance 2016, which makes it a little easier to set aside the future and compartmentalize why we traveled to places like London and Oxford just a few weeks into our program. (more…)
We often say that life goes by too quickly. This past year has been a challenge in terms of time and capacity, but it is also an opportunity for growth and discovery. We all enter any program of study to move forward in our life journey. Most of us entered this doctoral journey not knowing how the program would shape us, but understanding that change would be involved. When I began the program, I knew that the Lord was moving in my life and the life of my family. One of my favorite new words that I learned this year is “liminal,” which indicates the state of transition or being both in the old realm and at the threshold of something new. I know that my doctoral journey is shaping and sharpening me, and I can see that the Lord is molding my skills and knowledge for His work. (more…)
He sees every person’s heart and even understands why we live the way we do. El-Roi (You-Are-The-God-Who-Sees)
“The Lord looks from heaven; he sees all the sons of men; from His dwelling place He looks out on all the inhabitants of the earth, He who fashions the hearts of them all, He who understands all their works” (Psalm 33: 13-15). (more…)
“Anticipation” is rather healthy word to describe embarking on a DMin. “Guarded Anticipation” is more descriptive of the reality of beginning a DMin at a school that you have never visited in person but only spoken to a few of the professors. “Ecstatic Anticipation” is present reality after one year of being at George Fox Seminary and a part of the LGP6 cohort.
Every time you change institutions you have to “feel out” what the expectations for you as a student and what are the expectations of the staff back to the student. Will this be experience be strictly academic and sterile or will it seek to embrace a holistic approach to the whole person – spiritually, emotionally, relationally, and educationally? (more…)