Ministry in Context

Director's Word: Being Light of the World

It is not that hard, after all, to know what God is doing in the world. God is loving it. And all I have to do to see what God is doing loving the world is to talk to our interns from Luther Seminary. In my columns this spring, I’m highlighting how our interns and their congregations are getting involved in what God is doing in the world. This month, I’ve talked to Emmy Kegler, Intern at Light of the World in Apple Valley MN.

Two intertwining aspects of Emmy’s internship caught

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Director's Word: On Mission

On the church’s to-do list, mission is often the focus of one committee, a pull-down tab on the church website. Often, mission is understood as something some of “us” take up as a way to help “others”—those in need far away from our home and church.  This is a traditional understanding of mission, one that arose during a time when the assumption was that everyone nearby is already Christian. While it is a view of mission motivating untold acts of kindness

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Director's Word

In January's column, I wrote about how the story of Jesus’ incarnation shared in the Christmas Eve service reminded me to lift my eyes from focus on the church to notice God’s love for the world.

God so loved the world -- John's Gospel tells us -- that God became flesh and dwelt among us, full of grace and truth (1:14).

I am committed to trying to lift up ways God is at work loving the world, and to notice where our staff, students, and partner congregations are getting involved in

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Director's Word: Getting Involved in What God is Doing

Chris Scharen I had a revelation Christmas Eve. Yes, yes, I know. Jesus was born in Bethlehem. It's not that. It was during the 10:30 service, near the end, at the part where the lights go down and we all begin to light individual candles, one by one. For liturgical reasons I’ll spare you at the moment, at this juncture of the service we read a second Gospel lesson, here from the first chapter of John’s gospel. It fits here in a way, with all the talk of light shining in the darkness.

So what was

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Director's Word: O Come, O Come Emmanuel

A Family Practice

Our family is a “sit at the table together” family. As Lutheran Christians, we own the fact that we are often thought of as the branch of Christians ‘prone to excessive singing,’ as one Episcopalian friend puts it. And our family is no exception. Rarely a day goes by that we don’t join in song at breakfast and dinner, giving thanks to God for good gifts and recalling our connection and duty to those who scrap by with little or nothing. We have small

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Director's Word

Not Quite a Pastor

A number of conversations--both with interns finishing and beginning their experience--pushed me to write down some questions about how we negotiate the tensions around interns presiding at the sacraments. I am increasingly sure we’re unhelpfully confused on this issue, and I’d like to just try out my thinking for your deliberation and response. 

 

First, two stories about how this came to the front burner for me. One intern, just getting started, wrote

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Director's Word

I've been praying for and thinking about the many new students headed out into various ministry contexts. Of course, I'm thinking of interns, supervisors, lay committees, and congregations getting started together just now. Also, I think of Teaching Congregation students, new to Luther and to theological education, trying to find a learning context to accompany them during years of classwork. 

Many of you, dear readers, are NOT connected to a new internship. You might be tempted to skip this

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Director's Word

This month I have a specific invitation to interns who will be returning to campus at Luther Seminary. Over the past few years we've developed a pattern of welcoming returning interns by listening to your stories (and inviting you to listen to each other's stories) about internship. This year we'll do this on Wednesday, September 4, from 1:30-5:00 p.m .

As we said in an email to you earlier this summer, we know the return to campus can be rough. We know you've grown in your leadership, and have lived

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Director's Word

As we turn to summer, and all the changes the turn of the seasons offer, this beautiful reflection by poet Mary Oliver encourages us to linger, to pay attention, and to wonder what God would have us do with our one wild and precious life!

The Summer Day
by Mary Oliver

Who made the world?
Who made the swan, and the black bear?
Who made the grasshopper?
This grasshopper, I mean -
the one who has flung herself out of the grass,
the one who is eating sugar out of my hand,
who is moving her jaws back and forth

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Director's Word

One of my top priorities as I get started as Director of Contextual Learning is listening to and learning from the congregations and pastors we partner with in this enterprise. Just last week, I had the opportunity to visit three very different congregations.

On Monday I was hosted by Pr. Kristine Carlson at Christ Church Lutheran in Minneapolis where Will Starkweather serves as Vicar (a common term for intern pastors in former Missouri Synod churches). A gracious host, Pr. Carlson told me about

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