Wednesday, June 25, 2008

A Peek at my Week

Even though Monday was my day off, I made a appointment to visit with the principal of our local middle school late Monday afternoon. I brought a member of my congregation; we're doing research for a community forum this fall on "Closing the Achievement Gap." Our community has become much more economically, culturally and racially diverse in the last few years; we have Hispanic students, African American students, African students (some from Somalia); Asian students. The diversity has brought both strengths and challenges to our community.

We were very impressed by our middle school principal, an African American man who grew up in Tennessee and came to our area as a teenager. I noticed the "Negro League" baseball jersey he was wearing right away, and complimented him on it. He is committed to fighting institutional racism in education as well as educating families to take responsibility for their education (there's that both/and that I am so fond of.) He has a passion for education, and for helping at-risk kids. Like us, he believes "all kids are our kids".

Yesterday I spent the morning in a staff meeting; the whole staff then helped our children's ministry coordinator clean up after Vacation Bible School. Later on I took some study materials and went to our local bookstore/coffee shop to study and get a little ahead on my sermons for July 6th and 13th. I also bought a large-print Bible. And in the evening I met with a couple to be married in August.

This afternoon I visited a shut-in that I have known for four years, ever since she and her husband moved back here from Arizona. Her husband died last December. She is legally blind, but has received one of those reading machines, so she had requested that I pick up a Bible for her, so that she could participate more fully in a Bible study she has been attending.

She was so excited when she saw the Bible. She just raved and raved about it, and also about the wonderful Bible study she has been attending. She is so excited that she will be able to read the Bible more often now. I wish I could bottle her excitement and pour it over many more people. What is it that has made her not only love the Word, but also love to read and study it?

Our church recently took the Natural Church Development inventory. The good news was: our highest category was Empowering Leadership. We also had pretty high marks in Inspiring Worship. The bad news was: our lowest category was Passionate Spirituality. In the mind of the inventory-writers, passionate spirituality includes regular time for prayer and Bible study. So, right now I'm thinking: how do we create more people like my widow, who could hardly wait to receive her Bible today?

Achievement gap picture from here.


Barbara B. said...

I've just been catching up with your blog... You've been BUSY!

Ruth Hull Chatlien said...

That sounds like a tough question to tackle. I think people have to see that it makes a difference but their too busy to find out.

Rev SS said...

If/when you figure out how to do that, you can make a mint and retire, by sharing the info!

Mrs. M said...

I love your day. Thanks for posting about it... makes me excited for the future just to read it.

Ivy said...

Our church also took the NCD survey and our lowest factor too was passionate spirituality. We were told that is the most common for New England ELCA churches.

Diane said...

Ivy -- that appears to be the case for most Lutheran Churches, which is sad, I think. We often get pretty good marks in worship, but people don't feel empowered to express that in Bible reading and prayer in their daily lives.

One thing: I think if my Bag Lunch Bible study group took the test, they would get high marks in Passionate spirituality. Not sure about that, but I suspect it.

FranIAm said...

What a beautiful post.

God bless you with all of your work.

I love the story about the woman and the Bible. Great!

Ivy said...

Diane, I wonder, do some Lutherans tend to misunderstand God's grace seeing studying the Bible/prayer as "works?"

It's amazing, at our church,people will turn out in throngs for a fund raiser for camp, but if we get 3 people for a Bible study, that's a lot. I know I've got a couple of unrelated thoughts here, but this has been a concern of mine for a long time.

Diane said...

Ivy -- I wish I knew!!! it's a concern for me, too.