Creative Team Building and Leadership Resources - In our Elements

Daily Passages

Daily Passages Goes on a Hiatus

Thursday, August 29th, 2013

Approximately one year from now, Lord willing and the creek don’t rise, I’ll be in Matanzas, Cuba, teaching and leading workshops and trainings. Kim and I plan to be there for the better part of a year. I’ve realized that it’s high time for me to hunker down and get serious with my Spanish language [...]

The Art of Money

Monday, August 12th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Poetry Passage* (Psalm 49) transports me to a Doc Watson concert I went to a few years ago at Salem College in Winston-Salem. We got there early, and Kim went in to find good seats while I perused the senior art exhibit on display in the foyer. It was an avant-garde [...]

July 26, Forever

Friday, July 26th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (I Samuel 13) transports me to the Columbia Military Barracks in Havana, Cuba, early in the morning of March 10, 1952. Former Cuban President Fulgencio Batista stormed the barracks, took command of the military, and destroyed the Cuban Constitution he had presided over at the beginning of the previous [...]

That’s All I Need

Thursday, July 25th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 12:13-34) transports me to a mansion on a hill in Los Angeles, with a plaster lion from Mexico in the living room, a 24 seat dining room table, original oil paintings by Michelangelo and Rembrandt, a rotating bed with pink chiffon and zebra stripes, a bathtub shaped like [...]

Fearing Love

Friday, July 19th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (Deuteronomy 10:12-22) transports me to my ne’er do well years of high school, one of the more confused periods of my life. It was a time when I got up early most mornings for devotions, reading a portion of God’s word with my mom and dad, and I stayed [...]

I’m Afraid (Not)

Wednesday, July 17th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 12:1-12) transports me to Monday night’s opening worship at the summer conference of the Baptist Peace Fellowship, aka Peace Camp, being held this week on the campus of Gonzaga University in Spokane. The service included music from a local African Methodist Episcopal church choir, who stirred us up [...]

Have You Reached a Verdict?

Sunday, July 14th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Pastoral Passage* (Acts 23) transports me to a highly publicized criminal trial, the transcript of which has been read and re-read and dissected ad infinitum by interested observers near and far. A rigid fundamentalist culture, coupled with nationalist and racist ideologies, has created a community with clear insiders and outsiders. Here, [...]

Battle Hymns

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Poetry Passage* (Psalm 5) transports me to a ride in the truck this past Monday evening which afforded me the time to catch up on the news via NPR’s All Things Considered. Other than the predictable updates on the latest political sex scandal, Egypt’s ongoing revolution, government spying, concealed weapons controversy, [...]

The Bible Folks on Immigration

Friday, July 12th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Prophetic Passage* (Jonah 3-4) transports me to to a press conference, where House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, not known for her eloquence in dealing with matters of faith, claimed broad support for the comprehensive immigration reform package passed by the Senate with this statement: The fact is that many Republicans in [...]

Construction and Deconstruction

Thursday, July 11th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (Ezra 10:6-14; Nehemiah 13:23-27) transports me fifteen years back when Kim and I were in the initial stages of building our house. It was as close as I’ve come to a community barn-raising, as we engaged the know-how and good will of many family and friends in all phases [...]

Kiss My Swag

Tuesday, July 9th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 11: 33-54) transports me to the 1995 meeting of the Whitsitt Baptist Heritage Society, where the society members bestowed their annual William H. Whitsitt Courage Award to the bootleg preacher/ activist/ author Will D. Campbell. The Baptist Heritage Society formed in the early 90s, after the fundamentalist takeover [...]

The Undersea World, Before Jacques Cousteau

Sunday, July 7th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Poetry Passage* (Psalm 74) transports me to a 1968 voyage to the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean, and the Gulf of Aden for a de-mystifying study of the behavior of killer sharks. This is the maiden voyage for a television show that was one of my childhood favorites, The Undersea World [...]

Jay and Silent Bob Meet Elijah

Wednesday, July 3rd, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (2 Kings 1) transports me to the Jersey shore in the fictional View Askewniverse of Kevin Smith, aka Silent Bob in the series of movies and comic books that include the characters Jay and Silent Bob. Jay, played by Jason Mewes, more than makes up for Bob’s silence with [...]

Lord of Life, or Lord of Flies?

Tuesday, July 2nd, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 11:14-32) transports me back fifty years to the slums of Recife in northeast Brazil. 1963 was a year of hope in Brazilian history. President João Goulart introduced his populist plan for basic reforms, including investments in education to combat illiteracy, progressive tax reforms, extension of voting rights, and [...]

Sacred Space: The Final Frontier

Saturday, June 29th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (I Kings 8:54-61) transports me to the Salemtowne Retirement Village in Winston-Salem, where I spent the past few days helping my in-laws downsize in preparation for their move from independent living to assisted living. These are always difficult transitions, so I am grateful for the good spirit Ed and [...]

Geodesic Grace

Wednesday, June 26th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 10:38-11:13) transports me to the summer of 1948, a busy time in U.S. history, with the Cold War heating up, the Red Scare and HUAC hearings in full force, the military suddenly desegregated, the nation of Israel recognized, and the first monkey launched into space. Just over the [...]

Calling All Workers

Sunday, June 23rd, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Prophetic Passage* (Isaiah 58) transports me to the Facebook newsfeed, where someone this week posted a short little video aiming to show why church and vocational ministry are important. I clicked on it because the video was a creation by Tim Otto, one of the New Monastics, a group/movement that interests [...]

Big Hair Psalms

Friday, June 21st, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Poetry Passage* (Psalm 38) transports me to the basement of my childhood home in Oakley, during my 8th grade year when some fellow middle-schoolers and I formed our first rock and roll band, Deuce (named for our favorite KISS song). We practiced there in the Oakley basement, working on covers of [...]

Radical Resilience

Wednesday, June 19th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (2 Chronicles 28:1-15) transports me to a Charlotte restaurant, circa 2002, when I first met David Thon. Two alumni of Mars Hill College, Carl and Nina Phillips, had contacted me to tell me about David, a refugee from Sudan whom they had taken under wing through a ministry of [...]

Healing Stories

Tuesday, June 18th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: Today’s Primary Passage* (Luke 10:25-37) transports me to the Ramtop Mountains of Discworld, Terry Pratchett’s alternative universe depicted in his forty-plus novels. The mountains provide the setting for the annual witch trials in A Hat Full of Sky, but if you haven’t read Pratchett, you need to know these are not witches or [...]

A Stompin’ Good Time

Sunday, June 16th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Prophetic Passage* (Micah 7:14-20) transports me to Chapel Hill’s historic Carmichael Auditorium, January 26, 1977, when the #4 Tar Heels, led by Phil Ford and Walter Davis and Tommy LaGarde, took on their tobacco road rivals Wake Forest, led by Skip Brown, Rod Griffin, and Jerry Schellenberg. I heard about this [...]

Teenage Legends

Friday, June 14th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Poetry Passage* (Psalm 91) transports me to Winter Haven, FL, 1961, the year of my birth. It was then and there that three high school boys came together to form a band called “The Legends,” a forgettable undertaking were it not for the solo careers which followed. Each of the three [...]

Snake Eyes

Thursday, June 13th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (Genesis 3) transports me to our fenced in chicken yard, which I was cleaning out a few weeks ago for our next set of chicks (and as it turns out, one rooster) to make the move from the basement box to the great out of doors. After shoveling a [...]

Serpentine! Serpentine!

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 10:1-24) transports me to a small airfield in the obscure island country of Tijera, south of Honduras, where mystery man Vince Ricardo has roped his son’s prospective father-in-law, mild-mannered dentist Sheldon Kornpett, into an escapade to try and thwart a plot to undermine the U.S. currency. It’s my [...]

Covenant Love

Sunday, June 9th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Prophetic Passage* (Isaiah 17) transports me to a lovely jaunt through the countryside of northern Buncombe County, where I got a bit lost this past Saturday evening on my way to the wedding-non-wedding of a good friend who was exchanging vows and promises and rings with the woman of her dreams. [...]

No More War

Friday, June 7th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Poetry Passage* (Psalm 76) transports me to downtown Asheville, late 1960s, when my mom would drive me and Granny downtown for the weekly “shopping” spree and lunch at the S&W. The shopping consisted of a stop at the Green Stamp store for a little redemption, some browsing of the seconds at [...]

Hidden Gods

Tuesday, June 4th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (Genesis 31) transports me to an informal weekly lunch gathering at my office during the last year I worked at Mars Hill College. It was a year when the collective dis-ease of the college community was increasingly palpable and was affecting all corners of campus life. People were bellyaching [...]

Rebuking the Powers

Monday, June 3rd, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 9:37-62) transports me to the kitchen table of a house on north Pope Street, Louisville, KY, circa 1988. Pope Street was in the Clifton neighborhood, the community where I was attempting to learn and practice the art of community organizing. The issue at hand facing all lower income [...]

Staring at the Sun

Tuesday, May 28th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 9:18-36) transports me to my first time visiting the home of our good friends Nestor and Mabel in San José de las Lajas, Cuba. Nestor is the van driver for the Fraternity of Baptists; my first trip in the late 90s had been the maiden voyage for him [...]

The Story Behind Sodom

Friday, May 24th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (Genesis 19) transports me to the far reaches of Madison County, to the little hamlet of Sodom Laurel, famous not only for its name but for the mountain ballads of Dellie Norton and the photography of Rob Amberg. When I was directing service-learning at Mars Hill College, one of [...]

Austerity and Abundance

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 9:1-17) transports me back ten years or so to the emergence of a new church, Ecclesia Baptist in Fairview. Like many start-up Baptist churches, we were a product of the “multiply by dividing” principle, with the core group comprised largely of people who had been wounded and disappointed [...]

Curative Caprice

Friday, May 17th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (2 Kings 20) transports me to my seminary dorm room in Whitsitt Hall, where my first year roommate and I regularly found amusement calling up Pat Robertson’s 700 Club telethon and asking the phone bank person some deep theological question that had emerged from professor Frank Tupper’s class that [...]

Kowtowing to Christ

Tuesday, May 14th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 8:40-56) transports me to Lhasa, Tibet, where on any given day you’ll find hundreds of pilgrims prostrating themselves in prayer in front of one of the several sites considered holy to Buddhists. One of the hundreds of thousands of pilgrims set to reach Lhasa this year is eleven-year-old [...]

What the Bleep Do We Believe?

Thursday, May 9th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 8:22-39) transports me a 2006 DVD-viewing experience, where I endured Marlee Matlin overdramatizing the role of Amanda, a grouchy, dispirited photographer in Portland who wants to make it clear to the world that her anti-depressants aren’t working. There are only a few movies that have left me downright [...]

The Law of Three

Sunday, May 5th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Poetry Passage* (Psalm 107) transports me back almost 250 years to the Duchy of Württemberg in southwestern Germany, where a good Lutheran boy named Georg entered Stuttgart’s Gymnasium Illustre, which was what they called the k-12 prep school back in the day. Georg didn’t have a lot of time for gym [...]

The New Math of Faith

Saturday, May 4th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (Deuteronomy 28) transports me to High School senior year math class, a pre-calc course with Coach Carroll, who took the derivatives and integrals he instructed on the blackboard as seriously as he did the two-handed backhands and spin serves he instructed on the tennis court. It seems unlikely now, [...]

Going Green

Monday, April 29th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 8:1-21) transports me a spring day at the Shorehan Hotel, Washington DC, 1968, when William Gaud, the US AID Administrator (the head of the State Department’s Agency for International Development) was speaking to a gathering of the Society for International Development. It was in this speech that Gaud [...]

Claiming the Call to Clamor

Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Poetry Passage* (Psalm 68) transports me to a night of noisy clamor at Gashes Creek Baptist Church, summer of 1983, when I learned how much commotion the simple notion of women in ministry could create. I was youth minister, and had not been apprised of the conflict that had emerged in [...]

Sacred Sociobiology

Thursday, April 25th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (Genesis 38) transports me to two traditional Southern Baptist Churches, one in Brewton, Alabama in the 1930s, the second in Lawton, Oklahoma in the 1960s. Each of these churches saw a child born and raised in their midst, professing faith and receiving the rite of baptism, learning the sacred [...]

Sinning Much, Loving Much

Tuesday, April 23rd, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 7:36-50) transports me to a Sunday afternoon at Crescent Hill Baptist Church in Louisville, July of 1989. It was a high and holy day as my pastor Steve Shoemaker and my father-in-law Ed Christman joined a holy host of phenomenal women, including Paula Roberts, Tina Pippin, Holli Rainwater, [...]

Collective Soul

Sunday, April 21st, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Prophetic Passage* (Jeremiah 31:15-17) transports me to 935 Pennsylvania Avenue NW, Washington DC, where the Criminal Investigative Division of the FBI maintains its files and analyzes violent crime in our country. People who staff this office are the ones who have crunched the numbers and can tell us that over the [...]

Pushing Up Phlox

Thursday, April 18th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Poetry Passage* (Psalm 30) transports me to the cemetery of Gashes Creek Baptist, where I made my annual walk this afternoon to catch the splendor of April’s purple and pink phlox creeping around the concrete monuments dating from the late 19th century. The markers all tell short stories of their own [...]

Defiant Ones

Wednesday, April 17th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (I Kings 17:8-24) transports me to December of 1958, when Americans were going to the drive-in to see The Defiant Ones on the big screen, watching Maverick on the small screen, and shaking their booties to La Bamba on the radio. Those who spent their mornings scanning the New [...]

A Marathon of Faith

Tuesday, April 16th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 7:11-35) transports me to the aftermath of the terror attack at the finish line of the Boston marathon, where 3 lives were lost and scores more were wounded. The primary and secondary injuries suffered include lost limbs, ruptured eardrums, and blinding shrapnel wounds. Tertiary injuries include traumatic brain [...]

Yes Means Yes

Saturday, April 13th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Pastoral Passage* (2 Corinthians 1:15-22) transports me back to my favorite Simpsons episode, One Fish Two Fish Blowfish Bluefish, where we find the family in the kitchen on a Thursday night, meatloaf night (as it was, is now, and ever shall be, Lisa recites in despair). Homer watches the main dish [...]

Heartworm

Thursday, April 11th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Prophetic Passage* (Isaiah 1) transports me to what we longingly refer to as the “orchard” below our house, next to our garden. Our humble orchard consists of 4 heirloom apple trees. Today was the first day for buds to start emerging, and thus begins a 3-week period of holding our breath, [...]

Mountain-Top Experiences

Wednesday, April 10th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Poetry Passage* (Psalm 24) transports me to a worship service at the Jubilee Community, circa 1999, when Kim was on staff as children’s minister. Worship at Jubilee has always been uplifting and engaging, if not downright entertaining, based as it is on the theological bent of creation spirituality. You can always [...]

Righteous Ungodliness

Tuesday, April 9th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Promise Passage* (2 Chronicles 25) transports me to a mid to late 90s place that I can’t for the life of me remember, nor the occasion, but I suspect it was some kind of Christian music festival or denominational meeting. What is indelibly etched in my memory is who I met [...]

Praying Like a Pagan

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Primary Passage* (Luke 6:39-7:10) transports me to the scenic and sprawling campus of First Baptist Church, Greenville, SC, where I spent this past weekend in the annual meeting of the Alliance of Baptists. Along with reports on missions and ministry partnerships, recognitions of endorsed chaplains and pastors, advocacy statements on drone [...]

A Coming Out Party

Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Fellow Passengers: This week’s Pastoral Passage* (Revelation 18) transports me to a hell-fire and brimstone camp meeting, where a spirit-filled pentecostal preacher takes the stage at the concluding chorus of Revive Us Again to hammer out dire apocalyptic warnings found in the text for the night, Revelation 18. Some predictable words punctuate the sweating preacher’s [...]

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