Experience Transformation

#66 Days Towards Change

Maxwell Maltz a plastic surgeon in the 1950s began noticing a strange pattern among his patients.  He found that it would take the patient around 21 days to get used to seeing their new face. Similarly, when a patient had an arm or a leg amputated, Maltz noticed that the patient would sense a phantom limb for about 21 days before adjusting to the new situation.

Bringing that into his own life, he realized that it took him about 21 days to form a new habit. He talked about this in his self-help book Psycho-Cybernetics. In the book Maltz explained the power of self-affirmation and mental visualization and the connection between the mind and the body.  It went on to sell more than 30 million copies.

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Carpe Kairos

Seize the Moment

Be careful then how you live, not as unwise people but as wise, making the most of the time, because the days are evil.  Ephesians 5:15-16

How do you live?   What are the things in your life that you are most proud of and what are the things in your life that you regret?

If we are honest with ourselves, we have things that we are proud of and we have things that we regret.

My junior year of college I was lost.  I did not know what I wanted to do with my life, I was attending Luther College in Decorah, Iowa but I was not really going to my classes.  Instead I was either working at a local restaurant as a cook or  I was sitting in my dorm room, alone.

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We Shall Overcome

Praying for Racial Justice

A few weeks ago pastors and church leaders of the ELCA gathered in Springfield, MA to hold our annual Synod Assembly.  As part of the opening worship we sang “We Shall Overcome”.  This is a protest song that became a key anthem of the African-American Civil Rights Movement.  In between verses of the song we read words from Biblical prophets as well as contemporary prophets to remind us that through our baptism we are called to fight the injustice found in our world. 

I would like to share some of these words in light of the tragic shooting in South Carolina this week.  A shooting that took nine lives including Rev. Clementa Pinckney the pastor of Emmanuel AME church, a seminary classmate and friend to many of my colleagues.

I ask that you say a prayer for the families of those who were killed, pray for the congregation of Emmanuel AME Church, pray for the Charleston community and our nation as we fight for racial justice in our communities around the country.  If you don’t know what to say in your prayer, use the following words as your prayer.

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6 Family Traditions to Start in 2015

Traditions are behaviors and actions that we can participate in over and over again.  I have participated in many traditions through my family, my church, school and as a counselor at Camp Calumet.  Typically traditions are purposeful and intentional, but they can be big or small.

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Meg Cox, the author of The Book of New Family Traditions, suggests using two P’s when crafting your family’s traditions. When considering a new tradition, first ask yourself: “What’s the purpose of it? What do you hope your family will get out of it?” Once you know your purpose, make your tradition personal.  You want to be able to connect with your tradition, it needs to come from your heart.

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Bishop Hazlewood

During the bishop election of the 2012 New England Synod Assembly Jim Hazlewood was asked what he would like to accomplish during his first year in office if he was elected.  Jim’s answer was that he would visit every ELCA congregation in the New England Synod.  Little did he know that he was soon to be elected bishop and that he would have to fulfill this promise.

I think Bishop Hazlewood was the perfect person for the job because he understands the church.  He writes on his blog Bishop on a Bike a few days after he was elected “I do not know the workings of the Holy Spirit, but here is my more rational understanding of what happened in Springfield.   Our church in New England, and across North America, is experiencing a seismic shift.  Whether it’s declining participation in congregational life, shift in where people go for spiritual understanding, economic dislocation or just plain old general angst, you can easily see these are strange and un-understandable times.  I think most everyone in the church, and certainly those at the Assembly in Springfield understood this to be the case.”  I believe there is a shift in the church and most of us really don’t understand what it is and we don’t know what to do about it!

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Happy Ascension Day

The Ascension of our Lord is a feast day of the Christian Church but it is not often celebrated like many other feast days.  The primary reason for this, I believe is because it falls on a Thursday.  Some churches do have a celebration of the ascension on the Sunday following the actual day.

The reason that Ascension is on a Thursday is because the Ascension happens forty days after Easter.  For forty days Jesus spent teaching his disciples about life without him, Jesus assured the disciples that even though he was going going to be with them physically that his presence was always with them.  I can only imagine how the disciples felt, it would have been an amazing to be with Jesus again but  it would have been terrible to know that they were going to lose Jesus again.  Not only did they spend three years with Jesus; learning from him and experiencing amazing ministry but they were able to look into the eyes of the one who died for them and then came back to life and continued to minister to them.

Then on the 40th  day, he ascended in the sight of his disciples.

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