Sep 20, 2017

Dear PCLT friends and family,

Last week, I began the Pastoral Leadership for Public Life Fellowship.  It is an honor to be included in this great company of pastors from around our Hill Country region.  Over the next 18 months, we will join together in learning intensives, local action, and visits to fellows’ communities. One of our trips will be to Washington D.C., and we conclude with a final retreat to Mo Ranch.  This time is set aside for us to strengthen our leadership skills, meaning making, and action in view of public life and the common good.

We began our time together defining what public life means to the life of a church.  Parker Palmer says, “public life is where we meet one another as strangers but seek to treat one another with civility.  We are concerned here with the church’s mission in sustaining the fabric of public life, where strangers meet and where we practice what it means to be good citizens and good neighbors.”  Essentially, public life happens any time we are living with each other in community.  It means striving for honesty, integrity, and forgiveness while recognizing that we are all fragile and fallible human beings.

Jesus teaches us how to live this public life together.  God commands us to love one another as God loves us.  And, as Dr. Lord reminded us last Sunday, to forgive as we have been forgiven.  Both of these commands, I think, are easier said than done. Yet, Forgiveness and Love are required, not optional, spiritual practices; spiritual practices that are rooted in compassion and openness that can only come from God.  They are both, simultaneously, a gift and an obligation.

Through these practices, God finds us and offers us, all of us together, wholeness and peace. As our hearts break watching all the suffering in the world this week, may we be bound together in love, compassion and forgiveness for the public good.

See you Sunday!

With love,