About

I  have been pastor of the United Parish of Auburndale near Boston, MA since July 2012.  I started this blog a year before that while I took a year away from ministry.  You can read my original explanation for the site below.  I still post things here every once in a while, so check back again.

DRJ

ORIGINAL INTRODUCTION to the BLOG:

When that guy on the plane asks what I do for a living I can now tell him “homemaker”.  He’ll keep talking to me.  We’ll talk about kids or partners or bread-making or the latest trip to Annapolis.   I used to answer that vocational query with  “I’m a pastor.”  End of conversation.  Full stop.

I am a pastor.  I’ve been a clergy-person since 1995.  I pastored two churches at once (near Joliet, IL), a phenomenal church called Parish of the Holy Covenant near Wrigley Field in Chicago, IL, and then I moved to Massachusetts and pastored a four-church merger into one congregation (Lynn, MA).  Most recently I was in an active and challenging church about thirty miles outside of Boston (Hudson, MA).

But now I am a homemaker.  I’m taking a leave from professional ministry to develop my amateur skills as a father, husband, bread-baker and globe trekker.   Those really are my goals.  To reach those goals I need discipline, so I’ve settled on an overarching philosophy by the recently departed singer/song-writer Dan Fogelberg.  He expressed the philosophy in “Part of the Plan” from his 1974 “Souvenirs” album:

Your conscience awakes
And you see your mistakes
And you wish someone
Would buy your confessions.
The days miss their mark
And the night gets so dark
And some kind of message
Comes through to you
Some kind of message
Shoots through —

Love when you can
Cry when you have to…
Be who you must
That’s a part of the plan
Await your arrival
With simple survival
And one day we’ll all understand…

I’ve missed the mark as a dad, a lover, a cook and a traveler and it is time for me to be who I must.  What disciplines might help?  I skimmed Will Johnson’s 2010 book “Rumi’s Four Essential Practices: Ecstatic Body, Awakened Soul” and felt like I’d found in Rumi a good conversation partner for the long flight to freedom.  I liked the four practices so I decided that when the discipline of church administration ended June 2011, these practices would begin:

Eat lightly (learn to bake that bread, Doug)

Breath deeply

Move freely

Gaze intently (or “raptly”)

I set-up this blog as a means of accountability on each of those disciplines.  I also included a “service review” section.  Since I do not have to be in my own church on Sundays I can attend lots of others.  Since I expect I will return to professional ministry it makes sense to sample some best practices and then invite those churches to read my reflections here if they like.

So I call the thing “Window and Wall.”  This is the name of another Dan Fogelberg song–a really sad one about the way an elderly woman sits in a quiet home starring at windows and walls.  If I must one day sit isolated in such a room, may I recollect joy over my son, my wife, some fine baked bread and a hundred windows where light awakened my spirit.  Every incoming message meets windows (readiness) or walls (resistance) and I want to share where I see both in the days ahead.

Peace be yours,

Doug

One Response “About” →
  1. I don’t think you have “missed the mark” in any of those areas – and perhaps if you have you came darn close to what was needed. More than many of us have.

    Waiting for more posts – you ARE many things, many interesting, good things, so get to the blog! CJJ

    Reply

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