Reflections Blog

How God Uses the Wilderness to Shape a Beloved Community

How God Uses the Wilderness to Shape a Beloved Community

In the early part of this year, Los Ranchos was accepted as a “second-wave” presbytery in the Vital Congregations Initiative. Church sessions had been studying the “7 Marks of Vitality” during 2019 and they were eager to increase their capacity for making disciples in...

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A Covenant People

A Covenant People

Two stories. Both true, neither in Los Ranchos: In one, a large suburban church showed hospitality to the remote rural congregations along its travel corridor. Many of those small congregations were the only mainline option in town. The communities needed them, but...

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When God’s Children Can’t Breathe

When God’s Children Can’t Breathe

Photo/Screen Shot of Zoom Meeting/Chineta Goodjoin On June 9th at 7 PM, New Hope Presbyterian Church of Orange and St. Mark Presbyterian Church of Newport Beach hosted a candlelight vigil by Zoom for those who were grieving the most recent expressions of systemic...

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This ‘n’ That

This ‘n’ That

This month’s column provides no mental express train. It follows the scenic route instead. I hope at least one stop will catch your eye along the way. The current speed of news is head-spinning. Keeping up emotionally is hard. Saying a timely, coherent word is nearly...

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Longing for the Triumph of God

Longing for the Triumph of God

Outside Union Church (Pacific Presbytery).Photo by Fernando Arevalos, https://www.instagram.com/bhab1875/.Used with permission. Longing for the Triumph of God They called out in a loud voice, “How long, Sovereign Lord, holy and true, until you judge the inhabitants of...

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A “Brave New World”

A “Brave New World”

I must confess I have never read Aldous Huxley’s novel Brave New World, but its title alone describes where I think we find ourselves as congregations and a presbytery. As Christians navigating a global pandemic, we live in a “brave new world” not because we are...

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Old Values, New Actions

Old Values, New Actions

Featured Photo by Erin Dunigan. Changing circumstances call for changed practices. But wise changes always stay rooted in core values. So—what does that look like? My 82-year-old mother has long been a greeter at her church in Thousand Oaks. When people approach the...

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Dark Clouds and Silver Linings

Dark Clouds and Silver Linings

As a boy growing up in southern California, I wasn’t exposed to a “snow day” until I moved to our nation’s capital for a college internship. One morning long before sunrise, I received a call from our head of staff who told me the Rayburn Building would be closed for...

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Lost in Wonder, Love, and Praise

Lost in Wonder, Love, and Praise

​Two memories.  First: Last October I talked with a friend who had discovered Godly Play. At the heart of the program is the question, “I wonder…”  Godly Play teachers tell Bible stories and encourage children to wonder about the stories. Rather than answering their...

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A Living Benediction

A Living Benediction

Last September, I had the joy of celebrating the 100th Anniversary of Community Presbyterian Church of San Juan Capistrano. Through tear-glistened eyes, I was reminded in worship of the many people who have lifted up the name of Jesus in that space, not too far from...

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A Timely Gift in an Unlikely Package

A Timely Gift in an Unlikely Package

“That can’t possibly be right." “No, it looks about right to me.” “But people in our church don’t want to sing hymns. They said so.” “Who? Who said so?” My church had recently completed the US Congregational Life Survey, a tool that would be used by five thousand...

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