Reflections Blog

Endurance and Hope

Endurance and Hope

Photo by Andrea Gray on Illustrated Faith, Why Me? A lesson in Perseverance   In the last months I have heard much of hope. Most of what I’ve read tells me we cling to hope for the sake of endurance. Hope keeps us going when we want to give up. I’ve been clinging to...

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Hopping and Hoping through Advent

Hopping and Hoping through Advent

I don't know how it happened. I went to bed on Saturday night with a stiff knee and woke up on Sunday morning unable to walk. It looked like someone turned my knee into a volleyball! It didn’t help that I was all alone either, as Jan didn’t travel with me on a...

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Floating in Faithfulness

Floating in Faithfulness

One of my favorite memories of being a young child was swimming in the ocean with my father. I remember how my siblings and I would wait impatiently for him to arrive home from work. When we heard his car parking, we’d run out to the front yard as if he had abandoned...

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Social Justice and a Stiff Old Rulebook

Social Justice and a Stiff Old Rulebook

You might think that a suitable coming-of-age gift for an Alaska Native would be a rifle or a fishing rod. Not so. Teenagers already have hunting equipment. When indigenous students turn eighteen, parents who want them to get into Alaska Native politics give them a...

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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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