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Writer, Retreat Leader, Resource Creator
As I’ve been updating this site, adding some new links to blogs by fellow colleagues and friends, I thought for those of you who are new to Rev-o-lution that you might like to know a brief history of how this all began.
Back in the summer of 2007, I attended a day-long retreat by the folk singer Christine Kane. At the time I was a year into my second professional ministry position. I loved what I did as a minister, I loved being the pastor of a small New England congregation and had no desire to change or move. I was comfortable. Life was good. But there was a little part of me that had been neglected for a while, the writer in me. I was a Creative Writing major in college. In the story of my call to ministry I often tell people how I was sitting in my grandfather’s church in Pennsylvania while visiting with our family when I was thirteen years old and something inside of me said, “That will be you someday.” And I’ve never looked back. I’ve always known I was called to ministry. But part of my story that I don’t always share is that I’ve felt that voice before. When I was eight years old I fell in love with writing and I remember just knowing I was going to be a writer when I grew up. When I was nine I fell in love with poetry and won a poetry contest in my school. And though I knew in my teens I was going to be a minister I still loved writing and hoped to do both. But somehow, in my seminary and professional ministry career I lost sight of that.
This retreat was all about living your dreams and creating vision for your life, and I didn’t know it at the time but it was the beginning of something new. I came home and started this blog. At first, I just began writing about whatever came to mind–I wrote about our dogs, driving in Massachusetts, some memories of growing up in Alaska. Sometimes I would reflect on the political or social situation of the world around me. In the next year, I had our son, AJ and began to write about motherhood, healthcare issues, and other more personal reflections.
In the meantime, I had begun to lead Women’s Retreats for young adult women in the Boston area. My name became known and I was asked to lead workshops and other retreats for social groups, church groups, alumni associations and clergy. Because of the commitment of my pastoral ministry I was only able to lead about two retreats a year but I enjoyed doing them when I had the opportunity. My retreats were also based on vision and are grounded in relationship with God and co-creating a vision for our lives, our congregations, our company and/or community with Christ.
After a year of full-time motherhood and full-time professional ministry I was beginning to feel burned out. This blog went to the backburner for a while. I was having a hard time balancing the demands of pastoral ministry and the needs of my family. Writing seemed to be a long-lost dream. In the meantime, my husband had finished seminary, was ordained in the Disciples of Christ, and was looking for full-time pastoral ministry in his denomination. Through prayer, we made the decision to leave New England and to move to Oklahoma, where he would be a full-time pastor and I would become a stay-at-home mom.
Over the last year I have had a lot of time to reflect on my life and the vision of my life. I had settled into the pastoral role so well over the years that it was a shock to not be in that role. For a while, I was pretty down about it. I still didn’t do much writing. Our concerns for AJ grew that I have written about in other posts, and that consumed my time. But last summer, once again through Christine Kane, reading about her transition from the entertainment industry into mentoring, I listened to a few of her teleconferences and recognized now was my time. I hadn’t left professional ministry, my ministry had just changed focus.
I began thinking about my strengths in ministry and the things I loved about pastoral ministry and I recognized my passion for writing in my ministry. I had loved preaching, but even before I was a senior minister, in my first professional ministry setting I did not have as many opportunities to preach; instead, I wrote a weekly e-newsletter to the Sunday School teachers and families in my church about the week’s lectionary lessons, with a reflection and suggestions on how to prepare for teachers and families. I always received positive comments on it. That became the basis for my weekly Lectionary blog that I began in August 2010. The other thing I felt I had gift for was written liturgy. In my first congregation I wrote out my prayers, and when it was my turn to preach I often wrote my own Calls to Worship. I put these resources together and began the weekly reflection.
Last fall, I began working on a book based on my retreats in Co-Creating vision with Christ, and have had many more opportunities to lead retreats and workshops. I found a spark in my passion again and writing has now become integrated more fully into my ministry and I find joy in the work I am doing.
When I began Rev-o-lution, I picked the name because I thought it was a bit quirky. I imagined I would be writing way more radical posts than I have. But over time the name evolved from the definition of revolution as radical or overthrow to the definition of revolving around. I like to think that my writing looks at Scripture, society, culture, and family life from different angles, different points of view. I know I don’t cover it all. I hope that if you have time you can browse some of the blogs and sites I have linked on this site for a more fuller view, for a different perspective, and find inspiration for your ministry, your writing, and your life.