Search This Blog

Subscribe By Email

Get Blog Posts Sent by Email

About This Blog

How to Comment on Blog Posts

The spot for the good news, the good word, the quick reports of the many, many wonderful news items I hear all the time and want to share with the rest of you. Expect to find the good news when you come to check out "what’s the good word?"

Monday, February 28, 2011

Peace Prayer

There are so many places in the world experiencing turmoil today--natural disasters, political unrest, hunger, persecution, war, and on and on. It seemed appropriate to reprise this post from last year. The Peace Prayer is a tradition, but it is also a plea to remember the many needs around the globe. Praying is not the only thing we can do, but it is one thing. And it unites us as we send our thoughts beyond our own need, for a time. From February 2010, as we were looking ahead to World Conference:

Peace Prayer

Many congregations have established a "peace candle" tradition. Most have been lighting their candle and offering a prayer for peace every Sunday for years and years. It's one of the ways they stay connected to the Temple and the Daily Prayer for Peace that happens there every day at one o'clock, central time.

Corinth and Windsor come to mind. I've often been there and appreciated the prayers they offer as they turn attention to Lesotho or Qatar or Lebanon or India. (There are others I know. Send me a note if you're part of this group.)

If you haven't looked at this lately, check out the link to the World Church website here for resources you can incorporate into your worship experience. It might be a tradition you'd like to revive as we approach 2010 World Conference, or as we're thinking of our global brothers and sisters in community.

If you want an even greater connection, why not consider writing a prayer for peace. Daily prayers are created by people from around the church and used in the Temple service. If you or someone you know has this gift, send them to that same link for information about how to submit your prayer.

Be part of this global phenomenon, our church praying daily for peace in the world! And be sure to let us know when your prayer is accepted so we can put it into What's the Good Word.

Posted by Marion

Friday, February 25, 2011


I was pretty sure this “good word” must have been addressed at some point in our blogging history. Sure enough, but the interpretation was “free as the breeze” not “at no cost.” I’m in the midst of a conversation about the other definition of the word. We’ve been talking about our church culture that likes to have as many things as possible free to all.

We love potlucks, where we can invite everyone at church because we know there’ll be plenty of food to share. “Y’all come,” we say. “It’s free!” We love this aspect of our welcoming and inviting ministry. Come one, come all, it won’t cost you a cent. There may be a basket somewhere if you’re inclined to leave a toonie, but really, don’t worry about it; it’s free!

We send each other to the World Church’s website to download resources. There are tons of them there. You can find whatever you need to plan your worship, lead your adult class discussion, find the policy statement you need, read the most recent blog from the President or the Herald article you want to copy for your friend. And it’s all “free”! What a wonderful world.

Of course we sometimes bump up against that undeniable fact that, while it may be “free” it isn’t without “cost.” We find ourselves dealing with budgets and tax receipts and the high cost of living. How do we balance our desire to be as welcoming as we can be and as gentle with what we charge for products and services?

I think we all understand the hard facts that there is seldom anything that is totally free. We know that someone, somewhere is paying the price. Maybe it’s rolled up in our tax bill, or our Mission assessment or our tithing dollar. So be it. But those dollars have been hit hard by the times, the declining population and the high cost of living. (Isn’t that where we came in?)

Part of the answer does need to be a focus on our vision/mission. What is our priority? What matters most? And how shall we pay for it? Once we’ve decided that something is truly worthwhile it becomes a lot easier to find the funding. Nobody wants others to suffer hardship, and having the whole story will inevitably bring good people’s true generosity to the fore.

One thing for sure, there isn’t a single one-size-fits-all answer. Some things, for some people, need to be “free.” Some users can pay, others will need help. Maybe the taxes, the tithing, the assessment can help subsidize the cost. Having this kind of conversation can really help us decide what our priorities are, what things are truly worth to us. Don’t leave it to the financial folk to make these decisions alone. It’s not strictly a finance question.

Best of luck to all of you out there who may be struggling with the budget. While it still may be true that “the best things in life are free” it is also true that most likely, someone, somehow is bearing the cost. Together we can work it out.

Posted by Marion

Thursday, February 24, 2011


I'm sending you to this blog post of Art Smith's just in case you haven't found it on your own yet. This posting is called I loved the laughing... Have a look; you'll love the laughing too I'm certain.

Art and Paul Davis have a blog based on their travels in different parts of the world, different parts of the church. The blog is called This is What I Know... and in it they share pictures and stories from their respective travels. You can subscribe and have updates mailed directly to your email box, just as you do What's the Good Word!

Both Paul and Art are avid photographers, so you'll see many, many beautiful pictures. But you'll also see faces--faces of pastors and ministers, of children and youth, of places and plants, of food and festivals! (I'm sorry for all these exclamation points; good writers ought not to over-use the exclamation point. But what can you do when every sentence is exclamatory!)

I like the opportunity to see the faces of the World Church. I remember very well that statement we embraced back at the turn of the century:

We will become a worldwide church, dedicated to peace, reconciliation and healing of the spirit.

Art and Paul give us a picture, both in word and photograph of what some parts of that worldwide church look like. I love to see those faces, to hear the story of how the worship went, what the youth camp looks like, where the congregation went for lunch together, what new community projects they're starting up, how the new church building construction is coming along. You will too, I'm sure.

Take the time to check out the link. And let us know what your thoughts are as you see those friendly Community of Christ faces from around the world.

Posted by Marion

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Now of course that is not a real word, although I did hear it used on a very prestigious interview program on the CBC this weekend. That ought to give it some credence, don’t you think? It was not defined or defended as a word, and the conversation just kept going on as everyone appeared to understand precisely what it meant without further elaboration. I immediately thought “what a good word” and resolved to use it somehow in the blog. I’ve been a couple of days deciding just what to do with it.

The conversation in question was about the apparent imbalance between male and female writers in most current popular magazines. Despite the growing numbers of excellent women journalists, critics and commentators the gender imbalance is undeniable. There are the numbers right there in printed listings of authors, reviewers, etc. Thus the discussion in question. What are the reasons for this imbalance in favour of male writers? Panelists, male and female, were offering their opinions.

One of them suggested that women tend to be less given to “blowhardery” and are not so likely to produce and offer up their free-lance pieces. “They don’t necessarily believe that everyone wants to read what they think.”

I’m not going to get into the eternal battle of the sexes here. That was just some context for you. I am aware that very often decisions get made based on the loudest voices in the discussion. Some people do very well with parliamentary procedure, for example, because they enjoy the argument. It may even seem that they enjoy the sound of their own voices. Some of them need to talk out loud to figure out what they think. You can hear their opinions forming as they speak, having begun from a place of not quite knowing. Blowhardery is just part of formulating a position.

Of course there are those who just hate it all. They’d really prefer never to speak in a meeting, let alone to stand up front and be the centre of it all. Take away that microphone and just let them sit in the back and listen.

But what happens then is that all the opinions spoken out loud are those spoken by the loudest voices. If we are to hear from the others we must devise other ways. It’s why we do things like hold small group dialogue sessions, give people a chance to write down their ideas, circulate polls or surveys, hold more meetings to give greater opportunity to listen and discern—even the opportunity to hear from different loud voices.

Folks with the gift of blowhardery tend to fill the air space available. It is their gift and we appreciate their willingness to share. I’m glad for the people willing and able to speak up. But don’t let’s forget the others whose ideas may differ, who may have thoughts the rest of us haven’t yet. Be sure to give them a way into the decisions too. The best decisions tap the wisdom of the whole. It’s hard work, but worth all our efforts.

Posted by Marion

Tuesday, February 22, 2011


Now that you’ve had several days to get over the shock of “the answer is NO” I think it’s probably time for me to repent and offer some antidote to that somewhat harsh blog post of last week. The very fact that so much of that message was indeed true ought to give you a sense that, in fact, much of the time our beloved Mission Centre President does try to give the answer “Yes!” It’s a fact. As a former apostle of ours used to say: we’re in the permission giving business.

Much of the message all of us are trying to give is mission-focused. To be focused on ‘mission’ is to be anxious to be doing God’s work in our communities. What is God’s Spirit up to in your community and how can you get involved? How are we answering that omni-present question “what matters most?” All of those questions really, really require “Yes” answers.

So you’ll find that if it is at all possible, we’ll be figuring out how to give you a “yes” answer. Here are a few that will work:

  • Is there are way to take care of some of this red tape that’s tying up our project to care for the homeless, bless the poor, serve the children, house the needy…?
  • Can you offer any ideas about how we can have better worship, more interesting Christian ed programs, exciting vacation Bible schools, engaging discussion groups, useful budgeting workshops…?
  • Do you know someone we might invite to help us get better at reaching out to the unchurched, improve our witnessing/inviting ministries…?
  • Is there some way our congregation can tap into the potential of the Internet to keep our people connected or maybe engage our children and youth in ways that appeal to them?
  • Do you think it would be OK if we disposed of some of these old books and set up a more useful library for the things our people really want to read about; maybe some more current resources like e-books and the like?
  • Can we let community groups use our facilities for their cooperative cooking class for single moms, or their organic gardening project, or the family movie night, or…?
  • Will you tell us how to get the permission we need for projecting music, or showing movies or offering computer classes or…?
  • Is there something we need to do to ensure our kids’ programs are as safe as they can be?
  • I think I have some skills or some experience and I've got a bit of time; is there something I can do to help?

You see, there are lots of things that will almost certainly get you a “Yes!”

See if you can find some in this list, or invent some of your own. Give us a call. We really like Yes questions best.

Posted by Marion

Monday, February 21, 2011


For quite some time now I’ve been searching for a basic text book to give to our CPI pastors. I’ve considered several but none seems just right. I’ve looked at excellent books, most of them written for newly graduated seminarians who’ll be assuming the pastorship of traditional Protestant congregations. The assumptions are for those young folks; and they are mainly young, though more now there are “second career” pastors who’ve retired or rethought their careers. They offer advice about “accepting a call” to this or that congregation in the early chapters. And later advice speaks of how to establish spiritual practices, how to deal with family systems, how to administer the operation effectively, delegate appropriately and develop leadership within their congregations.

Most of what is discussed in these texts is absolutely and exactly what our pastors need, but I suspect they’d have a difficult time “reading around” the Protestant assumptions. They’d point out, and rightly, that our way of calling is different, that our understanding of a priesthood call is just not the same.

We do appreciate calls to priesthood office in our own particular way. And yet I also perceive a sense of a call to pastor that we don’t generally give proper respect. I feel so privileged to work with the CPI pastors past and present. I see in them a genuine sense of being called to pastor their people! If we have such a pastor we can consider ourselves twice-blessed.

Those of us who associate with pastors across the Mission often speak of this call. It isn’t exactly like the call to a priesthood office. It really does seem to be much more like the traditional Protestant calls than we as Community of Christ tend to give credit for. I have had lots of association with those Protestant pastors over the years too. They speak of the urgency of the voice of God they feel, some of them from childhood. Others, often those “second career” seminarians, in the midst of a life already planned and underway. And yet they hear a call they cannot deny. A call to pastor!

As our church and our Mission work harder to offer training, mentoring, discipling and support to our pastors (CPI being only one way) we note one of the by-products is this growing awareness that we have men and women who also feel this undeniable call to the office and role of pastor!

Just as we as members watch for potential deacons, elders, evangelists, etc and pray to receive spiritual confirmation of those calls, should they be forthcoming, I think we need to begin to watch for and to discern the call to pastor. I’m not suggesting we change the way we do things. I just think we can deepen our realization that God is calling in ways we may not have noticed before.

This is not to suggest we adopt a Protestant practice of fully-funding all our pastors. That’s not going to happen! In fact they are more and more adopting our bi-vocational model. It is to suggest we give deeper consideration to what it means to feel a call to pastor. And as a prophetic people to be part of this discernment. I’d like to read your reaction to this idea if you feel led to Comment.

Posted by Marion

Friday, February 18, 2011


“If that is your question, the answer is No.”

That was the line in the email from the Mission Centre President. If you received that email yesterday, you know who you are. You probably didn’t hear me cheering, but I was. If only we had more of those responses what a great world this would be.

I’m following up yesterday’s “Ask” post with some more thoughts on the matter. For the most part the “ask” blog was suggesting how to ask for help or build up somebody else's skills. Or how to tap into someone else’s expertise to increase your own learning or understanding or skill in some area. For all those things my advice to clarify your question still stands.

But sometimes the questions that come to us are something like this:

  • If I’m not able to do the pre-work is it ok if I still attend the workshop?
  • Can you record your session and send it out for us to use in our congregation without actually taking the course?
  • Would it be alright to combine the two events and make one big one so people won’t have to travel?
  • Do you mind if we just photocopy the song and save the expense of buying enough music for the whole choir?
  • I’ve heard it’s easier to get forgiveness than to ask for permission. Could we use that principle for this situation?
  • If I promise to leave all my money to the church can I be excused from making a regular offering?
  • I realize you've already preached four times this week but if we invite 500 of our closest friends, could you maybe say a few words for them?
  • I know you’ve planned a very tight schedule, but if I stay until lunch time would it be alright to skip out of the afternoon session?
  • Since you’re not making any real decisions at this conference can we be excused from sending delegates to participate in one more dialogue session?
  • We're all aware that there are poor people everywhere. Can’t we just focus on the poor in our own country and let the rest of the world take care of their own?
  • I know you’re really busy, but could you handle this area of ministry for me/us?
Have I made my point? Sometimes folks, the answer is No.

Posted by Marion