Friday, September 08, 2006

The Future of this Blog

Yesterday tonyc commented, “Finally, with regard to our sinking ship, it probably would help if we all spend more time patching and rowing, and less time shooting holes in the hull.” That is exactly what I did for the first 19.5 years of my ordained life. My ministry focused on the local congregation and the Presbytery. I have served on almost every imaginable committee or task force. I shielded my congregation from most of the garbage that happened in the PCUSA. You see, for 19.5 years I have been a part of the problem in the PCUSA.

Pastors in the PCUSA (of which I am one) have been a major part of the problem in our denomination. We focus too much on the local church. We either turn a blind eye to the miss steps of the denomination or we choose to ignore them. As a result, we have the mess we are in today.

Regular readers of this blog will know that I am a sailor. There is something seriously wrong when a sailboat (or any boat for that matter) begins taking on water. The first response is not to row faster (or sail faster, or motor faster). The source of the water needs to be found. The catamaran I chartered in the British Virgin Islands carried 200 gallons of drinking water (that’s a lot of H2O!). Has a drinking water tank ruptured or had its fittings fail? Has the cooling system developed a leak? Is the water coming from outside the hull? Has a thru-hull fitting failed? Has a back siphon developed due to the healing of the boat? The first thing to do when a boat takes on water is diagnosis!

tonyc believes that I am “shooting holes in the hull” of the PCUSA. Long time readers of this blog will know that I have written on numerous topics and reviewed several books. I have looked at what it means to be a Purpose Driven Presbyterian Church. I have used Leonard Sweet’s book, Post-Modern Pilgrims, to look at how the church could reach out to those who could be called postmodern. I have used a book called The Radical Leap (written for business leaders) to look into what it means to be a leader. I have written on the dealing with change (using Who Moved My Cheese for inspiration/ideas). And yes, I have been looked critically at the PCUSA. I call it diagnosis. If the people in the pews believe that all-is-well-in-Presbyterian land then nothing is ever going to change: Horizons will continue to publish studies that most PW groups refuse to use, the publishing arms of the PCUSA will continue to publish books that embarrass local Presbyterians, renegade Presbyteries will continue to turn their backs on the rules of our denomination, etc.

So… where is this leading? I have been wondering what to do with this blog. As a pastor of a small church I wear many hats. This fall I am teaching a class, called Interpreting the Bible Faithfully, that uses a book by Gordon Fee and Douglas Stuart, “How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth.” I also lead the worship teams –that means LOTS of time finding new, appropriate music for our two worship services. I will also be leading a Bible study and I am in a small group. Additionally, there are two worship services each week to plan. I also blog, and I take my blogging seriously. I am constantly reading books, articles and other blogs to keep current in all areas of ministry. I am always looking for topics for this blog. I love being a pastor and doing what I do. Yet, like most pastors… I am swamped.

THE FATE OF THIS BLOG IS IN THE HANDS OF YOU READERS! I will follow your wishes. Here are the choices:

Option #1 – I stop publishing on this blog.

Option #2 – Keep writing the blog but don’t be so critical of the PCUSA.

Option #3 – Keep doing what you are doing.

Post a comment on this blog with your vote. Please vote only once.

On Monday morning, September 11th, I will count the votes at 7:00 a.m. Pacific Time. If option #1 is the winner there will be no post that day, or the next day, or the next, etc. If either option 2 or 3 is the winner I will post and let that be known.

So… if option 1 is the winner I would like to thank all of you for taking the time read this blog. Time is very valuable. Thanks for spending your time looking at FullCourtPresby!


At 10:57 AM , Blogger Backwoods Presbyterian said...

I vote Option# 3 with the caveat that we all help to solve the problems not just be old crotchety men complaining about the cost of tea in China. But actually go out and change the cost of the tea.

At 12:57 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I pick option #3. I enjoy what you are thinking and it is great to reconnect with a former Alaskan! I served in Skagway for thirteen years, and mostly oblivious to what was going on with the national church. But that is now changed. I serve in one of the hotbeds of liberalism... home the infamous Janie Spahr and Katie Morrison brigades. Keep up the good work say hi to Brenda and kids!

At 1:09 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Option #3 – Keep doing what you are doing.

I just found your blog a few months ago. Keep on writting!!

At 1:17 PM , Anonymous Jack V said...

Lance, i would like you to continue writing, so i vote option 3. You are not shooting holes in the hull, you, like many others, are calling out to those at the helm, warning of the iceberg ahead.

At 1:17 PM , Anonymous Jon Thomasson said...

Option #3 – Keep doing what you are doing.

Although the Lord's vote counts more than the rest of ours and you'll have to check with Him one-on-one. (smile)

At 1:50 PM , Blogger trumpet worship said...

Option 3 for me. I think the hull needs replaced.

At 1:54 PM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

By all means, keep it up with option #3. We need your perspective and analysis!

At 3:10 PM , Blogger person in the pew said...

Option #3 please...I am one of the people in the pew who just found out what is going on in this denomination. You are a rational voice for those of us wandering in the PCUSA wilderness. Please do not abandon us!

At 4:12 PM , Blogger Pastor Lance said...

To anonymous from Alaska... Nice to hear from you. Brenda was thinking about you the other day when she was thinking about clergy taxes. How is your family doing? Our daughter is almost done with college and our son is still in college. Drop me a line at my e-mail:


At 6:53 PM , Anonymous Larry said...

Option #3

I found your blog a few months ago. I like your insights and concerns as a PCUSA minister.

Your comments in this particular posting regarding not telling your congregation about the not-so-nice details of denomination are words other ministers need to hear.

For the most part the membership in the PCUSA does not like what is going on. But many of them are in churches where the pastor does not even indicate denominational problems exist.

This leads to confusion and inaction.

If you chose to continue blogging, I would ask my fellow readers to spread the word about this blog. Writing a blog takes time and energy. If there are few readers, the blog writers lose their enthusiasm.

So as readers our job is to promote the bloggers we like.

At 7:24 PM , Blogger Presbyterian Gal said...

O.K., that's 3 times that I've voted once.

But, seriously, Lance, I am a battered soul adrift down here in the southern riptide and the truth for me is that your blog has helped me stay afloat long enough to find Jesus' buoy. You cannot stop. If my micro experience is any example, you do far more good than you can see from the ripples of the stone thrown into your calm bay of water.


At 9:34 PM , Anonymous Reformed Catholic said...

Oh definitely Option 3.

Having a 'loyal opposition' that shines light on activities that in no way conform to anything in the PCUSA Constitution is a base requirement for any changes from within.

At 10:08 PM , Anonymous tonyc said...

I vote option #3.

And I'm certainly prepared to eat some considerable crow, or I guess albatross, since we've been using the nautical metpahors.

I sincerely apologize to you, Lance, and any others who were offended by my comment about shooting the hull. I was reacting to the comment about leaving the sinking ship, which left me disheartened and sad. You've reminded us all that the point isn't to abandon ship, it's diagnosis and repair. And to that I join in the hearty chorus of "amen, brother."

At 9:02 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Option 3, please!

At 10:32 AM , Blogger Glenn E. Malone said...

Option #3 definately

Unlike most Presbyterians I was not raised going to church.

I was born-again and baptised at the age of 20 in an Assembly of God College ministry.
While in college I was on the paid staff at a United Methodist church.
I was married in an Assembly of God church.

I found Lance's current church shortly after he was appointed pastor. It was my first experience as a Presbyterian.

I became a member and now serve as a elder at Lance's church.

Over the years I've found that some "Frozen Chosen" in our church seem blinded or unaware of God's truths and sometimes being a Follower of Christ takes a backseat to being a Presbyterian.

Lance has remained committed to God's biblical truths and he has been a bold advocate in our church for biblical truth vs. Presbyterian line toeing.

Option #3 allows Lance to do the same at a global level.

I would add that blogging has to be fun for the blogger...if you're not having fun I wouldn't keep doing it....that being said, many would be disappointed and your voice of experience and reason becomes silent to a worldwide audience with any other option.

At 9:54 PM , Blogger PJ said...

Certainly #3 Lance: anybody who reads so widely and share so many ministry experiences has lots of good ideas the rest of us would be blessed to know. I know I have been greatly blessed by what I've read here since I first found your page a few weeks ago.

A lot of blogger burnout comes from the stress of daily posting. So if you take up option 3, give yourself permission to take a few days or even weeks off if it seems good to you...

At 12:19 AM , Blogger William Cornwall said...

I have never commented on your blog before but if such a vote can count I vote for option #3. Personally, as a layperson that has served as elder, deacon, trustee, teacher, delegate to Presbytery, and a host of other jobs it does me a great deal of good to know that there are still pastors like you in this denomination. I served as chairman of three pastor search committees and I could write volumes about that experience, my visits to seminaries.

Furthermore, you are not wrong to have devoted so much time to your congregation. How else can a congregation grow? No doubt many more came to know Christ because you did that than ever would have done so serving on committees of Presbytery, etc. You may not even be aware of seeds that you have planted there that may take many years to come to fruition.

So as long as you remain a pastor in the PCUSA I think you should continue what you're doing and that means giving whatever criticism that you think is appropriate in light of the word of God.

At 8:02 PM , Anonymous Jim Loughlin said...

Option #3 - Perhaps my vote should not count because I am no longer a PCUSA member (I'm memeber of Kirk of the Hills in Tulsa). How will there be reform in the PCUSA if no one is addressing the at large members? Rise Up O Men of God!(and women!)

At 9:23 PM , Blogger Dave Moody said...

no doubt about it- #3. I really appreacite what you say and the how you say it. Keep it up!

At 6:43 AM , Blogger Alan Trafford said...

Keep at it, brother! There is a new wind blowing across the PC(USA), I'm not sure that I understand exactly where it is leading, but now is not the time to furl your sails.
Alan Trafford

At 8:47 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

There is only option three, for those who listen to the call:

"For Zion's sake I will not keep silent, and for Jerusalem's sake I will not be quiet, until her righteousness goes forth as brightness, and her salvation as a burning torch."
--Isaiah 62:1

Keep blogging for the glory of God!

At 11:26 AM , Anonymous will spotts said...

I missed the deadline, but . . Option #3. Please.

Denying that there is a leak will not help. Admitting it and looking for the source is NOT creating holes. It is the only reasonable course of action. The person accusing you of this either denies that we're taking on water, or wants everyone else not to know. Either way, denial can hardly be called a Christian option.


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