Living through trauma and transition is exhausting work, whether it's in the White House, our family, or faith community. How can we maintain the energy we need to be fully present, to play a positive and constructive role in the face of challenges and tension we face?Read More
Last month, Not So Churchy, an emergent Presbyterian faith community where I share musical leadership, had its very first baptism. A trans woman in the community, who had begun her gender transition a few months prior, stepped into the baptismal waters and was marked as Christ's own. I had the privilege of being one of her sponsors, charged by the community to be a spiritual companion on the journey.Read More
Earlier this year I served as a guest musician at Broadway Presbyterian Church, where their pastor, Rev. Chris Shelton, presented a summer sermon series exploring the context and themes of the New Testament. To begin, we invited the congregation to imagine a time before worship bulletins, before hymnals, even before the letters of Paul and the Gospels were written. We created a worship service that was paperless, participatory and poetic. And we used story telling, communal song and images as primary vehicles for the expression and transmission of faith, like the earliest followers of Jesus.Read More
Since last fall’s #blacklivesmatter protests in New York City, I have become more and more aware of the privilege our culture affords me as a white man. I have come to understand that I cannot speak on behalf of persons of color, as if I know best what others need or want. I have not walked in their shoes nor do I understand the challenges or hurdles many face on a daily basis – from subtle, demoralizing micro-aggressions to unwarranted scrutiny to police brutality like we saw at Spring Valley High School in South Carolina this week.
But I can support and help amplify voices of color that are speaking their truth. I can name and confront racism whenever and wherever I see it. I can advocate, work for systemic change, and seek justice and equality for all, especially black lives. It is not enough to simply pray for a better world but I am called to be God’s hands and feet. My faith requires me to leverage my privilege for the wider good. And God also calls me to encourage and inspire other privileged folk to action, especially in the church.Read More
"Anytime life ousts us from our places of security,
we are called upon to bring ourselves fully present to our experience."
– John Valters Paintner, The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within
The past year has provided many invitations to practice how to be fully present in the midst of change. A little over a year ago I imagined I was leaving full-time music ministry to embark on a new vocation in the non-profit world. I said goodbye to Park Avenue Christian Church and dove into a new position at the Stecher and Horowitz Foundation, assisting two of the most seasoned and dedicated individuals in the classical music business. The experience was invaluable and I am grateful for the way it has shaped me as a person and as a leader.
But rather than feel my interest in the church wane, time away reminded me of what I missed. Weekends off and time with family during the holidays were a gift, something I hadn’t experienced in almost 20 years. But as colleagues and friends invited me to offer leadership in their congregations as a guest organist, choir director or song leader, my heart continued to tell me that my deepest calling is to ministry.Read More