LIFE: on our street

Advent

Every Sunday, the children are invited forward at our church. It’s one of my favorite parts of the service. Squiggly kids. Tentative ones. The bosses. The boisterous. The people-pleasers. Their unabashed traits shining in all their glory. No time-crafted mask covers that beauty yet. Sigh.

What does Advent mean? the children are asked. It’s one simple question. One simple answer. Coming. And the first purple candle of Advent is lit.

This year, John and I mailed Advent candles [...]

Does God Really Use Our Brokenness?

“Everything is broken. That’s how the light gets in.”  Leonard Cohen

John and I are often surprised that God delights in working through us. Yet like most humans, we are still bent towards the belief that God only uses our gifts and abilities.  So last night’s dinner conversation was especially encouraging.

New York City is full of beautiful old church buildings that serve a handful of congregants at best and that’s only if the church is still used [...]

By |November 22nd, 2017|Shari Thomas|1 Comment|

Who Is The Woman Married To Your Pastor?

The Top Ten Things the Woman Married to Your Pastor Wants You to Know:

10. She’s her own person. She is not  an appendage of the pastor. She might even have differing political, social and biblical views than her spouse. She is in a position where sharing those views could negatively effect her husband’s job. You might be surprised and delighted to discover how different she may be from what you previously thought.

9. She has a [...]

Living in a Time of Trauma

By Guest Blogger Dr. Penny Freeman

Barbara Brown Taylor says “Pain and suffering makes theologians of us all.”

It’s true. There is no shortage of trauma these days. This summer our eyes have been glued to the devastation of hurricanes. Harvey left Houston in a state of disrepair that left me slack jawed. Irma wiped out Barbuda (an island I didn’t know existed until three weeks ago) and Maria totaled Puerto Rico the same time an [...]

The End of the Rope

I picked up my Bible and hurled it out the tiny window of our basement apartment. The thin pages wrinkled. The leather cover folded.  But there it hung, caught between the iron bars of our city window. “I can’t succeed at anything, I thought, not even throwing my Bible away.”

I was at the end of my rope. Finished. Disillusioned. We were church planters in a foreign country, in a global city, in a language [...]

By |September 28th, 2017|Shari Thomas|21 Comments|

The Sting of Messing Where You Shouldn’t

Yesterday, we ended a lovely family weekend with a walk to The Museum of Natural History. Hidden behind the museum is a small water fountain park. Our grandson excitedly ran through the soft green grass towards the water and right over a swarm of yellow jackets. Surprisingly he didn’t get stung. But like all New Yorkers, I expected at minimum a warning sign to be posted about the danger.

Penny’s yellow jacket experience turned out [...]

Raising Kids In The City

‘What’s up with my kids? They climb on everything. And our furniture is so cheap, it’s always breaking.’

‘I regret now buying what we did when we moved here. It’s not holding up with our boys.’ Another woman added.

Before you think this is a discipline issue, this conversation came from our Brooklyn cohort this past Wednesday night. They are raising kids in small city spaces. 650-square-foot is the average size of a NYC family apartment. We [...]

Preparing My Heart To Be With Others

Friends were over last week and I stumbled out of bed and into the kitchen, talking. About ten minutes into the mostly one-way conversation I caught myself. “Meds. I haven’t taken my meds!” Thankfully, I was with friends. They love me in spite of what I say or my need for meds. Still, I was reminded how easily I can go about my day completely unprepared to be a member of the human race.

My [...]

Living With Stress?

 

At one of Parakaleo’s early training events, we came up with a mnemonic device to help us remember some components of healthy living for a profession that can suck us dry. Obviously, we could add more, but when living with stress we need simple. So here you have it. Our Five S’s that can be listed on one hand.

Sun

While you might enjoy a good tan, we’re referring to the effects of light. Are you [...]

Our Top Training Tips

My dad, Allen Thompson, a gifted trainer by nature, taught me to sail as a young teen. On a 12ft somewhat battered catamaran, he showed me the basics in Key Biscayne Bay before handing me the tiller. I don’t recall if it was that first day or our second time out when he asked about my greatest fear on the water. At that time it was capsizing. You can guess the next lesson.  Once [...]