Foreign Language
Posted on July 27, 2014

When I first arrived in NYC, replete with my obvious southern accent, I mentioned to a member of our Board: “I understand they speak 168 different languages here in the city.” Without hesitating for a moment, she replied: “169 now!” That was a quick and funny response.

Marble Collegiate Church
Posted on July 20, 2014

Back in 2008 when we had just been invited to come to Marble, I was in a conversation with a woman who happens to live in New York City. I asked her to tell me what she knew about this church. (She is not a member here, so I was confident I would get a totally objective reply.) She began telling me how “everyone knows” (her words) that Marble is a place where Good News is preached, the poor are assisted, everybody is welcome, and Faith is not just professed but also practiced. That was an exciting thing for me to hear. I casually said, “I wonder what their mission statement looks like,” to which she replied: “I have no way of knowing, but I can tell you what it ought to be.” I encouraged her to do so, and she said: “Following the example of Christ, we accept people where they are, love people as they are, and try the best we can to make them better.” Okay, that’s not our Mission Statement, nor has it been, nor shall it be. But, I think it’s gratifying to know that when people in New York City look at our church, that’s what jumps to mind. She saw Marble as a congregation of folks who follow the example of Christ, and thus who accept, love, and inspire everyone.

It's Not About Me
Posted on July 13, 2014

"It's not about me." " It's not about me." Say it a hundred times, Michael, and maybe it will get through. It's one of the oldest and most fundamental statements of our Faith. This ministry we share is about God and about people. But sometimes, I allow myself to get in the way.

Posted on July 6, 2014

My friend Ben Witherington (a brilliant biblical scholar and prolific author) was the first to inform me about an intriguing practice in ancient Israel (in biblical days). When people needed to scale a mountain, they went about it in the most interesting fashion. Instead of leading a donkey that carried their supplies, they followed the donkey. Seriously, they allowed the donkey to lead them. Why on earth would they have done so? They did so because donkeys have an intuitive knowledge of finding the best way up an incline. They do not always follow the quickest way, but they find the safest way and the easiest incline. Donkeys are not dumb, you see. They have enough work to do without creating more for themselves. They instinctively value their safety as well as the best way to manage a steep hill. So, ancient travelers would follow their donkeys when faced with a mountain they had not scaled before.