Monday, July 19, 2010

July Welcome Mat

Though I'm years out of school, July still means summer vacation to me so I'm taking off next Monday.

I think there'll still be plenty to read, though.  This week I'd like to welcome four, count them, FOUR fabulous members to the PC(USA) webring.

  1. The Healing Walk: Reflections on disability, healing, and wholeness from a guy with cerebral palsy. My disability was never something I integrated into my life until I got into my 30's. When I got into my 30's I had to confront the fact that my cerebral palsy had left me broken because, rather than making meaning out of it, I was always just trying to "get over it".

    My healing walk began a couple of years ago during my time as a hospital chaplain resident. I confronted the brokenness I had inside of me, and with the help of my fellow chaplain residents and my CPE supervisor, I began my journey towards a new relationship with my body, my disability, and my identity as a person with a disability.

    This blog is the latest way to work through many of the theological, physical, and emotional ideas that I have worked my way through along this path towards wholeness. I also began this blog in attempt to begin fashioning a new way of speaking about disability in general. I love the English language, but sometimes I feel it lacks ways to speak about our bodies in ways that are on target. We all know what it's like to be so overwhelmed by emotions or ideas that the best thing we can say to other people is something like, "Well, I don't know what to say. There are no words big enough to tell you how I feel." This may be true, but I also think that our language fails us when it comes to giving us ways to speak of our embodiment, our character, our race, our selves. I hope this blog helps given words to experiences that are too often wordless.
  2. Reason for Hope: The purpose of this blog is to help remind me to daily look for the hope that God brings, and to share it with others, who too may be looking for the light of hope in the darkness that sometimes creeps, and at other times crashes into our lives. As a Pastor at First United Presbyterian Church in Newville PA, I encourage congregational members at the end of the service with this charge, "In your hearts set apart Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect, keeping a clear conscience." (1 Peter 3:15-16a)

    I thought blogging is one way that I could practice what I preach, hence the name of the blog and the reason why the blog exists. "Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord. 12 Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer. Share with God's people who are in need. Practice hospitality." (Romans 12:11-13) "May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit." (Romans 15:13)
  3. Wrestling With Wrelevance: The purpose of this webblog is to attempt to convey my personal experience, as a recently returned Presbyterian Church (USA) Mission Co-Worker, as I readjust to a culture (both socially and ecclesiologically)which has changed significantly in the past nine plus years I was overseas. I am classically evangelical in my theology, strongly traditional in my choice of worship styles, somewhat socialistic in my economics, liberal in my sense of community outreach, and joyful in my born-again faith. This background, coupled with exposure to Presbyterian Partners on three different continents and roughly 8-10 different countries has made me feel most at home in Africa.

    As I then make this reentry to the USA, I am struck by the seeming busyness of life here which all but ignores those sitting by the wayside waiting to hear a good word from a denomination focused more on its own disagreements then the incredible movement of the Holy Spirit in our midst. We are an extremely small expression of the church of Jesus Christ the center of gravity of which is now in the southern hemisphere and Asia. I look forward to those countries to which we sent missionaries a hundred plus years ago, returning the favor and sending us missionaries to reclaim the country of the USA for Christ. Maranatha! Come Lord Jesus.
  4. La Bloga de Gregorio: I am an aspiring PC(USA) pastor (Austin Seminary, class of 2013) with a heart for Latin America. I have spent most of my adult life working in Latin America on development projects. I currently work for a faith-based non-profit called Healing Waters International ( We work to break the cycle of poverty through safe drinking water projects in poor communities in Latin America. We currently have a network of 95 water projects in the Dominican Republic, Mexico and Guatemala. From this network of systems we serve 130,000 people per day with safe drinking water. We build small-scale water purification systems in churches and empower the church to run the water project as a microbusiness enterprise.

    As a student at Austin Seminary, I will continue to work for Healing Waters on a part-time basis. My work with Healing Waters has inspired me to further explore the connection between my faith and development/social justice/poverty alleviation. That is what has inspired me to go to seminary and become a pastor. I have also been a youth group leader at Wellshire Presbyterian Church in Denver, Colorado for the last seven years. Thanks for reading my blog!

Thank you all for joining the discussion! I'm glad to read you here.

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