Life After Here

Life After Here

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/14/14

What is next? What is next after you have finished curating your well-constructed life? How does spirituality change over the course of a life? For many road weary disciples there comes a tipping point, a turn from constructing a well lived outer life. Meaning shifts from all of the goals of the outer life — providing for a family, establishing a career, attaining a degree, finding security — toward a different way of understanding the meaning found in the inner life.
 
Richard Rohr is a Franciscan priest and author of Falling Upward, our August book study. His work is a meditation on growing spiritually. Rohr writes of a maturation that happens. For Rohr, in the first half of life, our task is to strengthen the outer life. During this time we follow the rules, work hard, develop firm boundaries, and tend to see things in black and white. The second half of life is about filling that container, which actually exists only so that you can take the next step of finding yourself in God. Far too many people, he writes, just keep doing repair work on the container rather filling their inner life in Christ.
 
You need not wait until middle age or early retirement to interpret the “second half of life.”  But at some point in your life, you realize there is more. These liminal moments, at any age, help us evaluate our spiritual toolbox.  Upon examination, you may find that the tools that worked in the first half of your life aren’t adequate for the second half.
 
Join the conversation in our August book study.

Investing in the Vision

Investing in the Vision

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 8/7/14

Money. It is one of those subjects that Mrs. Manners told you not to talk about, along with religion and politics. Yet, in any congregation, the subject coalesces into an individual spiritual practice and a communal reality. What we do with our money, individually and collectively, matters to God.

Class Is in Session

Class Is in Session

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters, August 2014

“School’s out for summer!” Alice Cooper once screeched. Summer isn’t as long as it once was. It is August and teachers have been readying their classrooms since July. Stores have stocked folders, pens, paper, markers, Kleenex and all kinds of glue on aisles marked “back to school” since late May. Some students weren’t even out of their classrooms in May! It is enough to make even the most conservative educator don a Pink Floyd t-shirt and sing, “leave those kids alone.”

Who Cleans Your Pond?

Who Cleans Your Pond?

by David Keith

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/31/14

A few years ago, we lived in a home that had a Japanese Koi pond.  There were seven very large fish in the pond.  One day I went outside to feed the fish and, to my amazement, two were floating on top of the water and the others were huddled very close to the top.  They had congregated by the waterfall, but there was nothing coming out.  During the night, the waterfall that provided oxygen for the fish had stopped working.
 

Saying Farewell...For A Time

Saying Farewell...For A Time

by Cass DuCharme

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/24/14

Did that title get your attention? I’m saying farewell to Highland Hills…but only for a short time. A few years ago, our church adopted a sabbatical policy for staff ministers, which creates an intentional season of rest and renewal every seven years. This year the deacons approved a sabbatical for me. Beginning last Monday, July 21, until August 31, I will be resting and renewing my body, mind, and spirit.
 

What Happens When Change and Cliches Collide

What Happens When Change and Cliches Collide

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/10/14

Cliches, why do we use them? They save time, I guess. They capture common wisdom in a catchy way. They name something that is generally true or perhaps they are a simply a stock response…a knee-jerk reaction, of sorts. Consider a few of well worn cliched responses to change.

Stuck in Your Head, Fixed in Your Heart

Stuck in Your Head, Fixed in Your Heart

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/10/14

It would not be summer without Vacation Bible School. I have enjoyed my first Vacation Bible School at Highland Hills. Songs, lessons, and crafts filled this week with activity. I have been watching as our children learn about the Good News through this year’s theme, Workshop of Wonders. I have been keeping an eye on our volunteers as they use their gifts for God in creative service.

The Best Church Sign

The Best Church Sign

by Jake Hall

published in Family Matters eNewsletter, 7/3/14

It may not surprise you that we ministers geek out on church talk. We cannot help it. This is not a hobby. This is not just what we do for a living. This is what we do. I think that is why I find the life of any congregation fascinating whether it be mission statements or oddball church signs.