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A Moveable Church

From The New York Times* —

Santu Mofokeng grew up under apartheid, coming to a love for photography in his teens. 

Over a few weeks in 1986, during his commute to and from work, he made a series of remarkable photographs on the Soweto-­Johannesburg train.

Whether the ride was in the early morning, late afternoon or evening, people congregated in the train’s coaches, turning them into spaces of prayer and religious song. The train became a movable church. 

A movable church arose out of necessity in this instance, but isn’t a church that’s moveable the idea all along?

And yes, moveable church is an image that works at couple of levels.

By the grace of God, may our churches indeed be moveable! 






Listen Louder Than You Play

[If you’re confused by today’s title, simply scroll down to my last several days’ blogs.]

“Listen Louder Than You Play!” is way more than a clever, even ironic, sign on the wall of an elementary school band room.

It’s a call to not just hear but to pay attention and actively listen.

It’s a reminder, as some older person in our lives told us when we were kids, that we have two ears and one mouth for a good reason.

It’s another way of telling us about the mechanics of interpersonal relationships.

It’s about healthy balance —

By the grace given me I say to every one of you,

do not think of yourself more highly than you ought. 

Romans 12:3

and yet Jesus wasn’t kidding when he said,

let your light shine before others,

that they may see your good deeds

and glorify your Father in heaven. 

Matthew 5:16

— There’s a time to you and me to listen, and there’s a time for us to play our parts.  It takes both for the song of life to be complete.

Thanks be unto God for the opportunity!

Listen Louder Than You

[If you’re confused by the title, scroll down to the last two days’ blogs and easily catch up.]

“Listen louder than you play!” is not a call to silent passivity.

Nor is it some goofy challenge, as in “I can listen louder than you can!”

Let every person be quick to hear and slow to speak, says The New Testament in James 1:19.

Your contribution to the conversation of life is important.

“Listen louder than you play!” invites all to appropriately participate.


Listen Louder Than

If you missed yesterday’s blog here, please scroll down one and you can easily catch up.

“Listen louder than you play!” might make our old friend St. Paul smile. After all, he did advise us to not just be loud, crashing cymbals. (1st Corinthians 13:1)

Even the cymbal player in the Chester Municipal Band followed both the written musical score and the director, and then those cymbal crashes fit perfectly with what everybody else was playing.

Three times in the first three verses of his famous Love Chapter, St. Paul employs the phrase have love.

Do we?

Is it evident by how we “listen louder” than we speak that we’re also listening in love?

And when we talk, do our words themselves have love?

“Listen louder than you play!”

Let’s do.

See you back here tomorrow.

Listen Louder

The Municipal Band of Chester, IL recently celebrated their 80th Anniversary. It was an honor to sit in with them and play trumpet under two outstanding directors, John Birchler and Steve Colonel.

On the wall of the rehearsal space was this sign —



— and its lingering effect on me for this past week has been significant.

We were all there to play music, and we were all there to play music together.

But if all we’d focused on had been our own playing, the music would have suffered and might even have been lost.

“Listen louder than you’re playing” applies to everyday life, too. As Proverbs 18:2 spins it, A fool takes no pleasure in understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.

Let’s “listen louder” today.


BONUS BLOG: haunted by charlottesville and much more

Haunted by Charlottesville and so much more.

There’s a song that was sung frequently and fervently at lots of events several years ago, including United Methodist Youth stuff, and it’s still helpful.

Do yourself a favor.

Block out 3 minutes and 24 seconds.

Click on the Play arrow.

Be reminded and be blessed —

— Hope to see you back here tomorrow.

Pray & Work for Peace

Pray and work for peace in our hearts, our country, our world.

Praying can be the easier of the two.

Time to get busy.